We are planning a first trip to Jamaica and wonder which of the Couples resorts is best for scuba diving. A co-worker did her research and is going to CN in November. I've looked at everything available for CN and it looks great. My scuba forum also says Negril is the best location in Jamaica for diving.
Am I missing something by not looking at the other three resorts?
I was at csa in september and their boat was down for repairs, so we used the couples negril boat. The staff of csa is great and i highly recommend them. Since we shared the boat i think that couples negril and csa dive at the same sites. The diving is great, saw everything, sharks, moray, turtles, lion fish, lobster, trigger fish, like i said great.
Which resort is best for diving?
Which resort is best for Diving, well it depends on what sort of diving you like.
Negril and Swept Away use most of the same dive sites. Most of which are fairly shallow reefs. There is also a tugboat wreck and the wreck of two small planes.
I am told that the other side of the Island have some fantastic walls to dive.
I have dived with the teams at Negril and Swept Away, the staff at either site will take fantastic care of you. I would not expect the staff on the other side of the island to be any less professional.
Please remember that the north side of teh island is slightly more exposed to the weather.
Enjoy your diving.
I would call it a tie between CN and CSA because both are in Negril, and thus have calmer waters and less wind to deal with. The resorts on the north coast of the island have more waves and wind which sometime forces the cancellation of diving (and other water sports). You will probably not have a problem no matter where you go, but dives are cancelled less often in Negril than on the north coast so if diving is crucial to the enjoyment of your vacation I would go with the odds and plan on Negril.
We dove while at CSA and it was great. They had a great dive team then (and I think the staff is much the same) They also have a nice dive boat. It looks like the only place with a smaller boat is CSS. It's also my understanding that CN and CSA dive mostly the same sites. We are going to dive while at CTI and maybe at CSS. I'm sure it will be fun, but I have also heard that the best diving in Jamaica is in Negril. So of the two pick the one that calls to you for all the other reasons besides diving.
The Negril sites are pretty shallow reefs and we had great weather and no currents, so the diving is really easy. There isn't a ton of marine life compared to many other places, but we weren't going as a "dive trip". Still, it was enjoyable and we saw dolphins there! Heading out in the morning across water like glass, with the sun shining and Bob Marley playing is one of my best memories.
Thanks for the insight into CN and CSA diving the same sites. Good to know. Right now the CN boat is damaged from last week's storm and the boat they are using only allows only 1 dive per day; not the usual two.
Hubby is newly certified and likes reefs with lots to see. He's not interested in wrecks even though I tell him they can be artifical reefs with lots of fish.
I am aware the other two on the other side of the island and was concerned about rough water due to open ocean. Thanks for confirming that. I guess we'll stick to CN and see what the co-workers have to say.
I think CSS & CTI will visit the same dive sites near Ocho Rios and CN & CSA definitely use the same dive sites around Negril.
We dived at CTI in Nov 2007. The staff were excellent, as was the diving. Quite varied (although I think we visited the wreck ~3 times), with generally the option of deeper dives. However the weather wasn't so good so we couldn't dive for several days, as it was too rough. Ocho Rios side of the island tends to be rougher, so could affect the days you can dive, depending on time of year.
We dived at CSA in Jan (& going back this Jan). The staff again are excellent. As already mentioned the sites tend to be shallower reefs, but lots to see and there are a couple of wrecks at 30m. They now have nitrox at CSA, which is a bonus for us.
I think you'll enjoy the diving whatever resort you go to. If you want more details I can dig out my log book and let you know more about the sites we have visited.
Thanks everyone. It looks like CN is the one. I e-mailed the dive centre there and was pleasantly surprised to get an answer in less than 24hrs. On a Sunday morning too.
The policy is that all OW divers have to dive less than 60ft. I can go with the other AOW, rescue divers, etc and do 60-100ft but of course I'm going to dive with my hubby.
When I told him this he was afraid the "shallow dives" would be in about 20ft of water. I said I didn't think so. Do you happen to remember? Also do they separate the morning dives and afternoon dives by shallow & deep or are they both the same so everyone can get in two dives? Not sure then on one site how they split into two groups (OW & AOW).
I also said he could get around this by taking his AOW while there.
The dive team will drop the advanced divers at one site and them drop the OW divers at a nearby site.
I have checked my logbook for you and some of the shallower sites that I visited are:
Fantasea reef 59feet
Island reef 60feet
Gallery 51 feet
Fish pond 31feet
Frenchman's cove 60feet.
I think doing the AOW at CN is a great idea. Only 5 dives. You can do the theory online if you want, so you dont eat up too much holiday time with paperwork. Visit www.PADI.com for details.
Enjoy your diving.
Thanks Tony for checking your log book. I'll let Joe know and I think he'll be real happy.
I asked in my e-mail to the dive centre about doing his AOW there and she said something about using some of his previous logged dives to count towards his AOW. That didn't seem right. I want him to get more experience. That means 5 dives. It looks like navigation & a night dive are the standard two and then he and his instructor pick the other three. The choice is quite large and varied. Even one for photography which is good because we have a Canon G10 with a Canon underwater case. I have always been the one who carries it and the pictures are pretty bad. I believe once he gets more comfortable; he'll want the camera.
If you look in all the dive magazines you'll see all the ads for 'Dive Jamaica'. Not! Jamaica isn't know for diving. That said, we did 5 dives while at CSS. The best was the wreck of the HMS Catherine, a British mine sweeper. It was heavily encrusted with Brain Corals and had several swim throughs along side of it. Jamaican law requires the guides to keep everyone close together, so don't expect to go off on your own to explore anything interesting. Go to Couples for the experience, the diving is just another attraction.
Fish Pond - 30+ft/10+m
This site provides many opportunities for beginners and advanced divers to take a look around. If you're looking for seahorses, this is a good spot to start. This reef is speckled with Lettuce Sea Slugs, and many other small marine life, bringing in some good size Mackerel and Jacks for feedings.
Fanta-Sea - 30ft/10m
Stay on top of the reef and check out all of the little nooks and crannies where you can find all sorts of interesting little creatures. You can also drop down off the edge to a sandy bottom and look for eels, and crabs hiding in the reef.
The Hunt - 45ft/14m
Drop down onto this patchy reef dancing across the sand. Check in all of the holes and hiding places in search of Nurse Sharks, Turtles, and Snapper. This is a good site to see Spanish mackerel darting to the surface for prey.
Arches - 45ft/14m
Located about 6 minutes from shore, this breath-taking reef is named after a set of natural arches and caverns. Look in the sand for yellow-headed jewfish and garden eels, while Morays and lobsters frequent the swim-through.
Shallow Plane - 55ft/17m
A Cessna 152 Airplane resting next to a beautifully overhanging reef. Look for Queen Angelfish, Spotted Drum Fish, and the occasional dolphin at this site.
Golden Gates - 60ft/18m
This reef is brilliant although rarely visited due to its vicinity to a fresh water shed. This reef rises up from the sand to provide many areas for creatures to hide out. Crabs, Octopus, Green Moray, Eagle Rays, amongst others have been seen here. Visibility is poor at this site during the rainy season, due to river run off.
Shark's Reef - 60ft/18m
This majestic reef provides large overhangs, making holes where you find nurse sharks hanging out during the day. Brilliantly colored, the coral juts up from the sand, looming over divers, providing opportunities for some amazing memories.
Throne Room - 65ft/19m
Descend through a crack in the reef to enter this magnificent cave. Brightly colored Tube Sponges spackle the walls where Banded Coral shrimp seek refuge. Turtles frequent the area, along with the seasonally curious Dolphin.
King Fish Point - 70+ft/21+m
Beginning around 70ft/21m this site quickly drops off to 130+ft/40+m. If you like it big, don't let this site get past you. Large Snapper and Parrot Fish frequent the area, and the gorgonians and sponges are worth checking out as well.
Deep Plane - 90ft/27m
This is where our Divemasters love to hang. Frequented by turtles, Barracuda, Spade Fish, and the territorial Ocean Trigger Fish. Drift along the outer edge before the Caribbean drops off to the deep.
Tug Boat - 90ft/27m
This wreck was sunk in 1993 to provide the sea life with an artificial reef. Settled on a sandy patch, the reef in this area is worth checking out as well. Look for Barracuda, Scrawled File Fish, and the occasional Eagle Ray passing through the area.