Trip Report Turquoise Bay Resort/Subway Watersports August 2017

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scubadada

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Undercurrent narrative from our August 5-12 visit:

Reservations: I was the high bidder on an auction to support Sea Save Foundation for this trip. Reservations were handled expertly by Caradonna Adventures. I had several changes in the base vacation that were handled perfectly by Cammie. Communication was flawless.


Travel: My wife and I decided to leave from our home in Florida as there is a nonstop to Roatan on American Airlines from Miami. We would have had a connection if we would have left from Philadelphia. The flight was perfect in both directions. We were picked up at the airport by a van from Turquoise Bay and dropped back off at the end of our vacation. It was an easy, quick trip in both directions of about 30-45 minutes. We had good luck at the small airport in both directions, others have described a crowd and delays, especially at immigration.


The Resort: Turquoise Bay is a relatively isolated, smaller, beautiful resort. The grounds are on a lush, green hillside overlooking the bay. We had a great room, Ocean View King #4, which had an L-shaped balcony overlooking the ocean and the grounds. It was a perfect place to check the morning conditions and to view the sunset each evening. The room was very comfortable and quiet. The split air conditioner worked perfectly. The Wi-Fi worked flawlessly, a bit slow at times, but just fine. The main building contains the office, the restaurant, the bar, and the pool. If one thing really stands out about the resort, it is the employees. We have never been at a resort where all the employees were as kind, considerate, and hard working. This applies to people in the office, restaurant, grounds, and dive op (below). Meals were served very efficiently, buffet style, in the dining room. The food was generally quite good, some excellent, some just average. The bar was quite friendly, my wife and I spent several evenings there before dinner was served and enjoyed seeing photos and videos of the diving. We spent several afternoons comfortably lounging on the beach and swimming in the calm bay. We did not have much trouble with insects on our visit but were generally off the beach by late afternoon and inconsistently used a DEET repellent. There is no shore diving at the resort. We did not partake of the included horseback riding or kayaks, but others did, particularly less avid or non-divers. The horses and the resort donkey were often seen peacefully walking around and grazing around the resort.


The Diving: Subway Watersports is a very good operator, one of the two or three best land based operators I’ve used. Check in was quick and efficient, including check of diving and nitrox cards. You are issued an open locker in the equipment room for storage of all gear. The DM takes care of your BC and regulator each day, you take care of your other gear. There are separate gear, camera, and wetsuit rinse tanks on the dock. The water was always clean. Tanks were AL80s and fills averaged a little over 3000 psi. Nitrox ran 31-32%, it was analyzed on board in front of you. They ran three boats per day while we were there. A 4th boat was used for teaching, I never saw a 5th boat go out. My wife and I were on the Noah with Captain Pedro and DM Duvin, both from Roatan. Both were kind, considerate and helpful, Pedro an older, experienced captain, and Duvin, a 22 year old who knew the dive sites and local sea life like the back of his hand. The boat was absolutely pristine and very well taken care of. The dive package offers 17 dives over 6 days, including one night dive, I was lucky enough to do them all. The boat could have taken a dozen of more divers, one morning we had 8, most of the time we had between 2 and 5 divers. I was taken out alone on both morning dives one day when my wife was a little under the weather.


The diving was very easy, no challenges. Water temperature averaged 83 degrees (79-84). Visibility was about 50-80+ feet. There was little to no current or surge. Max depths were generally in the 70s feet while average depths were much shallower, in the 40s feet. Average dive time was 59 minutes (50-66). The reefs are generally in very good shape, particularly the corals. I was surprised to see a fair amount of Pillar Coral, and even healthy Staghorn Coral on top of some of the reefs. There are not many bigger fish but Black and Nassau Grouper and larger Mutton Snapper were not uncommon. The usual reef fish were fairly numerous as were lobster, crabs, Green Morays. There were silversides in some of the caverns, we saw occasional toadfish, reef squid, and a couple of octopi on the night dive. The only dive we did twice was Sea Star Channel. We saw 4 Eagle Rays on the 1st visit, at least 14 on the 2nd! In the rubble/grass outside of Dolphin Den we saw all kinds of small flounder, shrimp, Arrow Crabs, and a sea horse.


Bonus: Captain Pedro took us for a driving tour of the island on our last afternoon, the only time we spent outside the resort. It was great seeing nearly the entire island, including the still somewhat quaint small town where Pedro was born, raised, and still lives, Punta Gorda. He had so many interesting stories about Roatan, from then and now. We paid for gas and tip of our own choosing.


I rarely return to places I’ve gone diving, so many new places to visit while I have the opportunity. I’d certainly consider returning to Turquoise Bay/Subway Watersports, especially for the rest and relaxation on top of the diving.
 

drrich2

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Excellent report. I saw a prior but fairly recent Undercurrent report on them and it was quite positive; they also seem to be the Roatan destination chosen by at least 2 local dive shops and an independent instructor who runs group trips in my area. From what I understand, a budget trip that provides excellent value and good diving.

Did the non-divers appear to have a good time? I've long dreamed of trying CocoView Resort, but they don't take kids under 10. Wonder how young they can be at Turquoise Bay Resort, and how much fun the little ones have?

Richard.
 

Doc

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A nice trip report. We need more from TBR and the other very few remaining dive resorts besides CCV.

.... they also seem to be the Roatan destination chosen by at least 2 local dive shops and an independent instructor who runs group trips in my area. From what I understand, a budget trip that provides excellent value and good diving.

There is a very simple reason for that. The price structure commission/rebate offered by TBR to trip leaders of groups is by far the most attractive on the island.
 

scubadada

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Excellent report. I saw a prior but fairly recent Undercurrent report on them and it was quite positive; they also seem to be the Roatan destination chosen by at least 2 local dive shops and an independent instructor who runs group trips in my area. From what I understand, a budget trip that provides excellent value and good diving.

Did the non-divers appear to have a good time? I've long dreamed of trying CocoView Resort, but they don't take kids under 10. Wonder how young they can be at Turquoise Bay Resort, and how much fun the little ones have?

Richard.

Hi Richard,

Overall, I would say that non-divers had a good, restful time. There were a couple of folks on the other boat that I made friends with who had spouses who did not dive. In addition to diving, there is horseback riding, I believe some hiking, kayaks, paddle boards, swimming in the bay and in the very nice pool, and hanging out on the beach. The meals are good for everyone, being buffet, and allowing everyone to take what they like. There were some young children at the resort, I generally only saw them at meals. One reason I bid on this trip was the Undercurrent review, very glad I did, turned out to be excellent. Apparently, in the Winter, they have to bus to the South and West side due to winds and seas. This was one of the better vacation trips I have had, particularly with my wife, who is not as avid a diver as I am. PM me if you have additional questions, this was a nice trip.

@drrich2, of course, there are also many more land and water based activities and trips available at extra cost. There is an excursion concierge at Turquoise Bay, we never talked to her
 

scubadada

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A nice trip report. We need more from TBR and the other very few remaining dive resorts besides CCV...

I saw Anthony's Key Resort the day we dived the Aguila and Overheat Reef, a great dive. I saw Fantasy Island on our island tour with Pedro. Neither of these places would be right for me, that's why I chose Turquoise Bay. Coco View looked pretty nice but I did not really see it.
 

CajunDiva

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Glad you had such a great time Craig, and I am particularly happy to hear that you were so impressed with the people there. We love those guys! I hope you told them hi for us :)

I can't imagine a boat captain any better than Pedro. We have been diving with him since 2001. To this day, he still makes it a point to come and visit us at Media Luna when we are on the island. Roatan is a special place indeed!
 

dmaziuk

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Did the non-divers appear to have a good time? I've long dreamed of trying CocoView Resort, but they don't take kids under 10. Wonder how young they can be at Turquoise Bay Resort, and how much fun the little ones have?

TBR caters for non-diving vacationers from mainland too. There were kids no older than 10 in the resort when we were there -- but not out diving. There's kayaks and paddle boards on the beach. I think horse rides are only once a week, or maybe extras need to be arranged... You can go snorkelling in the mangroves to the right and see starfishes and few other critters, it's very shallow there.
 
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