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

Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II, Jan, 2010,

by Lynda Durfee, VA, USA (Top Contributor Top Contributor 41 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 5349.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Aruba, Bahamas, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Key Largo
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 75 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No deco; stay with buddy, 3 minute safety stop on all dives; dive your profile w/in no deco. No diving for rest of the day once you've had an alcoholic drink.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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 I wasn't using a camera, but there was a designated rinse barrel for cameras, separate camera table and towels for cameras. Cameras handed to divers on line. Charging station on dive deck.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 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 4 stars
Comments This is my third trip on the CE II within 13 months, second on this itinerary. Sunny, but very windy (25 mph with higher gusts) entire week, which made getting back on the boat a challenge some times. Hot shower and towels on dive deck (as always) were really needed and appreciated. Only four divers (and 5 crew) this week, so the diving was really personalized. Visibility ranged from pretty good on some dives to times when we wouldn't have found the site if we hadn't descended on the mooring line. Sites chosen on conditions and visibility, so we couldn't do Diamond Rock on Saba and hit some sites 3 times (afternoon and night). Saw more than the 1 or 2 sharks/turtles in above fields, but not on any one dive, except one where 4 rays were seen. Because of the small number of divers, all the crew was able to dive, with Captains Ian and Dave taking turns with DMs Demi and Scott. Jane's cooking was great and I looked forward to the morning and afternoon snacks as well as the regular meals. Alcohol (some premium brands) included, but once you've had a drink, no more diving for that day. We made up for that after the night dives! Diving is giant stride entry from dive deck about 7-8 feet above water; return up ladders to swim platform, then short ladder to dive deck. Crew helps you in and out; very safety conscious. Hang lines from stern, but most safety stops done on mooring line due to strong currents and surface conditions on some dives. "Dinghy of shame" available, but no one needed it this week. Sightseeing excursions available on Saba, Statia and on return to St. Kitts. Saba is definitely worth seeing by van ($20 pp), but you don't need a guide for Statia if you don't mind walking from the dock to the historic town (1/2 mile). St.Kitts island tour with Percy was great; fort at Brimstone Hill is huge, and Percy let us take our time; stop at Batik factory was interesting as well. Diving in Saba and Statia is in marine parks, with local guide required for all Statia dives. I don't think you'd need a week on either island if all you did was dive, so the liveaboard is a great way to combine the three islands. Cabins are comfortable and clean; this isn't a 5-star boat compared to what I've seen on other websites, but a good value for the money ($1895 plus fuel surcharge of $95, port/marine park fees, and NITROX for whole week at $150). If you're traveling solo and the boat isn't full, you'll get your own cabin without paying a single supplement fee. Instruction available, and with few divers, a bargain. One diver got her AOW, and was able to choose her three optional dives based on dive sites and conditions spread out over 5 1/2 days of diving. I used a 3 mm full suit, but others used 5 mm and hoods some days. I'd do this itinerary again in January, especially since I returned to DC right after another 8 inches of snow had fallen! The extreme wind we encountered was unusual for this time of the year (just this week), and very different from the early January trip I made in 2009.
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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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