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Dive Review of Caribbean Explorer II in
Saba

Caribbean Explorer II, Jan, 2009,

by Matthew Wolynetz, DE, United States ( 1 report). Report 4642.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Galapagos Islands, Great Exumas, Florida Keys, Roatan, New Jersey & Delaware coast
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 77 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Buddy system with some guided dives
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments The good.....our group got this trip very cheaply as we had a very generous dive shop owner turn back all free spaces and discounts to lower our per person costs dramatically. This was the largest reason this trip was worth it to me. Had I paid the card rate I would not be so cheerful. The food was pretty good and plentiful with snacks in between meals. The boat was fairly spacious on the dive deck with small lockers underneathe your seat, hot shower on deck, hot towels after dives. Overall not bad at our price of just $916.00 per person.

The bad....this could be rather long but I will keep it very concise as possible. The boat was tired and worn throughout and ready for drydock. There was a strong mold smell in our room below decks when we arrived. The diving was disappointing for most of the experienced divers on this boat. There were so few fish underwater we coudn't believe it. If I had a nickle everytime I heard someone said "where's the fish" I'd be rich. There was nothing large at all, except one large baracuda, one large grouper, and one large turtle. That was it for 25 dives. There wasn't even a lot of small fish. To be fair there was a hurricane in this area in Oct. 2008 and we dove many sites that were covered in sand and debris. Perhaps this is the reason there is so little fish life there. Our itinerary started in St. Kitts to St. Eustacious, to Saba. Saba clearly had the best viz, and reefs. Diamond Rock was the best dive But again little underwater life overall. The crew was attentive but aloof and seemed disconnected at times but maybe that has something to do with what I wrote below. The captain (Ian) seemed tired, and identified himself as the bus driver as soon as we arrived. His attitude was clearly that he wished he was somewhere else. Apparently he was a fill in captian and this was to be his last trip. The boat had a small (8ft) dingy for rescuing divers or land visits. The crew put eight passengers in this dingy and transported us without life jackets over a 1/2 mile of open water in 2-3 ft seas. This is seriously unsafe! The crew was also smoking pot on the boat during while divers were in the water. Now I am pro-pot but never have I been on a dive boat where the crew was getting high with divers in the water!! Again very unsafe and dangerous for us if there was an emergency situation. Several of us smelled the odor and I asked the captain (who was on deck) if he smelled it. Others asked if the crew would share. The captain immediately (without saying a word) walked to the bow of the boat. The bow is where the crew smoked their cigs and hung out. Two members of the crew also took night swims without life jackets or strobes some distance away from the boat. They told us about a tug boat that was motoring their way that they had to swim away from at night. This didn't seem to be a big deal at the time, but someone else pointed out what if something happened to them while they were swimming? How would that affect the paying customers trip if one of the crew went missing?? This is supposed to be our vacation not theirs. The land tours were nice but over priced taxi cab rides. Thirteen of us were crammed in a small van at $20.00 each ($260.00) and driven up to the top of Saba and back. When the driver dropped us off at a couple of destinations to shop he would leave us to pick up other fares. Transfers to and from the airport were not paid for by the boat.
Paying full price for this boat or close to it is too much for this destination and condition of this boat at this time. Wait a year or two and maybe the reefs are in better shape and maybe the fish will return. Maybe the boat will go into dry dock too. Who knows. But add in all of the extra fees they hit you with plus airfare, taxes, gratuity and a couple could easily end up spending more than $4500.00 for this trip. This boat and location was unknown to us prior to our visit. Next time we will be on a Aggressor boat.
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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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