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Dive Review of Nature Island Dive in

May, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Phil Stasik, FL, USA
Report Number 2500
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Global dive experience. Based in Florida, trained in the Great Lakes,
extensive diving in Florida, Bahamas and the Caribbean, Hawaii, Australia's
Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Ningaloo Reef, and the Maldives.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
82   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No restictions, we were allowed to dive our computers responsibly.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
Previous Undercurrect reports lead us to this well orgainized and laid-back
operation that respects experienced divers.  We only did five dives in a
two day period, but we dove exclusively at Dominica's best locations in the
Soufriere/Scotts Head Marine Reserve. 

The dramatic and interesting volcanic topography of the island continues
below sea level. The igneous rock forms beautiful ledges and truly vertical
walls that drop to thousands of feet below. We've dived around the world,
and found the massive sponges, dense gorgonians, plentiful anemones, and
diverse fish life rival anything we've seen anywhere!    

We saw a few turtles and sea horses but as expected not a lot of pelagics.
The dive operators on Dominica have worked hard to establish a good quid
pro quo with local fishermen, and they all seem to respect the value of
their underwater resources.  

We called Nature Island Dive only a couple of days before our short visit
and they were totally accomodating.  May is the start of their low season. 
The small, somewhat spartan shop owns a beautiful, two-unit cottage that is
located directly on the rocky shoreline, about 1/4 mile south of

We rented the fully equipped lower unit which has twin beds and a sleeper
sofa plus a full kitchen and an awesome balcony.  There is no TV, radio, or
air-conditioning, but we were told that rental cell-phones will soon be
available for guests.  The late May temperatures were a bit warm in the
evening, but every window opens, providing good sea breeze/land breeze
cross flow.  Occational road noise and the song of breaking waves provided
a yin/yan of white noise.

Restaurants are few is Soufriere and Scotts Head, so it is advisable to
pick up some groceries when passing through Roseau.  At the simple
restaurants we found, fried chicken and fried fish were the staples.

Nature Island Dive owns two aluminum "six-pack" and one larger
aluminum dive boat, all with lots of space, and a nifty fold down entry
platform/ladder. They are equipped with oxygen kits, flares, and a cell
phone.  Since the shop is directly on the marine park shoreline, they don't
have much of a need to go more than a ten minute ride from the town's small
floating dock.  As expected, divers return to shore following each dive,
and this allows an easy walk back to the cottage for lunch or a chance to
hang out with the nice staff.  They take care of all of your gear at the
end of the dive day.

Both divemasters that guided us, (Simon and Oscar), were outstanding. They
made suggestions, but expected that we dive our own profile and computers. 
Our longest dive exceeded an hour and left us wanting to see more.  Water
temperature averaged 84 degrees, air temperatures peaked in the upper 80's.

The Scotts Head location is the southwestern tip of Dominica and provides
walls and pinnacles at the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the
Caribbean Sea.  On our five dives, we saw visibilities that averaged about
80 feet with a few spots about 50 feet vis. and others exceeding 100 feet.
Currents were mild to non-exsitent and the surface  had light chop at

The hard coral is quite healthy, but there was some widely-scattered
evidence of bleaching. There is an abundance of crinoids in all colors, a
lot of them residing in the plentiful azure vase sponges.  

We saw many spotted and golden tailed morays on every dive.  We enjoyed
following a golden tail and a coney as they wandered the wall on a classic
symbiotic hunting expedition.  Cleaning stations were everywhere, and
hungry Pederson shrimp were eager to give manicures. We enjoyed a few swim
throughs including a cave filled with barred soldier fish.  Large fish that
we saw included one large grouper, one barracuda, one cerro, and possibly
one tuna.  There were schools of creole wrasses, blue and brown chromises,
and a variety of bait balls.  

The entire staff was knowledgeable and exceedingly friendly.  They told us
that the EU has provided some developmental funds to install a 4-person
hyperbaric chamber that will be delivered to the Princess Margaret Hospital
in Roseau by mid-summer 2006.  Currently, Martinique, visible to the south,
has the nearest chamber.  Simon told us that he and a number of the other
dive professionals on the island have already been trained to operate,
and/or support the chamber.  

The partnership of Karen and Simon seemed to be among the leaders of this
small island's dive community and they promote sustainable, low-impact use
of the underwater preserve.  Soufriere is generally a sleepy, but
well-placed location to explore what is arguably Dominica's best diving.  

Beyond diving, Dominica is an amazingly unspoiled wilderness to explore. 
The island was created by a large number of volcanoes, seven of which are
still active.  The waterfalls, hot springs, boiling lake, trails,
mountains, and birds are legendary.  Nature Island Dive has a fleet of
bikes and kayaks and divemaster/boat captain, Selwyn, serves as a
naturalist tour guide.  

Driving Dominica's narrow, winding, mountainous roads is a test of skill
and nerves.  We took two hours to drive our Suzuki rental SUV from the
airport (on the northeast coast) across the World Heritage Site Rainforest
through the Caribbean-urban streets of the capital Roseau down to
Soufriere.  A 4WD vehicle is a must for exploring.  Driving can be fun if
you allow plenty of time and keep your eyes open.  Driving is done in the
left lane, in the English tradition.  

The locals were quite friendly -- speaking mostly Creole, but fluent
English as well.  We were approached by several folks begging and/or
peddling mangos, papayas, bananas or coconuts. Unemployment is common, but
most folks that we saw and met seem quite happy living in their island

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All Dominica Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Dominica
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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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