I have to take a second to express my deep gratitude and love for Red Hook Dive Center, the team I credit to making me as good of a diver as I am.
When I first arrived on St. Thomas, I was an Open Water certified scuba diver with a mere five dives under my belt. In the scuba world, that isn’t much. Now, nine months later, I’m a Rescue Diver with more than 50 dives. And I owe it all to Red Hook Dive Center.
Red Hook Dive Center is located in Red Hook (go figure) on the East End of St. Thomas, right beside Molly Molone’s and Amigo’s restaurants. They do everything from Discovery Scuba dives (an entry-level introduction to scuba diving) to First Responder classes to equipment repair. They do two-tank morning dives and one-tank afternoon dives every day, as well as a one-tank night dive once a week (typically Wednesdays). They have 27 dive sites, all located off the East or North side of the island, and all of which are lovely. My personal favorite is Jaws, proof that some of the best dives and the coolest critters are in 40 ft or less.
I completed my PADI Advanced Open Water certification, First Responder course and Rescue Diver course with RHDC’s very talented staff. Although the Virgin Islands are very transient in nature, and instructors and dive masters have come and gone for different reasons, all of the employees are well-versed, friendly and encouraging.
RHDC is definitely the most professional dive shop on the island (and their TripAdvisor reviews speaks to their credit). Even after I moved to St. John, I continued to dive exclusively with them, although it was a bigger financial and time commitment to travel than there would have been if I had chosen a dive shop on my home island. The dive center actually has quite a following who dive solely with them for their characteristically excellent service, from routine visitors to locals who live on island.
I’ve been to almost all of their dive sites, which obviously change with the day and tide, but with their guidance (and a smidge of luck) I’ve been able to see everything that I’ve wanted to. From sharks to spotted eels to octopus to dolphins to squid, credit goes to the staff’s site selection, knowledge of the area and their daily interpretation of the currents and other environmental factors. The reefs are amazing, and the different sites show off the seemingly thousands of different types of coral and other rock formations.
Diving an average of once a week for my time in the Caribbean, I can honestly say RHDC only wants what’s best for the divers and goes to all ends to ensure everyone has fun- That’s why they are like family to me. They have helped fan my passion for diving and through working with them, I become a better diver each time I suit up in my BCD. I have the deepest fondness for all the staffers that have left their mark on me, especially Ash and Kristen, Miki, Travis, Tom, Tabby, Wayne and Luke.
Of all the things I’m going to miss when I move, I will miss RHDC the most. I can’t begin to thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me.