Curacao

11/28/2011 | Category: All | 6911 Views | 49 Comments

The trip to Curacao was a big success! We had 22 total travelers, 19 divers and 3 non-divers. 
We arrived about an hour late on Saturday Nov 19th, but everything went smoothly the entire rest of the trip! The weather cooperated for the most part- highs in the mid-80's and lows in the low-80's. It sprinkled every now & then but we got a lot of sun and did spend a lot of time underwater. 
We did 12 boat dives and almost everyone did another 2-8 shore dives. Most commented that they were the most fun. A few people hit some milestones: Jennifer did her 50th dive, Greg got is 100th and Annette completed her 200th dive on the last day! We also had a couple of birthdays: Greg hit 60 on Tuesday and his wife, Judy's birthday was the next day (39 again!).
The diving was as we remembered it. The reefs were all very pretty, but there were a lot of lionfish! The divemasters were actively spearing them as they led the tours. The staff at Ocean Encounters did a great job. The boats were clean and well maintained. The staff helped when needed but weren't overbearing. The tours were well run and we were able to do 60 minute (or longer) dives most of the time. The lockers and equipment system was efficient and there was always someone available when there were questions or we needed something from the shop. We dove on the Superior Producer wreck, Klein Curacao and Mushroom Forest in addition to the normal dives. On the way back from Mushroom Forest we stopped at the abandoned Sunset Waters Resort. This was a sad experience, since we had stayed at the resort only 3 years before. The dive shop was completely gone. All that was left was a little chicken wire, some linoleum tiles and the concrete slab where the tanks & compressor were kept. We did get a chance to dive the house reef there and it brought back a lot of good memories. The reef looked the same, except there were a lot of lionfish. We didn't see any when we stayed there last time. Think we even saw the same "granddaddy"lobster we saw last visit- either that or his twin brother! 
If you visit the resort, do not eat at either Hemingway's or the Nemo Bar. We had terrible experiences at both places! The food was OK at best but the service was unbelievably slow- even by island standards. Unfortunately, these restaurants are being run by an independent management company and not by the Lions Dive staff who were very helpful and attentive. The one restaurant we did frequent for lunch was Piazza's. The bartender/waitresses Cindy & Wini did a great job and the food was very good. For dinner almost every night after the first one, we went about 300 ft across the bridge to Augusto's. It is an Italian restaurant with a limited menu, but both the food and the wine were great and the prices were extremely reasonable. For Thanksgiving they created an authentic American turkey dinner with all the trimmings and everyone (except Jennifer) ate the meal and loved it. Jennifer had a "special" rack of lamb and it was excellent as well. 
Will be editing the pictures and video and will put some on the web as soon as we can.

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