46 years ago, Captain Don Stewart created the first dive resort on Bonaire and infused the philosophy that every employee, past, present, and future of Habitat will always embrace. Habitat is a dive operation with accommodations. It is with this mandate guiding all their planning that they announce the expansion of Captain Don’s Habitat.
Claire Sealy, Managing Director of Captain Don’s Habitat stated, “Many of our guests have been visiting Habitat and creating memories for years, some decades others new, so it was of the upmost importance to maintain the intimacy with belonging that we have delivered since 1976.”
Habitat will say goodbye to eight cottages highlighted in the drawing within the red lines. They will not be saying goodbye to all entirely. It was decided to maintain a recently completed renovated cottage for those that want a touch of nostalgia. During the expansion, this unit will not be rented.
As shown below, Habitat will welcome six brand new luxurious accommodations consisting of 42 total units divided into rooms designed like our ocean view rooms, and including 1, 2 and 3-bedroom configurations. The new rooms will be within a beautiful garden, a true oasis of peace and relaxation, equipped with a luxurious swimming pool.
In keeping with their objective as the home of diving freedom, they will expand the heart and soul of Habitat, the dive operations. Habitat will invest in two new high volume nitrox systems, a completely new fill station and an automated self-service drive through station to extend our concept of diving freedom. Habitat will also be adding new dive lockers and purchasing a new custom dive boat making it possible to offer even more boat dive packages including two-tank boat dives, which were recently introduced.
In recent years Habitat has made investments in the property. A completely renovated dock, bar and restaurant and all boats undergoing a complete retrofit. In memory of Captain Don’s legacy of conservation which led to the creation of the Caribbean’s first marine park and now the designation of Bonaire as the first Blue Destination, the team strives to create a resort that is environmentally friendly. Future plans will include expanding greater use of solar energy panels and ecologically friendly practices.
Demolition of the old Habitat Cottages will begin in early 2021 and construction will follow immediately. All work will be enclosed and done only during specific hours. Anyone booked in cottages will be reserved in similar or higher category accommodations.
Claire Sealy declared: “A BIG thank you, to all our guests and distributors who have trusted us and have become part of the Captain Don’s Habitat family. We would not be able to do it without you! Thank you for your endless support to the home of diving freedom.”
Seahorse National Park announced on Eleuthera in The Bahamas
This week has seen the announcement of the designation of Seahorse National Park at Hatchet Bay Cave and Sweetings Pond on Eleuthera. This monumental announcement comes after years of efforts from the BNT and its partners in advocating for the protection of Sweetings Pond and its surrounding areas as an official national park under the BNT’s management.
Sweetings Pond is a large, land-locked saltwater pond in Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera. It has many unique natural features, but the most notable of them all is its incredible seahorse population, which is believed to be the densest population of seahorses in the world. The new 548-acre national park protects the entire one-mile-long pond and the surrounding terrestrial area. The land surrounding Sweetings Pond is a blend of intact coppice, mangroves, and farmlands. In addition, the new national park includes the extensive Hatchet Bay Caves system. This historic cave system is a popular attraction and contains a number of impressive geological features. It is one of the longest dry cave systems in The Bahamas.
Since 2014, the BNT has been leading efforts to have the area declared as a national park. This included years of public outreach and stakeholder consultations in communities across Eleuthera; education presentations in local schools; science and research efforts; and engaging consecutive government administrations. In 2018, the BNT submitted the “20 by 20 Marine Protection Plan” to the government, which included the recommendation to declare Sweetings Pond and other areas in The Bahamas as protected areas.
During the lease signing ceremony for Seahorse National Park, Minister Clay Sweeting, said, “This lease agreement for Sweetings Pond has been a long time coming. It represents a milestone in our journey towards sustainable development. It symbolises our collective responsibility to safeguard our natural heritage and create a harmonious relationship between economic progress and environmental preservation.
“I would like to express my gratitude to all stakeholders in this process of drafting and finalising this lease agreement. Their dedication, expertise, and commitment has been crucial in ensuring that this agreement falls in line with our vision of creating a thriving ecosystem while promoting responsible usage. Let us continue to preserve the jewel that is Sweetings Pond for many generations to come.”
The BNT invites the public to stay tuned for more news about its plan for the country’s newest national park: Seahorse National Park at Hatchet Bay Cave and Sweetings Pond!
To learn more about the role the BNT plays in managing terrestrial and marine national parks, conserving wildlife, and informing environmental policy, please visit its website: www.bnt.bs
Banner Image: A lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus), female, clining to algae in an alkaline pond in The Bahamas by Shane Gross
PADI Club invites Ocean Lovers on exclusive dive trip to Bonaire this September
Following the popularity of the PADI Club trip to Belize at the end of July, a second “dive trip of a lifetime” has just been announced by PADI Club to Bonaire this September 23-30, 2023.
Offered exclusively for PADI Club members as part of their yearly benefits, attendees will get to seek adventure while staying at the all-inclusive Buddy Dive Resort, one of PADI’s premier members on the island. Other PADI Members in Bonaire – including Toucan Divers, Divi Flamingo, Wanna Dive, Dive Friends and Scuba Do – will also be hosting various dive experiences throughout the week.
“Bonaire is a unique and beautiful gem in the Dutch Caribbean and we want to show our Club Members this little island looms large as a dive destination,” says Zach Pavkov, PADI Club Operations Manager. “This trip offers participants a chance to not only explore a world-class diving destination but do so through some of the very best PADI Operators.”
PADI Club members will receive a generous discount for this seven-day diving adventure, with packages starting at $1,739 per diver for double occupancy.
Included in the package are:
- social events that include hosted dinners, cocktail parties and live music
- transportation in Buddy Dive Resort’s famous pick-up truck
- daily shore diving and boat diving
- accommodation, with the option to share a room with another solo diver or rent out one, two and three-bedroom apartments to host larger groups of divers
- surface interval activities that include PADI Seminars and island excursions like hiking and bird-watching.
“Because the water surrounding Bonaire has been an established marine park for 44 years, Bonaire is now a top-ranked destination with abundant marine life that includes scorpionfish, flounder and frogfish, moray eels, hawksbill turtles and eagle rays, ” continues Pavkov.
With limited spots available, the list of participants will be decided on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who are not yet PADI Club Members but are interested in joining the trip can sign-up, which will also give them access to:
- 20% of PADI eLearning® programs and PADI Gear™
- a free ReActivate® online refresher
- a free DAN® Prepared Diver course
- a subscription to Scuba Diving® magazine
- access to the PADI Club Celebrity Speaker Series webinars
- brand partner benefits from GoPro, Uber, Salt Life and more
To further support ocean lovers to create positive ocean change, five percent of the PADI Club membership fee will go towards supporting conservation efforts around the globe.
“PADI Club benefits are designed not just to empower divers to explore the ocean, but also enable them to play a pivotal role in saving the ocean too,” says Pavkov. “This year’s additional expedition to Bonaire gives our community the chance to come together and explore our shared blue planet in a truly meaningful and connected way.”