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  • Review: Fortress Clothing | ATA/BAR Divers

    Fortress Clothing® Xsssss Bottom Line Xxxxxxx During an airing of ABC’s Shark Tank , our attention was drawn to a pitch on Episode 10, Season 11 when a video played of a man plunging himself into an ice hole . What was most intriguing was how quickly he claimed to recover from that bone-chilling experience. ​ The man taking the icy dip through a frozen lake hole wore apparel from Fortress Clothing®, a Utah-based company whose slogan is Warm to the Core™. Fortress Clothing describes itself as “… an outdoor clothing brand that keeps your core warm, even when you’re wet,” ( ) and claims “we found a way to keep you warm even when wet” ( ). As divers, our immediate thought was if this clothing line had an application in the underwater environment. The Fortress Clothing website focuses on outdoor enthusiasts, snow sport athletes, industrial workers, public safety, military personnel & preppers. What about the diving sector? We reached out to the company and corresponded with Dale Lewis, President of Fortress All Weather Gear. According to Dale, the company has a number of drysuit divers using Classic (½-inch insulation) Fortress Clothing apparel as undergarments and have reported “great success.” We had to find out for ourselves. Without much delay, our first Fortress apparel arrived. For our first boat dive outing, we tried the Base Pro 1/4 Zip as a surface interval warm-up top for the wetsuit diver and the Base Pro Crew as undergarment top for the drysuit diver. For those not familiar with Southern California diving: It can be an uncomfortable experience, with ocean temperatures dipping into the low 50s in wintertime. Depending on air temperature, it is not unusual for there to be little respite from the cold. Scuba parkas provide little relief for wetsuit divers during surface intervals and dry suit undergarments are known to quickly become uncomfortable with the smallest of seal leaks. Here are how are tests turned out: Wetsuit Test With water temperatures hovering at 57°F and air temperature in the mid-60s, warming up between dives with a wetsuit is usually a challenge. After exiting the water, our male divers stripped his 7/8 mm wetsuit down to the waist. The Base Pro 1/4 Zip was pulled on and it immediately began warming the chest, stomach, back, and arms. During the standard 60-minute surface interval, core temperatures returned to normal—which was a pleasantly unique experience. The only wish was to try out the Fortress gloves to make chilly hands warmer! The collar design on the Base Pro 1/4 Zip makes it impractical for use under a wetsuit. The long sleeves defeat the internal dams built in the arms of most semidry wetsuits. A vest might make for a good insulating layer for wetsuit divers. Drysuit Test Used as the only undergarment top with the Waterproof D1 Hybrid, the Base Pro Crew proved to handle a leaky neck seal wonderfully. The outer portion of the top was wet to the touch, but the water wicked away from the inside leaving the diver dry and warm. She was not aware of the neck leak until after the dive when it was evident the outer portion of the top was wet. On a second boat trip, the diver used the same configuration, but this time, a much larger slug of water—about a cup—entered the neck seal. The diver felt the water enter her drysuit but her skin stayed dry throughout the dive. This is not like most drysuit undergarments that get wet and cold with any type of leak. Other characteristics: Buoyancy & Fit Fortress Clothing items have slight positive buoyancy. When fully saturated, the Base Pro Crew floated at the surface of a freshwater pool. Adding one pound caused the top to sink. As a drysuit undergarment, the diver added one pound to her weights to compensate for the Base Pro Crew buoyant characteristics in ocean water. ​ The Fortress apparel sizing chart was accurate for us. Drysuits like the Waterproof D-1 are loose-fitting and less-snug undergarments work acceptably, but if you wear a neoprene drysuit, you might want to consider going a size smaller in tops to ensure a snug fit under an equally snug overgarment. Next Tests In cold water (<60°F): Wear the Classic Vest under a wetsuit to see if the vest enhances core warmth retention and/or shortens surface interval recovery time. In tepid water (~75°F): Wear the Classic Vest over a long sleeve rash guard (no wetsuit) to determine if the vest enhances core warmth retention and/or shortens surface interval recovery time.

  • $4 Wet Notes Pad | ATA/BAR Divers

    $4 Wet Notes Pad The WEATHERMAX All Weather Notepad Works Well Bottom Line If you need to take notes into the water but don't want to spend big money on a custom diver's underwater notepad, consider this under $4 alternative. Need to take notes underwater but don’t want to pay $30 or more for a custom solution designed exclusively for divers? Check out the WeatherMax™ All-Weather Notepad. We recently used this notepad to jot down tec dive gas plans. Wrist slates have been a disappointment in the past; pencil notes can easily smear making important notations illegible. Larger slates and specialized diver notepads are cumbersome and can be overkill. ​ Measuring 6” x 3” the WeatherMax looks like any other pocket-sized notepad except this one works underwater, and it works well. ​ After nearly a dozen deep, long dives, below is what our original gas management plan notes looked like. The notes were made with a regular pencil at the surface. No smearing and a high contrast between paper and pencil marks. Notes can be erased using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pad. ​ The WeatherMax™ All-Weather Notepad is available at Lowe’s and other retailers for under $4.

  • Scuba Tips & Tricks | ATA/BAR Divers

    Scuba Tips & Tricks We love to dive, and our goal is to share information about dive-related items of interest. The opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the founding members of ATA/BAR Divers and do not reflect the opinion of dive operators we may be affiliated with. Our orientation is a positive one that promotes the good things in diving; we do not dwell on the bad. Experiences can be different depending on the divers involved. We offer you our opinions on our experiences; we do not offer a forum to voice differing opinions on our postings. We welcome you to post differing opinions at other sites. Toxic Sunscreens Harm Coral Reefs Did you miss the news? The sunscreen you are using might be killing sea life like coral reefs. Read the ingredients label! "Reef Safe" sunscreen is no guarantee. Visibility in or Under the Water Being visible in or under the water is rarely a bad thing. Here is an idea to help make you a standout diver whether on or beneath the water's surface. Breathe Like a Diver Breathing like a diver unnatural and can be challenging for new divers. Follow these tips for out-of--water for extra practice to hone this skill. Buddy Checks: BWRAF When it comes to buddies, this pre-dive safety check should never be considered optional. Snorkel Clips (Keepers) Just a little piece of plastic? If you're a student diver, spend some time making this purchasing decision. Why Keep a Dive Log? Think of your dive log as an important diary of your experiences underwater, and there are reasons to keep yours current. A Solution for Swimmer's Ear When you are diving at a remote destination and medical care is nowhere to be found, check out this ear remedy that worked wonders for us. Computerless Diving If you don’t use a dive computer, you must calculate your dives the good old fashioned way to avoid the dangers of DCS... But why would you do that?? A Case of Bad Gas? Some air tank contaminants are impossible to detect without the help of technology. Make sure the air you breathe is as fresh as a morning breeze. Saving Soles on Bonaire Some destinations may surprise you went it comes to beach entries, and Bonaire was one such surprise for us. Know Your Hose: Regulator Hoses Sometimes, the best deal is not. Bubbles, leaks and problems with online resellers and their warranties. Magnifying Glass Brings Focus to Dive Eyes of any age diver can benefit from a simple magnifying glass. Add a one to your dive kit and bring your underwater adventures into focus. Travel with Dive Gear... Or Not? There are three types of dive travelers: The PACKERS, The RENTERS, and The LIGHTWEIGHTS. What kind of a dive traveler are you?

  • Review: G&G's Clearwater Paradise Resort | ATA/BAR Divers

    Review: G&G's Clearwater Paradise Resort Bottom Line G & G’s Clearwater Paradise Resort is a full-service dive operation that offers exceptional dining, comfortable accommodations, and unique underwater topographies for experienced divers on the island of Guanaja, Honduras. The Longer Story Good friends own a boat and take you diving with them. Great friends live on an island, cook gourmet meals, own a boat and a secluded home with eight guest rooms, and take you diving with them. You need to meet these great friends you didn’t know you had on the island of Guanaja. Guanaja is the lesser traveled* sister island of Roatan and Utila , collectively known as the Bay Islands of Honduras . And your new friends? They await you at G & G’s Clearwater Paradise Resort , located on the island’s sparsely populated north side near Mangrove Bight. George and Ginger are the “G and G” at Clearwater Paradise Resort (CPR), a custom-built, three-story, 9,000 square foot home with eight guest rooms that is nestled among lush foliage on a slope not far from the dock that moors your only effective method of island transportation. Our foursome of PADI Pros visited CPR in October 2016. We first learned of this secluded* dive destination during a happenstance meeting with George in 2014 at DEMA , a dive industry trade show. Two years later, our little group arrived without knowing anyone who had visited Guanaja before. Our primary draw to CPR was George himself; an engaging fellow with decades of diving experience who chased his dream to a tiny island where Ginger and he built CPR from scratch. We wanted to go diving with this guy… And dive we certainly did, but the incomparable dive sites around Guanaja is only part of the story. Our flight to Guanaja originated in Roatan where a larger contingent of divers spent the previous week at CoCo View Resort , a fine dive operation in its own right. After a mainland connecting flight aboard an Aerolínea Lanhsa Jetstream 31 twin-turboprop at La Cieba’s Golosón International Airport, we arrived at the tiny Guanaja Airport and were greeted by George and his boat crew who ferried us to CPR in a well-equipped, multipurpose 43-foot Wellcraft Portofino cabin cruiser that can comfortably accommodate deep sea fishing trips or divers alike. It is difficult to categorize CPR. It is unlike any other all-inclusive dive operation at top destinations like Grand Cayman, Bonaire, Roatan or Utila. CPR is akin to a bed and breakfast where you share a home with your hosts. Nature is all around you, so if you don’t like "nature" (i.e. humidity and heat and things that fly and crawl and sometimes nibble and bite—none of which are unique to Guanaja), or stair steps, or dogs, or cats, or hummingbirds, or bats, or geckos, or blue crabs—all of which are prevalent on the property—you might consider other options. During our stay, there was no television and Wi-Fi access was sporadic. The separation between guests, staff and hosts is what you would expect at any B&B. Remember that this place is remote*—there is no pedestrian access to anything, so unless you take up G & G on their offer of a ride into “town” (Mangrove Bight or elsewhere) on a boat to check things out, or commission a waterfall expedition with one of their staff, your universe for the entirety of your stay is the beautifully manicured grounds of CPR… And that was just fine with us! The food was outstanding and was freshly prepared for each meal. There is no buffet; every meal is plated. Snacks after dives were not uncommon. No meal was repeated the entire week. If you wanted more, you need only ask. Special dietary requirements need to be addressed prior to your arrival as there is no corner grocery store for last minute requests. CPR offers a full bar, which is reasonably priced, but alcohol is only available after the last dive of the day. And the bottomless jar of homemade cookies cannot be ignored. Oh, and then there is the diving… New and marginal divers beware! Some destinations may not be suitable for you. But if you are dialed-in with deep dives, buoyancy control, and night diving, you are in for a treat. It is difficult to compare the underwater experiences on Guanaja to its sister islands. While water temperatures mimic Roatan (a steady 84°F in October), Guanaja’s underwater topography is unparalleled with countless canyons, crevices, overhangs, and swim-throughs. Some sites are so convoluted with labyrinths of twists and turns into and out of the reef that you’d swear you were in an endless human-scale maze. Deep dives are not uncommon and might include a visit to the intentionally scuttled Jado Trader on the more populated south side of the island. Our night dive unveiled some unusual creatures rarely seen during the day and a few never seen before by our group. We agreed it was our best night dive experience anywhere. On the heels of Hurricane Matthew, water clarity was spotty at times and the scourge of ocean debris raised its ugly head. It is a heartbreaking reality for many of the world’s top island diving destinations. Floating trash sometimes peppered the water’s surface and its presence posed a distraction at times. The owners and staff are friendly and enjoy doting on guests. Boat crew were right there to help you into and out of the water. They handled tank swaps and gear set-ups. Lunch was served on the boat between two morning dives and an afternoon dive. Food service and bar personnel were great. If you are looking to get away from all-inclusive dive destinations with marginal buffet food and throngs of divers on cramped boats, give George and Ginger your serious consideration. When we are ready to get away again, we will be returning to our new friend’s place, G & G’s Clearwater Paradise Resort! ​ Check out our video of diving at Clearwater Paradise Resort on YouTube . * Lesser traveled , remote and secluded are big terms to experienced travelers and are words thrown around by writers without much regard, so check out Clearwater Paradise Resort on Google Earth and judge for yourself... Lesser traveled, remote, and secluded indeed! It was seldom we encountered another dive boat, or any boat for that matter. Planes flying overhead? Not a single one all week. The underwater din of boat motors was conspicuously absent. ​ This review is solely the opinion of ATA/BAR DIVERS as a product consumer and is provided without compensation, affiliation or consideration of any kind.

  • ATA/BAR Diver | PADI Enriched Air Diver Specialty Course

    PADI Enriched Air Diver Specialty Course As a courtesy to local diving enthusiasts and potential scuba students, we offer this list of scuba class courses and schedules. These links reflect the latest information available from the noted PADI training facility on each class page. ATA/BAR Divers does not make or accept training class reservations. Please call or visit the respective PADI training facility to sign-up for classes. Prices subject to change —and classes subject to cancellation —without notice.

  • Review: Beyond Diving | ATA/BAR Divers

    Review: Beyond Diving Dive Center - Riviera Maya, Mexico Bottom Line Every accomplished diver should put cenotes diving on their underwater destination bucket list, and Beyond Diving Dive Center offers exceptional service and support to make your diving-centric stay on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula an enjoyable one. The Longer Story In April 2015, a foursome of ATA/BAR DIVERS couldn’t resist a last-minute trip Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We stayed at the St. Martin Boutique Hotel and transport from the Cancun Airport was handled by Cancun Transfers USA . That was the easy part... Our biggest task was finding a local dive operator that would cater to mature, experienced divers who loathe the whole dive “cattle boat” experience that is more a rule than the exception in this part of Mexico. ​ Based on Google and ScubaBoard searches, emails to a handful of dive operators went out, and Erik from “Beyond Diving” was the only one who immediately replied. What followed was a volley of messages as we designed an itinerary for our small group. Our original plan was a custom blend of local, cenotes, and night diving, with two private boat trips to Cozumel, but the weather during our four-day stay put the kibosh to our highly anticipated “Plan A.” In the face of this major meteorological disturbance (which included strong onshore winds that closed the nearby port each day) is where Beyond Diving really shined. After enduring a red-eye flight, we were not in the mood for schedule changes, but within an hour of our arrival, shop owners Erik and Sandra, instructor Steve, and shop (canine) mascot “Piggy” scrambled to put together some spectacular cenotes diving. In short order, we were on our way to our first dive destination. Their “Plan B” activities likely exceeded what we had originally scheduled. The Beyond Diving crew were all delightful and did everything possible to make our stay enjoyable. ​ With our itinerary change to primarily diving cenotes, we squeezed in a day trip to Cozumel for drift diving, which Beyond Diving arranged for us. We took the local ferry from Playa del Carmen and were picked-up by Opal’s Dream Dive Shop for a day of diving the reefs aboard a six-pack boat staffed by an able captain Pingo and Divemaster Eric. Whether you are looking for concierge-like dive services at cenotes, local diving destinations, small boat direct-access to Cozumel dive sites from Playa del Carmen, or instruction in open water or cavern/cave environments, we recommend Beyond Diving . The shop is a couple block's walking distance from a small dock in the less touristy area of Playa del Carmen and about a 10-minute walk from our hotel and the popular downtown area of Playa del Carmen. ​ View a YouTube video of cenotes diving with Beyond Diving here . ​ This review is solely the opinion of ATA/BAR DIVERS as a product consumer and is provided without compensation, affiliation or consideration of any kind.

  • Review: Dryrobe | ATA/BAR Divers

    Dryrobe: A No Privacy Solution to Cold & Wet Dive Gear Bottom Line : Every once in a while we run across a product that we want to tell everyone about. So is the case with the Short Sleeve Towel Dryrobe®: A solution to changing out of cold, wet gear when few privacy options are available. Taller divers be aware of short hemline. You’re done with your last dive of the day. You are soaked and cold and just want to get out of your sopping wet dive gear but privacy options are limited. Either your shore dive entry point has no places to retreat to or your dive boat has a line of equally saturated and frigid divers waiting at the single door to the head. There is an option: The Short Sleeve Towel Dryrobe ®. Dryrobe® is more than a traditional dive parka and much more than a beach towel. It is a simple product that gives you complete privacy while you slip out of your soaked gear and into a dry change of clothes while doubling as an absorbent towel to dry off with and a means to warm yourself much like a zippered jacket would. Those of us at ATA/BAR DIVERS were early adopters of the Dryrobe®, the product of a UK-based company of the same name. With its unfitted, roomy sleeves, the Dryrobe® is well suited for women who must deal with apparel on the top-half of their bodies, and such changes can be done in privacy among divers and others on the boat deck, beach, parking lot, or roadway shoulder. The Dryrobe® proclaims itself as The Outdoor Change Robe™. When we purchased our Dryrobes in 2015, the international shipment was received from the UK. Their US - and UK-based websites appear to have expanded their product line since that time. The robes are made from thick, supple, and absorbent terry material that holds up very well with machine washing and drying. The Short Sleeve Towel Dryrobe® always garner comments on dive boats. And as far as our conventional dive jackets and parkas? They are getting plenty of rest on their respective hangers in our dive gear closet. We do have a couple of observations for potential buyers: (1) If you are taller than the average diver, you may be disappointed with the Dryrobe’s length, which is 3'7" long from shoulder to hem, according to the Dryrobe® website . On an exemplar 6'2” [188 cm] male diver, the hemline rests several inches short of the kneecaps, and that is with no bending or other contortions normally associated with a clothes change (see Figure 2). With taller users, this hem could easily result in an inadvertent "bum spotting," or worse! ​ (2) Make sure to initially wash the Dryrobe® separately in cold water to avoid damaging other clothes in the same wash. In short (no pun intended), we are big fans of the Dryrobe® and we think you will be too. Dryrobe® and The Outdoor Change Robe™ are the respective registered trademark and trademark of Dryrobe. ​ This product review is solely the opinion of ATA/BAR DIVERS as a product consumer and is provided without compensation, affiliation or consideration of any kind. ​ Figure 1. Short Sleeve Towel Dryrobes. Figure 2. Hem length on 6'2" (188 cm) male.

  • Equipment Reviews | ATA/BAR Divers

    Scuba Equipment Reviews We love to dive, and our goal is to share information about scuba diving equipment. The opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the founding members of ATA/BAR Divers and do not reflect the opinion of dive operators we may be affiliated with. Our orientation is a positive one that promotes the good things in diving; we do not dwell on the bad. But occasionally, our experience may be less-than-acceptable with a product or service—and we will share that with our readers. Experiences can be different depending on the divers involved. We offer you our opinions on our experiences; we do not offer a forum to voice differing opinions on our postings. We welcome you to post differing opinions at other sites. Product Review: TAC Non-Military Fin Do these fins even work? That was our first impression of the TAC fins when they showed up at the door. It is smaller and lighter than any fin you've experienced. Product Review: Defiant XT Fin The Defiant XT provides a booted foot with a solid platform to work with. With its comfortable but firm foot pocket grasp, my foot and the Defiant become one. Product Review: The $5 Flashlight Sold by dozens of eBay retailers and frequently labeled "Shallow Light," how does this $5 US flashlight hold up under real diving conditions? We tested it out. Review: DGX Rio Gauge Reader Mask If you are grappling with the close-up vision limitations of being a mature diver, there is an inexpensive and effective solution for your older eyes underwater. Cheap & Easy Image Editing Try GIMP! A free and easy software fix for your underwater digital images is just a download away. Review: Olympus TG-4 Camera Looking for a low-cost digital video and still camera with exceptional features to chronicle your underwater experiences? Your search might be over with the TG-4. Product Review: Scurfa Watches The Scurfa Diver One is a reasonably priced, solid, classic dive watch that will turn heads on your next boat trip. Product Review: Dryrobe ® Dryrobe® : A solution to changing out of cold, wet gear when few privacy options are available. Product Review: $4 Wet Notes Pad Check out this inexpensive solution to taking important notes underwater. Avoid paying $30 or more for products designed and customized for divers. Review & For Sale: DUSLATE mini Designed for quick communications between divers, the Dusol DUSLATE mini is the world's first electronic writing board ("e-slate") for diving.

  • Snorkel Clip Tips | ATA/BAR Divers

    Keepers: A Student Diver's Guide to Snorkel Clips Bottom Line : As a student diver, consider the design of the snorkel clip (keeper) when you purchase your snorkel and make sure the keeper is compatible with your mask strap. A closed snorkel keeper design (as seen in Image #3) will keep your snorkel where it belongs—on your mask and off the ocean floor. As a new PADI Open Water Diver student, part of your mandatory dive equipment is a snorkel. This article is not a pro or con debate on snorkels but rather an observation of what student divers purchase when it comes to that small little piece of seemingly insignificant plastic attached to your snorkel, the snorkel keeper, also known as the snorkel clip. Those of us at ATA/BAR DIVERS like snorkels, and we like to keep the snorkels we buy. What we frequently see are student divers with snorkels that won’t stay clipped to their mask straps. Two of the biggest problems with snorkel purchases are ill-informed salespeople or the students themselves as they wade through a sea of snorkel options and styles. There are many different keeper designs on the market that can be grouped into two broad categories: Open and Closed Designs. The open design keeper (as seen in Images 2, 4, and 6, above) allows divers to easily slip the keeper onto and off of the mask strap. The closed keeper design (Images 1, 3, and 5) has a loop that stays on the mask strap. The clip depicted in Image 3 is designed to stay on the mask strap and allows the snorkel to be easily removed using an interlocking device. Not surprisingly, a snorkel that easily disconnects from your mask intentionally will also become disconnected unintentionally at the most inopportune times—and this is why we do not recommend open keeper designs similar to those depicted in Images 2, 4, or 6. Image 3 shows the fully-closed keeper design of the Tusa Platina II Hyperdry line of snorkels, which we recommend. This keeper —patented by Tusa as the Comfort Swivel —allows for snorkel swiveling and a quick-disconnect from the mask; it is also available with Hyperdry Elite II snorkels. For more information, visit the Tusa website . Something else to consider is the compatibility of your mask strap with your snorkel. The two are not always made for each other, especially considering the very narrow mask straps seen with today’s new masks. Some straps are only ¾”-wide, which is probably great for mask-wearing comfort, but not so great for supporting the weight of an attached snorkel. Make sure to try on the two together to ensure their symbiotic relationship is sound. Are you in love with your Tusa snorkel with its fully-enclosed Comfort Swivel design but HATE changing the keeper between masks and are too cheap to buy another snorkel for that other mask you own? You can purchase an extra black (TC-507 ) or white (TC-506 ) snorkel adaptor (and other snorkel parts) from Tusa directly at .

  • Saving Soles | ATA/BAR Divers

    Saving Soles: The Harsh Reality of Bonaire Beach Entries Bottom Line : Before traveling to Bonaire (or other destinations with rugged shorelines), consider some solid footwear in order to make a safe and pain-free shore entry. There is a lot of buzz about diving Bonaire … and for good reason. It is truly the island for DIY (do-it-yourself) Diving, where most dive operators include a rusty (but trustworthy) pick-up truck with your accommodations, along with an unlimited supply of air or nitrox tanks. Dive when you want, where you want, and how much you want at any of the 86 recognized dive sites in the Bonaire Marine Park . What you may not have read about is the composition of nearly every beach entry point. Tenderfoots beware! Your standard-issue dive boots will not withstand the harsh reality of Bonaire’s cobbled beaches, which are littered with billions of coral chunks that will definitely imperil your soles. The stacks of heavy-duty dive rental booties at one scuba shop (pictured above) were a late clue that the locals do not mess around with their coral-strewn beaches. After four days of unrelenting sole torture, we broke down and purchased a pair of TUSA DB-4000 heavy-duty boots, which proved very effective at neutralizing any coral-induced pain. But we can’t say we are completely in love with this boot because of its zipper design. The Tusa boots come unzipped far too easily while in the water. Only now do we realize there is not a Velcro zipper “keeper” on the Tusa DB-4000 that can be seen on other manufacturer’s boots (see images, below). There are many purchasing options when it comes to hard sole dive boots. Simply Google “heavy duty dive boots” or “hard sole dive boots” and you will see models from top manufacturers like Scuba Pro , Aqua Lung , Mares , Seac , and XS Scuba . Ocean Enterprises has a huge selection of hard sole boots to choose from. While the ultimate brand of heavy-duty boot is an option, purchasing a pair for your trip to Bonaire is not. Save your soles; your feet will love you for it.

  • Review: CoCo View Resort | ATA/BAR Divers

    Review: CoCo View Resort Bottom Line CoCo View Resort is a well-oiled, all-inclusive dive center where nothing is left to chance. The grounds are beautifully manicured; rooms are spacious and comfortable; buffets offer ample, tasty food at every meal. Shore dives, dive spots, boats, and staff are all exceptional. This place has a loyal following, and for good reason. The Longer Story During the Fall of 2016, a group of eight California divers made their first trip to the revered CoCo View Resort on Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras. A shuttle van transported us about 20 minutes from the Roatan Airport to a small dock where we took a two-minute ride across a waterway to CoCo View Resort (CCV). We were warmly greeted dockside with the question, “Have you stayed with us before?” It became apparent that those of us that hadn’t were very much in the minority. Other divers aboard our shuttle boat quickly disembarked and began exchanging pleasantries and hugs with CCV staff members in the vicinity who welcomed more than a few of these newly arrived guests by name. In this YouTube video , CCV claims to be the most returned to dive resort in the world. That is an awfully tall claim that none of us newbies readily accepted at face value, but by trip’s end, we few naysayers were believers that this claim was well-deserved and very, very accurate. The grounds of CCV are beautifully maintained and manicured. Upkeep on a place like this is a never-ending process. During our stay there was renovation to a overwater walkway and what appeared to be new construction to an outlying area of the resort. Rooms were roomy and beds comfortable. Housekeeping made daily visits to keep the rooms tidy and exchange used linens. If you are traveling with your significant, consider the overwater cabanas. Quiet, spacious, and well, over-the-water… Need we say more? The screened-in dining hall is large and comfortable, and offers a nice view of the water and shore dive entry point. The full service bar is reasonably priced. Live entertainment is offered on alternate days during the week and proved to be popular with the guests. Food is served buffet style and is very good. Menu items are not repeated during the week. Kitchen staff is friendly and very helpful. The dive boats are staffed by exceptional crews, many of whom have worked at CCV for decades—and that fact alone speaks volumes about this place and how it’s run. Our group was assigned to the CoCo III boat. Our crew was captain Jorge and Divemaster Eddie. Both gentlemen were knowledgeable and helpful. Eddie was particularly adept at spotting macro life; his English speaking skills and knowledge of local sea life were both superb. Our group thoroughly enjoyed our time with them. As testament to CCV’s repeat customer base, our boat had one diver who had visited the resort over 30 times since 2004. At the conclusion of our week’s stay, resort management recognized a number of returning guests and those who had attained “CocoNuts " status—five trips qualifies you to become a “Nut,” and your tenth trip is free. There was talk at the resort about one particular guest-family that spends every other week at the resort yeararound! And we can completely understand why. CCV has been in business for a long time; it is truly a well-oiled machine. No matter the activity or the scenario, there is a procedure established for guests to undertake that makes perfect sense. This is not to say that CCV is stodgy or inflexible. It means there is nothing left to chance, from conducting shore dives or night dives to drop-off dives onto the house reefs (Newman or CoCo View walls). Shore dives from CCV offer quick access to the house reefs and the nearby scuttled wreck, the Prince Albert, a 140-foot tanker sank as a dive destination. Make sure to take in one or more night dives during your stay. The resort has its own dive operation, Dockside Dive Center , its own resident underwater photographer, and a registered nurse/DAN medic whose services are regularly accessed by divers who find themselves with various ailments during the trip. There are many dive sites that CCV frequents. The boats leave for the morning dive after breakfast and the afternoon dive after lunch. Some divers on our spacious boat became bored with the “drop-off” dives that followed each of the morning and afternoon dives of the day. In essence, CCV schedules two boat dives per day. On the way back to the dock, the boat will drop divers off alternatively on one of the two house reefs, either Newman Wall or CoCo View Wall. While these sites are fine, they do become long in the tooth by week’s end. Considering that most Bay Island dive operators offer three or four true boat dive destinations per day, we would have been happier with fewer drop-off dives and more actual dive destinations accessed by boat. With that said, our group gives CCV high marks in all categories and most of us plan on a return trip as soon as next year… And it would be no surprise at all if a few of us go “Nuts” like so many guests before us. ​ This review is solely the opinion of ATA/BAR DIVERS as a product consumer and is provided without compensation, affiliation or consideration of any kind.

  • SCUBA*tag | atabardivers

    SCUBA*tag is a rugged, 1.5-inch (38mm) anodized red aluminum tag featuring your name (or nickname) on the front side in large letters along with your full name, date of birth (DOB), contact information (phone and email), medical conditions, and emergency contact information on the reverse side. The SCUBA*tag can be affixed to any dive equipment with its stainless steel split ring. Order one SCUBA*tag and get a second, identical SCUBA*tag for free for only $XX.XX! SCUBA*tag Sections The SCUBA*tag has the following assigned sections. When you order your SCUBA*tag , you will be asked to complete each of the defined sections. To order your own SCUBA*tag, please: Review the below information for an explanation of each section of the SCUBA*tag . Complete the online form with information for each section of the SCUBA*tag . Pay for your SCUBA*tags using the convenient PayPal links where you will also let us know where to send your tags. If you are ordering SCUBA*tags in a name other than your own, please note this in your PayPal payment. ​ Customized sections for the SCUBA*tag are also available. Please contact us for special pricing and details. Nickname This is the name that will be displayed in large letters on side 1 of the SCUBA*tag . This side is designed to be facing outward on your worn equipment so that dive crew and dive buddies can recognize you no matter how much dive equipment you have on. Full Name This is the name that will be imprinted on the back side (side 2) of your SCUBA*tag . Date of Birth Engraved on side 2 of the SCUBA*tag , your birthdate (DOB) will be formatted in the day-month-year format, i.e., 25-Dec-1981. Contact Information This section is for your contact information. Typically it includes phone number (in international format, i.e,. +1-213.555.1212 for US numbers) and email address, but any information can be printed in this area up to *** characters. Medical Information The medical information section of your SCUBA*tag can contain any relevant information that might be helpful to dive crew, your dive buddy, or first responders. This section can contain up to *** characters. Emergency Contact The last section of your SCUBA*tag is intended for contact information in case of an emergency. Usually, this will include the name of your emergency contact and their phone number. This section can contain up to ** characters. Order Your Scuba*tags today! One order includes two (2) SCUBA*tags Nickname Full Name Contact Info DOB Medical Info Emergency Contact Comments Submit Request Thank you for your SCUBA*tag information! To complete your order, please make sure to submit payment, below.

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