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    Bonaire December 2016

    Posted By on March 11, 2017

    It was so good to finally get back to one of our favorite dive destinations – Bonaire!  It has been a couple years since we visited and although not much changes in Bonaire a lot has.  We stayed this time at Den Laman (our 2nd time) and bought our dive packages through Bonaire Dive and Adventure. 

    Den Laman was absolutely fabulous.  I almost hate saying how great they are for fear of giving away one of our secrets.  They treated us absolutely the best and having the best condo on ground level overlooking Bari Reef is simply paradise.  We had a nice patio area that was fitted with metal “garage” doors that we could close at night to ensure security of our things on the patio.  Greeting every morning on the patio and overlooking the blue water cannot be beat.  The room was very nice with a modern clean feel to it.  The staff absolutely the best and made every attempt to help out when needed.  In fact, at the end of our stay they allowed us to store 12 bags in their office while we shopped our final day waiting for our afternoon flight back to reality.  When we picked up our bags, the nice young lady who worked in the office even helped to carry our bags out.

    Bonaire Dive and Adventure…what can we say.  They provided us with tanks and weights.  I cannot honestly say I really got a connection with them.  It felt like they were going through the motions and really made no attempt to get to know us.  When we asked a question we often got a sarcastic response that I think was meant to be funny but it really got old in a hurry.  Maybe we just don’t get that culture.  We enjoyed using the pier, but having to deal with all the locks on gates got old in a hurry.  I get you don’t want others to use the pier but locking everything up really makes it inconvenient for your customers. Also, put some money back into the pier…it’s falling apart.  The benches are rotting away and the floor is needing repair.  The answer to missing boards and damaged concrete is to put a piece of plywood down.  Why not fix it right?

    With all that said, Bonaire Dive and Adventure has closed up shortly after our trip.  Dive Friends now operates the Dive Shop at Bari Reef.  We are anxious to get back down in 2017.  We dove with Dive Friends on previous trips and really enjoyed their hospitality.

    I also have to say I was a little disappointed at many of the reefs – in particular Bari Reef.  They are being beaten up and coral broke and damaged.  The fact that many divers dive these reefs daily is certainly taking a toll.  I fear that soon the reefs are going to be in such bad shape that they are not considered one of the best dive destinations in the world – there are simply too many divers damaging the reefs.  What are they going to do?  I don’t know, they need the dive revenue.

    What has changed?  The food is much better not that it was very bad, but you can tell they are getting better.  Rencon.  They are really trying to turn Rencon into a tourist attraction and you can tell they have cleaned it up and trying to build it up.  It’s not there yet, but don’t forget to stop at the Cadushy Distillery for some free samples.  It will be interesting to see how Rencon develops over the upcoming years.  It appears they are wanting to grow, yet keep it our small dive paradise.  One new attraction we visited this trip was the new outdoor movie theater located down the road from the Den Laman.  Great experience viewing a current movie on the outdoor screen in the island breezes.

    We love Bonaire and cannot say enough about it.  We love the small island feel and the easy diving.  It is not the spring break tourist attraction that many are looking for and that is how we like it.

    Mermet Springs / PennyRoyal Road Trip

    Posted By on August 29, 2016

     

    August 25-28 2016

    The Muck Divas decided that they needed some time away; so, they rented a place at the lake to relax.  What are the guys supposed to do?  Well, go diving of course.  This gave us the perfect excuse to play hooky from work a couple days and go on a road trip to two of our favorite places – Mermet Springs and PennyRoyal.

    On Thursday we made our way to Mermet Springs and ultimately shared the quarry with two other divers from Springfield.  We didn’t know what to expect since the posted viz conditions were a little sketchy.  But, we were amazed.  The viz had to be in the 20+ range.  We enjoyed the day revisiting all the attractions.  The only downside is that I now remember why I wanted to be a drysuit diver many years ago….it was cold once you got deeper than 30 feet.  We hadn’t dove the quarries in a couple years and forgot how cold they could be, but hey that is what Midwest MuckDiving is all about!

    We talked to Glenn a little were amazed that they will be celebrating their 20 year anniversary in the very near future.  Has it really been 20 years?  Keep an eye out for information on their 20 year celebration.  It’s been a fun 20 years and hopefully at least 20 more.  The quarry is in great shape right now so make some plans to stop in….winter is just around the corner.

    Our second stop on our road trip was in Hopkinsville, Kentucky at the PennyRoyal Quarry.  We made the short drive down from Mermet Friday morning and was surprised when we showed up at 9am and the gate was closed.  The quarry didn’t open up until 10 a.m.; so we did what every god fearing Midwesterner does….we went to Walmart.  We returned about 45 minutes later and was shocked to see a line waiting to get in.  We kind of thought we would have the quarry to ourselves like Mermet the day before.  We quickly learned that the Army was there to do some Discover Scuba Dives.  Apparently this is something they do on Fridays.  At first we were a little disappointed thinking about how much muck the students were going to be kicking up; but, actually they stayed in the shallows and it really had no impact on our dive plans. 

    The quarry was just the way we remembered with the bluish looking water.  We had some great dives, but again it got really cold about 30 feet and again we were wishing we had brought the drysuits.  I would say the viz was 18-20 as they advertise.  I hate to try and compare dive locations because each has their own personality.  Pennyroyal is a nice dive site which really has a nice shallow shelf for training purposes and if you want to go deep you can get really deep.  Over the years we have found the viz typically very good at PennyRoyal even when other areas are mucked out.  Mermet has cleaner attractions, Pennyroyal does not clean the attractions.  Mermet has more fish life, Pennyroyal has very little.  If you want a change of pace Pennyroyal is worth the hour+ drive from Mermet.

    To finish up our road trip we decided to head to Nashville.  We didn’t do any diving because we couldn’t find any places near Nashville, but since it was an hour’s drive away we couldn’t pass up on it.  Nashville was fun.  We spent an evening on Broadway and seen some of the best live music ever.  It really puts in perspective how good you have to be to “make it big”.  We toured the Ryman and Music Hall of Fame along with taking a tour of Nashville and seeing Music Row where all the studios are.  We definitely have to come back some time.

    Our long weekend quickly became a short weekend as we headed back to Missouri and ultimately back to our daily routine that allows us to feed our diving passion.