Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Today it was time for a dive trip with the Dive Bus! But not until the afternoon, so in the morning we had time for breakfast at the beach restaurant, AzZuro. It was nice to sit there, watch the ocean and the people, and listen to some Caribbean music. Especially since there is construction work going on next to our villa, which means we don’t have much quiet time in the house during the morning and daytime. Having breakfast at the beach gave us a little bit of relief, peace and quiet.
We considered renting dive gear from Blue Bay for the remainder of our trip, but the price difference was small. So instead we picked up our Dive Bus rental gear from the dive shop, since we had it stored in their guest locker.
Today’s dives would be what’s called “Discover Scuba” for Rosario, since he still isn’t technically certified. It costs a bit more than the regular guided dives, and there can’t be as many people per divemaster either. Rosario is also not allowed to go deeper than 12 meters. But it’s great that this way we’re at least able to go diving together! And he has signed up for an open water course this weekend, so he’ll soon be certified for real.
I drove us to the dive center in Willemstad and we arrived just before 1 o’clock. We packed all our stuff into the Dive Bus (well, in this case a pickup truck) and headed towards Caracas Baai with Kelly Dananay (a.k.a. “Special K” to distinguish her from our Kelly 😉 ) as our driver and guide for the day.
This is where we went today:
We were diving at Tugboat, which is a little beach in Caracas Baai (baai = bay in English) with a pier and an enormous ship anchored right there. A sleepy looking security guard, who must have one of the least eventful jobs on the planet, was sitting on the pier and made sure no one would go near the ship (it was fenced off and it’s not like anyone tried). There’s also the Tugboat bar, which had a few cats but not a large amount of customers.
For our first dive, we went out to explore the reef, and it was also the deeper of the dives; I hit 13.3 meters. As soon as we dropped down, we saw a squad of squids and a porcupine pufferfish. Seeing amazing creatures like that the first thing on a dive, makes you wonder if it’s all downhill from there or if there’ll be more interesting stuff to come ;).
There was definitely more to come, and we have lots of videos of this dive! Other interesting sightings were three French angelfish swimming below me in a neat little row, two banded coralshrimp inside a bright purple vase sponge, a couple of flamingo tongues (I was so proud finding those, since they are very difficult to spot) and a whole sea of sea urchins in one area. And of course, the tugboat itself which gives this dive spot its name! The story is that the tugboat was maneuvering a tanker into the bay, when the captain accidentally dropped anchor on the tugboat and sank it. Whether that’s true or if it was sunk on purpose, I don’t know, but it’s now covered in marine life and a very popular snorkeling and diving spot. We came upon the tugboat at the end of our dive. While going into shore, we followed a beautiful, fluttering peacock flounder, and then ran into a bunch of squids – again! I can’t believe how lucky we were with that!
For our second dive, we went shallower and dove under the pier, with the big ship anchored on the side of it. We were absolutely not allowed to go underneath the ship. We did however go in and out between the pillars of the pier, and that is a quite challenging test of your buoyancy. Kelly “Special K” determined that we could handle it; Rosario is doing very well with controlling his buoyancy, especially considering that he hasn’t done so many dives yet. It was definitely fun to dive under the pier, and we got to see some different things. The most extraordinary was – a SEAHORSE! They are so rare, that the divemasters know exactly which two live under the pier: an orange one and a black and white one. And we saw the orange seahorse! Kelly “Special K” then searched the area for a really long time to find the other one, but without any luck. We were extremely happy anyway, as we also saw a very big lionfish, several arrow crabs and banded coralshrimp, juvenile angelfish and juvenile spotted drum (“juvenile” means baby ones; they are so cute!).
On the way back to the shore, Kelly got my attention and took me back to a rock. There were two very large porcupinefish there; porcupinefish are normally very shy but not these two – because they were having a big fight! They couldn’t care less about us stupid people with our silly camera, they were in the midst of a territorial battle. It was amazing to watch!
And then, as a splendid finish to one of my best days of diving ever, we ran into a bunch of squid again. It was really an amazing day.
As soon as we got out of the water, Special K turned up the tempo. We had to hurry back to the dive shop before they close, and we were late. There was also traffic on the way back. Apparently there’s almost always traffic, because although the population of Curaçao is only 160 000 people, they are all in the same place going somewhere at the same time… We kept giving Special K cookies to keep her in a good mood while sitting in a line of cars ;).
Some other people were hanging out outside the dive shop and drinking beer, and we joined them when we were done with our chores (rinsing and putting away equipment). It was Zoe and Bor, both from the Dive Bus, and Brenda and Kevin, a Canadian couple who are returning customers of the Dive Bus. We were sitting around for a while just enjoying a (few) beers and some relaxed conversation.
We drove home a couple of hours later. It was completely dark, but at least we missed the traffic and had an easy drive back to Blue Bay.
If you’re wondering about the title of the blog post, Kelly and I dove at Tugboat on our last trip to Curaçao, two years ago!