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Dive Review of Avalon Outdoor in

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Avalon Outdoor: "Excellent diving, great crew", Oct, 2021,

by Marianne LeSage, WA, US ( 2 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 11750 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments My huband and I were very impressed with the diving in Jardines de la Reine (Gardens of the Queen), which has been a Marine Reserve for 25 years. Sharks and fish and healthy reefs abound. Pretty easy diving; no currents. The dive guides were very attentive, knowledgeable, and loved showing small critters. One day, we did a snorkel (not allowed to dive there) through a huge garden of Staghorn Coral, an indicator species for reef health. The crew treated us like royalty. They sincerely wanted everything to be perfect for us, right up to providing hot towels after every dive! There was an on-board doctor who checked temps everyday, looked after scrapes and ear issues, and conducted the COVID tests prior to departure.
A brief comment on "environmental sensitivity": there is some plastic on the beaches where we sometimes did surface intervals. The crew didn't seem to notice until I started picking it up. After that, they brought garbage bags and helped.
The 160-foot JA III is a great boat. Lots of room to spread out, computer available for photo stuff, nice staterooms. Dive boat a bit small, but adequate. Nitrox was tested religiously on every dive.
The downsides were minor in my opinion, but may be important to others. We shared the boat with fishermen; our trip was 7 divers, 18 fishermen. The fishermen tended to be a bit rowdy, as they don't have to be careful with drinking, but the boat has enough separate spaces that we were able to mingle or keep to ourselves as desired. The other downside was the food. The chef really tried hard, with homemade breads and baked goodies every day, and a nice variety of local and "gringo" food. Lobster was served nearly every day, as farm-raised lobster is a big Cuban export item...along with cigars and rum..., but veggies were generally overcooked and greens non-existent. Cuba is a very poor country, so the variety of ingredients available to the chef seems to be pretty limited.
All-in-all, I highly recommend diving Jardines de la Reina with Avalon. Avalon took care of all the red tape, and there is a lot, pretty capably. My husband wants to go back, and he rarely likes to repeat a dive trip.
Websites Avalon Outdoor   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, Palau, Raja Ampat, Revillagigedos, Fiji, Bonaire
Closest Airport Cayo Coco Getting There Good luck! Although it's not illegal to fly from US, flights are very limited. We flew to Toronto, then to Cayo Coco (CCC) via Air Canada.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility - Ft/ - M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Photographers had access to an Apple computer for downloading and processing pics. This made it easy to share photos. Two professional photographers accompanied us on most dives and graciously shared their photos with us. Not sure if this is standard procedure, as this was their first trip in almost 2 years.
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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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