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Dive Review of Reef Gliders in
Honduras/Roatan

Reef Gliders, Aug, 2012,

by Rik Pavlescak, FL, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports). Report 6657.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving West Palm Beach, Florida; Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Costa Rica, Playa Del Carmen, Costa Brava-Spain, Key Largo, Key West
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Each dive had a specific depth limit; divers asked to follow their computers, and signal dive master with half-tank and low-air signals (1500 psi and 700 psi, respectively). Many of the dives during the week lasted more than 1 hour.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments While I'm not a photographer, several dove with me during the week. Their equipment was gently handed to them from the boat after they were in the water, and the dive master, also a photographer, pointed out large and small subjects. The pace of the dives was very well suited for photographers, except during one drift dive in a fast current, when photography was not practical.

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

Accommodations N/A Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The Good: Reef Gliders was a great find!

Upon my arrival in Roatan, I signed up with another dive shop to take the advanced open water course. I wish I had discovered Reef Gliders first. Lots of mishaps with instructor at the OTHER PLACE of the AOW class: forgetting to put gear on boat for a diver, getting lost on a dive, misjudging a dive site and having divers swim for 20 minutes against a strong current (I literally burned through a tank of air in 33 minutes on that one: usually I go for an hour or longer!) etc. As soon as I completed the course and was certified, I hit the road! Someone had recommended that I try both Ocean Connections and Reef Gliders.

Ocean Connections: I dove two dives with them. I liked them just fine. Sam, the dive master goes at a very slow, deliberate pace. While there was a definite "Ocean Connection", I just didn't feel all that connected to the dive shop/business. In between dives there was no comfortable place to sit under cover from the sun, folks busied themselves about, it was just sort of awkward, uncomfortable being there. The dives, though, were great, and had I been not traveling solo, I'm sure my dive buddy and I would have liked Ocean Connections just fine.

Reef Gliders: Got there and knew I was home. Micky, the dive master quickly introduced me around to the owners, other divers, dive masters in training. They have a nice, large open air, under roof area protected from the sun to sit, and are co-located with C Level Cafe, which had plenty of good eats and cold beverages. What a treat to get off the boat after a dive and get an ice cold Fresca, and to order a cheese burger with home cut fries. Excellent!

The diving with Reef Gliders was great. I'm very aware that the personalities of the dive shop (Dive masters, owners, etc.) make or break the experience. At the first shop, where I did my AOW course, the instructor was a bit of clown and I didn't appreciate it. They lost my business for the rest of the week because of it. Reef Gliders folks were totally different. Friendly, professional, knowledgeable. Micky, the dive master quickly pointed out both macro and micro life to all divers. He kept a slow, steady pace in the water. Prior to each dive, he gathered the divers (no more than 6) and gave an excellent briefing on the dive site and what to expect: laying out the dive plan, back up plan, (in case we needed to shorten something due to low air, or stronger currents than expected, etc.)and what we should be on the lookout for in terms of sea life. Then, with great consistency, he led us through the dive as he discussed. Once back on the boat, he entertained questions: mainly fish and plant life id questions. He is very, very knowledgeable and patient, and enthusiastic about the ocean and its diverse life. Frequently underwater, he would clap his hands with excitement at a discovery and would patiently point out a particular subject over and over to each diver. He has clearly chosen his profession well. In 8 years of diving, he was the best dive master I've encountered.

The bad: At Reef Gliders: NOTHING. At the first place, where I got my AOW training, the instructor was a goof who made a lot of careless mistakes. Others have had good experiences with him, so it could have been an off week, or maybe just me. But then, I was also told that others didn't care for diving with him either, so who knows.

Before leaving home: bring an empty water bottle (like a bike bottle) for drinking water. Five gallon jugs of water are plentiful at the dive shops, but drinking cups are not. I wish I would have just had my own water bottle with me that I could have filled as needed and kept with me. Also, for Roatan, bug spray with DEET and anti-itch cream (calamine, betadine, etc.) are important. Flashlight for walking at night is a good idea, too.

Other stuff: I stayed at Cocolobo resort, a five minute walk from the main street of the West End. It is clean, well-furnished, serves breakfast daily, has a nice infinity pool looking out to the ocean and every room has a balcony with a hammock. At $75 a night, it was a great deal. Easy walking distance to the dive shops in the West End: I traveled with my own gear and the dive shops are happy to store it overnight for you--so I only had to walk with the gear once out and once back.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Howard Kaiser in MO, US at Aug 23, 2012 19:14 EST  
Was Micky previously at Cayman Dive Lodge ? If so, he's one of the best dive masters I've ever dived with..
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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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