In 2007 we left Trinidad and headed east to Panama.
The visibility was often poor due to the Orinicco outflow but it improved as we traveled west and when we were further from the mainland.
Diving is not permitted here at the instigation of local fishermen.
While we stayed in Margarita, the main island off Venezuela, we visited Isla Cubagua which is about 20 miles away. We had noticed that many photographs in our fish identification book (by Paul Humann) were tagged Isla Cubagua so we wanted to see. There is a large sandy bay, with nothing much going for it, on the lee side of Cubagua and the sole dive site is the wreck of a car ferry just off the beach - its stern is in 40 feet. However, in four dives in this bay we identified 19 fish we had never seen before! For example, Paul Humann says that the Saddle Bass is "generally known from 250-750 foot depths. The only shallow water sightings are from Cubagua at 20-80 feet and Alligator Reef Light, Florida Keys at 145 feet". We dive to the end of the wreck in 45 feet and there they were!
Los Roques is a large coral atoll and a Venezuelan National Park. It's a beautiful place. We made five dives there.
Los Aves are two more coral atolls to the west of Los Roques. We only made one dive.
Nothing more can be said about Bonaire; it's the best. We had dived here before, flying in, and it was as good as we remember. The shape of the island creates a sheltered lee side for both mooring and diving. All the dive sites have moorings and also visiting boats are required to use moorings. The shelf is so narrow that our bow was in 30' while our stern hung over the abyss. We could reach many dive sites off Bonaire, and the nearby Klein Bonaire, by dinghy and we rented a car to go further afield. The diving is excellent. We stayed there three weeks over Christmas and made 20 dives.
We made five dives at Curacao. The dives were OK but much harder logistically than at Bonaire. Curacao tightly controls where we can anchor and the main anchorage is deep in an internal lagoon. so it's hard to reach dive sites. We had to apply for a permit to visit another bay for a few days in order to reach other dive sites.
We made just one dive in Aruba; we were not impressed.
We made four dives in the San Blas. These were all inside the barrier reef due to the conditions. Visibility was poor. The large cruiser community there is living by spear fishing. (We asked one cruiser if they'd tried diving and the reply was. "Oh, you don't need scuba. You can catch all the fish you need snorkeling.")