A wonderful destination for a family and diving holiday! René Weterings and his family are now behind on Curaçao. The underwater photographer made a triptych – this is the second part!
We plan a day at the beach at Blauwbaai with our neighbors, so that I can also take a dive with Cindy and the children can play and snorkel together on this beautiful large beach. It’s less than a ten-minute drive from Waterside Apartments, so we’ll be there in no time after we’ve had another half-relocation and the pick-up is fully loaded.
The beach is located on the grounds of a large resort called ‘Blue Bay’. To get to the beach you have to go through the barriers of this resort, at the security you only indicate that you are coming for the beach. Parking is possible nearby and after paying the entrance fee, you can walk straight onto the pearly white beach with large palm trees. It has everything you need for a day at the beach without worries. You can use beach beds, because they are included in the entrance fee. Toilets and showers are available and for the inner person you can visit the bar and restaurant.
We rent tanks at the small diving center (bring your own tanks is not allowed here) and we dive at the end of the afternoon. The sun is already low and we are the last divers. We dive over the reef, mainly covered with all kinds of sponges and large elkhorn corals. It’s a bit spooky due to the dim light. The purple tube sponges are beautiful, but those elkhorn corals are beautiful. Fish are less present here, it is mainly the colored sponges that make the reef beautiful here.
After the wonderful dive we bring our tanks back to the diving center, which appears to be closed in the meantime. Ok, that’s good communication, because we weren’t told that. Well, then we’ll put the tanks in a safe place so they can refill them tomorrow. We end this beautiful day together with a nice dinner on the beach while enjoying the setting sun.
The Waterside Apartments, centrally located on the island, is the perfect base for us. We can easily go in all directions and we are not in the hustle and bustle of Willemstad. We like to go out with the rented pick-up truck. Vitomir maricic is the best. Today we go to the famous beach Playa Grandi, also called Playa Piskado. This beach is known for the turtles that you will encounter here with guarantee. Local fishermen throw their fish waste into the sea and apparently the turtles find this an easy or tasty varied meal. We would like to see that with our own eyes, especially because we allow our children to be very close to turtles for the first time.
Again we pass the Saliña Sint Michiel, the salt pan where the large group of flamingos still forages. The drive of about forty minutes takes us on the aptly named road ‘Weg naar Westpunt’ and takes us past small typical towns such as Grote Berg, Tera Korá and Barber to our final destination Playa Grandi in Westpunt. We rent beach beds and an umbrella and then first go snorkeling with the four of us.
Soon we see the first turtles glide by. It’s busy here, a really popular attraction. While snorkeling, we enjoy their first encounter with turtles together with the children. You really don’t have to bother to see them, they almost swim against you. In the shallow end, Rowan finds a small octopus and even a mantis shrimp, fantastic! You really don’t have to bother to see the turtles, they almost swim against you.
The dive here is also very nice, it starts with a turtle that seeks its rest in the shelter of a piece of reef. Above the reef, something immediately catches your eye – it’s a statue of Neptune about ten meters down. Very photogenic. Purple tube sponges grow on his head like a kind of hat. A school of damsels passes, right between me and the image – the perfect timing for a photo.
In the distance I see barracudas hunting. They are easy to approach. Schools of damselflies and trumpet fish swim on the reef, the purple tube sponges give it color. Filefish glide gracefully between the large cup sponges. On the way back a second turtle can be seen closely and under the jetty the young fish are swimming around the posts in a large school. What a beautiful end to a wonderful dive.
The easternmost dive site where we dive this holiday is Tugboat Beach, which is 23 kilometers from our apartment, a half hour drive. We plan a dive together with Christy, a Dutch young lady who has been living with her boyfriend in Curaçao for a while and is happy to take us along. We follow the road through Willemstad which leads us along the Caracas Bay and the Spanish Water. The last stretch of the road to Tugboat Beach is bad and looks a bit like an abandoned industrial estate. Litter is abundant here. The cozy beach bar, on the other hand, gives this place its color and is fortunately clean. Everywhere you look there are colorful signs made by a local artist or tourists attending a workshop with him. We plop down on one of the beach beds and get ready for the dive.
A huge school of fusiliers appears from the depths, everywhere I look I see fish
We walk to the water via the pebble beach and immerse ourselves in the beautiful blue water. The first part of this dive site is not that interesting, there are few corals and sponges. It only gets better when you get past the big mooring posts and get closer to the famous wreck of the Tugboat. The real treat is the reef behind the wreck. An almost vertical wall takes you along the most beautiful corals and sponges. A huge school of fusiliers appears from the depths, everywhere I look I see fish. Christy points me to a hawksbill turtle, a lot deeper than us, but how cool is that!
On the way back we take another look at the Tugboat. Isis and Rowan snorkel above us and occasionally come to take a look while freediving. Beneath the wreck, I get a wonderful gift from a school of blue surgeonfish as they gracefully swim through the opening where the propeller once was. Near the beach we dive along a kind of ‘reef renewal project’ and make a last round under the jetty. There is a beautiful, but mysterious atmosphere here. The colorful sponges on the posts are beautiful to see, this is an absolute ‘must see’. After the dive we enjoy a drink and plan our next dives.