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Dive Review of Dive St. Vincent/Sunset Shores Hotel in
St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Dive St. Vincent/Sunset Shores Hotel, May, 2007,

by Peter J Maerz, FL, United States . Report 3326.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bahamas, Bonaire, Cozumel, Dominica, Fiji, Honduras (Bay Islands), Little Cayman, Papua New Guinea, Raja Ampat, St. Lucia, Solomon Islands, etc.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, noCurrents
Water Temp 81 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 60 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No limits specified. Must have air in tank :)
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments One rinse tank under seat on board. No camera prep surface to speak of (this is not a liveaboard. Some shaded areas to keep camera.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my first return visit to a dive destination. My memories of St. Vincent served me well. If small stuff is your predilection, this be the place. If a caustic, but comic host is your cup of tea, Dive St. Vincents Mr. Tewes fills the Bill. Great weather with a perfect breeze cooling the tropic heat at all times? Youve got it. A beautiful island studded with mountains and lush with vegetation? That too.

Bill Tewes remains one of the great diving enthusiasts and hosts on the planet, IMHO. Five years after my first encounter with him, he remains every bit as enthusiastic about diving and finding stuff. With his ever-ready telescoping pointer and magnifying glass, hes always scanning for goodies. For an UW photog like myself, its like having a personal valet. All I have to do is experiment with my settings; my subjects, if I havent found them myself, are waiting for me at Bills or his divemasters hands.

Theres a reason many of the worlds great photographers visit here. The requisite frog fish and seahorses are there in relative abundance. But also all manner of tiny crustaceans, mollusks, echnoderms and others. Sea Hares, nudibranchs, flatworms, shrimp of all sizes and kinds including virtually microscopic wire coral shrimp. Eels of all types on every dive. Octopuses. Scorpion fish large and small (Mushroom).

As has often been said, Bills demeanor is not for everyone, though I find it hard to believe that anyone could be offended by his always good-natured ribbing. And Ive got to say that he delights in getting as much as giving. If youre willing to play along, you can have a ball with this very gregarious host. Bill almost always offers to meet his guests socially as well. (He sprang for drinks for my buddy and me at Young Island. Word of caution: Beware the Island Special!!)

I and a buddy stayed at the Sunset Shores, where Id roomed on my last visit in 2002. Breakfast is included in the Dive St. Vincent package. The rooms are good sized; most have views with nice terraces. Outlets are 220 and accept the 3-square-pronged British variety plug with two parallel pins and one perpendicular. The grounds are quite pretty and abut a small beach, with views to Young Island beyond. The open air but roofed dining terrace is comfortable, naturally cooled and has good views of the water.

Bills boat leaves at 9:30 sharp. The standard package includes a two tank dive each day, but each dive averages 90 minutes (some are 110 minutes or more: its strictly a function of your air; deco isnt usually an issue since the depths can be very shallow). Surface intervals average 50 minutes snoozing or chatting on the boat. My package included 16 dives during my weeks stay. I and my buddy used ours up and then some, with a night dive almost every night. Theres a $10 surcharge for those dives, even if within the package amount, to pay for gas and the services of Callie, one of a number of Bills long, long-term divemasters. Dives beyond the package price run $57 plus VAT per.

There are never more than 6 divers on a boat. For me and my Buddy, 4 was the average. 3 divers max to a divemaster or Bill. The boat has a small sheltered area and a larger open deck. Dive gear is set up on the tanks which are stowed in the forward hold in molded slots until needed. Gear is rinsed and kept in mesh bags overnight at the shop, with the exception of wetsuits. Callie, DJ and the other divemasters are extremely adept at finding goodies and are very accommodating and helpful, though they are very, very shy. Dont expect to be chatted up, but dont worry about it---theres no rudeness or hostility involved.

Food is an issue for the budget minded on St. Vincent. Most restaurants are very expensive: a pizza joint served us two nine-inch pizzas for about 40 bucks US. It goes up from there. Expect to pay $175 or more for a meal for two with all the trimmings (sans wine) at the luxurious Young Island Resort. The Sunset Shores has reasonably good food, if not particularly reasonably priced. There are some relatively cheap alternatives, such as Callies sisters fried chicken, served from a converted bus at the side of the road, but you need to time your visits. Our problem was that night dives brought us back at 8:30 or later and most kitchens closed at 9:00 or earlier.

Overall, I believe St. Vincent remains one of the unsung heroes of Caribbean diving and far surpasses many if not all of the super-hyped destinations in that part of the world. It aint the South Pacific but it doesnt miss by much!
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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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