Date of Trip: October 2006
We spent the obligatory research hours on the internet and decided to dive with a shop called Admiralty Dive Center. The primary deciding factor was their location and it’s proximity to the hotel where we were staying. However, the manner and general tone in which they replied to our emails was the clincher.
Before we left home we signed up for an Advanced Open Water course with the dive shop. During our first visit to the shop we signed up for a second course. We were both Certified Open Water Divers when we left, but we wanted more knowledge in order to be safer and better at scuba diving. We are both now Certified Advanced Open Water Divers as well as Certified Enriched Air Divers and much more comfortable in the water. The courses required equal parts diving and studying. Yeah, the studying was dry and a substantial amount of work, but the diving made up for it. Because of the course-work we spent a lot of our vacation studying, so we didn’t do a lot of sight-seeing. However, we dove on several different sights and found each one to be unique. They were all beautiful (such a small word to explain the absolute majesty we experienced).
We saw enough coral and plants to fill thousands of aquariums. We saw fish of numerous colors and sizes. We worked towards becoming weightless and defying gravity. We flew with very little effort from one spot/depth to another. We swam, daily, in water as clear as any swimming pool. We visited places as foreign to most people as outer space. We learned how to do all of this with little or no impact on the environment so we can all continue to enjoy it. And we had an absolute blast!
During all this we made friends with the owners of the dive shop, Duane and Laura Hausch. They are very passionate about diving, safety,their guests, and very professional about their business. We were treated like family from the first time we stepped into their shop.
They had us bring our gear to our pre-dive visit. Consequently, we left it with them from the day before we started diving until the day after we finished. They took care of it for the entire week as if it was their own. They took care of everything! Our gear was on the boat and ready to go when we were. They also washed it and maintained it on a daily basis.
They also went out of their way to help us navigate the island. They gave us directions to restaurants, film processing centers, coffee shops, and anything else we wanted to visit.
We dined at some great restaurants. Gladys’ has the best Chicken Caesar Salad and it was a very refreshing lunch for a hot day. They also sell their own hot sauces. The have a great flavor but beware, they are very hot! The Banana Tree located at Blubeard’s Castle has the most delicious Key Lime Pie I’ve ever tasted! Their entree’s along with The Room With a View, also located at Bluebeard’s, are to die for! For a little more laid back local flair, the Hook, Line, and Sinker in Frenchtown, and Cuzzin’s downtown Charlotte Amalie, are places you don’t want to miss. They both have fantastic food and the staff’s friendly demeanor makes you fell welcome and relaxed. It goes without saying that the view at Bluebeard’s has to be the most beautiful in the world. We did make time to venture to Red Hook for some German style cuisine at Petra’s Hofbrau Haus. The wait time between ordering our food and when it was served was a little long, but it was well worth the wait. It was all homemade and cooked to perfection! We’re planning a return trip already and will definitely visit the same places again.
The shopping in St. Thomas is hard to beat. There is some great deals to be had on almost anything, jewelry in particular. There are many shops to dazzle the eye and bargains too good to pass.
If anyone wants to go diving in Saint Thomas, we will gladly recommend the Admiralty Dive Center as the place to start. On top of that, we would love to join you if we can. Our experience was one that we will treasure for the rest of our lives. We look forward to spending more time diving with our new friends and seeing the beauty and wonder of the dive sites we visited along with some we haven’t experienced yet.
Of course, “Murphy” has to show up whenever things are going right in order to help with your transition back to reality when you get home. (At least he didn’t make his appearance until the very end of our vacation.)
The airline lost our luggage. They didn’t lose a piece of it. They lost ALL of it. Currently it has been 18 hours since we arrived back in Houston and so far the airline has no idea where any of it went. We hope they can locate it within the next couple of days. Time will tell? If they don’t, oh well, it’s a small price to pay for time spent in paradise!
We’ll write more soon. In the mean-time, we’ve got chores and such to catch up on.