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Sustainable Dive Tourism in Curacao

Bryan Horne

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Dive Curaçao, from the very beginning, was created to be a sustainable online platform to strengthen the dive tourism industry in Curacao. Our mission is simple – continually deliver the most comprehensive dive destination resource in the Caribbean that promotes the Curaçao diving industry and supports sustainable tourism initiatives in Curaçao.

Why?  Because Curaçao, the largest of the ABC (including Aruba and Bonaire) Islands, is still relatively unknown as a world class dive vacation destination, especially in North America.

Therefore, our goal is to create awareness of our “hidden gem” and to build an atmosphere that both educates and fosters the enjoyment of sharing the amazing underwater experiences that are available in Curaçao.

Photo: Turtle and Ray Productions HD

The fact is that some of the most bio-diverse reefs in the Caribbean exist right here in Curaçao. The sheltered southern coast is rich in coral, and suitable for divers of all levels, with little in the way of adverse conditions at any of the popular dive sites.

Divers and snorkelers never seem to be able to stop talking about the beauty of scuba diving Curaçao.  Let us assure you this is with good reason.

The focus of Dive Curaçao will always be centered on scuba diving. But Curaçao is a very unique island that offers travelers so much more than the typical Caribbean “eat, sleep and dive” vacation destination because history, culture, language, food, music and on-island events play a major role for our island too.

There is no denying that Scuba Diving in Curaçao is the number one thing to DO – but of course there are plenty of things to do in Curaçao and no right way to experience any of them.

Dive in and explore the endless possibilities here in Curaçao so that you can make our island your own experience while embracing our authentic and certainly unforgettable spirit.

Investing in Sustainable Dive Tourism in Curaçao

Global media platforms largely overuse the phrase “sustainable tourism” to create buzz for brands and destinations alike that simply want to “green wash” and now “blue wash” you into thinking your support could have a lasting effect on our global fight against environmental issues.

Whether the issues are coral reef degradation, plastic pollution, global warming, excreta – the list is literally endless, right? But we can only control, what we can control within our bubble and that is one of major reasons that Dive Travel Curaçao exists today.

Honestly, from a private sector point of view if we do nothing to support the environment here in Curaçao we will not be able to deliver you exceptional dive travel and vacation experiences in the future.

Therefore, we are committed to support and continually invest in sustainable tourism initiatives that truly make a difference for Curaçao, not only from an environmental perspective but also from a socio-economic perspective too.

But we are only able to do that because of your trusting patronage and your unrelenting desire to Dive Curaçao!

Curacao Sustainable Tourism Partnerships

Dive Curaçao and Dive Travel Curaçao is appreciative of the sustainable tourism partnerships developed with Reef Renewal Curaçao, Stream2Sea, the Caribbean Shark Coalition, the PADI AWARE Foundation, and so many more.

These sustainable tourism partnerships in collaboration with the Dive Shops and the Dive Resorts in Curacao has created a symbiotic relationship that allows Dive Travel Curaçao to offer the best overall value for dive vacation packages that supports protecting the coral reefs of Curaçao for future generations.

Photo: Bryan Horne

Supporting Coral Restoration in Curacao

“At the heart of Dive Curaçao and now, Dive Travel Curaçao, is an unwavering commitment to provide exceptional value, high quality and personalized service to ensure that you, as our client, can have the opportunity for the best Curaçao dive vacation experience”, says Bryan Horne, the Managing Director.

To further underline this commitment, he says; “our coral reefs are a vital component of our island’s tourism product, therefore we are also proud that 1% of Dive Travel Curaçao’s net annual proceeds will be donated to Reef Renewal Curaçao so they can re-invest it in restoring corals for the future of Curaçao.”

The significance of Reef Renewal Curaçao (RRC) is that together as a community here on Curaçao, we are restoring our shallow water reef system while educating our youth about the importance of protecting and preserving our natural ecosystem,” according to Pol Bosch, Operations Manager of RRC, who adds: “I am proud of Dive Travel Curacao’s commitment for coral restoration and believe that supporting initiatives like this further solidify a natural path to sustainability for future generations.”

PADI AWARE Foundation in Curacao

Reefs worldwide are facing threats including climate change, overfishing, water pollution and marine debris from human waste like single use plastics. While the effects of climate change must be addressed on a global scale, local communities can give their reefs the best chance of survival.  They can start by reducing pressures such as fishing responsibly and reducing land-based pollution that is entering the ocean.

Many Caribbean reefs, like those in Curaçao stand a good chance of surviving if local pressures can be minimized. Several organizations on the island are working diligently to help restore and protect Curacao’s reefs by tackling these issues.

“The diving community in Curacao are true leaders in the fight to protect what we love. Together dive centers on the island have united to protect their local dive sites from the onslaught of trash. They realize that conservation cannot be done in isolation and that it takes the collaborative efforts of all to really make change.” says Jack Fishman, PADI AWARE Foundation

Plastic pollution is affecting the oceans across the world, and some reports estimate that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Marine life like fish, birds and sea turtles can mistake plastic for food and eventually starve or become entangled and suffocate.  

Sadly, many islands did not take-action quickly enough and their reef systems have collapsed. Collapsed reef systems result in losses in tourism, fishing revenue, floods, deteriorated water quality, and less resistance to storms.  Luckily, Curacao still has the chance to protect itself if action is taken immediately.

Stream2Sea in Curacao

Dive Curacao is a proud partner of Stream2Sea and Caribbean Organic Beauty, trusted eco-conscious brands, that offers reef safe biodegradable sunscreen and body-care products that are backed by the most thorough testing for coral and aquatic safety in the industry.

Stream2Sea sunscreen and body care products are completely reef safe and biodegradable.  In fact, Stream2Sea is the FIRST and the ONLY brand that “walks the talk” to ensure that all their sunscreen, skincare and body care products do not contain Oxybenzone, Octinoxate and Octocrylene. To ensure this, rigorous testing is conducted to prove their products are safe to fishes and coral larvae (Protect Land + Sea Certified)!

To underline our commitment to sustainable tourism, Dive Travel Curacao in collaboration with our partners, we offer Stream2Sea products in Curacao so you can protect yourself against the raw elements and protect the coral reef against toxic ingredients.

Sustainable Dive Tourism News

Sustainable Tourism in Curacao is of immense importance to conserve our ocean. Equally important is the real commitment that is required for our island, located in the heart of the Dutch Caribbean.

Our island’s subaquatic life is one of the many things that sets Curaçao apart from the other islands in the Caribbean. The commitment of Dive Travel Curaçao, and our sustainable tourism partners, to Reef Renewal Curacao and the PADI AWARE Foundation initiatives are first steps in sustaining and spreading awareness of our island’s ocean life.

With the assistance and teamwork of the entire community we are creating change to provide future generations an opportunity for a healthy and sustainable environment, both above and below the waterline.

Click here for the latest Sustainable Dive Tourism News from Curaçao.

Header image:  Frank Do

Bryan Horne wasn’t born in Curaçao; he’s a Canadian native, drawn to the Island “out of a passion for scuba diving and the underwater world.” Moving was always going to be a life-changing decision, but in diving, Bryan had found his calling. As the founder and owner of Dive Curaçao, he spends his days showing off Curaçao’s hidden undersea treasures – and does his part to preserve them for future generations.

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Cayman Bogue swim fundraiser adds sister island event for 2023

Caribbean DTA Team

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Swimmers from around the world invited to traverse ‘The Bogue’ in this 10K swim from Cayman Brac to Little Cayman for CCMI.

In September 2021, 16 local swimmers took on the challenge of swimming from Cayman Brac to Little Cayman, an open water swim of approximately 10 kilometres, to raise money for local non-profit the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI). After a very successful and fun initial experience, the organisers plan to make this an annual event to help bring endurance swimming events to the Sister Islands.

With such interest after the inaugural event, the 2023 Cayman Bogue Swim has increased the number of available registrations to 50 swimmers, has opened registration to swimmers both locally and abroad, will include several categories of registration, and will feature an expanded weekend of fun and activity in Little Cayman. Participants and their supporters can plan to join other Bogue swimmers for a welcome drinks/packet pick up event on the Friday evening, Bogue Bash: Band and BBQ celebration dinner on the Saturday evening, a tour of CCMI, and more. The weekend will begin Friday, 28th April 2023, with the actual swim starting at 8 am on Saturday, 29th April. The swim starts at Scott’s Dock, Cayman Brac and finishes at Point of Sand on Little Cayman.

Swimmers can choose to register in the competitive ‘race’ category, open water swim category, or as a relay team of two or four persons. No matter the race registration category, the Cayman Bogue Swim is an opportunity for swimmers of all ages, backgrounds, and mixed ability to share in a unique physical and mental challenge that has only been completed by a small number of swimming enthusiasts.

Swimmers can register for the event at https://donate.reefresearch.org/BogueSwim2023. Registration is US $325/person, and it includes event registration, welcome pack, event shirt, event swim cap, entry to welcome drink event/packet pick-up, locally made finisher medal, entry to the Bogue Bash: Band & BBQ event, tour of CCMI, transport via boat to the start line from Little Cayman, in-water support, and include a donation to CCMI in support of their work. Flights, lodging, all other meals, and incidentals are not included in the registration fee and are the responsibility of the participant.

The organisers of The Cayman Bogue Swim once again selected CCMI as the beneficiary of event proceeds, and unlike last year, swimmers will not have to engage in significant fundraising as part of their commitment to swimming in the event. However, anyone wishing to support the participants and their efforts to swim across the Bogue are welcome to donate to the online fundraising page: https://tinyurl.com/Bogue2023.

All donations support CCMI and their work to protect and restore coral reefs in the Cayman Islands through impactful research and innovative marine education experience for students.

For more information about the swim, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/caymanbogue.

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Halloween Special Part 2: PADI’s top 7 wrecks to dive in Bermuda

Caribbean DTA Team

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Just in time for Halloween, we’re back with Part 2 of our deep dive with PADI into spooky Bermuda… 

  1. The Mary Celestia

Also known as the Mary Celeste, this Civil War-era paddle steamer hit a coral reef and sank to her watery grave 1884. She’s known as one of the oldest wrecks in the area and is well-preserved considering: divers can view both her intact paddlewheel and engine, plus her bow, stern, boilers, and anchor. Resting at 55 feet below the surface, a little piece of Mary Celestia made its way above water in 2015 after a few bottles of 150-year-old wine were discovered and delivered to sommeliers for sampling in Charleston, South Carolina.

  1. The Cristóbal Colón

This enormous ship is the largest wreck in all of Bermuda. Coming in at a whopping 499 feet long, the Cristóbal Colón was a Spanish luxury liner that crashed into a coral reef off the north shore in 1936. With an abundance of marine life that’s settled in and around the wreckage strewn across 100,000 square feet of the sea floor, she’s visited by snorkelers and divers alike. Today she can be found at depths of 15 to 60 feet, but she used to peek out the surface of the water when she first sank, up until she was used for target practice in World War II.

  1. The Iristo

Only a year after the Cristóbal Colón went down, the Iristo (also known as the Aristo) followed in 1937. The captain of the Norwegian freighter is said to have been startled by the Cristóbal Colón’s wreckage, which ultimately led to the Iristo’s own untimely fate. He ordered the crew to change course but the Iristo struck a submerged reef and went down too! Her wreckage remains to this day with engine, boilers, and propeller visible amongst spectacular coral.

  1. The North Carolina

Looking for an extra spooky dive? Check out the North Carolina’s ghostly “deadeyes” in rows along her deck railings – the uncanny sailing riggings look just like cartoon skulls. At depths between 25 and 45 feet, she makes for an eerie visit whether taking a shallow dive as a beginner or diving into the deep. Hailing from Liverpool, this 250-foot English iron hull sank on New Year’s Day in 1880 when she ran aground southwest of Bermuda. Despite attempts to raise her, she remains in the depths of the sea sitting upright with a collapsed mid-section.

  1. The Montana and the Constellation

Get a two-for-one dive in when you visit the Montana and the Constellation, uniquely stacked on top of each other to the northwest of Bermuda. The Montana wreck dates back to 1863 – the Civil War era blockade runner hit a shallow reef and down she went. The Constellation followed eighty years later in 1943 and some reports state that the Montana’s bow took her down! The American cargo ship was carrying building materials and scotch when she went down, so divers can view stacks of cement bags and glassware when they explore these shallow waters.

  1. The Hermes

Explore the outside or inside of Hermes, a freighter that experienced engine trouble and was abandoned by her crew. Built in 1943, the lonely ship was deserted until 1984 when she was acquired by the Bermuda Dive Association and turned into a sunken artificial reef. She’s known as a highly photogenic beauty with fantastic visibility. Fully intact with her mast pointing to the surface, Hermes has come a long way from desertion as one of Bermuda’s most popular dive sites.

  1. The King George

Another lonely and ghostly ship left to sink to the bottom of the sea, the King George is a large dredger that was built for the Bermuda Government. After arriving on the island in 1911, she served a few years before being towed out to sea and left to sink in 1930 when she was no longer needed for harbor operations. Fully intact and upright, divers can circle her from end to end on the quiet ocean floor.

Ready for a Spooky Dive in Bermuda?

If you want to dive into the spooky depths of Bermuda’s water, there are several different types of PADI certification to get you there.

Formal training for wreck diving is especially important for your safety as it involves special procedures, techniques, and equipment. The PADI Wreck Diver Specialty Course covers all the fundamentals and includes four scuba dives to give you practice in the open water.

Enrolling is simple: you must be at least 15 years old and have earned your PADI Adventure Diver certification or higher. PADI’s wreck dive certification covers the basics, from navigating the inside and outside of a wreck to the appropriate gear you’ll need for wreck diving. You’ll also learn how to plan and map a wreck site along with special techniques to protect the site’s integrity.

You complete your certification after four wreck dives with an instructor, and away you go! The eerie deep blue of Bermuda awaits…

Images: DIVE BERMUDA

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