Visiting St. Maarten on a cruise ship? Let Octopus Diving take you out for an unforgettable adventure! Join us for snorkeling and diving excursions on the lush, colorful reefs and wrecks around our beautiful island. With two convenient locations, Octopus Diving is able to offer boat departure times at 8, 9, or 10 am and 1 or 2 pm- easily accommodating any port times. We pride ourselves on excellent service, top-of-the-line equipment that is in great condition, and pristine, fast boats that are NEVER overcrowded. We take out a maximum of 8 scuba divers per trip on our largest boats. At Octopus Diving, we are committed to ensuring that our customers have unique, memorable boat excursions with comfort and ease. You’ll never need to lift a finger to carry or set up equipment, we’ll take care of everything for you.
How can you figure out which location and what trip times will be the best fit for your island excursion? Take a look at the descriptions below to get a clear picture of what you can expect.
What activities are you interested in participating in on your excursion?
Any of our trip departure times from either of our locations would be a great option for you! Our knowledgeable captains and crew determine what sites to visit each day, depending upon the weather. Both of our locations give us access to a variety of excellent locations, including sites at the Man-of-War Shoal Marine Park and the St. Martin Nature Reserve, so we always have options to dive in the best conditions. Consider your cruise ship arrival and all-aboard times and if you want to go out for 2, 3, or 4 dives when determining which location you would like to dive from. Diving with Octopus Diving is a VIP experience- we don’t want you to lift a finger! We’ll happily carry, set up, take down, and rinse your equipment for you. You check mere steps from the boats, and our staff are there to give you a hand right away. Once on board the boats, we’ll provide a thorough safety briefing and then head to the dive sites, where we give you a full dive briefing, help you into your equipment, do a pre dive safety check, and then it’s into the water for an unforgettable time!
Sign up to join us for a trip at any time on the French Side or the 2 pm boat trip on the Dutch Side. We are very fortunate to have sheltered, shallow sites on both sides of the island which provide calm conditions that are ideal for a first diving experience. Once at the site, your instructor will give you a thorough briefing, providing an introduction to your equipment and the way it functions, and the experience of increased pressure on your body under water while diving. You’ll receive lots of personalized attention during the briefing and on the dive, as we send out one instructor with every two try divers. If you’re diving from our French Side location, you’ll have the opportunity to decide on the boat after your first dive if you would like to dive at a second site before calling it a day!
Boats departing from our French Side location at 8:30 am or 1:30 pm can accommodate snorkeling trips. We stop at two sites, typically Creole Rock and Turtle Reef. These sites typically have calm surface conditions, great visibility, and shallow reefs so that you can see everything that’s going on down below! Your captain will brief you on the sites, pointing out specific areas with the greatest activity and giving you an idea of the types of sea life to keep an eye out for. They’re great at spotting turtles and are always ready to help you in and out of the water. We provide high-quality snorkeling equipment that adjusts easily for an excellent fit and you have the option of a few different flotation devices if you’d like to use them for your comfort in the water.
When you’re enjoying a cruise vacation with family and friends, it often happens that some members of your party will be certified scuba divers, other may be avid snorkelers, and you may have some in your party looking to give diving a try for the first time. Combination trips are ideal for groups like this, perhaps with multiple generations of water-lovers aboard with varying comfort levels. On these trips, divers will descend on their dives, blowing bubbles that the snorkelers can catch at the surface. Great photo ops from both sides! Everyone can enjoy their activity of choice in the water or lounge on the comfortable boats. Join us in Grand Case at 8:30 am or 1 pm for a 2-site combination trip or in Philipsburg at 2 pm for a 1-site combination trip.
General timeframes for our various trip departure times are below. Keep in mind that these are estimates, which may vary slightly depending on unique circumstances of the day. The time can vary slightly depending on the sites your boat will visit- distance or depth of a site will naturally affect travel time or dive time, respectively. You’ll also want to factor in time for check-in before the trip (check in times are half an hour before boat departure times) and rinsing/packing up your gear after the trip.
Our Dutch Side location is in Philipsburg, just minutes from the cruise ship port- easily accessible on foot or via water taxi (where you will literally be dropped off at our shop doorstep). We’ll greet you with a smile and walk you through the check-in process, and you’ll also want to take a look around the dive shop at the unique, hand-selected apparel, jewelry, accessories, and gifts available. Have questions about what else you should check out while you’re on the island? Our staff are always happy to share information about must-see attractions and their favorite local spots to frequent. We’ll help outfit you for any equipment needed and then set up everything on board the boat for you. Before you know it, you’ll be under way!
Certified divers will depart on the 9 am trip from this location for a two tank dive trip. We’re a quick boat ride away from the famous Man-of-War Shoal Marine Park, where divers can explore amazing reefs and wrecks that are teeming with sharks, rays, lobsters, and colorful fish. Customers heading out on the 2 pm trip from our Dutch Side location will be taken to one site, usually a shallow dive at Divi Little Bay. This site is ideal for try-divers and a great dive location in general for seeing colorful caribbean fish, particularly in their juvenile stages.
Looking to depart at 8 am, 10 am, or 1 pm? You’ll head out from our lovely original location in Grand Case, on the French Side of St. Martin. From here we have easy access to vibrant reefs, many of which are protected as part of the St. Martin Nature Reserve. We offer trips for snorkeling, scuba diving, “Try Dives” for beginners who want to see what it’s all about, and combination trips.
We’ll arrange a taxi to pick you up, with friendly drivers that we have built up a great relationship with. Your driver will meet you at “The Sandbanks” near the cruise ship port- Sally made a video that walks you through, in real-time, how to get to your pick-up location. They’ll bring you right to our shop, providing information about the island as you make your way here. The same driver will plan to pick you up here at our shop after your trip! If you have extra time, we’re happy to help coordinate with them to take you on an island tour, transport you to other venues, or pick you up elsewhere in town (if you decide to head down to the LOLOs for lunch, for example).
Once you arrive at Octopus Diving in Grand Case, our warm staff will walk you through the check-in process. We have coffee, cold drinks, and snacks available for purchase, as well as cool dive apparel, jewelry, and gifts. You’re then welcome to relax out front on our beautiful patio while our dive staff prepare the boat. Your crew will come greet you, escorting you to the deck where they will fit you for any gear you may need and assist you in storing any items you wish to leave securely locked on the premises. Then, you’re headed down to the water, to board your boats and head out for your adventure!
Don’t Forget! If you are a certified diver, please remember to bring proof of certification along with you when you check in. This is VERY important!