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British Virgin Islands
Baskin' in the Sun/Prospect Reef Resort, July 1998, Les Alan Levinowitz, Brooklyn, NY. Good dive operator. Professional and competent staff. They set up gear, transferred for the 2nd dive, and rinsed and stored. Most dives under 65'. Rhone was nice. We hired the photo guy to do stills just for us; 30 great slides at a reasonable price. Dives were either guided or you do a buddy team. Vis: 60-75 ft, water: 79-82 degrees. Newton 42 a great boat with showers, head, and ice chest for your own snacks. Night dive was average but, oh, so restful. Easy to get meal after night dive on premises at dockside. Food costly. (Ph: 800-650-2084 or 809-494-5854, Fax: 809-494-5853, e-mail: email@example.com, Website: www.dive-baskin.com)
Dive BVI/Little Dix Bay, May 1998, Craig Young & Sharon Busey, WI. Little Dix Bay is an expensive, classy resort. Rooms have no locks (from the outside-you can deadbolt from the inside), but have large room safes. No tubs for equipment washing. Each room has a drying rack on the private deck. They deliver fresh beach towels to rooms twice a day. Food outstanding, but expensive (like everything at this resort). Nice snorkeling reef at resort (rays, octopus, lobster, lettuce sea slug). The Baths also make for an interesting snorkeling trip. . . . Not much to do other than water sports (e.g., no shopping). Fischer's Cove nice for a beach side dinner. . . . Dive BVI excellent. Sharon and her husband, Richard, were great at finding and pointing out interesting creatures. They put your equipment together and help you slip it on while you sit on the dive platform. Freshwater camera rinse, freshwater showers and ice cold soda on every trip. Good rental equipment. Fills usually 3500 psi. Larger fish scarce, but interesting wrecks. Only trip to Rhone is Thursday. Turtles on many dives. Visibility in the 40-foot range. (Ph: 284-495-9705, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dive BVI/Baskin' in the Sun, 1998, Steve Neal, Fairfield, TX. Rented 43' sailboat with cook and captain. Baskin in the Sun: 2 dives on wreck of Rhone. O2 on board, only 2 divemasters. Left boat unattended during dive. Saw turtle, hogfish, large green moray and usual tropicals. Left dive light in B.C. They motored to our sailboat to return it. Dive BVI: left from Marina Cay (satellite location to main one on Virgin Gorda). O2 on board. I was the only diver! Went to Cockroach Islands and Great Dog Island. Thick bodied eagle ray with no tail. Vis: 40-80 feet, water: 82-86 degrees. Highhats, Big Eyes, lobster including spotted lobster. Yellow jawfish, swim backwards into holes. Spent 5 minutes on a cleaning station with shrimp and Gobys on dive masters hand.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Renaissance, February 1998, Richard Lehach, Larchmont, NY. Diving unimpressive. Visibility poor, fish life limited. Dove St. Croix same time of year in 96. Far greater visibility, fish life and coral. Vis: 30-60 ft. Water: 79-81 degrees. Diving restrictions enforced were rec. limits. Florida Keys have better diving.
St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures/Hotel Caravelle, September 1998, Steve and Barb Conner, Township, PA. First class dive operation. Free to dive your own profile or make use of divemaster. Tom offered to carry and set up gear, fins and hang it in their storage facility. No big stuff, but canyons, ridges, swimthroughs, corals and fish life made up for it. Water 86 degrees, vis 50-60 ft. Dives planned using a multilevel profile and those using computers given flexibility. Hotel Caravelle combines the best of old world charm and modern convenience. Steps away from shops, bars and restaurants. Friendly hotel staff. (Website: www.stcroixscuba.com.)
SCUBA/Danish Manor, July 1998, Jeff Tinsley, Farmington Hills, MI. Dive shop operated by Ed & Molly Buckley, former managers of VI Divers. Friendly and safety conscious. Tanks 3000 psi, 50 + minute dives, experienced people do their thing, but they stay close to inexperienced people. Water: 79-84 degrees. Restrictions: depth and time. Safety stops for deeper dives. Boat uncomfortable, north side 2-6 ft. chop, so the ride and getting in and out tough. West side is much calmer, however it's at least one hour ride, so they discourage the trip. Limited shore diving, night dive at the pier in Fredrickstad is decent. Ed and Molly go out of their way to know you, and will join you for happy hour, and dinner.
Paradise Watersports/Caneel Bay, May 1998, Craig Young & Sharon Busey, WI. Caneel Bay is the sister resort of Little Dix. It's larger and feels less private. Rooms have locks, screens in the window; no air-conditioning. Each room has a large safe. No tubs for equipment washing. Each room has a drying rack on the private deck. Food outstanding, but expensive (like everything at this resort). Great beaches with good snorkeling at the rocks on each end. The island has many great beaches and areas to explore. Two-thirds of the island is a National Park. The town of Cruz Bay has some nice shopping areas. Paradisio Restaurant at Mongoose Junction has great food. Paradise Watersports has nice dive personnel. Rental equipment has no depth gauges. (Ph: 809-776-7618)
Aqua Action Diving, February 1998, William Carlson, Washington, DC. Good: laid-back dive operation, very helpful (will handle all gear, unless you insist on doing your own) and safety conscious. Areas dived are all in a marine sanctuary-recovering nicely from Hurricane Marilyn and Hugo. . . . Bad: Winter dives stay close to home base (which faces the SE surge and chop) and typically stay within 40-65 foot depths. Some of the more interesting Virgin Island wreck and seamount dives not accessible. Vis: 40-60 ft. Dive shop can recommend nearly inexpensive (but adequate) living accommodations within easy walking distance. (Ph: 809-775-6285)
Chris Sawyer Diving Center, September 1998, Steve and Barb Conner, Township, PA. Full service diving center. Everything from the initial introductions and equipment setup to the dive briefings and the dives was conducted professionally. Russell and Perry were thorough in briefing on the mechanics of the dive and the history of the Rhone. Water 86 degrees, vis 60 to 80 ft. Between dives: fruit. sandwiches, cookies, soft drinks. (Ph: 809-775-7320, Website: www.divethecaribbean.com)
St. Thomas Dive Club/Bluebeard's Castle, September 1997, Mike Holub, Ames, IA. Bluebeard's Castle first class resort. On hill overlooking bay. Lots of security people (much needed on this island). Great food. . . . St. Thomas Diving Club professional in every way. Nice, friendly, helpful divemasters and instructors. Dive sites: Lots of wrecks including Rhone. Nice corals and lots of turtles. Vis: 50-100 ft. Water: 80-82.(Ph: 809-775-1800)
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