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Dive Review of Castle Comfort Lodge/Castle Comfort/ Dive Dominica in
Dominica/Southwest Coast - Roseau

Castle Comfort Lodge/Castle Comfort/ Dive Dominica, Aug, 2014,

by Linda Burlak, MA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 7708 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The reefs in Dominica appear very healthy, particularly in comparison to the Florida Keys - this isn't Indonesian plate and soft corals, but for the Caribbean it's very good, comparable, say, to the shallower diving at Saba and rich in crinoids. There are many truly lovely walls, sloping from way down in the blue up to good safety-stop puttering at the end, so you can travel along at a range of depths and see a wide variety of organisms. The (relatively new) reserve on the south-west coast where we were diving seemed to be protected well - no fishing boats seen in the reserve - although we didn't see a lot of lobsters or large fish. There were tons of little critters and we also saw frogfish and seahorses on almost every dive as well as eels, snake-eels and all the standard reef fish. The guides were great at finding them and pointing them out. We did see lionfish on many dives, ranging from small to big. The dive-masters said they are no longer allowed to spear lionfish during the guided dives (for safety reasons) but people do hunt them at other times and several restaurants serve them. Castle Comfort had them if requested, though not listed on their menu. Evergreen next door had them on the menu.

Dive Dominica was set up well - multiple boats available. The largest number we had on a boat was 12 divers plus 4 dive-masters (one conducting OW certification.) The young woman getting certified seemed to get good training and was happy with the experience. The main dive guide, Imran, really knows his Paul Humann books and could find all sorts of hidden creatures. Standard plan is two morning dives - leave at 8:45, back around 1:00. Boat staff transports BC's, regs, fins, weights and tanks on and off the boat; you are responsible for suits and masks and setting up your own tank on the boat. No afternoon boat dives, but unlimited shore diving - the house reef is mostly rock and patch reef, but has tons of eels, puffers (and lobsters at night.) Be careful to stay off the bottom and not stir up the silt. When it seemed like there might be interest in night diving amidst the divers there that week, D.D. took the initiative to poll the group and arranged a boat night-dive.

Castle Comfort is a simple, low-key resort. Rooms have tile floors for people coming in wet and the rooms are clean but worn. The beds were very comfortable, and there was plenty of hot water and A.C. We were in #14 with 2 double beds, above the dive shop and with a great balcony for sunsets and morning rainbows. #15 next door is similar, with a king bed. If you're there to dive, the "dive shop morning noise" is a non-issue as you'll be at breakfast while they're opening up shop. Rooms 1-4, and 9 face the road with a fair amount of road noise. #5,6 & 7 are on the ground floor with garden (and limited ocean) view. #8 on the 2nd floor and #10 on the 3rd floor have balconies with ocean view. #16 & 17 are above the office and face the driveway, with a little road noise. (One of 11, 12 or 13 probably also faces the road across from 10 - not sure.) Rooms 14, 15, 8 and 10 are probably the nicest for view.

Breakfast is included in the dive packages and is tasty & substantial. They are set up so you can bring a carafe of coffee back to the room half an hour before "official" breakfast but we found the kitchen staff happy and ready to start serving us at the same time. Lunch and dinner are essentially the same menu except for the daily special. Everything we ordered was good, and not too pricey, although the menu is a little limited for the week if you don't use the specials. We found we could take just part (main course but not dessert, for example) of the specials. When T.S. Bertha blew in on our 2nd night, they pulled everyone together at a set time and still served us a very pleasant dinner - the wind blew, and the power dropped for a short time at night, but no other real consequences.

You can walk to Roseau town reasonably in the daylight - staying on the ocean side of the street keeps you out of the way of most traffic. We didn't try the taxis / minibuses to go in for a dinner meal, but that would probably be better than walking the road at night (too narrow.) Castle Comfort can set up "tours" to hike or visit various places. They also helped us set up a visit via Papillote Eco-resort to their restaurant for lunch (delicious) and walking around their gardens, as well as to Trafalgar Falls and Titou Gorge - and the tour itself was cheaper than the standard tour company that C.C. uses. Titou Gorge is a (short) swim-in to the fall - a fair amount of current washing downstream right by the falls. There's a place to leave towels near where you get into the stream. Another time I would plan to take a bus or taxi along the coast up to Portland at the other end, and explore there - it looked like it would be a nice afternoon, but we didn't figure that in. The whales we saw were on their Sunday afternoon whale watch (sperm whales plus pods of dolphins.)

Purchases can be made in US$ anywhere, but change will always be in EC$ (roughly 2.70 EC to 1 US$). There is a departure tax at the airport - they also only give change in EC dollars, so it's best to set aside exact change when you arrive (currently $23 per person) or change money ahead of time at the resort to have it in EC. The airport's exchange rate is not as good as in town so paying in EC$ may be a good idea. Left-over EC change can be left as tips at the resort.

Driving is on the left (British-style) and the roads are narrow, often with gutters right at the edge, very curvy and amidst a massive bridge-rebuilding project that makes them very rough in spots. Renting a car is a somewhat dubious proposition.

We flew Southwest to Puerto Rico and then Liat to Dominica. Liat lived down to its reputation and left two hours late, although it was only half an hour late on return. Make sure to leave extra time for connections. They were very picky about the 15-pound carry-on luggage limit on the way there, but not particularly so on the way back.

Websites Castle Comfort Lodge   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Florida, Hawaii, Caribbean, Bali, Northeast
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm
Water Temp 81-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 100 feet on the deeper walls. Dives generally conducted following a guide who would point out small critters, but divers could follow at their own pace.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments The boats have a dedicated camera tank but cameras seemed to bang around in it so most people held them after a quick rinse. There was no dedicated rinse tank back on shore, but since we were staying there it was easy to rinse the camera in the room.
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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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