Welcome to episode 15, where we are sailing to Klein Curacao with BlueFinn Charters to explore this historically significant and now deserted Caribbean island, then diving the surrounding picturesque reefs to understand why the locals say “that the underwater habitats of Klein Curaçao is where everything is bigger and there is more of it with almost the guarantee of turtle sightings”.
BlueFinn Charters is one of the most diverse boat tour companies on island of Curaçao that operates an excellent fleet of boats including a luxurious 75-foot (23 meter) catamaran that sails 5 days a week to Klein Curaçao.
As we boarded the Catamaran BlueFinn, that was docked next to Dive Center ScubaDo at Jan Thiel Beach, we were greeted by the Captain and his professional crew that briefed us on the general safety protocols, social distancing rules, the overall layout of the vessel (that includes a BBQ and full service bar) and what possible wildlife we could expect to see during the 1.5 hour journey covering approximately 17.5 miles (28 km). Once we were settled in and safely stowed our gear away, the crew cast off the lines promptly at 8:30am so that we could begin another amazing Curaçao adventure.
“It is not known exactly when Klein Curacao was first discovered. Officially it was first put on the map in 1871 by a British mining engineer named John Godden. Godden discovered that there was a rich amount of phosphate on the island, left behind by wild birds that used Klein Curacao as their breeding ground. In these days, phosphate was in popular demand being used in Europe as an ingredient for cattle food and fertilizer. In fifteen years’ time over ninety tons of phosphate was harvested and exported to Europe. This led to major changes in Klein Curacao’s landscape, leaving it a barren and an uninhabitable island.” [i]
Arriving at Klein Curaçao is a bit of a surreal experience because you do not expect this tiny, rugged desolate island that is surrounded by warm aquamarine water and formed from volcanic rock to be so incredibly scenic. But, after you catch your breath and dive in to the largely pristine and unspoiled underwater world, you will quickly realize that you have found a true Caribbean paradise.
All along the eastern shoreline you will find immaculate examples of a well-developed, healthy coral reef system that supports an enormous diversity of marine organisms. Similar to Eastpoint (Oospunt), these self-sustaining reef systems are becoming increasingly rare in the Caribbean but Klein Curaçao is yet another healthy example because of its dense populations of branching corals that protect the coastline.
Travel Tip: The Netherlands has designated Klein Curaçao as its 55th Wetland of International Importance.
According to Ramsar, “The island is of global importance because of the breeding population of the Least Tern, while a 600-metre (2,000 foot) stretch of sandy beach is the most important nesting area within Curaçao’s jurisdiction for the critically endangered hawksbill turtle and the endangered green sea turtle. The main threat to the Site is uncontrolled tourism, which may negatively affect the nesting activities of the sea turtles and terns.”[i]
Before the Catamaran BlueFinn hoists it sails at 3:00pm, we would encourage you to explore the topside treasures of the Klein Curaçao. A wonderful path will lead you toward the west side of the island where you will first encounter the lighthouse that dates to 1913 and then on to the shipwrecks of the famous oil tanker ‘Maria Bianca Guidesman’, the German freighter called “Magdalena”, and the most recent wreck of the French yacht called “Tchao”.
Travel Tip: Klein Curaçao is an extremely popular day trip for beach-goers, adventurers and watersports enthusiasists alike. To ensure you have the opportunity to visit this little oasis, we advise that you book this all-inclusive trip with BlueFinn Charters well in advance so you can see it for yourself.
Tune in for our final “Postcard from Curaçao” episode, that will release on July 8th, 2020, where we will be re-living this amazing postcard series and visiting the colorful historic areas of Punda and Otrabanda, inside the capital of Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But, do not worry because we are also planning some bonus postcards too plus a whole new series that will allow you to visit with us virtually here in the heart of the Dutch Caribbean.
We hope you have enjoyed this Postcard from Curaçao and we also hope to see you soon. Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list and to the Dive Curaçao YouTube Channel to be automatically notified.
Sincere Love from Curacao,
Bryan Horne, Dive Curacao
Tilo and Yvonne Kuhnast, Nature Pics Films