No not the blue liquor that seems to be added to strange cocktails but the small island off the coast of Venezuela, in the Netherlands Antilles, just outside the hurricane belt, the weather is a consistent 29oC with the breeze consistently hitting the eastern shore line and dive able all year round
As such the diving is all off the west coast which is protected and has a nice shelf running gently down to 50 Mtr before it then falls very steeply down to a non-dive able 1,500 Mtrs.
The diving is mostly shore diving, but some dives are boat only, or a lot easier by boat
Just the one proper wreck, Superior Producer, which sits with the keel at about 32 Mtr, but top of the superstructure at 20 Mtrs
You get some strong wave action and a constant current on this wreck, so most drop in and drift onto it, then fin into the protection of the bridge for a rest and a nosey round.
Dropping still further into the fully open hold areas for a further look around. Nothing left in the holds as picked clean by locals ages ago, but lots and lots of coral and if doing the dive early morning, before the crowds get there then you might be lucky to see some Tarpon hunting for their breakfast.
Finish the dive by heading inshore and staying under the protection of the pier at 6 Mtrs for safety stops
We did it as a boat dive, you could do it from shore, according to the guide book, but I would not want to!
The only issue with the boat dives is that the pitching of the boats is quite severe and so they have developed a process of throwing a long line out, getting people to hold on, take their fins off and drag themselves to the ladder, all seems very alien to a British diver and a spine ladder would reduce the issue almost completely!
There was a mini wreck that was done as a shore dive, that sounded very average on the guide book, but when we actually did it, was superb, “Tugboat” beach.. A 5 Mtr deep small tugboat, which looked like a miniature “Stanegarth”, sunk through an “operational error” ( the boat they were assisting dropped its anchor onto them)the wreck is about 50 Mtrs from shore and as so shallow is hugely popular with snorkelers, however off to right side was a group of coral trees where they were trying to encourage coral re growth, that was home to a small seahorse, who was un pestered by said snorkelers and that in turn lead to a steep wall that dropped down to 40 Mtrs, the whole dive is very easy with no current evident but enough marine life for me to compare it to an aquarium, especially for juvenile fish.
The rest of our two week break was spent diving reefs and a couple of walls
All the reefs are clean and healthy with some damage from boats but only in the shallows, lots of colourful coral structures and small critters, but strangely not much big stuff
Unless you count Turtles, one dive (Playa Piscardo) which we did several times, had so many Turtles they were almost a nuisance, they came in to feed off the discards from the local fishermen who sold their catch direct to you and cleaned the fish there and then. The entrails being recycled as food for the Turtles and other marine life. Snake headed eels, other moray some rays and a myriad of smaller critters where also visible for those that looked
Great for macro photos though
Nearly everyone was managing to get the maximum dive time of 60 minutes on each dive and when able to we were able to raise the limits to 90 minutes from head down to head up
We stayed in 2 Villas in the Cas Abao area, which is almost central. This gave us easy access to Cas Abao beach and the dive centre there, “B Diving” they organised our boat dives and gave us advice on the shore dives and provided us with 29 cylinders a day to do what we wanted, they were willing to act as guides, but we felt we did not need any. Nothing was too much trouble for them, with plenty of information on restaurants, bars and places to avoid coming from them.
2 pickup trucks and 2 smaller cars rented for hauling kit and people around…. Not cheap but only way of practically doing it.
Getting to Curacao is normally done via Schiphol and KLM, but we chose to fly over night and went via Colombia with Avianca, this meant that we left U.K. at 22:30 on the Friday night and arrived Curacao at 09:00 on the Saturday… absolutely no time wasted at all and it was cheaper then KLM!