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Dive Review of Dive Dominica/Castle Comfort Dive Lodge in
Dominica/Roseau

Dive Dominica/Castle Comfort Dive Lodge, Feb, 2006,

by Scott Vickers, CO, USA . Report 2398.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Saba, Bonaire, Cozumel, Belize, Caymans, Roatan, Florida Keys
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 78 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 40 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Non-computer divers were given a profile, while computer divers were given more leeway.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales 1 or 2
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Dominica is an ex-British colony and still a member of the Commonwealth. As such, it is, like many Caribbean islands, struggling to cobble together a viable economy centered around eco-tourism, both land- and sea-based. This is not an easy task, but Dominicans have several things going for them: plenty of fresh water (rainfall averages around 350 inches per year!); a beautiful and sometimes challenging terrain, with mountainous rainforest covering much of the island; healthy reefs teeming with abundant sealife; and, last but not least, a "can-do" attitude and friendly populace (at least among those lucky enough to be employed).
The Castle Comfort couldn't be more appropriately named. Although some rooms face the busy street outside its confines, most face into the well-kept grounds and dock area. Three delicious meals are served daily (although only breakfast and dinner are included in the packages), and the similarly comfortable resort hotels on either side--the Anchorage and the Evergreen--also welcome nonguests for lunch. The second of two large cities to the north, Roseau is somewhat ramshackle (except for the magnificent Fort Young Hotel and the Botanic Gardens), but is easily accessible by van jitneys that ply the narrow road for a small fee. You can also walk to Roseau, but the road has precious little shoulder (no sidewalks) and drivers weave in and out to avoid potholes and each other--it's a little scary. Regardless, we found a good restaurant there specializing in creole food, and another south of us that featured American home cookin' (the Green Flash) that was exceptional. The ex-pat American owner even gave us a ride back after we ate, to save us the fearsome walk.
Rooms over the dive shop (14-17) are the most spacious and quiet, and all rooms offer TV, but only one U.S. AC outlet per room, so bring a voltage converter for British DC. The hotel staff was uniformly friendly and helpful, and the food was great, though not gourmet. The lead bartender, Rolle, makes a mean rum punch using his own ground-spice mixture, and plays a rollicking good accordian for your (and his) enjoyment.
Dive Dominica (run by Derek Perryman, a real gentleman) has a fleet of five or six boats--one reserved for whale-watching trips, another for cruise ship passengers that dock in Roseau, and the others for servicing Castle Comfort. We usually went out on a large vessel with plenty of room for 12 or more divers, tanks, a head, and easy egress and return (2 ladders). Reggie is the most experienced dive master, very watchful of his divers and knowledgeable about the reefs and currents. (Currents can be stiff on the windward side of Scott's Head at the south end of the island, but elsewhere along the southwest coast there were none.)
The subaquatic topography is volcanic, and thus offers some truly awesome walls (such as La Sorciere ["The Sorceress"] and L'Abym ["The Abyss"], which overhangs by about 10 degrees and drops straight off into the deep trench), intriguing pinnacles, canyons, gullies, and craters (such as the large Scott's Head Crater). The reefs are especially lush along this stretch between the villages of Soufriere and Scott's Head, and the boat ride down the coast offers spectacular views of Dominica's mile-high volcanic peaks and rainforest. At Soufriere Pinnacles and Champagne, divers experience bubbling gas vents and warm-water pockets from the volcanic activity around the island.
Fish and critter life is abundant, though not large (we saw no groupers or other eating-size fish save a few jacks and barracuda). Aside from a plethora of the usual Caribbean tropicals, we saw sharp-tailed and spotted eels, a webbed burrfish, a reef scorpion fish, two seahorses, and many varieties of shrimp, lobster (including a Spanish slipper lobster), and crabs. The so-called muck dive off the Castle Comfort pier offered up flying gunards, a batfish, juvenile burrfish and French angels, and a lesser electric ray. All the reefs are rich in huge barrel and tube sponges, multicolored crinoids, anemones, gorgonians, branch coral, and many gigantic feather-duster worms of all colors. Amazing!
If you can find time, be sure and take some land-based tours of the interior, such as Boiling Lake, Trafalgar Falls, and Titou Gorge--the mostly undeveloped interior is lush, breathtaking, and very pristine for a developing country. Dominica needs a new airport badly, but is otherwise well-equipped to deal with even the most discriminating dive traveller. Highly recommended!!
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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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