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Shore diving in Roatan?

Discussion in 'Bay Islands' started by KneeDeep, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. gb_williams

    gb_williams Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Smyrna, Georgia
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    Having been there and dove there, I'm pretty much sold on CoCo View vs. its neighbor, Fantasy Island. You'll do two boat dives a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Following each dive, the boats will drop you off on either of the two house reefs and you can fin your way in to shore.

    The reefs and the sunk freighter Prince Albert which lies between them, are much more convenient to CCV than to FIBR. In fact on a shore dive from FIBR, you'll have to swim past Newman's Wall and then past the Prince Albert to get to CoCo View Wall.

    I also really like the way the lockers are set up at CoCo View. You literally have 24 hour access to your gear, tanks, analyzer and Nitrox log book. A couple of times we started the day with a pre-dawn dive -- going in around 5:00 AM to see the transition from the night shift to the daytime fish and critters.

    You can easily get in five dives a day at CoCo View.
     
    mntlblok likes this.
  2. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    9,074
    1,612
    113
    If you want shore diving on Roatan, you pick the resort that has the on-site shore diving that appeals to you, and that otherwise appeals to you. It's not a rent a car, grab tanks, and drive around kind of place anything like Bonaire. (Most people will recommend that you don't even think about renting a car on Roatan.)

    For AIs on Roatan with shore diving, I've only done CocoView. (I've also stayed at XBalanque, very nice but definitely NOT your choice if you're looking for value and shore diving.) I prefer the sound of the boat schedule at FI, but CCV still seems like a better option if you're focused on lots of shore diving. I'm somewhat fussy about where I stay - I want it all :wink: - so while FI is getting better reviews lately, it has a checkered past and I'd have to hear lots more better stuff before I ever considered it.

    Anthony's Key advertises shore diving, but it's limited hours, doesn't sound that great, and doesn't seem all that convenient. If I went there I suspect I might do it once then not bother any more.
     
    mntlblok likes this.
  3. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    9,934
    2,705
    113
    I've done the AKR dive,as you say, about that many times. Other days, it is/was commonly weathered out with a very rough entry and a very long way to go before you really see much of anything. It is a shore dive in theory only.

    A fabulous AKR shore access dive is often neglected and seldom done. Muck diving is not high on the list for most divers, but the dive around AKR Pier and the inner lagoon is just incredible. A really great night dive, always sheltered from weather... Lots of cool Caribbean critters.

    Muck diving has has a couple of hurdles against it: the name, the lack of colors, the creepiness, but this is really an important step in dive skills progression. You can muck dive from FIBR and CCV as well as do the shore dive pretty reefs, but for shore access from AKR, this often overlooked muck dive treasure is well worth it.
     
    mntlblok likes this.
  4. Midge907

    Midge907 Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    427
    107
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    Have you dove around the Dock of CCV, do they discourage Muck diving in that area at all? Thanks, going to be there in a few weeks, and was interested in diving a couple spots that most others could care less in going.
     
  5. octopuppy

    octopuppy Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: ABQ, NM
    245
    41
    28
    Lots of goodies under the dock and along the supporting rock structures. Cudas, all manner of blennies, eels, octos, etc. There's also a small dock to get your gear situated as you walk out/in while your head's still above water that has amazing things most don't appreciate. Plenty to see in the grasses at 1ft too. Enjoy!
     
    mntlblok, Midge907 and Doc like this.
  6. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    9,934
    2,705
    113
    +1 to Octopuppy as above.

    At CCV, there are essentially no restrictions to any dive. Be an adult, be safe, go dive.

    If if you are going to do the dock area, advise the Dockmaster and borrow a float, especially if you're going to be in the traffic lanes. The pier posts are covered with Sea Horses, the area is bountiful with Rays and Eels.

    From the back docks, you can get into the shallows of the Mangroves within a 30' radius swim. Lots of critters dwell there.

    Or, walk in gear from the dive lockers West out onto the small Hawksbill Key, face Fantasy Island and flop in. You might detect a prehistoric geologic remnant of a 6' wall. (It runs W to FI's bridge) This area and curving South thru the regular boat lanes, you will get increasingly more coral. Linger here in these shallows, get to know this gem, come back at night!

    The shallows in Front of CCV, out to the shallow top of the break of CCV Wall, most divers never really explore this enough. Easy access and extreme shallow depths can give you BTs of 2 hrs where, if you're observant, you'll never get bored. (Thirsty for a beer, maybe)

    if if it is dead flat calm, be certain to do the very top of CCV Wall in 8-10fsw. This is some of the most pristine reef structure extant in the Caribbean. Calm conditions can make a night dive atop of Newmans Wall (on the FIBR side) an Octopus circus. This otherwise wave battered Moonscape is just their favorite real estate.

    Just NW of FIBRs Gazebo, there is a small beach. The Ocean in front of it, just between the sand and a short string of barrier rocks... At night it becomes Eel City. Reachable easily from CCV as well, but you gotta have a plan.

    The main caution I would give you is to observe the common boat traffic patterns from and thru FIBR. Guest yachties, employees, locals and even FI Dive boats ignore the "slow!" signs with equal disdain. Easiest solution: make your entry, understand where you are, maintain a 10' depth. No haircuts.

    [​IMG]


    This shore dive area which is often referred to as "the same" between both FI and CCV? It is not. At CCV,you just flop into the water and you're there. If you are diving from FI, give the Dockmaster $5 and have him take you from the dive op to the shore dive by their work pram.

    Otherwise, it's quite an overland hump from FIs dive op out to the FI Gazebo, even if they do transport your gear in advance. From the FI Gazebo to the Wreck and viable Coral is also quite a swim, so save air, take the boat over and do a back roll over the Wreck. It's worth a few dollars tip.

    Returning to to either resort is fairly simple. On your "orientation dive" they will point out the mechanical marks to get you home. Find the 140' Prince Albert Wreck. The anchor chain (with attached reflectors) leads you quickly shallow and North back to CCV. If you want FI, follow the rope to the DC3, then notice the partially buried aircraft cable that runs West, it will take you to the FI Gazebo. Pretty murky in that route, so stick with that cable. Learn these well in the daylight, makes any night dive so much easier.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
    AaronRiot, mntlblok and Midge907 like this.
  7. Midge907

    Midge907 Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    427
    107
    43
    Thanks for the hints, I think I may have to print all that info Doc. I dove the top of the walls last time I was there in 10fsw and must say that I enjoyed my time at that depth. Hopefully the seas are calm on this next trip. All my night dives I did there last time were on the Prince Albert, this next time I will be spending my time on the walls for the most part.
     
  8. tarponchik

    tarponchik Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: USA
    1,739
    385
    83
    I think you are exaggerating. There is a short swim from the gazebo to the buoy where you go down and follow the chain to the wreck which is almost right there. The wall further east was more interesting, though. When we were there (April/May-07) the water was always messed up by night, so early morning dives, no later than 5:45, soon became our preference. And of course there would be no boat waiting for you that early. We did 27 dives in 7 days that trip.
     
  9. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    9,934
    2,705
    113
    That's a lot of dives for a week's stay at FI. You lead the pack, no doubt. FIBR also often has very inexpensive deals, but read the fine print with care. Then compare apples to apples.

    If you (Tarponchick) did more than two "early morning dives", you got my "record" beat on that. See you at coffee :wink: I will often do both a 7pm and a 9pm night dive, but I have only seen the Honduran Sunrise on videos :rofl3:

    When you mention ""a short swim from the gazebo to the buoy where you go down"", readers should check out what I mentioned in Post #16, ∏9. Descend immediately, transition across the FI Boat Access Channel at depth for safety. I've yet to have found a chain to FI.

    But no, I am not exaggerating, I have done dive access from both points enough to actually compare the difference. You mention about the water "always being messed up at night", but this effect can vary throughout the day. It is largely dependent upon tidal shift (the best viz is at "slack tide"). Again, there are also huge differences between the FI and CCV access due to the extensive dredging done by FI for their man-made beaches. The water near the FI entry is quite often occluded and only clears up out near the Prince Albert Wreck (in front of CCV), sometimes even a bit further East. The DC3 is usually murky, but then again, critters like that.

    The shore dive access from CCV is in comparatively clear water...
    [​IMG]

    A discussion about the distinctions between FI and CCV shore dive access (as it is often called, "the same" dive site) can go on endlessly, but it ends pretty suddenly when two divers who have done it both ways come to share a beer.

    Here are some sketches made over beers~ over the years...

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    The 140' Tanker, the Prince Albert, as denoted above in GREEN

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The DC3 Aircraft, before:
    [​IMG]

    and "after":
    [​IMG]

    The "Head", an image taken at "CocoView Wall", a spot at the far right edge of image #3 above (or see image in Post#16, where it is denoted by the far right hand "RED Can"
    [​IMG]

    The single best "VIZ" dive tip I can give for this area:

    If the Channel (the PA Wreck and close-in environs) are clouded up, it will always be clear at the above shown point and East from there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
    mntlblok likes this.
  10. tarponchik

    tarponchik Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: USA
    1,739
    385
    83
    Doc, we kept the same schedule later on Utila, starting every day with a 5:30 dive. Early morning dives have their charm, since fish are mostly still asleep but you do not have to scare them with your flashlight. As I recall, there was a stoplight parrotfish who lay across a large shallow sponge like a human in a bed, every morning at the same place.

    As for the boat traffic at Prince Albert, there was none at 5:45 am :D
     
    Doc likes this.

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