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Dive Review of Reef House Resort in
Honduras/Roatan

Reef House Resort, Jul, 2010,

by Jill Rain, WA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 5696.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, western Pacific, Hawaii, US west coast, Australia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, no currents
Water Temp 85 to 87 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions depth, stay with group
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 2 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Reef House Resort FACILITY: on small cay reached by boat opposite Oak Ridge town, an hour's drive by winding road from airport and busy West End, faces the ocean on windward side of Roatan (all rooms with view, some better than others, modest but comfortable except for bed - hard as a rock), mainland Honduras visible on horizon; small one-story old converted fishing lodge, rustic but attractive and in good condition; AC, good plumbing, electricity (went out once, used backup generator); oriented around central sandy landscaped courtyard, private, quiet (even though the rest of the cay is fully built-out on small lots which means no private rambling); no beach (but that's a good thing, lessens sand flies), has a big snorkeling pool out front with turtles, moray, barracuda, conchs, fireworms. Free Wi-Fi, satellite tv, honor bar, comfortable hanging-out areas inside lodge and on deck outside. Meals at communal table, fixed hours, weekly fixed menu rotation; food is ample, well-prepared, US Southern cuisine for most part, with magnificent desserts (esp. fresh coconut cream pie); self-serve early morning coffee (good Honduran); plenty of potable water, ice. Staff unobtrusive, professional, long-time employees (little turnover). Excellent management: Mike the owner is present and hands-on, keeps things running smoothly, friendly, fixes things immediately, pitches in on all aspects of the operation personally, makes arrangements, checks email daily. Sand flies can be a problem, for sure bring repellant. Quiet and relaxed atmosphere, no partying (most of us in bed by 9), people come here to dive, eat, dive, relax, dive, sleep, dive....
DIVE OPERATION: dock 5 minute walk from your room, on other side of cay (facing Oak Ridge); aluminum-80s, consistently 3000 psi, 3 dives/day, two in morning (surface interval on boat, they duck into a protected bay if rough water out on reef), one after lunch; dedicated dive boat with shade; you set up your gear, disassemble, rinse and store each day yourself; short (mostly 10-20 minute) trips to sites; during our 2 week trip there were from 8 to 14 divers each day, one dive master. This could have been a problem but wasn't: boat big enough, routines well-organized for getting in/out, assembling/keeping track underwater. Divers were generally competent/responsible and low-current, fair viz conditions made keeping track of group feasible. Longtime divemaster David excellent: good briefings, good choice of sites for conditions, found/showed us lots, esp. small critters, patient, made sure anyone who wanted to see something, could. Conservative profiles, usually dropped onto reef top at 15-20', then down to 80-90' on walls, gradually up, to spend safety stop on reef top, able to see stuff at all stages of dive; most dives about an hour. Viz generally no more than 80' so this profile most suitable for best views of life. No nitrox, but this was a plus for us, simplifies dive group cohesiveness and not necessary for these profiles; we were just fine after 3 dives/day straight through for 2 weeks, not cold or tired. Most dives from moored boat, sometimes a drift dive; backroll entry, get out on swim step: hand up gear, hoist self up, usually fine but on rough days it's a challenge and potentially dangerous. Didn't cancel any dives though, even on rough days. Never saw any other dive groups, sites around Oak Ridge and east toward Port Royal. Generally little current, moderate viz, very warm water, some litter (abandoned lines, batteries etc). Resort equipment in good condition, except for several days of blown O-rings, which Mike then dealt with. Night dives once a week: first week was too rough to go out of harbor, group dropped into polluted town water to swim out, one diver's tank blew O-ring and when he came up, got disoriented and swam into sharp coral getting back to boat; second week, plague of jellyfish getting in/out, lots of stings.
MARINE LIFE SEEN: Huge "old growth" corals and sponges of great variety and lushness, colorful, abundant, good condition mostly. Few large fish (local overfishing) or pelagics: some groupers, a few spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks. Many seahorses: large, various colors and patterns. Lots of typical small reef fish, especially juveniles. Scorpionfish, moray, reef squid, comb jellies, several octopuses in daytime. Often saw large schools of wrasses, jacks, spadefish, snappers on reef edge. Invasive Pacific lionfish infesting these waters, saw them on every dive, and though divemaster and others spear them, seems no hope of eradicating them. Eat vast numbers of small native reef fish, including herbivores, and algae is starting to grow over corals and sponges. Weekly optional shark dive on West End, pay extra. You may be at RHR when the sea turtle researcher from Loma Linda is there doing work with rescued hawksbills: rehab, documentation, tagging, release, even share some dives with them, certainly learn a lot about turtles, which are kept temporarily in the snorkeling pool.
OVERALL VALUE: Excellent. About $100/day/person for lodging, food, diving and airport transfer. Nice friendly relaxed atmosphere. Quiet, private. Extremely well-run operation. Will come here again for sure.
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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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