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Dive Review of Nature Island Dive/Gallete Cottage in
Dominica/Soufriere

March, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Darren Dawson, SC, USA
Reviewer (5 reports)

Report Number 2415
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, the Bahamas, Bonaire, Belize-Lighthouse Reef,
Cozumel, Grand Turk, Roatan, Utila
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
78   to 80    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
no  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Follow the leader in small groups
Come up with you low in air  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
None 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
1 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
1 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
You rough as far as UW
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
4 stars
Food
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
3 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
Google Darren Dawson for a longer version of the report

General: 
This was our second trip to Dominica. We had such a great time in March
2005 that we re-booked the trip for March 2006. We wondered if we would be
as impressed with the diving the second time around and I can say that it
was every bit as good, if not better, in 2006. Simon and rest of the DMs at
Nature Island Dive in Soufriere accommodated our requests for specific dive
sites as much as possible, and we got to visit a couple of new sites in
addition to some old favorites. You simply couldn’t ask for a better crew
to dive with – Simon, Wefee, Oscar, Tony and Selwyn are all wonderful. Be
advised that they do operate on “island time” - not really a big deal for
us since we’re on a dive vacation and all we’re doing is diving, but it
could be frustrating if you are trying to stick to a tight schedule for
some reason. Since people from some of the resorts away from Soufriere book
dives with NID, you often end up waiting for them to arrive – sometimes
half an hour late, then get geared up, etc.

The weather was great during our stay every day except for Thursday, when
it rained on and off all day. For the remainder of the week we had
beautiful skies with lots of sun – mostly sunny every day with no rain
during the daytime. Bugs are not a problem here, we never used insect
repellent at the cottage or while diving. The only time we used it (as a
precaution) was when we had dinner one evening at an outdoor restaurant in
a heavily wooded area. 

Travel: 
We again flew from Charlotte to Antigua on US Air, then from Antigua to
Dominica on Caribbean Star. This year, our bags were tagged all the way
through to Dominica, but we were advised by US Air in Charlotte to go to
baggage claim in Antigua anyway to make sure we didn’t need to collect our
bags and re-check them with Caribbean Star. We went through immigration in
Antigua to get to baggage claim, and found that our bags had indeed been
routed on to Caribbean Star, so we were escorted back through Immigration
to the in-transit Caribbean Star counter. This is a very nice improvement
to have the bags checked all the way through and be able to avoid
Immigration and go through as in-transit passengers in Antigua. 

On the way back, our Caribbean Star flight from Dominica to Antigua was
cancelled and we had to catch a later flight to Antigua, leaving us
stranded at the Dominica airport (small, hot, remote) for 5 hours waiting
for the next flight to Antigua. Our schedule was changed to spend the night
in Antigua, then catch an early flight to San Juan on Sunday morning with a
connection to Charlotte in the afternoon. All seemed okay until we got to
San Juan and discovered that all flights to Charlotte that afternoon were
overbooked and we did not have confirmed seats on the US Air flight that
Caribbean Star had booked us on. After visiting both airline counters
several times, the best that we could arrange was to be first on the
stand-by list for the first flight back to Charlotte. We made it onto the
plane at the last possible minute and it was filled to capacity with no
empty seats. 


Lodging/Dining:
Again, see last year’s report for more details. We were quite happy with
the upper unit of the NID cottage and really enjoyed sitting on the porch
overlooking the bay while we were there. It is very simple and peaceful –
no phone, radio, TV, or computer – a nice change of pace. The upper unit
has wooden louveres in the bedroom and living room which open out to the
porch, making the unit very light, open and breezy. Another couple was
staying in the lower unit this year so we checked it out. We did not like
it nearly as much – it seemed dark and closed-in – not open and airy like
the upper unit. 



Diving:
The consistently great topography, vivid colors, and large sponge and coral
formations are what sets Dominica apart from the other dive locations we
have visited and keeps it at the top of our list for favorite Caribbean
diving. The only contender of the places we have been would be Little
Cayman. (we have been to Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, the Bahamas, Bonaire,
Belize-Lighthouse Reef, Cozumel, Grand Turk, Roatan, Utila). 

There are conflicting opinions from divers posting on the dive boards about
the quality of diving in Dominica. I think it is important to clarify that
we dove the southern sites in Scott’s Head Bay and around on the Atlantic
side in the Martinique Channel at the southern end of the island. We have
not been to any of the central or northern sites on Dominica, which may not
be similar to the Scott’s Head Bay area. A good description of the southern
sites can be found on the Fort Young Hotel website: [divefortyoung.com link]. (Note: Fort Young is
supposed to be a nice hotel, but it is in Rosseau – meaning that the boat
rides to the southern sites are quite a bit longer and they don’t do all
their diving at the southern sites.)

NID uses pontoon boats which have plenty of space (especially the larger
boat). Most of the sites can be reached in 5-15 minutes from the dock, and
the boat typically returns to the shop between dives. More details on the
NID operation can be found in last year’s report (Dominica 2005). See the
longer version of the trip report for our Soufriere Survival Guide and for
more details on the diving.
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Other dive reports on Nature Island Dive

All Dominica Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Dominica
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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