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Dive Review of Nature Island Dive/Galette Cottage in
Dominica/Scotts Head Area

Nature Island Dive/Galette Cottage, Mar, 2005,

by Darren Dawson, SC, USA . Report 1645.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Grand Cayman (North and East End), Little Cayman, Belize (Lighthouse Atoll), Hawaii (Kona), Bonaire, Cozumel, Utila and the Bahamas.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas
Water Temp 77 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions none
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 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 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments You can download a slideshow and a longer pdf version of the trip report with blow by blow accounts of the diving at web page. Search for Darren Dawson on Yahoo.

Overview:
We took our first trip to Dominica in March 2005, and Darren and I agreed that the diving here was the best diving we have done to date in comparison to Grand Cayman (North and East End), Little Cayman, Belize (Lighthouse Atoll), Hawaii (Kona), Bonaire, Cozumel, Utila and the Bahamas. The most outstanding feature of diving here is the breath-taking color on the reefs, which are literally covered with large sponges and corals of every color imaginable, most with crinoids growing in and around them. A wide angle lens is a must here for photographers. The visibility was not great while we were there; while you could see about 50 feet on most dives, it was not extremely clear as there seemed to be a good bit of particulate floating in the water. Despite this, we still were awestruck by the breathtaking colors here.

We dove with Nature Island Divers (NID) in the southern village of Soufriere and stayed at a nearby cottage owned by the dive shop. We found NID to be among the most accommodating dive operations we have experienced (they tried to go to the sites we requested each day and they took us out on multiple night boat dives, even with just the two of us as customers). Also, NID is located on the Soufriere/ScottsHead Bay, which offers the best diving on the island. All of our dives were conducted in and around the bay, so boat rides were usually between 5-15 minutes and we always returned to the shop between dives for our surface interval. Our stay was limited to one week, so we did not explore the interior of the island, which is known for great hiking and beautiful waterfalls.

Town/Lodging/Dining:
Soufriere is a small fishing village without much in the way of accommodations or restaurants. It is located near the southwestern end of the island, about a mile from the last village on the island, ScottsHead. The town itself is not particularly attractive, with make-shift shacks and abandoned or neglected buildings on every street, and chickens and dogs freely roaming around town. There are no sandy beaches as the shoreline is composed of smooth stones. The closest town within walking biking distance is ScottsHead, and it was very similar. By and large, we did not find the indigenous people in this area to be overly friendly to tourists, though there were some exceptions. This part of the island is not known is not a tourist destination, and many people stay in hotels in the larger city of Rousseau about 20 minutes north of Soufriere. However, since we were here to dive, we chose to stay in Soufriere and would definitely do so again.

We stayed in the upper apartment at NIDs Gallette Cottage on the bay. The cottage was nice, similar to a small lake cabin here in the States, with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and den, and a covered porch overlooking the ocean. There is no A/C, but we never needed it. The windows and the louvered panels in the bedroom and den allowed for plenty of cool air. Photos are included in the slideshow and are also available on the NID website. The only downside is that the road between Soufriere and ScottsHead runs about 5 feet behind the cottage, so you do get some traffic noise and the waves at night can also be quite loud, so you may want to bring earplugs (we used them). The dive shop provided us with bicycles to travel back and forth from the shop to the cottage, a trip of about 4-5 minutes.

Diving:
We were most impressed by the color on the reefs and the large sponges and corals. The dive sites consisted of walls and pinnacles for the deeper dives, and scattered coral heads in the shallower areas. There were some macro critters, but not as many here as other places like Bonaire. We found one juvenile seahorse and one adult, but the frogfish were nowhere to be seen on this trip they seem to be in hiding at this time. We didnt see any large animals (no turtles or sharks, etc.) but there were schools of small fish, and always large schools of blackbar soldierfish in the swim-throughs at ScottsHead Pinnacle. Among the most common fish we saw during the day were parrotfish, damselfish, drums, chromis, longsnout butterflyfish, trumpetfish, trunkfish, scorpionfish, grunts and squirrelfish. We saw very few angelfish, and only occasional butterflyfish other than the longsnout. On the night dives, we saw numerous lobsters and crabs of many varieties and occasionally squid; no octopus. Our favorite divesites included ScottsHead Pinnacle, Condo, Craters Edge and the Abyss.

NID has 3 covered pontoon boats (1 large and two medium-sized), allowing for very smooth rides to the dive sites, most of which are between 5 and 15 minutes from the dock. The divemasters set up our gear each day and took our gear between the boat and the dive shop, which is located just a short walk across the street from the dock. Our main divemasters during the week were Wefee and Oscar. Tony took us on one night dive and Simon dove with us on our last day. Selwyn served as our boat captain most days. All of these guys were great they let us go at our own pace but also pointed out interesting fish, critters, etc.
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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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