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Dive Review of Nan-Sea Charters/Blackbear's Sports/Hix Island House in
Puerto Rico/Vieques Island

April, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by David Vickery & Suzanne Leeson, NJ, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (11 reports)
Report Number 3650
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Throughout the Caribbean,Central America, Palau, Yap, Fiji, Australia,
Hawaii, PNG, Bikini.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
100   to 110    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Hard to have any restrictions when you're at 27 feet.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
1 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
2 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
1 stars  
Shore Facilities  
No facility on boat.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
1 stars    
Hix Island House promotes themselves as being an eco-lodge, and it is that.
It is located in a 13-acre natural refuge of native trees, tall grasses,
birds and butterflies, and tranquility (no phones, television, or typical
room and turn-down service).

At Hix Island House the outdoors becomes indoors. Their self-contained
all-concrete lofts highlight views of the Caribbean and palm-lined beaches
minutes away; the open-air private terraces include outdoor showers where
you can bathe in the trade winds. This is because the "fourth
wall" where the balcony doors would normally be doesn't exist; the
entire room is open to the elements. If it rains, it can blow into your
room. So do the insects. The comfortable beds reside under mosquito
netting, and even in the dry month of April, you'll need it. Don't get us
wrong, we'd go back. Mornings and evenings are brilliant. Meeting John Hix
at his weekly cocktail party when he is in residence was also a highlight
(wait'll you see the view from his house). But if it was rainy or humid,
all you've got is a hurricane shutter and an overhead fan.

Ecology is important at Hix Island House. Solar panels augment the
electricity and hot water. Water is collected and your shower and basins
flow to the landscaped foliage. The pool features an electro-static
filtration system, so it's like swimming in fresh water.

Unfortunately our experience with the dive operations left a great deal to
be desired. We spoke with Nan-Sea Charters before we left and booked (we
thought) 6 days of diving. We arrived after their office had closed for the
day, called them first thing in the AM and there was no answer. Finally at
10:00 they answered the phone and were already on the boat. OK, we'll dive
the next five days. But they only had us down for one day, not six, and
were full for the next three days. The boat only holds six, and it's real
cozy at that.

So bright and early the next day we trucked into Isabel II, the main town
and booked a couple of shore dives with Blackbeard's Sports. They have no
boat. Got the tanks and followed them into the bush to Bahia Corcho, geared
up, met the four newbies who would be in the group, and entered via a small
rocky beach. The DM said he was going to go real slow due to the new folks,
so we swam out over the eel grass to a small patch reef and descended to,
well, 27 feet. Yes, 27 feet, and the leader took off like a shot with never
a backward glance, not that there was much to see, except us wondering
where he was off to in such an all-fired hurry. 

After a second dive to 25 feet (really packing in the N2, you know?) along
the shoreline where there was a small reef with some sergeant majors, an
arrowhead crab, some chubs, and other small tropicals, we gave up on the
diving until Nan-Sea could take us out on Thursday.

Thursday we schlepped our gear down to the small pier in Esperanza, kind of
a funky beach town with bars and restaurants opposite the quay. The Nan-Sea
boat is a 28 footer and it's necessary to set-up the 3000 psi aluminum 80's
on the dock. When it's time to slip into your BC, the DM sits on the stern
of the boat with your gear, and you sit on his knee to shrug into your rig.
A backward roll and you descend to a patch reef with some mahogany
snappers, the sergeant majors, a few parrot fish and the other usual
suspects. This is a square profile. After a 20 minute SIT, we were back in
the water on another, nearly identical reef. When we got down to 700 psi,
we noticed our computers were in deco. We hung for the required time,
reboarded via the small ladder, announced we had been in deco, and were
told that as long as we did the hang, it was OK. 

Showed up Friday morning with the same group set up our tanks on the
dock.......and the boat wouldn't start. The DM offered to take us on a
shore dive after lunch to the former Navy Pier on the other side of the
island. So we called at 11, noon and 1:00. Finally got a call back from the
owner at 3:00 who said he knew nothing of the planned dive.

Folks, other than a few free-lance guides you may run into in one of
Esperanza's imbibulational emporiums, these are the only two operations on
the island. If you aren't diving there are some nice beaches, but skip
Green Beach because the sand fleas are brutal. So if you're up for a full
week of interesting Caribbean diving, while prices are reasonable, you can
skip Vieques.
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Other dive reports on Nan-Sea Charters

All Puerto Rico Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Puerto Rico
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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