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Dive Review of Fort Young Dive Center in
Dominica/Southwest (leeward) side

Fort Young Dive Center: "Great diving, wonderful people and suburb accommodation: Dominica", Nov, 2014,

by Edmond Kay MD, WA, US ( 1 report). Report 7952.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments With good visibility, calm seas and an incredible profusion of tropical fish this was a five-star dive to remember. One of my benchmarks for a high-quality dive is to see at least one juvenile spotted drum, and on this trip I saw 20 or more (I lost count). All sizes and shapes from a tiny newly hatched baby, to multiple juveniles and many adult Drum. Of course, the wide variety of fish and sea snake was mind-boggling. We saw seahorses on almost every dive, and unusual sites like the Caribbean octopus showed up frequently. At Champagne Reef volcanic hot water bubbled out of vents in the seabed to create a very unusual effect (hence the name). The sea temperature was 87 to 89°F (no thermocline) and the daytime ambient air temperature was 90°. While a thin wetsuit was recommended for the frequent diver, it certainly was optional. Lionfish were present but culled frequently by Divemaster’s and trained and willing volunteers. On the last evening the hotel staff prepared the scrumptious feast including Lionfish Ceviche and Breaded Lionfish. If all the Caribbean sites trained volunteers to safely collect invasive lionfish, IMHO there would be much less trouble with encroachment. Of course careful attention to removal of poisonous spine was overseen by experienced dive masters and a diving physician was along on the trip. Other memorable sites included giant barrel sponges in profusion, and half of the sponges had interesting critters inside of them like the Caribbean Basket Star and various forms of crab and shrimp. I will include a link to a video, and a photo collage of one diver’s experiences. The only negative thing about the trip was the unpredictability of the Caribbean Airline LIAT. The standing joke was that LIAT stood for “Leave Island Any Time”. I was one of the lucky ones and my flight was the only delayed two hours. My connecting flight from Puerto Rico was also delayed and this allowed me to stay on time and make my connection, but no one else in our group had such good luck. Tight connections do not work in the Caribbean. While mosquito repellent is necessary in Puerto Rico and sand fleas can be an annoyance, we had no need for insect repellent of any kind on Dominica. There was plenty of rain in the rain forest but all the water ran off quickly to the sea. We left our windows open all the time and had absolutely no trouble with biting insects. The people of this Caribbean island were cheerful and friendly, helpful and welcoming, the place felt safe everywhere we went. Just about every night there was some new festival or celebration and the entire month of November is celebrated as their Independence Day (month). Parades, parties and happy people were encountered everywhere. This is an island run by the Caribes and we were the only white guys around, unless you count the 3000 cruise ship passengers that landed every day. Those visitors melted into the landscape as they were ushered to their various destinations, and there was plenty on land to see. We swam upstream through a narrow chasm to be pummeled by waterfall, and for the more adventurous a boiling lake (literally) awaits exploration after a long hike in the rain forest. Quite a memorable trip.

Video: [ link]

Images of the trip:
[ link]
Websites Fort Young Dive Center   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Pacific Northwest, Fiji, Australia's GBR, Little Cayman, Roatan and Bonaire
Closest Airport Douglas-Charles Airport Getting There Flights to Dominica all land first in Puerto Rico and from there a Caribbean Airline (LAIT) takes you on an unpredictable "milk run" through the islands until you reach your destination. "Island Time" guarantees a very unpredictable departure so best leave a huge layover in PR when going home so you do not miss your connection. From the airport in Dominica you take a bus or taxi for a 90 minute ride through the rain forest. Sit in the front seat if you are prone to motion sickness.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 87-89°F / 31-32°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100-150 Ft/ 30-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Recommendations for each site given in thorough intro before each dive. Dive Master carried high visibility slate and pointed out sights of interest frequently during the dive. Accommodations could be made for the more adventurous.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Well equipped shop and knowledgeable staff (note: I am not a photographer but I heard no complaints)
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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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