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Dive Review of Isla Marisol in

July, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Jill Rain, WA, United States
Sr. Reviewer   (8 reports, with 4 Helpful votes)
Report Number 4218
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
85   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
Off-season at a remote site with excellent staff translates to as good as
diving gets in the Caribbean. Isla Marisol is successfully creating a
comfortable and dedicated dive destination. 22-acre Usher family island at
south end of Glover's reef is the only high-end accomodation on the atoll
(beachfront cabanas with en-suite showers, toilets, netted doors/windows,
24-hour power, fans and AC). Manager Eddie Usher was preoccupied on the
mainland working out financing to continue improvements on the island,
which was a problem for one of our party who had paid for a cert referral
(fortunately it was worked out by the end of our stay), but his very
gracious and helpful mother was there for a few days, from whom we learned
many things about the history of the island, the family and the area. 
What to be aware of before you go: (1) Sandflies are aggressive any time
the wind dies a little, especially at the boat dock (what we came to call
the Death Zone). Even the bar deck at the end of a long dock will have
sandflies unless there's a moderate breeze. Keep covered, or use repellant,
even for a few minutes outside (Picaridin easier on a wetsuit than Deet).
Interestingly, even though the netting on cabana windows was mosquito-size,
the sandflies didn't come in - yay);(2) The ride out from Dangriga on a 36'
planing open boat is fast but WET and bumpy - assume you will get soaked;
(3) Our dives were limited to 45 minutes, even though we all had lots of
air left - maybe because we had a new diver? Ask if you can get an hour
bottom time. 
Here are some notable excellent things about Isla Marisol: (1) The dive
master (Giovani) and boat captain (Lyndon) were excellent: competent,
friendly, helpful in every way, and a lot of fun; (2)the dive boat can
handle big swells (5-6') so we went out to good windward sites regardless
of the weather (note: the wind kicks up in the afternoon so viz decreases
then); (3) The reef is protected and full of life: great lush huge corals
and sponges, high fish diversity and numbers, sharks, turtles, giant
groupers. There were only 2, later 3, of us divers, and we never saw any
other group. Drifting through wildlife. (4) Topside: The food (cooked and
served by Aurora) was excellent and ample, including treats, the fresh
fruit juice all day - mango, papaya, watermelon, lemonade, coconut - an
island specialty. Beaches raked daily and clean of flotsam. Solar powered
path lights for walking back to cabana after dinner. The snorkeling couple
reported a really good time, both where they were boated out to, and right
at the resort under the docks and in the creek (she identified 108
different species of fish).
Isla Marisol wants to maintain a family operation at a high level of
service; we hope they can. They are putting effort and money into the right
things: top-notch staff and comfortable accomodation. This is a place we
plan to return to.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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