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Dive Review of Ocean Encounters Diving/All West Apts in
Curaçao/Westpunt, "Wild West End"

January, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Steve Mimnaugh, UT, US (1 report)
Report Number 6650
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Kauai, Cozumel, Kona coast, US Virgin Islands, Bonaire, Roatan, St Lucia,
Grand Cayman, Bequia, Tobago Cays, Mayreau Gardens, St Vincent, Bora Bora,
Andros Bahamas, Curacao, Akumal, Little Cayman, Belize
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
79   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
back to boat w/ minimum 500psi in tank  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
Had been to Bonaire on 9 dive trips, to Curacao twice before, wanted easy
beautiful relaxed shore diving with my wife for my 61st birthday week.
Researched All West Apts w/ help of Chapbook, AllWest website, phone calls
to owner. Located near tiny village of Westpunt,  AllWestApts were
spacious, comfy, full kitchen, perched right on 50 foot limestone cliff
over quiet beach w/ shore-diving, good snorkeling, turtles, lovely gardens,
gorgeous sunsets, gear room and tanks of air on-site at apts. Goats and
dogs ambling in quiet streets, iguanas everywhere, locals uniformly
friendly and welcoming, like they all worked for the Tourism Board.  Dive
shop nearby at spectacular Kura Hulanda Resort, with fine restaurant,
grill, bar, grounds. We took several post-dive lunches and evening meals
there (I even ate the ostrich medallions).  We had a rental car so toured
the island most afternoons, explored beautiful sandy beaches in romantic
coves, highlights were crescent moon and Jupiter at unoccupied Playa
Jeremi; crashing waves on the windward coast at Boca Tabla Turtle Refuge; I
certify that I saw my first green flash during clear cloudless sunset from
apt balcony, only one I've clearly seen out of hundreds of Caribbean
sunsets I've witnessed; historic Willemstad along St Annabaai harbor with
swinging pontoon bridge; emotional and impressive self-guided tour of the
Slavery Museum (don't miss this if you go).  
Dining on the west end has limited options, but Sol Food is delicious, call
and make reservations, eclectic outdoor dining, hosted by friendly quirky
proprietress Sol, ice cold beer in a cooler on the honor system. 
Jaanchie's is local fare, I had goat and iguana, it's open-air with birds
flying around the place, funky and interesting decorations and artifacts,
Jaanchie the owner comes and sits at your table and helps you decide what
to order. Took a chance one night on Rancho Sobrino and were pleasantly
surprised with the casual open-air ambience, nice bar, and excellent
fajitas, went back another night for same.
We did a couple shore dives, check-out at Alice in Wonderland, the house
reef at Lodge Kura Hulanda/Playa Kalki, giant stride off tall dock; and at
Playa Grandi near the apts, mild surf entry, swam with large unafraid
hawksbill turtle for 30 minutes. Saw baitfish, big snappers, peacock
flounders, giant green morays, little stuff like lettuce sea slugs,
flamingo tongues, arrow crabs, Pedersen cleaning shrimp in anemones, the
usual tropicals cruising the reef, chromis, trumpet, Spanish hog, creole
wrasse, etc; nothing really large except eel and turtle. Also the first
three of many lionfish to come. Fisherman have dock here and cut up their
catch and people buy fresh fish, the apts have several barbeques on the
balconies,  most evenings apt-dwellers grilled steaks or fresh fish while
enjoying libations and sunset and conversation in the common areas of the
decks.  AllWest and Ocean Encounters has an international flavor, many
Dutch, German, American, Canadian, Venezuelan, and Curacaoans of
African/Arawak/Carib heritage.
Ocean Encounters West/Go West Diving was very friendly yet professional to
deal with. They were helpful, not intrusive, and kept a casual but safe
approach to the boat dives. The shop, storage, rinse tanks, shower, dock,
boats all set up well, convenient to the bar and grill and restaurant and
We did three days of morning two-tank boat dives on Nitrox 32%. All boat
rides were quite short. Paradise Reef was a beautiful reef, counted 5
spotted morays, modestly abundant tropicals, numerous large lionfish.
Watamula ("waterworks") is just off Westpunt where the currents
mix, for surge and swirly currents, saw large crab in barrel sponge, teensy
juve spotted drum, glassy sweepers in small cave, free-swimming porcupine
fish. Scooter site is 20 minutes south of dive shop by boat, and a favorite
dive, because this is where they assigned 2 dive guides as dedicated
lionfish assassins, armed with small spearguns and a cylindrical PVC
"creel" to put their poisonous catch in; they also killed
lionfish on Santa Cruz site nearby, an alarming number of the alien
invaders on all the reefs. When the two dives were done they dumped >60
lionfish out of the creel, and had not even scratched the surface of the
invasive disaster. But it was worth doing and fascinating to watch. The
lions are not afraid, the hunter sticks the spring-loaded 3-prong spear
right up to the side of the fish, shoots and pins the fish, then stabs it
with a big serrated bread knife, then stuffs the fish thru a rubber gasket
into the PVC cylinder. Very satisfying.
Last dives were off Playa Jeremi and Korpate, several large green eels,
large Southern stingrays blowing up clouds of sand, garden eels, 3 tiniest
juve drums ever, Spanish lobster, many conch, sharptail eel, variety of
filefish and cowfish, smooth trunk, dusky Sgt Majors desperately defending
purple eggs against attack of the killer bluehead wrasses. Scorpionfish
hanging with the lionfish.
Weather was hot, altho we arrived in a downpour and left in a drizzle.
Staff at the apts are friendly getting you set up, then unobtrusive unless
you need something. Special kudos to MVP divemasters, very helpful,
knowledgeable, accomodating. I recommend All West Apartments, Ocean
Encounters, and the beautiful nature island of Curacao and its people to
anyone. We plan to return. 
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Subscriber's Comments

By rskuhn at Feb 14, 2013 22:06 EST  
Lionfish are excellent eating.
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All Curaao Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Curaao
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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