Diving with Underwater Scooters in Bonaire
During one of my first dive courses, I remember watching the PADI videos when they shortly talked about underwater scooters. Since then – that course dates back to 2010 – I've been looking for them more or less. I was never successful just until I found some underwater scooters in Bonaire for rent. Some of the local dive shops provide fun adventure dives and rent them. Of course, my boyfriend and I wanted to give them a try and had them for one of our morning dives.
After a short introduction with a wonderful dive instructor at Buddy Dive, where we rented the scooters, we jumped in the water and were almost ready to go. The one thing that I love about Bonaire so much is that you don't need a boat for diving – most dive shops and hotels are located just by the ocean and the reefs just start there – same with the reef at Buddy Dive.
Nice to meet you, underwater scooter!
3, 2, 1, go!
Oh, just a second! While it's rather easy to manoeuvre the underwater scooter, it still takes a bit of getting used to it.
Put the scooter in front of you and hold it as an extension of your arms. On the right side, there's a small switch, that's the one that will move you forward when pushing it – woooooom!
When I first push it, I'm overwhelmed by the power of that little scooter and let go almost immediately. Apparently, I didn't hold it in the right position either, because the water that rushed through the propeller hit my stomach (not hard, but not too pleasant either). I'll give it another try.
And this time I get a bit further and don't have to take my finger off the switch immediately. The switch doesn't regulate the speed, it's a simple on and off one. It's like I'm back learning how to drive a car. Abrupt and uncoordinated moves, not more, not less. But my learning curve is definitely higher than it was back then when I was 16, and I start dashing over the reefs.
I have to watch that my reg doesn't fall out of my mouth because I'm grinning so much! I wouldn't believe how much fun this could be! It feels even more like flying and with the smallest movements you can go in circles and I even get it to do a looping 🙂
My boyfriend seems to enjoy it a lot as well, and we try to race each other. I have to admit that my scooter was somewhat stronger and that's why I was faster every time.
Conclusion Underwater Scooter
Let's talk about fun
Yes, it's really fun. The cruising, the racing, the speed!
But – yes there's a but – it gets quite monotonous. You can't observe the fish or the reef or simply look for small things. It's different than the usual and a great change.
How fast does it go?
I can't provide you with exact speed details, but it's a lot faster than with your own feet. The sensation of dashing is much higher in the beginning than in the end when you have gotten used to it. Well, dashing is maybe not the right word – it's a scooter and not a Harley 🙂
We had dived the same reef the day before and found so many small things – a yellow frog fish being one of them. With the scooters, we flew over Buddy Reef and another two dive sites.
Would I try it again?
Yes and no! I will most likely give it another try, but probably not at the very next occasion. I really prefer to dive slowly and look at all the small stuff in the ocean and even stop and observe for some time.
Something that bothered me was the noise of the scooter. Most fish didn't care about it, but I'm sure not all of them were happy about it (it get's annoying over time I have to admit).
Unterwasser Scooter in Bonaire – take a look
More info for renting an underwater scooter
We rented the underwater scooters at Buddy Dive Bonaire. It was around 50 USD for half a day.
I highly recommend reserving the scooter in advance since they don't have too many of them and they need to charge them as well.
Remember that you'll probably have to fill out paperwork with them, even if you rent dive gear with a different shop or bring your own.
You need to be a certified diver to rent the underwater scooters.
Would you like to give it a try? Or have you already tried it? What was your experience and where did you do it?
ps. read more about Bonaire here.