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Dive Review of Tainos Divers in
Puerto Rico/Desecheo Island

Tainos Divers, Nov, 2006,

by Mort Rolleston, DC, United States (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports). Report 3647.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Nassau, Bonaire, Great Barrier Reef, wrecks off North Carolina and in St Lawrence River Canada, Key Largo FL, Ko Samui Thailand, Catalina Island CA, Monterey CA
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 83 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 100 to 0 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions You had to follow a guide.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 1 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 3 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments While attending a large family get together at Rincon in northwest Puerto Rico, we decided to check out the diving at Desecheo Island, 14 miles off the coast. We did two dives at sites called Mars and Aquarium.

Mars was pretty disappointing. While the visibility was excellent and the rock formations with its swimthroughs were not bad, the fish life was pretty sparse despite the uninhabited and protected nature of the island. Perhaps we there at the wrong time of year? And it was far more rocks than coral. We did see probably the largest lobster Ive ever seen! Most of the dive was pretty shallow at 30-40 feet, allowing a long bottom-time.

Aquarium had better coral and fish life than Mars (mostly the usual suspects of small reef fish, parrotfish, chub, yellowfin snapper, tangs, halibut/sole, goatfish, and spadefish). Unlike most sites Ive dove, it had quite a few small black triggerfish and small blue fish (perhaps blue chomis?) hoving over the reefs. We also got a visit from a passing swarm of medium size blue wrasse. No large pelagics, however. Overall, perhaps par for the course or a little better than average for the Caribbean, but nothing like the small fish life in Bonaire or the medium fish life at Key Largo. The bottom is also pretty rocky with some very bright orange/red hard coral on top (if you lit it up with a bright light or a strobe). There is very little soft coral. Most of the dive was at 50-60 feet.

Taino Divers seemed like a fine operation and we had no complaints. We had Ted (a professor type) and his alter-ego Tim both quite good and helpful. The boat was small, but handled the waves well. They beached the boat near the shop to load up everyone. They let us dive our profiles without limitations. We did have to follow guides, especially at Mars, who seemed to be more interested in rushing through the circuit rather than let us explore at our own slower pace. We had four divers and nine snorkelers on the boat (maximum number). The latter didnt think much of the sites as the water was mostly too deep to see much from the surface and the shallows had few fish.

Speaking of local dive operators my wife and I were both fascinated and concerned about all of the he said, she said back and forth online between another local operator in Rincon, Oceans Unlimited, and Tainos. While we were planning our trip, the former was not taking reservations because of what they claimed online on their website and in more detail on a blog as a vandalized boat by a rival strongly implying Tainos. At the same time, it was clear that the readers of this very guide had a strong love-hate relationship with Tainos with about half saying they were great and the other half saying they were terrible and irresponsible. For what its worth, the local B&B we stayed at (run by distant cousins of ours who have lived in the area for many years) said basically that Oceans Unlimited was lying and slandering Tainos and their boat issue was simply problems with gaining Coast Guard certification unrelated to any vandalism. Our experience with Tainos, at least on our particular trip, was fine. Whatever the reality is, it is very disturbing and disappointing that an operator would either vandalize a competitors boat or so blatantly spread lies and misinformation about its competitor to hide its own incompetence. I would be curious to see what the truth actually is.

On shore, Rincon is a casual, lush, and fairly well-developed beach area without being urban that is just far enough off the beaten track to avoid masses of American tourists all good attributes in my book. It also boasts world class surfing, though we didnt do that. It also has a small, exclusive private resort that made the famous 1000 Places to Visit Before You Die book (Horned Dorset Primavera).

Overall, diving in western Puerto Rico is perfectly fine in the sense that any diving in clear tropical water with a few fish and some reefs is never a bad thing. However, I dont think Id recommend going only or primarily to dive.
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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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