St. Kitts Review
St. Kitts Island – Bird Rock Beach Hotel February 2012
We went to St. Kitts to check out the diving and see the island. We chose Bird Rock because of the good reviews for Dive St. Kitts. We found the diving to be very good, Captain “Crabby” and crew of the dive boat were great and the island was fun to explore with very friendly people.
Getting There and Back:
We flew direct from Toronto with Air Canada Vacations. We paid the extra for first class, worth it for the larger seats, good/free meals and drinks plus a larger luggage allowance.
We stayed in at Bird Rock Beach Hotel. The hotel is a dive resort a few miles outside of town. The resort is great for divers because of the on-site dive operator and would also suit independent travelers that want to stay somewhere quiet. There is a pool and a small area marked off for swimming/snorkeling but not a large sand beach. We took one of the rooms with a small kitchen and made some of our meals. We had a nice view of the harbour, cruise ships and town. The rooms are basic but clean. If you want fancy go stay at the Marriott with its golf club, casino, high prices, crowds, etc. The resort is very quiet, even the medical students staying here were rarely seen and never heard. There is a “funky” bar down by the beach – make sure to check out all the funny signs. There is a restaurant on-site as well but the menu was limited. If you have breakfast included in your package make sure to tell the girls when you order. Safety deposit boxes are in a room off the lobby. The resort is built into the side of a hill so expect to be climbing stairs up to your room and down to the dive shop.
We rented a car for the week to visit some of the bars and beaches and so we could drive to town for dinners. Expect cars to be basic and all cars seem to run on bald tires – just make sure there is a spare tire and wrench. Our car rental with Thrifty included use of a rental car on Nevis, make sure to reserve your Nevis car ahead of time because of limited number of cars. Meals can be expensive depending on where you eat. One of best meals and best price was at Sprat Net, we had enough food left over for lunch and dinner the next day. A bit of a drive but worth it.
We drove out to Brimstone Hill Fortress, which is an old fort with fantastic views. The gardens by Caribelle Batik/Romney Manor are impressive, creeks, jungle, etc. We spent a couple of afternoons at Frigate Bay, a long sand beach with lots of restaurants and bars. At Frigate Bay, Mr. X's Shiggady Shack has good food and beer plus bonfire/fire dancer Thursday nights and live music Friday nights. We drove out to Reggae Beach to see Wilbur the pig and had the best conch fritters on the island. There are lots of beaches to explore and lots of restaurants to check out.
We took the ferry over to Nevis for the day – schedule and number of ferries changes frequently! We drove around the whole island, including stops, in a few hours. We checked out the Botanical Gardens and had a nice lunch there. We spent the rest of our day at Pinney's Beach, a nice sand beach with a few restaurants and bars.
Dive St. Kitts has a well run shop. Captain “Crabby” and crew were very friendly and fun. You get a dive briefing on the whiteboard in the shop and then go off for a two tank dive. Be sure not to miss the wreck of the River Taw. A couple of dives had 100'+ viz, others were 60 to 80 except for the shore dive off Bird Rock which was 10 to 30'. Monkey Shoals in the passage between St. Kitts and Nevis had 100'+ viz, shark, pike blenny, lobsters, etc. Green Point Drift had only 40' viz but was a very fishy drift dive with a nice moray eel. Camp Reef north of town was a very fishy dive with streams of chromis, Nassau groupers, trunk fish, huge feather dusters, lots of coneys, etc. The wreck of the River Taw is in two main pieces with a chain set on tires going across the sand to connect the two pieces. Each tire had its own little eco-system. Lots of fish on and around the wreck, lots of yellow-tail snapper, cotton-wick grunts, school of horse-eyed jacks, starfish on the sand, gray angel, queen angel, etc. Pond Bar had garden eels, feather dusters and all kinds of sponges and crinoids as will as lots of fish. Bird Rock Reef can be done as a shore dive or you can get dropped off from the boat. There are 3 reefs that run parallel to the shore. The furthest out reef is 35' deep and has the best viz. and the most fish. The middle reef is about 20' deep and has large boulders covered in coral and life. The closest in reef is about 10' deep and flatter with more sand, algae, surge and shifting currents. We saw lots of cleaning stations, huge barracuda, big porcupine fish, honeycomb cow-fish, huge white-spotted file-fish, spotted drums, etc.
The best question is would you go somewhere again? The answer is yes, the resort was nice, the food was good, the people were friendly and the diving was good. Bird Rock would be a good place for divers that like a quiet place or a dive group that is willing to find or make their own evening entertainment. Renting a car for the week is highly recommended. Don't miss diving the River Taw.