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Dive Review of Dive Fair Helen in
St. Lucia

March, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Shelly and Howard Wilson, MI, USA
Report Number 2314
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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

Water Temp
75   to 78    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
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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