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Dive Review of Aquacat Cruises in
Bahamas

November, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Dean K Knudson, MN, US
Contributor   (15 reports)
Report Number 850
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Bahamas, Mexico, Florida, Midwest
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, windy  
Seas
choppy  
Water Temp
75   to 84    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
4
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
No diving after alcohol use, follow and track your own profiles. Computers
strongly suggested  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
1 or 2 
Dolphins
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
N/A  
Boat Facilities
N/A
Overall rating for UWP's  
N/A  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
[None]
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
4 stars   
Advanced
4 stars    
Comments  
This is a first class operation, and a relatively new boat, built in 2001.
There are 100 cu.ft. tanks avaiable, however, two of our group didn't pay
attention while using the higher capacity tanks and were given deco
warnings by their computers. There are, at times, three wall dives in
sequence on the same day, creating difficulty for those hoping to stay well
within diving safety profiles. The exumas and the eluthra areas feature
excellent unspoiled diving, with walls available on all days. Coral seems
to be in excellent health. A low cost option on this boat is to convince
two buddies to go with you,and bunking three to a cabin. That lowers the
combined price to around $1200. Divemasters are excellent, captain and boat
support staff are all uniformly excellent. This is a comfortable berth for
DM's, and it's easy to see why they attract competent and friendly staff.
Chef Jim is also excellent, plan on gaining five pounds even with five
dives per day. The downside of diving in the exumas include the difficulty
with night diving. Expect HOARDES of "sea worms" that can be so
thick as to obstruct diving vision almost completely. We found ourselves
diving at night in teams of three divers, each alternately turning on and
off his light to confuse these worms which migrate toward any light. There
are also "sea wasps" that sting slightly, and which hang in the
ten foot range. Lights are turned off during ascent, and the boat is kept
completely dark until the last night diver is on deck, to keep attraction
of sea wasps to a minimum. If night diving is your thing, eluthra and exuma
are not good locations.
A unique dive that was repeated by the staff upon request was the
"washing machine". It's a drift dive that follows a massive
current between two cays, timed with the tides for maximum current. A high
speed somersaulting blast!
 Another downside is the boat motion. It's not nearly as bad as on the
Blackbeard's monohull sail boats, but it can be suprisingly brisk. The
periphery of the main salon can travel up and down some two to four feet
during crossings and slow turns adjacent to dive sites, and more than once
meals were interupted when plates and drinks flew unto the floor. One
breakfast was interupted when both omlette frying pans flew off of the
banquet table and onto the floor. The company might wish to gimball those
hotplates. The cruising speed of the ship is about 13 to 15 miles per hour.
Most crossings are less than four hours. I have not been on a SWATH
designed dive boat yet, so I cannot draw a comparison with regard to boat
motion. About 10% of the passengers were seasick at some point in the trip.
That's much lower than what I have noticed on two Blackbeard's sailing
monohull trips and somewhat lower than the Sea Fever, when I took that
trip. One night on the ship was uncomfortable due to boat motion for a
three hour period of time. 
Airfare into Nassau is not terrible, many prop planes make the hop from
Miami and Ft. Lauderdale every two hours for about $200 round trip, and
that fare may fall further, since there is a new high speed ferry entering
service from Miami to Grand Bahamma that may eventually offer service to
Nassau.
The dive video was the best I have ever seen, but the videographer changes
from week to week, so this can vary.
The shark dive was excellent, more than 25 sharks that fed for about 25
minutes, then stayed in the area. I have been on four shark dives, and I
can't help but think that someone someday will be seriously hurt, but this
crew is as safe as any.
Safety was emphasized, and in private conversations I learned that three of
the crew have had DCS and have spent time in the chamber as a result of
dives earlier in their lives. The captain apparently has given up scuba due
to repeated DCS bouts.
There is a massive quantity of liquor on board, Bahamian beer, Russian
vodka, whiskey and rum. There is also a blender, wet bar and nice stereo on
the top deck under the stars.
The chef sells cuban cigars at a fair price.
The boat caters to an international crowd, and they could benefit from
getting a cheap electronic word translator and leaving it in the main salon
to facilitate dive briefings and casual conversations.
At three to a cabin, this was the best dive boat value I have had, and was
very pleasant since most of one's time is spent outside the cabin in the
main areas of the boat. At two to a cabin it's pricey but a reasonable
value. 
Cabins are spotless and modern, with a toilet and shower built into EACH
cabin. Plenty of hot, fresh water all day long with two shower stalls right
on the dive deck next to a toilet. Night diving takes on a new meaning when
you can take off a cold wetsuit while standing UNDER a hot shower!
The diving cannot be described as better than that in Cozumel, but there
are no crowds and no other divers, and it's no less spectacular on the
large walls in the exumas and in eluthra as compared to the walls in
Cozumel. There is little current, however, and the wall drift dives in
Cozumel cover much more territory. 
The dive sites near Nassau are nothing special. The blue hole near Nassau
is a curiosity that holds one's interest for about ten minutes or so only.
There is zero onshore entertainment in the exumas and in eluthra. Very few
people live there. There are two shore excursions, one to a cay inhabited
by Iguanas, and one to the park on Exuma.
There is little fishing avaiable off of the back of the ship as it cruises
too fast. There are kayaks if one has the energy after diving all day. I
didn't. 
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All Bahamas Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Bahamas
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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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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