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Marine Life Education Weeks at Buddy Dive Resort

The unique event hosted by this beloved Bonaire resort puts marine life education front and center on every dive.
By Patricia Wuest | Updated On April 25, 2024
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Marine Life Education Weeks at Buddy Dive Resort

“I’m not a scientist — I’m a naturalist ... just like you are,” Ned DeLoach said during a Marine Life Education Week at Buddy Dive Resort in 2014. And then he joked: “That’s why I talk so much. I’m always trying to teach.” At the time, Scuba Diving senior editor Mary Frances Emmons was participating in the annual event for the magazine (read her story here). Ned and his wife and partner, videographer Anna DeLoach, led the Marine Life Education Weeks at Buddy Dive Resort for two decades. The appreciation Scuba Diving’s editorial team has for the resort’s commitment to conservation, including its hosting of the Marine Life Education Weeks, dates back to the very first event in 2002.

Scuba diving equipment on a beach

The Drive & Dive package at Buddy Dive caters to all levels of divers and diving is 50% off from August 10-24 during Marine Life Education Weeks.

Buddy Dive Resort

In the early 2000s, I attended Buddy Dive Resort’s early iterations of Marine Life Education Weeks, a fish ID and survey program conducted by the DeLoaches during the Bonaire Dive Fest (Scuba Diving magazine was a sponsor). The enthusiasm and passion the DeLoaches have for converting divers into fish ID and behavior citizen scientists is contagious, both in the classroom and underwater. As you dive with them, barely finning and looking for the small stuff — and then everyone high-fiving when we find what we’re looking for — is hands down one of the most entertaining ways to spend your bottom time.

A person in a wet suit holding a camera

Join Eric Riesch at Buddy Dive Resort for Marine Life Education Weeks from August 10-24.

Eric Riesch

No one has witnessed their exuberant passion as up close and as often as Eric Riesch, the photo editor and managing director of New World Publications (Ned DeLoach founded the company in 1972), who has participated in Buddy Dive’s Marine Life Education Weeks since 2005. (He not only collaborates closely with Ned and Anna but he also happens to be their son-in-law.) In 2023, he began leading the popular program. This year, Marine Life Education Weeks are scheduled for August 10-24. Activities include fish ID classes and REEF survey dives, a guided mangrove snorkel tour, presentations, guided fish ID boat dives, and more.

“My message for the Marine Education Week is three-fold: dive slow, be curious and think small,” Riesch says. “If you change your way of thinking into that process, you will never have a boring dive and you’ll always be searching for something to add to your personal ‘life list’ of underwater discoveries. Sharks, mantas, turtles and the big stuff is great, but if you think small and start to focus on blennies, gobies, jawfish and the little stuff, you will be surprised and amazed at what you will find.”

A close up of a squid

Eric Riesch’s presentations will focus on marine life identification and reef fish behavior with an emphasis on species found right off the dock at the resort.

Buddy Dive Resort & Eric Riesch

The Marine Life Education Weeks are just one aspect of Buddy Dive Resort’s commitment to marine life education. “Buddy Dive has a fantastic staff that is keenly aware of the importance of marine life education and how much that adds to keeping divers active for many years,” says Riesch.

Buddy Dive’s Commitment to Conservation

The program also deepens the Buddy Dive Resort’s dedication to reef conservation. In 2012, the resort launched Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire to preserve the existing genetic diversity of staghorn and elkhorn corals, establish a nursery and restoration program designed to restore the shallow reefs, and to work with the community to identify and reduce land-based stressors, such as uncontrolled storm water runoff and poor sewage treatment practices. The first trained staff, volunteers, and teaching of Reef Renewal specialty courses took place at Buddy Dive Resort. Today, the foundation is its own entity, and along with the Bonaire National Marine Park and other island dive operators, it has out-planted 30,000 nursery-grown corals onto degraded reefs around the island.

A colorful coral reef with fish

Buddy Dive Resort’s dedication to reef conservation goes beyond Marine Life Education Weeks.

Matthew Meier

In 2022, Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB) introduced the Bonaire Bond, a pledge that all visitors to Bonaire can sign. By signing it, visitors show their commitment to the sustainable use of ocean resources and their respect for Bonaire’s culture, animals and national parks. Guests at Buddy Dive are encouraged to not only sign the pledge but to also live it by being eco-conscious when they are on the island.

Buddy Dive offers a number of specialty courses through Buddy Dive Academy that are directly tied to ocean and reef conservation, including Fish Identification and Discover Reef Renewal. Buddy Dive is a PADI Career Development Center and Universal Referral Center. Their knowledgeable and expert instructors offer every level of instruction, from Discover Scuba Dive and Open Water courses to Divemaster, IDC and IDC Staff Instructor, and a number of tec diving courses.

Together with Eric Riesch, the Buddy Dive team promises to make Marine Education Weeks the best ever. “I am adding a little night diving and coral/invertebrate spawning to my presentation and encouraging divers to take a dusk dive and/or night dive off the dock,” says Riesch.

A fish with a blue tail

Activities from August 10-24 include fish ID classes and REEF survey dives, a guided mangrove snorkel tour, presentations, guided fish ID boat dives, and more.

Eric Riesch

Many of Bonaire’s nearly 90 named dive sites are suitable for all levels of divers, including the sites off Klein Bonaire, a 2-square-mile island off the island’s western shore, reachable only by boat or kayak. Buddy Dive offers boat diving as an add-on option.

Book Now!

Take a peek at the entire slate of activities here. Book online with the promo code “MARINE,” and you’ll receive a 50% discount on diving when booking one of the Drive & Dive packages, as well as a discount on REEF ID books.

Buddy Dive has 11 modern buildings with spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and studios that all have ocean or garden views. Each apartment has a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living area, free WiFi, patio or balcony, air-conditioned bedrooms that each have their own bathroom with shower. The studios have a small kitchen, separate bedroom with air-conditioning, patio and a bathroom/shower. There is a full-service dive center, activity desk, two swimming pools, Ingridients and Blennies restaurants, pool bar, vehicle rentals, and the famous drive-thru air and Nitrox fill station.

A boat on the water

An unhurried, unspoiled natural paradise with spectacular sunsets, gentle breezes, and crystal clear, turquoise waters.

Matthew Meier

The team at Buddy Dive Resort is ready to give you a warm welcome when you book a stay during Marine Life Education Weeks, as well as a slate of unforgettable and fun-filled activities.