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Dive Review of Tainos Divers in
Puerto Rico/Desecheo Island

November, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Mort Rolleston, DC, United States
Sr. Reviewer   (11 reports)
Report Number 3647
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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 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
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  
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  
 
 

Overall Rating

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 I’ve 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 I’ve 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 didn’t 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 competitor’s 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 didn’t 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 don’t think I’d recommend going only or primarily
to dive.  
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Other dive reports on Taino Divers

All Puerto Rico Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Puerto Rico
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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