Underwater Dominica: Dive Fest

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
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Once you've been underwater - really underwater, snorkeling or scuba-diving, your perspective on the world changes. You can't wait to get back underwater. I remember this well, and despite jellyfish stings, sunburn, and seasickness, I try my hardest to get in the ocean and get underwater any chance I can. Imagine my delight when I found out about Dive Fest, on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Located between Guadeloupe and Martinique, Dominica seems to be a scuba-diving paradise. As well, Dominica has an abundance of natural glory - waterfalls, hot springs, birdwatching, black sand beaches, horseback riding, river tubing, a rainforest, and a unique culture and heritage. I can't wait to go there!

I was intrigued by Dive Fest, an annual event that the Dominica Watersports Association, an organization of ten-plus dive/recreation centers) holds every July, to focus on the sport of scuba diving and to highlight Dominica's incredible marine environment. I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with William "Billy" Lawrence, Owner of ALDive & Water Sports. He definitely was kind, enthusiastic, generous with his knowledge, and ready to welcome us to Dominica and ALDive. 

Dominica Dive Fest, in its 23rd year, is the longest running scuba dive and water-sport festival in the Caribbean.

WE: Tell us about Dive Fest - when did it start?

BL: 1994 was the first Dive Fest. This is a marine-themed and related festival aimed at enhancing awareness of the island marine resources and, creates an employment vehicle for locals in a safe, affordable and fun way. One of our goals is to make it a world event with visitors from all over.

aldive.com - Dominica Dive Fest

WE: How many people attend?

BL: Hundreds of locals and visitors.

aldive.com

WE: What are the highlights of the Dive Fest?

BL: Underwater treasure hunt, discounted whale watching, wine and cheese cruise, carib canoe race, beach party and free discover scuba.

aldive.com

WE: How did you get involved in Dive Fest?

BL: I am one of the founding members of the DWA and was the executive secretary for 10 years.

WE: What age ranges do you usually work with? Are kids welcome?

BL: 35 to 55, and yes, kids are welcome.

aldive.com

WE: What is your Dive background?

BL: I have been involved in the water sports industry since 1986 and became a scuba diving instructor in 1992. I moved back to Dominica to manage a dive center in December of that same year. I am a P.A.D.I. Master Scuba Diver Trainer and Specialty Instructor, a N.A.U.I. Instructor, a Universal Referral Instructor, an I.A.N.T.D Gas Blender and Nitrox Instructor, a D.A.N. Oxygen Provider Instructor and an Emergency First Response Instructor.

I am also an I.F.A.W and W.D.C.S trained Whale and Dolphin watching guide. I have taken part in several seminars, work shops, field trips associated with International fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, Woods Hole Institute, the Universities of Boston, Syracuse and Texas A&M. Universities. I worked with one of the more established dive company in Dominica for over ten years and resigned as operations manager in 2005. I now run my own company called ALDive & W.A.T.E.R.Sports Inc.

WE: What other services does ALDive offer, the rest of the year?

BL: ALDive & W.A.T.E.R.Sports is a specialty dive and water sports
center. ALDive provides a vast array of marine related services, including diving, boating services, and deep sea tours, off-road tours, hiking, turtle sensitizing tours etc. ALDive is able to provide its customers the ability to secure their boats on moorings, dive and tour the island on the same day. The on-site restaurant is equipped with all the amenities, directly benefiting ALDive and its mission. If you need accommodations while on the Island, please contact us. We aim to be a full-service provider.

 

WE: Thank you so much, Billy! I wish you the best for Dive Fest.

For more information on Dive Fest, please see http://www.dominicawatersports.com/divefest.html

 

All photos copyright ALDive.com

 

 

Comments (3)

  • Ed Forteau

    13 years 1 month ago

    Jessie - I know how much you love the ocean, so this sounds like the perfect vacation for you.

    Ed Forteau Publisher, WanderingEducators.com

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    13 years 1 month ago

    Billy - I can't wait to get down there and visit with you all. Good luck with the Dive Fest! Hope we make it next year.

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • jasonla

    12 years 6 months ago

    What an awesome place i've been there only once with princess cruises and seeing if i can get back this year for a longer stay instead of a cruise id fly in and maybe rent an apartment depending on whats cheaper between that and a hotel.

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