One of the most active scuba groups going right now can be found on Scubaboard.com. Each year, dozens of divers participate in large group events promoted by the site in popular dive sites around the world. Last month, the BONAIRE SURGE event brought nearly 100 dive travelers to Plaza Beach Resort on the island. SURGE Co-organizer Roxanne Harmon recently filed this trip report and recap of the event.
Our Travel Agent
Bay Adventures was the choice for our Caribbean travel agent for the 8th year now. They were there to take care of all the bookings for the group, answer questions, and assist with travel insurance and airfares for our crew of 75. All of the SURGE Crew just loves Bay Adventures!
Our accommodations for the week were The Plaza Resort in Bonaire. We held the ScubaBoard Invasion 2013 event here with difficulties, but now that the Plaza is under new management, we had quite a different experience this time. Our transports were outside the airport waiting for us and once on property, the resort staff welcomed us with a drink and a smile while helping us check in. Our room was ready, clean and with a nice layout as a home away from home for the week. The rooms are also very spacious, which is nice! And we just loved our porch overlooking the pool and water.
The group of 75 Crew members had plenty of room to spread out at the resort and the grounds were well maintained. You could sit, swim and relax by the pool, enjoy drinks at the bar, or lounge on the beach listening to the water lap the shore. If you chose to be more private, there was more than enough room and seating to do so. They even provided chairs on the outside patios of each room if you chose to relax there.
The main bar located on the beach was a fun and happening area throughout the week, to say the least. I do feel we could have used a little more staff there as I think our numbers overwhelmed them a bit.
The food and serving staff were friendly and worked hard to take care of us. They assigned a special seating area for the ScubaBoard SURGE group so we could dine at our leisure. There are normally 2 different dinner times for the guests. All meals were buffet style. They did cook eggs to order or an omelet for breakfast in addition to the buffet. At dinner, there was usually a special item or 2 prepared in the dining room such as steak, shrimp, etc.
The Plaza provided our group with a special server during dinner, Quincey, who was so charming and entertaining. We really appreciated his exceptional service during our stay.
For an alternative, there was the Scuba Bar, located next to the dive shop.
They served sandwiches, pizza, and other fare along with beverages throughout the day.
The staff did a fantastic job with the set-up, décor, and service for our welcome and farewell parties we hold for the event. They really made a great impression!
The Plaza Resort Management and Staff did an outstanding job of taking care of our group for the whole week! Kudos to General manager Sander and his excellent staff! We cannot thank everyone enough for all their hospitality and efforts!!!
Our Dive Operator
The Plaza Resort has its own Dive Operation on site, Toucan Diving to host our diving and snorkeling. The manager, Hagen worked with us in advance with information on the boats and preplanning. The 1st morning was a little rough loading the boats as to be expected, but everything went pretty smooth after that. We had 62 divers and they handled us efficiently boarding the boats all week long. Toucan Diving did have an issue with their Nitrox fills and was waiting on a part which unfortunately wasn’t scheduled to arrive until after we would have left.
Most of the dive sites were very nice and absolutely beautiful. We did get to do some of the more famous dives like The Hilma Hooker, Salt Pier, 1000 Steps and Karpata which was just gorgeous! An up swelling of cooler waters before our arrival seemed to affect the abundance and variety of sea life we normally see there.
One of the wonderful features of the Plaza Resort is the house reef, 18 Palms. It was a joy to the divers and snorkels as well. And who wouldn’t love a night dive with your very own escort of Tarpon?
Some of the group rented trucks for the week and enjoyed the shore diving freedom and adventure aspect of Bonaire.
At the end of the week, the dive opt throws a get together for the guests and staff. They take a group picture and present a rock for the memories garden. A very nice way to end the stay!
The ScubaBoard SURGE and our vision of diving social is not your normal dive group, but the staff of Toucan Diving took us in stride and made for a fantastic week of diving and snorkeling!
We had a special treat for the event. Shearwater Research joined us as part of the crew for the week. They brought 2 of their Predix Ai Computers & Transmitters for the group to demo. And then they gave 1 away to a lucky crew member! Bruce and Lynn were a lot of fun to have joined us!
To all the wonderful ScubaBoard SURGE 2018 Prize Sponsors who donated Prizes for the Crew to win, thank you again! Some prizes were simply raffled at the welcome and farewell parties and some were won in contests adding to the fun. We had prizes to give away like trips, gear, software and gift certificates. Check out the SB SURGE 2018 Sponsor’s Page to see all the generous donations and the lucky crew who won! What wonderful generosity and support from all of these great SB Invasion Sponsors. You Guys and Gals ROCK!!!
In closing, Cardzard (Dennis) and I want to sincerely thank all the ScubaBoard Members, their Families, and Friends who truly made this year’s SURGE such an enjoyable event. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people! Everyone joined together, made new friends and enjoyed the sport we’re passionate about. Got to love the ScubaBoard camaraderie! All the laughs and memories are priceless! Check out all the fun from the short farewell video! The event video made with all the Crews images from the week will be coming soon!
We’ll be heading to Cozumel next for ScubaBoard Invasion 2018 and then off to for next year’s ScubaBoard SURGE 2019 (the new location and thread will be announced soon). And as always @Moonie, ScubaBoard’s infamous mascot has already confirmed he will be attending both events. We hope to see you there too!
Our philosophy is that the people and experiences make life priceless! We love Diving Social and wouldn’t want it any other way.