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Dive Review of Golden Rock Dive Center/Old Gin House in
St. Eustatius

Golden Rock Dive Center/Old Gin House, May, 2005,

by Tom Garber, Ca, USA . Report 1756.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Roatan, Grand Cayman, Saba, Channel Islands Ca, Catalina Island Ca,
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather rainy Seas choppy
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 50 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions All dives were guided by dive master, however you could dive your own computers and and not follow the group if you requested.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We had planned a two-week, three-island trip to include 3 days on Statia, 7 on Saba and 3 more on St. Maarten. We booked American Airlines to St. Maarten and our inter-island flights through WinAir on line. All sounded good until we arrived at St. Maarten and found that our baggage never left LAX. All we had was our carry on, which contained our essential dive gear; regs, computers, masks, etc, and some misc toiletries, etc. No clothes or swim suits, BC's, Fins, U/W Camera. We had to purchase some T-shirts, Thongs, etc. from the gift shop in town. Not much available for clothes there.
When we arrived at Statia, we told the folks at the Old Gin House of our predicament and they said that this happens frequently and that they would have someone bring our baggage as soon as it arrived via WinAir. We met with Michelle and Glenn Faires at Golden Rock the next morning. Even though WinAir had not notified the hotel, Glenn immediately drove me back to the airport to see if WinAir had delivered any baggage, where we received the 1st suitcase with the clothes. We dove the next two days as planned but did not receive our remaining dive gear until right before our 2nd dive on the last day. Glenn went and picked it up at the airport. Glenn and Michelle loaned us rental gear at no charge. They were by far, the most accommodating dive shop folks that we have ever dealt with, Michelle made numerous calls to WinAir trying to locate our stuff and was genuinely concerned with ensuring we enjoyed our stay in spite of our airline problems and rainy weather. If you go to Statia, dive with Golden Rock. When we showed up to dive on the third day Michelle was on the phone with WinAir, they had landed and wanted to know why we weren't at the airport to depart for Saba. I gave Michelle my itinerary which showed we had reservations on a 3:00PM flight that day not 7:30AM. WinAir informed her that if we didn't get to the airport in 10 minutes, we would not be able to leave until the following day. We packed in 5 and Michelle drove us to the airport. She gave us a hug and we departed, once again without luggage, due to a full plane and weight limitations. We made a total of 8 flights on this trip and the only flight that had our luggage when we landed was the return trip to LAX.
Unfortunately, we were only able to make 4 dives, so can't really provide a good assessment of the diving. We dove the Blue Bead dive, which was a muck dive where one of the divers actually found a blue bead. We also dove a large wreck, which was quite interesting, and the Double Wrecks site. Golden Rock Dive Center is a Class operation, Michelle and Glenn went beyond expectations in trying to make our time enjoyable. Michael and Lis were not only informative and professional divemasters, but were entertaining and kept things fun and interesting. The island is very interesting with a lot of history. Things commonly found in touristy areas are non existent. There are some good restaurants within walking distance of the Gin House. The Blue Bead was probably the best. Gin House food was good, but a bit overpriced. If you stay at the Old Gin House, I recommend the Ocean Front Rooms. They are very nice with privacy and a great view.
Due to the difficulties with WinAir, I do not recommend a multi island trip. We met two other divers on Saba who had booked Statia as their 2nd island, but never made it due to WinAir's inability to land on Saba for several days. A 1000' runway doesn't allow much room for crosswinds. If you do go multi island, you might consider "The Edge" which is the ocean ferry. You get to travel with your luggage. I know they service Saba and St. Maarten, but not sure about Statia. See Saba write up for remaining trip info.
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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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