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

Nature Island Dive/Gallete Cottage, Mar, 2006,

by Darren Dawson, SC, USA . Report 2415.

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
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
UW Photo 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
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 couldnt 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 were on a dive vacation and all were 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 didnt 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 years 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 Scotts 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 Scotts 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 dont 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 years 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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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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