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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II in
Saba

Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II, Dec, 2008,

by Celia Liner, MS, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports). Report 4579.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Yucatan, Pensacola
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas surge, currents
Water Temp 78 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
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).
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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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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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