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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II in
St. Kitts and Nevis

Explorer Ventures/Caribbean Explorer II: "Decent diving in St. Kitt's and Saba", Jan, 2015,

by Terence Taylor, MD, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 8105 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 2 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments I cannot enter Liveaboard above, but the Caribbean Explorer is a Liveaboard.

The Caribbean Explorer II is an older boat, and cabin accomodations are tight. The room are 6'-2" wide and are typically the width of a queen bed plus the width of a sink, leaving little floor area. The shower/toilet are in a separate enclosure, about 30" wide. If you desire deluxe accommodations, this is not the boat.

The common area is populated by three permanent table, with a counter for serving. While it sufficed for a group of 19 that got along well, it did not have anywhere to enjoy the trip by oneself. This was not an issue for my wife and I, but there were several complaints among the group.

The diving was mediocre. High winds caused lower visibility, and made for rough entries and exits. About half the dives we completed were in moderate currents, especially on the surface, with 35 foot visibility. Many of the sites were lacking of aquatic life, to the point that on one repeat dive on a site, no one on the boat chose to dive it a second time- something I have never seen. The Captain, to his credit, often visited two or three sites before selecting one, trying to avoid currents.

The same issues plagued Saba, where three of their tops sites had damaged or missing moorings. One site, while an excellent site, Tent Reef, we dove 5 times, and a number of sites we dove 3 times.

The dive masters were very polite, but many dives we continuously finned- not an ideal situation for a photographer. Because of the low visibility and considerable currents (I found they tolerable, but many did not), we often followed the dive masters for the first part of the dive and then would break off. We did bring up our complaints for the speed of the dives, often referred to as a "road race," and they did react by slowing down on a number of the dives.

The dive masters were relatively new to many of the sites, often diving a site for the first time. I did dive with a non-DM on the trip, who had been a former DM, and she was fabulous, finding many critters we would have missed, and taking the time to slowly cruise the reef. In general, the DM's did point out a few critters, but not as many as I have come to expect on other trips.

The dive deck was very roomy, and easily accommodated 18 divers. Thanks are filled at your station, with an area below the seat for fins and other items. Semi-waterproof bins were provided. Separate area was available for hanging wetsuits. Small toilet was available on deck, with two open air warm showers provided at the rear of the deck. Very nice setup, equal or better than most boats I have been on.

The signature dive, The Pinnacle, was completed in considerable current, and with 50 foot viz and a cloudy morning, it was quite a dark dive. The DMs handled a number of problems well, for a number of divers had issues with the transit to the pinnacle with moderate current. Under these conditions, it was not a dive for beginners.

Food was plentiful, with breakfast to order, with omelets, eggs and sausage, pancakes, or French toast offered each morning (only one per morning). Bagels, English muffins, fruit, meal, yogurt and breads were available every morning. Lunches were themed, with tacos, hamburgers (beef, turkey and shrimp), and similar items, and dinners were not fancy but filling and very satisfying. Desserts after dinner were quite the hit. Of course there were snacks of fresh baked cookies, brownies, and other treats between dives. No one went hungry.

Non-divers were limited. The seas were typically rough, and when the seas calmed a bit, we were in Saba where the reefs were deeper. No other activities, such as kayaking, were available.

While I did not participate in the St. Kitt's tour, I heard it was decent. I recommend participating in the Saba tour, for it is truly a unique locale. The only problem is we made several stops for shopping, which were rather forced and most of us stood around waiting to move on.

With all this said, many of our complaints were due to Mother Nature, and not the boat. In spite of our issues, the crew was polite, upbeat and fun to be around, and made the trip a successful one. I truly feel we experienced a less than ideal trip mainly due to Mother Nature.

Note that while the accommodations were tight, and the boat amenities few, the price of the trip was very resonable. Note that plane flights may be more expensive, for you have to travel to St. Kitt's, and leave from St. Maarten, or the opposite.
Websites Explorer Ventures   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Cozmel, Riviera Maya, Curacao, Bonaire, Bahamas, Cayman Brac, Key Largo, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Florida
Closest Airport St. Kitt's or St. Maarten Getting There Fairly easy

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 35-50 Ft/ 11-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 110' limit for nitrox, 130' for air. Back on the boat with 500psi. Air pressure and depth was recorded after every dive.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The accommodations for photography were excellent, with a large, carpeted table for cameras, with very clear instructions to keep it dry. Adequate charging area, compressed air, separate photo towels, and a large tubs for only cameras. Very nice setup. I was the only diver with a large camera setup. As with most boats, of there were many photographers, it could get tight.
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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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