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Dive Review of Caribbean Explorer II in
Caribbean (General)/St. Kitts, St. Eustatius, Saba

July, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Jeanne & Bill Downey, PA, USA
Top Contributor   (39 reports, with 5 Helpful votes)
Report Number 4253
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Bahamas, Marshall Islands, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia,
Micronesia, Galapagos, etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, choppy  
Water Temp
83   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth limit of 110'. No decompression diving.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
There was a double decker table, which would be inadequate if more than a
few people had cameras. Dedicated camera rinse bin.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
The Caribbean Explorer II is a great way to experience a smorgasbord of
Caribbean diving without the hassle of flying between islands. The boat
travels back and forth between St. Kitts and St. Maarten; our group of 17
started in St. Kitts. Most of us jetted in one or two days early, staying
at the Palms Hotel, located in the heart of Basseterre and the Circus. 

Except for noisy nights from partiers boom boxes, the Palms Hotel was the
perfect place to be. Each room is different; ours was large and roomy, with
a refrigerator, bathroom, queen bed, sitting area, and a veranda perfect
for watching the island go by. Theres a cozy bar on the premises, plus an
awesome ice cream stand. The Palms Hotel is central to shopping, groceries,
restaurants, and the docks.

Everyone had arrived by Saturday afternoon; as we wandered to the dock
after an island van tour, some of the passengers from the previous week
were gathering their luggage and raving about their trip. We were welcomed
aboard the Caribbean Explorer II by Captain Dave and the rest of the
enthusiastic crew. They all went out of their way to make us feel welcome
and keep us happy, and they seemed to get along well with each other. Bill
the engineer did a remarkable job of keeping the boat running smoothly.
Chef Zach conjured up many excellent meals and home made treats and did his
best to satisfy individual requests. Steward and kitchen help Ryan was just
completing his open water training. Kiwi Anita, the purser, also acted as a
divemaster. Darlene, another divemaster, was dealing with some major upper
respiratory issues and only managed to complete a couple dives during the
week, but still kept busy and cheerful. Divemaster Dawn was a dynamo,
leading most of the dives by default.

The Caribbean Explorer II is a comfortable boat that can accommodate up to
18 passengers in 9 cabins of various sizes and configurations, all with
private baths. There are no individual AC controls in the cabins. Some of
the cabins were quite cold, with air blowing directly in our faces as we
entered the door; a few people in other cabins complained about being too
hot. The smallest cabin, with two bunk beds, was clocked at 83 degrees. The
cabins seemed to be pretty quiet. Towels were changed once during the week.
Our room could have been kept a bit cleanerthe commode started getting
discolored, the sink was never cleaned, and at least one day the bed was
not made, not a big deal, but noticeable. The dive deck is roomy for
gearing up, and theres a handy head. A small skiff, available for rescuing
divers that come up too far from the boat, was towed behind. The upper
deck, where we spent most of our time, consisted of a sunbathing area with
several lounges and an area enclosed in heavy duty plastic with zip-open
windows, where we ate, played cards, watched movies, and relaxed. Swimsuits
were allowed, but not wetsuits. 

Our week began with two days of diving at St. Kitts, including a wreck, a
van, a tug, a barge, and a Mercedes; we saw numerous cleaning stations, a
lancet dragonet, and an unusual looking decorator crab. We also saw the
normal Caribbean fish, squid, and our first decorator sea cucumber. The
visibility was not the best, possibly due to a tropical wave the previous
week, but the diving was quite pleasant and relaxing. One day was spent at
St. Eustatius, where all dives were accompanied by a park ranger who made
sure no one damaged the reef. Besides the usual fish, we saw a nurse shark,
a not commonly seen jackknife fish, a chain moray, flying gurnards, pike
blenny, turtles, an octopus, and a tiny mantis shrimp, At Saba, where we
spent 2 ½ days, the visibility was much better and the scenery
around the pinnacles impressive. Some of the better sites do not have
moorings adequate to hold boats the size of the Caribbean Explorer II, but
we saw nurse sharks, huge anchors embedded in the coral, turtles, mating
(or fighting) crabs, lobsters, eels, sailfin blennies, peppermint bass,
tarpon, and sharks feeding on a night dive. The last day included a 6am
dawn dive, one of the better ones Ive done. The last dive of the trip we
saw at least a dozen turtles, a male lobster in pursuit of a female and
lots of blennies. On the negative side, there was at least one incidence
during the week when a diver surfaced early, needed assistance, and none of
the staff was on the dive decksomething that should not have happened.

We arrived in St. Maarten Friday afternoon and spent the rest of the day
exploring, shopping, and hanging out. Dinner was at a nice restaurant
within walking distance. We spent one last night on the boat with departure
at 9am sharp Saturday morning, so cleaning could commence; luggage stayed
aboard until it was time to depart for the airport. 

This is a trip I would do again.

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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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