We're not certain who supervised the loading and trimming of the Superior Producer before its final voyage in September 1977, but we think it's a safe bet that he doesn't work in shipping anymore. The 200-foot ship made it just beyond the Willemstad Harbour mouth before heavy seas shifted its already top-heavy load. Packed with household and Christmas goods bound for Colombia, the freighter began to take on water, and it quickly sank in 100 feet of water - just the length of a football field offshore. It lies so close to the island that, on a good day when the currents are down, a strong and experienced swimmer can shore dive it.
Outside of the occasional bottle of rancid perfume or the odd yo-yo, you won't find much in the way of cargo on the Superior Producer today. In the week following the wreck, enterprising divers - many of them untrained, soon-to-be-bends-cases sipping on hand-carried tanks - stripped the ship of virtually everything it was carrying, including pallet-loads of Levi's blue jeans. Pretty soon, you could outfit a family of five for just a few bucks in Willemstad; you just had to wash everything a few times to get the marine life out. Even today, a common addition to a dinner or party invitation in Curaçao is: "Wear your salty clothes," meaning "casual attire."
Even empty, the medium-size ship, sitting upright and now well-encrusted with growth, is both an interesting and (depending on current) easy dive, with its bridge and holds open for access. Snapper, barracuda, mackerel and more play hide-and-seek among the sponges and black coral. And if you're ever invited to boat dive this wreck at night, do it; the cup corals put on a show that's worth the trip.
Ocean Encounters Curaçao (oceanencounters.com) and Easy Divers at Habitat Curaçao (habitatcuracaoresort.com) are both PADI Gold Palm Five-Star IDC National Geographic Scuba Diving Centers. PADI Resort dive operator Sunset Divers Curaçao (sunsetdiver.com), located at Sunset Waters Beach Resort, offers morning, afternoon and night dives, as well as shore diving less than 50 yards from the shop. The Curaçao Tourist Board (curacao.com) offers a wealth of information for vacation planning, activities, accommodations and more. The Curaçao Dive Operators Association (cdoa.org) partners to protect the island's underwater interests, plus it hosts the annual Curaçao Dive Festival. Check out Aqua Dreams Travel (aquadreams.com) and Caradonna Dive Adventures (caradonna.com) for dive travel-package options.