By Zachary Moses
We’ve been running our Deep Blue Curacao diving trip for several years, but last year we had to cancel it since the lodge we have been using was shut down after the management company declared bankruptcy. Luckily no one had signed up for our tour at that point, but we still had several disappointed divers when they found out that they couldn’t sign up for the tour.
Happily our beautiful lodge has reopened under new management, and it fell to me to do the arduous task of site inspection…poor me. (Actually this was a long-deferred personal vacation, but also a perfect opportunity to make sure that our lodge was back up to our standards.)
I’d never been to Curacao and didn’t know what to expect. It was nighttime when I arrived and the drive to the lodge took about 40 minutes. I couldn’t tell what the surrounding countryside looked like due to the extreme darkness, but I could tell that the island is very arid. When we pulled into our lodge I was pleasantly surprised by the lushness of the property. It was an amazing oasis on an otherwise dry island.
Check-in was a breeze, since they knew I represent a company that might send a lot more business in the future. There were a lot of “welcome Mr. Moses” and “is there anything we can do to make your stay more comfortable?” Did I mention that I love site inspections?
In the morning we hit the beach, since we really wanted a clear idea of what our clients would experience. Ever had a blue lagoon? It’s a lovely beverage made with Blue Curacao liqueur. Be careful though, they are very tricky, the buzz creeps up slowly. Here I am…and it’s just 10 am…but on vacation.
To counteract our Blue Curacao beverages we figured we should get something to eat. I ordered French fries from the beach bar, and they came with peanut sauce instead of ketchup. It was an interesting change. I liked it!
The beach café was absolutely adorable, and there were lots of interesting signs posted. I especially liked this one, since I have a habit of eating random things I find.
The cafe’s display of license plates caught me off guard. Honestly, how the hell did they come across all these license plates? Curacao doesn’t exactly have roads that connect it to other destinations.
You’d think that being from Key West, I wouldn’t care about beaches, but the beach below our lodge was my favorite spot on the entire resort. I went out of my way to grab the chairs under the palm roof. I had to fight the old Russian ladies off several times, but I stood my ground. It was so nice to just relax on a beach with a good science fiction novel.
The following day, we connected up with our dive company and scheduled a trip out on the water. Their team of local guides was fantastic! They took us to the most amazing destinations … underwater caves, coral gardens, sunken ships. I even saw a live lionfish. I know lionfish are invasive, but they are pretty amazing to see in the wild.
In this picture are our captain and dive guide. The guides come from all over the world, and work seasonally. What a life!
On the way back to the lodge, I got some pretty amazing views of the island. The clouds were billowing for the rainstorms that we were assured never happen here. Well they did, and they were spectacular!
When we got back to our lodge, we toured around the grounds and discovered the sculpture garden. The statues come from all over the world. The founder of the lodge has spent his life traveling the globe collecting artifacts, and even created a museum in Willemstad, the main town on the island. We jotted this down as a must-see when we head into town.
Our journey through the grounds led us to the premier room of the entire property: Jacob’s Tree House, named after the hotel’s founder Jacob Gelt Dekker. Jacob’s Tree House is built on stilts and entirely out of local materials. It conjures up images of Robinson Crusoe and Tarzan. The inside is immaculately decorated with native arts from around the world. We may offer a stay in this tree house as an upgrade on future dive trips.
View of the porch from inside the Jacob’s Tree House.
Our visit started off with a bang when we met up with the new food and beverage manager for the property. His name is Alfred and he and his partner live on the property, so you’ll see them regularly walking the grounds.
Alfred made us the most amazing red snapper, possibly the best fish I’ve ever eaten. We stayed up late with him, and he told us all about his amazing life and all of the places it has taken him. He eventually decided to step back from his globe-trotting lifestyle after a run-in with some thugs in Venezuela. That was when he decided it was time to move back home to Curacao and get back to his true love of cooking.
After my site inspection of the lodge, I gave it the green light, and I am pleased to say that Deep Blue is back on our list of upcoming tours!