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Dive Review of Cuan Law in
Virgin Islands/British Virgin Islands

December, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Greg White, IL, US
Reviewer   (5 reports, with 7 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6382
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Numerous dives throughout most of the Caribbean, some off of California,
Hawaii, and the Philippines.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy  
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
80   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
25   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Time limited somewhat on some dives so that we could fit in planned number
of dives during certain days.  Otherwise, no limits.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
2 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Boat has dedicated rinse tank for cameras, but no other dedicated camera
facilities.  However, there is plenty of room on deck or in the lounge to
spread out and work on equipment or view photos on computer.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
Our experience on the Cuan Law was outstanding.  The boat is in excellent
shape and has been well maintained.  Cabins are roomy by liveaboard
standards and have lots of drawers, shelves, and even a small closet to
hang dressier clothes.  The bathrooms are the best we've ever seen on a
liveaboard, with toilets that work just like regular toilets, not the usual
temperamental marine head.

The crew is the best part of the entire experience.  Captain Emily,
Divemasters Ben and Maddy, Cook Tara, Engineer Jesse, and Steward Brian. 
All are relatively young, with lots of energy and enthusiasm.  They're
always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.  In spite of their
youth, all have interesting backgrounds and have travelled widely, with
interesting stories to tell.  Tara, the cook, is a gem, producing wonderful
and varied meals, and adapting them to any dietary restrictions the
passengers might have.  Her desserts are legendary and were a highlight of
each evening on board.  The owners, Annie and Duncan, joined us for lunch
on the first day, then met us again on the last day.  Both are wonderful
people who have done an outstanding job of selecting and training their
crew.  Duncan even designed the Cuan Law himself and is still actively
involved in making it as environmentally friendly and fuel efficient as

Unlike other liveaboards where there isn't much to do other than diving,
Cuan Law has two hobie cats, four sea kayaks, and water skiing and
knee-boarding equipment on board.  There were several days when the dive
schedule was altered so that we had sufficient time to play at these other
activities, giving us a nice break from the routine of diving.  One
afternoon was also devoted to a barbecue on Virgin Gorda, swimming and
walking the beach, and a visit to the "Baths."

Cuan Law is a trimaran sailboat, which has a lot of advantages, but also a
couple of disadvantages.  Because it's a trimaran the boat is huge -- 100
feet long and 44 feet wide, meaning plenty of space.  The crew also sails
it from island to island as often as possible, which is more
environmentally friendly and often even faster than motoring.  The boat is
also very stable.  However, being a sailboat also means that the dive deck
has to be smaller than usual.  There are not the usual benches with a
dedicated area for each diver.  Instead, each diver has a large bin for
storing fins, mask, etc., while tanks and BCs, along with wetsuits are kept
in a separate area primarily accessed by the crew.  The crew hands each
diver his/her wetsuit, then after the diver is all suited up, he/she sits
next to the tank area, which can accommodate only one diver at a time, to
be helped in putting on the BC and tank.  After that, depending on the
particular dive site, the diver proceeds to either enter the water directly
from the Cuan Law or to take a seat in the Zodiac and wait for the other
divers to get their BCs and tanks before being taken to the dive site by
Zodiac.  Although this process seems like it could be slow, it actually
worked quite well with nine divers.  However with 20 divers it could mean a
long wait for those who got ready first.

Most dive sites were accessed by Zodiac.  The boat has two large Zodiacs
with 150 hp motors which reached the dive sites within minutes.  Entry is
by backroll from the side of the Zodiac.  For exit, each Zodiac has a stern
ladder.  After handing up camera and fins, each diver then climbs back up
the ladder, being helped by a crew member.  Unlike on some other
liveaboards, the diver keeps his tank, BC, and weights on while climbing up
the ladder.  In rough seas this took some effort, but no one in our group
(many of us 60 or older) seemed to have a problem with this.  Getting back
on the Cuan Law also required climbing a flight of stairs from either the
stern ladder or the Zodiac, again wearing BC, tank, and weights.  Once
again, crew were available to help and this climb didn't seem to be a big
problem for anyone.

As is true for a lot of Caribbean diving today, many of the dive sites were
only so-so, with not a lot of fish.  However, some of the sites were
excellent, with healthy corals and a greater abundance of fish, such as
Rainbow Canyons near Norman Island or Dry Rocks near Ginger Island.  We
also got to spend an entire day at the RMS Rhone, doing two day dives and
one night dive, which was a real highlight of the trip, especially when we
came face to face with a HUGE goliath grouper lurking inside the wreck.  On
other dives, several people saw eagle rays, reef sharks, and stingrays, as
well as several morays and the usual selection of Caribbean reef fish.  As
with many other Caribbean liveaboards, crew of the Cuan Law are engaged in
lionfish eradication efforts.  Compared to other parts of the Caribbean, we
really didn't see very many, and most were relatively small.

People who insist on doing five dives a day may not be happy on the Cuan
Law, but those who prefer a somewhat lighter schedule won't be
disappointed.  My wife and I have been on other liveaboards where the heavy
dive schedule became burdensome, often making us decide to skip the night
dive every night.  On this trip we had the chance to do 20 dives, including
6 night dives.  We did 19 dives, skipping only the last night dive.

Overall, we found the Cuan Law to be an excellent value and outstanding
experience.  We recommend it highly.  
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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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