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Dive Review of Seaside Dive Center/Sunset Bay Club in
Dominica/Batalie Bay

Seaside Dive Center/Sunset Bay Club: "Sunset Bay Club/Seaside Dive Center", Apr, 2017,

by Henry O Ziller, CO, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 35 reports with 19 Helpful votes). Report 9588.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Dominica is not so easy or inexpensive to get to coming from Colorado. We did find inexpensive airfare going to Barbados on American then using Liat to Dominica. You do need to stay overnight in Barbados, but it has so much to offer you may want to plan a few extra days either going or on the return as we did. We did save over $1000.00 on airfare for two.

Our last visit to Dominica was in 2008 and we stayed at Fort Young since it is right down town close to shops and restaurants. At that time there were two cruise ships per day docking in front of the Fort Young Hotel. This trip we decided to try the middle portion of the island staying at Sunset Bay Club Beach Resort on an all-inclusive plan. The resort is about halfway between Roseau and Portsmouth in Batalie Bay on one of the few beaches in Dominica. The beach can disappear after heavy rains as the Batalie River that runs along the north side of the resort tends to change the delta from one to three washing away the sand. The river also sends a lot of mud into the sea making visibility poor but it clears up amazingly fast usually in one day. We missed one day of diving due to these conditions. We were not allowed to make up the day, but were offered steak and lobster dinner at no extra cost.

The lodging consists of four 3 unit buildings plus a cottage suite for a total of 13 rooms. We chose the separate suite; it was very large with a comfortable king bed. There is no air conditioning on the site, just ceiling fans. Most of the time it was enough with all the windows open on all four sides. The windows all have screens to keep out most of the insects, but not the lizards or the very tiny ants. The lizards eat the bugs so unless they are exceptionally large there is no need for concern. We found a little deet sprayed at the entrance stopped the larger ants from entering. There is a swimming pool and sauna at the very back of the property. The sauna is open on certain days and restricted to naturists (nudists). Check the posting in the bathroom so as to not embarrass yourself. Possibly due to the rains the pool was cloudy. We could not see the bottom and it is only 4 feet deep. We opted to enjoy the ocean.

Sunset Bay Club’s restaurant, The Four Seasons is probably the best on the island and serve European and Creole dishes. They offer free wine with order of a lobster dinner every Sunday. We had an all-inclusive plan and it did have some limitations for dinner, but we were never able to finish the 4 course dinners offered. We could also order from the menu. The steak was one of the best ever. I never expected such a tasty and tender steak in the Caribbean. The lobster dinner had a bowl full of small lobsters cut in half. The red wine was mediocre at best, so we stuck with Kabuli beer or mixed drinks. The owners are very friendly. After every dinner Roger comes to each table and shares a shot of rum with each guest. He and Marcella both speak multiple languages fluently.

The resident dog, a German Shepard mix is well behaved and does not beg in the restaurant. He seems quite protective of Marcella. The numerous birds are more bothersome to me, but after all it is an open restaurant, moving the hummingbird feeders farther away might help. My wife enjoyed them and took way too many photos of them. Iguanas also live on site.

The owners and staff are quite accommodating and will arrange transportation or other excursions for you.

The Seaside Dive Center is on site and has two boats (Seaside 1 and Seaside II) that have room for 10 to 12 divers but that would be quite cramped. For the two of us plus captain, dive master and two dive masters in training it was very comfortable. They have all the necessary safety equipment, and triple check to be sure that all equipment is aboard. When we arrived their oxygen kit was not available so we were transported over to East Caribbean Dive located nearby. Their dive boat has no seating along the side of the boat so you stand. Tanks are stored in the center of the boat. Entrance is by back-roll. The air in the tanks appeared to have an odor. After our dives while washing our dive gear we noticed they use an internal combustion engine on their compressor that is located inside a mostly enclosed building, thus probably the reason for the odor. Seaside has an electric driven air compressor thus no chance for odor in the air. Tanks were not always filled to 3,000 psi. East Caribbean Dive operates out of a small shack with one boat. It is operated by a very nice French and German couple.

Seaside Dive Center had no bucket for cameras. There is no head on the boat but the dive sights are usually less than 15 minutes from the resort. Water is available, but we always take a couple bottles of water with us. Water throughout Dominica is safe to drink, even right from any stream. Tanks are fastened down in the middle of the boat with bungee cords and seating is on the sides. Entry is by giant stride off the fantail with a ladder with round rungs to climb back on board. You can remove your BC and they will hoist it up for you. They have a rinse tank that water is changed daily, plus there are three shower heads for use at the shop. There is no dock so you take two steps in the water and step onto the boat. Gear is stored outside the dive shop on hangers and are taken inside at the end of the day. All gear is then taken to the boat in the morning except your booties and wetsuit/skin and anything you may have taken back to your room.
Dive sites served are along the west coast and most have light to no current and lots of small fish. The usual suspects showed up such as puffers, trunkfish, turtles, squid, flat tail eels, barracuda, red-banded shrimps and arrow crabs, and of course lionfish. I cannot remember seeing such large barrel sponges, some were up to 4 foot diameter. There are some swim-through and overhangs on mostly sloping reefs.

On our no-dive day we took a trip to Roseau and it appears to have changed quite a bit from our last visit 7 years ago when there were two cruise ships a day to none this trip. The Fort Young did not serve lunch and the Garraway only had snacks at noon. We did find an old local restaurant that we like named Pearls Cuisine, it has moved to the street level in the Sutton Place Hotel. We were early for lunch so the menu was limited, but we liked the chicken calallou.

Hurricane Erika in July 2013 caused significant damage around the island to roads and bridges. Many of these have not been repaired yet four years later.
Websites Seaside Dive Center   Sunset Bay Club

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Throughout the Caribbean and Central America, Micronesia, Indonesia, Philippines, Maldives, Tanzania, Australia, and Fiji.
Closest Airport Melville Hall (DOM) Getting There Denver (DEN) to Miami (MIA) to Barbados (BGI) on American then Liat from BGI to DOM around $585.00/PP round trip

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 80-81°F / 27-27°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 20-40 Ft/ 6-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments No bucket on the boat, but I am sure if you asked they would provide one. My little point and shoot was fine without.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Greg Bruce in WA, US at May 20, 2017 11:10 EST  
Great report-- Thanks for taking the time to post!
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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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