Choosing a Scuba Diving Operator

Questions and comment about scuba diving and snorkeling
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Stuart L

Choosing a Scuba Diving Operator

Post by Stuart L » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:45 pm

In late July, I traveled to Tobago for several days for some scuba diving. First, I'd heard that the diving in the north of the island (Speyside) is much better than that near Crown Point. There seemed to be 3 major operators in Speyside (Tobago Dive Experience, Extra Divers Worldwide, and Aquamarine Dive). After reading the reviews on mytobago.info and purusing the forum, I also scanned the internet (via google) for news on these operators.

While they seemed generally decent, there were always some reviews that bothered me (safety issues, not leaving on time, etc). Given that I wanted to maximize my time as well as feel 100% confident with the diving, I looked for alternatives. Information about CaribStu -- a personal dive service -- came up. I reviewed his website and was impressed by the amount of specific information he shared. I read a number of reviews (including those on this site) and was convinced he was the way to go, even if I was paying over double what the other operators charged.

I'm happy with my decision. Stuart Sampson (CaribStu) was very professional, knowledgeable, and fun. I went on 6 dives (2 days) with him and had a fantastic experience. I can't speak to the other scuba operators, but if want to feel assured that your dive experience will be a good one in Tobago, I recommend you shell out a bit more $$$ and go with CaribStu.

I also suggest that you stay in Charlotteville which is a bit more of a town/village than Speyside. The locals were friendly, and you can hang at the beach at Pirates Cove. CaibStu (as well as the major operators) will pick up in Speyside.

Caribstu

Comments

Post by Caribstu » Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:36 pm

Whilst i appreciate your possitive comments about my dive service and acknowledge i have no control over what people may choose to post on the internet i think users should write only about their personal positive or negative experiences and not what they have read or heard elsewhere. I would like to point out that in any business there will always be one or two who are not happy, but on the whole people like TDE, R&Sea, World of Watersports etc. run perfectly good professional outfits and handle several thousand perfectly happy divers each year. Because of the nature of my dive service i often turn away as many divers as i take and i have no problem referring them to some of the mainstream dive centres.

I'm glad that you had an enjoyable time diving in Tobago, as do many thousand divers every year, we have great diving here in Tobago, some fantastic reef systems and several good professional dive operators.

Lets focus on the positive.

Steve B

Re: Choosing a Scuba Diving Operator

Post by Steve B » Mon May 19, 2008 10:31 pm

I recently spent a week diving with Aquamarine in Speyside and was extremely impressed by the staff and their concerns for safety. Although the dive sites are all fairly close, I do not see this as a negative. Why travel an hour if you do not need to? The diving was amazing...and an experience I will never forget!

Aquamarine uses pirogue style boats with twin engines on the back. These are very humble compared to other dive boats I have been on...but they did the job. There is a sun shade covering part of the boat...but it is lacking on creature comforts. There is no head (bathroom) in case of emergency. Other areas which could be improved are the lack of fresh water container to put cameras in and no bottled water for divers. They had a thermos style container...but most tourists are cautious about only drinking bottled water.

I would definitely dive with Aquamarine again...their people had a true concern for my safety....and making sure that my dives were outstanding! When I sum it all up...this matters much more than the creature comforts they were lacking.

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