Witches Hut and Thousand Steps Dive Sites of Bonaire
"Witches Hut" and "Thousand Steps" is located on the Northwestern boast of Bonaire. Witches Hut is about a 20-min drive north from Kralendijk. The road leading to Witches Hut becomes a narrow one-way street. However, many do not follow the rules of driving on Bonaire, so we had to watch out for oncomming cars and frequently drive off the road to let drivers pass us.
Low growing trees, cactus and bushes can be seen on both sides of the road. The further we drove north, the terrain becomes increasingly rocky and with volcanic formations, cactus and caves that are visually striking. At times, we drove along steep drop offs on with magnificent views of the flat turquois ocean.
“Witches Hut” is also called “Weber’s Joy” and it is easily located by finding the abandoned concrete house that sits in front of the dive site. The concrete house is covered with graffiti and surrounded by overgrowth and next to a massive volcanic rock wall with eerie cave like indentations. We noticed many iguanas, lizards with beautiful green and blue tails and small little birds with bright yellow feathers called South American yellow orioles.
We set up our gear at the bottom of the stone path that led to the entry of “Witches Hut” dive site, which is a small, rocky coral beach. We made sure that we had no valuables in the car because there is a guarantee your stuff in your car will be rummaged through and stolen.
We set up our gear at the bottom of the stone path at the shores edge. At least 6 other divers could be seen entering and exiting the water. It was about 12 pm when we entered the water. Once we were geared up, we carefully stepped along the uneven broken corals and smooth white rocks and entered the clear blue waters and made our decent in the depths of the ocean.
The coral formations began at the drop off; we noticed long swaying brown soft corals that transitioned into elkhorn and staghorn corals. The colorful angel, parrotfish, and box fish could be seen swimming around the green mountainous star coral and yellow tube sponges and purple tipped sea anemones.
“Thousand Steps” dive site is literally the next dive site just north of “Witches Hut.” It is a very popular dive site so finding a parking spot can be a little difficult if you do not show up early. We barely found a parking spot and we showed up at around 2:00pm. This is an intermediate dive because of the occasional current running to the south. It is called “Thousand Steps” because to get to the dive entry point, you must walk down about 70 stone steps from a vista point. From the vista point you can see the ocean that reflects the sun like a mirror and the peaks of the mountains of the National Slagbaai Park situated further to the north.
Carrying our gear up and down the steps was a challenging but it was worth it. The beach is made of coral rubble. However, it is easy to get into the water safely because the water is so flat and calm. When the reef drops off from the shallow turquoise water, we could see many schools of parrot fish, colorful surgeon fish and light and dark blue angel fish. The water is always very clear, about 150 feet +. The corals were dense with bright orange sponges, gorgonian fans, giant brain corals, and branching vase sponges that had a spectacular other worldly purple glow to them.
What made the dive wonderful and unforgettable was this one Bar Jack, no bigger than the size of Chads hand. The Bar Jack was acting very unusual because it followed us for the entire 60-minute dive! It swam close to us, hen dart into the corals and bite at the small fish. The Bar Jack would sometimes get mouthfuls of the coral and spit it out. It seemed like the fish was playing or showing off. It was so peculiar and entertaining! We were lucky to see a hawksbill turtle swimming about when we shallowed up at the end of our dive during our three-minute safety stop,