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St. Maarten Commentary?

Discussion in 'Lesser Antilles' started by i_wanna_be_aquaman, Apr 4, 2001.

  1. I'll be in St.Maarten for a week at the beginning of April. Any shop/private operator reccomendations? (or poor reviews?). How 'bout any general island info?
    Thanks for any help.
  2. SubMariner

    SubMariner C'est Moi ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: A Canuck Conch
    St. Maartin really isn't known for it's diving. There is some nice snorkelling, but that's about it; the GOOD diving is over on Saba.

    The island is interesting with it's 1/2 French, 1/2 Dutch culture. IMHO the best food & beaches are on the French side (great BBQ along the beach!). Also, on the French side there are no big clothing restrictions, and it's common to see people nude.

    Shopping on both sides is good in Marigot (Fr) and Fredricksburg <sp?> (Dutch). However, Fredrickburg can get a bit hectic when the cruise ships come in.

    The island itself is beautiful with it's higher elevations allowing for some breathtaking sea views. You might want to rent a car... it's not like you can really get lost. :wink:


  3. That kinda confirms what I've read.
    Fortunatley, I'll be taking a side
    trip to Saba! Probably use St.M
    for some training work and another
    feeble attempt at converting a non-diver.

  4. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member

    Hi i_wanna_be_aquaman,

    As you know it is not a dedicated dive destination, nor IMHO even an especially attractive tropical island overall since it has been so aggressively developed.

    In my experience, best bets in diving are Trade Winds Dive Center, located in Great Bay Marina, or Ocean Explorers. Tom Burnett is the owner of TW,and Leroy & Dominique of OE. The latter a coupe of real Kool dudes. Simpson Bay diving takes place on some small & rather ordinary reefs a couple of miles out.

    If you are a serious diver, Saba is the place to go (can do a day trip). About 30 miles south of SM. World famous diving. Take Winair in from St. Maarten (the landing is worth the price of a ticket) or The Edge or Voyager ferry. Three dive shops on island, all quite good, all dive same sites. Personal favorite is Saba Reef Divers (SRD). Tent Reef is are excellent. If advanced diver, the pinnacles, especially Eye of the Needle, are a must. Just below recreational limits is the "Cathedral." Diving more high voltage than Dominica. Once you've climbed Mt. Scenery, there is nothing to do. No beaches, no shopping.

    If committed to SM, take the brief ferry ride to Anguilla, off the southwest shore. It is a relatively undeveloped island with a coupe of real upscale resorts good for lunch or a drink after diving. Some reefs & a slew of relatively recently sunken wrecks off northern point. The M.V. Oosterdiep is pretty cool. There used to be a good dive shop over in Sandy Ground, called the The Dive Store. Think it's new management since the hurrricane damaged it.

    Have fun.



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