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Dive Review of Reef House Resort in

Reef House Resort: "Great trip to Oak Ridge", Sep, 2019,

by Clem Clapp, AL, US (Contributor Contributor 18 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 11316.

Photos Submitted with this Report

Click on an image to see an enlarged version and captions

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 N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Reef House 09/14-17/2019
After several previous trips on the northeast side of the island, I decided that I wanted to see what the diving was like on the south side for a few days. I chose Reef House Lodge ([ link]) in Oak Ridge since I wanted a small operation with good reviews on east end of the island.
Keith, the manager, set up an airport pickup with delivery to the dock at B.Jís Backyard in Oak Ridge where the Reef House bartender picked us up for the short run to the 11 room resort on nearby tiny Oak Ridge Cay. This was basically an urban setting on a small lot on the cay with the ocean literally at the front of the bar/restaurant. This is an older lodge which had its beginnings in the 60ís as a fishing retreat but now caters to divers.
Our air conditioned room was cozy with a small bath and TV. Out front next to the water was a coconut palm shaded area with chairs which was perfect for my non-diving spouse. Also just steps away, the open air but covered bar was the gathering place in the afternoon for a variety of games along with some elbow bending and tale telling. The staff was more than accommodating and sociable. Davey, the owner and his wife, Delphia and their lovely children were always around. I think Delphia ran the kitchen when she wasnít running after the kids. Also, Rooster, the fix it man, Bob, the in-house instructor and the bartender/ boat taxi driver were always in the mix for a fun time. The restaurant is in the same structure and serves up a plentiful serving of local home cooked meals. Some friendly locals would stop by for a drink and a laugh adding to the friendly surroundings of the lodge.
The mornings began with early coffee either sitting in a chair next to the water or actually standing in the ocean within a partial enclosure on the reef itself. Iíve never taken my morning coffee like that. Quite a nice start for the day. This was followed by a full breakfast of eggs and fixings or pancakes leaving plenty of time to walk the couple of hundred feet to the dock on the other side of the small cay. The older wooden boat was completely covered and could handle over a dozen divers easily. You could climb up a ladder through a hole in the roof and lay on the wooden roof for a bit of sun if you chose. Cooty, the captain and David, the divemaster were friendly locals who could fill you in on all the local history and diving that you wished.
Leaving the dock the boat travels the channel between the cay and Oak Ridge past houses built over the water. Oak Ridge has been related to as the Venice of the Caribbean with much of the local commute and commerce being via water. The cay even boasts a school boat which picks up the children. The dive sites were between 10 minutes west towards Jonesville or perhaps 15-20 minutes east to the Port Royal area.
All of the diving was on walls where the coral appeared to be healthy and the fish life varied although there were few larger fish to be seen. I was told that the fish life was improving with the east end finally getting a marine park patrol on their end of the island. The visibility was somewhat disappointing at 75í or so but blamed by the crew on the water being stirred up due to recent Caribbean storms. The reef fish were plentiful with the regulars on all dives being indigo hamlets, fairy basslets, yellow tail and other damsels, coneys, trumpet fish, barracuda, a way too friendly green moray, lots of parrotfish, as well as Pedersonís, banded shrimp, arrow crabs, a few lobsters, some big crabs, a nurse shark or two plus a lizard fish, a brittle star and a large school of Atlantic Spade Fish. Of my eight dives, my favorite and clearest sites were off new Port Royal at Port Royal Gorge and Sponge Garden. Very nice and plentiful gorgonians, barrels, sponges, tunicates, fans and a lot of small elk horn.
Websites Reef House Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Mostly Caribbean
Closest Airport Coxen Hole Getting There Direct from Atlanta

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 83-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 60-75 Ft/ 18-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Basically follow the dm.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Subscriber's Comments

By Amy Hagen in NV, US at Sep 27, 2021 14:10 EST  
We just got back from there. 3rd time for my husband. My 2nd visit. Very warm water in September, only a lycra shirt. Awesome staff, awesome food.
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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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