I'm as crazy for diving as the next guy, but here's the problem if you stay at SuperClubs Breezes in Curaçao. On the way to the PADI 5-Star Ocean Encounters satellite dive shop on premises, I pass by sea kayaks, catamarans, windsurfers, three bars, a rock-climbing wall, sunfish sailboats, a couple of pools, several restaurants (everything from Japanese to never-ending buffets), a bunch of kids playing table tennis and even a circus trapeze. Yes, a circus trapeze! And all of it is included in the price -- food, drinks (even premium brands), shore diving, rock climbing, entertainment, tips, everything. SuperClubs calls it "Super-Inclusive." Not being a sit-still kind of guy, the place makes me a little dizzy with choices. But my first choice is still clear -- Curaçao is ringed by crystalline blue water with some of the Caribbean's top diving.
Right off the resort, accessible from shore (one shore dive per day is included in the tariff, and additional dives are extra) awaits one of Curaçao's most interesting dives called Car Pile. It's like diving a traffic jam of cars, trucks and other vehicles from about 20 years ago. The wreckage has been transformed by the artistic hand of the sea and now boasts a thick covering of encrusting sponges and corals. With all the nooks, crannies and hidy-holes, Car Pile really comes alive at night, though, and a nocturnal visit should not be missed.
Although Curaçao boasts some of the Caribbean's healthiest reefs, thick with purple tube sponges, orange elephant ear sponges, forests of gorgonians and mounds of star corals, its silent graveyard of tugboats, ships and even a plane are the showstoppers. And a trip to Curaçao is not complete until you experience the Superior Producer and at least one of the many tugboats that reside on the seafloor off this Dutch island.
The Superior Producer sunk in 1977, carrying a heavy load of retail goods, just outside the harbor. While everyone aboard survived, its cargo was later "rescued" by local divers. Sitting upright at 100 feet of depth, this 200-foot-long wreck remains amazingly well-preserved and is absolutely blanketed by orange cup corals, which light the ship afire under the beam of divers' lights on night dives. During the day, resident barracuda and moray eels patrol the decks.
The perfect complement to the Superior Producer is a second dive on the Tugboat at Caracasbaii, which sits in only 17 feet of water and is probably one of the most photographed and recognizable underwater sites in the world.
After my day on the wreck circuit, I plowed through my share of the all-inclusive food and drinks then lined up to fulfill my circus fantasies. All I can say about that is it's a good thing there was a bouncy net to catch my fall. I think I'll stick to my subaquatic adventures.