Photos by Geri Murphy & Paul Tzimoulis

Geri Murphy is one of the most published underwater photo journalist's in the world. She is best identified with Skin Diver, which has showcased more than 150 cover photos from 1977 to 1999. During that period, she generated more than 850 travel features and product reports under the Skin Diver banner.

She has spent the past 25 years traveling the world and covering such unique activities as shark tagging contests, congregating Manta Rays, encounters with wild dolphins, live-aboard cruises to exotic locations, shipwreck search and discovery and shark feeding advenures. Murphy is also responsible for photographing and naming Stingray City in Grand Cayman - now one of the world's most famous diving attractions.

Day 7 - Coral Costa Caribe Beach Hotel

Costa Caribe pool and guest rooms.
Today we headed west, driving one and a half hours to the town of Juan Dolio.

Step aerobics by the pool.
As we entered the impressive lobby of the new Costa Caribe Beach Hotel, I was happy to discover that it was also all-inclusive. It was a big one, with almost 500 air-conditioned rooms in several high-rise buildings. Yep, you guessed it, nonstop action, all the food you can eat, all the games you can play and a huge white sand beach.

Sea Pro's staff prepares the boat for the dive.
We headed straight to Sea Pro Diving Services and made arrangements for a 10:00 a.m. dive. Sea Pro is PADI resort facility with a multilingual staff of five instructors and a couple of small dive boats.

Geri and Vicki ready for a short boat ride.
Our craft for the trip was a 20-foot outboard skiff, but its size and the lack of shade didn't bother us, because our dive site was directly off the beach--a three-minute boat ride. Could it get any better? Dive guide DJ gave us a quick briefing and explained that we would not require a dive ladder since the boat's gunnels are low enough to easily hike yourself into the craft.

Vicki on the bridge of the Tanya.
Down we went to Costa Caribe's brand-new shipwreck--the Tanya V. Sunk only six months ago as an artificial reef and diving attraction, this steel hull freighter sits upright on the sand in 130 feet of water. Her main decks are at 95 feet, and because of her depth, she is rated as an advanced dive.

The bow of the Tanya.
As we began our descent on the mooring line, we were surrounded by a swirling school of Blue Runners. The wreck has already begun attracting fish life. We hit the deck and our Dominican dive guide led us forward toward the bow. The deck winch and other miscellaneous machinery are still intact. The ship's name is still visible on the port side, close to the bow, and visibility is decent. There was lots to see on this wreck--ship's railings, hatch doors, deck hatches and bridge.

All you can eat at the Costa Caribe.
On the way back to shore, DJ told us about another good wreck site, the Gabriela, located 20 minutes from the hotel. She is a 50-foot steel hull tug that sank during a storm in 1996 and now rests on a sand bottom in 42 feet of water. She has attracted a large resident population of goatfish, grunts, squirrelfish and Glasseye Snappers.

Fun and sun on the beach.
On the way back to shore, we could see hotel guests out sailing, kayaking and snorkeling. Pedal boats are quite popular at this resort because the ocean is well protected. The sun was out and the beach was filling fast. Back at the pool, they had begun the step aerobics class. Lunch was fantastic and dinner was even better. This hotel excels in its variety and quality of food, especially in its selection of ice creams. We were told that the stage show, The Lion King, is dynamite! It is hard to believe that our week has flown by so quickly, and tomorrow we will be heading for the airport. Be sure to log on tomorrow to read our final reflections on this whirlwind journey.

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Making contact in the Dominican Republic

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Coral Costa Caribe Beach Hotel & Sea Pro 800-288-1332

Don Juan Beach Resort & Treasure Divers 800-820-1631

El Portillo Beach Resort & Samana Dive Center 800-550-1869

Punta Cana Beach Resort & Dive Center 800-815-5019

Viva Resorts--Viva Diving Undersea Adventure 877-564-VIVA

Dominican Republic Tourism Information
USA 888-374-6361 * 888-358-9594
From Canada call 800-563-1611

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