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rtrski

Dominica bound!

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Well, wife and I decided on our next trip and made airline reservations to lock in frequent flier miles. Heading to Dominica in late April, which should be after the cruise ships stop going there for the year, but hopefully not too late to where a whale-watching trip comes up blank. Staying at the Anchorage - read a lot of good things about Nature dive down closer to Soufriere, but couldn't talk the wife into it since there wasn't as much by way of 'hotel-like' accomodations down there.

 

Anyway, anyone else who's been there, if you've got any advice or suggestions, let me know. We'll be staying 10 nights and are booked for only 10 dives (5 2-dive days) so far, but they confirmed we can add more once there and they do have 'unlimited shore diving' - not sure how much that'll be worth it.

 

rtrski

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OK, at the risk of this looking solely like a bump, even if there's no suggestions...has anyone else on the board even BEEN to Dominica? I did find a few threads with a search, but nothing very recent.

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not me, sorry

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rtrski

 

I was there last December 06 and was really surprised at how good the diving was. My web site is down right now but if you check out My Webpage there is a Dominica slide show there.

 

We stayed at the Fort Young hotel which was top notch..

 

Any more questions, let me know.

 

Joe

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I can't help you rtrski, but you can help me! We are headed down this summer and a report when you get back would be greatly appreciated!

 

Here's hoping it lives up to what I've heard so far!

 

Thanks for the pictures Joe.

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Joe, Your website seems to be functioning fine again. Great shots! Did you do any of the 'shore diving' from the dock, or were these all from boat dives? Would you recommend the cablecar tour or was it too 'touristy'? :) (I'm in medium-shape, good for a fairly long hike, but not exactly a mountain climber or daredevil...so I don't totally turn my nose up at 'rides' but still do like getting a bit off the guided trail at times.)

 

Rick, I'll do my best to get a good report together. I'm still assembling the UW photo rig, frankly, and am a bit apprehensive about affording it before the trip.

 

Mike, thanks for the subtle bump again. :blush:

Edited by rtrski

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rtrski

 

All my diving was from boats.. They (Dive Domeiica) picked us up at the the Fort Young Hotel at 8 am and back to the dock by 1pm.. Nice boat and crew. Best dive site was Scott's Head Pinnacle.. Do not miss it....

 

The tram ride was worth the trip..It only runs when the cruise ships are in.. There is a hike up to Boiling Lake. It is a hared hike.. I DID NOT DO IT.. But those that did said it was GREAT!!

 

Joe

 

 

 

Joe, Your website seems to be functioning fine again. Great shots! Did you do any of the 'shore diving' from the dock, or were these all from boat dives? Would you recommend the cablecar tour or was it too 'touristy'? :) (I'm in medium-shape, good for a fairly long hike, but not exactly a mountain climber or daredevil...so I don't totally turn my nose up at 'rides' but still do like getting a bit off the guided trail at times.)

 

Rick, I'll do my best to get a good report together. I'm still assembling the UW photo rig, frankly, and am a bit apprehensive about affording it before the trip.

 

Mike, thanks for the subtle bump again. :blush:

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Thanks, Joe. We're staying with Anchorage who does most of their diving off the south end, so I'm sure we'll hit Scott's Head. Looks like we'll miss the tram since we're intentionally showing up after the cruise ships stop for the year. I think we'll at least go for the Titou Gorge hike, not sure about Boiling Lake. I don't know if I'm in good enough shape, especially since I'd like to lug the camera. (For Titou since it ends in a swimthru, I think I'm going to try and lug the camera and housing! :) )

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If memory serves me right, Anchorage is right next to Castle Comfort where I stayed back in '05. I have no experience with the Anchorage, but I liked Castle Comfort well enough.

 

The diving is pretty good, and probably some of the best I've done in the Caribbean. The Scott's Head Marine Reserve has some really good diving with loads of critters. Its macro heaven. The shore dives off the Castle Comfort dock were really good and worth taking (highly recommended). Long bottom time, shallow, and some pretty cool boulders and sand flats to explore (nudibranch, seahorses, flying grunards, etc.).

 

Topside, we did a lot of the hikes to the falls. From easiest to hardest, we did Emerald Pool, Trafalgar, Sari Sari, and Middleham (where I proposed to my then fiancee, now wife :) ). We used guides from KHATTS for all of the hikes. They were good and professional. Most hikes were 3-4 hours after our 2 tank morning dives. There is a hike to Boiling Lake, but its supposed to be a strenuous all day adventure (hiking boots a good idea) that we decided to pass up.

 

Other things we did were a trip over to Rosalie Bay Beach (wild side and powder fine black sand), the Saturday morning farmer's market in Roseau (fun and close by), and the Carib Indian territory tour (pass on this one... looks like the rest of Dominica). If the missus wants a fancier meal, go up the the Fort Young for dinner. Its probably the closest to fine dining in Roseau.

 

Of all the places in the Caribbean I've been, Dominica tops my list of places I'd go back to. Have fun, take pictures, and relax. Its a holiday after all. :)

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Thanks, porchdawg. If you came all the way from NZ to dive the Dominica and would do it again, with all the South Pacific much closer, that's a good indication. We looked at diving the GBR or all the South Pacific or Indonesian sites like Lembah, Yap, etc that everyone always raves about here on WP, but the plane flight is so long and costly that subsidizing it over a longer trip is the only way to go (at least for our cash flow situation, with a kid in college), and I unfortunately haven't hit the 5 year mark at work to be up to 4 weeks vacation/sick time. So a 10 day trip is about all I can take right now and still have some days leftover for typical home plumbing or vet type emergency days off (and the occasional "just don't wanna be there" 24 hour bug :D ).

 

I am so ready for this trip I think I might piddle myself. Which would be weird, since I'm not currently wearing a wetsuit. :P

Edited by rtrski

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Oh, I didn't go to Dominica from NZ. I was living in the US when I holidayed in Dominica, and have since moved to NZ. However, my endorsement is still the same. I'd go to Dominica again, its just a bit expensive now that I'm on the other side of the world! :P

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ARG....AA just called...they cancelled the 5:30 flight from SJU back to DFW, moved us up to the 4:40 flight. Since the flight from DOM is scheduled to arrive in SJU at 4:05, 'real world' not island time, what's the chance of a turnaround to a 4:40 flight happening? Not so much, in my opinion.

 

I can just picture it now...they'll try to put us thru either FTL or MIA connections (that do leave later that night) which will be a horrible end to the trip. (My wife is NOT a friendly flier...need to slip her a percodan or something to mellow her out so I can stand to be with her on planes :lol: )

 

I'm just going to book a backup hotel in SJU and when (not if) the connection gets missed tell them to put us on the direct flights the next day, since I'm sure they won't comp a room since later non-direct departures are available. (sigh) Price of using miles, I guess....

Edited by rtrski

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heh....just had to give them a couple days. American called me again and said "um, our system moved you into a connection that has less than 60 minutes gap to the prior, AE flight from the Caribbean...that's not enough time." My response was "duh...I told the last agent that, myself."

 

So now we're on a next-day flight out of SJ and I do indeed need a hotel stay. Asked them to bump me up for the trouble, but didn't happen. Oh well, better to have what I think is going to happen just be the official schedule. :D

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Just got home. Trip was great, diving nice, new camera in the water both a pain and a joy. Will update with a trip report either here or on Scubaboard sometime soon.

 

While there the wife and I met a fellow Wetpixel member (but infrequent poster, since he's got direct email access to a lot of the big names) on the island who was a hoot and a half as well as gave some great encouragement and advice. Anything I got right I got right with his help, but the sitz marks are all my own. ;) Now off to bed to get re-acclimated to that evil necessity called "work" tomorrow morning!

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Heheh... I"m just catching up here.. Was there back in '97 Castle Comfort, before a pool... going back this Nov to the Fort..

Did the boiling lake, will try again this time, but probably not going to make it.. last time was pre-camera days so not much help, but outdated info and especially now.. LOL... on your return trip...

 

Look forward to the review and any info on staying at the Fort Young, staying there in Nov...

thanks...

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For those who have not gone to Dominica, I highly recommend the much smaller operation of Nature Island Dive. I have been there 2x and both times many of the dives only had 2 to 4 divers.

 

Bad side is that there is very little on the south end of the island

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Ok, I really need to write up a trip report...will try to get to that today, as a new thread for a searchable title.

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Ok, I really need to write up a trip report...will try to get to that today, as a new thread for a searchable title.

 

 

I'm taking a 'bus-mans holiday' with my husband to Dominica next weekend - leaving on 18th May (a week today). Decided to go and see what all the fuss is about!

 

Can you recommend a place to stay / and who to dive with? Not planning to book a package per se as i'd like to get a taste of whats on offer. Plus, my other half is a floater, rather than a sinker, and I need to make sure that I spend some time with him too!

 

Any feed back would be great!

 

Thanks much!

 

Kay

Indigo Dive,

St. Vincent.

 

PS For those who are not familiar with the British expression, a bus-mans holiday is where you go someplace else to do what you do for a living! Sad I know, but a change is as good as a rest!

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Hi Kay,

 

I stayed with Anchorage and liked them. Especially as a uw photographer they were really good at keeping me happy in a similar way that you did when I was diving with you. They were all cool, but especially there was a divemaster called "Mello" (Richard) who really went to great lengths to accomodate me, not sure if he's with them still. I went to to check out all the operations, Caste Comfort also seemed nice, but Anchorage definetly was the diving hotspot. Was not impressed by the dive op at Fort Young tho. It seemed to be more of a "sideline" than the actual point of the resort, which is undersrandable in light of the clientele the hotel caters to.

 

As for topside adventures. I cannot tell you how much I would recommend staying at Papillote up in Trafalgar!!! It must be one of the most gorgeous topside spots in the Caribbean, lush, peacful, hot spirngs, waterfall, more birds and flowers than you can point a lens at.... I would seldom opt for a "topside" vacation over a dive vacation, but when it comes to Papillote, I would make an exception, it's just like Eden, maybe better... Go there!!!

 

OK, having said all this - I thill think that your Vinnie diving Rocks and I hope to be back to dive w you(hopefully one day when the wethr isn't quite as crazy as last time around...)

 

Cheers,

 

Marjo

 

PS. Was just talking to my new roomie who works for TNC ans she was telling me about "Kay" that she recently has such a great time diving with in St. Vincent... Funny!

Edited by Marjo

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Kay, the trip report is finally up today on Scubaboard. I'll link a thread to it here for the search on these forums, but not re-type everything. (I did keep a copy just in case, SB has been wonky sometimes and lost about a month of posts early this year IIRC).

 

First, make damn sure you look up Izzy. He'll be miffed if you don't (even mentioned to us he knew you were coming), and he's a heck of a lot of fun and a fabulous contact to have. We really enjoyed diving with Anchorage, but if you're looking for more Brits you might aim more toward Simon at Nature Island Dive on the south end.

 

DO spend time above the surface too. We didn't spend enough, and were really kind of shaking our heads in wonder toward the end of our trip when we did take a roundabout tour ("we missed all this???") even while I was still lamenting wanting to do more diving. Never satisfied I guess!

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A while back I started a thread regarding the lamentable state of air travel to (and from) Dominica.

Sadly I can't find it in the archives to continue, however...

The general consensus was that Dominica like the joke (best not mentioned here) is a place every one wants to go but is not willing to go through and get stranded in Puerto Rico, despite things getting changed by the airlines and not always for the better, American adding extra charges for internal flight bags and now cutting one flight, there are alternate routs here now.

 

From the US East Coast, (and elsewhere if you can swing it), Fly directly to Antigua on anything but American, then get a LIAT (yes I know they too have their problems), or Carib Aviation to Dominica.

 

Air Canada comes in every day to Antigua direct too.

 

Also now operating is a new service from St. Lucia, so again, fly into St.Lucia and get Carib Aviation to destination, this is a new service and the flight is linked more with the arrival from the UK than US, but it can be done. Best of all it comes into Canefield (DCF) which is only 20 mins out of Roseau for those staying in the sount of the island.

Travel Connect: http://www.travelconnect.co.uk/showNews.aspx?loadid=001062

 

Other news, Dive Fest is in its 15th year and kicks off in July, next year we may host two events so please check the Dominica Watersports site as time progresses. www.dominicawatersports.com

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Izzy,

 

Sorry that we didn't get to hook up - next time for sure!

 

I have to say that whilst I was expecting issues with LIAT the service was suberb, took off on time, landed on time (didn't even have time to do any shopping in Barbados as the LAT flight connection was early!!!

 

Not impressed with Fort Young, WATCH OUT FOR THE OLD ROOMS is all that I am going to say! The food was good but expensive. The little restaurant across the road (Robe De Creole) is lovely, even if the service is a little slow, even by Caribbean standards!

 

The guys from Dive Dominica were very nice, but I wasn't impressed with having to rush breakfast for the early start, only to have to hang around at the dive shop prior to the dive.... I should have dived with Nature Dive!

 

Also tried out Cabrits Dive, very friendly, good service, and a different type of diving in the north.

 

Next time I visit I'm planning to stay at the Evergreen!

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Not impressed with Fort Young, WATCH OUT FOR THE OLD ROOMS is all that I am going to say! The food was good but expensive. The little restaurant across the road (Robe De Creole) is lovely, even if the service is a little slow, even by Caribbean standards!

 

 

Hmm... I'm on my way in November... to Fort Young...

Thank you for the heads up..

Edited by fpoole

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Indigo:

 

How did you consider Dominica's diving vs. St. V's? Comparable, better, worse, and in what ways?

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