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Dive Review of Ocean Encounters West/All West in

April, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Michael, MA, USA
Reviewer   (4 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 4741
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Thailand, Bali, Australia, Little Cayman, Saba, Statia, Grand Turk
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy  
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
77   to 78    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No restrictions, but was advised to stay about 80 feet. There was not need
to go deeper  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
There was a bucket with fresh water for cameras on the boat separate from
masks. No table. I use digital compact without strobs so I do not much of
photo facilities.  There were plenty of photographic opportunites. In total
of 11 dives I came out with about 400 acceptable images although I am
pretty selective in subject matter. A few Curacao land and UW images are
already uploaded to my website, "Travel"
"Curacao" Gallery. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
4 stars    
If you read Undercurrent report in June 08 issue, there is really very
little I can add to it.  Basically that is why I subscribe to Undercurrent.
I read the report, liked what it said and made reservations. The trip has
proved that report was accurate.
We did not do any shore diving, mostly because I am too lazy and I like
boat diving. Also there were very few people on their very good size and
comfortable boat, as few as two, and four-five on average, so I prefered to
use this opprtunity.  I hate crowded boats. Actually a lot of people we
talked to dived shore dives only. Another reason we did not dive from shore
is we do not have booties, just full foot fins which means you have to
enter water barefoot. Not too easy with broken coral shores.
Ocean Encouters West (OAW) dive operation staff is very professional, very
friendly and very helpfull.  It has a full compliment of rental gear in
great condition, and very well stocked retail shop.   Over the years of
diving on Little Cayman we were spoiled rotten by Paradise Divers and Conch
Divers staff, so I am always a bit comprehensive about any dive operation.
However OEW's staff of Julia, Angel, Tanya, Rudd, Jo, Alex and Tooky were
just great. I would dive with them next time in a heart beat.  Reservations
were made with Bea, who was incredibly helpful.
As for diving, this was the best coral environment we have ever seen in our
20 years of diving. As a matter of fact while photographing there was
sometimes no place to put your finger without touching live coral.  Fish
life was usual Caribbean, with more eels of any variety than than we have
evr seen. One eagle ray, a couple of turtles. Needless to say that there
was a good size hummerhead filmed right next to our appartments in 10 feet
of waters a week before our arrival (video is on OEW website) and we were
promptly informed by e-mail that manta was circling divers at Watamula for
about 10 minutes ... the next day after our departure. Dont' we all have
this happen? But on the morning of our departure a humpback whale was
splashing next to moored dive boat literally 50 yeard from shore.  So much
so that my wife frantically dug out of suitcase already packed fins and
mask, threw them from the balcony down to me and I ran down to the water to
go snorkeling with humpback. Well, not quite of course, he apparently had
different plans that day, but we saw him breaching further out after that.
So much fo marine life. Not to mention that between dives one day we had a
pod of dolfins riding in the bow wake with their babies. I have a video of
As for food there is a variety of options at all price ranges and ambience.
The diving crowd is less American and more Dutch and German, at least in
Westpunt which is an added benefit of international flavor. 
We stayed in All West Appartments and liked them. You do need a car, the
dive shop a woping 5 minutes drive away (5 minutes walk using the
shortcut). The only thing to be aware of is that Westpunt is a real local
fishing village, with dogs barking day and night. As a matter of fact we
had to sleep with closed doors and AC running not to listen all night to
doggy conversations.  There are luxury resorts around Westpunt to stay in.
We had dinner a couple of times in Kura Hulanda that is next to dive shop,
very nice place.
Overall it was great two weeks and we will certainly be back.
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