Riding Rock Inn and Marina
I worked on San Salvador at the Riding Rock Inn from May 1994 - August of 1996.
Most of my time on San Sal there was just me and the Marina Manager Kevin running the Dive Operation. [Kevin left the island July 1998] Saturday evening we would take turns briefing the new guests on how the operation worked and checking dive certifications. Free rum punch and conch fritters are served. Everyone always wants to know how many people will be on the boat? Well here is the scoop, usually there is only about 10-14 divers on a boat, maximum is 20. One time I had 22 but it was a group who knew each other. When I worked at RRI we had two 30-foot twin diesel engine boats with open transoms. When I last visited San Sal August of 1997 there were three boats.
Sunday morning one of the boat captains and I would truck everyone's gear the 800 feet to the Marina. The guest would set up their gear on the boat and off we would go. Now RRI is different in that once the guests set up there gear the first time, the boat captain and Divemaster (myself) would handle it all from there. We would change tanks between the dives and rinse the gear off at the end of the day. Because the island is so small, crime is not a problem, so the gear stays on the boat. Only thing the guests have to do is rinse and hang there wetsuits on the dock (keeps the suits form stinking up the boat). Talk about service! The diving will pamper you as well. All the diving is done on the west and south sides of the island. The longest boat ride is 40 minutes with 90% of the dive sites within 20 minutes of the marina. The water slopes down to about 40 feet deep ? mile off shore, where is drops of to a shelf at about 600 feet. The worst visibility I ever encounter on the island was 60 feet and that lasted all of one day. The vis is almost always in excess of 150 feet, no kidding. We are talking about some of the best wall diving in the world. Nothing like it anywhere!
Sunday night we would have Slide show for the guests and tell them a bit about the history of the island and things they could see if they wanted to take a day off of diving.
Monday evening before dinner is free rum punch and conch fritters in the Hotel bar. The bar is known as the Driftwood because of the driftwood guest have nailed to the walls and ceiling with their names and dates of visit. Be sure to say “Hello” for me to Peaches and Curlene the best bartenders on San Salvador. And be warned if you try to tickle Peaches' knee she will hit you on the head with a rum bottle. At the Rum punch party they will often play videos of the days dive.
Tuesday night is the night dive, so a tour is offered in the afternoon to see some points if interest, namely the old lighthouse. The last I heard it is one of six hand operated lighthouses in the world. If someone knows otherwise please email me. The San Salvador lighthouse was built in the 1890's. Mr. Forbes usually gives the tour. You will not be able to understand him and his driving is bound to scare you, so hang on to your buddy. Mr. Forbes can seem very grumpy, but just say hello to him every morning and he will come around, or better yet ask to see his house during the tour.
On Wednesday night is Rake-n-Scrape party where guests and island locals mix at the Driftwood. It can get very crowed in the bar and the music is played loud on the back porch. The Wednesday night Rake-n-Scrape gets its name from an old island band which broke up in the late 1980's.
Thursday night is an optional night dive.
Friday night the Divemaster's will have an underwater slide show. These shows are set to music and can by quite elaborate. I was proud of my show when working at RRI. It was a two-tray show and the slides would dissolve one into the next with the music. I hope to post it to this site some day. Just a quick note on tipping. If you have been diving for awhile you know it is expected. At RRI it was figured into our salary, meaning they did not pay us much because they knew we made tips. Tips are split 50-50 with the boat captain. Remember the Captain and Divemaster carried your gear to the marina, set up your gear for each dive, rinsed your gear off at the end of the day, hauled the tanks on and off the boat, and did a hundred other things you never noticed. That all said and done, I was please if I got $20.00 per person for the week after splitting with the captain.
Saturday is travel day for the guests, and if there were no week mid-week arrivals a day off for the Divemaster and Captain, at least until the Saturday evening orientation.
I love San Salvador and go back to visit as often as I can afford. If you are looking for great diving and quiet surface time, I would highly recommend San Salvador.
Riding Rock Inn: (800)272-1492
Interested in learning more about San Salvador, the people, history, vacation rentals and property sales? Click here.
If you have you been to San Salvador, or are thinking of going email me, I would enjoy hearing from you.