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Dive Review of Seascape/Hilton in

Seascape/Hilton, May, 2007,

by Randy and Carol Thompson, FL, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports). Report 3352.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Corals are a mixed bag. Some are in very good shape, other areas made me want to cry with all the trash such as bottles, beer cans, styrofoam cups, etc. Clarcke is the in house instructor. He shares dive supervision with divemaster Seal. Clarcke is fun, knowledgeable and easy going. Went with Seal on a night dive off the beach. His wife, Jassan, oversees the dive shop and booking.

Found out the hard way that he does not carry a dive knife, when I became ensnared in fishing line toward the end of the dive. Word to the wise: Always carry a knife when in Curacao. My husband finally freed me by taking his reg out and biting through the line. When we returned to shore, I asked Seal why he doesn't carry a knife. "There's one in the shop," he shrugged. "Well, one in the shop doesn't help," was my reply. Hope he learns something from this. Clarcke said he always carries one.

The island's reefs could benefit from some intensive clean-up and more stringent marine protection laws. We observed fishermen motoring in and setting up right over one of the popular dive sites. Clarcke told us they throw out their beer bottles, hence the mess. It's a shame, because the corals in many spots are every bit as good as those in Bonaire.

However, marine life isn't quite as abundant as it is on Bonaire. We saw 2 frogfish and some 4 or so seahorses the whole week. One big turtle joined us while we were doing a shore dive. One of the frogfish lives on the abandoned pier at the resort. He's a tough one to spot, but he was there twice when we looked for him. Lots of the small stuff, not much big. We did see a good size jewfish (aka Goliath grouper) on one dive, but he was the sole big boy for the week.

The prevailing attitude of the locals is far more cordial than that of the residents of Bonaire. For this reason, we'd be more apt to return to Curacao than Bonaire. Bonaire's newly conceived, grossly misplaced rule about no gloves was far more than an irritation. I received several jellyfish stings on my hands, two of which blistered and tore, revealing deep, raw flesh that became severely infected. No explanation and entreaties on my part to the harbormaster made any difference. Without a signed note from my physician (we had been to Bonaire two years prior and no such rule existed, so I didn't know to bring one) he was absolutely absurdly intractable. Why? "To protect our marine environment."

Bonaire is designated a "protected marine sanctuary" and they have the actual temerity to charge you $25 per diver for the privilege of diving there. However, when we almost got snagged by a fishing hook as it was being reeled up, we asked. The answer we got was that yes, it IS a "protected marine sanctuary" but you can line fish. Huh??? WTF?

Gee. Where I come from, protected marine sanctuary means protected marine sanctuary. It doesn't mean the locals can fish it to their hearts' content, endangering not only the reef, but dive sites and divers, as well.

My wearing gloves is no threat to their marine environment. I've logged hundreds of dives in my 16 years of diving. However, locals throwing in lines and lures sure is. Until they clean up their REAL threats to the marine environment, Bonaire can do without my dollars.

But back to Curacao, no problem with using gloves there. No problem with just about anything. The one big difference between the diving there and Bonaire is the wave action of the sea. Bonaire is mostly flat calm. Curacao is always rockin' and rollin'. If you are prone to sea sickness, I strongly recommend asking your doctor for a prescription for Transderm Scop patches. Morning is a better time to dive for calmness of the seas. Even so, but the end of the second morning dive, the exits were always a little wild.

We were charmed by Curacao with its colorful facades, picturesque streets with sidewalk cafes, its warm, charming people, and its great diving. The one sour note was that our digital camera was stolen from our room. That could happen anywhere, however, and we had no problem with car break-ins like those that plague Bonaire. Good topside opportunities, and although we didn't go, we heard that the restaurants are good and not ruinously expensive. We'll definitely go back.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 0-25 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Maui, Big Island of Hawaii, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Florida southeast, Florida Keys, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, New Hampshire, Massachusetts
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy, dry Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-65 Ft/ 12-20 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth limits and times requested, but not enforced.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 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 3 stars
UW Photo Comments No dip tank on board
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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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