I just got back from Roatan, staying at Anthony’s Key. www.anthonyskey.com
I was at Roatan previously on a cruise ship and the diving was through Anthony’s Key. They have a large fleet of custom 42’ and 48’ boats. All dives are single tank dives, in that we came back to the resort in between dives. So I was able to tour the facilities between the dives and was very impressed.
This is how I envsioned a tropical paradise. Accomodations were either on the hill adjacent to the dining room (52 steps from the water), or on the key itself. All are large bungalows. About 1/2 are air conditioned. A water taxi takes you back and forth from the key to the mainland.
For the diving They were running 4 42’ boats. The trips to the dive sites were really short (5-10 minutes max). When there was any current, my DM declared it a drift dive, and we were picked up by the boat as we surfaced. Otherwise it was a stationary dive where we swam into the current for the 1st have at depth along the wall, then would return to the boat on top of the reef.
Our highlight Dive was the shark dive. http://www.sharkdiveroatan.com/index.htm
Unlike the shark dive we did in Australia, they have you actually dive & swim with the sharks. We first landed ourselves while the DMs made sure everything was ok, then we swam with the sharks for about 20 minutes. We then sat back down for the feeding. Once the feeding was over the sharks left and there was a frenzy searching for shark teeth. Then the dive was over and we headed to the surface.
I was disapointed the dolphin dive. We spent 30 minutes at the bottom waiting for the dolphins to show up, then about 10-15 minutes with them until air limitations forced me back to the surface. Three hard swims at the bottom searching for them did a number on my air consumption. I’d recommend the dolphin encounter or dolphin swim over the dive. I’ve heard of people who had more time with the dolphins. Its really up to them when they choose to show up or not. So you roll the dice when you sign up for this one.
We did enjoy the two wreck dives, the Odyssey and El Aquilla. The 2nd one the large groupers are very friendly and will hang with you. Saw a nice size eel out on the top deck. Nice swim throughs too.
My favorite reef dives were spooky channel and deep eel gardens. Our DM, Ricardo, was a good guide on the dives.
One of the issues I hear about with Roatan are the bugs. We brought Cactus Juice, really didn’t use that much and didn’t get bit. I did spray myself every night before going to dinner after diving, but didn’t use it on the boat or need it on the dock.
We enjoyed the meals, especially having a choice of options served vs doing it buffet style, as we have found at other resorts.And the view from the dining room, especially at sunset, was spectacular.
We did visit BIBR, as the SingleDivers.com group was staying there. From what we saw, we felt the facilities at Anthony’s Key were far superior than those at BIBR. This place had more of a bed and breakfast type feel to it. Go to see Pup Morse play for a little bit. His first CD is going to be out soon. http://www.pupmorse.com/index.cfm?CFID=40842632&CFTOKEN=31781338
We did head down to West End one day. I checked out Coconut Tree Divers where the ladies shopped. Had a locals feel to it. I met Will aka Bay Island Diver from Scubaboard. We discussed doing my tec diving cert with him next year. Looks like a definite possibility.
We also visited with this artist just outside of Coxen Hole. He makes curios out of shells and coral. He explained his dive trips to gather material but I passed on the opportunity to join him. His work is very nice though. Quite the character.
I will certainly go back to Roatan, and the 20% off coupons they gave us at the end of our stay pretty much will bring us back to Anthony’s Key next year. Given also that it was the first week of the off season rates, coupled with the 40th anniversary special of buy one, get one 1/2, I thought it was a great value for the money.