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February 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Bas Harts Diving and Go West, Curacao

dive by land or by sea: which is best on this island?

from the February, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

In 2004, I retired from the corporate world to work at the things I enjoy -- diving and flying. Still not able to fully retire, I have to wait for my bride of 34 years to finish her career. (I gave her the ring down 45 feet on Palancar Reef, in Cozumel, and I didn't have a lot of money back then, so the fact that the diamond looked 30 percent larger underwater may have helped seal the deal.) In addition to dive trips to old favorites, we try different Caribbean destinations annually, such as Aruba and St. Maarten. In 2013, it was Curacao for shore diving, where my non-diving traveling companions would find plenty to do. Bas Harts Diving specializes in Curacao shore diving, and after a fine experience last year -- as well as falling in love with Curacao -- we broke tradition and returned this past December. Wondering whether shore diving really was the better way to go, I also booked a two-tank boat dive.

With 150,000 residents, Curacao is one of the three islands in the Dutch Antilles, between Aruba and Bonaire and not far from the Venezuelan coast. The airport is near Willemstad, the charming capital, with narrow buildings, each painted a vivid color -- bright yellow next to purple, next to bright orange, next to green and so on. A reef surrounds the island and is accessible for shore diving on the western side, where there seems to be endless named sites just a stone's throw away from others, so you can actually dive two or three sites on one dive.

I arrived Saturday afternoon and settled in my Coral Estates villa. Sunday morning, right on time, Bas knocked on the door. We grabbed a cup of coffee and sat on the veranda. Bas, a hard-working, customer-oriented Dutchman in his early 30s, has lived in Curacao for nine years, building a business as a private instructor and guide specializing in shore diving. Small groups of four or less are his bread and butter. He has a good sense of humor . . . considering he's Dutch. After finding out that Bas was going to become a father any minute, we got down to business....


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