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Dive Review of Culebra Divers/Emma's By the Sea in
Puerto Rico/Culebra

Culebra Divers/Emma's By the Sea: "First class dive operation", Jun, 2017,

by Hugh E Aaron, FL, US (Contributor Contributor 16 reports with 14 Helpful votes). Report 9639 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We found Culebra Divers to be a first class operation. The dive boat is very seaworthy, fast and quite comfortable. It is powered by a newer Yamaha four stroke. Much quieter than the typical inboard diesel, and no smell. The passenger space is fully covered and the seats are very comfortable. They carry a maximum of six divers. The dive ladder is impressive, especially for a “six-pack” boat.

The boat is fully quipped with all safety equipment including oxygen. They also carry a good supply of bottled water and a snack box with a great selection of between and post dive goodies. They have a second boat that appears to be very similar. It was getting some upgrades while we were there so we did not get a chance to try it. I expect it is about the same.

Our captain was Trever and our mate/divemaster was John. Both Trevor and John are serious professionals. They both have "retired" from the real world and obviously love to dive. John, who appears to dive most days, commented that he was looking forward to his next vacation. He was going diving! I’m not sure that many other full-time divemasters love diving so much that they go diving on vacation.

Trevor and John dove with us on every dive. Culebra has a lot of moorings and John often used them. Anytime we dove on anchor, the guys put down a second anchor. We never had a problem with our primary anchor dragging (Trevor or John always checked it when we hit the water). But the second anchor was a nice safety feature.

Culebra has a large variety of dive sites, all within a few minutes of the shop. The runs between the shop and the dive sites are in protected waters and quite pleasant. Culebra Divers appears to be the only serious dive operation on the island. We saw a few other boats from the “mainland,” but they seemed to cater to snorkelers for some reason. We never saw another diver in the water the entire trip. Clearly, this is not Molasses Reef. We can't understand why more people aren’t diving Culebra, but selfishly, it was nice.

We dove five days out of our eight days on the island. Trevor made sure we never visited the same dive site twice. In hindsight, another day of diving might have been nice. But there is a lot to do topside in Culebra. Especially if, like us, you enjoy exploring off the beaten track beaches and hikes.

The visibility was typically less than 50 feet. Trevor and John said that it was below average while we were on the island. We thought is was generally fine, just not spectacular. Like much of the rest of the Caribbean, some of the Culebra reefs seemed stressed. Although we saw some staghorn and elkhorn trying to make a comeback (or hang on). We also saw large, healthy brain coral in some places.

The fish life was very robust. Most of the dive sites are in a designated marine park. While we never saw any marine enforcement, we also never saw anyone in Culebra fishing. In terms of big stuff, we we saw a lot of turtles, southern rays and some huge lobster. We also saw several eagle rays. For whatever reason, sharks are rare. We never saw one. There are some lionfish, but surprisingly not many. We saw cowfish, one of our personal favorites, on nine out of ten dives.

This is probably best described as concierge diving. We never touched our equipment, except getting in and out of the water. Trevor and John always set-up our equipment and handed it to us when we were ready to get wet. When we came back to the boat, they took our fins. At the top of the ladder they took the rest of our equipment. If someone wanted to put on or take off their equipment in the water, that was fine with Trevor and John. They went out of their way to make sure that that everyone had the best possible experience. For example, when we arrived at the planned dive site, one of them always checked the current. If they thought is was running, they would find an alternate site. They also made sure no one got shorted bottom time. Most dives were at least an hour, sometime longer.

Between dives, the guys changed out our bottles and at the end of each day we simply walked off the boat. They then cleaned and stored our gear so that it was ready to go the next dive day.

Trevor and John were ably assisted shoreside by Heather, the shop manager (and Trevor’s wife), and Norman. We met the owners, who were very nice but kept busy doing boat maintenance while their team handled everything else. It was very clear that all those involved with the shop were close friends. They really seemed to enjoy working together.

We don't often repeat dives trips, but we might just repeat this one. In addition to offering a first rate dive operation, Culebra is a fun, relaxing place. It is easy to get to, has three small but well stocked grocery stores, a good variety of restaurants, and US cell phone service. Grocery and restaurant prices were mostly on par with Florida. There are no stoplights, no chain restaurants (not even a Subway) and no resort hotels. We stayed at one of the Airbnb rentals on the island. Ours, Emma’s by the Sea, was particularly nice and less than $100/night.
Websites Culebra Divers   Emma's By the Sea

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving USVI, BVI, California, Hawaii, Cozumel, Caymans, Roatan, Belize, Saba, St, Barths, St Kitts, Nevis, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Bahamas, Bonaire
Closest Airport Culebra Getting There Many flights from San Juan every day. Very easy and relatively inexpensive.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 83-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40-50 Ft/ 12-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Don't do anything stupid.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
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 Probably good for photographers, but there were no serious photographers on the boat while we were in Culebra. If there had been, I'm sure Trevor and John would have made sure that they had a great experience.
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Report currently has 3 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By Gregory S Bruce in WA, US at Jun 25, 2017 17:06 EST  
Great report. Thanks for posting!
By report author: Hugh E Aaron in FL, US at Jun 25, 2017 17:43 EST  
Thanks.
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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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