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Dive Review of Scuba Montserrat/private residence in
General Travel/Other Locations

Scuba Montserrat/private residence: "Montserrat - off the beaten path and worth the trip", Oct, 2016,

by William G Bain, GA, US ( 1 report). Report 9297.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments While visiting my brother, who has a home on the island, I had a chance to get a couple of shore dives in with Scuba Montserrat (www.scubamontserrat.com), one of the two dive shops on the island (the other is Montserrat Island Dive Centre – www.islanddivecentre.com)). I was looking for quick and easy dives since this wasn't a hard core dive trip, but rather a family visit. I had two very nice shore dives with Andrew, the divemaster/owner of Scuba Montserrat - Carr's Bay and Woodlands. The dives were mostly less than 25 feet deep - lots of bottom time! The deepest we went on either dive was 39 feet, per my computer. Entry and exit were easy from the sandy beaches in both cases. My initial thought was that those two dives would be excellent check out or first dives for a beginner. Most of the other dive sites are on the leeward side of the island as well, however, in the winter the “Christmas winds” back around and blow on the previously calm leeward side, making for rough weather. For more experienced divers and the the right weather conditions, the windward-side sites are even more pristine, I am told.

Andrew is involved in a project that creates artificial reefs, called reef balls, made of concrete with holes, etc. for the flora and fauna to occupy and thrive ([repeatingislands.com link]). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to visit one on the shore dives. Oh well, next time!

Montserrat is dominated by the volcano. Nearly half of the island is an exclusion zone and entry is barred. The bottom topography of the shore dives is flat and sandy, with large volcanic boulders tossed there by the volcano (which is still active, by the way). With a low tourist count, the reefs look healthy. Coral and fish make their home in the rocks. Practically immediately after submerging on the first dive, we saw 3 eagle rays in formation. A short time later, we saw a fourth. On the second dive we saw many juvenile fish in the various rocks and crevices. Unfortunately, my UW camera malfunctioned before I even got to Montserrat, and Andrew's fogged up during the dives so I have only a couple photos. I don’t recall seeing many, if any lionfish, since they are hunted for food (and they are fine eating!).

One of the few white sand beaches on the island (most are black volcanic sand) is named Rendezvous and is accessible only by boat. I mention it because it offers extremely good snorkeling - the fish, etc. were plentiful and varied – it was like looking down in a well-stocked salt water aquarium. Boat dives to various dive sites around the island are offered, and I am sure Rendezvous is included. It is worth the trip.

Things I wish I knew beforehand: There is an official website – www.visitmontserrat.com. Montserrat is like the Caribbean was 30 or 40 years ago. Very laid back and it has few tourists (less than 12,000 in one recent year, I'm told) so there is not a huge tourist infrastructure. The airport has a bar, but no souvenir shop, for example! Since the island is currently only accessible by air in small aircraft, traveling light is recommended. Few places accept credit cards, so bring cash. RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) does have a branch on the island and an ATM. The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar and the exchange rate is 2.7 ECD to $1 US, but US dollars are accepted everywhere. There is one hotel on the island with something like 17 rooms. There are a number of bed and breakfasts, and some private homes are for tourist rental (“villa tourism”). Food and drink is no problem for there are dozens of small restaurants, eateries, and “rum shacks” scattered up and down the western coast road from the port southward, places like Elvie’s, Johnny Pontain’s, and Hanks Beach Bar where folks can go and to “rehydrate” and fend off thirst after a dive. We stopped at a roadside “establishment” where the catch of the day was being grilled on a grille made of a hubcap – the fish was excellent. A car rental is a must and even though the island is only 11 miles long it takes at least 20 minutes to go anywhere -- the roads are narrow and twisty, and since it is British, they drive on the “wrong” side of the road!

I definitely plan to go back, assuming I can wrangle another invite from my brother!
Websites Scuba Montserrat   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving New England, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Bonaire, Florida Keys
Closest Airport John A. Osborne Airport - Getting There Only accessible by air. Short flight from Antigua via flyMontserrat and other carriers

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 86-89°F / 30-32°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 40-60 Ft/ 12-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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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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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