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Dive Review of Bimini Undersea/Bimini Big Game Resort in
Bahamas/Bimini

Bimini Undersea/Bimini Big Game Resort, May, 2008,

by H. Issa, CA, USA ( 1 report). Report 4169.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, US Pacific and Hawaii, South Pacific, and Southeast Asia
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 100 to 120 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions dive time
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 1 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 1 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Our Dive Group:
Our group on this trip was made up of 17 divers, 8 of whom are advanced or master instructors. Between us, we have thousands of dives logged all over the world in the Caribbean, US Pacific and Hawaii, South Pacific, and Southeast Asia.

Transportation:
Our group included people from all over the US and we all met in Fort Lauderdale, FL for the connection to the commuter flight to Bimini. Wed made our reservations with Bimini Island Air. While the staff members were helpful, the operation overall was pretty disorganized. Having dealt with small regional airlines before, we were ready for the typical issues like delays and luggage arriving to our destination after we did. In this case, the experience was even worse. In addition to significant delays (2 hours on the outbound flight, and 6 hours on the return) the airline ended up splitting us into two groups on two different planes that ended up in two different places (Fort Lauderdale International airport, and Fort Lauderdale Executive airport). As a result most of us missed our connecting flights.

Resort:
We stayed at the Bimini Big Game Resort and Yacht Club. It seemed that our collective opinion of the resort got worse with every day we spent there. The rooms were clean and spacious and well air conditioned. Everything else about the resort really disappointed us. The check-in process was long and most of us had to wait 2-3 hours to get our rooms. That by itself was not an issue since we planned on diving that day so we left our luggage in storage and headed for the boat. Upon returning from diving that afternoon, we were informed that another group that was staying there the previous weekend had decided to extend their stay and as a result we were bumped from some of our rooms. 7 of us were bumped out and 3 of us had to stay in rented rooms offsite. The rooms were located in the back of a grocery store (sounds outlandish, but its the truth) and they were filthy. And the staff at the front desk could care less. When we spoke to the front desk manager, she told us that she cant help and that well have to deal with this until the other group leaves. Upon checkout at the end of the week, we had a similar experience. The process took way too long, and of the 9 rooms we occupied, 5 had wrong charges applied to the final bill. When we asked to speak to the manager, she refused to talk to us. We had to ask the dive operators manager to intervene to resolve this issue. After we got home, a few of us received new charges on their credit cards statements which had to be disputed.
The food and beverage aspect of the resort was just as disappointing. Service was VERY slow. It took on average about 30 minutes for the wait staff to take a food order. As a general rule, the staff members were not friendly and seemed annoyed that the guests were there. Customer service was completely absent. The food quality was generally good once the food was served. Food and beverage cost was on the high side for what you got.

Dive Operator:
We dove with Bimini Undersea which at the time was an independently owned dive operation located onsite at the resort (NOTE: the resort is in the process of buying the dive operation. The acquisition is expected to be completed by August 2008). Bill and Nowdla Keefe own and manage the operation. Bill was on the boat with us on all our dives. He was assisted by George as a deck hand and dive master. Bill and George did a very good job on our dives providing background information about dive sites, good dive briefings, natural navigation tips specific to each site, and making sure everyone comfortable while on the boat. They gave us recommendation of places to visit on the island such as local restaurants. The dive boat was spacious but needed some maintenance e.g. painting.

Diving:
The diving in Bimini wasnt bad but it wasnt great either.
Most of the dive sites located closer to shore around the Bahama Bank (within 15-20 minutes by boat from the resort) looked the same: sandy bottom with patches of coral. The reefs were not very colorful and the coral was not very abundant. However, the fish density was probably one of the highest weve seen anywhere. We were surrounded by thick schools of fish on almost every dive. There is a great variety of fish including butterfly fish, various snapper species, angle fish, trigger fish, and many others.
By contrast, the dive sites beyond the Bahama Bank and closer to the edge of the continental shelf (about 40 50 minutes by boat from the resort) were alive with color with very healthy corals and sponges. Similar to the other sites, there was an abundance of fish and some pelagic varieties including jacks, turtles, sharks, and large groupers. The diving in this area is much better than closer to shore but getting there will be dependent on weather since it lies outside the protection of the island.
Water temperature was consistent throughout the week at around 82°F. The seas were choppy but manageable on most days. Underwater, visibility was around 100 feet with low surge and some strong current at three or four dive sites.
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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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