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Dive Review of Ocean Explorers Dive Center/Calisto Villa in
St. Maarten

Ocean Explorers Dive Center/Calisto Villa: "And Now For Somethng Different...", Aug, 2017,

by Michael Traylor, TX, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 9695 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We spent over a week diving w/ Ocean Explorers-two AM dives beginning at 8 or 11 AM. No night dive due to the weather mentioned below. Nitox is available but should be requested in advance, since it is brought over from St. Thomas and may run short. We stayed in a villa w/ a pool in the west end in an area called Terres Basses. These are easily reviewed and rented on-line. They are a good option if your party is large and two or three bedrooms are needed. A rental car is a necessity. We cooked at the villa and there are plenty of good restaurants that are priced fairly high. There are speedbumps on all the roads at 50-100 yards apart! Cars drive on the right.
The weather became rainy and windy after a couple of days and we simply could not dive a couple of days. Our hosts said there were a few sites they could take us w/ poor viz that only a novice could enjoy and advised waiting for calming, but the viz was still pretty limited w/ our last dives. NEVERTHELESS, the dives were pretty exciting w/ several including reef sharks circling us throughout the dives, lots of docile turtles, many sting rays of all sizes, octopi, and many lobsters, often bigger than I've seen elsewhere. Parrotfish, angelfish, & butterfly fish seemed reduced in numbers. There were also wrecks of various types at several sites. The coral was OK, but we spent a lot of time over sand.
The divenasters were very friendly, conversant, talented, and anxious to help. Jeff even managed to change an O-ring on my wife's tank while she hung on the side rope before she entered the water! Extra help for even experienced divers was needed because the two boats are 18 footers w/ outboards and feel crowded. Thus, the divers are limited to six, but gearing up requires help, esp. in chop. There's plenty of sun on one on the boats, too.
There are snorkeling sites close in to many of the beaches and reef fish and octopi were seen there.
There was some current at some sites, this was strong on only one.
One of the divemasters took photos of the divers and sites on the dives and these can be downloaded from their site for $50. Most were not worth saving.
Websites Ocean Explorers Dive Center   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Many Caribbean, Galapagos, Fiji, Costa Rica, Sea of Cortez, Maldives, Texas Flower Gardens, Hawaii, etc.
Closest Airport St. Maartin Getting There Daily non-stops from Miami

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp -83°F / -28°C Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 40-50 Ft/ 12-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Follow the guiding divemaster w/ a bottom time (liberal) and max. depth.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 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 No camera tank on boats; I am not a photographer.
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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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