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Dive Review of Underwater Boat Services [UBS]/ Island Hideaways Villa Rental in
Virgin Islands/Tortola, BVI

Underwater Boat Services [UBS]/ Island Hideaways Villa Rental, Jun, 2004,

by Robin A. Masson, NY, USA . Report 1162.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving All over Caribbean, Great Barrier Reef, Andaman Sea, Sea of Cortez
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 81 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No restrictions. We had a private boat with dive master and the four in our party. We stayed as long as we wanted, many dives more than an hour long.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Our small boat had a big bucket for cameras, large enough for a housed Nikon and a Nikonos V with strobes-- that's all we needed. A dry area for changing film. The island has 24 hour print processing and e-6 processing available for those who want them.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments UBS is a great operation. Their boat is fast, and comfortably holds 4 divers and captain/DM. You hire the boat for your party. With three divers you pay the same as you'd pay for three to go on a cattle boat; with 4 divers, it's cheaper for 2-tank dives. You set your schedule and decide with the DM/captain where you'll go for the day, given the conditions. DMs are very enthusiastic and knowledgable about sites, critters, fish, behavior, etc. Equipment is in good shape and there are 60cf tanks for short people who don't suck the air [like me]. Since this is a private dive, you can stay down as long as you like. We decided, since we were on vacation, to start diving at 10AM, do one dive before lunch, go over to one of the neighboring islands for lunch, and then another dive in the afternoon. A couple of days, we did a late afternoon dive, had a surface interval while watching the sun go down, and then a night dive. Late dinner at Fat Hog Bob's, just down the road where we had awesome BBQ overlooking the water, watching the full moon shimmer on the surface. The Wreck of the Rhone is a fabulous site -- bow and stern are two separate dives, throbbing with fish life and encrusted with corals and sponges. We did both day and night dives at this site. Other good sites at other islands in the BVI chain are all within 20 minutes by boat, depending on weather. Diving is generally 80 feet or less, with little current. Viz was only so-so, due to daily storms; it's usually better, but this was the end of June, beginning of July and the start of the stormy season.
Tortola is a great island. Safe, clean, friendly people, varied terrain [need 4-wheel drive for most roads -- consider it an adventure!], and beautiful uncrowded beaches. Cruise ships come in once or twice a week, but with little impact on the island outside of "downtown" -- spend those days diving and you won't even know they're there! I recommend renting a villa from one of the many villa rental agencies on the internet -- we used Island Hideaways and they arranged airport pickup and jeep rental for us too. Good supermarkets allow you to cook at home and save $ or just be more relaxed than having to go out for all meals if you choose. If you want to go out, there are lots of very good restaurants of all kinds and prices.
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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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