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Dive Review of Dive Experience/Hotel-on-the-Cay in
Virgin Islands/St. Croix

May, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Bernie Urbanik, TX, USA (2 reports)
Report Number 2471
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Grand Turk, South Caicos
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, surge, noCurrents  
Water Temp
80   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
General Depth Limits  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 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):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
I am a 55 yo male (PADI MAster Scuba Diver) and I took my 19 yo son (PADI
Advanced Open Water Diver with specialties). We used the Chapbook to book
the trip.  This is a very valauble resource so I wanted to give back a
little with this report.  This was our first trip to the Virgin Islands. 
It's important to have specifc objectives in mind when making a dive
location decision.  I always seek out a combination of diving and
non-diving recreation when booking a trip.  I also hate having to rent a
car on an island. There were a sufficient number of Chapbook entries to
plan the trip.
St Croix has a lot to offer in this regard.  The Dive Experience is owned
and operated by Michelle Pugh, recently installed in the Women Divers Hall
of Fame.  Her operation is first rate with a good seaworthy boat Captained
by Sam Halvarson.  Being based in Christianstad means north shore diving
from moorings similar to the north shore of Grand Cayman.  All sites are
marked with bouys and it is open sea.  We ranged from five to ten divers
and made ten boat dives.  It is a great deal of fun to dive with a diver as
experienced as Michelle.  She knows what to look for, knows insticntively
what each diver's situation is and in so doing, makes for a comfortable
dive.  We even did a little reef maintenance by replacing a bouy.  I used
Nitrox on all my dives while my son was on air.  The Nitrox tanks were in
excellent condition.  There was an on-board Oxygen mixture meater that
plugged into your BC. You could either work your own equipment or they
would do it for you.  When we had rookie divers, we had two divemasters for
each skill level.  There are enough sites on the north shore so that we did
not have to repeat a site.  There is a surge and wave action at the
surface.  You have to exit one at a time due to the rollers.  The marine
life was highly varied with the Black Durgon the most numerous.  The Purple
Sponges were farily dramatic.  We saw a little of everything.  The
Hotel-on-the-Cay (HOTC) was a great choice. They have a dive package in
conjunction with Dive Experience.  Pay one bill (except for Nitrox).  HOTC
is the only hotel in Christainstad with a beach.  The hotel is on
Protestant Island, in the harbor 200 yards offshore, and is reached by a
launch that is complimentary for guests.  We snorkeled one entire
afternoon.  There are no large vessels operting in th harbor.  At night,
the hotel is far enough away from the wharf to keep the nightlife sound to
a minumum.  The Dive Experience dock is a hundered yards down the
boardwalk.  Dive Experience has a locked storage facility on the dock for
your equipment during your stay.  Your equipment was stored on hangers. 
For those of you who have had to use small lockers, you know this is a
luxury.  We had plenty of choices for food and drink along the boardwalk. 
There is even a micro-brewery.  Fort Christianstad, also on the boardwalk,
is a great museum run by the US Park Service.  We took one day off to see
the sights from an open air jitney.  It included a stop at the Cruzan Rum
Distillery and at the Whim Sugar Cane Plantation Museum.  Whim is a
facinating place and like stepping back in time.  All in all, a great trip
thanks to Dive Experience!
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Other dive reports on Dive Experience

All Virgin Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Virgin Islands
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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