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Dive Review of SCUBA/Villa Margarita in
Virgin Islands/St. Croix

January, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by JoAn Ferguson, VA, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 2269
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean (several locations), Hawaii, Florida Keys
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, cloudy  
choppy, surge  
Water Temp
79   to 79    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
0   to 0    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
no time limits, but long bottom times led to short surface intervals  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Dive Op was good about handing camera down and up; seperate rinse bucket
for cameras
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
Jim, my husband, and I took our first empty nester vacation to St. Croix.
We picked the destination because of their wall dives, easy travel, and
curiosity. We wanted to check out this US Virgin Island destination.

The diving was good  and would have been better if we had more cooperative
weather. Diving was cancelled one day due to high winds and surf, the next
day was rough, and a few other days were cloudy and rainy. Despite that,
the wall dives were awesome. Lots of small to medium size tropical fish 
lots of butterflyfish, tangs, surgeonfish, grunts, etc. We saw
small-to-medium sized turtles which were surprisingly comfortable around
the divers. Saw one large stingray, but no eagle rays, sharks, or other big
guys. The coral was in good shape  lots of barrel sponges, but also some
areas of bleaching.

We selected S.C.U.B.A. (St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures) as a dive
op because they seem to have one of the larger operations on the island
with good safety equipment and a real boat. (Several ops use various
kinds of inflatable boats and we wanted something more substantial.) They
boast of having the The Friendliest Dive Shop on Earth and everyone in
the shop and on the boat was very friendly. However, I did have some
concerns with the dive op  

On one dive I was missing 4 pounds of weight so I struggled with my
buoyancy through most of my dive; I should have checked my set up after the
divemaster put everything together. The trouble began when we started
slowly ascending on the second half of the dive. I had been fighting to
stay down, so my breathing was increased  making the problem worse. I
tried to get some extra weight, but wasnt successful. I ended up doing a
rapid ascent from about 45 feet with no safety stop. I surfaced a good 100
yards from the boat, so had a lengthy surface swim. I used my Air Alert to
notify the captain. I was pretty pooped when I got to the boat. I asked for
oxygen, but unfortunately their oxygen tank was emptied. They kept me on
the 33% Nitrox that I had used during the dive as an interim step then took
me to a nearby Dive Op that they had called that had oxygen. Just to be
safe, S.C.U.B.A suggested that I go to the St. Croix hospital to be checked
out. The hospital did a good job at handling this dive incident  a quick
triage, a comprehensive neurological exam, and some chest X-rays. No diving
for a few days, but many lessons learned.

We stayed at Villa Margarita, located near Salt River and a 20 minute drive
from Christiansted. Villa Margarita has a beautiful setting - views from
suites look onto gorgeous Caribbean waters, a steady breeze onto the pool
area and into the suites, and a quick walk down to the beach. Our suite was
immaculate and well equipped. The kitchen had a medium sized refrigerator,
small microwave, coffee maker, toaster, 2 burner hot plate, and electric
skillet. Dishes, utensils, glasses, etc. were provided - along with soap
for hand washing. Very friendly environment. John and Adelle (owners) make
everyone feel like they are at home. The evening happy hours give everyone
a chance to share their day's experiences and relax with new friends. We
shared meals with the other couples several times.

Because of the weather and my diving incident, we spent less time diving
than expected on St. Croix. I was pleasantly surprised at the quantity and
quality of surface interval activities that we found. The island has a
rich history that is presented effectively at several museums and less
developed sites, such as the sugar plantation ruins scattered across the
island. We drove to Point Udall, the most eastern part of the United
States, visited the islands smallish casino, drove through the rain
forest, and toured the Cruzan Rum Factory. 

Overall, Id like to give this island a second chance. Id pick a different
time of the year (better weather) and a different dive op. But Id stay at
Villa Margarita for sure!
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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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