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Virgin Islands/COOPER ISLAND

April, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by CAPT JOHN THURBER, FL, USA
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 1695
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
81   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
2 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
5 stars    

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
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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Other dive reports on Sail Caribbean Divers

All Virgin Islands Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Virgin Islands
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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