The crew at Dive Sint Maarten will be in the midst of the action every day of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, which kicks off today, Thursday, March 2. Catch sight of them during the races, or while they are docked at the St. Maarten Yacht Club during after-hours. All the while, their dive tours will still be available to anyone – experienced or still at the beginner level – wanting to make the most of their free time, enjoying the turquoise Caribbean waters.
With two boats available, Dive Sint Maarten (based in Bobby’s Marina) will still be offering their adventurous scuba diving tours, with a selection of some 20 different dive sites around the island. In fact, with visibility of more than 80 feet, it’s the perfect time to explore the reefs and wrecks in our waters. You might be able to spot turtles, sharks, and all sorts of different fish.
The multilingual crew will help you make the most of your diving experience, and can accommodate anyone from beginner- to professional-level divers. They are open every day, all year long – and kids as young as 11 years old can participate. The PADI centre offers all relevant training and certification.
Inexperienced divers can opt for a “try-dive”, exploring Little Bay, where there is a lot to see, in a safe environment. The plane that hosted the old Lekkerbek restaurant on Pondfill Road, has become the centrepiece for a dive site there, attracting lots of fish.
Other popular sites include Proselyte Reef, and the Carib Cargo wreck, which sank after Hurricane Luis in 1995. Another amazing and recommended site is One Step Beyond, which lies between St. Maarten and St. Barths – this tour is only available when weather permits.
Interested in seeing the crew in action for the Heineken Regatta? You’ll be able to spot them every day, in the middle of the action. Just look out for their large, signature flag: red-white-blue representing the Netherlands on one side; green-white-green representing Rotterdam on the other; and the marine logo in the centre.
Dive Sint Maarten Owner and Boat Captain Willem Dekker is himself a retired marine, and is looking forward to working with the marines and sailors again this year, for the third time in this capacity, and the 15th time in the committee. He and the crew will mark layers, both making and keeping an eye on the courses.
Together with the marines, they will be placing buoys, and even replacing damaged/missing marks with the boat itself, if necessary. This is an interesting task, as the boat has to be kept at precisely the same spot when replacing a marker – especially important to competitive sailors in the high-pressure race. The crew will also be marking the beginning and finish spots, and alerting the marines in case they see something amiss in the water.