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Dive Review of Chris Sawyer & Admiralty Dive/Marriott Renaissance Grand in
Virgin Islands/St Thomas

January, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Richard Heath, SC, USA
Report Number 332
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Azores; Great Abacos Bahama; Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea,Huahine in French
Polynesia; Grand Cayman; Istapa, Cancun, Play Del Carma, Cozumel, Mexico;
Florida Keys; North & South Carolna; Reciffe, Brazil; St. Lucia 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
81   to 83    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 150    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dove with a group but restrictions were not excessive - we dove as deep as
the area in which we were in - (Not a wall dive) Each dive came back with
about 900 psi  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 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 $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Dove with Admiralty Dive out of the Holiday Inn Windward Passage Charlotte
Amalie, St. Thomas on Sunday and Chris Sawyer Diving Center, at The
Marriott Renaissance Grand on St Thomas on Monday.

Both of these dive operations are very well organized and run by folks that
I highly recommend. 

Both dive operations had excellent dive boats – designed for diving – not
just a boat that could be used for fishing or diving or whatever – Easy
entry and easy return – a lot of room and well-organized space on the
boats.- Both were what divers would dream of if you were designing your own
dive boat

Admiralty Dive
Marty and Amy at Admiralty took us to the Concrete shipwreck and then to
Dry Rocks for our second dive. Both dives had that excellent visibility
that you come to expect from all dive sites in the Virgins.  

The concrete shipwreck (the first dive – down to about 87 feet) was less
than spectacular and should not be dived on for a couple more years.  It
has no real marine life and no coral as it has only been down since about
1996 - and has been savaged by a storm since its sinking.

However, the second site down to about 56 feet– Dry Rocks should not be
missed by anyone going to dive St. Thomas. We saw over 8 very large
lobsters (Wish I had a noose to get them!) two manta rays swimming by in
formation above the coral (looked like a scene out of an underwater movie)
and a nurse shark at the bottom of a beautiful coral and rock formation.
Many tropical fish, snapper, and grouper were also spotted among the rocks
and coral. And what beautiful rock and coral formations they were.

Amy our dive master was an excellent tour guide and a joy to dive with,
safe but not overly restrictive – Marty stayed with the boat but offered
many good insights into the various spots we were visiting and where we
should go. A very enjoyable and friendly time was had by all – Highly
recommend these folks!

Chris Sawyer Diving Center, at the Marriott Renaissance Grand
The folks here were also very pleasant and a joy to dive with – The two
dive masters on the Boat Fools Gold were Frank and Wayne – Both conducted
excellent pre-dive briefings and were very understanding to an
inexperienced heavy set female diver on the boat. (Apparently the young
lady had only gotten her certification recently and this may have been her
second open water dive – when she got in the water she was extremely
nervous and even said that she would not be able to go – wanting to get
back out – Wayne worked with her and stayed close and she completed both

These dives were to Congo Key and Mingo Key – neither site would be in my
top 50 dive sites. The visibility was less than 50 yards and not a lot of
great things to see. But that happens from time to time. The dive crew made
up for it by being extremely easy going and interested in the comfort of
the divers offering water between dives and peeling apples . There were 7
divers on board plus the crew and dive masters.

An extra-added treat that made up for the less than great dive sites was
having a professional underwater photographer on board that dove with us.
Stacy took pictures of all the divers (multiple pictures of each diver) and
at the end of the dive makes a CD of the dive with your pictures and the
sites you have seen. She mailed mine and it was in my hands back in South
Carolina within 4 days of the dive. The price for this was $31.00. I have
the feeling that she goes out with each Chris Sawyer dive boat from the
Marriott Renaissance Grand. She did an excellent job and like I said turned
a less than stellar dive site into a memorial dive – (how often do you get
pictures taken of you diving – I am usually taking the pictures of all
sorts of things but myself.)

I have written these two reviews as one as they were from different sides
of the island and occurred back to back. When reading for
information on dive venues, my first concern after determining where I am
going is looking for a dive company that is superb. With these two that is
what you will get! If I get back to St. Thomas – these would be the ones
with whom I would dive.
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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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