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

June, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Jim Schoeneck, CA, USA
Report Number 2761
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, California
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
79   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
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
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
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

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

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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