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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II in
Saba

 
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Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II: "Saba/St. Kitts on Caribbean Explorer II", Oct, 2016,

by Mark Kimmey, NY, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9214 has 2 Helpful votes.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving New York, Hawaii, California, Kwajalein, Florida, Grenada, Bonaire, Caymans, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Belize, Mexico, Australia, Sea of Cortez, St. Vincent, Indonesia
Closest Airport Depends on itinerary Getting There Best bet is via Miami on American Airlines.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 77 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10 to 40 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 60-minute dive time limit.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish For Subscribers Only
Small Critters For Subscribers Only Large Fish For Subscribers Only
Large Pelagics For Subscribers Only

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

Subject Matter For Subscribers Only Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's For Subscribers Only Shore Facilities For Subscribers Only
UW Photo Comments About the biggest camera table we've seen on any liveaboard; clean, dry towels reserved specifically for cameras; two air gu ... Subscribe to get the full story. For Subscribers Only  Active subscribers continue reading here

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

Accommodations For Subscribers Only Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude For Subscribers Only Environmental Sensitivity For Subscribers Only
Dive Operation For Subscribers Only Shore Diving For Subscribers Only
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ For Subscribers Only
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced For Subscribers Only
Comments We booked the Caribbean Explorer II after reading a review in Undercurrent and then the rather in-depth comments of diving friends. Booking was relatively easy through the parent company Explorer Ventures which is quite amusingly located in Mills, Wyoming, on the west side of Casper. They answered all of our questions promptly, and were quite friendly on the phone.

CEXII is a 115-foot monohull with a 20 foot beam, displacing 99 tons. She was built in 1978 as a crew boat and used to ferry personnel to and from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. According to Captain Ian Marriott, she was overbuilt, and originally had three engines that allowed her to make 23 knots. When she was refurbished as a dive boat, the center engine was removed. The boat will now make 12 knots.

A full complement of divers would be 18, but I imagine that would be tight. On our trip we only had 15, which was comfortable. We requested a cabin on the main (dive) deck, which was snug, but we had plenty of room under the lower queen bunk and on the upper single to stow all our hardside luggage. Belowdecks would have been more stable (less roll during crossings), but less natural light. When in the lower bunk the overhead is quite low, and its easy to bump your head. Both bunks also included reading lights, though in our cabin the one over the lower bunk did not work.

There was only one clothes drawer in the cabin, and only one electrical plate (two sockets). We ran an extension cord over the window and onto the top bunk where we charged the small batteries that went into our point-and-shoot cameras. The captain prefers that batteries for real cameras be charged on the dive deck, where a charging station is protected behind a rubberized flap, and this is where we also charged our Sola dive lights. One bedside shelf appeared to be an afterthought, and was not secured.

There was also no real hanging space, save for a wrought iron rack on the back of the door. Weve seen this sort of thing before, and we suspect its an attempt to discourage divers from trying to dry wet gear in their cabins. Unique to this boat was a fabric shoe bag attached to the wall behind the door, which worked well for organizing small stuff.

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Subscriber's Comments

By Ms Lynda Durfee in VA, US at Oct 29, 2016 19:34 EST  
I've made five trips on this boat (4 on the St. Maarten to St. Kitts itinerary). Switching from NITROX over to air mid-week for the night dives kept my computer happy. You hit the deepest dives (Saba) earlier in the week, so by the time you get to St. Kitts, you should be OK. This isn't a luxury boat, but you can't beat the value for the price.
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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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