Located in Westpunt, Curaçao– Playa Piskadó (aka. Playa Grandi) is a working fishermen’s beach that is home to sea turtles, an incredible coral and sponge encrusted statue of King Neptune, and a vibrant coral reef overflowing with life and color.
Due to its close proximity to the North-west point of Curacao, this section of reef is rich with hard corals and usually teeming with hundreds of types of fish. The regal King Neptune, who is wearing a crown of pink stove-pipe sponges, keeps a watchful eye over his underwater kingdom at the top of the drop-off, and this is a unimaginable “must-do” photo opportunity.
To access this magnificent site, you can walk straight in from the beach where you are almost guaranteed to witness sea turtles chowing down on the day’s leftovers from the local fishermen.
This site has been home to several generations of local fishermen where they clean and sell fish at the wharf. Over the years, their daily activities have resulted in luring large groups of sea turtles to feed on the fish remains and ultimately have become residents in the surrounding waters. If you’re lucky, you may also see trigger fish and larger pelagics such as Manta Rays, Dolphins and even, believe it or not, a Whale Shark (click to see for yourself) in this extremely calm and protected bay.
As you can imagine, today Playa Piskadó has become a popular spot for our island’s visitors and snorkeling “with the turtles” is in high demand. BUT… before you get in the water, we would invite you to first read the signs and pay attention to the information made available by Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao.
Sea Turtle Conservation Curacao (STCC) is dedicated to research, conservation and education. Beyond “just” saving sea turtles, their programs aim to leverage action for broader marine conservation issues with local stakeholders such as the Curaçao Government, the Curaçao Dive Industry, Green Force, Green Phenixand Limpi Recycling. This largely volunteer based non-profit organization realizes that saving sea turtles and saving the oceans require many of the same actions such as addressing unsustainable fishing, reducing marine pollution through regular beach clean-ups, protecting habitats like coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass beds, maintaining natural coastlines, and developing sustainable local economies.
Sea turtles are long-lived species that reach sexual maturity after 20 – 30 years of age and migrate great distances at different stages of their lives. These unique life history features necessitate international cooperation and long-term monitoring programs to best understand and safeguard these endangered species.
According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – “Sea turtles are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems. They help maintain the health of sea grass beds and coral reefs that benefit commercially valuable species such as shrimp, lobster and tuna. Sea turtles are the live representatives of a group of reptiles that have existed on Earth and traveled our seas for the last 100 million years. Turtles have major cultural significance and tourism value.”
Beaches such as Klein Curacao, Playa Kalki and Playa Piskadó to name a few, are nesting locations for both Green Turtles and Hawksbills so please look for tracks and watch where you step so that you do not disturb any potential nests. When visiting Playa Piskadó and other Curacao dive and snorkel locations, please respect our sea turtles and the deeply rooted traditions of our local fishermen. Do not touch or feed the turtles and please, don’t chase after them. Respect their natural environment and help us conserve this beautiful and culturally unique experience on Curaçao.
Robert Wyland’s quote, “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul. The world’s finest wilderness lies beneath the waves. Into the ocean went a world more fantastic than any imagination could inspire”…. sums up this dramatic and truly breath-taking experience!
All that is left is for you to dive right in and feel it for yourself! Discover Curacao, world class vacation and a must dive destination for 2019 where conservation is a priority! For more information, contact a Curaçao Dive Task Force operator for Dive Travel Curacao Specials and to start your next Caribbean scuba diving adventure today!
Pictures courtesy of Nature Pics, Andy Max and Turtle and Ray Productions HD.
Video’s courtesy of Dive Curaçao and Nature Pics.