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Dive Review of Sunset Divers/Sunset Waters in
Curaçao

Sunset Divers/Sunset Waters, Dec, 2007,

by Bruce Newman, RJ, Brazil (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 3765.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Belize, Roatan, Guanaja, Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Fernando de Noronha, Dominica, St. Lucia.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 81 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60 minutes
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Always had separate freshwater rinse tank on boats for cameras. Crew assisted with cameras in and out of water.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Jim Hunter, the General Manager of Sunset Waters, is a real charmer who enjoys making guests feel special and anticipates all needs, and the entire hotel staff truly seem to enjoy their jobs, the guests, and each other. The hotel package includes room, food, drinks (including Amstel draft) and a two-tank morning boat dive each day. For non-divers, if there are such people, the beach is nice, has water toys, tiki huts, lounge chairs, floats, drinks service lowered to servers from the main restaurant bar, etc. You can shore dive as much as you want, 24 hours a day (they give you the lock combination for access to tanks and your gear). House reef has some resident seahorses to find, a pretty good wall, and is a way to rack up some more dives.

Lynn Bean and the crew at Sunset Divers are thoroughly competent and a pleasure to be with, always helpful without it feeling like they are doing you a favor. Boat captain Alex is a true gentleman and very competent, as is the other boat captain Chirrino. Carsten, Clark, Mike and newcomer Rachael, along with Lynn, lead divers there and back again, if you want, generally returning to the mooring in about 45 minutes. Divers are free to go their own way, and the remaining 15 minutes spent in the area of the mooring is always interesting and relaxed. The main boat, the Day Dreamer is large enough to make it easy in and out of the water. The smaller (but much faster) Day Tripper requires back rolls or equipment donning in the water for entry, but has an excellent side ladder for return. There was talk of getting a new boat, and there are numerous signs of improvement dockside, as well. PADI instruction is available.

We were there at the end of the low season, and had a pretty full boat on the first few days, then dropped to 5-6 divers. Obviously, they can be more accommodating regarding dive sites and diving types with fewer divers. Most dives we had two divemasters in the water (they like to dive, too!). We dived nine days, and weekends are wonderfully relaxed, so you really should think about doing more than a one week stay.

They also run an afternoon boat dive for an extra $50 to Watamula, located at the extreme northwestern tip of the island. Absolutely worthwhile. Operated as a drift dive, the coral formations are in pristine condition, and it makes the famed Mushroom Forest seem over-rated. They say you must have 100+ dives if OW certified, or 50+ dives if Advanced OW, but I think that if they see that you dive well on the morning dives, this would not be a problem. Ah, space is limited, so sign up early.

Although by Caribbean standards the coral at most sites is very good to excellent, we were lucky enough to dive Mako Mountain (the original, now called Mako 1) the day after it was reopened after 6-8 months (the mooring had been repaired). What a difference in the appearance of the coral and the abundance of fish life! Had the pleasure, twice, of running into tarpon (five one time, three the other) who seemed to enjoy showing themselves off the the divers with an elegant choreography. Turtles, spotted eagle rays, southern stingrays, a school of 300 juvenile barracudas, frogfish, scorpion fish, etc., were also highlights we enjoyed, as well as an abundance of small tropicals. A couple of days we had pretty good currents, so we drift-dived and covered three dives sites on a single dive.

To correct a remark by an earlier poster, it is not that the hotel has 'opened up to locals on the weekends.' The rather loud contingent that seems to appear on the weekends as hotel guests are Venezuelans taking advantage of a law that allows them to buy US$5,000 per person at the official exchange rate in Venezuela, when the parallel rate is three times that amount. Bring along all the kids, and you take a lot of that cash back to Venezuela, getting a free vacation in the process. Oh, and they go in bus loads to hit the ATM machines to get even more cash. So all of the hotels in Curaçao change character greatly on the weekends, at least as long as this law is in effect.

By all means get an ocean front room, the view is spectacular and the gentle sound of the sea on the beach below is an antidote to any prior existing stress condition. We do the Oceanfront Junior Suites and love the extra space. They are planning a major remodeling/upgrading of the rooms sometime in 2008--Jim Hunter told me that they have had a very good year. The rooms do feel a little 'dated,' as the hotel is not by any means new. But all in all it is a comfortable place to do very nice diving, with no hassles and no worries. Located far away from downtown area and the cruise ship insanity, you are in the best diving part of the island.

This was our second trip in a year, and despite discussing other destinations, we want to go back yet again. Highly recommended. www.sunsetwaters.com and www.sunsetdivers.com
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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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