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Dive Review of La Bulle/Cruise Ship in
St. Barth

La Bulle/Cruise Ship: "Would not go here again", Dec, 2014,

by Hugh E Aaron, VA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 26 reports with 19 Helpful votes). Report 8134.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 2 stars
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 1 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments In St. Barths for a day on a cruise ship, we had arranged a day of diving with La Bulle. They had excellent on-line reviews. We had a few glitches making a reservation and needed some minor modifications to their cancellation policy, but looked forward to the dive. They kindly offered to pick us up from the tender dock, but we opted to walk, preferring the exercise associated with a 10 to 15 minute walk around the harbor. The traffic was such that a ride would have been longer than the walk.
When we arrived at the dive shack, a group of people were sitting around smoking and one was talking on the phone. After a few minutes, one greeted us and told us we were in the right place. The tank valves did not fit our older regs, so we searched for a few that we could make work. There were no tank valves that could accommodate my Conshelf 14, so they loaned me a free flowing reg with no computer to use for the dive. The tank fills were on the slim side and when we asked if we could top them off or switch to full tanks, we were asked what the problem was clearly indicating that we should stick with what we had. No one asked for or checked our C-cards.
The nice dive boat pictured on the web site when we made our reservation was no longer in the fleet, so we went out on an inflatable with no overhead shade covering, no tank racks, and no storage. There was no dive briefing, no visible oxygen on board, no hang line, no other safety equipment and no discussion of time or depth. We did our first dive on a nice pinnacle as a group. When we ascended, there was no assistance offered to pull yourself back on board the inflatable or remove your gear. There was no water, or any beverages on board. The dive master smoked during the entire surface interval and the instructor who was driving the boat peed off the bow (no marine head). No one kept track of the surface interval. The dive master asked my husband how long we had been out and how much longer we should wait before beginning our second dive.
On our second dive, the dive master leading our group, obviously lost in a sand field, began swimming so fast that he separated our group. When he realized he lost one diver, he started swimming in the opposite, equally barren direction in an effort to find him. He attempted to surface to look for the lost diver, only to discover that his own computer was calling for an extended decompression stop before he could surface. He then ran out of air and had to buddy breathe off the tank of one of the divers in our group for his 15-20 minute stop. After surfacing, we spotted the lost diver with his safety sausage deployed and we were hurriedly boarded so the boat could go and pick him up.
Back at the dock, the crew did unload the boat and showed us the hose to rinse our gear. Everyone sat around the small area smoking and drinking rum punch. Ironically, this dive was the single most expensive dive I have ever done. And while not the worst experience Ive had in 30 plus years, it was close. I am in no hurry to return to St Barths, as the diving was similar to but not nearly as good as nearby Saba. In the unlikely event I did return to St. Barths, I would definitely find another operator to dive with.
Websites La Bulle   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving USVI, Bahamas, Florida, Bonaire, Hawaii, Santa Catalina, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Belize, Roatan, Cozumel, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba, BVI, Barbados, St. Maarten, Virginia, North Carolina
Closest Airport not sure Getting There We came by ship

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 80-83°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 60-80 Ft/ 18-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions We went as a group - but as there was no real structure to the dive, not really any enforced restrictions. You could probably go off on your own.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 2 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments There was no setup. Your camera would be in the pile of dive gear in the center of the dinghy unless you held it. Then you could hose it down when you get back to the dock.
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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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