Trip Report Westpunt Curacao: 6 June to 14 June 2021!

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markmud

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Hello All,

Cathy and I had a great time on Curacao! We met some nice people and thoroughly enjoyed the diving. We experienced exceptional dining at three restaurants. Thank you Cookie and Ken for two lion fish dinners that you hosted at your condo! Lion fish should be on everyone's dinner plate until they are extirpated from the Caribbean.

No photos...unlike my dive buddy @Kimela, I did not lose my camera on a night dive, I left my camera at home (accidentally--it is not an u/w camera--so no topside photos).

C-19 Testing and Documentation:
We followed the Government of Curacao directions for travelling to Curacao. We got the ct PCR test beforehand, we filled out our PLC form, we made appointments for the 3-day antigen tests, and we filled out our Immigration form. The ticket agent read them at the baggage drop area. No problems. We dropped in for the U.S. 3-day antigen test at ADC. We saw a sign and stopped for the test--no appointment. The entire process was a mental hassle, but otherwise painless.

Our Accomadations:
We stayed at All-West Apartments. Roxy met us as the Airport Transfer driver delivered us to All West (the transfer was included in the apartment fee). She showed us our apartment and gave us the keys to our four door Nissan diesel truck (included). She gave us the key to the tank room, where we met Lewis. The tank room had DIN and yoke tanks waiting for us (all included in the apartment rental).

Our apartment was clean and completely functional, which includes a full apartment kitchen. We loved it!!!!! We did have problems with the internet; Lewis was communicating with the service provider to get it fixed. A crew was working on the east end of the facility with buckets of paint and carpentry tools. Our unit had brand new air conditioners. The crew pressure washed and cleaned the outside of the complex while we were there. Obviously, this complex has regular ongoing maintenance being performed. We will go back to All West on our next trip to Curacao without any hesitation. By eating breakfast and lunch in our apartment, I did not gain weight on this trip! We ate healthy and we did not overeat. Woohoo!

We stocked our kitchen from Centrum Supermarket. A beautiful full-service market. I felt like I was in the Netherlands while inside Centrum!

Our balcony overlooked Playa Grande. The shore diving and snorkeling is excellent there. Our tank room has racks and hangers for wetsuits and BCDS. A large rinse tank is inside. The wind blows through the tank room constantly--our gear dried out very quickly. The doors are stainless steal gates with an industrial padlock for each door. Lewis has CCTV cameras inside the tank room. We used the outside shower which is just outside the tank room.

Go West Diving:
We met so many nice people at Playa Kalki. Go West's beachfront has covered picnic tables where divers congregated. We met and enjoyed the companionship from Ken, Cookie, Nicole, and Marit. We socialized off-site with Ken, Cookie, and Marit. We had two lion fish dinners with them. Sue was our resident lion fish hunter and harvest trainer. Ken was actively hunting while I got to "wound" a fish. Sue thinks I did not forcefully set the spear which is why I was not successful. I am now hooked. My filet knife, Japanese fish skinning knife, EMT shears, and diamond steal are already loaded for the next trip.

Tuki and Loyce were the best. All Go West crew members were exceptional. Tuki and Loyce were just more fun!

I love the type of boat diving we do with Go West. All one-way. Even though we dived in completely benign conditions, we did not swim back to a mooring. We popped a sausage and Tuki was waiting for us with dive boat when we finished our SS. My kind of diving--the ultimate in Concierge Diving. Our Go West crews will help you with your gear, or stand aside and let you rig your own "precious" dive gear (I am a little territorial with my kit) .

Dive Sites:
Classified.
All I will say is that one site was the best my wife and I have dived in more than a decade (maybe ever). We dived with a nice couple from the Netherlands one day. He was not conscious of his fin kicks. I protected some of the coral with my body when he got close to the reef. I took a few head shots. I was just amazed with the reef. Awestruck. The other sites were beautiful and fun to dive. There are lots of fishermen on the island; therefore, we did not see large fish.

I can't thank Lewis enough for the use of his apartment, truck, and dive operation. Whether we were boat diving, shore diving, or snorkeling, Playa Grande and Playa Kalki are just beautiful. A truly professional dive operation.

Dining:
Koraal Roof Top Terrace at Oasis Coral Estates, Cactus, and Sol Food gave us the best dining experiences. All on the west end. All of our meals were excellent, the restaurants listed above are definitely on the go-to list for our next trip to Westpunt, Curacao!

Thanks Curacao for a wonderful vacation!
markm
 

ReefHound

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Did you take two 3-day antigen tests? You said you made an appointment then later dropped in with no appointment.

When did you go to Centrum? If not the first day, what did you do for supplies the first night?

How late were the restaurants open?

Is lionfish hunting allowed? Or were you on a special expedition?
 
OP
markmud

markmud

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Pictures:
Lion Fish on Deck.jpg

Yum Yum!! Cookie and Cathy breaded and sautéed them with Panko and one batch with Corn Meal. The Panko crumb crust was better. Ken fileted them without a filet knife--it was not easy. Dive knives aren't good for fileting.

Our Beach in front of All West:
All West Beach.jpg


Playa Grande:
Playa Grande.jpg


Our new friends:
Curacao Friends.jpg

More to come as they trickle in from other people we met on the trip.
markm
 
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markmud

markmud

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Did you take two 3-day antigen tests? You said you made an appointment then later dropped in with no appointment.

When did you go to Centrum? If not the first day, what did you do for supplies the first night?

How late were the restaurants open?

Is lionfish hunting allowed? Or were you on a special expedition?

Hi ReefHound:

Our driver offered to stop at one of the smaller markets on the way to Westpunt. We declined as we had time to drive our truck to Centrum and not be late for our dinner reservation.

We had to take two antigen tests while on Curacao (each). One for the Curacao government, and one for reentry into the U.S. One test had to be taken 3 days after arrival and the U.S. test had to be taken 3 days before departure. You must have your appointment for Curacao's 3-day test before leaving the U.S. for Curacao. The antigen test from ADC costs $20 U.S.

The restaurants were open as late as we like to eat...dunno exactly. We don't do the European plan for dining. We eat between 1700 and 2000 hrs.

Totally legal. Literally kill lion fish early, late, and often.

Thanks for responding,
m
 

drrich2

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Great to see a trip report for Curacao based out of All West Apartments, which is a property in the West Punt area that generates a lot of interest...that and Nos Krusero Apartments are 2 I'd be comparing closely if I were going on a solo trip there.

Got a question with a caveat. As a general rule it's a dicey proposition to try to cram a dive destination into the mold of another (e.g.: when someone who loves Cozumel wants to try a new destination...with all the advantages of Cozumel!). So with that in mind...if you were planning a dive trip just for shore diving, how do you think Curacao and Bonaire compare, and which would you choose?

There aren't a lot of really good shore diving destinations in the greater Caribbean/Southeastern U.S. region, and while Bonaire heads the list, Curacao is often held out as a worthy rival. For that reason, I think it'd be good to know.
 
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markmud

markmud

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Hi drrich2,

Nice to communicate with you again. How are the wife and daughter(s?)?

I am not a good person to make that call as I am not a shore diver, per se.

I think there are lots of shore diving opportunities on Curacao; however, from what I have seen, Bonaire is better. Curacao has beautiful beaches with parking and some concessioners on those beaches. For a more relaxed dive opportunity where the wife and kids could play on the beach while you dived, I am guessing Curacao would be better. For a strictly solo dive trip dedicated to shore diving, I would think Bonaire.

Again, I am not a good person to answer your question, because I am mostly a boat diver. Notwhithstanding, I can spend hours on one dive site. Playa Kalki and Playa Grande are good examples. I could spend many days scouring the reefs to master my new interest, which is killing lion fish. Regardless of hunting, I like to explore every nook and cranny. Westpunt is a better fit for me than Bonaire. I dive "low'n'slow". I am not a long distance, high mileage diver.

cheers,
m
 

scubadada

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@markmud

Classified dive sites, come on now. the rest of of share ours, with the fear of revealing secrets. Our best dives on Curacao were probably at Watamula, once in very brisk current.
 
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markmud

markmud

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@markmud

Classified dive sites, come on now. the rest of of share ours, with the fear of revealing secrets. Our best dives on Curacao were probably at Watamula, once in very brisk current.

Thanks scubadada, you ruined my BIG secret.

I new I would trigger someone, and I am not surprised it was you!

thanks for the laugh!
m
PS: Go West publishes their dive boat schedule, so it really is no big secret where we dived.
 

BoltSnap

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Thank you for the report!
 

tkaelin

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Thanks for the report and glad you enjoyed Cur. Hope to return soon, maybe this fall. I always try to hit Centrum before heading out to Westpunt and Coral Oasis is west of the city but not Westpunt, a bit of a drive.

Glad you enjoyed diving Watamula. It can be a special dive.

I think the shore diving compares favorably to Bon.
 
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