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Dive Review of SAIL CARIBBEAN/COOPER IS HIDEAWAYS in
Virgin Islands/COOPER ISLAND

SAIL CARIBBEAN/COOPER IS HIDEAWAYS, Apr, 2005,

by CAPT JOHN THURBER, FL, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 1695.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving CALIFORNIA, FL, VA, MA, MEDTERRANEAN, CUBA, JAMAICA, SAN ANDRES, PANAMA, BONAIRE, CAYMAN ISLANDS, GRAND TURK, PHILIPPINES, HAWAIAN ISLANDS, BAHAMAS, AZORES, COZUMEL
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 81 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 60 to 90 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions GUIDED DIVES. GIVE HALFTANK AND 1,000 REMAINING SIGNALS.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 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 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments




We flew Delta from Tallahassee to Atlanta to St. Thomas; then took a ferry to Roadtown, Tortola where we stayed overnight at the Marina Hotel. The harbor must have had 500-1,000 yachts tied up or anchored. There seemed to be a forest of masts everywhere you looked. This is a sailors' haven.

The next morning we bought groceries and took the utility boat "September Morn" across the five-mile-wide Drake Channel to Cooper Island where we were met with a rum punch on the pier by the Beach Club staff who support the private house we had rented from the owner who lives in Cincinnati. We then took the 800-foot walk along the beach to our new digs which were located 50 feet up a rather tortuous path on a very steep hillside. Fortunately, the staff ported our luggage up for us.

The one bedroom villa was quite clean and well equipped with linens, dishes and pots and pans. The solar cells on the roof were adequate enough to provide power to two ceiling fans, 2 small flourescent lights, and a remarkable little radio stereo system. There were also many flashlights and candles for emergencies. Water came from a cistern fed by gutters on the roof.
Water pressure and hotwater came from a black tank located a few more feet up the hill behind the house. A gasoline driven pump had to be run a few minutes every day or so to fill the black tank. The refrigerator and stove operated on propane.

We spent the next six days mesmerized by the view of Tortola and various other islands looking to the northwest from our front porch. Lazy days included snorkeling, bird watching and scuba diving from a boat which came over from Tortola and picked us up at the Beach Club pier.

Each of us read at least one paperback during our stay. Dawn's cooking was a big plus. We had gourmet dishes daily, dining on our veranda while watching the sunset over the anchorage they say is favored most by Caribbean yachtsmen.

The reef directly in front of our villa was home to an eagle ray that seemed attracted to divers. He was quite adept at swimming in formation with us. JS and Dawn spent many enjoyable moments with him.

Cooper Island, and most all of the Virgin Islands, has a large population of feral goats. They are indeed a nuisance and are causing some serious erosion. We heard that an individual has bought Norman Island and terminated the goats. Reports say that Norman Island's flora is turning green again.

I dived the wreck of the RMS RHONE which was featured in the movie "The Deep." 138-yrs-old, it is still well preserved and quite dramatic. The bow section lies in 80 feet of water with the stern nearby smashed against a rocky outcrop. The screw is one of the first of its type ever cast and has two blades still visible above the sand. All told, the dive sites here were quite pristine with healthy coral and good fish populations. I saw hundreds of flamingo tongues which have become rare at many other more well-known diving venues. Missing, however, were the walls we love so much in Cayman.

"September Morn" delivered us back to Tortola and another ferry ride to St. John where we rented a car and toured. Can you believe that they drive on the left in the U.S. Virgin Islands and use the dollar for currency in the B.V.I? Two days later we were back in St. Thomas where a faulty hydraulic pump, courtesy of Delta, kept us in the Holiday Inn Windward Passage Hotel for an extra day.

All in all, I'd do it again if I could avoid climbing that damned hill.
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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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