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Dive Review of Ocean Encounters in
Curaçao/Hula Kulanda (sp)

Ocean Encounters, May, 2011,

by Allan Freilich, NY, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 6103.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving NY city areas, Bonaire, Belize, Roatan, St.Lucia, Grand Cayman, Bahamas, Cozumel, Florida, No. Carolina
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 75 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions follow the leader, 60 minutes
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments Real trouble for those with big rigs. they only carried a small shallow rinse tank. Luckily from wetpixel.com I got the idea of bringing my own soft pak cooler--had staff fill it up before going out on the boat so I could soak my rig

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I knew this place was far from the airport and town and we all agreed (5 of us in total) to rent the largest car (toyota helux) and go shopping first thing.

soon as we got there I had mentioned when booking that i wanted a villa closest to the dive shop--of course, we ended up all the way at the other side furthest from the shop. meant lugging my near 50lb rig back and forth after each dive a long distance (felt like 1/4 mile but I'm sure it wasn't) and up and down 2 sets of stairs. Uggh!

The villa was very clean and three of us managed to have enough room without complaint. It had a kitchenette (which we didn't use) and the bathroom was the nicest I've seen at any Carribbean dive resort. The staff made the beds and had a treat on the pillow at night. The hotel staff was very friendly and courteous.

Nitrox was always available. Cattle boat diving. Squeezing up to 21 in a boat meant for 18 max was not great. Claimed one captain was on vacation. Luckily all divers were mature and very competent.

Pre-dawn diving or night diving meant locking up gear in a separate room which in the dark wasn't the easiest thing to do, but apparently very necessary due to the crime wave hitting these islands over the last few years.

On this northern side of the island I really didn't find any great wide angle opportunities-I shot macro for the whole trip. Turtles, some saw barracuda, and of course, tons of Lion fish.

Saw pod of spinner dolphins on a boat dive and one of our group really insisted for the captain to stop so we could go in and swim with them. (I couldn't get even near to them, but it was very cool)

Dive shop operation left very bad taste in our mouths due to an incident that i agreed not to talk about on condition of the settlement. Let's just say that leaving equipment on a boat after a dive may not be the best thing to do.

Food at restaurants have something called 'service charge' which we thought was a tip. It wasn't!! Or at least the waiter when asking why we didn't tip said that this money went to the operation of the hotel?? Maybe a shakedown? we tipped extra but was just simply annoying. Food $$$.

2nd trip to Curacao, and i think that's it. Live aboard is the only way. :)
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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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