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Dive Review of Bahama Divers/British Colonial Hilton in
Bahamas/Nassau

Bahama Divers/British Colonial Hilton, Mar, 2007,

by Laurie Gneiding, NJ, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports). Report 3244.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cancun, Cozumel, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Bonaire, BVI, Belize, Little Cayman, NJ, ME, RI, MA
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 73 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 40 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions 80 feet; 30 minutes
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Dry area for set-up. Separate rinse tank but masks, booties and gloves were placed in with cameras.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 1 stars
Comments We did four days with Bahama Divers (Nassau). Pick up at hotel varied between 7:30 am to 8:10 am. Check in on first day consisted of being ignored by surly employee for 15 minutes, then sharply told that the counter needed cleaning/straightening before paperwork could be completed. Lots of standing around until boat was ready at 9:00 am.

Boat is a 40-ft vessel outfitted to accommodate 28 divers. There were only 12 of us on first day along with three crew members. There is an onboard head, fire extinguisher, radio, and first aid kit. Water is complementary but soda is $1/can and beer is available AFTER diving. Bags of kibbled dog food are pushed to feed the fish not a good practice. Dive is videotaped (the camera is in your face a lot) and you can get a copy for $39.95. Mask defog is supplied and boat has separate camera tank but a lot of masks, gloves, and booties were swimming with my new U/W camera.

Bahama Divers follows a set schedule - Monday is X, Tuesday is Y, etc. and it is difficult to get them to change. Monday is the Blue Hole, which is located approximately 12 miles east, in open ocean. Monday was also weather warranting small craft advisories due to 4- to 5-foot swells and 15-20 knot winds. Despite these warnings, we endured a 45-minute, spine-jarring ride where divers became airborne (sustained nasty bruised leg after flying into the metal bench). Told to suit up and put on weight belts while boat still moving(!). Briefing: giant stride off the back, swim on the surface to the front, drop down the anchor line, follow the divemaster to 80 ft maximum for 30 minutes. Jumped in and swam to the anchor line with every bit of strength I had but it was too much I was exhausted (Im 51 but in pretty good shape) I couldnt stop hyperventilating and turned back to abort the dive. Then got really seasick, despite all the necessary precautions.

Day 2: arrive at dive shop and stood around. Weather same as Day 1, so politely asked if we could dive in more protected waters. Argument ensued. I countered that I paid to dive and not vomit and that I would take my business elsewhere for the remaining two days. Glaring looks. On the boat, the captain (different from Day 1) indicated that due to the weather we would be doing two shallow dives (25) (yeah!). First dive unremarkable, second dive better as it was a shallow wreck. Several schools of schoolmaster and porgy and yellow and southern sting rays were observed. Water was 73oF and I was cold despite having a 3mm wetsuit, hood, and a shorty.

Day 3: Winds died down to 10-15 knots. Wednesday is another Blue Hole dive. Boat more crowded with 22 divers. Yellowtail snapper and sergeant majors abound because theyre being fed. The big deal is to sit on the stone ledge and get your picture taken. YAWN. Second dive at Piece of Cake was shallow coral head (25-30) with lots of fish species and resting nurse shark.

Day 4: Finally, relatively calm seas and winds less than 5 knots. This dive was to Travelers Rest, a gently sloping wall that bottoms out in the hundreds of feet. Dive profile was 80 ft, 30 minutes max., 2 minute safety stop at 15 feet. At least 20 minutes to get all 28 divers off the boat. Wall was completely unremarkable except for spotted eagle ray/remora. The second dive was 30 feet closer to shore than the first with strong tidal surge and few fish.

Overall, the reefs around Nassau are in poor condition being colorless and silted over perhaps due to hurricanes, perhaps due to the enormous amount of development in the area and probably a combination of both. Visibility less than 40 feet. Little macro life and not much species diversity (conducting fish census for REEF).

Bahama Divers is more interested in selling fish food and videos than service. They cater to the cruise ships and the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island while practically igoring individual divers. We expected to be returned to our hotel promptly, but it was routinely over an hour after returning and only after three or four requests. Groups always got preferential treatment.

You set up your own first tank, they did the second and they brought your gear to get in. When you were done, you handed up your weight belt and BC then muscled your way onto the platform. Not easy in 5 foot swells. The divemasters shepherded rather than look for critters (Calvin was the exception). On deep dives, it was follow the leader; shallow divers you could go off by yourself provided you didnt go deeper than the prescribed depth. Surface interval between two dives was less than 15 minutes. Two of the four days students dove with us and when they ran out of air, the dive was over. EVERY dive I came up with at least 1200 psi but I was motioned to get out of the water before I could finish my tanks. Large signs in the dive shop indicate NO REFUNDS on diving or snorkeling and they mean it. My husband became sick on the fourth day and couldnt dive -NO refund. If you go to the Bahamas, dive the other islands to avoid the unhealthy reefs of Nassau and the uninterested employees of Bahama Divers.
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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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