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Dive Review of Ocean Encounters Diving/Kura Hulanda in
Curaçao/West End

Ocean Encounters Diving/Kura Hulanda, Feb, 2012,

by Michael Drumstas, MA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 6491.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Extensively throughout the Carribean, Riviera Maya, Cozumel, sea of Cortez, Hawaii.and North of Cape Cod
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 78 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Loosely follow group. Back on board w/500psi
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Rinse bucket on shore and on boat that is pointed out on briefing. There are picnic tables at dive operation.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 1 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We stayed at the Kura Hulanda on the west end of Curacao on the recomendation of fellow divers and the online literature. We arranged transportation from the airport through the hotel as we had a 9pm arrival. Upon being seeing our name on a hand sign we were told to go wait by the curb. Still lugging our own bags we ended up in a van/taxi with another couple staying at a different location. The driver never greeted us other than a nod of his head and never asked if we minded going to the market, as requested by other couple, before making our way to Kura Hulanda. We arrived around 10pm and were able to grab a bite to eat after check in.Hotel staff was friendly and accomodating throughout week. With the exception of wireless internet, or lack of, resort was nice. The waterfront suite had drop dead views and had decent furnishings. The suites had a "galley" kitchenette which had microwave, two burners,small fridge,coffee maker, ample glasses and dishes.No pans-they could be rented for ten dollars a day!!!! OK so wireless is advertised as in- room. We could get a slight signal in the hallway outside of the bedroom door and that was after calling and having staff come to our suite to show us where the hot spot was !!Ocean encounters west is the dive operator. You carry your gear on and off of boat with barely a hand stepping from dock. Set up own gear, break down own gear and carry and rinse your own gear.The dive briefings were accurate and concise but groups of ten divers was a bit too much under water. I am a photographer and was allowed too hang back and shoot unimpeded. No pelagics, no grouper??? never been diving and not spotted a grouper before. LOTS of lionfish..everywhere. The operation manager, Brian, was asked why no staff were hunting them every dive and his reply was that it was futile so why bother.They advertised a hunt lionfish tuesday afternoon dive but that consisted of divers pointing them out and a divemaster spearing them. Brian stated that the first juvenile lionfish was spotted 2 1/2 years ago and now groupings of 5-6 on every dive. I have never seen groups before. We spotted well over fifty on each dive.Corals are in great shape and there are juvenile fish on pretty much all sites. It just seemed to us that the staff and operation in general was not overly friendly or helpful. Maybe being the house operator will do that. We found juvenile spotted drum, parrots,angels,wrasse and eels. Diving was just OK. Water temps were around 80 f and vis was good ,in the 100 foot plus on every dive. Kura Hulanda is about 45 min by car from Willemstead and it is worth it to rent one instead of relying on shuttle from hotel. Make sure to make your way to Sol by the hotel one night as the food was fantastic and a reservation is needed.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Jmatulis at Jun 24, 2012 09:00 EST  
Been to Curaçao the last six years. Going this week again. We stay at All- West apartments. It's allot cheaper than Kura. The dive crew has been helpful to my group and always helped with our gear. We had to bring our personnel gear to the boat and assemble it ourselves . Don't most divers want to assemble their own gear ? Curaçao is all about shore diving. Go Porta Mare and Casa Abou
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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