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Dive Review of Nature Island Dive/Gallette Cottages in

April, 2010, an Instant Reader Report by Suzanne Leeson, David Vickery,, NJ, US
Sr. Reviewer   (11 reports)
Report Number 5616
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Florida, Caribbean, California, Central America, Mexico, Hawaii, Fiji,
Palau, Yap, Australia, Maldives, PNG, Bikini Atoll
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
After the fist dive, the staff let us do our thing. If there were a lot of
people from the cruise ships, they separated us into two groups:
experienced and noobs.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
1 stars  
Ask for a rinse bucket on-board, and watch your gear, there is no photo
table. Electric is 240 volts with outlets similar those in the UK.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
Service and Attitude
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
2 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Through some deft packing, my dive bag weighed 47 lbs. when we checked in
at Continental EWR, & there was no extra baggage charge. When we
checked in with LIAT in Antigua, it had magically gained 8 lbs. and we had
to argue with them to get it aboard without charge. In 23 years of diving,
they are flat out the worst airline we ever encountered.

We took the later flight and didn't arrive in Dominica until 5:00. Another
hour to retrieve gear, rent jeep, and we were off on the 27 mile but two
hour drive over twisty mountain roads with no lights, to Soufriere. Wed
stopped to buy provisions at supermarket outside of Roseau, would have done
better downtown, but it was dark, and there's a lot of one-way streets in

The little villages lining the coast are, ummm, "quaint". The
two-way roads are 12 feet wide and the national sport is playing chicken
with anything that looks like a rental car.  

As we arrived in Soufriere, the Easter weekend celebrations were in full
roar. Reggae & island-hop echoed off the mountainside from the rented
PA. Locals danced in the street, and if there was a sign for Nature Island
Dive, we couldn't see it. So two bleary-eyed travelers staggered around
with bleary-eyed locals until we found Weefy Jules, an instructor from NID,
who got the lady in charge of the cottage and we trundled the last 1/4 mile
to our home away from home right on the water.

We stayed at the cottage (there's a small picture of it on the NID website)
because of Undercurrent reviews that said the hotels near Roseau like
Castle Comfort, had noise issues, unlike our cottage where we could still
hear the aforementioned PA. The local eateries are in Scots head, a 2 mile
drive, and there was no way we were getting back in the jeep, so we dined
alfresco on chips, salsa, and plastic goat cheese.

The cottage was, ummm, "quaint". We were in the lower unit of
two. No A/C, TV, internet, or phone, and the oven didn't work. There were
two rotating fans, one of which was kaput, and no ceiling fan. A mosquito
net over the queen size bed kept the bugs out. The locals were very
concerned that we felt part of the festivities, so every half hour or so
they drove by with mobile PA's to be sure we could hear the music. That
continued until 3AM, when the second shift was taken by the hounds across
the street who barked at anything that moved. One of the things that moved
was my partner who arose to gaze at the moon and reported, at high decibel,
a crab the size of a Volkswagen in the shower. This was followed by a
series of undecipherable shrieks that explained her Native American name:
Swims with Sharks, Runs from Spiders. 

The following morning, looking and feeling our best, we arrived at Nature
Island Dive at 8:30, checked in, and waited until 9:45 while 3 guys from
the cruise ship sorted out their rental gear. Weefy and Tony filled the AL
80s to 3,000psi (no Nitrox) and humped them and our gear across the street
to the boat. The 10-15 minute ride across the protected bay took us to
Dangleben's North. We took a stride and descended to a granite ridge
covered with whip coral, lots of sponges and no algae. At 95 a large
hawksbill turtle munched a tube sponge, oblivious to our presence.

If you want to fill your log with all the critters you havent seen
elsewhere, Champagne is the site for you.  Dont overlook tiny coral heads.
We dove it twice, and were blown away by the sea horses, several species of
frog fish, snake eels, golden spotted snake eels, jawfish, squid, pipe
blennies, a magnificent sea urchin, octopods, morays, and turtles, all
within a small area with a depth of 10-50 feet.

But for us the signature spot is Scots Head, with sites like Craters
Edge.  The edge forms a wall to the east, dropping to 150 or more. Large
Boulders ring the site, and are covered with outrageously healthy yellow
coral, luminous azure vase sponges, forests of elephant ears and barrel
sponges like Volkswagens. Schools of chromis and silver streamers swarm the
upright rock while a large crack in its north side is home to a school of
black margates.

The staff will carry your gear back and rinse it, but youd best check the
tank and fill it with fresh water. Over all, they were great, and loaned my
partner a safe second at no cost when hers developed a leak.

When the cruisers made for a late departure, we didnt get back from the
2nd dive til 1:00, so after rinsing & changing there was a mad dash
for lunch, which we frequently did not finish til 3:00. We complained, and
when there were no cruisers, we left right at 8:30. One such day we roared
through the rainforest to Papillote Wilderness Retreat, arrived between
tour buses, got the table at the balconys edge and dined on brilliant
pumpkin soup, garlicky kingfish in banana leaves, and home-made ice cream.
Later we walked the retreats nature trail and up to Trafalgar Falls,
basking on the rocks near a family of friendly German tourists. 

Back at the shack we moved to the upper unit which had a better breeze, two
working fans, a nicer kitchen and an oven that didnt work. In the mornings
we watched local fishermen seine for bait. We also watched smoke from
forest swirl around the ridge. Bored teenagers set fires to annoy the world
and scar the hillsides.

We waited until Thursday to ask for a guide to go to the Boiling Lake, and
got skunked. You guys puffing out your chests and thinking, Wussy. I dont
need no guide. Yes, you do, and grammar lessons as well. We opted for a
hike to the 200 foot high Sari Sari Falls just outside of La Plaine. Locals
would not direct us until we hired a guide and after haggling from $60 to
$50, provided two 14 year old boys. So we got screwed, right? Wrong. After
two stream crossings, a swim through a pool, clambering up & down over
slick rocks and slimy twisted roots (which the kids did barefoot) we got to
the Falls. Well worth the journey, but if you go without a guide and twist
an ankle, youre done. In 2006 a tourist on a guided trek died in the
rain-engorged stream.  Wear Tivas.

The Emerald Pool walk is a trifle more sedate with groomed trails, and hand
rails. Early or late arrivals may have the place to themselves.

The last night we stayed at Jungle Bay Resort, within earshot of the
Atlantic, in a hillside cottage with king size bed. No A/C but we didnt
miss it with the constant ocean breeze. Excellent restaurant, great
seafood, and a decent wine list. Creole dancers entertain on the weekends.
Theyll take you to Sari Sari or the Boiling Lake. I went for a massage at
the Spa and opted for the Tres Forte treatment. They sent me back to the
room in a pillow case.

Returning to the airport, we were the first to check in with LIAT and had
to pay $125 for overweight bags and check our carry-ons. The passengers who
arrived later were not charged and were allowed to board with their

Then the rains came and we waited for LIAT. And waited. Three hours later
the flight arrived and the LIAT staff, in assisting a disembarking
wheel-chair bound little old island lady, dumped her out on the tarmac in
the pouring rain. Suffice it to say that when we finally got to Antigua we
ran off the plane and literally waved good-bye to the Newark-bound
Continental flight. The next available CoAir flight was Tuesday. They put
us on standby because we were on free tickets. Delta was happy to
accommodate us for the next day (into JFK, not EWR), so we headed off to
the Blue Waters Resort. They had quoted us a $500 rack rate for garden view
room, but my MBA partner got them down to a $298 corporate rate. The place
was full of friendly Brits and MDs at a conference, all of whom were on
all-inclusive packages. It was easier for the staff to assume we were on
the same package than to charge us for drinks, though I certainly didnt
look medical in the only clean clothes I had left, Grateful Dead board
shorts and a T-shirt that said Bite Me.

Some of the issues we had were first time blues.  OK, the cottage was
Spartan and the dives left a little late. But the diving is pristine in the
south, and we paid 940 bucks for the cottage and the diving, for both of

Wed definitely go back, and make sure we got to the Boiling Lake. Next
time wed try to arrive earlier, take the American Eagle flight out of San
Juan instead of LIAT, maybe stay the first night on the north end at
Calabishie Cottages, then head to Soufriere the following morning. Wed
stay at the Zandoli Inn perched on a cliff above a bay on the Atlantic side
and hump the 45 minute drive to the dive shop. Hey, the boat dont leave
til 9:00 anyway.
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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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