He has spent the greater part of his life in Bonaire taking visitors diving and successfully campaigning to protect the natural underwater wonders. Among his many accomplishments, Captain Don lead the campaign to ban spearfishing on Bonaire, instituted the first permanent mooring system which eliminated the need for boats to drop an anchor, founded the Council of underwater Operators, and implemented a mandatory orientation dive for all people diving on Bonaire. He is also responsible for opening the first hotel on the island, Zeebad,(which is now the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort, and in 1976 he opened Captain Don’s Habitat, which introduced capse concept of “diving freedom,” diving 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. His contributions have been recognized by DEMA with the 1998 Reaching Out award, and by Bonaire with a bronze memorial plaque placed at Don’s Reef. Research provided by Cathy Church.
In the early days of recreational diving, inspired by spectacular underwater beauty of Bonaire, Captain Don Stewart set out to build a true haven for divers. His philosophy was simple; build a dive shop with rooms and provide as much freedom so guest divers can dive their own profile in a friendly relaxed atmosphere. In 1976 his dream became reality when he founded Captain Don’s Habitat. Back then it was just a cluster of bungalows built around a dive shop overlooking the beautiful Caribbean Sea. But more importantly, some of the most pristine coral formations and a bonanza of colorful marine life are just a few fin kicks away... Through the years Captain Don’s Habitat, evolved into a world renowned resort catering to today’s most demanding diver and vacationers.
Set amidst lush green gardens with colorful decor and landscaping we now offer the comfort of 3 deluxe varieties of accommodations, fresh water pool, great dinning and entertainment options, friendly service, and of course the best dive in the Caribbean 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
At a very early stage Captain Don realized the importance of conservation of Bonaire’s beautiful underwater resources. His endeavors led to the creation of the permanent mooring system and eventually to the Bonaire Marine Park. For his efforts in marine environment conservation Captain Don has received many awards and recognition all over the world.