Dive Site | The Tugboat, Curaçao
Named after a tugboat which sank after an anchor was dropped through the deck, the vessel is now a very easy and beautiful dive site not far from Willemstad the capital of Curaçao.
The site is accessible via a pebbled beach located alongside a small dive centre and picnic area, with most divers gearing up in the car park and walking the short distance to the beach. Take care on the entry (needless to say booties are strongly recommended) and paddle out a few metres before descending above a gently sloping sandy plateau.
Keep the pier on your right shoulder and descend to a maximum depth of around 18 or 20 metres. Keep an eye out for for frogfish and seahorses which are commonly found among the brightly-coloured sponges.
Continue with the reef on your left. After about 20 minutes’ gentle finning, the reef gradually transforms into a sheer wall, decorated with bright soft corals. Have a look in the nooks and crannies for boxer shrimp, but be careful where you put your fingers – scorpionfish are also found in abundance here. Other species include large barracuda and the occasional tarpon passing by.
The wall eventually leads to Directors’ Bay. However, there is very little current and the two sites are separated by sheer cliffs and a circuitous road, so turn around when you reach your agreed air supply, shallow up and head back towards the plateau.
Between five and 10m are some excellent rock and coral formations which mark the end of the cliff face as you leave the wall and enter the bay. Once you’ve negotiated these, then you can head for the tugboat itself.
The boat rises almost to the surface and the area is popular with snorkel boats so keep that in mind. The top of the tugboat lies at only five metres and is great for a long safety swim past unused mooring pillars and old metal plates and under the pierc into the 'cathedral' which is teeming with life. Squid are almost always present here, and they are so accustomed to divers that once you come out from underneath the pier you can kneel down in the sand and they will approach almost to touching distance.
The exit is directly opposite the pier and an easy swim back up to the rocks across which you entered.
As far as wrecks go, it hardly compares to sunken battleships and cargo vessels, but it’s small, fun and full of critters