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Dive Review of AquaCat in

May, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by David Steinberg, OR, USA (1 report)
Report Number 3369
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Puget Sound, Vancouver Island, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Cozumel, Palau,
Belize, Hawaii, Florida
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, dry  
calm, currents  
Water Temp
78   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
25   to 200    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Return to boat with 500 psi  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
5 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
The dive deck had 2 separate fresh water tanks for cameras and a dry table
for equipment maintenance. There was ample power for battery chargers both
on the dive deck and in the salon. Additionally, the AquaCat had a film
processing station on board too.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
This was our second live aboard trip in 14 years of diving and was a real
treat. The Aqua Cat is a 102' catamaran with a 35' beam and 6' draft.
Commissioned in May, 2001, it was built in Australia while Captain Mark
Bailey was on hand during the boat's finishing and was trained on all the
systems and the entire layout. There are 11 cabins for up to 30 passengers,
each cabin having its own shower and head, A/C- climate controls and
mini-refrigerator. The boat has been cared for with extraordinary efforts.
No rust or mold was present anywhere and the entire boat had a feeling of
daily polishing.  With helpful assistance from Jesse, the house mouse,
linens were changed as requested and fresh towels available as needed.
Three reverse osmosis de-salinators keep an ample supply of fresh water,
including the two hot water shower stalls on the dive deck.

The dive deck has 24 very roomy dive slots and 50/63/80/100 aluminum tanks
available for any diver. Nitrox (32% only) was an additional $100 for the
five diving days. Tanks are filled after each dive while nested in your
assigned slot- just remove the first stage. There are 4 points for entering
the water.  Two gates are directly on the dive deck allowing for a giant
stride into the water from either the port or starboard side. The other two
points of entry are located on the aft water level pontoons.   Exit the
water via these same lower platforms on diver friendly ladder and crew
assist. You even get fresh water hosing down right there. The dive crew,
Janine, Max, Kat and Mike are all instructors, (as is Captain Mark, first
mate Desmond and chief engineer Pete).

Our dive trip was in conjunction with a REEF (Reef Environmental Education
Foundation) field survey and as such most of the divers were experienced
and well-trained in fish identification. We also had the pleasure of Ned
and Anna Deloach, world renowned underwater photo/video researchers and
Aqua Cat owner, Bruce Purdy. Bruce was very concerned with the invasion of
lionfish in the Bahamas and Exumas waters and actively hunted them on most
dives for topside research. We were treated to a couple of the Deloach's
slide shows at night.

The food was exceptional, prepared by Chef Kirk Bell and his able
assistant, souschef Kelly. Breakfast always included something hot off the
grill, pancakes or eggs, with bacon or sausage, and variety of fruits,
yogurt, oatmeal and bread. Hot chocolate was a favorite and the entire case
was depleted on the 6th day. Lunch was also something hot including a
couple of fancy Mexican dishes. Dinner was always superb- beef dishes, pork
loin, fish and always with a soup and salad. You did not go hungry on this

The dive spots were spectacular and included the Exumas Land and Sea Park
along with other notables such as Amberjack Reef, Shroud Wall, and
Hammerhead Gulch. The corals all appeared healthy with an abundance of fish
including various species and sizes of the signature Nassau grouper. There
were up to five dives per day including a night or dusk dive and two drift
dives that were well timed. The feature dive was the shark dive where all
participants had to sign an additional waiver. What a show that was as the
bait ball disappeared after about 20 minutes. 

Overall, the Aqua Cat provided superior service, the staff was very
qualified, able and friendly and the diving was outstanding.
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Other dive reports on Aqua Cat Cruises

All Bahamas Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Bahamas
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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