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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II in
Caribbean (General)/Saba, St. Kitts, Nevis

Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II, May, 2014,

by Jeffrey D Hubbard MD, NY, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 31 reports with 17 Helpful votes). Report 7621.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was our 29th liveaboard, and the international crew was among the most diligent, friendly and careful we have known. Six crew for 17 divers means hard work, and they were all up to it. Engineer Brett did (what looked like) a major 1st/2d stage regulator field repair while the owner dived on a loan reg. Purser Maria was everywhere, doing nearly everything. Chef Jane produced an endless array of delicious meals and after-dive treats, and was always attentive to special food requests. The dive deck staff is everybody on the crew, though Leslie & Martin were the official dive guides, and everyone on the crew, especially Capt. Nestor, was an accomplished guide and knew all the sites. Need help untangling hoses or getting a back zipper done up? There’s a crew member right there, doing it.
There are two night crossings of about 3 hours each, moderately rough. Bring whatever medication you like for motion sickness.
Salon and dive deck were commodious, and there is a spacious sundeck. Cabins vary from tiny (only one person can stand at once) to comfortable (two can stand and dress, if good friends.) We recommend reviewing the Vessel Layout on the website and booking a cabin, with or without bunks, that will be comfortable for you. We found #5 (#6 is similar) fine in queen bed (=2 twins pushed together) configuration. The carpet (floor and walls) was dusty and sneeze-making. Cabins are nicely a/c, the salon is usually not. It’s open to the air but entirely sun-sheltered, never uncomfortable.
All dives begin on at an announced time – no, “The pool is open.” The times are reasonable, and come back when you want or are down to 500 psi. Depth is limited to 130 ft, or 110 ft if diving the standard-issue nitrox, 32%. Fills always over 3000 psi. No deco diving allowed. This is all fine, with one exception. Leaving aside the issue of arbitrary depth limits, a very nice Saba pinnacle, “3d Encounter,” is 90 ft deep on the top and could be an excellent dive. With everyone diving nitrox, this means that nineteen divers, many with cameras, are swarming around the top 20 ft of the narrow pinnacle, in the current, bumping into each other. Reducing the O2 to, say, 28%, for that dive would extend the operating depth enough (132 ft) to make more of the pinnacle accessible without getting into either the forbidden depth or the forbidden deco. The crew logs every diver’s time in, time out, max depth and returning pressure. I had a few tanks come back in the high 400s and never got dinged. We never got even close to required decompression.
Saba dives were mostly very good, some (Tedran Wall, Tent Reef) fabulous. St. Kitts/Nevis dives were weaker, on the average. Devil’s Cavern was good, but there were a few dives with such poor visibility that we surfaced early or skipped them entirely.
Very few good size fish, but excellent small reef fish. The night dives seemed better . . . cooperative octopuses!
Additional charges on checkout were 23% of the charter price, not counting (well-earned) crew tips.
The boat is pretty good, the crew excellent. They deserve some better dive sites.
Websites Explorer Ventures   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Hawai'i, Fiji, Micronesia, Australia, PNG, Brazil
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility - Ft/ - M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Depth limit 130 ft on air OR 110 ft on 32% nitrox
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Subscriber's Comments

By Ms Lynda Durfee in VA, US at Jun 10, 2014 10:01 EST  
I've been this itinerary 4 times and Aug 9-16 will be my 5th. Looks like you unsual poor viz on some SK dives; don't recall having that problem. Best site on SK (only done on on trip) was Monkey Shoals, which is far south. I try to avoid packs of photographers, because I'v been kicked HARD to many times, but prefer to wait until they've moved on. 130 on ai and 110 on NITROX aren't "arbitrary" dive limits, but standard recommedations. Given the turnaround time until next dive and full boat, it probably wouldn't be practical to change the mix for one 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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