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Dive Review of Anthony’s Key Resort in
Honduras/Roatan

Anthony’s Key Resort, Mar, 2011,

by Gregory S. Yarnik, IL, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 6008.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Kona, Little/Grand Cayman, Belize, Turks & Caicos, Bonaire, Aruba, Puerto Rico, Anguilla, Virgin Islands, Bahamas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 78 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 80 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Initial quick check of buoyancy and mask-clearing skills is required on first day, depth limits, 50 minute dive times on average, computers required, 3-5 minute safety stops, no gloves in marine park (wrecks excepted)
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Boats provided separate storage tables and rinse tanks for cameras and UWPs. On-site photography shop and staff provided good support and problem-solving capabilities.

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments My wife and I traveled to Anthony's Key Resort (AKR) on the Honduran Bay Island of Roatan the final week of March, 2011. We flew Continental from Chicago O'Hare with one stop en-route in Houston before moving on to Roatan for a mid-afternoon arrival. We were met at Roatan airport by AKR's shuttle service and were promptly loaded onto the bus with other incoming divers for the 30 minute trip to the resort. Fortunately all checked bags and dive gear also made the trip on-time with no problems. AKR is a full-service dive resort on the north coast (Sandy Bay) of Roatan wih all-inclusive dive and meal packages as the norm. Most guest rooms are "cabana"-type 2-room units (some are air-conditioned) suspended over the mangrove-lined shore on supports, located on Anthony's Key, a small island a few hundred feet across a narrow navigation channel from the resort's main office, restaurant/bar, and dive/photo/gift shops. The resort operates a small skiff as "ferry service" round the clock transporting guests from their lodging on Anthony's Key to and from the resort proper. Meals comprise usual island-type fare one might expect (fresh fruits and juices, catches of the day, baked goods, etc.) and are plentiful and well-prepared. Two fully-stocked bars are open daily, one adjacent to the restaurant and a second serving the pool area on Anthony's Key. Support staff are cordial and hard-working; the infrastructure and grounds are very well-maintained. Security is good at all times, both on Anthony's Key and around the remainder of the resort (we understand the resort is owned by the island's mayor and family). Water taxis and cabs are available for trips "off-campus." The resort also touts its close relationship with the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences, which specializes in dolphin research, and offers swim encounters and dives with the animals for an extra fee. Horseback riding and zip-line tours through the nearby forest canopy are also available. Diving with AKR is generally very easy and low-impact, with all diving conducted on the nearby Mesoamerican Reef system. Three boat dives per day are offered, along with 2 night dives per week. Shore diving is also offered from the north beach area of Anthony's Key until 9:00 pm each night, with a single attendant overseeing a small equipment shed with tanks and weights. Depths ranged from 50 to 100 feet along the reef with a few wrecks extending to 120 feet. Viz was in the 80 feet+ range every day and surface temps averaged 80 deg F. Occasional drift dives were conducted when the currents were running. The AKR dive operation is professional, well-managed, and is staffed with congenial, knowledgeable, and experienced dive masters and boat captains. Boats are all roomy 42 to 50+ foot-long Newtons fully outfitted for diving and comprise one of the best and most well-maintained fleets I've experienced in the entire Caribbean. During our stay no more than 10 divers were assigned to our boat. My wife dives with 2 prosthetic joints in her left leg and received much-appreciated special care and assistance from the crew at the start and end of her dives. Dive groups are assigned to the same boat and crew for the duration of their stay, which makes for a much more collegial atmosphere on board, not to mention improved communication. After having earlier experienced the northern reaches of this reef system in Belize and Mexico, I would grade these southern areas to be in slightly better condition. Although there was some minimal bleaching, overall, both hard and soft coral stands were healthy, along with sponges and other invertebrates. The reef supports the usual species assemblages of Caribbean reef fish, all very plentiful, but with very few large or pelagic varieties (outside of turtles, southern stingrays, and barracuda, which were numerous on every dive). Whale sharks, however, were active just off Roatan's sister island, Utila, during this week and were photographed by several fellow dive travelers that were laying over at the Roatan airport on the way back to the states. Roatan is also evidently not immune to the regional lionfish invasion as the invasive species has successfully taken up residence here and can be observed on every dive. Local lionfish extraction derbies have removed hundreds of individuals at a time from the reef, but it appears as if they are fighting a losing battle. Research is ongoing in the area to try to induce lionfish predation on the part of groupers, snappers, and other similar predators, but only minor successes have been documented. All-in-all, the reef is still reasonably healthy and supports a diverse and abundant community of mostly smaller, regional species. AKR is highly recommended as a well-managed, accommodating, and efficient dive-centric resort that provides easy, low-impact Caribbean diving on the second largest barrier reef in the world.
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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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