Tranquility. Within seconds of entering the water, as you pass through 10 feet below sea level, all the stresses of the world are left behind. The sudden silence is almost deafening. Moving deeper through 15, 30, 40 feet, a sparkling world of color and exotic creatures appears.
Scuba diving is not for everyone, but for those who do love it, it offers great insight into a stunning new world where the weird and wonderful battle to survive each day.
Curaçao offers an amazing variety of dive sites and creatures for every dive lover, no matter what level of expertise. Having dove at numerous other Caribbean islands, this was my first opportunity to experience shore diving. While a bit apprehensive at first, the hotel I stayed at, Breezes (Sunscape Resorts since 2013), made if very easy for me. They had their own fabulous reef located about 50 meters from the dive shop, and offered a “house reef” tour at 2:30 pm each day so that divers could acquaint themselves with the surroundings.
Following my intro dive, I was lucky enough to find a diver looking for a dive buddy… As an avid underwater photographer, it was a dive relationship that was as symbiotic as many of the underwater creatures that live off each other. This dive buddy was completely suited to my diving desires of going slow to capture stunning images.
For shore dives, you essentially go and come back as you wish, or when your air runs out, which ever comes first. The great thing about shore dives is that you are not racing to keep up with others. Some dive masters think that the more area you cover the more you will see. In fact in some areas, the more you stay in one place, the more you will see.
Aside from the many sites available for shore dives, Curaçao offers many other interesting locations for diving. My personal highlights include:
Klein Curacao: although a long journey by boat, almost two hours, it is well worth it. As you approach this tiny island off shore, the stunning view that greets you is an uninhabited piece of land with a clock tower surrounded by various shades of green, blue and turquoise that melt together. The only things on the island are an old lighthouse, a beach house, and several small huts. Klein Curaçao is well known as a beautiful diving-spot because of its coral, wall and underwater caves.
Mushroom Forest: a unique dive paradise thanks to the large number of mountainous star coral growing vertical on a sandy plateau creating a “forest of mushrooms”. The mushroom shapes occurred because the coral heads have been bio-eroded at their base into narrow columns by bored clams and sponges. Neutral buoyancy is critical here in order to effectively explore the sea life hidden throughout the various nooks and crannies
With a great abundance of undersea life and with most dive sites located close to shore, you can build your dive itinerary based on your vacation schedule. This unique paradise offers the novice or advanced diver a chance to view amazing things that landlubbers can only dream about.
Story & photos by Mark Lachovsky