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Dive Review of Cane Bay Dive Shop in
Caribbean (General)

Cane Bay Dive Shop, Dec, 2012,

by Leonard Gerber, NY, US ( 1 report). Report 6836.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Panama, Cozumel, Belize, Bonaire
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 75 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 25 to 50 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions none
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 2 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 N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling 1 stars
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments ]Disappointment Followed by ....Disappointment. As a diver for almost 30 years, I have never found it necessary to write a review of a dive shop/experience,since for the most part they usually are fair & competent. So I guess my experience with Cane Bay Dive Shop was a rude awakening to an attitude problem which made it imperative for me to warn other divers to stay away. It was bad enough that I had to experience their slip-shod service but hopefully I could save others from experiencing the same.
The reason I booked my dives with them was simple, they had a dive shop @ my hotel, the Divi @ Carina Bay. [This is a very pleasant resort which has an all inclusive option which I recommend. Since it is located on the East end of the island there are very few other dining alternatives. If you were to chose to eat here a la carte for dinner for example,it would run $75-$125 per couple.] What I didn't know, about this dive shop was, no actual dives occur from there or from the hotel dock. The dive shop, where they actually dive from is 45 minutes away from the hotel, which is only accessible by a rental car or cab (@ least $30 each way). In almost all cases as a diver since 1986, I have found that the dive shop either picks you up by van/jeep or by boat, @ the dock of your hotel. Cane Bay dive Shop does neither!
Unfortunately, we had some inclement weather, & our first two days of diving were to leave from Frederiksted (F'sted) not Cane Bay. F'sted is one hour drive from the Divi, & of course an increased fee for a cab ( $ 45 each way }. So I bit the bullet & incurred the increased cost of a rental car. For the record the diving, @ F'sted is inferior to Cane Bay.
Some of the better dive sites on St Croix are @ the Salt River, so on the 3rd dive day I was quite excited to be diving this site. Well as everyone on our dive boat reported it was a very difficult place to find on our own , adding a good half hour to my travel time as a result of the poor directions offered from Cane Bay Dive Shop. Once on the boat & ready to go we were told to get off the boat for it would not start. We waited almost 2 hours & were then offered boat dives in Cane Bay off one of their " zippered zodiac" inflatables as a substitute. I found these dives to be average, but without the accommodations of a true dive boat. The problem was when I inquired when they were going to reschedule these Salt River dives, I was told that they had obligations to the cruise ships, so it was not likely to be rescheduled. Although, I was disappointed I figured I would just go with the flow, & just keep diving. The problem however the next day was that they were going to REPEAT the same two dives in F'sted I had done on the first day. They did however, offer me 2 shore dives from Cane Bay. Now I had already paid for 10 boat dives but I love to dive so I figured there would be some adjustment in my rate @ the end of the week. I also had a fleeting glimmer of hope, they told me they would call me if boat dives were to become available, otherwise just show up @ 2pm for the shore dives. So I show up for the shore dives @ 2 pm only to be told the boat (inflatable ) had just left & why wasn't I there @ 1:30 (claiming they had called me to tell me about the availability of boat dives).Well they had my cell phone number, a brand new I phone, & there was no missed calls. They said they left a message @ the hotel, but I questioned the operator & there was no record of their call; nor was the red light on my hotel phone blinking indicating there was a voice mail. I did decide with no other alternatives available that I would do the shore dives that were offered. After the first shore dive I felt a little queasy, ( sausage for lunch-big mistake) so I decided not to push it & chose not to dive the 2nd shore dive. I inquired about the remaining dives for the week & was told they would not be diving the Salt river until Tuesday,even though they knew I was leaving Sunday. The said someone else had requested a specific wreck dive on Saturday & they were going to try & honor that request. This was despite the fact that I had requested the Salt River dives, that they had cancelled when their boat failed. Adding insult to injury, I soon found out that the individual who had requested the wreck dives was a local who would obviously be available @ other times,since he lived on the island, whereas I only had Saturday to make up their shortfall.
I had also mentioned that I wanted to do a night dive & was told that the pier @ F'Sted was excellent. I find that night dives are often the highlight of my dive trips. During the course of the diving we did the Pier during the day but before this I asked, if I was to do the Pier during the day, would we still be doing the Pier dive @ night? I was assured that they are 2 totally different dives & the day dive had no bearing on the availability of the night dive. I quickly surmised that this would be a superior night dive since we saw 2 seahorses during the day. I had visions of the nite dive @ the Pier in Bonair which is world class. Well, just like all their other promises this one was also broken. Their lack of organization/leadership again came into play & I was now told that the night dive would be a SHORE dive from Cane Bay-an inferior & mundane local.
On Saturday the day before I was leaving, I called to settle my bill. I had completed 7 of the 10 dives I had booked. I spoke with their front desk late morning & was told I would get a call back shortly. Of course, [like the first time where the said they had called & of course did not], no call came so naturally I called back & spoke to the boss, Hal. [A word about Hal-I had met him several times during the course of the dives that week. What should have been a red flag to me about this sub standard dive operation was at these meetings, he NEVER smiled.] Much to my surprise he informed me that they had in fact gone to the Salt River on Saturday a.m., 2 dives I could have done, but they never bothered to call me about their schedule change! He said there were no refunds. I tried to explain to him that I had booked the 10 dives but only accumulated 7 as per the aforementioned scenario. My belief, as per the set of circumstances described was that I'd be treated fairly, only to be told " no refunds". I guess refunds only come with a smile.
I did enjoy the company of the dive staff & boat captains who did their best under the circumstances but could not fathom this dismissive attitude in such a competitive field. Upon speaking to other divers @ the resort I found a common thread,Cane Bat divers did not seem to care. The only explanation that we could come up with was that since they have some cruise ship contracts to keep them in the black,that they don't really care about the " little guy ". As an aside I did some research after this experience & as an alternative, found N2 The Blue divers to be very professional.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Gary in AB, CA at Jan 01, 2013 13:59 EST  
Thanks for the very factual review (I don't like lots of adjectives or colour commentary). I know I will never book with these guys and will pass the word on to my dive buddies.
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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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