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What To Expect On A Bonnie's Arch Liveaboard
A Cayman Islands liveaboard favourite, Bonnie's Arch is located in the crystal clear waters off Grand Cayman's iconic West Bay, one of the most requested dives sites in the Cayman Islands. The most prominent feature of this dive site also happens to be its namesake, Bonnie's Arch- an impressive naturally-formed arch of coral that measures more than 25ft in diameter and is draped in an abundance of colourful and exotic marine life. This is an extremely photogenic site - delicately swaying sea fans and large statuesque sponges branch out from the walls to create a beautiful silhouetted underwear landscape. A wide diversity of fish and other marine life seek shelter within the arch and surrounding wall - from tiny iridescent reef fish and juveniles, to large schools of Horse-eyed jack that hover motionlessly within the center of the arch. Majestic Tarpon are also frequently seen, often parting their way through large seasonal swirls of glittering silversides. In addition to the arch itself, the small mini-wall offers some fantastic macro offerings and a good chance for a close up encounter with a sea turtle or two..
What you can see
A liveaboard dive to Bonnie's Arch is considered to be one of the most photogenic in the Cayman Islands, and it's easy to see why - the large coral archway and surrounding reefs are teeming with fish and bursting with colour. The iconic structure itself is encrusted in a layer of hard corals that have been shrouded in an ever-swaying carpet of sea fans and exquisite pastel-shaded plumes. At the arch's base, you will find the iconic barrel, tube and vase sponges for which the Cayman Islands are famed. These beautiful structures rise up more than 4ft from their base in a vibrant spectrum of hues ranging from blood red to the most brilliant of yellows. While there is plenty of ambient light, make sure to take a flashlight with you so as to fully experience the full spectrum of colour on display here.
A wide diversity of fish and other mobile critters can be seen seeking shelter within the corals, fans and crevices of the arch walls. Some of the more charismatic species include the seemingly ever-present school of Horse-eyed jack, and impressive predators such as the Tarpon that often lurk within the entrance. Swim beneath the arch to lead out onto a bustling reef and mini-wall, where eagle-eyed divers can expect to find exquisite macro offerings such as arrow crabs, lobsters and flamingo tongue cowries. When on the wall, keep an eye towards the open ocean as there is a chance to catch a glimpse of eagle rays, sea turtles, sting rays and occasionally even sharks. As always, on any dive, keep a good check on your buoyancy to avoid impacting the beautiful and fragile marine life on display here.
Getting to Bonnie’s Arch
The best way to reach Bonnie's Arch is via a Cayman Islands liveaboard dive cruise that departs from the capital city George Town, located on Grand Cayman Island. The Cayman Islands offer some of the best diving in the Caribbean, spread out across all three islands. To ensure you experience the best of what the Caymans have to offer beneath the waves, it is suggested you join a multi-day liveaboard dive cruise to access some of the more remote yet must-see dive sites.
George Town in Grand Cayman is the main airport city of the Cayman Islands and also the point of departure for liveaboards. There are daily international flights into the Owen Roberts International Airport which is served by several airlines. Taxis are available for transport to and from the airport.