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Dive Review of Nature Island Dive/Herche's Place in

June, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Rick Cavanaugh, MD, USA
Report Number 553
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Belize, Bonaire, Cozumel, St Croix, BVI, Little Cayman, St Vincent,
Grenada, Bequia,Provo Turks and Caicos, Grand Turk, Key Largo, North
Carolina, Tobago Cayes.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

rainy, cloudy  
calm, surge  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
No good E6 on Island
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
1 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
2 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
5 stars    
The best part of Dominica is the diving.  If you are willing to deal with
the downsides of the island, Dominica is probably one of the best dive
locations in the Caribbean comparing to the dive quality of Little Cayman.

Nature Island Dive is an Excellent shop with Excellent dive masters.  Most
of the week we were the only 2 divers on the boat!    Most dives lasted
over 1 hour and one night dive lasted 1 ½ hours!  

The dives in the Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve are some of the best
dives I have done in the Caribbean even though the visibility was only 30
to 50 feet. There was a rare plankton bloom that limited the visibility for
our entire trip.  The reefs were much more colorful due to the amount of
sponge life and healthy corals.  What was strange was what was absent.  The
more common fish found through out the Caribbean were missing.  We saw very
few angel fish, butterfly fish and no sharks of any kind.  .  I do not
think I have ever dove without see at least 1 nurse shark until diving
here.  What we did see where not as common.  We say many basket stars,
Golden Crinoids, Magnificent Urchins, Frog Fish, Sea Horses, Lettuce Sea
Slugs, Leech Headshield Slug, Bat Fish,  Red banded Lobsters,  Slipper
Lobsters,  Pederson Cleaner Shrimp, Spotted Cleaner Shrimps, Squat Anemone
Shrimps, Scarlet Striped Cleaning Shrimp, Octopus, Squids,  Scorpion fish
and much more.

Simon Walsh, the owner, is an avid photography and he and his staff is very
dedicated in finding the little stuff.  On many dives they asked us what we
wanted to see and they would take us right to it.  They are  an excellent
choice for photographers as all of the surface intervals are  back at the
dive shop.  This made it very easy to change film, lenses and ports.

Simon has big plans to improve his dive shop with the addition of a large 3
story building behind his shop.  When the economy improves he wants to have
a small restaurant, E6 processing plus more.  His plans for those are on
halt until things change.

There is a $2 Marine Park fee per dive.  

The trip from Dominicas airport to Scotts Head area takes around 1
½ hours.  My original intention was to rent a car and drive myself
to save the $60 one way taxi fare. After taking a taxi, I was very happy
NOT to drive across the island.  The roads are very narrow with hairpin
turns and cliffs.  The roads are not marked and it would be very easy to
get lost.  If you are interested in renting a car rent it from the other
side AFTER you have traveled by taxi to the other side.

The center of the island is beautiful.  Very high and steep mountains with
waterfalls and lots of small rivers surround you as you travel across the
island.   There are many day hikes into the rainforest.  We took a 45
minute muddy hike to Middleham falls.  We also visited Trafalgar Falls,
which was a very short 5 minute walk from the parking lot to the falls.  

 Upon arrival into Roseau, you enter into the largest city on the island
and it is typical of Caribbean cities in construction and appearance. 
Scotts Head is approximately 20 minutes past Roseau.  Scotts head is a
fishing village and is NOT very attractive.  The town is very run down. 
This is where Herches Place is located.

Herches place is a small economy style hotel with about 5 rooms available.
 One week was $636/week and included a basic breakfast of fresh fruit and
bread.  The rooms are very sparse and small.  Ours had an A/C unit that
kept the room very cold as the thermostat did not function properly.  The
room was so small that the bathroom door would not close unless the bed was
moved.  The area was not attractive and very run down as compared to other
islands in the Caribbean.  There are not many other hotel choices in the
Scotts Head area.  

When we return to Dominica, we will make sure that we stay at Dive
Dominicas Cottages which were booked during our trip.  We did not see
the interior of the Cottages but from the appearance of Simons dive
operation, I am sure they are significantly better than Herches.  

The final insult from Herches place was the unauthorized additional charge
of approximately $380 that showed up on my charge card after leaving!

The main attraction of Herches place was that there was a restaurant with
a good reputation for fine food located at the Hotel.  Barbara Herches
husband, Greg, had the reputation of being the best chef on the island. 
Unfortunately he is now working for the Anchorage Hotel.  What remains of
the Herches restaurant is an average restaurant the frequently ran out of
many of the items and was over priced.  However, there are not many other
choices in Scotts Head.  The only other restaurant was Rogers Place which
was a very basic restaurant with not much of a menu.  Fish, egg sandwich,
ham and cheese sandwich, burgers and such were the only choices.

One restaurant worth going to is Andres Rainforest Bistro.  Reservations
are required well in advance as you will probably be the only customers. 
The meal is large and reasonably priced.  Choices are fish, chicken or
vegetarian.  The meal comes with many varied vegetables grown on his farm. 
It is a must if you are on the side of the island.  Andre will pick you up
at you hotel and drop you back off for no extra charge.
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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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