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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II in

December, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Celia Liner, MS, USA
Reviewer   (6 reports)
Report Number 4579
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Yucatan, Pensacola
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

surge, currents  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Divemaster accompanied each dive, but did not ride herd on group; no deco
diving only; back on boat with 500 psi; dive with buddy if not following
divemaster (but not strictly enforced).  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Large central table and towels for cameras on dive deck; dedicated barrels
for rinsing; air hose at table.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
2 stars   
4 stars    
The Good: CEX II dive operation was well worth the money. It was my first
liveaboard, and I went alone. Enjoyed every minute of it!  There were only
8 divers; only one new, inexperienced diver. It just happened that 7 of us
were in the over-45 age group, which we all really enjoyed. The crew was
friendly, experienced and informative.  Rachel and Claire were terrific
divemasters. Zack, the cook, provided lots of delicious homemade soups,
breads (yes, he baked fresh bread most days!!), casseroles, steak, fresh
grilled fish, veggies. Cabins were comfortable and each had private head.
Great hot water shower and warm towels on dive deck.  Unlimited Nitrox was
reasonably priced ($150 for the week); up to 5 dives/day.  With central
lines for air and Nitrox, you set up your tank only once.  There was plenty
of room to store all your gear.  The weather was perfect, but the water was
cool (it was winter...).  I really loved being able to dive my computer and
not being herded.  They treated you as competent, experienced divers and it
was appreciated greatly.  Thanks CEX II!

The Bad:  the diving wasn't that great. Viz was marginal the entire trip. 
We went from St. Kitt's to Statia, Saba, then St Maarten.  St Kitts had
loads of trash, some from Hurricane Omar, some was already well
established. Two days at St Kitts was one day too much.  Statia was better,
having a marine park and some nice spots, but Saba had the best diving and
well worth the 2 1/2 days we spent there. I was surprised at how few fish
and critters I actually saw--and nothing really big except the nurse
sharks. Few turtles. But the sponges, sea fans and soft corals were
impressive.  I would not recommend a liveaboard for beginners.

Wish I had known:  didn't need to bother bringing a shorty.  Only one dive
had 80 degree water. If you're doing 5/day, bring a 5 mil as well.  Book a
room at a local hotel for the last day, if possible.  They literally kick
you off the boat at 9 a.m. and got rather testy about you coming back on
board for anything--even your luggage--before the taxi came to take you to
the airport in St. Maarten.  And the airport...that was a saga in itself. 
Just don't plan on doing anything quickly or effortlessly in an airport at
Christmas.  Would I do it again? Absolutely.
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Diving Guide to Saba
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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