Diving in Dominica: A World Class Experience
May 18, 2020
There are two things you need to know when it comes to diving in Dominica:
1) This is one of the best diving spots in the world.
2) You don’t need to be a certified diver to take part.
That first bullet point might not be too surprising—after all, this is the Caribbean’s Nature Isle, the last to be developed, the wildest of them all. It’s the most mountainous, most volcanic, and the most rugged, leading to spectacular wall dives, bubbling pools of “champagne” waters, and crevices leading deep into the earth. The water is warm and clear, with many coved, coastal spots having little to no current at all.
That second fact might be the one that gets you. The course I’m referring to is called “Discover Scuba Diving,” and it’s open to anyone 10 or older. (It’s not a certification course, but it does certify you in a few basic skills if you were to seek PADI certification within the next six months.) After learning the ropes, like how to replace your regulator underwater, you’ll go down with a guide to depths of 40 feet, right off the dive boat. Marine life abounds, and yes, you’ll actually be scuba diving.
If you’re already certified, you have your choice of top-notch spots around the island. Here are a few to check out:
1) Scott’s Head Drop-Off. Jutting out into Soufriere Bay, Scott’s Head is a gorgeous peninsula when viewed from the sand; beneath the water’s surface, you may notice you’re navigating an ancient volcanic crater. Shallow, calm areas eventually drop off into a 130-foot shelf, hence the name. You’re going to want to stay closer to the surface, though—just like the fish do.
2) Champagne Reef. Underwater hot springs bubble up through the sand and to the surface here, creating a dive spot known the world over. Its popularity also owes to its location as one of the few shore dives on the island. It’s great for snorkeling, too.
3) Swiss Cheese. If you’re all about the swim-throughs, wiggle into that wetsuit at Swiss Cheese. It’s basically an underwater obstacle course at 50 feet, for both divers and fish alike. Colorful coral—and just as colorful marine life—surround all sides of the tubes, walls, hills, and valleys.
4) Point Break. This is where the Atlantic meets the Gulf, which makes for a dive suitable for the more experienced. Expect a decent current, but also expect the big, big creatures to come with the territory.
Tips & Details
Dive Dominica is your go-to place. They have an outpost in Fort Young, though dive boats head out from their headquarters at Castle Comfort Lodge, a few minutes south of downtown Roseau (and just down the street from Fort Young). You can book a one-tank or two-tank dive in either morning or afternoon—you can also book three, four, and five-day excursions.
Just like snorkeling, you don’t have to be the strongest of swimmers to scuba dive with a guide. Bring water, towel, and a change of clothes; if you suffer from sinus pressure issues, consider taking a decongestant beforehand. Afterward, stop by Ocean’s Edge for lunch or dinner, right next door to Dive Dominica.