Sometimes you need a last minute vacation. Okay, "need" is a strong word, but sometimes vacation ideas and opportunities present themselves at the last minute. After Tom being unable to get the time off he wanted between Christmas and New Years, and having a few "use it or lose it" vacation days before the end of the year, we decided to take a trip over Thanksgiving. It did mean we had to ditch our families for the holidays, but they were gracious about it and at least we have Christmas coming up in a few short weeks! After quickly going through all of our options and not wanting to have to do a ton of planning since fall was busy and this was kind of last minute, I ended up looking at some package deals and found one for Curaçao. I really didn't know anything about this small island located off the coast of Venezuela, and perhaps that's why it sounded alluring. I also found out I didn't know how to pronounce it. I had heard of Blue Curaçao -- the orange flavored, blue colored liqueur they make here -- but always pronounced it Ker-AH-koh. Apparently it's CURE-ah-so or CURE-ah-sow. Anywho, a Dutch Island in the Caribbean (technically on the geological continental shelf of South America) seemed like an excellent place to go during November in Michigan. One last chance to soak up all the Vitamin D I can before winter hits -- and the chance to visit a new island, culture, country, and dare I say, continent!
|Willemstad, Curaçao. This is "the" waterfront view that everyone photographs. Seriously. Do a Google image search.|
We went into town one day -- the big city of Willemstad. It was actually bigger than you might think for a small island. We just walked along the water past a couple of the town's more notable features. They have what they call the "Floating Market" which is a row of boats from Venezuela that come dock and sell fresh produce, fish and other goods.
|Back side of the Floating Market where the boats are docked.|
|The floating bridge, all pieced together.|
|Floating bridge opening back up|
|We also found Mr. Iguana one day. He acted like he owned the place. He probably does.|
|Shipwreck on Klein Curaçao|
|Lighthouse on Klein Curaçao - we did not attempt to climb up. Didn't look safe.|
|Oh yeah, we also found the Throne of Stones here...|
|The waters of Klein Curaçao|
|A view of the beach from the little "tree fort" palapa we were hanging out in!|
|Barren, and yet beautiful.|
|The far side of the island|
|Fire coral is no joke!|
However, I don't think we could have chosen a better place for our first dive. Bas picked us up at our hotel and drove to a more remote part of the island to this little cove of a beach.
|One of the little cove beaches we dove in.|
|After the second dive -- we survived!!|
It was just us and Bas, so basically a private diving lesson. He kept the intro / theory lesson on land very basic and to the point. We didn't have too much to worry about since being his only two pupils, he was able to keep a close eye on both of us and our equipment the entire time. When we first got in the water, we were in a shallow sandy spot for a while to get acclimated to the equipment and being under water. I was still a little nervous at this point, but there was nothing do but keep going on to the reef where the fish and coral would distract me from any (or at least most) worry. Immediately as we headed out, we saw two something fish that I think are called Sea Robins. At first they looked similar to some other fish I'd seen, brown and white speckled. But as we got closer I saw they had these sort of wings. When we got a little too close for comfort, their wings went out to form a sort of disc shape. Those were actually the coolest fish we saw the whole time. Bas said he hadn't seen those fish around there in a couple years.
We swam through all sorts of corals: fan shaped, fern like, cylindrical...I'll have to look up their names another time. We saw some sea anemones and some sort of creature that was poking out of the coral, only, as soon as you wave your hand near them, they immediately disappear into holes. It looked like a magic trick: now you see them; now you don't. We also touched one of the anemones and it was sticky! I feel like things underwater shouldn't be sticky! Tom said it sucked at his hand, too.
|Wow, besides the coral - check out my CRAZY hair!!|
I had no issues with the first dive other than a little bit of nervousness. I was surprised to hear that we made it to a depth of 36 feet! I was not expecting to go that deep and it didn't feel that far down. After the introductory dive, we drove to another small cove nearby that had a more immediate descent along an ocean floor of coral. I felt much more comfortable this time - once I got into a sort of rhythm with the breathing I could focus more on the fish. The reefs really are teeming with life. There are so many small fish and sea creatures just hanging out in the underwater world below. Tom was saying that the theme song to our diving excursion would be "A Whole New World" -- I was thinking "Under the Sea". Regardless, it was magical as a Disney movie and an incredible first diving experience. We went to about 40 feet on the second dive with lots more coral. Bas also brought his awesome underwater camera and snapped photos of us the whole time.
I definitely enjoyed the second dive better simply from the standpoint that I was more comfortable underwater. Curaçao is supposed to be a great diving spot. I have nothing to compare it to, but I'm sure glad we went!
Overall, it was a great relaxing trip: something we haven't done in a while. We still had some adventure, but there was lots of down time, and I think we both really appreciated that.
Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Happy Gilmore. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!