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Dive Review of Coconut Tree Divers/Paradise Beach Club in

Coconut Tree Divers/Paradise Beach Club, May, 2007,

by Gareth Richards, OH, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 13 Helpful votes). Report 4258.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I looked at the dive resorts like Anthonys Key, Bay Island Beach Resort, Inn of Last Resort, etc in doing my research. They offer good value for dive/hotel packages. However given the geography, these resorts are away from the better beach and nightlife which is in the West Bay/West End area. So you have a choice according to how much you weigh these factors. The pros of staying in West Bay/West End are that you can separate the hotel from the dive operator if you want, and have complete choice of both, and be in a better location; the con is that you may not have shore diving such as you usually get at the dive resorts. There are some places like Bananarama or Luna Beach that fit somewhere between these definitions too, because they are close to West End. So there are plenty of options. It really will be up to you to weigh these according to what your style of trip is. I decided to go the separate route and book hotel and diving independently. There are so many choices if you go this route that you can easily put together a combination that will meet any taste and budget. You can go anywhere from a small room in a B&B, to a hotel, or even your own villa. After wringing my hands for a week or two and surfing all over the web, I settled on Paradise Beach Club for the hotel and Coconut Tree Divers for the diving.

Paradise Beach Club lives up to its name. West Bay Beach is truly Paradise Beach and it may be in the top ten beaches anywhere. Check out the hotel web site for pictures. It is just a beautiful classic tropical beach with superb sand, clear blue water and palm trees.

Coconut Tree is one of the longest established independent operators in West End and may be the biggest. They offer a 2 tank trip at 9.00,back about 12.15, a one tank trip at 1.00 and a one tank trip at 2.30. Night dives are at least once a week, depending on demand, it was three times the week I was there. Nitrox and trimix are available on site. The 9.00 is for certified divers and so most of the students are on the 1.00. Given the short gap between the return of the morning boat and the 1.00, I elected to do the morning 2 tank trip and the 2.30 one tank trip each day, leaving plenty of time for lunch. They run all levels of training at least up through DM and Assistant Instructor. Their DM program is 2 months on site starting from Rescue. I watched them run a Rescue class during the week I was there, and they were extremely thorough. They really earned that card. There was one guy doing trimix training there too, which again I would say is unusual for an operator to be able to offer that.

I used Nitrox the whole week. They ran the daily analysis process well and by mid week were asking me what mix I wanted for the next day. 30 to 32 is typical. During the dives they separated the Nitrox divers from the others so we could max out our profiles. The DMs and instructors impressed me as knowledgeable and professional without being overbearing. They did a good job of matching up buddies based on air consumption both before and rearranging during dives, so nobody got cut short. On the other hand, the boat is on a schedule, so dives were limited to about 55 minutes max, and on all but one dive I still had 1100-1400 left. In a group of say 6 they usually had a DM-trainee following the group, so they could bring up the people that ran low without interrupting the others.

The boat is capable of taking around 15 divers, but most days was less. They have fresh water on board and a camera tank. The boat has a roof so you can get out of the sun. They carry the big green DAN O2 kit. You stride off the fixed platform at the back and then there's a ladder for re-entry. Pretty standard.

Since I was staying in West Bay, Coconut Tree was nice enough to send a fast boat for me every morning at 8.00 at no charge. They also offer this to people staying in their cabins in West Bay whether or not they are diving.

All in all, Coconut Tree are exactly what you want in an independent operator, capable, flexible, knowledgeable and friendly. Highly recommended. Check out their web site which is very comprehensive.

I did go visit the on-site operator at Paradise Beach (TGI)-they gave me the impression of being more geared to the "occasional diver" or "resort course" operation. They offered one tank in the morning and one tank in the afternoon, no nitrox, and were more expensive.

17 dives and I only repeated one site which was El Aguilla wreck. Some of my favorites were Spooky Channel, the Odyssey wreck, Half Moon Bay Wall - literally 5 minutes from the dock. Typical day was first dive to 100-110 (deepest 128), second dive to 60-80, afternoon dive 25-40. You don't need me to list depths and times 17 times. Boat rides were generally 15 minutes -the longest was to the Odyssey, about 25 minutes. Seas were calm to maybe 1 foot swell. Occasionally you could see flying fish off to the side.

The sites range from walls to swim throughs to cool "aquarium" type shallows. Seems like everywhere has a dive site named Aquarium. Viz was extremely good, 60+ everywhere except the Odyssey where it was about 40. Water temp was 82 at any depth. I wore a 3 mil and was glad of it later in the week, but I get cold easily.

Loved the diving and the dive op. Great trip.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Caymans, FLL, Cozumel, Cocos Island, GBR, NZ, Cyprus, Turkey, Puerto Vallarta, Bahamas, BVI
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82-82°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40-120 Ft/ 12-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 55 minutes max. Good job separating Nitrox divers from air, and heavy breathers from others
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments Rinse Tank on boat. Can lock gear away at dive store overnight
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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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