Today’s guest blog post is written by my sexy scuba-instructor boyfriend, Carsten. Having lived in Curacao for 15 years and logging more than 1,000 dives as a professional diver, he is a true expert on the subject. Here’s your guide to seeing the best of Curacao… underwater:
Most of Curacao’s dive sites can be reached after a short swim-out from shore, yet a lot of dive operators offer boat-dives. This is a more “lazy” way of diving, which appeals to the quite often over-weight tourists that have discovered Curacao as a scuba destination. As a PADI MSDT (scuba instructor) I’ve seen many “sport” divers getting into their Scuba gear breathing heavily and sweating like a pig on the “lazy” boat dives. If you fall in that category, stick with the boats. If you are a little more adventurous and don’t mind gearing up in the hot, beaming sun on a beach and stumbling down towards the water and having to surface swim to the dive site, I came up with the 3 best shore-dives on the island.
1. Alice In Wonderland (Playa Kalki)
This wonderful site on the west tip of the island is just a few steps away from the parking lot on top of the cliff, and features a small restaurant and a beautiful white sand beach.
After gearing up and walking down the pier you can enter the water by just stepping off the pier with a “giant stride” or use the ladder attached at the end. Once in the water you can submerge instantly because even in the shallow water there is a lot to see: small coral patches with lots of life, big schools of small colorful fish, and turtles. Once you reach the drop-off you can go both left or right, depending on the current. You’ll be amazed by this site and find out how it got it’s name.
2. Superior Producer
This is a 145ft long shipwreck sitting upright on the bottom right next to the Mega-Pier (cruise-ship dock). The depth where the bottom of the wreck sits on the sand measures 103ft and can be reached by swimming out about a 150 feet from shore towards the big buoy and follow the chain of the buoy down until you hit the wreck. After exploring this cargo-vessel once loaded with booze and clothing, you can swim back towards the reef and slowly make your way back up while enjoying all the life on this healthy reef. If you are lucky you might even find an old bottle of rum that was lost by divers looting the wreck years ago after it sank.
3. The Tugboat
The cute tugboat – once sunk by an enormous tanker dropping its anchor on the tug’s deck – is one of the most famous shore-dive sites. It’s completely overgrown with colorful coral and has a lot of life around it. It’s just a few minutes surface swim and the tug sits in only 15 ft of water, which also makes it a great snorkel spot. After searching for the big Green Moray Eel living inside the wreck you can continue down the reef and east towards one of the best straight walls the island has to offer. This site is one of the few spots where you can find the enormous Midnight Blue Parrotfish. Some snorkel boats mooring nearby feed the fish for the tourists on board and that usually attracts large schools of Yellow Tail Snappers.
A lot of the reefs look alike in Curacao: Lots of big coral formations, lots of soft corals, large Barrel and Tube sponges, and yet no dive is the ever the same, even diving the same site several times you’ll always find something new that will amaze you. Curacao is truly a scuba diving paradise.
– Carsten “Seamonkey” Kalkman