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Dive Review of Scuba St. Lucia/Anse Chastenet / Jade Mountain in
St. Lucia

Scuba St. Lucia/Anse Chastenet / Jade Mountain, Dec, 2008,

by Paul Selden, MI, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports). Report 4927.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Andros, Bonaire, Belize, CA Channel Islands, Cancun, Cozumel, Florida Keys, Galapagos, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Roatan, St. Vincent, Utila, Yucatan Cenotes
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 75 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Mandatory check out dive. Wanted us to report 700psi as approx. when to begin safety stop; no lower than 60 feet unless have dive computer.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 2 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Setup was decent, ample fresh water tanks for cameras on board and land; tech mgr. Bernd Rac is a photo expert, but most divemasters were more oriented to being the leader or caboose in a choo-choo train style of diving vs. being photo guides.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments St. Lucia is a beautiful island, and if you want a fantastic room the size of three or four ordinary motel rooms overlooking the most romantic scenery on the island (the two jutting Piton mountains), this is the place to stay. The only catch is, if you want to stick to a budget typical of most Caribbean islands, you absolutely must go during an off season or go with a group that has negotiated an affordable rate. If you go during a very quiet season and are very lucky, you may receive a complimentary upgrade to Jade Mountain; if so, accept it for the last part of your stay or you may be spoiled. If you must go during the high season, be prepared to spend an all-inclusive rate for one week that is roughly the cost of diving a week in the Galapagos or for two weeks in the Pacific Islands. Don't carry the expectation that if you pay huge bucks you will net the equivalent in dive excitement, however. You're mainly paying for a fantastic room with a view and some wonderful dining. The diving and terrain are very different from flat Caribbean islands which sit on and are surrounded by shallow reefs, such as the Caymans. St. Lucia is a volcanic island with mountainous jungle terrain; its rocky shores and cliffs quickly plunge into the deeps and dont offer the best shelter for reef fish. Nevertheless, Anse Chastenet sits in the middle of some of the best diving on the island. In my opinion, from a divers point of view, Anse Chastenet and its sister resort, Jade Mountain, are perfect for couples who want a once in a lifetime, super-romantic getaway in an unforgettable topside location, with some relaxed no-hassle diving on the side. By the way, if you are paying full-fare for Jade Mountain, make sure you get the type of room you want, since on a tour of the property we found that not all have in-room infinity pools (some only have hot tubs) or the fourth wall missing open to the outdoors. The rooms with the best views in Anse Chastenet are in Unit 7 (and are also the most expensive), but every room in the resort has its own unique charm with views of the Pitons, water, and/or lush tropical mountain forest. The picture on the home page of their website looks down at the resort from a helicopter; it is not what you see from the rooms. We read on some travel-review websites that there is too much stair-climbing at this resort. Whether there is too much stair climbing depends on your physical condition. Its true that the resort is built on the side of a mountain and the rooms are spread out from near the top of the hill to the bottom near the beach. You cant have it both ways-units cant both be on the beach and perched on up on the scenic little mountain without a bit of a hike. We didnt find it a problem. I descended the stairs in the morning and came back up after my last dive in the afternoon. My wife and I ate most lunches at their beach-level restaurant. It only took me about 10 minutes to climb back up to my room from the beach in the AM, up more than 125 steps in the PM. We looked at it as a way to work off all the delicious meals. Free shuttles are available for those wanting a ride. The food was mostly great tasting, with only a few bland exceptions. Breakfast was buffet style and our lunches were served quickly, but, be ready to linger over a dinner for 2-3 hours. Weve found the food in this part of the Caribbean pretty expensive; St. Lucia was no exception. We brought our own duty-free booze. If you get a meal plan, make sure you know what is counted as an extra, such as sparkling water. If you go in December-January, when my wife and I did, consider a wetsuit for water temps that hover in the low 80s. What will you see on a dive? I saw typical reef fish, but they swam singly or in very small schools not even close to the plentiful numbers youd see in waters such as a Key Largo or Bonaire. What stuck me were the huge numbers of little guys, such as urchins, feather stars, fireworms, spaghetti worms, and yellowline arrow crabs. The dives were almost all drift dives in a mild current, so little effort was required. If you want to see something special, make sure you ask your divemaster before each dive, otherwise youll just be diving in follow the leader fashion, and, since you get a new divemaster with almost every dive, youll have to repeat your special requests." The shop has plenty of rental gear if needed. Dive facilities were average, not exceptional, so not on the same level as rest of the resort. There were three dives daily and night diving twice a week. Divemasters didnt diagram dive sites. The resort uses a check-in/check-out system for each dive, which was very safety conscious and unlike most others. Theres lots of topside tours and activity available; while I was diving my wife toured the nearby lush plantation grounds. We took a great all-day sea/land tour of the island, plus a shorter tour of some of the local hot springs and waterfalls. AC/JD has the feeling of a larger hotel complex (not terribly intimate), but management and staff were quite friendly and accommodating.
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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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