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Dive Review of Dive Experience/Hotel-on-the-Cay in
Virgin Islands/St. Croix

Dive Experience/Hotel-on-the-Cay, May, 2006,

by Bernie Urbanik, TX, USA ( 2 reports). Report 2471.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Grand Turk, South Caicos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, surge, noCurrents
Water Temp 80 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions General Depth Limits
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

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 1 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 [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments I am a 55 yo male (PADI MAster Scuba Diver) and I took my 19 yo son (PADI Advanced Open Water Diver with specialties). We used the Chapbook to book the trip. This is a very valauble resource so I wanted to give back a little with this report. This was our first trip to the Virgin Islands. It's important to have specifc objectives in mind when making a dive location decision. I always seek out a combination of diving and non-diving recreation when booking a trip. I also hate having to rent a car on an island. There were a sufficient number of Chapbook entries to plan the trip.
St Croix has a lot to offer in this regard. The Dive Experience is owned and operated by Michelle Pugh, recently installed in the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Her operation is first rate with a good seaworthy boat Captained by Sam Halvarson. Being based in Christianstad means north shore diving from moorings similar to the north shore of Grand Cayman. All sites are marked with bouys and it is open sea. We ranged from five to ten divers and made ten boat dives. It is a great deal of fun to dive with a diver as experienced as Michelle. She knows what to look for, knows insticntively what each diver's situation is and in so doing, makes for a comfortable dive. We even did a little reef maintenance by replacing a bouy. I used Nitrox on all my dives while my son was on air. The Nitrox tanks were in excellent condition. There was an on-board Oxygen mixture meater that plugged into your BC. You could either work your own equipment or they would do it for you. When we had rookie divers, we had two divemasters for each skill level. There are enough sites on the north shore so that we did not have to repeat a site. There is a surge and wave action at the surface. You have to exit one at a time due to the rollers. The marine life was highly varied with the Black Durgon the most numerous. The Purple Sponges were farily dramatic. We saw a little of everything. The Hotel-on-the-Cay (HOTC) was a great choice. They have a dive package in conjunction with Dive Experience. Pay one bill (except for Nitrox). HOTC is the only hotel in Christainstad with a beach. The hotel is on Protestant Island, in the harbor 200 yards offshore, and is reached by a launch that is complimentary for guests. We snorkeled one entire afternoon. There are no large vessels operting in th harbor. At night, the hotel is far enough away from the wharf to keep the nightlife sound to a minumum. The Dive Experience dock is a hundered yards down the boardwalk. Dive Experience has a locked storage facility on the dock for your equipment during your stay. Your equipment was stored on hangers. For those of you who have had to use small lockers, you know this is a luxury. We had plenty of choices for food and drink along the boardwalk. There is even a micro-brewery. Fort Christianstad, also on the boardwalk, is a great museum run by the US Park Service. We took one day off to see the sights from an open air jitney. It included a stop at the Cruzan Rum Distillery and at the Whim Sugar Cane Plantation Museum. Whim is a facinating place and like stepping back in time. All in all, a great trip thanks to Dive Experience!
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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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