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Dive Review of Reef House Resort in
Honduras/Roatan

Reef House Resort, Jan, 2011,

by Samuel B Johnson, NC, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports). Report 5900.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Almost all of my experience is Caribbean, including Curacao, Bonaire, Caymans, Turks and Caicos, and Cozumel.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 77 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 40 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling 1 stars
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments This was my third and last visit to Reef House. The resort changed hands 4 or 5 years ago. Under the old management it was a low-key, very simple, fun, family-like place, with the attitude of "We'll do whatever we need to do to make it a fun time." Now it is only low-key and very simple. The attitude is that any request is an imposition. Others may find the new owner/manager, Mike, simpatico. I did not. He makes promises when one books that he is ambivalent about fulfilling once one arrives. He is defensive and rigid. He is also petty; on my departure morning when I asked after breakfast for an extra piece of fruit to take on the plane, he at first said that "probably" the kitchen had no more. I have no idea of his personal history, but he feels like retired military.
David, the divemaster, who is a local native, continues to be excellent at spotting reef life. He is by far the best divemaster I've ever experienced for finding seahorses. However, one gets the feeling that he has burned out. His dive briefings have become perfunctory, and his jokes are delivered by rote. Most of his time underwater is spent hunting lionfish, which may be worthwhile, but he shows divers much less life than he used to do.
The dive boat entry is by back rolls, which is not to everyone's taste. Far worse is that the exit requires one to reach up one's BC and then heave oneself out of the water onto a wooden platform that is let down more or less to water level but which is a difficult exit even in calm seas. At a bare minimum some way must be found to add a ladder exit. The boat also has no head. Packages include 3 dives a day, two tanks in the morning and one in the afternoon. Normally there is a weekly night boat dive, but if Mike rescheduled the night boat dive for one group early in the week, another night boat dive might not happen during the week long visit of another group.
The shore dive would be quite acceptable. On one night dive I saw four octopuses among the rubble. But the return from the wall requires navigating a difficult maze of channels and coral heads. Mike insists that it is "easy," but three different experienced divers attempted the shore dive on four different nights in different buddy combinations, and only one buddy team succeeded in finding the dock. Mike refuses even to consider finding some way to mark the return route because it is already "easy."
The food is quite good but there are no choices; everyone eats the same menu at each meal. At a minimum they should put out bowls and plates of whatever is being served so that people can give themselves seconds without having to play "Oliver" in the kitchen, begging for more. The bar is serve oneself and record one's drinks on an honor system.
The physical resort, located on its own tiny key in the Oak Ridge harbor, is quite pretty and well kept up. Still very simple, but attractive.
As for Roatan diving, I have been to Roatan 7 times in the last 18 years, and the state of the reefs and reef life continues to deteriorate. There are no large fish; during a week of diving we saw one large grouper and everyone was excited to see it. The hard corals are not in good shape. My impression is that the small critters are much less in evidence, and even the abundant species are fewer than in the past. I had the unusual experience that most of the conversations with other guests about the diving consisted in comparing notes on other Caribbean places where the diving is better.
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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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