Curaçao, located 60 km north of Venezuela, forms part of the leeward Netherlands Antilles. The small oceanic island (61 km long; 443 km² total) is surrounded by fringing coral reefs, which are better developed along the leeward coast. The shallow reef community, which begins 20 m to 250 m from the shoreline, consists of a terrace that slopes gradually seaward to 7-13 m depth and then slopes steeply to a sand terrace at 50-60 m.