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Dive Review of Anchorage Dive Center/Fort Young/Papillote Wilderness Ret in
Dominica

Anchorage Dive Center/Fort Young/Papillote Wilderness Ret, Mar, 2006,

by Bruce Hall, Maine, US . Report 2335.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Mexico, Red Sea, Mediteranean
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 74 to 76 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No restrictions
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Small rinse tank on board

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments In order to experience all that Dominica has to offer, we decided to split our stay between Fort Young Hotel in Roseau and Papillote Wilderness Retreat 5 miles up into the rainforest. Fort Young is a 4 star hotel right on the water with easy access to Roseau. The construction is completed and the facilities are in good shape. The Oceanfront rooms are excellent with the older side more spacious (although only 2 double beds) while the rooms on the new side have king size beds but are a little smaller. The food at the hotel was good (for Caribbean fare) but a little pricy. We also ate at the La Robe Creole, which is across the street where the food was good and inexpensive and they serve the best rum punch we had on the island. If you want to experience the local food try the Guiyane, the local beer is a $1.50 and the pastries are very good. There were cruise ships every day, sometimes two or three at a time. Apparently Dominica has now been discovered.
We dove with Anchorage Dive center for 4 days and were very pleased. They picked us up at the Fort Young dock (although they were always late even by Caribbean standards) and the excellent dive sites around Scotts Head were only a 15-minute boat ride away. Dives were all they were hyped to be, no large animals but a tremendous profusion of life everywhere. The reefs are covered with hard and soft corals and large barrel sponges abound. The small fish cover the reefs with many schools exceeding twenty-thirty members. We saw turtles on almost every dive along with many spotted morays. Favorite sites were Danglebens Pinnacles, Village and Caribes Lip. The hot springs at the Champagne dive site are interesting for about 5 minutes but the site is mostly a mud flat. The dive masters were very friendly, upbeat and clearly enjoyed their job. They pointed out a lot of sea life and allowed everyone to burn off the last of their air at the end of the dive under the boat. Boats were well equipped, clean and always had plenty of water and fruit juice.
The second half of the week we spent at Papillote, which is located up in the rainforest in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. Our room had an incredible view down the valley and was comfortable but a little spartan. This area is so dense with ferns, palms and all manner of tropical foliage that you could imagine King Kong breaking out of the rainforest at any time. The island is very mountainous and the flight in from San Juan takes you through the passes with peaks on either side of the plane, shrouded in clouds. The inn lacks AC or a pool but the evenings were always cool and the hot springs baths make up for the lack of a pool. The meal plan at the inn is your only real choice as there are no other restaurants in the area. The food was ok but limited choices. We hiked to Trafalger Falls from the inn but had to employ a guide for the rest of the hikes, a bit costly but well worth it. Our guide would spend the entire hike explaining the various flora and fauna while cruise ship excursions blew past us on the trail. We did not try the boiling lake hike but we did the Fresh Water Lake, Middleham Falls and the Titu Gorge trips and they were all fabulous.
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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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