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Curacao Trip report


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#1 ColinZylka

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 09:52 AM

Another dive adventure under the belt….this time to Curacao, located off the coast of Venezuela.

We stayed at the Sunset Waters Resort and dove with Sunset Divers. We flew from Chicago to Montego Bay to Curacao on Air Jamaica.

About the resort:
70 rooms most of which are built on a high cliff so they have great views of the ocean. Tile floors so no problem with wet swimsuits and easy to keep clean. The resort features many activities for both the diver and non-diver, including daily snorkeling tours on the house reef (we’ll get to that later!), beach volleyball, complimentary shuttle to Willenstad, the capital, etc. etc. So even if there is a non-diver, they would have plenty to do, while you’re out diving. In fact we met one family from Finland and one from Russia, where only the Dad dove and the rest of the family had a good time.

The resort is basically all-inclusive, with alcohol as part of the package. The only extra charges were if someone wanted a call brand liquor or beer….then it was an extra dollar, or on some of the dinner menus there was a surcharge a three or four dollars for certain entrees.
The food was fabulous….just order off the menu. Every day for breakfast there was a buffet line of fruit, cheeses, different breads and bagels, as well as hot entrees like bacon, sausage, pancakes, french toast. Lunch and dinner was ordered off the menu, with a nice mix of poultry, beef or fish from which to choose. A lot of our group found the fish selections the best. There was one evening after diving all day where I commented to the wait staff how hungry I was, and a couple from New York we met told us we could order two entrees if we wished. So, I ordered two entrees for dinner that night, without any problem. Monday night was a seafood buffet (my favorite!!!) and Thursday night was a beach barbeque….the ribs were excellent along with the music. We had just finished our night dive off the boat, and coming back in we could smell the grills going…..man talk about getting ravenous!!!

Ok, let’s talk about the diving.
If you’ve been to Bonaire (and I’ve been there 7 times now), you will find the diving similar, but yet different. I thought there were more large schools of fish than Bonaire, along with some better dives sites that had healthier coral formations. We saw at least 6 large bait balls with tuna circlingand hunting. Depths ranged from 30 to 70 feet, since after 70-90 feet there wasn’t much to see. During the week, we encountered spotted eagle rays, turtles, and the usual suspects in terms of fish, but the best part was the amount of seahorses we found. In fact on the house reef, there are two seahorses….one black and white, and the other red/orange, in less than 15 feet of water, both of which are now blind from all the photos shot. Glad I brought the macro lenses.

Sunset Divers runs a nice operation. You are issued a dive number, and when you’d like to be on the boat dives, you simply write your dive number on the board the day before, and they will put your BCD/Reg on the boat and assemble it. You also get a laundry basket in which to put your other gear, like fins, mask, etc. You just grab your basket every morning, along with your wetsuit from the locked gear storage area, and find your BCD on the boat. The baskets worked great because you didn’t have everyone’s stuff mixed up with yours on the boat. After the dives are completed, the staff breaks down your gear, rinses it for you and hangs it up in the locker area for your shore dive access. Tanks are always kept outside for 24 hour diving, and you’re also given to combo to the lock on the gear locker in case the diving bug hits at 2am. Tanks were consistently filled to 3000-3200 psi all week. Our boat dive plans were typically a first dive of 70-80 feet, followed by 45 minute SI, then another dve to 50-60 feet. Each dive was thoroughly briefed including information on the site, expected marine life, and safety procedures. We did have a maximum time of one hour underwater for every boat dive, to keep the schedule. Shore diving, however was different. Run times of well over 60 minutes were the norm. The house reef is a short swim out, and for those that have been to Bonaire…it’s the same idea. Pick a depth and direction and every time you go out there is something new to see.

I would highly reccommend the Sunset Waters Resort for families and for non-divers. The staff was some of the friendliest I’ve encountered in the Caribbean, the service was great, the resort manager Jim Hunter is on site to meet you, and of course the food was top notch.

We’ll definitely go back.

Photos located at subsurfacephoto.com
Comments always welcome!

Colin.

#2 Rocha

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Posted 05 March 2006 - 12:35 PM

Hi Colin,

Thanks a lot for the report. I will be going to Curacao sometime this year and this is very useful.

Luiz

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