Curacao: Paradise with a touch of Dutch Architecture (Diving Edition)


I love to scuba dive. Our most recent family trip was to Curacao. It was relatively easy diving and the coral reefs were spectacular, but there wasn’t much in terms of large aquatic life. What set Curacao apart was the Dutch architecture, especially of the capital: Willemstad.Boat in WIlemstad, Curacao

Curacao is part of the Dutch Antilles and means “heart” in Portugese, referencing its location as a central trading post. The Dutch West India Company founded the capital on the banks of an inlet called the ‘Schottegat’. Curaçao had been ignored by colonists, because it lacked gold deposits. The natural harbor of Willemstad proved to be an ideal spot for trade. Commerce and shipping — and piracy—became Curaçao’s most important economic activities. In addition, the Dutch West India Company made Curaçao a centre for the Atlantic slave trade in 1662. Wilemstad is now an UNESCO world heritage site. Curacao Water: Just off the dock

Events like the one illustrated below explained why my parents enrolled me in a dive course at age ten, and I was a Padi Open Water Diver by age 11. The best way to keep kids out of trouble is to keep them busy! Mum and Dad were the type of parents who supported climbing trees and playing on the farm, but also limited TV access and signed my brother and I up for all the extracurricular activities accessible. But back to Scuba Diving…

By age 10, I had been abandoned by my parents in their dive boats countless times. Which frequently meant being put under the care of the local childcare. This was bad news for the locals. My fellow abandoned scalawags and I had been on this rodeo once or twice. I have fond memories of pulling out fence posts of daycare centers, wiggling past nannies and scattering, only to meet up at a designated hangout later, and other shenanigans. Probably our worst offense took place in Fiji. I was 10 years old at this point and had gone on quite a few dive trips where the parents took off leaving the kids in the somewhat unprepared hands of the local staff. This time, one of the adults had the genius idea to bring walkie talkies. We made full use of them, dividing up into two teams and leaving our nannies in the dust. You can imagine there were ten of us, separated into groups of five and linked by our walkie talkies. The local staff just wouldn’t leave us alone however, so we devised a plan.

I went into the bathroom. A few moments later, I started screaming at the top of my lungs “spider, spider!” Our two caretakers went rushing into the bathroom to save the day as I went flying out. My co-conspirator then slammed the door shut and popped the latch, holding our captivators inside. We were then free to spend the rest of the day exploring the island and doing as we pleased. What awful children we were!

The next year I was certified to dive and causing no more problems. Sort of…