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Dive Review of Sharky's Dive Shop/Nirvana Inn in
Colombia/San Andres Island

Sharky's Dive Shop/Nirvana Inn, Jan, 2004,

by Roger Zander, Mi, usa . Report 1047.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Saba, Xcalak, Hawaii
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 79 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Return with 500 psi.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Someone at dive shop and resort really liked my UW camera. So much so, they stole it on our third day there.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We had Scuba San Andres (Lauren McKinney) arrange all our travel connections from Detroit to the Nirvana Inn on San Andres Island. On the way down, we spent an overnight at a Comfort Inn in San Jose, CostaRica. The next morning we flew on a Western Caribbean Airlines jet for the half hour hop to the island. Carlos, from Nirvana, met us at the terminal. At the hotel desk, Loreen was waiting for our arrival and to give us a quick tour. You can go to www.nirvanahotel.com and view pictures of the resort. The picture of the lobby shows our rooms patio directly above. The website images show all the buildings bright white. During our visit, I noted that most were spotted with the black tropical mold and were in need of cleaning and repainting. Our room was tidy but, the bathroom showed a lot of wear and tear. The door wouldnt shut, cracked window, very strong musty odor. The pool water was rather cloudy the first day. By the second day, it was considerably cleaner. There was a noticeable sewer odor from the rear of the complex. The Nirvana Inn is about 25 years old, owned by Americans, according to Roger Madero who owns the SharkysDive Shop, next door. Since we were the only guests at Nirvana, we felt like royalty. The cook, Inez, was preparing meals just for us. For our first dinner, we had chicken, rice, potatoes with a salad of green tomatoes and cucumbers. The salad was ruined by the olive oil which had gone bad, otherwise all the meals were fine. We had everyday items like pork chops, fish, chicken and my 8 year old daughter was particularly fond of pancakes for breakfast. Each day, Inez made a different fruit smoothie drink. The next morning, I met Edgar the divemaster, and we went out for a 2 tank trip, I was the only diver. It was a 5 minute ride to a coral reef that was in good condition with no special features. I counted 3 large spotted drum, two scorpionfish and at least a dozen pufferfish. The next day, Jose is the DM and again, I am the only diver. The first site is called Punta PADI with typical reef fish like snappers and parrotfish on healthy coral. We dive with computers and have about 30 minute surface intervals. The second dive is to the Diamond shipwreck, sunk in 1995, broken in the middle and only 42 feet down. For day three, the winds are right for a trip to the other side of the island. Edgar says that usually the water is too rough for the "six-pack" sized dive boat. We motor for 15 minutes, anchor in 60 ft of water on top of the Blue Wall. The Blue Wall is just that, a sheer vertical drop to nothing but, deep blue. The surface of the wall is so straight that it almost appears man-made. This was my most memorable dive on San Andres. The second dive was to a shallow wreck, there was too much wave action to enjoy this dive. This day there were two robberies. At Sharkys Dive Shop and Sunset Hotel, Edgar and Roger had about $2000 currency stolen. At the Nirvana Inn, our room was broken into and I lost my digital camera, housing, strobe, laptop computer, and other personal items for a loss of over $3000. The thieves were very selective and Roger Madero says it was an inside job, one of his employees with possible assistance from Nirvana staff. The police eventually arrived to investigate and I visited the police headquarters to make a police report. Lauren contacted the Nirvana Inns owners, who say that they have not had problems with their staff. Lauren offered a complimentary stay at Nirvana as a goodwill gesture, the owners appear that they could care less. The last day of diving was off shore of the Nirvana Inn. The shoreline is too rocky for entry and is only accessible by boat. Would I return to San Andres? Yes, although Im not sure if it would be to the Nirvana. In addition, I would go through Toronto for a non-stop flight direct to San Andres Island.
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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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