When Steven, our intrepid guide from VIP Diving, asked us where we wanted to go on our second tank, we looked at each other and shrugged. Two of us had gone diving in Bonaire before and wanted something new, while two were completely newbies to the island.
“I mean, Salt Pier is always a lot of fun…” Steven trailed off. “But there are a lot of divers again. Then again, there are also a lot of fish… by the hundreds…”
We perked up on that claim alone—and the fact that we’d be taking a dip right next to Bonaire’s famous salt mounds—and declared Salt Pier it was.
Diving Salt Pier
We pulled right up to the dive site and tiptoed over the rocks to the shore; the piers started another 100 or 200 feet out, not a long swim at all.
But fish aren’t what greeted us the second we suited up and took a peek below the surface; rather, this guy was.
It was only the second turtle we’d seen in our few days on the island—though we’d see plenty more on our final day—and we giddily glided beside him for several minutes. He wasn’t concerned nor bothered with our presence; he just continued to do his turtle thing until we finally left him to see what lies beneath the pier.
Why it’s called Salt Pier
Salt Pier could not be a more literal title for this dive site: salt-encrusted pillars tower at 50 feet while fish of all shapes and sizes school by the hundreds.
The fish themselves weren’t anything out of the ordinary, but man the sheer volume was a sight to behold. This officially made it on my “top 10 dive sites” of all-time list.
Sure, I didn’t have one until Salt Pier, but now I do! It was right up there with Sipidan in terms of volume of fish we’d see at once.
But we also did a little hunting among the rocks and corals between the massive piers. We saw eels, big and small.
We saw plenty of juveniles, like this flirty little guy right here.
And we saw my first ever seahorse, which blended in seamlessly to the underwater landscape. I’m so glad Steven pointed it out as I would have never spotted it on my own!
Unfortunately, both of my cameras died on this dive—tip: charge all your cameras the night before a full day of diving even if they say they’re fully charged, as mine did!—so I don’t have nearly as much footage as my pals Angie and Alex (check out their own Salt Pier shots once those posts go live!).
I also put together this quick clip so you can witness the magnificence of diving Salt Pier for yourself. Doesn’t it make you want to dive?
After our 72-minute dive—a record for me as I’m usually cold by 45 minutes, particularly in a shorty—Steven suggested we stop by Kite City for a quick drink. None of us objected because did I mention their sangria? A pitcher later, and we were headed back to check into our second dive resort of the trip and get changed for dinner at Sebastian’s.
I will say, while the purpose of our trip was diving, I was blown away by the caliber of restaurants Bonaire now has to offer. We didn’t have a single bad meal—quite the opposite; I’ve never had food this good in the Caribbean before—and I was surprised by how many new establishments have opened in the past five years.
Good food, good diving, good company? I’d call that the recipe for the perfect girls’ trip to the Caribbean.
For more Bonaire travel tips, start here:
- Taking the Plunge: Becoming an Advanced Diver in Bonaire
- Island Living: 16 Reasons Bonaire Rocks
- Going on an Island Tour of Bonaire by Twizy
- Bonaire in 24 Hours: Shore Diving, Yoga & Food Trucks
- Going Underground: Caving in Bonaire
- A Dive on the Wild Side: Bonaire’s East Coast