Trip Review of the True Blue Bay Resort and Aquanauts Grenada

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Wookie

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Well, Mel and I went on vacation recently. We chose to visit Peter Seupel and his wife Gerlinde, owners of Aquanauts Grenada, a PADI 5 star dive center and TDI technical diving center in St. George, Grenada. We chose Aquanauts because they are rebreather friendly, and we thought we would be traveling with another couple who would be diving rebrethers. Unfortunately, they were unable to join us, but we met some other folks we knew and knew of in the airport in Miami, and it turned out they would be diving with us, too.


We caught an American Airlines flight direct from Miami to Grenada on Sunday evening. That plane returns to Miami on Monday morning, so we took the same plane both ways. The plane happens to be a new Boeing 737, and of course it had onboard wifi and other amenoties that made the plane very nice. The flight crew was great, but the American airlines ground crew in both Grenada and Miami just suck. They go out of their way to make passengers uptight and grumpy before they get on the plane so the flight crew has to deal with a bunch of meanies. In any case, we arrived at Grenada with only a minor glitch on the ground in Miami and no entertainment system for the flight. I find the I am entertaining enough for most people. I don't know if the flight attendants were amused.


We were picked up at the airport by Terry, the resort shuttle driver and delivered to the True Blue Bay Resort. It was after 10 PM when we arrived, so they checked us in in a hurry, fed us a sandwich which was delicious, and sent us to bed with a warning that breakfast was at 7 AM, and the dive boat left at 8:30.


We awoke that first morning to beautiful sunshine and a light breeze out of the southeast. Breakfast was included in the room charge and was a buffet consisting of fresh cut fruits, cereal, toast or bagels, coffee or tea, waffles, yoghurt, and an omelet bar. Mel was a good girl and had fruit and yoghurt. I was not so good, and basically ate everything in sight. The coffee was delicious, and the service was as expected. More on island service later. Breakfast runs from 7 AM to 10 AM for the slackers. We met the boat at 8:30 and boarded. Nitrox is included in the price of the charter, and 30% is the standard. The dive shop has a membrane system, and fills were consistently 3100 PSI and 29.8 to 30.6 %. Just like in the USA, fills are checked and analysis is done by the customers upon boarding the boat. A boat briefing was given prior to departure and included potty training, life jacket locations, where to throw trash, and where the cold spring water could be found between dives so divers could wet their whistle. Mel was getting over a slight head cold, so we chose not to push her sinuses and only made a 2 tank morning that first day. I won't go into boring detail about every dive, but Grenada has a very nice selection of wrecks and reef to dive. The wrecks sunk where they did through acts of nature or God, and were not placed as artificial reefs, so they still contain their cargo and fittings, unless they've been salvaged since. I am happiest on a reef, so we typically dove a wreck followed by a reef to keep everyone happy. The reef is one long barrier reef with lots of different names. You can expect seahorses, gurnards, frog fish, and nudibranchs on most dives. Big fish are not as common as they are in the Florida keys, although we saw plenty of Mutton Snappers and Yellowtail, we only saw one very nervous Nassau grouper, although coneys and hinds were plentiful. We saw one very small nurse shark on shark reef, and no pelagic sharks at all. Winds were consistently 10-15 knots out of the southeast and would be for the entire week, making it too rough to go to the Atlantic side, where the big pelagic fish are reported to be. Story of my life, the fish are elsewhere.


That first afternoon, since Mel didn't want to dive, we walked to see the sights. I was in search of a roti, a West Indies curried meat dish wrapped in a flour tortilla shell. I lived in St. Lucia for a year as a dive instructor, and I can't be scared by local cooking. We were also looking for a battery for my Shearwater computer which gave me a low battery warning on the first dive, and crapped the bed on the second dive. I like a little more warning than that, but whatever. Turns out that batteries for the Shearwater may be found nowhere on Grenada. We found lots of batteries, but not that one. What is it about dive computer manufactures that find the most obscure, off the wall batteries tht can't possibly be found in a third world country? What is wrong with double As or even the more popular camera battery? Without a battery to be found (no worries, I had a backup uwatec with me) we headed off to the Roti stand and bar. We were assured tht this would be the best roti this side of.... Well, it would be the best roti. Along the way we met some nice locals who were interested in selling me some herbs, but since I wasn't planning on cooking, I respectfully declined. I was also offered some crack but I didn't think a case of plumbers butt would be appropriate on my walk to town, so I declined that too. Actually, the locals were very kind, certainly the friendliest I have ever encountered in any place I have traveled in the Caribbean. When we got to the roti shop, we were in luck, they had chicken roti, my favorite. What I forgot was that locals like their chicken with bones, which makes me gack. Mel and I each got a chicken with bones roti and carefully ate it, picking bony bits out with every bite. Upon relaying our story to the owners of the dive shop, they laughed and told me to ask for boneless chicken the next time, and that we would be much happier.


Day 2 dawned with another 2 tank morning dive on a wreck and a reef. We ordered a boneless chicken roti from the folks at the dive shop and were much more satisfied with lunch. There was an afternoon reef dive offered which we took advantage of, but I was not interested in the night dive, as is normal for me. The reef dives in Grenada are all drift dives, which can range from a barely perceptible current to a couple of knots or better. As I said previously, there is really one long barrier reef with many different names. When we asked to repeat a dive, unless it was a wreck, we were dropped somewhere on the reef and told that it was a reef we had previously been on. We didn't really care, except when we wanted to go back and film the sea horse. It didn't really matter because we found more seahorses, but I found it amusing. So morning dives consisted of a wreck and a reef called purple rain, or deep purple, or whippels, or.... And the afternoon dive was usually on shark reef. All were very good in terms of coral health, tropical fish life, and little stuff. Big fish were to be found elsewhere.


The boats at Aquanauts are built to carry up to about 12 divers comfortably. They are 28-38 feet long powered by Yanmar turbo diesels. There is a large camera table on each boat, although with the folks we dove with, we used it to capacity with 2 Gates video rigs, 4 or 5 point and shoots with strobe arms and strobes, and one housed d-60 with strobe arms and strobes. The divemasters will set your gear up for you although if you growl at them they are most happy to let you set it up yourself. Entry is by giant stride off of the swim step and cameras are handed down. Snack consists of those delicious little bananas that are so prevalent in the Caribbean, divers tea (Diversatea?), and whatever melon is in season. Surface intervals were about an hour, and every reef dive is an hour also. The dive on the wreck of the Bianca C is a bit shorter than that, however.


We dove the Biana C on day 3 and day 4. Although I am certified as a technical diver, I chose to stay within recreational limits on these dives. I was able to not bust 130 feet and still see the rudder (it's the size of a barn door. A big ass barn door), the swimming pool, the wheelhouse and the bow, which is very interesting. The anchor lockers are still penetrable, as are a few of the cabins. The ship is starting to crumble, showing many signs of rapid deterioration in the past year. She is certainly a beast, at 600 feet long and 200 feet deep, and rests in 2 pieces on the bottom right outside of St. Georges harbor. The sides are still covered with soot from the fires that sunk her, and the coral growth on her hull is phenomenal, with whips and black corals and sea fans, etc. average depth of the deck is 100 feet, making this a relatively quick dive, but with a nice reef to deco/safety stop on before ascending to the boat. I'd like to go back with a rebreather and spend some time on her to really see the ship.


We dove the marine park on day 5. The reefs in the marine park are spectacular, and the junk car dump is.... well.... interesting. There is a groovy old VW microbus, and lots of junk. The car dump is at about 90-110 feet, and it really isn't interesting enough to spend much time there, especially since the shallow reef is so good. The boat carries snorklers when it goes to the reef, so you have to meet the boat in the next bay, and if you're hard on air like I am, it can be a bit of a surface swim. I'll skip the junk cars next time. In the marine park reef we saw lots of nudi's, some tiny scorpionfish, flamingo tongues, deer cowries, just all of the little things you would expect on a shallow reef. Then came the sculpture park. The sculpture park is the brainchild of some "artist". I found it creepy and not at all what I am looking for while diving. There are over 100 bodiless heads on the reef, and a circle of statues of people sending in a circle and I swear that they look like they are handcuffed together and drowned. Very unsettling. I hope the artist is happy with his creation. Aside from that unpleasantness, the marine park is a great dive, and I'm sure most folks would find the statuary interesting.


Let me tell you about the True Blue Bay Resort. It is on a hill overlooking the True Blue Bay, with 2 other businesses on property. Horizon yacht charters does a brisk business renting cruising sailboats for one or two weeks to those who don't want the pain of owning their own. Aquanauts scuba is also there. Mel and I stayed in the true blue room, which was the smallest and least expensive on the resort, and was just fine for the 2 of us. We had a big bathroom, efficient air conditioner, king sized bed, and kitchenette with fridge. Our room fronted the pool. Above us were the tower suites, equipped with a tower, or widows walk, I think for drinking beer in. The azure rooms overlooked a construction site where it looks like the bay is being reclaimed (to be honest, I didn't ask) and the waterfront rooms overlooked the bay, natch. The Dodgy Dock restaurant was on a pretty nice dock over the water and covered with a sailcloth roof. It was dry during the frequent squalls, unless the rain came sideways, in which case you get wet. Lunch consists of a relatively inexpensive menu (all inclusive is available) of wraps, curries, and burgers. Avoid the burgers but everything else is delicious and plentiful. Even divers won't be hungry. The boat will call in your order on the surface interval so it is ready when the boat hits the dock. This is important. Dinner consists of a theme night, including barbecue (no, Texans, it isn't real barbecue, it's just grilled meat), Mexican food (ummmm...), wing night, and other themes. We didn't eat there that much. Just down the road is Bananas nightclub, which has a fantastic hamburger and a great dinner menu, and the road to the campus of St. Georges University had some fast food shacks with excellent pizza, sushi (I'm not too sure how the salmon is fresh, but whatever), a chicken joint, and others. All are a short walk from True Blue Bay Resort. The pharmacy next to Bananas has the cure for what ails you.


Like other Caribbean islands, Grenadians have their own ideas for what passes for customer service. You will get what you ordered. Someday. The first glass of water comes swiftly after being seated. The next 10 or 12 (we are divers, after all) maybe not so quick, and getting the pitcher left at the table is just about impossible, although I did see it done. Remember, the servers are going to be there all day, and have nothing else to do but take care of you, so it may take all day to get taken care of. The dive shop recognizes this, that's why they call in the lunch order on the surface interval after the first dive. They want to leave the dock on time for the afternoon dive.


I highly recommend the True Blue Bay Resort and Aquanauts Grenada for diving in the Caribbean. Peter and Gerlinde are fabulous hosts and will cater to you regardless of your level of certification. They have 6 rental rebreathers and offer training on the Inspiration/Evolution. They have sorb and oxygen and a booster, as well as a dozen sets of 2 and 3 liter rental cylinders. True Blue Bay Resort has clean comfortable rooms reasonably priced. I am already booked for 2012.....
 

Rhone Man

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Thanks. Have been meaning to go to Greneda and check the Bianca C for some time. Had always planned to go with True Blue / Aquanauts, so always value a report!
 

divesergeant

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Wookie,

Thanks for an in-depth report.

We, too, found great pleasure staying at True Blue Bay and diving w/ Aquanauts. We ate several times at Dodgy Dock and liked it. We loved the burgers and pizza at Bananas, too.

We keep wanting to go back but there are so many different islands.

Say Hi to Peter and Gerlinde from Mr and Mrs DiveSergeant!
 

Ayisha

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Thanks for the review, Wookie. BTW, I think the statues are supposed to be a memorial to the slaves on Grenada. I'm sure it would be unsettling. In the Barbados museum, I knew I would be seeing shackles and other slave history artifacts, but when I saw the baby and children's shackles, it was even more unsettling and disturbing.
 

Interceptor121

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Many thanks for the review Wookie, we just booked at Coyoba the week before easter
Eco Divers are there and seem to offer the same standard with free nitrox 30% however they only have 1 boat. We have two compact rigs with arms and strobes I hope how photo friendly eco divers will be
I know aquanauts also have a shop on Grand Anse beach
 
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