There is nothing monochromatic about Curaçao. It is an island alive with color above and below the sea surface. No visitor will experience their vacation the same way. And for repeat visitors to the island, each trip is different from the one before. Curaçao has everything from enriching cultural experiences and historical sites to a choice of luxurious accommodations, local culinary delights, great shopping, entertainment, and an unparalleled choice of land and sea activities. I like to think of Curaçao as the Connoisseur’s Caribbean destination.
Most days in Curaçao, I’m scheduling meetings to create content for every Events Curacao edition. On one of those days, the manager of Substation Curaçao was expecting my call.
What began as business call ended with me literally 487 feet below sea level in a submarine! Had I known, would I have still made that call? I love to go beyond my comfort zone so with a deep breath I said “yes!” to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Stepping into the Substation office, I was greeted by a warm and friendly team. They presented an audio-visual debrief and answered some of my questions of which included a thorough explanation of the technical side to the operation, the stages of descent, safety procedures as well as the interior and exterior effects of the 1 1/2 hour journey as we gradually reached the desired depth.
I was handed a styrofoam cup, a few coloured permanent markers and asked to draw something around it. I curiously drew a dolphin playing with a beach ball. The staff members understood my curiosity about this request, and explained how this cup would be attached to the outer part of the Curasub, and I would see the effect of the pressure after the descent and ascent. Now it made sense!
Shortly after, I was escorted to the Substation dock and there it was, the Curasub. I felt a sense of assurance wave over me as I entered the “hublot”, waved bye-bye and sat snugly at the very front with a spheric window to gaze out into the blue. Overhead were switches, knobs and buttons, all kinds of impressive but confusing devices controlled by Bruce and Tico, the operators piloting the Curasub.
As we began our descent to 15 feet, a photographer appeared in front of my clear bubble, snapped a few shots and then waved goodbye. It was surreal. Down at 25 feet, a school of fish sparkle in the sun rays and swoosh by. At 50 feet, colorful soft corals, swaying plants and anemones protect little pods of fish and I spot a couple Trunkfish. At 100 feet, Blowfish and Scorpion fish scatter about and find refuge. At 200 feet, it’s dark, but a small non-invasive light projects forward and I see little creatures hiding in the coral that is clearly alive with all kinds of small colourful fish. It is fascinating to know that at these depths, approximately fifteen small species were recently discovered.
At 300 feet Bruce amuzingly announces that he will be turning off the sub light and within a split second we are in total darkness! It was reassuring when he turned the light switch back on! Now at 400 feet, we see a beer can on a patch of sand. (reminder to self: Do Not Litter!) The can was scooped up by a mechanical arm and deposited in a research net attached to the sub. It is fascinating to know that at these depths we covered, approximately fifteen small species were recently discovered.
At 487 feet I don’t want it to end but we begin to ascend in a tranquil 1/2 hour ride back up to the surface and glide back to the dock.
I left with a huge smile, a certificate of submersion and a very tiny cup that fit in the palm of my hand.
If I may offer up one piece of advice while you visit this amazing island, try something new while you’re here! Step out of your comfort zone and take on an adventure! Surely you’ll want to come back to experience things you did not have enough time to!