From our Photographer’s Angle: Sweet Dreams Is Sweet Diving in Bonaire

Sweet Dreams dive site is #59 on the Official Bonaire Dive Site Map.  This is an advanced dive due to the possibility of strong currents and waves.

Located near the south end of the Island of Bonaire, Sweet Dreams is usually a deserted shore diving location.  This site is also a great alternative to Red Slave if the conditions there are rougher than you feel comfortable with.  The coral and experience here is much “softer” than northern Bonaire as there are lots of Gorgorians, Telestaceans, soft corals and larger sandy areas.  There can be a strong current and larger waves at times, making for a precarious entrance and exit.

Dive #1

Knowing that the visibility, conditions and risks were not favorable at the time of this dive, we opted for another site. We usually like to dive Sweet Dreams when the water is rough on the north end or when there are lots of divers at the other sites.

Sweet Dreams has the advantage of having a long, semi-protected sandy shelf nearing a steep slope, which gives this site sanctuaries for small, juvenile fish, and creatures in the shallow areas, and in deeper water the currents ensure a continual food supply.  As a photographer, this allows the option for either wide angle or macro opportunities.

Sweet Dreams Dive Site

This Shot: On a calm day in January, we were finishing our dive, enjoying following a small school of fish.  We were headed for our safety stop when I captured this photo.  I liked the way that the Giant Anemone (Condylactis gigantic) was swaying in the current. The sea rods, Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus) and star coral completed my colorful landscape. This shot was taken in one of the shallow coral out droppings at a depth of 30 feet. At this depth I was able to use the natural sunlight and bring out the vibrant colors using my strobes. My camera was a Nikon D-700 in a Subal housing, focal length 17mm, ISO 320, exposure 1/100 at f/9.0, with two Inon strobes set at f/5.6.

 

Dive #2

After an enjoyable drive through downtown Kralendijk south onto the EEG boulevard, we located the yellow rock announcing our arrival at Sweet Dreams.  We were rewarded with calm ocean waves and only a slight current heading northwest.

Following an enjoyable swim out to the drop off, we were followed by this Scrawled filefish (Aluterus scriptus) and a group of Sergeant majors.  Although characteristically a skittish variety of fish, this one provided me with a wonderful profile pose before resuming his normal activities.

Scrawled filefish

This Shot: This was taken at the top edge of the slope at about 40 feet.  At this depth I was unable to use natural light and relied primarily on my strobes. My camera was a Nikon D-700 in a Subal housing, focal length 32 mm, ISO 320, exposure 1/100 at f/9.0,with two Inon strobes set at f/5.6: one to light the scrawl filefish and the other to help balance the background.

This post and photographs are courtesy of Ken Schneider, Photographer, Explorer, Entrepreneur

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