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Dive Review of Golden Rock Dive Center/old gin house in
St. Eustatius

Golden Rock Dive Center/old gin house, Jul, 2013,

by Michael Marmesh , FL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 7120.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments A sign in one of the local shops said "Welcome to Statia set your watch back 20 years." It's a small volcanic island with a population of about 3300. No big chain hotels or cruise ships. Reminds you of the Caribbean in the old days in good way. But cable TV and wifi are available.
Statia has furthered my appreciation of marine parks and preserves {as have those in Cocos, Palau, Belize and the Galapagos). There is a large preserve area at each end of the island. This means fewer lionfish because some of the fish large enough to eat them are still around. We saw nurse sharks on several dives, turtles on many dives that made no effort to avoid divers, slipper lobsters and a photo cooperative flying gurnard. The sponges and corals seemed healthier than other sites in the Caribbean. Travel to dive sites was 15 minutes or less.
There are several purposely sunk wrecks that make good dive sites. We were there on the 10th anniversary of the sinking of the Charles Brown, a 300 foot long cable layer laying on its starboard side in about 100 feet of water. We dove the wreck that morning. It is beginning to get a thin layer encrustation. The highlight was a swim of 120 feet down a long hallway through the center of the ship. That evening we had a great time at the party thrown by the Faires, the owners of the Golden Rock Dive Center, to commemorate the sinking. There was also a barge and a small tugboat that was so beautifully encrusted that it could have been a Disney set. We dove the Chien Tong, a small inter-island freighter, both day and night. At night hawksbill turtles come in to park on the deck for the evening. I was running my light along a rail on the aft deck and at first thought someone had been shipping an old VW Beetle until I realized it was the largest turtle I'd ever seen.
We stayed at the Old Gin House. The accommodations were very nice. There was a seaside restaurant and bar. The included breakfast was excellent, with good varied choices for lunch.The only problem was that, except for the once a week barbecue, the restaurant was closed at night. We ate at Cool Corner (Chinese/Dutch) and Franky's(Caribbean cuisine) up the hill in town, both reasonably priced with good food. A bit more upscale were the waterside Smoke Alley and the restaurant at the Golden Rock Hotel next to the Old Gin House.
Glenn and Michele Faires were very accommodating dive shop owners. They were willing to adjust dive times and schedules at the request of their clientele. Glenn led our dive on the Charles Brown. They also had a 105 cf tank for a big air sucker like me. In addition, I was the first paying customer for the Dive Glide, an underwater propulsion unit for free diving. Glenn's invention was a blast, using nothing but changes in buoyancy, it propels you underwater at speeds you could not attain using fins alone. I haven't had that much plain fun underwater in years. So if you get to Statia, make sure you look up Glenn and try the Dive Glide.
For those who are looking for something to do above the water, there are multiple hiking trails including up the Quill, a dormant volcano. There is also a botanical garden.
If you're looking for a relaxing, entertaining Caribbean vacation, St. Eustatius could be the place for you.
Websites Golden Rock Dive Center   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]cocos, palau belize, roatan, dominica, grenada, caymans, multiple bahamas locations, miami and florida keys
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 80-83°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 40-90 Ft/ 12-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions guided dive required though once they were familiar with skill level we roamed a bit on our own.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 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 Used my GoPro which requires little photog support
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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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