Have you heard of St Lucia?
I haven’t, to be honest, before a friend of mine started to work there as an instructor earlier this year. Now I feel like I need to visit this paradise. St Lucia is a small country in the east of the Caribbean with about 160’000 inhabitants.
I asked Karolin, the Executive Director, Marketing & Operations and my friend Adam a few questions about the situation there and the reopening after Corona. Scuba St Lucia is the dive operation belonging to and operated by Anse Chastanet Resort. The interview took place on the 22 of May 2020.
Goni: Are any divers staying with you at the moment?
Karolin: Approximately 35% of our resident guests at Anse Chastanet come specifically for the diving. Currently the borders of Saint Lucia are closed. Therefore our business and dive operation is also closed. There are no visitors on island. On June 4, the island of Saint Lucia will re-open the borders and international flights will resume their schedules.
Are you still allowed to go diving?
As part of the upkeep of the dive centre, monitoring the reefs and controlling lion fish stock, our instructors and dive masters are still able to dive.
Do you think the underwater world changes without all the divers?
Adam: The underwater world is in a continuous state of change. Nowadays, we do see positive and negative effects on the marine environment. Schools of fish in large numbers that are not normally seen, have returned to our house reef and a boost in juveniles has also been recorded during this time. The reef is in good shape as it has been for the last years and we hope that this little break has helped it even more. One thing that concerns us is that we have noticed an increase in marine debris. I would say that having more divers underwater would have helped in having more eyes on the reef. Also during this time with the help of our dive instructors we have been conducting regular dives to keep under check the population of the exotic lionfish, Again, the more divers the more effective these dives are.
When does the resort plan to reopen?
Karolin: As there are a number of new protocols to be implemented for the resort and also the scuba operation. Because of that we will not re-open on June 4 but on July 1.
How are your employees?
Karolin: Our dive shop employees, just like our resort employees, are hoping that we can soon begin operating our business again. We are pleased that so many of our divers and other guests have not cancelled their trips but simply postponed them. So, we are hopeful that we will see a recovery of business activity over the next few months, but clearly, we all would be delighted
if a vaccine could be found rather sooner than later.
Adam: Is there something else you would like to tell all the divers out there who are missing the ocean?
We are looking forward to reopening the doors and we will welcome divers from around the world to come dive with us and see all the beautiful dive sites that Saint Lucia has to offer. Also we would like to express our concern towards the marine environment during these times and ask all the divers to minimize their use of single use plastic as well as replacing the toxic products with more natural and environmentally friendly products. These are just a few ways they can help the ocean from the comfort of their home. Many thanks