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

January, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Lynda Durfee, VA, USA
Top Contributor   (38 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 5349
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Aruba, Bahamas, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Key Largo
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
75   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No deco; stay with buddy, 3 minute safety stop on all dives; dive your
profile w/in no deco. No diving for rest of the day once you've had an
alcoholic drink.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
I wasn't using a camera, but there was a designated rinse barrel for
cameras, separate camera table and towels for cameras.  Cameras handed to
divers on line. Charging station on dive deck.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
3 stars   
4 stars    
This is my third trip on the CE II within 13 months, second on this
itinerary.  Sunny, but very windy (25 mph with higher gusts) entire week,
which made getting back on the boat a challenge some times.  Hot shower and
towels on dive deck (as always) were really needed and appreciated.  Only
four divers (and 5 crew) this week, so the diving was really personalized. 
Visibility ranged from pretty good on some dives to times when we wouldn't
have found the site if we hadn't descended on the mooring line.  Sites
chosen on conditions and visibility, so we couldn't do Diamond Rock on Saba
and hit some sites 3 times (afternoon and night).  Saw more than the 1 or 2
sharks/turtles in above fields, but not on any one dive, except one where 4
rays were seen.  Because of the small number of divers, all the crew was
able to dive, with Captains Ian and Dave taking turns with DMs Demi and
Scott.  Jane's cooking was great and I looked forward to the morning and
afternoon snacks as well as the regular meals.  Alcohol (some premium
brands) included, but once you've had a drink, no more diving for that day.
 We made up for that after the night dives! Diving is giant stride entry
from dive deck about 7-8 feet above water; return up ladders to swim
platform, then short ladder to dive deck. Crew helps you in and out; very
safety conscious. Hang lines from stern, but most safety stops done on
mooring line due to strong currents and surface conditions on some dives. 
"Dinghy of shame" available, but no one needed it this week.
Sightseeing excursions available on Saba, Statia and on return to St.
Kitts.  Saba is definitely worth seeing by van ($20 pp), but you don't need
a guide for Statia if you don't mind walking from the dock to the historic
town (1/2 mile). St.Kitts island tour with Percy was great; fort at
Brimstone Hill is huge, and Percy let us take our time; stop at Batik
factory was interesting as well. Diving in Saba and Statia is in marine
parks, with local guide required for all Statia dives.  I don't think you'd
need a week on either island if all you did was dive, so the liveaboard is
a great way to combine the three islands.  Cabins are comfortable and
clean; this isn't a 5-star boat compared to what I've seen on other
websites, but a good value for the money ($1895 plus fuel surcharge of $95,
port/marine park fees, and NITROX for whole week at $150).  If you're
traveling solo and the boat isn't full, you'll get your own cabin without
paying a single supplement fee.  Instruction available, and with few
divers, a bargain.  One diver got her AOW, and was able to choose her three
optional dives based on dive sites and conditions spread out over 5 1/2
days of diving.  I used a 3 mm full suit, but others used 5 mm and hoods
some days. I'd do this itinerary again in January, especially since I
returned to DC right after another 8 inches of snow had fallen!  The
extreme wind we encountered was unusual for this time of the year (just
this week), and very different from the early January trip I made in 2009.
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