My wife and I visited St. Martin/St. Maarten with every intention of relaxing by the beach and the pool. We had planned to dive one day and enjoy the other attractions and amusements offered on the island. We stayed on the Dutch side and explored the whole island via rental car. We fell upon Orient Beach on the French side (which was approximately the exact opposite of where we were staying) and fell in love with it. We found a small scuba shop on the beach and spoke with the proprietor, Sylvie. Her husband, the co-owner, was conducting a dive at the time so we didn't get to speak with him immediately. The Neptune Dive Center is an unassuming building with a dive flag waving high above it, (relatively) sandwiched between a jetski and an windsurfing businesses.
Sylvie immediately made us feel very welcome and our apprehension of finding a good dive place with an English-speaking dive master dissipated. We are very cautious with who and when we dive but after talking with Sylvie and Fabien, the Neptune DC divemaster, my wife and I signed up for our first St. Martin dive (after the precursory steps of checking PADI certifications, etc.). All the dives conducted at Neptune DC off of Orient Beach are boat dives. Fabien took us out on the boat and we went for our first dive which was stunning. The clarity of the water was 60-100 feet and we saw plenty of various marine life and coral. Fabien was extremely knowledgeable about the entire area and it seemed that he knew exactly where the turtles and lobsters were. After surfacing, we had our surface interval where Fabien asked as about what we wanted to see next. He suggested several different spots, but the one that held the most allure was a sunken tugboat in about 45-50 feet of water. Fabien took us to the tugboat and after we descended, allowed us to swim a straight line through the tug, one at a time, while he stayed inside the room we swam through. He ensured that we each had a safe entry and exit and that we did not touch anything. Fabien was extremely safety conscious and it showed with his understanding of the water, features and aquatic life, and his guardianship of us under and above water.
When we returned to the shore, we helped to unload the tanks and BCs because we were SO happy to be a part of the Neptune DC family. My wife and my inclusion in this family caused us to dive three more times with the Neptune Dive Center. We had visited other dive shops on the island between the 2nd and 3rd dives but felt that the levels of attentiveness, caring, and understanding which were so prevalent at the Neptune Dive Center were less or non-existent at the other shops.
The Neptune Dive Center, run by Fabien and Sylvie, is something that we have always dreamt of in a dive center. We don't need a store to go along with a dive center while on vacation, we are here to dive not to check out potential scuba equipment. Neptune Dive Center is a simple yet all encompassing dive center that is superb and is very highly recommended to those who want to get out into the ocean and explore.
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