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Due to the foresight of Captain Don Stewart, Bonaire was the first island in the Caribbean to denote its precious coral reefs as Bonaire's National Marine Park. Rather than allow anchoring to destroy the delicate corals, Captain Don began the ongoing project of installing permanent mooring buoys at every scuba dive site in Bonaire. Only one boat at a time is permitted on each mooring, so the diving pressure is spread out, and diver impact minimized. Scuba divers are required to pay an annual fee of USD $10 to dive in the National Marine Park and the rules are carefully enforced. Divers are strongly encouraged to watch their buoyancy and avoid reef damage. To keep divers from grabbing the living corals, the use of dive gloves is forbidden. The result of these efforts is a reef environment in more pristine condition than other areas that are not so lovingly protected.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|