Help! Big Ooops on Roatan

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boulderjohn

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Checklists.

It's not just for tech dives.

I learned this the hard way when I left an entire suitcase behind on a trip.
My problem was that I carefully took the BP/W single tank assembly apart for packing and then carefully arranged each piece in the suitcase several times trying to get the best fit. The STA was set aside on one of those repackings, so I would have sworn it was in there.
 

Hoyden

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I am home now, and perhaps anyone still reading this might be interested in some random thoughts about my 18 days in Roatan.
  • We knew it was rainy season, but that phrase did not prepare us for the brief episodes of sun and dark clouds interrupting the steady rain punctuated by torrential downpours. That sure "dampened" my reflections on the experience. On the Aggressor, we got out of the water chilled after the dives and then spent the surface intervals in the walk-in refrigerator they called a boat. I guess they like that amount of air-conditioning, but by the end of that week, I was thoroughly cold.
  • No amount of warnings prepared me for the sand fleas or whatever those biting insects are. My wife went snorkeling without a wetsuit the first day at CocoView, and her back tormented her for a week. At CocoView, we learned never to set foot outside for more than a few seconds without being covered in repellant. I was still itching all over on my 5th day on the Aggressor. By the end of my week on the Aggressor, I was healed, but we had a final evening and morning on shore. We sprayed ourselves carefully, but we are now back to tormenting itchiness.
  • On our boat at CocoView, my friends and I were the only ones who were not multiple repeat visitors. One was on her 27th time there, and another couple was on their 17th. They obviously love it. They always requested the same captain and DM. They were nearly all into photography, mostly macro, and their familiarity with the crew may be the reason for our dive profiles--a brief visit to the walls or crevasses followed by long, long, long periods hovering in the coral rubble at the top of the reef. I believe the highest SurfGF I had at the end of those dives was about 19, and I was in the single digits on some dives. As predicted in this thread, I did some of the same dive sites with the Aggressor, and I much preferred the profiles we did there. I guess it shows the true meaning of Sly Stone's "different strokes for different folks." Those people loved CocoView. I will never be back.
I appreciate that you have decided not to return, but every dive at CoCo View is what you make it. You do not have to follow the dive guide or boat crowd. Tell the divemaster what your profile is going to be and they will leave you alone to dive your plan. I have hauled tech gear (including my rebreather) down to CCV and done some pretty amazing deep wall dives and long wall drop-offs. I generally will still do a couple of deep dives every time I am there (chasing cave and candy bass). Honestly, I would be happy to skip the boats almost completely and just dive Newman's wall for the week. The top of it might be my favorite place in the world to spend a solo dive.

Obviously, YMMV,

Jackie
 

stadevene

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Roatan in the rainy season can be very hit or miss. We typically go around Xmas or in February. We’ve had trips like yours where it seemed to do nothing but rain and we’ve had trips with the odd dump of rain. Mother Nature, shrugs.

The sand fleas/noseeums are there. It doesn’t seem easy to get around them and they seem to be most places on the island. Some people attract and react more than others, but it’s a feature of the area. We’ve not really been to the beaches on the west end to know if they are bad but im sure they are there.

As you determined the guided dives at CCV have a pretty standard look. First to half a tank or 30 mins along the wall face and then return on the top with 60 mins the expected max. From memory most dives we’d be back at the boat 45-50 mins depending on the site and if we had an air hog. I’ve observed some people jump back on the boat pretty quickly after getting back where others will hang out to get in their full 60.

I’ve also observed on the way out the guides will generally pick a middle depth and stick to it but divers are free to dive their profile and if you like going to ~100, a quick word before the dives is all that’s needed. I've seen dive groups have divers at 20 feet to 80+ while the core group sticks at 50ish. The critters we want to see are generally shallower so I think the guides stay at those depths, plus doing it day in and day out they likely don’t want to take things too deep. On the drop offs dives you’re of course free to do what you like and I’ve watched other head way deep. Some of the dives are deeper and we have been on dives where the conditions were right for a drift dive

CCV does have a following, we’re back for weeks 10 and 11 soon, but I recognize it isn’t for everyone or every dive style. I think if the damn sand fleas would go away it would be a much better destination. We like it because of ease. The gear setup is at least as good as a liveaboard, you barely get to touch it after it’s setup and the crew want to make it so you practically never have to lift a tank. The dives suit our profile and interests as we like to take pics and like slow speed diving. We also really like the overall unpretentious dive camp feel with good not gourmet food, and great people.
 

drrich2

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We knew it was rainy season,
I wonder what dates tend to be the main risky season for that?
then spent the surface intervals in the walk-in refrigerator they called a boat.
By the way, thanks for posting your thoughts. I've been eager to see what you thought of it all, and comparing CocoView Resort to the Aggressor.

When I've been on Caribbean Aggressors, I tended to find a lounge chair to nap on (if I wasn't after food) between dives, rather than go inside. And the top deck tends to be partially covered. Was that an option, or did you prefer hanging out in the main salon (lounge, whatever it's called)?
No amount of warnings prepared me for the sand fleas or whatever those biting insects are.
This seems to individual. I was moderate on Deep Woods Off use (with DEET), but was hardly bothered if at all. Some people, like you guys, seem to be bug magnets. I can see where that'd be off-putting.
As predicted in this thread, I did some of the same dive sites with the Aggressor, and I much preferred the profiles we did there.

but every dive at CoCo View is what you make it.
When I was at CocoView Resort, we had this one guy with a pony bottle who dove deeper than the rest of us. Way deep, it seemed. I followed him (not a buddy dive) in on one of the drop-off dives headed back, I think I broke off at 85 feet for so (IIRC) as he headed deeper.

No idea what he found particularly interesting deep.

As predicted in this thread, I did some of the same dive sites with the Aggressor, and I much preferred the profiles we did there. I guess it shows the true meaning of Sly Stone's "different strokes for different folks."
One other difference, if the Roatan Aggressor forbids solo diving like I believe some of the others do. For the drop-off dives at least, CocoView Resort boat staff were okay with me diving solo as long as conditions were good (if less so, they preferred to drop me off at the Prince Albert wreck than either of the 2 walls). So a few questions:

1.) Did the Roatan Aggressor allow solo diving?

2.) Their Know Before You Go page says they provide 80-cf tanks. Did they offer any 100-cf tanks? CocoView Resort had both, air and nitrox, and no extra charge for big tanks.

3.) CocoView Resort offers a low single supplement, whereas most live-aboard single supplements are expensive.

4.) CocoView Resort doesn't have many big sales, from what I understand, whereas Aggressor boats in the Caribbean do (e.g.: November, 'Dive the World' weeks, etc...), so price comparisons can be a little hit or miss, but overall, how did the cost of your week at each compare?

P.S.: Congratulations on 2 weeks diving!
 

DirtFish

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How about 16-23 of April 2022 Full Moon?

we will be there: “Doc’s Trip”. (Chicago)
I will see you there! My wife and I will be there the 18th-23rd. We are both CoCoView virgins.
Maybe if I can ply you with enough alcohol you can show us a few of your "secret" spots! LOL
 
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boulderjohn

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When I've been on Caribbean Aggressors, I tended to find a lounge chair to nap on (if I wasn't after food) between dives, rather than go inside. And the top deck tends to be partially covered. Was that an option, or did you prefer hanging out in the main salon (lounge, whatever it's called)?
I did it sometimes, but it was often cold, wet, and windy.
One other difference, if the Roatan Aggressor forbids solo diving like I believe some of the others do. For the drop-off dives at least, CocoView Resort boat staff were okay with me diving solo as long as conditions were good (if less so, they preferred to drop me off at the Prince Albert wreck than either of the 2 walls). So a few questions:

1.) Did the Roatan Aggressor allow solo diving?

2.) Their Know Before You Go page says they provide 80-cf tanks. Did they offer any 100-cf tanks? CocoView Resort had both, air and nitrox, and no extra charge for big tanks.

3.) CocoView Resort offers a low single supplement, whereas most live-aboard single supplements are expensive.

4.) CocoView Resort doesn't have many big sales, from what I understand, whereas Aggressor boats in the Caribbean do (e.g.: November, 'Dive the World' weeks, etc...), so price comparisons can be a little hit or miss, but overall, how did the cost of your week at each compare?

P.S.: Congratulations on 2 weeks diving!
1. No--but not a problem. My friends and I stuck together, and then a couple other guests came with us. We usually did our own dives, although sometimes that meant doing the same dives as the guides but well behind. The pack of flailing fins did not look too inviting.

2. No need. THe limit to diving was time. In order to keep to the schedule and get an adequate SI before the next dive, 50 minute dives were the norm. I never finished with less than 1100 PSI, and my friends did better than that.

3. No need for us--although I am not sure I understood you correctly.

4. It is hard to say. We booked on the Cayman Aggressor years ago, and we rebooked there several times before they finally let us use our money on another Aggressor. We scurried and did the Roatan boat, which meant we paid the same price as the Cayman Aggressor. My wife and one of our friends handled all of that (I hate those details), so I can;t be specific, but they said we paid far more than other Aggressor passengers, especially the ones who booked "late" (but still before us) and got deep discounts on the unfilled vacancies.

Our situation was especially worse because we paid extra for a premium room on the Cayman Aggressor because it was above deck--this was right after two liveaboards burned to the water line. We got no refund for that extra payment, and they put us in their "premium room," which was in the bow. It gave us the roughest night sleeps, and the bathroom was ridiculously small. We would have preferred any other room. The fact that we had paid extra to get the worst room on the boat because a standing joke among the rest of the passengers.
 
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boulderjohn

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One last story that may interest folks.

When we got to CocoView, the nurse asked us to schedule our Covid test. We told he we were going on the Aggressor and would not need it. She said they had had other guests go on the Aggressor, and the Covid test was absolutely required. We showed her an email from Aggressor headquarters in Georgia saying we would not need it. She said that email won't do us a lot of good when we try to get on the boat and they won't let us on.

We contacted Georgia again, and they again said we did not need it. Then the CocoView nurse told us that one of their employees was the son of one of the employees on the Aggressor, and he had contacted him and learned that it was an absolute requirement. Most importantly, we had no way of contacting the boat directly. We had to go through either Georgia and get one story or the nurse's contact on the boat and get another. She finally convinced us to get the test, so we paid $85 each for it--$340 total.

When we got to the Aggressor, no one even mentioned the test. It was absolutely unneeded. That had been their policy since June. When we told the person in charge what had happened, she was furious. "Why didn't somebody just call me and ask? They have my number."
 

drrich2

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3. No need for us--although I am not sure I understood you correctly.
I didn't explain real well. I brought up the point on behalf of people who might use this thread weighing their options in the future. On a live-aboard, the single supplement to have a room to yourself is often quite expensive (and I would not pay it; usually there's no need, as long as a single traveler is willing to accept a same sex roommate; that's an advantage for live-aboards over some land dive resorts, where you either bring a buddy or pay).

CocoView Resort has a quite reasonable single supplement, which I took advantage of when I stayed there last May.
 

Marie13

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Sounds like an absolutely miserable vacation to me.
 

rddvet

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Thanks. I will never go to CocoView. Sounds like horrible customer service.
 
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