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Dive Review of Dive Fair Helen in
St. Lucia

Dive Fair Helen, Mar, 2006,

by Shelly and Howard Wilson, MI, USA . Report 2314.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Roatan, Kona, Bonaire, San Salvador, Great Lakes, Belize, Turks and Caicos, Florida Keys, Grand Cayman, St. Thomas.. etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 75 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We are experienced divers, and our usual vacations are dive vacations, but this time we opted to join family members on a cruise. We contacted Dive Fair Helen, a dive operation out of St. Lucia. Their reservation process asks potential customers if they had any special request, and we asked that we dive the Pitons. On-line reservation service from Dive Fair Helen was very good. They were responsive and thorough. We had done some checking into other operations and no other operation exhibited the degree of professionalism on-line than Dive Fair Helen. Let me say that the professionalism stopped there.

The order confirmation we received indicated that the return time would be between 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., depending on the dive sites visited. We had to be back at our cruise ship by 4:15 p.m., so we were comfortable with that return time. We realize that the trip to the Pitons might have been further than most other dive sites, however at no time during the process of reserving our spot on their boat did anyone in the organization indicate that the day of diving would last longer than 2:30 p.m. There were four divers on the cruise ship waiting for the Dive Fair Helen representative. When we were greeted by Ben at the dock, he indicated that Dive Fair Helen would be back in plenty of time to catch the ship.

Ben escorted us to a crowded bus. He stated that there were approximately 14 divers on the boat and 13 snorkelers. After somewhat of a lengthy ride in the bus, we reached the destination where we were fitted for BCs and given regulators. The equipment we rented looked to be in good shape. We walked to where the boat was to be waiting, but it was not there.. nor had all the cylinders been loaded on the boat. That delay took well over 30 minutes. Once on board, we realized that the size of the dive boat should have only accommodated about 18 people, at maximum. We had 27+ divers and snorkelers, plus the crew of 5.

As we were pulling out of Marigot Bay, everyone was getting their gear ready. The crew, however, could not have cared less about our preparations, and virtually ignored everyone while we got settled. One of the dive masters, Marie, was more considerate and caring than the rest. She took time to explain to her dive group (of which we were a part) the plans for the dives, her expectations of us, as well as telling us what she would provide to all of us. We found her to be refreshingly professional, unlike the other crew on the boat.

Once we were out in the open water, heading for the Pitons, we were surprised when the boat took a little 'detour' and picked up four more snorkelers, resulting in horrifically over-crowded conditions.
We arrived at the dive site and prepared for our first dive. Once suited up and ready to go, no crew member helped any of us out of our seats. We did the first dive and enjoyed ourselves despite fighting a strong current. When we were coming back onboard, we took off our fins to hand to a crew member, but no one was there to get them. Each of us had to throw our fins onto the dive platform. We came up the ladder and was not helped to a seat or to position our cylinders into their holders. The crew was too busy joking and teasing each other.

Throughout all of this, four of us from the cruise ship were continuously asking if we would get back to the ship in plenty of time .. to which we heard "No problem!" "If we don't get you back in time, we'll hire a helicopter!" "You worry too much.. we'll take care of you!"

Lunch was served and playfulness and tomfoolery reigned. The surface interval consisted of watching the crew horse around.

We did our second dive at the base of the Piton and again, there was no help from the crew. It was now time to make our way back to Marigot Bay to head for the ship. There were three detours.. one to return the four extra snorkelers to their resort, and the other to stop and look into a crevice in the rock and see bats. We got to Marigot Bay and time was ticking by. It was now 4:00 p.m. You can imagine how nervous we were. Instead of dropping us off to get to the ship, they made another detour to drop off other divers across the bay.

We headed to the bus as quickly as possible and the crew tried to hurry things along. The drive back was quick, but the four of us knew that we had only a small chance at being able to return to the dock and have the ship still be at port. When we arrived at the dock, we jumped off the bus and all of the security personnel there were yelling 'Run!, Run!, Run!' We realized we were 25 minutes late!
By the grace of God, the ship had waited for us, due to a hysterical wife of one of our fellow divers, onboard the ship, pleading for them to wait for us. You can imagine our mortification at having made an entire cruise ship of over 2,000 people wait for us.

I am appalled at how we were treated and the lack of professionalism and consideration exhibited by the Dive Fair Helen employees. They scoffed at our anxiety about getting back to the ship on time. The boat was over-booked and over-crowded. Do not dive with Dive Fair Helen!
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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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