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Dive Review of Dive Dominica/Castle Comfort in
Dominica

Dive Dominica/Castle Comfort, Dec, 2004,

by Tom Hayes, FL, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports). Report 1553.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Most Carribean destinations
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas surge
Water Temp 79 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth limits and bottom time. 100 ft. on first dive and 70 feet on second dive. One hour max, although we were sent up several times after 50 minutes.
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 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We visited 2/2/05-2/9/05. Air connections were not good, but we did get our luggage on Liat Airlines. Several groups staying the same week did not get theirs for two days.

Castle Comfort is pretty much a basic 3-star lodge, with a good location on the water, a pool. hot tub and nice oceanside bar. Food was mostly local, with plenty to eat and some unique dishes. We were there during carnival week, and the bands next door practiced all night for three days- complete with loud music and vibration. Soundproofing was not very good. Our package included breakfast and dinner. On Carnival Tuesday we were advised the staff would be off for the day after lunch. We did get a lunch, but had no options given for dinner (we ate next door at the Evergreen Hotel-very good). Lodge was a mile from Roseau (the capital).

Dive operations were decent. Very comfortable boats and gear was hauled and rinsed each day by the staff, although setup was left to the divers. They did mix up the weight pockets twice on similar weight integrated BC's, so my wife had to return to the boat each time to adjust her weights. Divemasters changed several times so we had little chance to learn each other's dive routines. On most dives the divemasters just swam their routes and we were left to stay up or simply lag behind. As a consequence very little was pointed out to us- we had to find things on our own. Bottom time was supposed to be an hour, but on several dives we were brought up early.

Viz was poor on a number of dives due to the surge which lasted most of the week. Corals were very healthy, but most of the big fish had been taken by fisherman. Small critters were abundant and we saw a number that we had not seen in the rest of the Carribean. Saw a spotted snake eel, numerous electric rays, various species of shrimp, a sea horse, magnificent urchin (more urchins than we had ever seen), and flying gurnards. Blennies and gobies were everywhere.

Our best dives in terms of critters were off the dock- not much coral but a lot of life in the rocks and boulders.

The island has some good nature hikes. The Boiling Lake was interesting, but had stopped boiling since the earthquake in Montserrat. They didn't tell us this before we took the hike, but it made little difference. The hike was strenuous, to say the least. The rain forest and the volcano calderas were worth the trip.

All in all it was a good trip, except for the attitude of the divemasters. The hotel staff was helpful except during carnival. The carnival itself was an experience, except for the noise at night. The Dominicans were all very friendly and proud of their country. Drugs seem to be a problem and on several occasions we were offered drugs on our walks to town. Panhandlers were rare. The main drag was littered with trash, and not very sanitary, but the mountain rivers were extremely clean and drinkable. Tap water was excellent.

We would go back, but it is pretty far down the list.
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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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