Author: Debbie (---.asm.bellsouth.net)
Date: 01-26-04 19:28
There seems to be a lot of unanswered questions here about diving in Culebra. It's one my favorite dive locations. My husband and I have been there six times since 2000, and have done over 80 dives with Monika and Walter of Culebra Divers, the last ones just a few weeks ago in January, 2004. We love the island, and are homesick for it. One day we hope to live there.
When choosing a dive shop, please ask: how long have you been operating? what's your safety record? how many dives have you done in these waters? You will find that Culebra Divers has the most experience, a clean safety record, and thousands of dives in Culebra's waters. Walter is an excellent Divemaster, and Miguel is also wonderful to dive with. Walter and Miguel are extremely attentive and patient with new divers, and for experienced divers, if you prefer to do your own thing, they are perfectly happy to enjoy their dives and let you do your own profile, as long as you stay in a loose group and within sight.
Walter taught me to shoot (pictures that is), and helped me to find many hidden creatures on the reef. He loves finding stuff, and is great about camoflauged characters and tiny creatures. He carries this huge-a$$ light that throws so much light on the reef you can't believe it. He quickly figures out what his divers want to see (sharks and turtles or camoflauged or tiny creatures), and finds them all. Okay, well maybe not sharks and turtles on every dive, but he aims to please.
Please check out my website - http://www.debalew.com for underwater pictures. There are none from our January trip because we flooded our newly-housed digital camera. This will give you an idea of the diversity of the reefs there. There are also some topside photos.
The reefs are in excellent shape - very few divers here, and some areas are protected no-fishing zones. The reefs are healthy, and soft corals are abundant. I am always going on to Walter about the yellow sea fans. I've not seen yellow sea fans anywhere else in the Caribbean, yet they are abundant and huge in Culebra. Orange cup coral is also abundant - you'd think you were in Bonaire there's so much of it. When the current is ripping, it's "blooming" and is beautiful! One my other favorite subjects is blue bell tunicates. You'll find way more pictures of them than anything else in my shots, I suppose. I don't know what it is that fascinates me about the blue bell tunicates, but I love 'em.
I also wrote a "trip report" for Rodales last year. See: http://dive.scubadiving.com/members/tripreports.php?s=1846
It contains a little bit of information about everything Culebra. I hope you find it useful. The Rodale's forum is also a good place to ask scuba related questions about Culebra (although they may all refer you to me - ha! ha!). There are about a 1/2 dozen people who frequent Rodale's that have dived in Culebra.
Please feel free to e-mail me with specific questions.