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Diving at Directorsbaai and Double Reef

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We had such a fun time diving with Scubacao, that we would have liked to get back into the water the very next day. However, Curaçao has a lot more to offer than scuba diving, so we forced ourselves to be patient. But after a month, we could wait no more. So we called up Anton and Marc, and were soon rumbling in Scubacao’s truck toward Directorsbaai.

When Anton suggested Directorsbaai as a potential for the day’s underwater adventure, we immediately agreed. We had already been snorkeling here, and knew that it would make for an amazing dive site with its dizzyingly steep drop-off just meters offshore.

Before we got into the water, Anton explained something we had wondered about the last time we visited Directorsbaai. There are a set of skinny metal pylons in the water, whose use we couldn’t figure out; they’re old and look too weak for mooring boats. Turns out, these were once part of a shark net meant to protect the Queen of the Netherlands, during her visit to the island decades ago. There’s never been a recorded shark attack in the history of Curaçao, but this is the Queen we’re talking about. Better to play it safe.

The net is long gone, but we swam around the coral-covered pylons, hoping to spot an elusive seahorse. Anton had seen a few around Directorsbaai, and knew the spots in which they might be found. Still, it was hard work; with their bodies covered in lichens, seahorses blend in perfectly to their surroundings, but Anton was eventually able to locate one of the little guys. They’re not exactly the most beautiful of God’s creatures, but unique and strange, and it was exciting to see one in its natural habitat.

We also managed to spot an octopus during our dive. Apparently, this guy is an old acquaintance of Anton’s, and can usually be found in the same place. The octopus is always attempting to hide, and Anton once saw him grab onto a clear beer bottle to use as a shield. Instead, with the bottle tipped up toward his face, it just looked like he was getting drunk. Today, he was content to stay motionless on top of a rock, and hope we didn’t see him. Sorry buddy, it didn’t work… smile for the camera!

After a short break, we moved on to our second site of the day near the Mundu Novo desalination plant in Otrobanda. We had visited this section of town a few days ago, but weren’t aware that it was also a good place to go diving. Anton parked at a small seafood shack, where we prepared our gear and walked into the water.

The coral reef here is in great shape, and the visibility was fantastic. This second dive was somewhat shallow, between six to ten meters, allowing us to remain underwater for a full hour. There was so much to see, I could have happily stayed for two more.

In a reef as pristine as this, stuff is happening everywhere, and it pays to look close. Anton found a rare type of shrimp hiding in sea anemone, and later handed me a flashlight, so that I could peer into the crevices of a wall. In almost every conceivable hiding spot, I saw a different fish lurking in the dark. We found two goldentail moray, spotted a barracuda swimming off in the distance, and followed around a cute puffer fish; I think of all the fish we saw in Curaçao’s water, the friendly, goofy-looking puffers might be my favorite.

Once we were finished, we sat down at the neighboring seafood shack and relaxed. Anton introduced us to the owner, Oscar, and then made us promise to return for a meal, here. After looking at the plates being served to the other tables, it was a promise we happily made… and kept!

We couldn’t have hoped to meet a better diving outfit than Scubacao. Not only did they take us to incredible sites, they also proved to be very knowledgeable about Curaçao. The first time I heard Anton carry on a conversation in Papiamento, I couldn’t believe it. We picked up quite a few tips, and learned a lot about the history and lifestyle of the island, just from spending time with them. If you’re looking for a great scuba experience, get in touch with Scubacao.

Locations on our Map: Directorsbaai | Oscar’s
Scubacao – Website

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Pictures from the Directorsbaai Dive
Photos from the Double Reef Dive
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February 13, 2016 at 6:52 pm Comments (0)

Diving with the Guys from Subcacao

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Curaçao is a paradise for scuba divers. The coral reefs are in good condition, the visibility is usually excellent, the water is warm, and most of the best diving sites are ones to which you can swim from shore. We couldn’t wait to begin exploring Curaçao’s underwater world, and were invited to check it out with the two-man team of Scubacao.

Anton from Belgium and Marc from the Netherlands started Scubacao about three years ago. They met while working at other Curaçaoan scuba shops, and were soon kicking around the idea of starting their own business. Slowly but surely, they began to save money and buy equipment. One day, Marc looked around at what they had so far accumulated, and said to Anton: “I think that’s it. We have a scuba shop!”

Scubacao has since grown in leaps and bounds, and they’re now among the most popular companies on an island full of them (at least fifty other dive shops operate on Curaçao). Marc and Anton have a lot of knowledge about the island; Anton told us that he’s made almost a thousand dives at Curaçao. After booking a trip, one of the guys will pick you up, and drive directly to the location chosen for the day’s adventure.

Our initial dive site was Vaersenbaai, home of Kokomo Beach Club. Jürgen and I were a little rusty, since it had been well over a year since our last dive, but Anton gave us a solid refresher course and was careful to make sure that we still knew what we were doing. Professionalism is a big part of Scubacao’s appeal; Marc and Anton are both young guys who have fun doing their job, but they’re also serious and responsible when it comes to safety.

We were a little anxious getting into the water, but calmed down once we were a few meters deep, and enjoyed one of the best dives we’ve ever had. The visibility was glorious, and with the sun shining, Curaçao’s underwater world came into vivid life. Anton pointed out strange creatures like the lionfish, nearly transparent shrimp, and the rare flamingo tongue snail. We swam out to investigate a sunken barge known as “The Platform” and, before I knew it, our time was up and we had to return to shore.

On the way to our second dive, I had asked Anton about sea snakes. He said not to worry, that there aren’t any in Curaçao’s waters. And right then, we pull into a place called Snake Bay, and I was like… “Liar.” He laughed and told us that the name refers to eels which look like snakes. “I promise there are no real snakes!” (I researched later, and discovered he was telling the truth; sea snakes are not found anywhere in the Caribbean.)

The second dive was perhaps even better than the first, if only because Jürgen and I were now more comfortable in the water. The entrance was a little trickier, as we had to negotiate a rocky ramp leading into the water, with quite a bit of current. But once we were underwater, we were fine. Snake Bay had incredible visibility, thousands of fish, a beautiful living reef, and no snakes.

This was our first experience scuba diving in Curaçao, and we couldn’t have hoped for a better one. Marc and Anton are great guys, and just a lot of fun to be around. If you’re looking for an amazing experience under the water, look them up.

Locations on our Map: Vaersenbaai | Snake Bay
Scubacao: Website

A list of hotels on Curacao

More Images from Vaersenbaai
More Images from Snake Bay
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December 30, 2015 at 11:01 pm Comments (0)
Diving at Directorsbaai and Double Reef We had such a fun time diving with Scubacao, that we would have liked to get back into the water the very next day. However, Curaçao has a lot more to offer than scuba diving, so we forced ourselves to be patient. But after a month, we could wait no more. So we called up Anton and Marc, and were soon rumbling in Scubacao's truck toward Directorsbaai.
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