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I am very excited to share my scuba diving experiences from St. Maarten with you this week. As you all know, I try to go diving at every destination I visit and St. Maarten has actually been on my “to-visit” list for almost four years. How did I go this long without visiting? Timing and life events were an obstacle in the past to plan my trip and also the longing that I wanted to go for at least 7 days.
I am proud to say that I spent 8 days in St. Maarten! Not only was this half French and half Dutch island so fun on land, but the scuba diving was some of the best.
I am surprised St. Maarten does not get more press about their diving and marine environment. When you hear about diving in the Caribbean, many of the same islands comes up such as Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica, and the Caymans. How does St. Maarten not make a “Top List”?
Well, I went on four dives with Dive Adventures to check it out myself and I was blown away by how great the diving was. Here’s an overview of my time with Dive Adventures and some of the things I saw. There will be more as there is just too much to cover in one post!
Dive Adventures is a dive shop located in two locations of St. Maarten on the Dutch side – Simpson Bay Resort in Pelican Key and at Divi Little Bay Resort. The dive shop is part of Aqua Mania Adventures , which offers multiple types of tours around the island of St. Maarten.
Finding the shop is easy as you are e-mailed a map with clear instructions of which parking lot to park in. Then, there are signs every few feet guiding you down to the marina. You can clearly see where the “Scuba Check In” desk is.
I always favor diving operations who have friendly staff who not only show you a good time, but really take care of you. Each day I and the husband went diving with the same two guides, Damien and “E” (not sure how to spell out the guide’s full name) and the captain, Soinet. On every dive, they gave a detailed briefing to make sure everyone was comfortable. There was a packed cooler with refreshments and ice with a refill always ready to come my way. The staff switched our tanks for us and put everything on and off the boat which was an extra plus. Sometimes when you are done with the first dive, you just want some water and to sit down.
The most admirable moments for the staff was on the second day of diving when I got seasick. Usually I have a good stomach for boats, but the current got really choppy and I ended up with my head over the edge of the boat. Not going to go into details of that, but I wasn’t the only one. The staff helped locate us to a more comfortable part of the boat and really took care of us during that unpleasant moment. I had no shame as I felt like family was taking care of me when this was occurring.
The Diving – Reefs AND Wrecks
Back to the diving – it was incredible! There are actually multiple wrecks to dive and the shop tries to take you to at least one wreck each time. Weather and currents permitting of course. On each dive, we saw many sharks! This is never guaranteed, but I believe they are more common to see down here in general.
Both days of diving, we visited a reef and a wreck. The two wrecks I dove – Fish Bowl and the Bridge seemed more like 3 wrecks at one time since the boats were so broken up into separate pieces. This made the experience all the more fulfilling as we swam along the different pieces.
The coral reefs were gorgeous, full of color, and marine life was everywhere. I dove the Maze and the Proselyte Reef. The Maze was one that reminded me of trenches, but underwater. You can go in and out of them, down and up. There were sponges, lobsters, sharks, and schools of fish everywhere. Proselyte Reef was more shallow, but still delivered a beautiful experience exploring the coral reef.
One of the most special moments included watching the lobsters underwater. You could see a few under rocks and at one point, a lobster came out and was slowly strolling its way across the sea.
Another highlight included the sea turtles. There were two which I saw, one far away and another who was munching on sea grass in front of me and the other divers. This sea turtle spent about 20 minutes just hanging around, minding his own business, and not swimming away. We, the divers, actually had to go to continue onto our dive!
Both days of diving finished around 12pm-1pm, leaving me time to enjoy the sun, grab lunch, and go for swimming at the nearby beach. Before we left the dock, I’d hang out with the staff and enjoy some Coors Lights (complimentary on the boat in the ice cooler!). Be sure to get your log books stamped too before you leave!
There are so many more dive sites to explore in St. Maarten and I wish I had more time with Dive Adventures to go back out again. If you are looking to dive in St. Maarten, check their great rates and book online with them here. Mention me as well if you like!
Stay tuned for more diving posts and also the nighttime experience of the Tango Cruise with Dive Adventures.
*This post was written in sponsorship with Dive Adventures where I received a discount for my dives with them. All opinions of my experiences with them are my own. Be sure to check them out on Facebook to see what they are posting as well!