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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures in
St. Kitts and Nevis

Explorer Ventures: "Fun trip, old boat, good food and crew", Feb, 2016,

by Mary McCombie, CT, US (Contributor Contributor 18 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 8839 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments I was on this boat in the early 1990s when it was the Sea Dancer. Explorer has kept her in good condition, but the fact remains it is cramped by the standards of today's liveaboards. On this trip, there were only 8 divers, so it felt just fine, but I can not imagine it with 18. Our trip began in Sint Maarten to Saint Kitts via Saba, and the diving varied considerably based on location and conditions. Saba was easily the best diving, despite rough conditions and a northerly swell that stirred up the volcanic silt in some sites. The marine park of Saba and its commitment to marine conservation shows: we saw a number of sharks, beautiful sponges, healthy corals, and though there were at least 3-5 lionfish per dive, the fish life seemed quite healthy. The Pinnacle and Diamond Rock were easily the most spectacular sites, although silty conditions made us move around. On one afternoon dive, we heard distant whale song. I dd not go on the land tour of Saba but dove instead. Folks who went on the tour did not rave about it.
After 2.5 days at Saba, we spent 2.5 days diving Saint Kitts. There is no marine park there, the island uses septic tanks rather than a more environmentally sensitive sewage treatment, and we saw fish traps and fish nets. The lionfish were monstrous in size, and overall fish life was lower. That said, the turtle population was thriving. On one site, M/V River Taw, there were probably 30+ turtles sleeping in the wrecks at night. Octopuses were abundant, and I was knocked out by an enormous scaly mantis shrimp.

The boat: cabins are cramped, with a modest amount of storage, tight beds, and a tiny shower. The beds were conventional mattresses, which would feel better were they memory foam. The food was superb; Chef Cathy, though somewhat grumpy, can really cook. I loved how every meal was not only themed, but featured abundant fresh fruits and vegetables. The dining area doubled as the salon, and if you wished to stay out of the sun, you had to stay there or in your cabin.

The dive deck was well-organized, with a large camera table; tanks were filled very quickly after each dive. The dive crew (usually JT, Brett, and/or Chelle) are knowledgable and helpful, and explained each site with useful site drawings and anecdotes. They were also fun, particularly JT and Chelle; Brett is an excellent u/w naturalist and equipment master. Captain for this trip was Bob Magilligan, who is a complete delight. Not only is he experienced (a "Deadliest Catch" former captain) but very funny, intellectually curious, and genuinely nice.

I did 25 dives in 5.5 dive days, and my buddy did 26. I would have preferred longer dives and perhaps fewer of them, but my gas consumption is pretty modest, so the one hour limit seemed to be more than enough for the other divers with more conventional gas usage.
Overall, I'm glad I did it, but confess that the boat is a little too cramped for my tastes, and the lack of marine conservation in Saint Kitts really bothered me.
Websites Explorer Ventures   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving all over the world
Closest Airport St. Maarten or St. Kitts Getting There easy from NYC area

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 76-78°F / 24-26°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 10-80 Ft/ 3-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 110 foot max on EAN; one hour max time limit
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 3 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]
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Report currently has 1 Helpful vote

Subscriber's Comments

By report author: Mary McCombie in CT, US at Feb 29, 2016 18:14 EST  
Oops! Re: wetsuits: I wore a 7mm with a hooded vest (sometimes Lavacore, sometimes 2mm). My buddy wore a 5mm. Many were fine with 2-3mm, so I guess I'm a wimp.
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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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