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New destination from Diverse Travel: Dominica

Caribbean DTA Team

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UK-based dive holiday experts Diverse Travel have added Dominica to their programme.

The spectacularly beautiful island of Dominica is one of the best-kept secrets in the Caribbean. Popularly known as the Nature Island, Dominica offers a tantalising combination of lush rainforest, towering peaks, and a choice of glistening waterfall or meandering river for every day of the year.

The landscape of Dominica has been honed by centuries of volcanic activity making for truly dramatic scenery above and below water. Majestic mountains disappear into the blue to form deep ocean trenches that are home to marine mammals such as numerous dolphins and over 20 species of whale, including the Sperm Whales for which the island is renowned for. Divers will find much fascinating topography to explore here: pristine reefs, drop-offs and walls sit alongside pinnacles, caves, swim throughs and volcanic thermal springs that form underwater bubble baths for divers and snorkellers.

Dominica is one of those rare destinations where scuba divers will want to spend as much time topside as underwater. This unspoilt nature lover’s paradise is a haven for sustainable and eco-tourism. There are plenty of natural wonders to explore – everything from the Caribbean’s longest hiking trail, to exciting river adventures, the World Heritage Site of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park and, of course, whale watching or for the ultimate wildlife adventure, swimming with Sperm Whales.

A holiday to Dominica offers the opportunity to experience one of the world’s top marine life encounters. This island holds many treasures, but none is more spectacular than the chance to swim with resident Sperm Whales in the crystal clear warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. This very special opportunity is subject to strict controls and limited permits each year. Visitors are hosted on private catamaran trips of just six people (three in the water), giving the unique opportunity to swim and snorkel with these magnificent creatures, as well as observe fascinating natural behaviour, and learn more about research and conservation from the expert knowledge of private guides.

Diverse Travel dive holidays to Dominica start from £1895pp (based on June 2022) and include return flights London to Dominica via Barbados with 23kgs baggage, 7 nights in an Ocean Front room at the island’s historic Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort in Roseau (room only meal plan), 5 days of 2-tank boat dives with guide, tank & weights, and airport transfers in Dominica. Packages are also available at Hotel The Champs, and The Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski in the north of the island.

Photo: Franco Banfi / Avalon

Limited spaces are available on Diverse Travel’s exclusive special trips to swim with Sperm Whales. 2021 trips are from 27 November – 4 December and 4 December – 11 December 2021. A week’s package combining swimming with whales, scuba diving and land tours starts from £4125pp to include return flights London to Dominica via Barbados with 23kgs baggage, 7 nights in an Ocean Front room at the island’s historic Fort Young Hotel & Dive Resort in Roseau (bed & breakfast meal plan) 3 days guided swimming with Sperm Whales on a private catamaran inclusive of permits and license, 3 days 2-tank boat dives with guide, tank & weights, three land tours, and airport transfers in Dominica. A week’s package with 6 days swimming with Sperm Whales is also available from £4850pp.

Discover more about diving in Dominica and swimming with Sperm Whales in the Diverse Travel destination guide on their website at www.diversetravel.co.uk/diving-holiday-destinations/dominica-diving-holidays/ and www.diversetravel.co.uk/swimming-with-sperm-whales-in-dominica/

With over 50 years’ experience of dive travel, dive centre and resort management the expert Diverse Travel team has the experience to deliver memorable holidays that benefit from full financial ATOL and TTA protection.

For more information visit www.diversetravel.co.uk, call 01473 852002, or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

Lead image: Franco Banfi / Avalon

Blogs

Lovin’ Saint Lucia: Two wreck dives and a wedding (part 3)

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Whilst we have been lucky enough to dive in much of the Caribbean, Saint Lucia was still on our wish list. Until November when we got a chance to visit this beautiful island on a 6-night diving trip that would see us enjoy with incredible scenery both above and below the waves. We were able to sample three different hotels, dined at a host of local eateries, spoke to local school kids about the ocean and even took a tour into the rainforest canopy. Find out all about this trip over this series of three blogs on Caribbean Dive Adventures.


Our final day of diving saw us heading south again to the wreck of the Lesleen M. The wreck was sunk as an artificial reef in 1986. It sits upright in the water just off Anse Cochon in about 20m of water at its deepest point. AS it has been in the water for over 3 decades, it is now covered in marine life. Yellow and purple sponges rise up from the deck and off railings. Gorgonian corals created huge curtains across the walkways and on the bow and stern. The prop is covered in orange sponges and cup corals. Barracuda and porcupinefish cruise the middle section of the boat. Schools of reef fish live in the covered section of the stern. There is life everywhere you look. To make the most of this dive, bring a light, as the colours are incredible.

We were lucky to have been able to dive the wreck as a buddy pair, without any other groups. But we loved the dive so much we asked if we could join the group for another dive on the wreck as our final dive of the trip. However, the group we were going to dive with were a little bit special! Two of the group had got married the day before. Nine of the family (mum, dad, the happy couple, sisters, brothers, and their partners) who had come to Saint Lucia for the wedding were on our boat. We offered to take an underwater photo of them. Getting the shot was not as easy as we had first thought though! Getting them all still, in the same place, not blowing bubbles at inappropriate times turned out to be a challenge! It was, however, a joyous way to finish off our diving on Saint Lucia.

Our final day saw us heading to new heights, via a cable car experience into the rainforest canopy. Not only does this trip offer stunning views over the island, but our guide was so knowledgeable we also learned plenty about the local fauna and flora of the island. This is the perfect activity for the non-diving day at the end of a trip. A final cocktail in the beautiful setting of the Harbor Club as the sun set saw us reflect on a super trip. We barely scratched the surface of what Saint Lucia has to offer. Alas we never got to experience the diving in the north of the island, so we will have to return to rectify that. Hopefully sometime soon!


Nick and Caroline were hosted by:

Eastern Caribbean Diving

Bay Gardens Marina Haven & Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa

The Harbor Club

Travel Saint Lucia

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Blogs

Lovin’ Saint Lucia: Kids and Critters (Part 2)

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Whilst we have been lucky enough to dive in much of the Caribbean, Saint Lucia was still on our wish list. Until November when we got a chance to visit this beautiful island on a 6-night diving trip that would see us enjoy with incredible scenery both above and below the waves. We were able to sample three different hotels, dined at a host of local eateries, spoke to local school kids about the ocean and even took a tour into the rainforest canopy. Find out all about this trip over this series of three blogs on Caribbean Dive Adventures.


After our first two days of diving in the south of the island, below the magnificent Piton mountains, it was time for a day off. Usually we would pack in a much diving as possible on a short trip like this, we had been invited to speak at a local school. Our hotel, Bay Gardens Beach Hotel and Spa, already support the school with a breakfast club to ensure the kids start the day with a good meal. They asked us if we might go and speak about the ocean, marine life, conservation and our work. As the school did not have a room big enough to hold all the kids, we setup in the local church. The kids filed in and sat in rows of pews and we chatted about the marine life that can be found both in the waters surrounding Saint Lucia and further afield. They knowledge of shark species was incredible! They even identified a Basking Shark correctly! We were stunned when they presented us with a huge box of local fruits they had picked from their gardens as a thank you. Our driver then took us for a drive around the north of the island to show us some of the plentiful beauty spots.

Back diving again, we still headed south, but to sample some different diving from our first two days. We were delighted to dive over a healthy seagrass bed that was home to a host of marine life. Snake eels skimmed along through the blades of grass, flounder lay camouflaged, and several species of crustacean could be found once you got your eye in. A huge Southern Stingray lay buried in the sand and our guide, Mervin, was delighted to find a seahorse (that did not want to be photographed). Dotted throughout the seagrass bed, coral bommies were a haven for small marine life critters. Eels and lobster hid in the crevices, while small juvenile fish darted through the coral and sponges.

Whilst we were on an all-inclusive basis at our hotels, we love to get out and about to try local establishments where we can. So each evening we would take a stroll to the waterfront to sample some excellent food and a local beer or cocktail, whilst watching the sun go down. The perfect way to finish off a great day of diving.


Nick and Caroline were hosted by:

Eastern Caribbean Diving

Bay Gardens Marina Haven & Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa

The Harbor Club

Travel Saint Lucia

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