Dive Lesson: Gab About Grouper with the Best of ‘EmDive Trip: Bonaire
Project AWARE Fish Identification Specialty Course, Buddy Dive Resort, buddydive.com
“It’s funny when folks dive and say there is nothing to see,” says Augusto Montbrun, dive-operations manager at Bonaire’s PADI Five Star Dive Resort Buddy Dive. Like modern art, a coral reef becomes more fascinating when one understands what he or she is viewing. As part of a promotion two years ago, the dive center included a fish-identification adventure dive — the precursor to the specialty — with every travel package. The freebie inspired many of the resort’s guests to take the full one-and- a-half-day course that focuses on how to distinguish between fish based on their family, shape and environment. “Some of these folks had been coming to Bonaire for years,” Montbrun says. “After they took the ID course, their approach changed. They appreciated all the little things that had always been all around them.” Bonaire provides a laughably ideal classroom for learning to recognize fish of the tropical Western Atlantic: It’s home to seven of the Caribbean’s 10 most diverse sites, including Bari Reef, with a recorded 393 unique species. Learn the fish, then learn to recognize the behavior, and soon you’ll understand the bigger reef picture.