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Dive Review of Sunset Waters in
Curaçao/Sta. Marta Bay and west...

June, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Brant Shenkarow, CA, USA
Report Number 1153
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
All over Western and Eastern Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Mexico, California,
Galapagos, Australia, South Pacific, Cental America.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
80   to 82    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
1 hour time limit.  Begin safety stop with at least 500psi.  No deco.  If
diver wished to follow dive guide, tell guide when air down to 1,500psi.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
I shoot strictly digital so I've no need for a film lab or support.  The
boat is very roomy, there's separate rinse barrels aboard for cameras and
masks.  Dive crew handled my big rig to me and from me very well.  Ashore
there's a large rinse barrel for cameras only...and there's a hose for
final rinse before going to hotel room for equipment maintance and computer
work.  I fell into a smooth workflow, and I was happy.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Curacao has been one of my favorite places to dive...I've visited 5 times
now...I believe it's too often overlooked and underrated...but that's okay
since it's the absence of divers which ranks this island's western half
above Bonaire for desert isle Caribbean diving.

Sunset Waters is the old Coral Cliffs...resort and dive operation both have
beeen owned by separate concerns.  While the new Sunset Waters Resort is
way, way, way better than the old Coral Cliffs Resort, the new dive
operation doesn't do as good a job as the old Coral Cliffs Divers.  That's
not to say the new operation doesn't do a good job, but just not as good as
the old Coral Cliff Divers.  Part of the reason is that CCD used to go more
dive sites farther west.  The new Sunset Divers could make it well worth
the extra fuel cost by doing all day trips to the west end, charging for an
afternoon dive and having lunch prepared by the resort for a $5 surcharge. 

So I believe the new operation just isn't as adventuresome as the island
beckons.  Kevin, Lynn, and Bernd are friendly, helpful, and professional;
however Carlos seems to be concerned about only himself.  Though he led
about 1/3 of the dives, he is not a qualified PADI divemaster, so by rights
he should not be leading dives through this qualified PADI dive operation. 
I was off diving and taking pictures on my own, so I didn't really see how
any of the dive guides handled the group, but I didn't hear any complaints
from any of the other dozen or so divers.

Curacao's western half offers the u/w photographer great opportunities for
macro life and wide angle reefscapes.  I used my 12-24, 17-35, 60, and
105mm lenses with my Nikon D100 and twin Ike DS-125's, taking an average of
100 shots per dive.  I fond that if I staked out a 50 foot square and
stayed put in just a few spots, I had all the subjects I needed...octopus,
peacock flounder, stonefish, turtle, all kinds of tropicals, seahorse,
morays, spotted eagle ray, and some of the most beautiful and healthy hard
and soft corals and sponges I've ever seen.

The resort is very comfortable without being fancy.  It provides everything
the diver needs and most of what we want.  The food is pretty good and
there's lots of it with either buffet or menu choices for each meal.  All
drinks are included from morning to midnight including alcohol at the two
bars.  There's a clean, expansive private beach with a portion of it
clothing optional.  (For 2 weeks in September the entire resort is clothing

So I recommend visiting Curacao and diving the western half.  Before I
return I'd make it clear to the dive oprators that I expect to dive the
coral-dense 4 mile Mushroom Forest, Jeremi, and Watahuli which are all
spectacularly healthy and rich with reef life.

If you decide on going to Bonaire again, please don't let me stop yoou.  No
offense, but Curacao remains special because you'll be going to Bonaire.
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