Divers in the know are already aware that St. Croix boasts some of the best diving in the Caribbean, and the best (by far) in the Virgin Islands. With our diverse combination of wrecks, reefs and walls, there is no shortage of dive sites on St. Croix. Most are accessible by a short boat ride since the barrier reefs hug the shoreline so snugly. The north shore has a canyon wall that drops almost 13,200 feet and at certain access points like Cane Bay, is just a quick and easy swim from the beach. But, unless you are properly trained to dive deeper than recreational dive limits allow, you may never see what’s ‘really’ down there. St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures (S.C.U.B.A.) wants to change all that by introducing PADI TecRec to the Virgin Islands, exclusively available on St. Croix. This may make your St. Croix dive experience go from incredible to simply mind-blowing.
That’s where Captain Jon Kieren and Instructor Lauren Fanning come in. This dynamic couple is passionate about the incredible diving on St. Croix, and are trained professionals in the sport of Technical Diving. With more than 3000 Open-Water Dives under their collective belts, and more than 200 Tec Dives, John and Lauren have (pardon the cliche) “Boldly gone where few men have gone before”. They have explored caves at 270 feet on the North Shore’s popular dive spot named Northstar. At Salt River Canyon, they found an enormous anchor which became part of an important survey. Heck, they even got engaged at 350 feet under water – that is 9 atmospheres down!
When I asked Lauren and Jon what they love about Tec Diving, the answer surprised me. Besides the obvious reasons (beautiful and plentiful marine life, some rare species, peacefulness), the response was: “It is a mental exercise above everything else. You cannot panic and quickly surface when you are that deep, which forces you to be completely focused in the moment and be at one with the equipment and environment.” When she surfaces from a deep dive, Lauren feels cleansed and liberated, an empowering experience.
For the elite diver who wants to go deeper and stay longer, Tec Diving requires advance certifications such as deep water, nitrox and rescue. S.C.U.B.A. has a series of courses (and will work with your schedule) to properly train divers on safety, equipment, and even a “Trimix Diver” course, which uses a blend of Oxygen, Nitrogen and Helium gasses that permit a diver to safely dive to 210 feet. Lauren is also a “Sidemount Instructor” and can offer you training with the latest dive gear that allows two smaller tanks to be worn on the sides of the body – below shoulders and along the hips – instead of the more standard back mounted tank, which can be tough on a bad back.
Tec Diving is a commitment one must be willing to make. It is an investment of time, money, discipline and mental fortitude. While not for everyone, those who do it will have a view of the world seldom seen by other humans. If this interests you, consider a dive vacation to St. Croix. You can schedule an intensive extended stay and immerse yourself in training, or complete the certification in stages over time. The staff at S.C.U.B.A. is friendly, knowledgable and professional, and passionate about their work. The equipment is top quality and well maintained, and the experience will change your life!
- Dive the Salt River Canyon Sites
- Advance Your Scuba Diving Skills
- Dive the World Famous Cane Bay Wall
- Discover Scuba Diving!
- Frederiksted Pier
- Deep Diving on St. Croix with S.C.U.B.A.
- Underwater Wedding