As a working dive professional on Curacao, I arrogantly thought I had seen and done it all. But an experience in 2013 changed my perspective completely when I was introduced to Mauricio Handler. From that moment forward, discovering Curacao through his lens would be the perspective that would change the way I would see this incredible Dutch Caribbean Island.
My name is Bryan Horne and I am the Founder/Creator of Dive Curaçao. I was born, raised and lived in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada where I might have been relatively content with my life as a salesman had I not made one fatal mistake, I learned to scuba dive!
After completing the PADI Open certification I became instantly enthralled and incredibly curious about the underwater world. I started diving everywhere I could in Canada, honing my skills and feeding my diving addiction. But, it was when I visited various destinations around the Caribbean that I discovered the delights of diving in warm, clear, blue water. It was then I realized that I had discovered my life’s true passion.
Some people have a midlife crisis, I like to think of discovering my love & passion for diving as my midlife awareness. I quit my job, sold everything and headed to the Utila Dive Centre in Honduras where I completed the PADI Instructor Development Course under the expert guidance of the late Andy Phillips, the PADI Course Director at GoPRO Utila.
Upon discovering Curaçao in the winter of 2006-2007, I can honestly say that it’s never the same scene twice since arriving here. Whale sharks , spinner dolphins, giant manta rays, hammerheads, sea turtles, even a few humpback whales have all wandered into my path over the years. That’s the beauty of diving around Curaçao: it’s natural biodiversity.
In 2013, I was contacted by Maurico Handler of Aquaterra Films to provide support, safety and guidance during his underwater filming sequences. These numerous dives which stretched from Eastpoint to Westpoint (Oostpunt to Westpunt) re-ignited a fiery passion because I was viewing the Curacaoan reefs through his eyes which ultimately inspired me to share this incredible, often underrated, underwater world with you.
The fact is that Curaçao is surrounded by more than 104 sq. km (40 sq. miles) of some of the best coral reefs in the Caribbean, but has remained off radar for most diving enthusiasts. These healthy fringing reef systems are attracting all kinds of marine life visitors, and hopefully more human visitors now too.
When it comes to discovering Curacao, please try not to limit your experience to either the East or West because there is so much incredible magic that is happening just below the waterline. In order to truly uncover this “best-kept secret of the Caribbean” you will need to take giant stride in, to plunge yourself into the warm turquoise waters. But, be prepared for your senses to be overwhelmed by a 360-degree kaleidoscope of intense colour and abundant life.
The most common questions I hear when tourists are deciding to visit Curaçao is – “what to do, where to dive, who to dive with, where to stay and of course the classic question, where is Curaçao?”. Dive Curaçao was founded with these primary questions in mind and even if we do not have the answer, being a local, we know who to ask. So, please ask us! Dive Curaçao is not biased or affiliated with any one company however our standards are high because your safety and your excellent travel experience is what will keep you coming back.
Lastly, what I realized upon discovering Curacao again through Mauricio’s lens is that the intense beauty of the fringing reefs is truly unique to the Southern Caribbean. To be honest, I now appreciate that I had an epiphany that week too. That apathy could no longer be embraced. Where an understanding needed to be reached that conservation, a responsible approach to sustainable tourism and sustainable development could no longer be ignored. This is why Dive Curacao supports, encourages and participates in island wide conservation efforts.
My passion that week was re-ignited. I found a new perspective, a deeper respect for our underwater world and a real appreciation for the beauty that exists here on Curacao, avove and below the waterline. I hope you will discover and dive Curaçao too so you can feel this for yourself!
“ONCE I ARRIVED HERE THE SEA, THE UNDERWATER WORLD JUST CAPTURED ME AND I’VE NEVER LEFT.”
Maurico Handler, Aquaterra Films, is a world renowned Director of Photography, Cinematographer and Cameraman. Mauricio clients include the BBC and National Geographic. He was contracted by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) to film a documentary about the nature (above and below the waterline) for the 6 Dutch Caribbean Islands that you see here.