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Dive Review of Dive Dominica/Castle Comfort Dive Lodge in

February, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Scott Vickers, CO, USA
Report Number 2398
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Saba, Bonaire, Cozumel, Belize, Caymans, Roatan, Florida Keys
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
78   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Non-computer divers were given a profile, while computer divers were given
more leeway.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
Dominica is an ex-British colony and still a member of the Commonwealth. As
such, it is, like many Caribbean islands, struggling to cobble together a
viable economy centered around eco-tourism, both land- and sea-based. This
is not an easy task, but Dominicans have several things going for them:
plenty of fresh water (rainfall averages around 350 inches per year!); a
beautiful and sometimes challenging terrain, with mountainous rainforest
covering much of the island; healthy reefs teeming with abundant sealife;
and, last but not least, a "can-do" attitude and friendly
populace (at least among those lucky enough to be employed).
The Castle Comfort couldn't be more appropriately named. Although some
rooms face the busy street outside its confines, most face into the
well-kept grounds and dock area. Three delicious meals are served daily
(although only breakfast and dinner are included in the packages), and the
similarly comfortable resort hotels on either side--the Anchorage and the
Evergreen--also welcome nonguests for lunch. The second of two large cities
to the north, Roseau is somewhat ramshackle (except for the magnificent
Fort Young Hotel and the Botanic Gardens), but is easily accessible by van
jitneys that ply the narrow road for a small fee. You can also walk to
Roseau, but the road has precious little shoulder (no sidewalks) and
drivers weave in and out to avoid potholes and each other--it's a little
scary. Regardless, we found a good restaurant there specializing in creole
food, and another south of us that featured American home cookin' (the
Green Flash) that was exceptional. The ex-pat American owner even gave us a
ride back after we ate, to save us the fearsome walk.
Rooms over the dive shop (14-17) are the most spacious and quiet, and all
rooms offer TV, but only one U.S. AC outlet per room, so bring a voltage
converter for British DC. The hotel staff was uniformly friendly and
helpful, and the food was great, though not gourmet. The lead bartender,
Rolle, makes a mean rum punch using his own ground-spice mixture, and plays
a rollicking good accordian for your (and his) enjoyment.
Dive Dominica (run by Derek Perryman, a real gentleman) has a fleet of five
or six boats--one reserved for whale-watching trips, another for cruise
ship passengers that dock in Roseau, and the others for servicing Castle
Comfort. We usually went out on a large vessel with plenty of room for 12
or more divers, tanks, a head, and easy egress and return (2 ladders).
Reggie is the most experienced dive master, very watchful of his divers and
knowledgeable about the reefs and currents. (Currents can be stiff on the
windward side of Scott's Head at the south end of the island, but elsewhere
along the southwest coast there were none.)
The subaquatic topography is volcanic, and thus offers some truly awesome
walls (such as La Sorciere ["The Sorceress"] and L'Abym
["The Abyss"], which overhangs by about 10 degrees and drops
straight off into the deep trench), intriguing pinnacles, canyons, gullies,
and craters (such as the large Scott's Head Crater). The reefs are
especially lush along this stretch between the villages of Soufriere and
Scott's Head, and the boat ride down the coast offers spectacular views of
Dominica's mile-high volcanic peaks and rainforest. At Soufriere Pinnacles
and Champagne, divers experience bubbling gas vents and warm-water pockets
from the volcanic activity around the island.
Fish and critter life is abundant, though not large (we saw no groupers or
other eating-size fish save a few jacks and barracuda). Aside from a
plethora of the usual Caribbean tropicals, we saw sharp-tailed and spotted
eels, a webbed burrfish, a reef scorpion fish, two seahorses, and many
varieties of shrimp, lobster (including a Spanish slipper lobster), and
crabs. The so-called muck dive off the Castle Comfort pier offered up
flying gunards, a batfish, juvenile burrfish and French angels, and a
lesser electric ray. All the reefs are rich in huge barrel and tube
sponges, multicolored crinoids, anemones, gorgonians, branch coral, and
many gigantic feather-duster worms of all colors. Amazing!
If you can find time, be sure and take some land-based tours of the
interior, such as Boiling Lake, Trafalgar Falls, and Titou Gorge--the
mostly undeveloped interior is lush, breathtaking, and very pristine for a
developing country. Dominica needs a new airport badly, but is otherwise
well-equipped to deal with even the most discriminating dive traveller. 
Highly recommended!!
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All Dominica Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Dominica
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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