Category Archives: Our Guests

Carib Inn’s Yearly Photo Contest Winner is Marilyn Forshey Pollock

Congratulations to Marilyn Forshey Pollack!

Marilyn is the winner in Carib Inn’s Yearly Photo Contest

Carib Inn is happy to announce that Marilyn Forshey Pollock has won the Yearly Photo Contest with her beautiful image of a seahorse. She has won two unlimited shore dive packages for her next visit to Bonaire.


Interesting facts about seahorses:

Why are they called seahorses?

Seahorse is the name given to 54 species of small marine fishes in the genus Hippocampus. “Hippocampus” comes from the Ancient Greek word hippos meaning “horse” and kampos meaning “sea monster”. The word “seahorse” can also be written as two separate words (sea horse), or hyphenated (sea-horse). Having a head and neck suggestive of a horse, seahorses also feature segmented bony armor, an upright posture and a curled prehensile tail.

Where can I find seahorses?

Seahorses are mainly found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, from about 45°S to 45°N and live in sheltered areas such as sea-grass beds, estuaries, coral reefs, or mangroves. Four species are found in Pacific waters from North America to South America. In the Atlantic, H. erectus ranges from Nova Scotia to Uruguay. H. zosterae, known as the dwarf seahorse, is found in the Bahamas.

Physical aspects of seahorses

Seahorses range in size from 1.5 to 35.5 cm (0.6 to 14.0 in). They are named for their equine appearance with bent necks and long-snouted heads followed by their distinctive trunk and tail. Although they are bony fish, they do not have scales, but rather thin skin stretched over a series of bony plates, which are arranged in rings throughout their bodies. Each species has a distinct number of rings. Seahorses swim upright, another characteristic not shared by their close pipefish relatives, which swim horizontally. Razorfish are the only other fish that swim vertically. They swim upright propelling themselves by using the dorsal fin. The pectoral fins located on either side of the head are used for maneuvering. They lack the caudal fin typical of fishes. Their prehensile tail can only be unlocked in the most extreme conditions. They are adept at camouflage with the ability to grow and reabsorb spiny appendages depending on their habitat.

Unusual among fish, a seahorse has a flexible, well-defined neck. It also sports a crown-like spine or horn on its head, termed a “coronet,” which is distinct for each species.

Seahorse locomotion

Seahorses swim very poorly, rapidly fluttering a dorsal fin and using pectoral fins (located behind their eyes) to steer. The slowest-moving fish in the world is H. zosterae (the dwarf seahorse), with a top speed of about 5 ft (1.5 m) per hour. Since they are poor swimmers, they are most likely to be found resting with their prehensile tails wound around a stationary object. They have long snouts, which they use to suck up food, and their eyes can move independently of each other like those of a chameleon.

Learn more about this unique creature at

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Repeat Visitors are Honored as Ambassadors at Carib Inn

Last Friday, Carib Inn was delighted to have some of their long-time repeat visitors honored by the island’s tourism board as “Bonaire Ambassadors.”

Burton Ogle and Tracy Zontek have been visiting Bonaire for 25 and 15 years respectively, and they cherish memories of the friendly Bonaireans, spectacular dives, and their dear friends at the Carib Inn. They both honed their diving skills from Bruce Bowker‘s buoyancy workshops. They state,

“These entertaining and informative classes made a huge difference in our dive enjoyment. Kitty and Bruce have done an amazing job making the Carib Inn the most comfortable, relaxed vacation we could imagine. Our Carib family of the Poduskas, Wagners, Mumpers and others through the years are simply “family”–we can’t wait to see them each year. This to us is why Bonaire is truly a “Divers Paradise.”

Larry and Karyle Mumper have been staying at Carib Inn for 15 years.  Years ago, they saw an advertisement in Skin Diver Magazine showing a picture of Bruce Bowker with his two Dalmatians.  They said,

“We thought that this had to be a great place, if the owner puts his dogs in an ad!  We came and discovered that Bruce and all his staff are professionals and have made and continue to make our trips to Bonaire really special.  Carib Inn is the most professional and well organized dive operation in the Caribbean. We have been to quite a number of other islands diving and we find that this is #1.  Everything is right here: clean rooms, fresh water pool, close to downtown and the market, a few steps down their walkway to the boats, and then a professional and “safety first” divemaster for your short ride to one of many gorgeous reefs.  It is truly a Bonaire family here, and we have met many close friends whom we continue to dive with each year from all parts of the world.”

Congratulations, Burt, Tracy, Larry, and Karyle, from all the crew at Carib Inn for becoming true tourism ambassadors to Bonaire.  We look forward to enjoying your company for many years to come!



The Poduska Family Celebrates 30 Years of Bonaire Visits at Carib Inn

Carib Inn was recently honored to have a special celebration last week with the Poduska Family, as they celebrated their 30th year of visiting Bonaire and the Carib Inn.

Here’s the story, from Mom (and now Grandma) Donna Poduska:

Thirty years ago, the Poduska family from Fort Collins, Colorado, were told by friends from work about a place called Bonaire.  Not only were they told the scuba diving was the best in the world but there was a place to stay called Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn that was amazing.  The personalized treatment that you received as a guest at this place was unbelievable.  This was the beginning of what became an annual vacation that has lasted 30 years.  Always we have stayed at Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn and they have become “family.”

Paul Poduska, the father, was the only certified diver when the Poduskas first started coming here, but throughout the years both the daughter and son were certified.  The son is an advanced diver while the daughter is a divemaster.  Then came the three grandchildren–one is certified and the 10-year-old twins this year did Discover Scuba Diving and will become certified next year.  The most amazing thing here is that they all have been certified in the different levels at “Bruce’s.”

Bonaire has become a place that offers everything that all ages can enjoy–rest, fantastic diving and great friends.  The Carib Inn is the place that allows great freedom, individualised attention and great instructors. The Poduska family will continue coming here because it is truly their “Second Home.”





Bill and Carol Collins, 800 Dives Later

800 divesCarib Inn congratulates Bill and Carol Collins, who recently completed their 800th dive while visiting Bonaire.  They recount their love affair with diving and the island of Bonaire:

Back in 1988 we decided to reward ourselves with a special trip to Aruba to celebrate 27 years of marriage, kids being relatively independent and if not now……when?

In planning our trip, we enlisted the help of a travel agent friend who suggested that we extend our trip to include a stop in Bonaire at a small intimate hotel, Carib Inn, about which she had heard some fantastic reviews. She knew we enjoyed the water as we had run the waterfront at summer camps.

Upon arriving we noticed how pleasantly underdeveloped Bonaire was, but enjoyed the simplicity of the island. After establishing ourselves in the “honeymoon bungalow” we went looking for groceries at the Cultimara “super” market and Jokes.

Snorkeling and swimming were our beginning activities and were very much enjoyed.  The fish were so very colorful and different from anything we’d seen before.

We met Kitty, a recent arrival to Bonaire and a scuba instructor, who enthusiastically suggested we try diving. “I’ll show you how,” she said, and with Bill’s urging proceeded to introduce us to the underwater world of diving with the “Resort Course.” It must have been her elementary school teaching skills as she gained Carol’s confidence and convinced her that we had the skills necessary to accomplish scuba diving. As we became more comfortable with our new skills, we did several boat dives–again under the supervision of a dive instructor.

We remember our apprehension of clearing our ears, wondering about the dangers of fire coral, dangerous fish, and backward rolls off the boat. Carol said, “it was easier walking down the aisle 27 years ago than falling into the water with the roll.” Our first boat dive was on our anniversary day. By the end of our stay at the Carib Inn, we knew we had to become thoroughly trained and we did that back home in Connecticut.

In October of 2015 we completed our 800th dive and have done more than 600 of those dives in Bonaire at Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn. Kitty continues to encourage us and has become a good friend. She has seen two of our granddaughters become certified at the Carib Inn in 2010 when they were 10 and 12. In 2011 we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary with 11 of our family members in Bonaire. On one particular dive there were 7 of our family diving together. What a special time for both of us underwater. Priceless!!!

Our initial certification as Open Water Divers was completed in the cold, dark North Atlantic, but we knew that it would be so comfortable in the warm Caribbean waters. We have since become Advanced Open Water certified. However, we only dive in warm, clear water.

We’ve now been to Bonaire more than 20 times, with multiple trips some years, always diving with the Carib Inn. We say we must keep our gills wet or realign the aging bones. Our confidence in Bruce Bowker’s and the Carib Inn staff has always been high and we are ever grateful for Kitty’s initial suggestion to “take the Resort Course to Scuba.”

We plan to continue to dive, schlepping the gear takes a little more effort, but the reward continues to be great.

Thanks to Bruce and the Carib Inn staff through all these 27 years of underwater adventures.