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Maduro Dive at Captain Don’s Habitat for Wounded Warriors

One week out of the year, Bonaire welcomes a group of Wounded Warriors to their beautiful paradise. From August 18-25th wounded veterans and their significant others come to Bonaire to complete their final step in obtaining their dive certifications and, of course, enjoy the natural beauty Bonaire has to offer.

Who’s responsible for this great event?

Diving Equipment & Marketing Associations (DEMA)
Tourism Corporation Bonaire
Captain Don’s Habitat

First Hand Look

Our Operations Director, Barbara Seidel, was there for a few days to give us a first hand account of what went down.

Between trying Kadushi (a sweet Bonaire drink made from cactus), cocktail hours and the Managers Rum Punch Party at Captain Don’s, Barbara was able to find time to partake in what she was really there for, work! (We kid!)

The Veterans

This year Barbara returned to Bonaire for this great event and came back fully impressed and full of great stories of her time hanging out with the lively bunch of veterans.

They all had great stories, each one in his own way was memorable and in great spirits, she shared.

One of the veterans she recalls of the many extraordinary men and women was John, from Buffalo, New York, who had a wonderful attitude.

John’s Story

John was shot and injured so badly in Iraq, he was sent to Germany for treatment. His family was flown to the hospital on site because doctors didn’t think he was going to come out of the coma. But miraculously, he did.

What I really remember about him, besides his love to joke around, was that he had a wristband that had a bullet as the clasp. I later found out that the bullet was from the gun the Iraqi had shot him with. His buddy shot the man and took his gun. He then saved the bullet for John to keep, she recalled.

“The fact that John pulled through and is now enjoying life and constantly joking around with everyone shows what wonderful spirit he has. It was an honor to have met him.”

The Dives 

Oceanic played a really large role this year. They dished out red, white, and blue gear for the veterans. Once they were all geared up in their patriotic fins, masks and snorkels it was time to plunge!

One of the things we love about Captain Don’s Habitat is that you have options in how you choose to dive. Captain Don’s has three different boats to take you to your dive site OR you can dive in right from the resort with their divers-only baby dock. Just one stride off the pier and you’re already surrounded by coral and colorful wrasse and gobies.

How’s that for a diver’s dream?

The Experience

We just HAD to ask Barbara what her most memorable experience was on her trip.

Her answer?

Aside from experiencing the gorgeous green flash at sunset by the bar, she shared how impressed she was with everyone’s hard work and dedication to making these seven days the best days possible for these injured veterans.

Marie with TCB USA
Jack at Captain Don’s
Dan with Oceanic
Dave with DEMA

All the work they did to make a week in these men’s lives unbelievable was an honor to witness, she shared.

Get more on how Bonaire honors US military veterans here.

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Donate Your Old Dive Gear for a Cause


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Been eying some new gear but get that voice telling you this stuff’s still good, don’t even think about it! We found the solution! (And just in time for the holidays) PLUS you’ll feel even better when you hush up that little voice. recently reported on a great charity that helps children, veterans and the disabled dive with YOUR old gear! Sounds awesome right? Read more below as seen on Enjoy! 

YOU KNOW THAT brand spanking new BC you’ve been aching to buy, but can’t really justify it because your current BC is still in perfect shape? Or what about that new wristwatch-style dive computer that just hit the market that would finally allow you to go air-integrated, but would also elbow your existing gauge console from your dive bag? What to do? Give up, stick with your old gear? We have a better solution, a totally win-win solution: go ahead and buy that new BC and that new dive computer, then donate your old gear to an organization that will put it to really good use.

It’s called the Diveheart Foundation, and it’s a non-profit organization based in Illinois whose mission is “to build confidence and independence in children, adults and veterans with disabilities through the activity of scuba diving.

For the past 13 years, the Diveheart Foundation, which is essentially volunteer-driven, has worked tirelessly to use scuba diving as a tool to build self-esteem and provide physical and psychological therapy to people with disabilities. According to Founder Jim Elliott, it’s all about instilling the Can Do spirit into both children and adults who are faced with life challenges and barriers that, without confidence and a level of independence, might seem insurmountable.


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One project the organization is currently working on with the Hines V.A. Hospital in the Chicagoland area is the creation of a new scuba therapy facility that would allow Diveheart to do research, rehabilitation, education, and training, as well as provide vocational opportunities in areas like marine biology, oceanography and underwater engineering, to those with disabilities.

The Diveheart Foundation does not discriminate when it comes to disabilities. Children, adults and veterans with any type of disability are welcome to participate in Diveheart and Diveheart Military Wounded local, regional, national and international dive trips (with supporting medical authorization). These trips are supported by incredible Diveheart volunteers who come from around the world to participate.

For more on the Diveheart Foundation, their projects and how to get involved click here for full article

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