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Dive Review of Chris Sawyer & Admiralty Dive/Marriott Renaissance Grand in
Virgin Islands/St Thomas

Chris Sawyer & Admiralty Dive/Marriott Renaissance Grand, Jan, 2003,

by Richard Heath, SC, USA . Report 332.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Azores; Great Abacos Bahama; Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine in French Polynesia; Grand Cayman; Istapa, Cancun, Play Del Carma, Cozumel, Mexico; Florida Keys; North & South Carolna; Reciffe, Brazil; St. Lucia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 81 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Dove with a group but restrictions were not excessive - we dove as deep as the area in which we were in - (Not a wall dive) Each dive came back with about 900 psi
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 5 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 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Dove with Admiralty Dive out of the Holiday Inn Windward Passage Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas on Sunday and Chris Sawyer Diving Center, at The Marriott Renaissance Grand on St Thomas on Monday.

Both of these dive operations are very well organized and run by folks that I highly recommend.

Both dive operations had excellent dive boats – designed for diving – not just a boat that could be used for fishing or diving or whatever – Easy entry and easy return – a lot of room and well-organized space on the boats.- Both were what divers would dream of if you were designing your own dive boat

Admiralty Dive
Marty and Amy at Admiralty took us to the Concrete shipwreck and then to Dry Rocks for our second dive. Both dives had that excellent visibility that you come to expect from all dive sites in the Virgins.

The concrete shipwreck (the first dive – down to about 87 feet) was less than spectacular and should not be dived on for a couple more years. It has no real marine life and no coral as it has only been down since about 1996 - and has been savaged by a storm since its sinking.

However, the second site down to about 56 feet– Dry Rocks should not be missed by anyone going to dive St. Thomas. We saw over 8 very large lobsters (Wish I had a noose to get them!) two manta rays swimming by in formation above the coral (looked like a scene out of an underwater movie) and a nurse shark at the bottom of a beautiful coral and rock formation. Many tropical fish, snapper, and grouper were also spotted among the rocks and coral. And what beautiful rock and coral formations they were.

Amy our dive master was an excellent tour guide and a joy to dive with, safe but not overly restrictive – Marty stayed with the boat but offered many good insights into the various spots we were visiting and where we should go. A very enjoyable and friendly time was had by all – Highly recommend these folks!

Chris Sawyer Diving Center, at the Marriott Renaissance Grand
The folks here were also very pleasant and a joy to dive with – The two dive masters on the Boat Fools Gold were Frank and Wayne – Both conducted excellent pre-dive briefings and were very understanding to an inexperienced heavy set female diver on the boat. (Apparently the young lady had only gotten her certification recently and this may have been her second open water dive – when she got in the water she was extremely nervous and even said that she would not be able to go – wanting to get back out – Wayne worked with her and stayed close and she completed both dives.)

These dives were to Congo Key and Mingo Key – neither site would be in my top 50 dive sites. The visibility was less than 50 yards and not a lot of great things to see. But that happens from time to time. The dive crew made up for it by being extremely easy going and interested in the comfort of the divers offering water between dives and peeling apples . There were 7 divers on board plus the crew and dive masters.

An extra-added treat that made up for the less than great dive sites was having a professional underwater photographer on board that dove with us. Stacy took pictures of all the divers (multiple pictures of each diver) and at the end of the dive makes a CD of the dive with your pictures and the sites you have seen. She mailed mine and it was in my hands back in South Carolina within 4 days of the dive. The price for this was $31.00. I have the feeling that she goes out with each Chris Sawyer dive boat from the Marriott Renaissance Grand. She did an excellent job and like I said turned a less than stellar dive site into a memorial dive – (how often do you get pictures taken of you diving – I am usually taking the pictures of all sorts of things but myself.)

I have written these two reviews as one as they were from different sides of the island and occurred back to back. When reading Undercurrents.org for information on dive venues, my first concern after determining where I am going is looking for a dive company that is superb. With these two that is what you will get! If I get back to St. Thomas – these would be the ones with whom I would dive.
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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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