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A Postcard from Curaçao | Episode 9| Kenepa, Curacao (Watch Video)

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Ninth in a series of inspirational postcards from our friends at Dive Curacao.

Welcome to Episode 9 where we are visiting the Kenepa Plantation.  This Plantation, located in the western part of Curaçao, is named after the fruits of the Kenepatree and is a sprawling country estate constructed in 1693.  In 2005, its buildings were fully restored by the government’s Monument Foundation. Although it was once one of Curaçao’s largest and wealthiest plantations, producing divi-divi seed-pots and sheepwool, this location is truly best known in the island’s history as the place where the seeds of slave emancipation first took root.  Though slavery was not officially abolished on Curaçao until 1863, the road to emancipation began right here at Landhuis Kenepa.

Echoes of the past now resonate loud and clear where aspirations of freedom were once reduced to hushed tones and secret drumbeats…”, says Sue Campbell, Award-Winning Travel & Lifestyle Writer specializing in Tropical Hotspots.

In 2007, a museum displaying rituals, customs, history, and culture from an Afro-Curaçaoan point of view was established at Landhuis Kenepa called Museo Tula. The enlightening permanent and revolving exhibits can be viewed independently or with a guide for groups. Also, on site you will discover a gift shop with local crafts and the Creole Kitchen, a unique café featuring Creole-Caribbean-African cuisine. Guided eco-tours of the surrounding countryside, including a 17th-century garden, are also available.

The Playa Kenepa beaches are two of the most popular beaches located on Curacao. Playa Kenepa Grandi (Grote Knip) and Playa Kenepa Chiki (Klein Knip) are regularly visited by both tourists and locals because the natural beauty and serenity that they exude.

Driving from the historic Kenepa Plantation Landhuis you will first encounter Kenepa Chiki, one of the prettiest beaches on the island, which is a small cove with lots of shade and white sand. This is a hidden treasure for beachgoers, snorkelers, and scuba divers alike.  With an easy shore entry from the beach, you can head out to the drop-off along the cliffs, where you discover a beautiful abundance of bio-diversity including gorgonians, orange cups corals, schooling fingerlings and some small caves.

Playa Kenepa Grandi (“big beach”) is a much larger beach further along the road, in an isolated and practically deserted region of the plantation.  However, this does not mean that the place is not crowded, especially on weekends, when residents will enjoy this “one of a kind” public beach.

Driving down the barren road from Kenepa Chiki you will first encounter the parking lot and then the water starts to come into sight where you will immediately be awestruck by the intensely vivid turquoise sea that lies beneath the surrounding cliffs.  The sun’s rays reflecting off the white sandy sea floor causes the many shades of blues to come to life, enticing you to dive in and immerse yourself into the warmth of these Caribbean waters by enjoying a breath-taking snorkeling or scuba diving experience.


Travel Tip: According to USA Today, “Playa Kenepa is the Bentley of beaches with cliffs that shade the cove and warm waves that keep a beat with the coconut palms. Inviting with sugar-white sand, the small beach has a funkier vibe than the bigger beaches on the more touristy side of the island. Party-hearty daredevils jump from the peaks, snorkeling is sublime, and vendors dish up big plates of yummy island food.


The Kenepa Plantation is the perfect place on Curaçao to get away from it all, to get lost in nature and spend a relaxing day on the beach with an aquatic wonderland just a few foot-steps away, across the sand of these magnificent beaches.

Since both beaches are public, there is no entrance fee required. But there are beach beds and umbrellas available for rent, along with snorkeling gear, transparent kayaks, and paddle boards. For more information, please contact Playa Kenepa or a recommended Curaçao Dive Operator.

Tune in for Episode 10, where will be visiting the Avila Beach Hotel which is the oldest operational hotel in Curacao with a history that dates to 1780.

We hope you have enjoyed this Postcard from Curaçao and we also hope to see you soon.  Don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list and to the Dive Curaçao YouTube Channel to be automatically notified.

Sincere Love from Curacao,

Bryan Horne, Dive Curacao

Tilo and Yvonne Kuhnast, Nature Pics Films


Videos produced and edited for Dive Curacao in cooperation with Nature Pics Films.

Bryan Horne wasn’t born in Curaçao; he’s a Canadian native, drawn to the Island “out of a passion for scuba diving and the underwater world.” Moving was always going to be a life-changing decision, but in diving, Bryan had found his calling. As the founder and owner of Dive Curaçao, he spends his days showing off Curaçao’s hidden undersea treasures – and does his part to preserve them for future generations.

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Historical Submarine Prototype protected

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The wreck of an early British submarine known as HMS/m D1, which was the forerunner to the Royal Navy’s patrol submarines that boosted Britain’s defensive power during the First World War, has been granted protection by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

The wreck, off the coast of Dartmouth in Devon, was investigated in a project originated by U-boat historian Michael Lowrey, who was writing a book about First World War U boat losses. The wreck was identified by a team of technical divers who are skilled at diving at depths of over 40 metres, led by Steve Mortimer, diving from Wey Chieftain IV. They reported the discovery of HMS/m D1 to Historic England and it has now been protected by scheduling. This means divers can dive the wreck but its contents are protected by law and must remain in situ.

Multi-beam image of the newly- protected prototype of the D-Class submarine which was deliberately sunk off the coast of Dartmouth, Devon in 1918 and used as a target to test submarine detection equipment. Copyright Wessex Archaeology

HMS/m D1 was built by shipbuilding company Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria and was the secret prototype for the D-class, the Royal Navy’s first diesel powered submarine. Launched in 1908 and commissioned in September 1909, the D-class was a significant development on the C-class submarine, being larger and more powerful.

At the start of the First World War, HMS/m D1 was assigned to protecting the coast of Dover from enemy invasion before carrying out patrols outside of English territorial waters to monitor German shipping movements. In September 1917, HMS/m D1 joined the Portsmouth Local Defence Flotilla and a year later it was relegated to training duties. In October 1918, HMS/m D1 was decommissioned and scuttled- deliberately sunk. The submarine was used as a training target off the Devon coast for Royal Navy training exercises involving the detection of enemy submarines. The wreck sits upright and largely intact on the seabed.

Multi-beam image of the newly- protected prototype of the D-Class submarine. Copyright Wessex Archaeology

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “The D-class submarine was superior to the C-class, with innovations that became integral parts of future Royal Navy submarines. These included diesel propulsion, twin propellers and a wireless telegraphy system which allowed the submarine to transmit and receive signals. This is a fascinating survival which deserves protection as an important part of our seafaring history.”

Lead Diver Steve Mortimer said: “Every diver dreams of identifying a historically important wreck.  Expecting to find the remains of a German U-boat, we were thrilled to discover a ground-breaking British submarine instead.  It’s tremendous that D1 is now protected but divers can still visit.”

Eight D-class submarines were built. HMS/m D2, HMS/m D3 and HMS/m D6 were sunk outside English territorial waters, while HMS/m D4, HMS/m D7 and HMS/m D8 were sold and scrapped in 1919. The wreck of HMS/m D5 is located off Lowestoft. Suffolk, and is protected under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

For more information, please visit www.historicengland.org.uk

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Tried & Tested: INON UWL 95- C24 Wide Angle Wet Lens

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The INON UWL 95- C24 is the latest wide angle wet lens released by INON and has been designed for compact cameras with zoom lenses that are 24mm at the wide end. The UWL-95 C24 has a maximum angle of view of 95° underwater. This can be increased up to 141° with the optional Dome Lens.

The lens has a versatile M67 screw mount and M52 screw mount, the M52 fitting is already built in. Because the M67 rings are screwed to the lens over this, they can’t come loose like a step up rings. Totally renewed optical design effectively suppresses flare/ghost even in backlit condition to provide sharp and high quality image.

Test Conditions

  • Location: Capernwray Quarry, UK
  • Visibility: 2-3m
  • Temperature: 9 degrees C
  • No of Dives: 1
  • Equipment Used: Canon S110 in Recsea housing
  • Test Equipment: INON UWL 95- C24 with Dome Lens Unit 111A and 67mm thread.
  • RRP of lens and accessories used: £667.98

Review

This was an eagerly awaited new product from INON – a wide angle wet lens that can be used with hugely popular compact cameras such as the Olympus Tough and the Sony RX100 range. Testing new equipment in less than ideal conditions is always a challenge, but it is also a bonus, as for many, these will be the conditions they will experience too. Testing a new lens on an unfamiliar camera system also makes this process harder, as you need time to adjust to the new system, even though that is not what you are testing. My first impressions of this lens, before getting it underwater, was that it is very well made.

As we descended I started to unscrew the lens to ensure that any air trapped between camera housing and lens was released. As long as you do not undo all the way this works perfectly, however with thick gloves, in cold water, I would not want to have to attach the lens onto the camera using the 67mm thread very often as it feels a little fiddly.

Using the UWL-95 C24 can dramatically reduce minimum focusing distance needed between photographer and subject. As the visibility on the testing day was only 2-3m this was very good news indeed and the lens focused on subjects that were virtually touching the lens. Be careful not to get too close to anything that might scratch the lens! The lens, with the additional dome gave a really wide field of view, perfect for wreck, diver, scenic and large marine life shots.

Whilst the lens feels quite heavy on the front of a small camera out of the water, I did not notice it at all on the dive which is great, as some big lenses can require floats or very strong wrists to make them workable. This is a simple grab and go lens that does not need any additional kit or know-how to use. Alas, due to my buddy having a catastrophic dry suit flood, I only got a single dive to try it out, but was impressed with it nonetheless.

Fortunately I am taking the lens up to Scotland to try out on my Olympus TG5 whilst snorkeling and wild swimming – so watch out for more about this lens next month.

For more information visit the INON website by clicking here.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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