I am not surprised that Sharky's Dive Shop maintains 100% "excellent" reviews here. From the planning stages with Denise, to the actual dives, and everything in between, I have not one complaint about my family's experiences with this amazing establishment. My 16-year-old son and I were planning on going for our open water certs this past summer. I reached out to several people and did a great deal of research, and it was Denise who maintained steady contact with me and gave me honest, objective information and feedback about all of our choices. It was based on this information that we decided to obtain our certs at home and then do our first ocean dives with Sharky's (although doing the checkout dives with Sharky's would have been an incredible, safe, fun and stress-free experience, I personally would have been stressing with good ol' "test anxiety" on vacation, so this worked out best for me.) What I gathered from my first phone conversation with Denise, and throughout all of my email contact with her, was that she and her husband set out to provide a unique service to folks visiting their area who wanted to have a very personalized diving/snorkeling/boating experience, and they have successfully maintained this goal.
I knew that as a brand new diver, I was going to have a certain amount of anxiety about being certified and therefore "capable" of diving with my buddy, but not yet having the experience to really feel like we could handle any possible situation that may come our way at the bottom of the sea, and therefore I wanted us to have close supervision on our first dives. I did not want to be one of several other divers with one dive master who may or may not be able to keep a close eye on us. Denise assured me that we would have exactly what we needed and asked for, as they cater to private groups, and that we did! We planned 4 dives, two per morning, with my other son and my husband snorkeling above. We had such an amazing experience with each dive, that we added on two more dives when they were able to fit us in during an afternoon, and I wanted MORE!!! Nick (instructor) and Pierre (dive master in training) were incredible with us - they were both knowledgeable and experienced, kind, patient, funny. We could not have asked for a better team and I could not have felt more relaxed and safe for my first dives. I was anxious leading up to the first dive, but Vlad's humor and explanation of the dives helped, and then being on the boat with Captain Gato and Nick and Pierre was exciting. I knew that once I was down at the bottom I would be fine, and sure enough I was. I felt like I was "home". The visibility was 100 feet! Crystal clear water, amazing amount and variety of fish, coral, the reefs were very healthy and with Pierre in front and Nick in back, again, I could not have felt safer. Over the course of the six dives, we saw a large moray eel, observed and then swam behind a southern stingray, and did our first wreck dive. I was blown away by the sheer beauty surrounding me. We were able to stay down for 60 minutes each dive, and were told that we did great. Well, thanks to Nick and Pierre (and Vlad and Denise!) we really DID do great! We can see how this is the best way to dive...no matter the amount of experience you have...to be able to just have your own private group, and go for half a day or a full day, in a very relaxed, fun environment. The crew also took care of all the equipment, making it very easy to sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery and rides before, after and in between dives. And by the way, the snorkelers or our group walked away with plenty of smiles, too :)
A bonus is that both Denise and Vlad are very happy to chat and give plenty of information about the surrounding area. Denise had recommended Dreams La Romana, an all-inclusive resort, just a short walk down the beach from Sharky's. It worked out very well! The resort was beautiful, clean, great food and service, and it was wonderful to be able to walk along the beautiful beach to Sharky's and get a feel for the area. We also explored the small fishing village of Bayahibe and got a sense of the local culture, which is important to us. We took a short cab ride to Dominicus to do a little shopping - all of which were recommended by Denise. Next time we will explore further out in between plenty of dives with Sharky's! That time cannot come a minute too soon :)
Thank you SO much Denise, Vlad, Nick, Pierre and Gato: an amazing group of people, who care deeply about their clients, the sea, their country, and having FUN! Muchas gracias! Merci beaucoup!
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