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pjm1128
08-02-2007, 17:35
Can anybody tell me anything about the diving in Curacao? I'm heading there on a dive trip in Feb '08. Thanks.

Pat

ertechsg
08-02-2007, 17:38
No info on Curacao but can tell you how lucky you are. Injoy!

bubbles
08-03-2007, 07:32
I was in Curacao for a week dive trip one year ago. Had a blast. I stayed at Sunset Waters and their service was awesome. Make sure to dive the Mushroom Forest. Great shore and boat dives. Let me know if you need more info. Didn't dive any of the island near the capital city...mostly stayed at the Sunset Waters end of the island which is closer to the bulk of the dive sites anyways. Have fun!

squidlee1
08-03-2007, 09:13
it is as good as Bonaire. The shore diving spots are marked
with rocks. Some of the beaches charge a small entry fee while
others are free. We've never experienced anything negative. Our
accommodation of choice is All West Apartments in Westpunt.

laura

2Time Tommy
08-03-2007, 10:04
Spent July 22-29 at Sunset Waters and can't compliment them enough. Took advantage of the all-inclusive package, including six 2-tank dives off their boats and shore diving on their house reef that included my first-ever seahorse sightings (multiple times) and viewings of octopus, turtles, rays, and some of the healthiest coral I've seen. Dive op (run by Lynn Bean) is absolutely top-notch, with a crew that embodies "customer service." I've heard Sunset Divers (the Sunset Waters dive shop) described as a "liveaboard-ashore" and it was wonderful.

Mushroom Forest is an absolute must-dive. Even better, pluck down the extra $50 for a trip to Watamula, at the northern-most point of the island for an experience that my wife called, "Mushroom Forest on steroids" and others called MushForest "times a hundred." I can only describe it as entering one of the grand cathedrals of the world, only underwater. Remarkably beautiful. Words fail me, quite honestly.

I must have said to the wife, "I love this place," a hundred times or so. I've heard of PBD -- Post-Bonaire Depression -- but surely I'm experiencing AFLAC (like the duck) -- Another Foreigner Longing After Curacao.

Tom Thomas

Mooosse
12-24-2007, 08:10
Going to Breezes for the 2nd time this January (08) love it!! Went to Aruba last year and still loved Curaco much better!!

diversteve
12-24-2007, 12:20
The reef parallels the shore in most spots so it's hard to get lost. IMO the better diving is to the west.

Some good dives:

Tugboat - East of town. The dive past the point along the cliffs is better than the boat as it's only in 20' of water and you risk having a cruise tour drop 100 snorkelers or more on your heads - happened to my friends...

Varsenbaai/Police Beach. Ask the dive operator how to find the seahorses. There's a pontoon boat perched on the reef in 80' of water to the east. And turtles eating sea grass just offshore slightly south of the dock - about 6' deep. You might see them come up for air while you're drifting back to the dock. I also saw about 100 squid just off the dock.

Habitat's reef is very good. Flounder in the shallows, big morays to the east, lots of smaller stuff. There's a resident octo just off the dock to the west. And five minutes up the road is Porto Marie - another recommended site.

Playa Kalki/Alice in Wonderland is worth the drive. It's the house reef at Kura Hulanda in West Punt. Ocean Encounters West has facilities there. Plan to do two dives, east is really good and west has an almost vertical wall in one spot with all sorts of baitfish milling around and bigger fish out in the distance. Best shore dives we did all week.

The best boat dive, actually from what I've heard, the best dive on the island is Watamula to the east of West Punt.

My friends g/f lives there, she recommended Snake Bay also. We didn't get there.
I didn't like Sunset Water's dive, to the west is a boat channel and straight out is a small Cessna wreck. My buddy thought it was a lobster trap as the skin's been removed from the main fuselage. Not worth the effort. The dive east wasn't bad though. We did a boat dive with them to Lost Anchor, it was a nice pleasant drift dive. With 6 of us on the boat, the DM just dropped us and then hung around till we were done.

Playa Jeremi was one I could've skipped. Long swim out and not much to see. It was far more interesting snorkeling along the cliffs coming back in. No facilties there at all, not even a restroom.

You'll need a vehicle to go between the divesites, they're pretty spread out. Get something that locks, there's a theft problem at more remote sites.

If you're staying somewhere west of town, buy food at Centrum market before you drive out, there's not much out west.

davepoff
12-24-2007, 12:26
I was there 12 years ago and have heard since then that diving is still the same, GREAT!

maggs_the
02-21-2008, 11:30
Can anybody tell me anything about the diving in Curacao? I'm heading there on a dive trip in Feb '08. Thanks.

Pat

Pat - didja go yet? how about a trip report :D we are going in August and it just feels soooooo far awayyyyy..

PhD4JC
02-21-2008, 13:49
I am going May 29-June 5
Will be staying at Breezes
dreaming about it...




Can anybody tell me anything about the diving in Curacao? I'm heading there on a dive trip in Feb '08. Thanks.

Pat

Pat - didja go yet? how about a trip report :D we are going in August and it just feels soooooo far awayyyyy..

PhD4JC
08-10-2008, 08:22
Well I did Curacao.
Glad I went, but it was anticlimactic.

I stayed at Breezes, the resort was incredible. I would stay there again--unless I went with a diver and then i would stay at the resort that had 24 hours diving, you check out a tank and you're off....

Breezes had 1 free shore dive a day, which was goo, I did my checkout dive for Ocean Encounters that way.

Day 1 my underwater camera was taken from the beach. It was my mistake, I left it on a lounge chair, about 20 feet away from the water activities desk--which had no fewer than 4 staff members on duty. The beach was full of people so I have no doubt that anyone knew to whom the camera belonged. I was distracted by my 11 year old which resulted in my leaving the camera till I got to my room (less than 50 yards away) and when I came back for my camera it was gone. I checked daily with the front desk, but it never turned up.

Day 3 I broke my land digital camera which bummed me out, since I always take literally hundreds (sometime over a thousand) pics while on vacation.

I purchased a 35mm from the dive shop, but it took absolultely CRAPPY underwater pics though it took moderately ok land shots.

I dove with Ocean Encounters which came highly recommended. They would not let me bring my 11 year old as a rider on my dives (which was not a problem with Bubbles Below in Kauai).
Ocean Encounters requires a check-out dive, which is a good idea, but darned inconvenient, since it has to happen the afternoon before you dive with them.

They did do a pick-up (by boat) at my resort, which was next to their home base. (I could see when their boat left for me)
However, my biggest complaint about Ocean Encounters is their max time. You get 50 minutes of idiving per tank, no matter how much psi is left in your tank. It was frustratin coming up with 1500 psi
I did 10 dives with them on 5 days, and pretty much had a different DM each day. Most of the DMs did not care to be underwater naturalists and didnt spent too much time pointing things out.
They were functionally polite, but not overly friendly.

The island as a whole was a disappointment.

Very few people speak English.
Street signs are in Dutch, and the maps are confusing--this coming from someone who ALWAYS rents a car when on vacation.
The islanders were not very friendly, but perhaps I have been spoiled by St Kitts. Kauai was not overly friendly either.
And the island was very dry, dusty and dirty.
Very little green, mostly cacti and what looked like acacias-very prickly sparse vegetation.
Plenty of trash in the streets, which made me sad.

ALso, the sea aquarium (the way that I came to know about Curacao and one of my desired destinations) was not accepting reservations to snorkel/dive in their marine preserve. The guard took my name and number and said he would call me when their "challenge" (he indicated that there was some problem with the exhibits, but did nt elaborate) was cleared up, but he never called, so I did not get to visit the seaquarium.

Glad that I can say "been there done that", but I must admit that I was disappointed.

PhD4JC
08-10-2008, 08:25
Oh, one more thing.
The drops offs and walls were pretty dramatic, but that was all that impressed me in the water. I did not see any species that I had not already seen elsewhere in te Caribbean.
I heard there were seahorses and had all the DMs alerted to find one for me, but didnt get my seahorse--which I guess was ok, since I didnt have a camera to take a picture of it, if I did find it.

cowgirldiver
08-10-2008, 10:11
Sorry to hear your trip wasn't as good as you wanted it to be. I love Curacao. They have 64 dive sites (although a few of them at the bottom of the island are only accessible on the calmest of days). We also dove with Ocean Encounters as Nolo, the owner is most recently from Oklahoma, and stayed by the main shop at Lion's Dive. Maybe I was just easy as it was my first trip to dive in the ocean. We had a large group (and of course we knew Nolo), so for our week there we had the same 2 DM's and captain everyday. Some of our group did the dolphin dive at the aquarium. Also, since we were diving so much (16 dives in 6 days) I saw very little of the rest of the island (the resort we stayed at was beautiful). We too found that the islanders for the most part were not very friendly but this was a small ding in a great trip. Would I go back? At a moment's notice-I especially love the non-drift diving so I could really look around.

greenmoray
08-10-2008, 10:57
We went to Curacao in 2004, and I dove with Ocean Encounters also. The boat crews were awesome and helpful but their dive operation sucks though. Two out of my four 2-tank boat dives were filled with pod people. We had 12 divers to one dive guide. The divers from the cruise boat are mostly novice. Going diving with a big crowd wasn't fun whether being underwater or on the boat. Guess what!? On those two boat trips we were heading out to the same tug boat. It must've been a diving mecca for cruise boat divers.

Since my wife didn't dive or snorkel with us but wanted to come along on a half empty boat for my first boat dive, Ocean Encounters office staffs wanted to charge her for the ride. Very nice!! I wouldn't mind paying if she takes up the space of their diver customer when the boat is full, but it wasn't the case here. So we talked to the boat crews, and they let her aboard for free. They deserved my generosity afterward. We've done this all over the Caribbean and even Tahiti, not one dive operator ever wanted to charge her for the ride (when dive boat is not full of course).

She then decided not to come along on the boat again. Her timing couldn't be better as water was getting more choppier the next several days.

Our boat always made a stop at the Breeze to pick up/drop off a few divers from the resort.

Athena2c
08-10-2008, 13:12
We just got back from Curacao last night and LOVED it! I'll write a full review when I get a chance, but wanted to say how much we enjoyed it. We stayed in Westpunt at All West Apartments and dive with Ocean Encounters West and thought they had a great operation and staff! We did not do any diving with Ocean Encounters on the other end of the island, but I can tell you that OEW was wonderful!