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Dive Review of Cubandivingcenters/Avalon 1 in
Cuba/Jardines de la Reina

 
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Cubandivingcenters/Avalon 1: "The Caribbean as it was 30 years ago", Aug, 2016,

by Robert G Lutan, MO, US ( 2 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 9356.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Well, if you want to see big groupers, big tarpons and lots of sharks, then Jardines de la Reina is your place. Nowhere else in the Caribbean have I seen so many large/giant groupers on every dive. They are practically every where you look and the same goes for the sharks. Easily 10 to 20 sharks each dive. The bonus was when the dive master hanged the empty fish container just below the boat upon surfacing. You will be ascending to the dive ladder with sharks all around you. Not for the squeamish diver for sure, but we all got used to the sharks pretty quickly. A few times, the dive master held a shark by its tail to induce tonic immobility. Yes, some of us divers also did it. Great photo ops with the sharks under the boat and during the few shark feedings. Some shark teeth were recovered from the reef after each feeding.
Large groupers like nowhere else in the Caribbean. We even saw one the size of a potato cod. Very big tarpons were hanging around the many canyons. There were a few surprises, and poor visibility was one of them. Must be that time of the year. Also, very few lobsters were seen. Could it be because at every meal we were served lobster/fish, etc.?
The other bad stuff-- no night diving even though they promised us that. Apparently "the government frowned upon night diving" and there were no dive lights on the boat. I hear that the Aggressor boat allows night diving and they do 4 dives per day, instead of the 3 dives per day on Avalon 1. Another issue-- no Nitrox even though they promised that too.
Food was fabulous and snorkeling with salt water crocodiles was something you will always remember. Crew was very pleasant and helpful. The other surprise was the fact that only 5 divers signed up for the expensive Avalon 1. The other 6 divers signed up for the cheaper sister boats. Since there were not enough clients, we were all put into the more expensive boat. A great deal for those paying less, but not a happy experience for those paying the most. And this boat is quite expensive per day compared to most other liveaboards.
Websites Cubandivingcenters   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Sipadan, Lembeh Strait, Bunaken, Bali, Komodo NP, Belize, all over the Caribbean, Cozumel, Bahamas, Society islands, Fiji, Coral Sea, Cocos island, Papua New Guinea.
Closest Airport Havana Getting There 6 hour bus ride to Jucaro. Another 6 hour boat ride to the national park.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 84-88°F / 29-31°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30-50 Ft/ 9-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Basically we stay in a group of 8 to 10 divers per 2 divemasters. Dive depth was not over 80 to 100 feet with a maximum bottom time of 50 minutes.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 3 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 Michael Bennettin CA, US at Jan 06, 2017 20:41 EST  
Like to see some topside photos. Like a breakdown of costs.
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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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