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Dive Review of Cabrits Dive Center/Nature Island Divers in
Dominica/North and South

November, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by C Vernon Hartline Jr, TX, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 3753
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
0-25 dives
Where else diving
Grand Cayman,Little Cayman,Red Sea,Eastern Pacific,Hawaii,Mexico(both
coasts),Belize,Indonesa,Tahiti,Coco Island,Panama ,Texas etc
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
79   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
return with 500psi - all dives had divemaster in the water  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
crew helped with cameras
Cabrits didn't have their larger boat in the water so it may have been
different. Nature Island did not have a rinse tank but had a large table to
put cameras
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
Impressive island both above and below the water. We were very impressed
with diving in Portsmith and Helen and Peter at Cabrits Dive Center run a
fun and classy operation. For the surface interval between dives, Helen
brought us hot tea and "biscuits" (cookies). Portsmith is in the
north closest to the airport in Mellvill Hall. The roads are narrow and
"twisty". They were a british colony so driving is on the left
and was truly "an adventure" driving around the island. We rented
a Rav 4 via the internet from Courtesty Car Rental at the airport. Also at
Helen's suggestion we stayed at the Pitcard Cottages (where the crew of
"Pirates of the Caribbean" movie stayed.The cottages were basic
but had a small kitchen and a/c. We had a beachfront cottage on a black
sand beach. These cottages are next to Ross Medical School - were there are
tons of USA students - who I suspect failed to get accepted into a USA
medical school. Lots of very small but interesting dining establishments in
town. We enjoyed Big Papa's and the Purple Turtle. John the dive guide was
very good and handled all levels of diving skill effectively. Dominica is
an island not to be missed and there are a ton of things to see on the
surface - waterfalls , drive thru volcanos , hiking trails ,lookouts from
4,700' mountains, bubbling lakes etc. Lots of healthy coral but only small
fish. The best dive we had was under the new cruise ship pier - we asked to
do it the next day as well. We spent 3 full days in Portsmith. We spent 4
days in the South, in Rousau, the largest city on the island, where the
local scene is very different. We stayed at the Evergreen Hotel (we got the
Honeymoon Hut)in Castle Comfort and drove to Nature Island Dive Center
every dive day (about 30 minutes). One dive day in the South - it was
blowing and strong currents and diving was difficult. The most famous dive
in the South is "champagne" where in 15' of water bubbles are
everywhere. Neither site offered big fish and we saw lots of "fish
pots".  Diving in the South is around a collapsed volcano at lands'
end and offers walls/dropoffs we didn't see in the North. We returned to
shore between dives, Nature Island took care of gear each diving day. Night
dives are also offered. Several divers took off to go whale watching
offered by the larger operations in Rousau (Dive Dominica) and saw a dozen
or so whales. Problem with the larger operations is the cruise boat divers.
As many as 3 cruise boats are in port in Rousau on any given day. Tourism
in Dominica is equated to cruise boat passengers - several sites were
closed on Saturday because there were no cruise boats. The
"nicest" hotel in Rousau in Fort Young which has a close up view
of the lastest boat to dock. We had several good meals there but not sure
that's where I'd want to stay. I also enjoyed the Saturday market along the
waterfront in Rousau where all kinds of farmers have their produce for
sale. Dominica suffered an earthquake last week that was 7.3. I have not
heard of much damage but that is a powerful quake. A hurricane went thru
last July and resulted in the loss of most of the banana crop used in
export. Interesting history to the island and friendly people. There is no
Ritz Carlton or even a Hilton. Only KFC and Subway were the only
"chains" we saw on the island. Have to overnight from the middle
of the country (we stayed in San Juan) both coming and going. I'd go bakc
in a heartbeat. 
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