Overview: Dominica lies between two French islands, Martinique and Guadeloupe and is part of the Leeward Island group which gives a nice French influence to island culture. Most hotels and dive centers are based in the capital Roseau. The island has lush tropical vegetation and high mountains which feed several waterfalls, most notably Trafalgar Falls, where I enjoyed the natural warm pools just below the viewing platform. The flora and fauna in the valley on the way up to the falls was amazing, everything just grows so big here.
The diving is easily accessible by boat with walls that go down 100’s of meters, beautiful reefs and natural bubble spring areas on certain reefs. Overall a good collection to choose from for any level diver.
Fish Life: Fish life is abundant with schools of jacks, chromis, grunts, snapper and sennets. We also saw barracudas, sting rays, eels and some huge turtles. We weren’t lucky enough to see seahorses or frogfish, which I saw on my last visit, but 4 dives was definitely not enough. I could easily spend a week doing 3 dives a day and try night diving too.
Reef Health: I was travelling with a pal and we found the reefs had 75% healthy corals which is probably why the fish life is so good. Combine that with good visibility, 75ft plus, and it is hard to find better diving in this part of the Caribbean.
Highlights: I was not disappointed. The water of the Caribbean Sea which surrounds the island is crystal clear even after a heavy storm where one might expect runoff to cloud the water. Perhaps because much of the diving on the west coast is off steep/deep walls this doesn’t seem to occur.
Dive Centre/Boat Service: We stayed in and dived with the Anchorage Hotel which was adequate, friendly and clean but dated, poor food (except for a buffet night) and no frills. Oh except wifi. However the diving was well organized and on a very comfortable large boat with good equipment. Michael Henry ran the center and was very knowledgable about Dominican diving, he definitely enhanced our enjoyment of the trip.
First Time/Return: I had dived here before many years ago and was looking forward to seeing how the reefs had faired after the passage of time, over 15 years.
Current/Vis: I would thoroughly recommend diving in Dominica at anytime of the year, the water is between 25º- 30º year round. Good visibility 75ft – 100′.
Favourite dive site: The dive at Danglebens Pinnacles was my favourite dive. I would also recommend Coral Gardens, Swiss Cheese and Labym Wall, these are all in the Soufriere reserve.
Marine Park: The Scotts Head/Soufriere Marine Reserve 2001 encompasses 3 miles of coastline just south of Roseau.
Other: We did take part in Sperm whale watching one afternoon with Andrew Weston the local expert. I was led to believe prior to my visit I would be able to get in the water with them and get some photos, I must have misunderstood. The government charges $2000US per diver to do this and you need to apply for the permit in advance which would no doubt take ‘awhile’. So I had to be content with seeing their tails from the boat along with 25 other people. I cant say it was earth shattering, considering I’ve seen many whales on my ocean travels, so this (cost $86 US) would not be on my list of repeats. To sum up I would say Dominica has top Caribbean diving with plenty to do on land too. Its a very laid back island and they do have quite a few eco-tourism places to stay which unfortunately are not that near to where the diving is accessed.