My one thousandth dive

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When I found out that I was approaching my one thousandth dive I started planning to do that dive with my regular buddy, Rob. On Wednesday, June 8, 2011, the day had come. By doing a two-tank dive the second dive would be my one thousandth. So we left home rather early (8:30 AM) in the direction of Westpunt. That is one of my favorite dive spots at that side of the island of Curaçao. The characteristics under water are almost similar to Alice in Wonderland (Playa Kalki), it is safer to park your car there and the entry into the water is close to where you gear up.

Westpunt_20110608_004_small

This is a typical Curaçao dive. You enter the water from the beach, swim out to the drop-off and then go to the right if the current permits. There was hardly any current so we went to the right. That brings us closer to Alice in Wonderland and that explains why the underwater characteristics are so similar. Large formations of Star coral and a gradual slope of the reef. We didn't go too deep because of our second planned dive although I still reached 26 meters for a moment when I tried to take a picture of an Ocean Triggerfish. This is a fish that is mostly seen along the Northern shore but for some reason they are always at this site too.  I didn't succeed. The fish went deeper when I tried to approach him. Instead I was able to take a picture of two Green Muray Eels close together.

The dive was relaxed and uneventful. On the way back we always check out the statue of Neptune. And of course it is still there. A large group of Grunts was keeping him company. This statue is just in front of the pier and as such it acts as a clear reference point that you have to turn to shore.

Our second dive site would be Lagun. But first, on the way to Lagun, we turned into the parking lot of Playa Jerimi. From someone living in Lagun I had heard that during weekdays their would be a guard on the parking lot. I saw someone sitting on a bench under a tree next to the parking lot. I asked him about it and indeed he appeared to be the guard. A good initiative because we didn't dive here for a long time because of the risk of a break-in.

Lagun_20110608_001_smallAt Lagun we took a surface interval of one and a half hour sitting close to the beach. It was a warm day and even though it is was working day, there were quite some people relaxing on the beach and in the water.
We geared up, went into the water and swam to the drop-off. The drop-off is quite far from shore. Just outside the bay we became aware of a rather strong surface current so we decided to go under water. But under water the current was at least as strong. We departed towards the right (normally we go left) against the current. To our surprise also on this side there are a lot of large sponges. The coral is not as dense as in the other direction but it is still a nice dive spot. After half an hour of working against the current my buddy reached half tank so we returned. In just 8 minutes we were back in front of the bay.  From there taking a compass reading and reference points along the way in we could swim towards the bay. It was easily recognizable when we entered the bay because the current immediately dropped.
Inside the bay there is a large pile of rocks and we saw a lot of Nimble Spray Crabs. These crabs normally hide under anemones and are hard to photograph, but these were just in the open on the rocks.

After the dive we celebrated my diving milestone with some drinks and a meal at the Discovery Dive restaurant. I also got a present from my dive buddy. He has some 25 dives to go before he reaches the same milestone. So another celebration is in the near future.