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Dive Review of Nimrod Explorer in
Australia/Great Barrier Reef

Nimrod Explorer, Apr, 2003,

by Barry Zigas, DC, United States (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 1082.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Mexico, Turkey, California, New Zealand, Florida, Hawaii, Grand Cayman, Curacao, Turks and Caicos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 19 to 22 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15 to 25 Meters

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Back on board with 750psi, no decompression dives. Recommended depths on each dive, but computer divers allowed to follow own profiles
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Rinse tanks on dive deck, film processing and camera rentals available. All photographers on board used digitals. No digital transfer facility availble per se, but DVD and VCR available, and computers could be powered off boat's outlets.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Nimrod Explorer may have had something of a checkered past, judging by other readers' past reports, but my trip was first rate all the way and I would recommend it without hesitation. This was my first live-aboard experience, but it set a high standard for any to follow, in no small part because of the staff of 5 who were friendly, unobtrusive, and serivce-oriented. No tips solicited, but a tip jar was there, and most of us contributed. Two dive staff, a cabin hostess, cook, engineer and skipper. All got in the water at some point. Food was varied, fresh, wonderfully prepared, and plentiful. Cold breakfast before the first dive, followed by hot breakfast, usually a hot lunch, midday snack, and dinner. Soft drinks, coffee, tea and biscuits available all day; beer and wine for sale. Staff did a nice birthday celebration for one diver, and accommodated special diet request from another. Good library of fish, coral and creature ID books. Cabins were straightened up every morning while we were on the first dive. Bath and dive towels provided, changed mid-trip. Quad cabins a little crowded; I was upgraded to a double that was comfortable. All cabins have own heads. Shower on dive deck for rinsing, hot water in cabin showers always availble. Rental gear was in good shape, everything available, including computers. Fills all 3200+ psi. Tanks filled on dive deck with gear attached. Refills completed within one hr. of each dive return. Between 4 and 6 dives daily, depending on weather and conditions. Exit and entry from dive deck. All divers checked in and out, required to sign before leaving dive deck on return. Dive briefings comprehensive, with good charts beforehand. Strong safety briefing first night. Hands-off approach by dive staff, but ready to help if asked. Buddies left to dive own plans/profiles. Steady 25-30 knot winds the whole week forced cancellation of our planned Osprey Reef leg in the Coral Sea. The boat handled the weather okay, but the ride back to Cairns against the wind was a punishing 10 hour Nantucket sleighride, done overnight. The weather caused some discomfort for some divers, but everyone was able to dive each day. Some sites not accessible because of surge or currents. Cod Hole feeding was a little hokey, but exciting nonethless. Abundant fish life on most dives; Steve's Bommie, Pixie's Pinnacle and Lighthouse Bommie were standouts. One night dive on Challenger Bay was full of fish, including snappers and jacks feeding under the boat's lights, but another at Tak's II was disappointing. Plenty of cruising white tip sharks; one diver logged 15 sightings in 21 dives. Turtles, big Maori Wrasses, Potato Cods, Sweetlips, Giant Clams, cuttlefish, rays. Loads of smaller Anemone Fish, Chromis, Batfish, Butterfly Fish, Moorish Idols and others. Hard and soft corals in great shape. Staff highlighted Flame File Shell in hole with sparking bacteria on its edge. Also spotted a large sea snake. A memorable trip that sold me on liveaboards.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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