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Dive Review of Caribbean Explorer II in
Caribbean (General)

May, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Shelagh McGillicuddy, FL, USA (2 reports)
    Report Number 1694
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
La Paz and Loreto, Baja Mexico, Oahu, Turks and Caicos, South Eastern
Florida, Key Largo
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, dry  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
79   to 83    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
5
Water Visibility
45   to 75    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Return to boat at 500 PSI, 110ft for Nitrox, must dive with computer  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or 2 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
CEII has a table just for UWP gear and separate rinse tanks.  The boat
photographer was on vacation and only two photographers on board so there
were no special offerings or requests.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
3 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
My husband/dive buddy and I picked up the boat in St. Maartens.  We had to
schlep our luggage through a parade to get to the boat because it was
Carnival.  Could have been a pain but we just went with the flow.  The boat
accomodates 18 divers but there were only 7 of us so there was no crowding
which was nice.  Our travel companions made it to the boat before us and we
were glad to hear they got separate cabins.

The diving:  We spent 3 days diving in the Saba marine park.  The boat used
morings and gloves were allowed for only descending and ascending on the
moring lines.  Seeing very little is published on this area of the
Caribbean, I was surpised by just how much there was to see.  Lots of
corals and sponges and its a juvenile fish heaven.  We dove Ladder
Labryinth several times.  Could have gotten boring but there was always a
new area to explore.  Dove the famous Pinnacle/Eye of the Needle which was
nice but deep.  Little time to explore all the colors and life.  Really
liked Diamond Rock and Man of War Shoals.  Visibility was about 50 - 70 ft
which was great for looking at all the little things like lettuce leaf
slugs, juvenile drums, flamingo dancers, gorgonians, seafans.  The
divemasters were all new to the boat so they were learning the dive sites
as we were exploring.  As the week progressed and the crew got comfortable,
the interaction underwater got better.  Henry the engineer (moving to the
Bahamas bost I believe) is great to dive with.  Lots of knowledge and a
great eye!  Lots of anenomes at almost all the dive sites.  Lots of cleaner
shrimp and cleaning stations to float and watch.  Didn't see much  in the
way of big critters.  Saw a couple of nurse sharks, several tarpons and
barracuda.  Saw a couple of turtles at Saba and Statia. We had a few dives
with strong current but not too bad. 

After Saba, we moved to Statia Marine Park for one day of diving.  Diving
was similar to Saba.  Dove Wrick City, the Ledges and Barracuda Reef.  Lots
of little fish!  Park ranger dove with us the first dive then sat on the
boat all day.  Not sure of the purpose but if it prevents reef abuse, it is
worth it.  No gloves at all at this marine park.  They said they cleaned
the moring lines so they weren't necessary.  The water was so calm, didn't
really need to use the moring line for descends or ascends.  On the third
dive of the day, I had equipment problems and had to abort my dive.  My
dive buddy and I were communicating when Paul the Purser saw us and came
over.  He helped us remain calm and assisted us to the surface.  Of course
we surfaced fairly far from the boat so Paul signaled for the dingy.  I was
fine but had ended the dive out of frustration.  Now I was extremely
embarrassed for requesting the "Dingy of Shame" to come pick me
up.  The Captain, Vince the dingy driver and Paul were all involved and not
once made me feel like the fool I was.  I dubbed the dingy the "Dingy
of Shame" where they called me Cleopatra for being escorted to the
boat.  The crew took the situation in stride and never once ridiculed me. 
Can't say the same for my diving companions though.

For the last day and half of diving we moved to St. Kitts which wasn't
anywhere as nice as Saba or Statia.  Though Paradise Reef was nice and made
for a relaxing and enjoyable night dive (only one we cose to do).

The CEII offered island tours on Saba, Statis and St. Kitts.  They were OK
with Saba being the prettiest.  Statia had the most history but the tour
leader was a very old man and was tired by the end.  St. Kitts we were put
in a minivan cab and drove all the way around the island.  Once the
historic parts were gone, it was very boring and depressing seeing the
poverty the locals lived in while on the other side of the island is a Four
Seasons resort and loads of mini-mansions.

The boat itself was good.  I was nervous after learning the crew was all
new but what a great bunch of people!  Captain Paul and his crew are great
folks who work very hard to make sure your trip is enjoyable and our was. 
We had a fabulous time and would return again if not just for the crew. 
Chef Tony is fabulous and the food was never boring.  The food was
plentiful, great variety and always served with a smiling face.  As for the
boat itself, it is ready for an overhaul.  We first stayed on this boat in
2001 when it was the Sea Dancer and it looked almost the same.  The cabins
are SMALL and the heads are ready for work.  It is an older boat but she
was reliable and got us to where we were going.  The weather was very nice
so we spent most free time up in the salon but when it gets hotter, the
cabins will get smaller as you spend more time in there enjoying the A/C. 
Seeing the boat wasn't crowded I feel we really got to meet the crew more
than we would have if it was filled to capacity.  Also, the boat wasn't
crowded so you could find some quiet space.  Overall, there were lots of
laughs, stories were shared and great memories were being made.
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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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