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Reviews (1)

Caribbean Explorer II



Explorer Ventures has been running the Saba/St.Kitts/St. Maarten liveaboard for a while now, and I've been been on this boat three times now, once in the Southeastern Bahamas and twice on this tour. The staff and the diving always keep me coming back for more, so much that by now it even feels a little like returning to a vacation home whenever I arrive at the boat.

The Caribbean Explorer 2 is a comfortable 115' boat with 9 air conditioned staterooms housing up to 18 divers total. The rooms are cool and comfortable, although they can feel a little cramped if two roommates are both carrying extra bags of camera and video gear. Each is equipped with a private head and shower and all the soaps and shampoos are generously provided.

The salon is not air-conditioned, although it felt very cool on our trip with the constant island breezes blowing, but I wanted to point that out in case anyone may be turned off by it. The accommodations exceeded my own expectations and I think it’s a great value for a week of diving the waters of the West Indies. I slept like a baby every night and was always perfectly comfortable on the boat.

The staff is top-notch with Explorer Ventures. Every trip on the Caribbean Explorer 2 is like a reunion with staff members that have been there for many years. That alone should tell you something. They are a hard-working, passionate bunch of dive professionals and I would put them up against any liveaboard I've ever been on. Not only that, the staff back at the office has always been amazingly helpful, this past trip they happily helped straighten out my "little" ticketing mistake with our return travel. I'll keep those details to myself out of embarrassment, but I do owe them my thanks. I was also appreciative of the attentive care and handling my camera got as they lowered it into the water at the start of the dive and took it from me at the back deck when the dive was over.


The dive conditions this year (July 2014) was not as good as the last time I was there a couple of years ago, but we did see some great things. All the usual suspects were there plus three frogfish and a pretty large seahorse... the first one I've ever seen after 250+ dives. There were sea hares, sea slugs, octopi, an amazing neck crab (also a first for me) and plenty of eels often seen out in the open. Mostly I would recommend a macro lens for these dives as there were so many little things to shoot, although we did had some exciting wide-angle action with a couple of smallish reef sharks after Divemaster Brett speared some lionfish and offered them up. I also enjoyed an extended communion with a couple of reef squid that circled me like curious dragonflies... and communion is the right word as I do believe they were welcoming me into the tribe!

A few dives were affected by too much current, lower vis than I remembered before, and a few of the reefs were a little beaten up, though plenty of fish abound. Yet there is a dive site called Tent Reef that is just as wonderful as I remember it from before, with lots of ledges, nooks and crannies just chockablock full of sea-life of all kinds. We had a few dives in this magical spot, and the place never gets old for me!

I remember my biggest worry about going on my first liveaboard years ago: feeling like I would miss out on some amazing meals in the land-based restaurants. After all, part of a vacation for me is the food! Luckily, my concern was totally unfounded. The meals (and snacks) on the Caribbean Explorer 2 are a delight, easily comparable to the meals you get in any restaurant. All the guests were very complimentary of the freshly-made food each day from the hot breakfasts in the morning to the scrumptious deserts capping off the evening meals. I was always more than fueled for the five daily dives (the last one being a night dive) and the multitude of beer and spirits kept my own up after the diving was done.


The land tours of Saba and St. Kitts were fascinating and well worth it if you have never seen the islands. Saba is home to the "Road That Couldn't Be Built," a precarious-looking series of switchbacks that claw their way up the craggy hills, and the St. Kitts tour features the amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site called Brimstone Hill, a 1700s fort that seems right out of the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies. You may also see the ruins of an old Sugar Cane factory and the grave of Thomas Jefferson's great great great grandfather, Sam Jefferson II.

To sum it all up, I think the Caribbean Explorer 2 is a great value for the money. I've had so much fun on this boat in the past and I look forward to many voyages to come!

Visited on 07/2014 - Submitted on 08/09/2014
Read all Caribbean Explorer II Dive Liveaboard reviews


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