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

Dive St. Vincent/Sunset Shores, Jun, 2009,

by Paul Selden, MI, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports). Report 4923.

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

Weather cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 85 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 70 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Main rule: be under boat when air gets low.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Boat had freshwater tank for quickly dipping cameras; cameras needed to be stowed when underway.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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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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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