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

Sunset Waters, Jun, 2003,

by Brant Shenkarow, CA, USA . Report 1153.

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

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 50 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
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.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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
UW Photo Comments
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):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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 optional).

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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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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