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Dive Review of Aquacat Cruises in
Bahamas

Aquacat Cruises, Nov, 2003,

by Dean K Knudson, MN, US (Contributor Contributor 15 reports). Report 850.

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
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
UW Photo 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
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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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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