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January 11th, 2008, 10:43 PM
Well, I just spent 4 days diving in Negril, Jamaica (14 dives) and had a wonderful time! At the suggestion of one of the members here, I decided to dive with Myron from SUNDIVERS NEGRIL JAMAICA (http://www.sundiversnegril.com/)
Since I couldn't do my AOW course here in Minnesota without a chainsaw (lakes are frozen over), I decided to do it in Jamaica.

I stayed at the RIU Club Negril. I've stayed at several other RIU resorts so I knew what to expect. The resort is pretty nice and the food was decent. They have nightly entertainment, a good beach and service was friendly.

The group at Sundivers were phenomenal! They really made me feel like a part of their family. They invited me to go out on the town after shop hours, made me traditional Jamaican meals of ackee and salt fish and transported me to and from my resort for diving.
I did my OW and my wife did her AOW course during our last trip to Jamaica (with a different dive outfitter-Scuba Caribe). I thought they did a pretty good job until I dove with Sundivers.

Myron, my instructor, has the philosophy that divers should know far more than what is taught through PADI. He covered all of the mandatory information but went far beyond what the book taught.
Prior to taking the AOW course, I was pretty happy that I was down to using 9# on the weight belt. I was astonished to find that none of the instructors at Sundivers use any weight.

After taking the peak performance buoyancy portion of the AOW course, Myron had me comfortably down to 2# on the weight belt (3 mil full suit)! With some more diving under my belt, I should be able to leave the weight belt on the boat.

I've always heard that the diving in Jamaica was bad due to dynamite/cyanide fishing. If you are looking to see big fish, Negril is not for you. It's is all about the micro-life and small fish. Some of the other divers were complaining about not seeing any big fish and I attributed this to them swimming by aquatic life so fast that they didn't notice it. Once I told them to slow down, they started seeing and appreciating what was actually down there.
The reefs that we dove on were teaming with life! I did my fish identification training and couldn't keep up with seeing a fish and then looking it up on the identification cards.

Apparently a storm had blown through just prior to my arrival so the visibility was anywhere from 25' to 40'.
Sundivers does not have nitrox. Dives were anywhere from 40 minutes to just over an hour (depending on how many newer divers were aboard). I was fortunate enough to be able to dive alone with one of the dive masters (no other divers in the water with us) so our bottom time was greatly extended.

The highlight of my trip was on my 3rd to last dive. We were down at a lobster trap which had a large angel fish in it. The dive master went down to let it out of the cage because there are so few of them left. I looked up and the rest of the group was frantically pointing to something behind me.

I turned around and within 1/2 an arms length of me were 3 dolphins checking me out!! At first it didn't compute to as what I was looking at. I scrambled for my crappy disposable underwater camera and shot as many photos as I could.

I was amazed at how large, graceful and powerful they were. Prior to this experience I had only seen dolphins on t.v. They were quite a curious lot and checked out every single diver before heading down to the trap. the dolphins jambed their noses into the corner of the trap and lifted it up off of the sandy bottom. The dive master told me that they do this to scare the fish to the sides of the trap where they can get a easy meal.
The dolphins were so close to me that I was a little afraid that they might accidentally bump/injure me with their tails as they swam by.

I can't speak for the diving outside of Negril but, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either Sundivers or Negril as a destination.

January 13th, 2008, 12:21 AM
Wow! Very cool. Glad to hear you had a great time and Myron is doing well. Can't wait to see him in June. Thanks for the report!!

January 13th, 2008, 03:33 PM
Hi. We are going to Negril in less than 3 weeks and have arranged to dive with sundivers for 3 days. I am happy to hear you have such high regard for their ops. What were your favorite sites there?

January 13th, 2008, 03:56 PM
A really great dive was at the Gallery. The important thing is to ask them to start at the middle of the reef and work your way back to the anchor line. Ask Anton (I think that was his name, sorry I can't remember. His dive master number is 236237) to take you there. His route has a ton of swim-throughs with excellent topography. Lots of barrel's and large groups of fish.

The following are also good dives: Mid-shoal, Arches, Throne room (saw the dolphins here), The Hunt, Turtle Dive (no turtles here but excellent micro-life), Shark reef, Deep Plane (94+ft dive), Shallow Plane,Island Reef, Grunth reef, treasure, Nick's reef, Snapper drop, and Cosmo reef.

All of the diving was pretty good. You will find some of the areas a little beat up but if you keep moving it always gets better.

Make sure to slow down and really take a close look at everything. If you speed up during your dives, you will miss a lot of things.

January 13th, 2008, 04:07 PM
Almost forgot; Make sure to meet and chat with Paul, one of the guys who works at Sundivers. He's had quite a life outside of diving. Ask him about playing cricket. He was apparently quite a national star at one time.

I didn't spend a lot of time talking to Emily (Emily and Myron own Sundivers). Apparently Emily is a star Ultimate Frisbee player. She is a transplant from Montana.

I used their BC's and weights. I had no problems with the BC's. I don't recall what brand they were. I didn't hear any complaints about the regulators.

I would highly suggest doing a buddy check before each dive. This was one area in which I think Sundivers could improve on as it's not part of their pre-dive routine.

We had one new diver who didn't do a buddy check and she found out that her air wasn't turned on after about her 10th breath while under water. I'm sure it freaked her out for the rest of the dive.

They typically do 2 dives a day but if you have your own computer, you can get in 3 dives/day (I was trying for 4 dives/day but time was limited). They do not have computers for rent.

Please do me a favor and tell them that Ben Moore said "Hi" when you visit. I'm sure they will remember me since we had such a fun time together.

January 13th, 2008, 07:18 PM
Hi Ben,

Good report, I can vouch for what you described, I also met the same ?? dolphin family, there were three mothers with their young.

I think People in Jamaica are realy warm, they have a special way with tourists, they make us feel welcome.

January 13th, 2008, 10:02 PM
Yes, the people there are extremely friendly. It's actually a bit strange at first. Usually people who are that friendly want something from you. Now, granted...it seems that a lot of the Jamaicans do 'hustle' for money but can you blame them? It's not the type of hustle where you are going to get scammed though. They just seem to have sales pitches for honest goods.
I guess if I made 50USD/week I would be hustling as well.

I did score two Citizen Eco-Drive watches (retail is $425 each) for $440. They are the real deal...not fakes and they were duty free. I can't wait to get them wet!:D

BTW~ I think the dive masters actual name is Anthony, not Anton. I'm so bad with remembering names.:shakehead:

I traded in my Mares M1 for the Veo 250 and got to use it for the first time in Jamaica. I couldn't be more pleased with the new computer. It's far and away better than the Mares. It's easy to read/understand while diving and it's easy to navigate while topside. A few things I don't care for: above 30ft, it limits your ascent to 30ft/min. I am used to the 60ft/min ascent rate with the Mares so I was constantly setting the alarm off. I understand it's for safety.
The other thing is that the alarm is very quiet so I didn't hear it a lot of the time.

January 15th, 2008, 06:28 AM
Thanks for the recommendations on the dive sites. We plan to bring our own equipment down (I just got a new camera and want to play with it down there) and are limited to two dives a day in the morning since this is a family trip. I will tell them you said hi.

January 15th, 2008, 05:47 PM
Thanks! Don't forget that they will pick you up at your resort for free. Just email Emily before your trip and let her know when you will be there and what resort you are at. Pick-ups are usually between 8:15 and 8:50. Her email addy is: seabossdivers@yahoo.com. Dives start at about 9:30 give or take (usually 'take' since they are on "Jamaican Time".

If you have checked out their web site, realize that they do not follow the diving schedule listed on the site. They pretty much go wherever on any given day. Don't be afraid to ask for a site to dive at. They are very accommodating.

January 21st, 2008, 02:14 PM
Glad to hear Sundivers are still going strong, I dove with them as a novice back in the 80s and found them to be a great outfit.

January 21st, 2008, 10:23 PM
Thanks, craracer, for your interesting trip report. Loved hearing about the dolphins and that "crappy disposable underwater camera" captured some pretty darn good shots!

Cheers, alashas honeymoon2's photos- powered by SmugMug (http://honeymoon2.smugmug.com/)

January 25th, 2008, 08:18 PM
Glad to hear you had such a great time in Negril. We were there Jan. 5-19, and so did we! We also saw dolphins, but at Snapper Drop. It's pretty amazing, isn't it?! :)

January 27th, 2008, 05:06 PM
That's quite a photo blog you have there!

I was going to go back and dive with Sundivers over spring break but, all of the college students will be there wreaking havoc.:shakehead:

Ann Marie
April 3rd, 2008, 04:09 PM
Thanks for the great report. I'm heading to Jamaica in July and will stay in Rose Hall most of the time, but am currently thinking about staying in Negril for a couple of days! I will definately give Sundivers a shot!

April 3rd, 2008, 09:21 PM
Once you get closer to the date, send me a PM and I'll fill you in on the places to eat and to stay at.

Byte Me
November 5th, 2008, 06:04 PM
My wife and I are leaving tomorrow - staying at the Riu Negril. I'll be diving at least two days w/ Sundivers. VERY excited! I'll post a report next week when we're back!

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