Where is the best place to do my Scuba Referral Dives?
I will be in Aruba June 13 - 21st. I just finished my coursework for my certification and plan to do my referral dives for open water in Aruba. There seem to be many places to choose from. I was hoping to do 2 dives on Sunday, 6/14 - back-to-back (just not one in the early am and the other late afternoon) and 2 on Monday. Any suggestions for safety, small boats/groups and flexibility in schedule to accomodate this? Thanks in advance!
Pelican/Unique and Red Sail are the two largest operators on the island. Our own experience, we found Unique to be very inflexible. JADS receives excellent reviews.
If you have a rental car while you are on the island I would definitely stop by a couple of the dive shops and chat awhile to see who you are most comfortable with. When I certfied in Jamaica, my confidence in my instructor was of the utmost importance and made me feel comfortable and confident in my own skills.
In our diving around the Caribbean we have found that those who take the time to chat with you about what your needs are and what you are looking for in your dives are the operators who are most worthwhile.
SE Aruba Fly and Dive seems to be small groups and pretty much the same. Does anyone know much about them?
I have heard only good things about them and would not hesitate to use them. Also remember sometimes you will pay a bit more for a small group experience and personalized service. Imo important for certification and a comfort level.
As soon as our dd gets a big older and we begin diving again we will use either JADS or SE.
I did the PADI e-learning course last summer and did my dives with Red Sail Sports. I went back and did my Advanced open water with them a couple months ago and a few more times last month. I really can't say enough good things about them. Anime, Evette, Sara, Anthony and others are all fantastic people and I have yet to have a bad experience with Red Sail's dive staff.
I cranked out my four open water dives in a manner similar to what you describe. Call them and see if they can meet your schedule. With enough advance notice, they should be able to work something out for you.
My suggestion would be:
Sunday - 9:00 AM Two tank Blue Reef & Arashi
Last July there was a whale shark sighting at blue reef (I was on the other boat that morning) and you can usually spot at least one fairly large southern stingray
Monday - 9:15 AM Two tank Star Gerren and Antilla
Antilla is a 400 foot German freighter sunk at the outset of WWII. I've heard that it collapsed a little more with some of the heavy weather over the winter but it was nice when I was there. There were a couple frogfish there on each dive, usually perched atop some yellow tube sponges.
I'll be happy to help out with any other info if you need it.