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Dive Review of Red Sail Sports/Marriott on Palm Beach, Aruba in
Aruba

Red Sail Sports/Marriott on Palm Beach, Aruba, Feb, 2007,

by Barbara Rizzardi, Ut, USA . Report 3218.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Curacao, Andros Island, Roatan, Cozumel, St Lucia, Bora-Bora, Grand Cayman, St. John, Akumal, Playa del Carmen, Lake Tahoe, Monterrey Bay
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Time and depth limits.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments
My boyfriend and his son, new divers, selected the Marriott, Palm Beach, Aruba, primarily for the wind surfing operation located at the hotel. I flew in from Salt Lake City via JFK in New York on Jet Blue for our week long stay. No problems flying down but the return was sketchy due to major problems with Jet Blue at JFK due to a major Valentine's Day snowstorm with some prolonged terminal/tarmac waits in JFK even 4 days after the snowstorm. We arrived unknowingly during Carnival and all the hotels in Orangestad were completely full with traffic snarled due to the large but colorful and festive day-long parade and the marina had several large cruise ships. The Aruba Marriott resort is not dive dedicated and is filled with mostly tourists from NYC, so sometimes you think you are in Queens.It's beautiful, new but expensive with a great pool, impressive buffets, and huge rooms on an expansive sandy beach. They have a casino but that's not my thing so I didn't check it out. Red Sail Sports (RSS) books dive trips (one, am or pm, or two tank, am only, boat dives) from a desk in the lobby and you have to take a shuttle(5 minutes)to the Hyatt for the dive boat. No shore diving available. At the Hyatt they have a small facility to hand out rental equipment (with moderate wear and some leaky tanks/BCs) and weights but no dive shop. Nitrox has to be ordered the night before ($10/tank)but half the time I arrived at the boat and no Nitrox was available and I had to have the divemaster scramble to get it. I could only get 33 ppm Nitrox tanks. Boats were spacious (48 foot or 40 foot)with head on board,camera rinse tank, water/ice tea, and fruit was served between dives. Usually there were 8 to 12 divers, mostly divers with less than 50 dives experience. Several stops were made to pick up divers from other resorts/ships. Rides to the sites took less than 30 minutes. Dive sites were limited to 2 sites on the calm West Coast (Antilles freighter wreck at 60ft, no penetration allowed, balls of darting silversides; and Pedernalis oil tanker wreck in 25 ft with a few unexploded bombs in the sand)or the captain's selection on the rougher south side depending on weather conditions. The south side diving is more challenging with some current and drift dives. Notable dives included the Jane Sea Wreck, a 250 cement feighter, at 90 ft, Captain's Choice (a drop off at 100 ft with lots of brain coral and sea fans), Skalahein (25-50ft drift dive with zillions of schooling creole wrasse, lots of purple eggs nests from mating sargeant majors, and usual trumpets, damselfish), Sponge Reef (with many iridescent purple sponges, a few big green morays, drumfish), and the Sonesta Airplane (a large intact plane you can enter at 80 ft). No pelagics. Larger fish are fished out. Addison and Cierra were enthusiastic and conscientious divemasters and Osma was a delightful captain. However, not the case with Manuel. He may have just had an off day but seemed indifferent, swimming far ahead of the group on a wreck dive, eventually disappearing into the murk with one diver, leaving the rest of the divers at 80 ft to find their own way to the boat/surface, two surfacing with less than 200 psi and too brief safety stops. On the next dive, two novice divers were completely separated from the main group and spent the whole dive in 25 ft of water while the rest of the group proceded to dive the reef at 50 ft. The DM seemed unaware he was missing any divers. Fortunately, this was the only day we had that DM and as I mentioned, the other DMs were fun and engaged with the divers, pointing out interesting fish and frequently checking on all the divers. Overall the diving was fair to good, Arubans were very friendly, and accomodations superior. I felt safe the whole time in Aruba and welcome. If you are a serious diver however, arrange a private boat to visit less frequented sites and dive your own profile, dive a dedicated Aruban dive resort, or dive nearby Bonaire, a protected marine park which I have dived numerous times and highly recommend.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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