The Blue Room A Diver's Rhapsody

January 1, 2016

Until just a few short years ago, dive boats passed by a small opening at water level along the West End shore, without thinking too much about it.

Divers were happily distracted exploring one of the Caribbean’s most renowned sites: the inimitable Mushroom Forest, just a few lazy fin-kicks from the narrow cliffside entrance. Curaçao was still off the radar then, so divers attracted to the more bucolic West End were focused on sites like Alice in Wonderland, Mushroom Forest, and the exhilarating Watamula. Once in the water, the allure of dizzyingly clear blue water and dramatic healthy reefs kept divers busy. Wishing the air in their tanks was unending, they descended the life-packed sloping walls rather than heading toward shore, except to return, reluctantly, to the boat.

 

As Curaçao attracted more press, enthusiasts increasingly visited the West End and stayed on for their entire dive holiday. Like good dive shops everywhere, local establishments spent their free time looking for new, exciting, and unique places to take their clients. Eventually, some intrepid explorer ventured beneath the foot-high slit that marks the entrance of the open-air water cavern to discover what is now one of the coolest and most talked about experiences in the entire Caribbean – the Blue Room.

 

But the story of the Blue Room begins not as a dive site. It originally appealed to antsy divers as a perfect place to go off-gas between scuba forays into the nearby Mushroom Forest. The Blue Room is easily explored by snorkelers and once you duck under the narrow opening, the small cavern opens up to an air-filled chamber, complete with tiny bats. Only about 20-feet deep, it was a perfect jaunt between dives, and a good breath could take almost anyone to the bottom. Word started to spread about the unique experience, especially the light. The color of the water seemed to magically change to an electric vivid blue upon entering the chamber. Flickers of reflected light danced off the ceiling and the seafloor, creating a sense of wonder, as if one had passed through a magical portal. Once you start to talk about light, magic, and wonder, pretty soon you’ve got professional photographers asking about it. This was the moment that a tiny, air-filled chamber mostly enjoyed by snorkelers between dives, went from a West End novelty to a West End must-dive. Underwater photographers discovered the Blue Room. The first famous name to capture the Blue Room was “big animal” photographer Amos Nachoum. Amos is a light wrangler and the Blue Room was nirvana for the National Geographic explorer.

 

No big animals, but big experience in an intimate space. And, if you ask him today, he’ll list the Blue Room among his favorite dive experiences in the Caribbean, not just Curaçao. He described the light in the Blue Room as “perfect.” Once people started to regularly explore the Blue Room with scuba tanks they discovered more than just the ethereal light. They found surfaces covered by orange cup coral, filled with micro wonders. And then they saw that images of the blue were complemented by a flamboyant orange. Lurking in the shadows year-round you’ll find copper sweepers, a small gold-bronze fish that looks like it’s swimming upside down. And, in the late days of August through September, the Blue Room fills with silversides, which light up the cavern as they move and flow like mercury. Now, more than just an afterthought, the Blue Room has become an essential Curaçao experience. And, that light… unforgettable.

 

 

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