Come Dive with Us Hosted Trip : Grenada : October 2020
It goes without saying that 2020 has been totally wretched for diving and travelling, and after three – yes three – aborted trips to the Caribbean, we finally got the green light in terms of travel corridor confirmation and headed off to the beautiful island and wreck diver’s paradise of Grenada.
It wasn’t a trip without hiccups though – British Airways gave us the huge notice period of 20 hours that our flight was not going to take us the full journey, dumping us unloved and totally isolated on the tarmac at St Lucia instead.
Now, this year has been chaotic with COVID-19 rules and regulations changing by the day, and we had already cancelled and postponed this trip repeatedly – we needed to go on holiday! The regulations meant that we couldn’t stay in St Lucia as we didn’t have permission far enough in advance. British Airways gave us Barbados as an alternative destination, but again we couldn’t enter as our PCR tests would not have met the window set by the Bajan Authorities. We didn’t want to delay the trip again, and indeed, some of our group of 18 intrepid travellers were already at the airport. So, we did what any sensible people would do, and chartered a private plane!
Boarding at London Gatwick, it was surreal. The plane was less than half full and was so clean and tidy it could have been the aircrafts maiden voyage! Passing through security was the fastest we have ever experienced and wearing a mask throughout the flight was a minor inconvenience.
We arrived on time in St Lucia, went through the very well organised immigration and health checkpoints, showed our COVID tests, had our temperature taken and were whisked on to the waiting private flight to Grenada. So so simple, and incredibly straightforward!
Arriving in Grenada was just the same – super-organised, highly efficient, and very informative – we grabbed our bags, jumped into the minibus, and 10 minutes later, arrived at our Hotel, the fabulous True Blue Bay Boutique Resort.
We were all super stressed at the beginning of the day, but that was swept away as soon as we arrived and were welcomed with a very potent rum punch, shown to our rooms, and our bags were delivered within 10 minutes. The rooms were fantastic – huge for one, extremely comfortable and very clean, and all had large furnished balconies overlooking the beautiful True Blue Bay. There was nothing left to do than meet at our ‘Quarantine Pool’ grab a cocktail or three and start to chill!
The COVID protocols in Grenada were extremely well thought out and implemented. The Resort had a separate section, complete with a lovely pool, and built a pop-up bar for all those quarantining for the mandatory first four days on the Island. Meals were served in a segregated dining area on the water’s edge, and all we had to do was to vigilantly sanitise our hands and wear masks in public areas. As we were isolated as a Group, and didn’t have access to public areas, mask-wearing was not a chore!
Honestly, our ‘quarantine’ area was like having our own private resort, and when we received the free COVID PCR test on day 5, and tested negative, we then had access to the rest of the resort and the whole island – we weren’t allowed back into the COVID Pool as we had christened it, and that was the only sad thing about the trip!! But we had access to a beautiful infinity pool and bar right on the water’s edge instead, so there was no real hardship!
With our quarantine over we also had access to the amazing in resort Dodgy Dock Restaurant and Bar, right over the water. Food was excellent, and the live music provided by local bands was a great ratification of our newfound freedom! Fresh seafood, steaks, immense burgers, salads, pastas – everything’s freshly cooked and ordered individually from the a la carte menu. There isn’t a cocktail that they cannot make, and there is something very special about eating great food, knocking back a beer or two and enjoying the ambience when sitting by the water.
Breakfast was cooked to order and there was a buffet option too, lunch was a la carte after the first 5 days of isolation, and as an added bonus, the dive boat phones the kitchen after the second dive to tell them we were on our way back!
The dive centre, Aquanauts Grenada, was located in the quarantine area, and having been approved to operate, we were diving from Day 1! Temperature checks and mask wearing on the dock whilst kitting up was required, but once out to sea, as we had the boat to ourselves, the requirements were a bit more relaxed.
Now, to the diving! Aquanauts are extremely well organised and highly efficient. The dive boat is ready for you to board at the time they say it is going to be, and all you have to do is to build your kit as soon as you jump on. Tanks are analysed (NITROX is free of charge for qualified divers) and then you’re off!
Grenada is surrounded by some beautiful reefs, and marine life is plentiful. We encountered nurse sharks, eagle rays, giant southern sting rays, snake eels, golden spotted eels (wow!), seahorses, frogfish, huge lobsters, giant crabs, lots of little critters such as coral banded shrimp, schooling everything (especially the purple Creole Wrasse – just stunning!) and much much more. The diving has to be some of the very best I the Caribbean!! And then there are the wrecks! Plenty of recreational depth hunks of metal (and wood!), and the Bianca C which makes a good recreational or very good deco/tech dive – this huge former cruise liner is well worth the trip on its own!
We had some interesting currents, but nothing too much like hard work, and the visibility was good to excellent – even after a heavy rainstorm one night. Most dive sites are 15-25 minutes away from the dock, and Grenada really does cater for all levels of diver.
images courtesy of Rob Andrews & Susie Lawrence, Justin Ormand, Dean Brazier and Chloe & John Spencer-Ades
So, would we go back?
Hell YES! Grenada is beautiful, the resort was amazing, and the diving was great too. Perfect for couples, families (get a 2-bed villa with indoor plunge pool!) and groups/clubs. The all-inclusive board basis really worked, the staff are wonderful, and an island tour on your off-gassing day is well worth it – seeing St Georges and the volcano crater lake, driving through the mountains and picking fruit from the trees is amazing.
Key Facts :
Getting there : British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offer direct (with a brief touch down at St Lucia) flights, taking 10 hours.
Air temperature : 30° C all year round, with the rainy season in September through January. That said, you need the rain to cool it all down and to keep Grenada so green. The rain typically comes in heavy showers and clears up within the hour.
Water temperature : We travelled in October and it was a balmy 27 °C all week.
Visa requirements : No visas or vaccinations normally required, but under COVID, there are protocols in place. See: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/grenada
Currency : Eastern Carribean Dollar or US Dollar is widely accepted.
Accommodation : True Blue Bay is about 10 minutes from the airport by road, making the transfer super-simple. Multiple room types, four pools, one restaurant and two bars plus room service, a small beach with a few water sports - standup paddleboard, kayaks and a Hobie Cat. Dive centre on resort.
Diving : Good to great – we didn’t have one dive in 20 that was disappointing. Healthy reefs, plentiful marine life, and dozens of wrecks. Plus, a sculpture park. What more could you want?