Info needed on Sweet Bottom Dive Shop (stx)
My sister in law is thinking about bidding on a trip to St Croix that includes a week stay at Carambola with dives through Sweet Bottom Dive shop. She emailed my husband asking if that was a good outfit, but because we don't dive we couldn't help her. Does anyone know if this is a good group to go out with? My sister & brother in law have vacationed several places in the Caribbean, but never in St Croix and we want to make sure they have a great experience. I probably should have posted this on the vacation board, but it seems like more St Croix people hang out here and I thought maybe I'd get more help!
Paula, I dove a few times out at Carambola last week and think your friends will LOVE the diving out there. I used my own gear but had some very nice talks with the owners of Sweet Bottoms. they now have everything on site onsite including compressor for refills. They will arrange boat dives either through N2 the blue or Anchor Dive which are both recommended above. Very friendly folks and great prices. If your friends can get a package deal at the Carambola and they are into diving, they will be pleased!
Don't know Sweet Bottom, but I did 9 dives this fall with St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures (SCUBA) in St Croix. Diving "The Wall" was an incredible experience.
They've been written up as, "The Friendliest Dive Shop on Earth."
According to their web site They are a full service dive shop serving St. Croix for over 10 years. Using two custom dive boats they dive every one of the moored dive sites around the island.
Just down the road from Carambola, and also at Carambola is Cane Bay Dive Shop. They have 5 locations and three custom dive boats, and by far the largest, most experienced dive staff of any of the shops on the island.
Shore dives in front of Cane Bay are 100x better than in front of Carambola - sea conditions, especially during the winter, are very inhospitable for diving @ Carambola. Even if you can stand the wave action they get, you probably wouldn't be happy with how stirred up the water is - in front is lots of sand between the beach and the wall.
A mile and a half down the road, Cane Bay is much much better, though conditions can still be a little rough during the winter time. Boat diving is much better during this time of year, though shore diving is very much doable.
IMO, there are lots of full service dive shops on St. Croix, and you are probably better off picking one that has everything you need, versus one that has to go to another shop for boat dives. (why on Earth wouldn't you just go to that shop to start if that were the case). I believe they have only been in business for 4 months or so.
I prefer to use SCUBA as my full service dive shop, but neither them nor cane bay dive shop offers package deals including lodging like the offer this family is bidding on. The original request for info was asking about Sweet Bottom Dive group since the package the friends are bidding on includes Carambola and Sweet Bottom.
I went to 4 dive operators last week with friends and Sweet Bottoms had the best customer service. Cane Bay had the worst.
It's hard to say down the road is 100X better, you are talking like 1 mile right? I did Cane Bay and Carambola recently and felt they were BOTH amazing places to see. The greatest assest to Carambola is how much more private it is. At Cane bay I saw a dozen other divers in the water at Carambola i was the only one. regardless, Sweet Bottom will arrange any dive for you.
Paula, let us know what your friends decide and how they like it here!
Regardless of which dive shop you chose, one of the questions to ask is about their safety/accident record. There are some dive shops on this island I personally would not use because of the answer to this question (and no, I won't name them). I am not familiar with Sweet Bottom because they are new to the area. Just advise your friends to do their research. I see nothing wrong with a dive operation arranging boat dives through another provider - they may not want to take on the capital/insurance issues with having a boat of their own. I hope your friends enjoy their time on STX!!
I really appreciate you guys input on this! I copied and pasted all these replies to my sister in law and she is making up her mind. She said to tell you all thank you very much and that she's adding all this info to her St Croix file. From her email to me I'm not sure they'll take the Carambola/Sweet Bottom deal now, but this has given them reliable information on the other dive shops. I personally think they'd be better off with a villa and going out with one of the more known dive shops, but that's just me and like I said before I know NOTHING about diving! (I actually wouldn't mind trying it, but it's a miracle I even got my husband to snorkel, he's a very land based guy. I'm not complaining, as long as he stays interested in St Croix itself and I can at least get to the island then I'm happy!)
Thank you again for the help,