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.
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.
Lead image: Franco Banfi / Avalon
Seahorse National Park announced on Eleuthera in The Bahamas
This week has seen the announcement of the designation of Seahorse National Park at Hatchet Bay Cave and Sweetings Pond on Eleuthera. This monumental announcement comes after years of efforts from the BNT and its partners in advocating for the protection of Sweetings Pond and its surrounding areas as an official national park under the BNT’s management.
Sweetings Pond is a large, land-locked saltwater pond in Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera. It has many unique natural features, but the most notable of them all is its incredible seahorse population, which is believed to be the densest population of seahorses in the world. The new 548-acre national park protects the entire one-mile-long pond and the surrounding terrestrial area. The land surrounding Sweetings Pond is a blend of intact coppice, mangroves, and farmlands. In addition, the new national park includes the extensive Hatchet Bay Caves system. This historic cave system is a popular attraction and contains a number of impressive geological features. It is one of the longest dry cave systems in The Bahamas.
Since 2014, the BNT has been leading efforts to have the area declared as a national park. This included years of public outreach and stakeholder consultations in communities across Eleuthera; education presentations in local schools; science and research efforts; and engaging consecutive government administrations. In 2018, the BNT submitted the “20 by 20 Marine Protection Plan” to the government, which included the recommendation to declare Sweetings Pond and other areas in The Bahamas as protected areas.
During the lease signing ceremony for Seahorse National Park, Minister Clay Sweeting, said, “This lease agreement for Sweetings Pond has been a long time coming. It represents a milestone in our journey towards sustainable development. It symbolises our collective responsibility to safeguard our natural heritage and create a harmonious relationship between economic progress and environmental preservation.
“I would like to express my gratitude to all stakeholders in this process of drafting and finalising this lease agreement. Their dedication, expertise, and commitment has been crucial in ensuring that this agreement falls in line with our vision of creating a thriving ecosystem while promoting responsible usage. Let us continue to preserve the jewel that is Sweetings Pond for many generations to come.”
The BNT invites the public to stay tuned for more news about its plan for the country’s newest national park: Seahorse National Park at Hatchet Bay Cave and Sweetings Pond!
To learn more about the role the BNT plays in managing terrestrial and marine national parks, conserving wildlife, and informing environmental policy, please visit its website: www.bnt.bs
Banner Image: A lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus), female, clining to algae in an alkaline pond in The Bahamas by Shane Gross
PADI Club invites Ocean Lovers on exclusive dive trip to Bonaire this September
Following the popularity of the PADI Club trip to Belize at the end of July, a second “dive trip of a lifetime” has just been announced by PADI Club to Bonaire this September 23-30, 2023.
Offered exclusively for PADI Club members as part of their yearly benefits, attendees will get to seek adventure while staying at the all-inclusive Buddy Dive Resort, one of PADI’s premier members on the island. Other PADI Members in Bonaire – including Toucan Divers, Divi Flamingo, Wanna Dive, Dive Friends and Scuba Do – will also be hosting various dive experiences throughout the week.
“Bonaire is a unique and beautiful gem in the Dutch Caribbean and we want to show our Club Members this little island looms large as a dive destination,” says Zach Pavkov, PADI Club Operations Manager. “This trip offers participants a chance to not only explore a world-class diving destination but do so through some of the very best PADI Operators.”
PADI Club members will receive a generous discount for this seven-day diving adventure, with packages starting at $1,739 per diver for double occupancy.
Included in the package are:
- social events that include hosted dinners, cocktail parties and live music
- transportation in Buddy Dive Resort’s famous pick-up truck
- daily shore diving and boat diving
- accommodation, with the option to share a room with another solo diver or rent out one, two and three-bedroom apartments to host larger groups of divers
- surface interval activities that include PADI Seminars and island excursions like hiking and bird-watching.
“Because the water surrounding Bonaire has been an established marine park for 44 years, Bonaire is now a top-ranked destination with abundant marine life that includes scorpionfish, flounder and frogfish, moray eels, hawksbill turtles and eagle rays, ” continues Pavkov.
With limited spots available, the list of participants will be decided on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who are not yet PADI Club Members but are interested in joining the trip can sign-up, which will also give them access to:
- 20% of PADI eLearning® programs and PADI Gear™
- a free ReActivate® online refresher
- a free DAN® Prepared Diver course
- a subscription to Scuba Diving® magazine
- access to the PADI Club Celebrity Speaker Series webinars
- brand partner benefits from GoPro, Uber, Salt Life and more
To further support ocean lovers to create positive ocean change, five percent of the PADI Club membership fee will go towards supporting conservation efforts around the globe.
“PADI Club benefits are designed not just to empower divers to explore the ocean, but also enable them to play a pivotal role in saving the ocean too,” says Pavkov. “This year’s additional expedition to Bonaire gives our community the chance to come together and explore our shared blue planet in a truly meaningful and connected way.”