Friday, January 4, 2013

An amazing Caribbean adventure in Dominica

Diver Award Winner, Toby Nowlan, reflects on his week in Dominica ...

Our week in Dominica was superb. Instructor Michael took us out every day on the Anchorage Hotel boat to a variety of stunning and colour-crowded reefs. We would typically wake up in our ocean front room and after a coffee on our balcony overlooking the pancake-flat, azure Caribbean sea, head up for a refreshing cooked breakfast. On and out with Michael. We would closely trace the rainforest-clad coast, joined occasionally by incredibly playful Atlantic spotted or Fraser's dolphins. Upon reaching the dive site we would dance whilst kitting up to reggae tunes emanating from skipper Philly's radio.

Then the three of us would descend into that warm and brilliant blue, ordinarily with exceptional visibility of 25 metres. With the entire reef to ourselves we felt like we had been granted VIP access to the Caribbean's last marine wilderness. We might weave between the towering volcanic pinnacles covered in colossal barrel sponges, often home to the largest crabs or lobsters I have seen.

On other occasions we might lie in the bathwater-hot sediments around the bubbling jets of dive site 'Champagne'. Here, as is famously known, the reef fizzes with volcanic gases. By turning over a few of the hot rocks we found beautifully marbled young conger eels as well as an array of bizarre starfish and nudibranchs.

The great coral cliff drop-off here in the south-west of the island is surely one of the best on earth. I found it difficult to watch my depth closely thanks to being mesmerised by the whip coral-encrusted wall dropping below us into the deep blue.

Once, as we curved over the top of the wall back on to the shallows of the reef, we came eye to eye with a two metre-long barracuda. It flashed silver as it thrashed and spun in frustration at its accompanying pilot fish. I approached him and he approached me fearlessly with open jaws from half a metre away.

On our final day we headed deep into the rainforests of Dominica's near-pristine interior in search of parrots found nowhere else on earth.  As we drove and walked we climbed to 2000 metres into cloud forest to find our quarry. As the sun rose at dawn we saw noisy parties of the bright green parrots bursting out of the mist above the forest then settling to feed on fruiting trees.

While Dominica is not the destination island for those looking for wide sandy beaches, plenty of commercial development and tight hotel management, those in search of spectacular diving, undisturbed rainforest, incredibly friendly locals and rum punch by the ocean-view pool have found their ideal tropical rehab.
Speak to one of our specialist consultants today to tailor made your diving holiday to Dominica, or drop us an email and we will contact you.

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