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Dive Review of Patagon Dive Center/Private villa rental through VRBO in
Virgin Islands/St. John

Patagon Dive Center/Private villa rental through VRBO: "Good Operator for decent diving in St. John", Feb, 2015,

by Tari Hanneman, MD, US ( 1 report). Report 8279.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We were looking for a place where we could go for a quick, relatively inexpensive winter vacation with some diving attached and we needed to use a USAIR certificate so we had somewhat limited options. We decided to check out St. John despite it not really being known as a dive destination. We had a very hard time finding reviews for the dive operators that we felt we could trust (lots of folks from cruise ships and/or newbies) - which is why I feel compelled to write this report. The reviews we did find were all pretty uniform in indicating that the dives tended to be limited to 45 min.

We started out by booking with Low Key Water Sports but ended up diving with Patagon and are glad we did. First a bit about why we switched. About a week before our trip I got an email from Low Key that they needed to cancel our 3 dive trip on Friday because we were the only 2 people booked and one of their boats was out of commission. So we re-booked on their two dive trip that day. Then a few days later they emailed that they needed to cancel our Sunday dives because the National Park Service wanted to use their boat for an educational tour (really, like these things aren't planned more than a week in advance?). Clearly their priority was not on diving, so we looked around a bit more and found Paragon and were able to book at the last minute.

Patagon runs 6-pack boats while all of the others run much larger (aka cattle) boats. We did 7 dives with them (only had 3 days available for diving) and on 5 of the 7 dives we were the only 2 divers (1 dive we had two snorkelers on board). They were very willing to take us to places we were interested in and on one dive they were even going to take to a site that rarely gets dived, but the conditions weren't good once we got there. The crew is friendly and laid back and very helpful. Entry is a back roll off of the boat. Hand up fins (and gear if desired) and climb back up ladder.

They do also have a shop on St. Thomas so sometimes the boat from St. John runs over there to pick up divers, but it is a pretty painless process (and the one day we did it we got to watch a shirtless Mark Sanchez practicing his footwork and throwing on the beach at the Ritz Carlton where the St. Thomas Patagon shop is - which made the wait more interesting).

The diving was plagued by bad visibility due to recent storms. However, they did indicate that it is typically much better. Reefs and fish were pretty standard Caribbean fare. My spouse put together a short GoPro video which will give you a sense of the best of the diving. [ link]

We rented a place through VRBO which is a great option if you want to get out of town and enjoy the quiet of the island and are looking for an affordable option where you can prepare some of your own meals. The Caneel Bay Resort where Patagon is located is quite lovely ($$$$) and we had a nice lunch at one of the restaurants there.
Websites Patagon Dive Center   Private villa rental through VRBO

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Palau, Chuuck, Indonesia, Turks & Caicos, Curacao, Bonaire, Roatan, Belize, Hawaii, North Carolina, California, Florida
Closest Airport St. Thomas (STT) Getting There DC to Philly to St. Thomas, then ferry to St. John.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 78-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10-40 Ft/ 3-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Had to dive with divemaster. Dives in 40-60 ft. range. 45-50 minutes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments Small boat so no rinse tank or table on board. They wrapped up our GoPro and tucked it away under the flybridge and were helpful with it.
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Subscriber's Comments

By JoLee Ford in WA, US at Nov 02, 2015 14:20 EST  
Thanks for sharing the video: I really enjoyed your report and pic!
By Michael J Kalpiers in MN, US at Nov 25, 2015 10:49 EST  
This is helpful for us as we will be visiting St. John Feb 2016.
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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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