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Bonaire Hosts Severely Injured Members of the US Military

Bonaire is hosting a special group of people during the week of September 26-October 3, 2009. Seven severely injured troops from the Special Operations Forces Divisions of the U.S. military, along with their significant others, will travel to the island to complete the final step to obtaining scuba diving certifications.

Representatives of DEMA/Be a Diver, and the North American office of the Tourism Corporation Bonaire will also be joining this group. All accommodations and diving will be provided, complimentary, by Captain Don’s Habitat Bonaire.

Each year the people of Bonaire open their arms to welcome each new group of U.S. troops who suffer life-changing physical injuries they received in combat while stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This group of individuals represents the Special Forces Divisions of the U.S. Army, & U.S. Air Force and will experience not only the natural beauty and pristine waters of Bonaire, but also the warmth and friendliness of the Bonairean people and their genuine hospitality.

This year will be no different as the U.S. contingent will be kept busy with a variety of activities.  First and foremost will be the completion of their PADI and HSA dive certifications, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday.  After they’re certified, they will continue diving throughout the week, both from the dock of Captain Don’s Habitat and via boat dives to Klein Bonaire and other famous dive sites.  During the week, the group will enjoy a shopping trip to Jewel of Bonaire in Kralendijk, lunches and dinners at an assortment of Bonaire’s restaurants, sightseeing, and even a Texas-style BBQ.  The highlight of the week will be when the Bonaire community gathers to meet these extraordinary men at the annual reception held in their honor at the home of Lt. Governor Glenn Thode.

“We are pleased to welcome these veterans who have given so much for their country.  It is our hope to show them that they may still lead active lives with travel and diving as an added dimension,” stated Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes, Director of Tourism.  She continues, “There’s always been a special affinity between Bonaire and this program, and this year’s visit can only serve to further reinforce that bond.”

Many thanks go to the Sponsors who have pledged their contributions to make this event happen on Bonaire:  9Line, Adams Unlimited, AERIS, Bikers Bonaire, Bonaire KFC,, Bonaire Quad Tours, Bonaire Tours & Vacations, Budget Car Rental, Buenos Aires Café, Captain Don’s Habitat, Caradonna Dive Adventures, Inc., Care Coalition, Chammyz, DEMA/Be a Diver, Dive Training Magazine, Henderson, H.S.A. International Training Center of New Jersey, Jack Chalk & Family, Jewel Of Bonaire, N.E.K. Advanced Securities Group, Oceanic, PADI, Patagonia Restaurant, Princeton Tec, Rum Runners, Scuba Do Rags, Sport Diver/Caribbean Travel & Life/Destination Weddings & Honeymoons/Islands Magazines, Tourism Corporation Bonaire and XS Scuba.

Located eighty-six miles east of Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire offers year-round sunshine, low annual rainfall, pristine coral formations and the most thriving fish population in the Caribbean.  Ideal for adventurers, explorers and sun-worshippers alike, Bonaire offers myriad eco-adventure activities including world renowned scuba diving and snorkeling, windsurfing, kiteboarding, mountain biking, sea and mangrove kayaking, land sailing, horseback riding, nature tours, hiking, bird watching, sailing and deep sea and bone fishing.  And with a selection of accommodations ranging from full-service oceanfront resorts and condominiums to guesthouses and small inns, Bonaire has something for every lifestyle and budget.

Bonaire is the recipient of the prestigious Islands Magazine/Caribbean Tourism Organization 2008 Sustainable Tourism Award and continues to be recognized as one of the top destinations worldwide for its sustainable tourism as reported by National Geographic Traveler magazine (March 2004) and Islands Magazine (December 2007), and as one of the top diving destinations in the Atlantic/Caribbean for seven consecutive years in the Scuba Diving magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards.  It was designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as having the healthiest reefs in the Caribbean (January 2008), and as the Favorite Dive Destination in the World by (June, 2008).

2009 brings the Celebration of the Parks to Bonaire, commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Washington-Slagbaai National Park and the 30th Anniversary of the Bonaire National Marine Park.  There will be a variety of festivities and events throughout the year, celebrating these combined years of nature protection for the island.

For more information on Bonaire contact the Tourism Corporation Bonaire in the U.S. at 1-800-BONAIRE or visit Bonaire’s official web site at

Images by Susan M. Davis, courtesy of Tourism Corporation Bonaire

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