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

June, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Paul Selden, MI, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (11 reports)
Report Number 4923
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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, Utila, Yucatan Cenotes
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Main rule: be under boat when air gets low.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Tropical Fish
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Boat had freshwater tank for quickly dipping cameras; cameras needed to be
stowed when underway.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
2 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
2 stars   
5 stars    
St. Vincent is reputed to be the Critter Capital of the Caribbean by Bill
Tewes, owner of scuba shop Dive St. Vincent.  It is indeed a macro
photographers heaven.  Bill himself was very knowledgeable, but some might
find him too crotchety and mercurial for comfort.  If you decide to pick
DSV, his office manager Jackie will email packages that include a hotel. 
As long as you pick a hotel like Sunset Shores or the French Veranda, its
an easy 5-15 minute walk.  We picked Sunset Shores to economize a bit on
Bills standard hotel recommendation, the French Veranda.  Dive packages
included all key gear.  I brought my computer, mask, snorkel, and a 3mil
wetsuit to stay warm on the long dives.  You only need to get yourself and
what little gear you bring to his shop a bit before the first dive at
9:30am.  Gear, weights, etc., will be on board waiting for you.  Our boat
had cover from the sun and a cuddy cabin to keep gear dry, but no marine
head.  I suggest bringing your own water; his was rebottled"
everyday.  But the entertainment on board is non-stop, since Bill is full
of tales about his visage being on a St. Vincent postage stamp, his singing
days (his voice is remarkably like Willie Nelsons), or his days diving in
Papua New Guinea.  I was the only diver on most dives, and Bill, with his
30+ years of experience, was my guide.  Wed drop down (leaving the boat
untended), usually staying above 30 feet for most of the dive.  Bill would
hunt for critters and small fish while I adjusted took photos.  When hed
find something more, hed signal me to come over.  If he thought I wouldnt
know what it was, or if I wanted him to ID it for me, hed write the name
on an erasable slate and Id photograph the slate, then the creature.  The
first dive started at 9:30am and lasted as long as I had air in my tank
(the longest, 93 minutes).  The second dive might start after an hour or so
surface interval without going back for lunch.  (I brought mine each day,
so no problems.)  Bills philosophy was that, as long as you occasionally
update him on your PSI, hell lead you back under the boat with enough air
to safely get back to the surface.  Its a refreshing contrast to being on
a dive cattle boat.  If youre new to the island, Bill takes you to his
picks; youll never see everything in one trip to St. Vincent anyway. 
Diving here is about hunting for little blennies, gobies, and critters,
moving from clump to clump of relatively unremarkable growth or looking in
the sand, and getting a glimpse or photo of the small, rare or unusual. 
There are a couple of five star reefs here, but to dive them, sign up
with Bills staff well in advance.  I wanted to dive an extra (third) dive
on the reef on two consecutive days, but for whatever reason, the logistics
of going back out at 2:30 or 3pm couldnt be worked out with his staff. 
Alas, seine fishing close to shore is common: I dont recall seeing more
than a handful of fish longer than a foot; on one dive, dead fish littered
the sea floor.  Our accommodations at Sunset Shores were comfortable, but
not particularly diver-oriented (no drying pegs for wet gear).  It had a
spacious pool, and unlike the French Veranda, some of the best sandy beach
on the island.  Our first floor room had a view of the water and patio
chairs, A/C, potable water from the tap, cable TV, and wireless internet
access, plus easy access to the pool and beach.  A rocky spit provided nice
snorkeling a short walk up the beach.  If you stay at Sunset Shores I
recommend getting the breakfast-only meal plan.  The omelets were large
enough so that I could make an egg sandwich every day for lunch.  Meals are
expensive, but we kept expenses down by buying local rum, juice, and snacks
at a local market.  We went to the Friday night Jamaican jerk special at
the wonderful little Grandview Hotel restaurant, ate huge, inexpensive
rottis and delicious fish specials at our hotel, and enjoyed an incredible
fish soup at French Verandas restaurant.  Splitting main courses kept our
dinner for two to between $20 and $40 USD.  My wife and I enjoyed touring
the English-speaking island.  Taking a $1 EC (40 cents USD) ride to and
from the local supermarket on the local busses, which were minivans
loaded to the gills with locals of all ages, shapes and manner of dress, is
an experience.  A local operation arranged by our hotel took us
sight-seeing on a couple of days to locations for the film Pirates of the
Caribbean, Dark View Falls, a view of La Soufriere volcano, Fort Charlotte,
and the beautiful Botanic Gardens.  Plus, we left with a much greater
appreciation of the islands culture, geography, and politics (which are
undergoing quite a change under the current leadership, who admires Hugo
Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad).  A 10% tip is included in all hotel and
restaurant bills.  VISA, MC, and AMEX charge cards are accepted even at
local grocery stores.  We connected with LIAT in Puerto Rico.  Observe the
weight restrictions (45 pounds in one checked bag and 15 pounds in one
carry-on per customer) or youll pay through the nose and your bags may be
delayed, possibly for days.  I loaded a camera/safari vest with extra
lenses and food; that was permitted.  
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