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Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Port Marie
Porto Marie is another expansive beach perfect for relaxing, swimming, or diving. There is a small entry fee, but the money is well spent, maintaining the beach to five-star standards. Northwest of Willemstad, travel 7.3 km West on Weg Naar Westpunt from the Weg Naar Hato intersection. Turn left to head to St. Willibrordus and St. Marie. Travel 4.7 km to reach the intersection shown on the Saint Marie dive site. Follow the instructions from there.
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Nov 6, 2006, 12:00 AM
A "Must Do" dive. My fourth time diving this site. Oct. '06. Extremely easy entry from white sandy beach with NO SURF whatsoever. Dive shop on site, 40 yards up from the beach. (I brought my own gear and tanks, weights rented from Atlantis Diving). Porto Marie has both an inner & outer reef separated by a sandy bottom at approx. 50 yards. Just walk out into the 86 degree clear water, put your fins on, and snorkel straight out (south) beyond the floating swim platform to the floating rope which marks the edge of the slope and the first (inner) reef. The drop to the sandy bottom beneath the rope is 15-20' feet and is where you should do your safety stop when you ascend. Follow the sandy slope down the sand channel to the backside of the inner reef. As you descend you should be able to see the inside of the outer reef about 110 feet away -the vis IS that good. If you're a beginner just stay with the inner reef as there's plenty of critters to explore and there won't be any current at all. It's just like swimming in a very large and deep swimming pool/aquarium. The sandy bottom between the inner & outer reefs is about 50' and slopes down. If you swim south towards the outer reef, you'll see the sand channel opening to the back side of the outer reef and open ocean. This channel is about 30' wide with the sloping bottom from 80' to over 100'. The top of the outer reef on both sides of the opening is 40'. The back side of the outer reef is where the real action is. You'll likely see some Barracudas cruising with a few other large fish. The base of the outer reef is in excess of 120' and slopes down from there so watch your depth & watch for current (swim into the current first then coast back). I dove the west outer at 85' on the backside with little current 150'+ vis and 85 F temp at that depth. Not too shabby! I slowly ascended as I headed west to the top of that reef at 40'. Heading back (east) along the top. Just beautiful. At the outer channel opening, I turned north and could easily see the sand channel in the inner reef. Swam to that inner reef channel at about 40' & slowly ascended to the top of the inner channel/inner reef at 20' and hung around on the bottom there for my safety stop. Surfaced just inside of the floating rope and snorkeled back the 40 or 50 yds to shore. There is a great small restaurant on site with very reasonably priced lunches Try the sate chicken with Nasi (rice) or Bami (noodles). Don't miss. Plan to spend at least half a day there. My wife said the snorkeling there was good but not great. Showers (now they're free!) and free clean bathrooms, and a pristine beach. Just doesn't get much better in paradise! JT