Meet Audrey and Joop Groenenboom

Audrey and JoopIf you enjoy hanging out with adventurous, fun people who are extremely well-traveled and have many wonderful experiences to tell you about – not to mention all of their scuba diving in exotic places, near and far – then let us introduce you to Audrey and Joop Groenenboom.

Audrey and Joop are busy entrepreneurs who own the delightful Casa Calexico guesthouse on the Island of Bonaire in the Dutch Caribbean. Their guests from all around the globe enjoy the warm hospitality that Audrey and Joop extend. Audrey is fluent in multiple languages, and Joop is a former firefighter and talented craftsman who maintains their cozy guesthouse. They possess a wealth of information between them about dive travel and, of course, about all things Bonaire. They are the first to offer you a cold drink and a huge smile when you arrive on the island, and guests return here often; it’s easy to understand why.

Audrey, how long have you and Joop been scuba diving?

Since 1999, so 14 years.

What are your current scuba certifications?

We are certified through the French divers institute, CMAS, founded by Jean Jacques Cousteau, which is equal to Stress Rescue Divers’ certification through PADI. CMAS courses are far more serious and in depth than any other certification agency throughout the world.

Describe your most memorable dive.

We have several:

1)  Manta Reef in Mozambique
The word says it all. We saw at least 50 Manta Rays from up close and personal.

2)  Fakarava
A small atoll in French Polynesia. Sharks, sharks, sharks on each dive, plenty of them in all sizes! Tiger sharks, Reef sharks, Grey sharks, etc.

3)  Sipadan, Sabah Borneo
When we dove there Abu Sayyaf just kidnapped a lot of tourists from Sipadan. So our government gave us a negative travel advice. This means that if you decide to go, it is at own your own risk because they could not guarantee our safety.

Since we are naturally stubborn, we decided to go anyway. There were about 10 divers on the island, and so we had the magnificent underwater world all to ourselves. It was amazing; we have never experienced a bigger diversity than on Sipadan. Everything was in abundance, visibility was endless, and corals were in great shape and beautiful colors. Now Sipadan is protected, and only a limited group of divers is allowed to dive there per day!

Oh, and we snorkeled with several humpback whales in Mozambique; this was the most memorable day in our lives!

Where would you most like to dive (where you have not been yet)?

Galapagos.

What is your favorite piece of dive gear or gadget?

We don’t have any. We still dive with our stuff we bought in 1999!

What is the latest dive gear you have purchased?

New masks after 10 years and new hoses on our regulators.

What do you enjoy doing while not diving?

Kite surfing!

What is something that people may find surprising about you?

That Joop and I are way in our 40s and still do crazy stuff!

Tell us about what you do for a living.

We own and run a guesthouse, Casa-Calexico, on the Caribbean Island of Bonaire, which is world famous for its excellent shore diving, windsurfing and our newest favorite hobby, kite boarding!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our dive community?

Live life to the fullest. Go after your dreams. You only have one life. (At least that is what we believe. Ha ha!) It is better to regret things you have done than not do them at all.

Oh yeah, and come to Bonaire to enjoy the most relaxed island in the Caribbean…

Turtle underwater swimmingSpotted Eagle RaysDolphins on Bonaire

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