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Dive Review of Dive Safaris/Oyster Bay Beach Resort in
St. Maarten

Dive Safaris/Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Jun, 2006,

by Jim Schoeneck, CA, USA . Report 2761.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, California
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 79 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions restrictions were back on boat with 500 psi or 60 minutes (they were not strict on the 60 minute though); can't get below about 80 ft without a shovel
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 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 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Spent a week at a timeshare at the Oyster Bay Beach Resort with 4 days of diving for my group of 7 divers. Selected Dive Safaris, which turned out to be a great choice. They have 2 locations, so no matter where you are on the island, you are no more than about a 20 minute ride from 1 of their shops.

Whitney, who runs the operation at Bobby's Marina in Phillipsburg, was wonderful to work with both prior to the trip and on island. She was responsive over phone and email and everything went according to plan. The shop itself was nicely decked out, with good rinse and gear storage facilities.

The diving each day was a mix of wrecks and reefs. Each morning, we dove a wreck at @ 50-70 feet then a reef in the vicinity. Overall conditions were good for experienced divers. During our trip, 3 days had some wind and swells of 3-6 ft. The boat was about a 35 footer that was stable enough in these seas and had nice configuration for gear storage and access to the dive deck. Camera facilities were basically a dedicated rinse bucket.

The wrecks were each different and interesting with coral growth, swim throughs (each wreck has been sanitized and has overhead exits). Lots of typical tropical fish, eels and shrimp. The highlight of our small critter searches was a 10 inch seahorse just off the mooring line at one of the sites, along with a number of interesting blennies.

The big fish highlight of the week (and our group is still talking about it!) was the Shark Awareness Dive. The dive is in about 60 feet of water, led by Jefferson, the resident shark expert. After dropping to the bottom, forming a semicircle and hanging on to some cement blocks, Jefferson gets out a very small amount of food (maybe 6 chunks??) and within 5 minutes we had 5 Caribbean reef sharks between 5 and 10 feet long. They swam around him (under his leg at one point) and just a few feet in front of us. The tail of one actually brushed my son's camera.

Our trip was made extra special as we were joined by a group from Shark Diver Magazine. Andy and Eli, along with a couple of camera men, accompanied us on the dive, were shooting both stills for the magazine and video for their first shark movie. Very, very cool for us having cameras and lights in the water getting filmed during our first shark dive! The sharks put on an extra good show for the cameras as well.

Overall, Dive Safaris is a great outfit. I hadn't been able to find much on St. Maarten diving and was very pleased with the dive operator, boat and what we experience underwater. If you go, do not miss the Shark Awareness Dive! Either bring your underwater video camera or use your digital in mpeg mode for some shots that will WOW your friends.

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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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