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Dive Review of Aqua Cat in
Bahamas/Exumas

Aqua Cat, Jun, 2009,

by Deborah Campbell, MD, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 4892.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Curacao, Cayman Islands, Grand Turk, Belize, Cay Sal Bank (Bahamas)
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas choppy
Water Temp 79 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Max depth 130 feet, no deco diving, return with 500psi
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Two camera-only rinse tanks, large camera table and extreme care by dive staff when handing and retrieving cameras to/from divers in the water.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The Aqua Cat is a great boat for liveaboard diving, with larger-than-expected cabins, a comfortable dining/salon area, large dive deck with a head and two showers, a shaded "alfresco" deck for relaxing (where dive briefings were held) and a large sun deck with self-serve beverages. The captain and crew are excellent, with just the right balance of professionalism, safety-consciousness and fun. Food is top-notch with a surprisingly good variety at every meal, and special dietary needs can be accommodated. The option of doing non-diving activities using the Sea Dog (their 28-foot launch with its own captain) was appreciated by divers who weren't up for doing the maximum number of dives offered (up to 26 during the week's charter.)

The condition of most of the dive sites we visited in the Exumas was disappointing. Except at shallower sites (40 feet or less) there is extensive algae which often smothers both the reef structures and the sandy bottom. Reef topography was interesting and varied, but extremely "brown." Visibilty was mediocre for tropical diving and there was often a distinct greenish, murky quality to the water. There were several cloudy days, which also adversely affected the viz. While there was a nice variety of fish, the quantity of marine life overall was usually quite a bit less than we've experienced elsewhere. The shark-feed dive was well-organized and resulted in many sharks visiting the site. We also saw sharks at other sites, particularly the "Lost Blue Hole." We saw multiple lionfish on nearly every dive. If they are freely eating juveniles (as reported in DAN's "Alert Diver") that could explain a reduced quantity of fish overall.

The Aqua Cat is an excellent choice for a live-aboard dive trip, and we would definitely choose them again - especially if the itinerary changed to areas with better reef conditions.
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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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