Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

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Beth B

Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Beth B » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:17 pm

Does anyone have any recent experience, good or bad, diving with either of these two dive operators? Thanks!

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Steve Wooler
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Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:30 pm

Hello Beth

Welcome aboard! :D

Charlotteville Adventure Dive are run by the owner/manager of the Banana Boat Inn. She is relatively newly qualified as a divemaster. I think she has very limited facilities and consequently they are not ranked or included in our list of known diver services.

Extra Divers are a well-established German-run business. Their Crown Point diver operation ranks amongst the best on the island, but we have some slight concerns over the Speyside operation. In fairness, I've had no negative reports over the past year, so things may have improved.

Of course if you are going to be based in the north of the island, at Charlotteville or Speyside, then you should consider Caribstu (www.caribstu.com ). In terms of popularity with customers, they are undoubtedly the top of the tree - although you do pay a heavy premium for the luxury of such personal and specialist attention.
Steve Wooler
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Beth B

Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Beth B » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:02 pm

Thank you Steve!

Can you by chance mention what the concerns have been with the Speyside operation of Extra Divers? I did call PADI and they said the Crown Point operation was a PADI center, but the Speyside branch was not. But I really don't know what that means - I thought that perhaps they just did not want to pay to register the second branch as a PADI shop. The other thing is, I really thought Speyside Inn looked nicer than Blue Water from some recent reports, plus they have a pool. Can I stay in one and dive with the other, or is that considered bad form? Though, come to think of it, I guess that would be quite expensive, as the dive/lodging package would no longer apply and it would be full on rates for each.

Also, what sort of facilities might Charlotteville Adventure be missing? I don't really need a large dive center with a gift shop and many boats - sometimes smaller dive centers give more personalized attention. But I don't want to go somewhere that might have safety issues or badly maintained equipment or dodgy air.

Caribstu does sound fab, but I had a look and his rates are not only double Tobago rates, they are double what I have ever paid anywhere! I would love that kind of specialized attention, just like I would love to stay in a Villa and have a private driver, but unless I suddenly win the lottery, I can't spend that kind of money unless it is the only way to avoid unsafe or otherwise horrible conditions.

Thanks again, and thanks for this most informative site!

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Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:41 pm

Hi Beth

I have to form an opinion based upon scraps of information received here, there and everywhere. By applying commonsense and learning who have a history of providing reliable information and ignoring those who prove less reliable - or where I learn/suspect than there are commercial, private or other issues involved. Tobago is such a small island that you soon learn which are the reliable sources and which are less so. The end result is that I do, fortunately, seem to get it right more often than not. However, an awful lot of the time I am unable/unwilling to explain how I arrived at an opinion - legal issues not withstanding.

Therefore, I'm afraid I can't really expand on my answer. If you want to dive with Extra Divers of Crown Point or CaribStu, I can give my wholehearted editorial recommendation. I'm not saying that you shouldn't dive with the other two operations mentioned; I'm just saying that I must cover my backside and only recommend dive shops that have a 100% record.

It is perfectly acceptable to stay at any hotel and dive with a non-associated dive service. In my opinion, the location of the Blue Water Inn is a thousand times superior to the Speyside Inn - but the food at the latter wins hands down.
Steve Wooler
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Beth B

Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Beth B » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:26 pm

Thanks Steve,

I understand. Just one more question - AquaMarine Divers gets the same rating on your site as does Extra Divers Speyside location - do the same cautions apply? If not, I could stay there instead and dive with them. I thought that Speyside Inn, with the pool and the balconies, and the sea view for breakfast as well as from all the rooms, looked great, but I could go to Blue Waters as well. Food does not concern me much - I thought I would walk into town and eat at various places, though I understand blue waters is a bit of a hike.

Thanks so much again for all the info!

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Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:35 pm

Hi Beth

I guess Aquamarine Dive is roughly on par with Extra Divers Speyside. The big problem in the Speyside area is that the local staff simply aren't interested in working and can come across as surly, disinterested and lazy. So, if you are lucky enough to dive with the manager/owner of the dive service, you will probably have a great dive. However, if the owner is not present and you are sent out with a local "divemaster" (might only be qualified to rescue diver level) then it could be another thing altogether. Given the fact that there have been several instances of "lost" divers in the Speyside area, it is strictly not a place for taking chances. The sad thing is that without exception, the dive shop owners are dedicated individuals - the problem is entirely that of the local Speyside staff.

Yes, the Blue Waters Inn is a fair hike from the village. Do not confuse tiny fishing village for a town - it is not that by any stretch of the imagination.
Steve Wooler
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Beth B

Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Beth B » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:29 pm

Thanks Steve!

Well, dang. I am totally not up for getting lost! Or anything else bad. Surly, well, I used to live in NY. I can do surly and raise you one - so attitude is not too much of a problem for me. Plus I normally don't stay in expensive places, so I am not used to having staff peel me a grape like you might get at a resort. Though most places I have stayed the people were very nice, and that is always a plus. But anything safety related - no. Surly is one thing, safety is another. The only bad thing I thought about staying in Speyside Inn was that I did not think I had a kitchen there and if not I would not be able to cook for myself now and again, so I was thinking a guesthouse with kitchen facilities might be better. But the view and the pool were luring me hard. Perhaps it will be best for me to stay in a Guesthouse and try to dive with Caribstu if he is free, and just accept that Tobago will have many pluses, but is not the inexpensive destination I had hoped for. I guess a hill sort of overlooking the sea could be just as nice as a place right on the water. Cooler breezes, fewer insects, etc.

I would note that I did try to contact Top Ranking to ask if they had the plunge pool I thought I read they had somewhere, and to see if there were hammocks, but never got an answer except a one line form note specifying their prices. No answer to a single question I asked! So I am sort of starting to see what you mean by bad service. Though perhaps the internet has just been off for this week at their place. I don't know. But it was too bad, because if they had a pool, it might be just as nice as the Inn.

I had thought that the inexpensive rates at Charlotteville Dive might be because she is new, but that patronizing a new business as they are trying to get established might be a plus for me, because of fewer crowds, more personal attention, and trying a bit harder to provide good, (if not friendly) service in order to gain good word of mouth referrals. And I thought maybe some of the negative comments might be because she is a woman, and maybe single women business owners are not the norm in Tobago. So I had thought I would give it a try. But I imagine that if she were new, struggling, but good, she would be well-rated on this site.

So I am grateful for all the info! Thanks again!

Thanks so much...

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Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Louise I » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:42 pm

Hi Beth,

I've been going to Charlotteville for 10 years or so now and since the v sad demise of Man Fridays dive with the outfit at Blue Waters.

Although I stay in Charlotteville I would never dive with the Banana Boat outfit (until/unless owner changes) I've heard too many bad things locally and elsewhere.

I've never had any problems diving from Blue Waters - last time 3 of us dived there twice a day and I thought the service from all the divemasters was excellent. We certainly never felt unsafe.

My parents always stay at Blue Waters and I think it is a much nicer location than the accomodation in Speyside. They are in the 70's and manage to walk into "town" to eat elsewhere every night - as Steve said the food is not very good!

When are you there? We go on Sunday - maybe we can do a dive together!

Louise

Beth B

Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Beth B » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:47 pm

Hi Louise,

Thanks for the info! I am going in two weeks - will you still be there? Love to meet up for a dive. Where do you stay in Charlotteville? I am still looking for a place.

Thanks again and have a great trip! If you are still there let's get together!

Louise I
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Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Louise I » Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:03 pm

I think we'll still be there. We are staying at Top River Pearl but I can also recommend Cholson Chalets.

See you in Lyda's!

Beth B

Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Beth B » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:32 pm

I am staying in Top River Pearl too! see you there! I arrive the 4th late.

Carol H

Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Carol H » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:39 am

This is my first post on My Tobago, although I haunted the web site for months while planning a 2 week trip that a group of 8 of us took to Charlottetville and south side in January. thought I would put in my 2 cents worth regarding diving north end. We dove with Aquamarine Divers and found they were a very competent dive operation. I agree with Steve regarding the attitude of some of the dive masters (actually only one in particular), but would say most of them were very friendly and helpful. However, don't expect them to go out of their way to show you anything under the water! A shark and a turtle here and there, but mostly they are there to babysit, which was fine with our group. We are all experienced divers used to diving on our own and looking for small stuff as well as large. I have to say that the diving in the area was very nice, beautiful coral.
We dove twice a day...I was hoping to get us in 3 times a day, but would have taken all day.....they are very relaxed about time. It usually took us until 1-1:30 to complete 2 dives!
After looking at the accomodations in Speyside and coming to the conclusion they were too expensive, we stayed in Charlotteville....5 at Oceanview Apartments and 3 at Top River Pearl. I stayed at Oceanview and found it very good...one bedroom apartment with air conditioning and a million dollar view. The others at Top River liked it, mostly because of the people who work there, especially Mary in the restaurant...she was amazing! Also, Top River very convenient for e-mail, and very resonable.
All in all we had a great time, would dive with Aquamarine again

Caroline Hardie

Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Caroline Hardie » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:48 pm

[quote=" She is relatively newly qualified as a divemaster" I think she has very limited facilities and consequently they are not ranked or included in our list of known diver services.[/quote]

As the person being referred to above, I would like to say that I have been a Divemaster for over 10 years (since '97) & am a fully-fledged PADI Instructor who has a 100% safety record - & intends to keep it that way - & runs a full-service PADI Resort with all the attributes that one expects to find by meeting their International standards. :D We also have FUN!

I hope that this helps to let visitors know about Tobago's newest PADI Dive Resort.

Mark Gubbins
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Re: Charlotteville Adventure Dive v. Extra Divers Speyside Inn

Post by Mark Gubbins » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:19 pm

I dived in March 2010 with Extradivers Speyside - I chose them because of Extradivers international reputation but was not impressed - the only kit I rented from them were regs and the SPG dial stuck at 60 bar - which meant I actually ran out of air during my safety stop - could happen to any dive outfit, but they didnt seem to be that concerned that it had happened - after prompting they gave me a new set of regs for the second dive which were OK. A good learning experience but I wouldn't use them again - we were quite a large group and they had one divemaster at the front and one at the back, which, for drift dives with a reasonable current was not ideal - they should have paired us off as buddies in case the group became dispersed.

Regarding Charlotteville Adventure Dive, I tried to contact Caroline through the email quoted on Mytobago because I liked the comments I'd seen online on ScubaAdvisor about the way she operates, but had no response, and when I was there I tried to find her at Banana Boat Inn, but the people there said it was all under new ownership, so I gave up - maybe next time.

I also used World of Watersports, who were OK - but I chose them because they were based at Arnos Vale, which is relatively close to Castara where I was based, but when I got there, they transported me to Pigeon Point to join another group of divers because there was a problem with WoW own boat - not a disaster and we had a good dive.


Also I dived with Richie at Wild Turtle Dive Safari - did one shore dive and one boat dive - he was great - a smaller group - he had the same kind of problems with the boat on the day, but he sorted it, kept us informed, and was attentive to each diver's needs underwater, was a great divemaster - would thoroughly recommend

Hope that's helpful - do visit Tobago, it is unique and wonderful
Rgds,
Mark

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