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Dive Review of Blackbeard Cruises in
Bahamas

January, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Lee Fenner, OH, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (8 reports)
Report Number 4596
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Great Lakes, Galapagos, Kauai, Kona, Roatan, Oriskany, Keys, Destin,
Cozumel
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
windy, dry  
Seas
surge  
Water Temp
73   to 78    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 150    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
No deco, max depths except one dive were above 130 ft  
Liveaboard?
no 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  1 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
N/A  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
Plastic 55 gal drum with fresh water changed daily for rinse. No dedicated
camera table. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
3 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
N/A  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
Beginners
3 stars   
Advanced
2 stars    
Comments  
My 18-dive cruise was from 27 Dec to 2 Jan on the Pirates Lady. We
departed Blackbeards dock at about 4 pm on Saturday and did one dive prior
to motoring to the Bimini area overnight. The next three days featured 4
dives including a night dive each evening. On New Years Eve, we dove three
times near Port Lucaya, Grand Bahamas, and arrived at the dock about 4 pm.
New Years Day featured two dives after leaving the port at about 8:30 am.
Due to three foot swells, we ducked back into port for lunch in between
dives. We were back at homeport by 3:30 pm and off the boat by 9 am on the
2nd.

Blackbeard is an excellent value for a lot of diving in minimum time. The
living conditions on the 65-foot boat are good, but Pirates Lady should
have a refit soon as most wood surfaces need to be refinished, rust
scraped, and surfaces repainted. The crew cleaned the marine heads three
times a day keeping them in satisfactory but rustic condition. There were
13 divers on this trip, so there was plenty of room to spread out. 

The crew of five worked extremely hard to insure everyone had a good time.
The skipper, Pedro, and the cook, Carrie, were exceptional. Food was
plentiful and well-prepared. Rum punch, beer, and wine were included and
available when done diving for the day.

Diving was fun, but marine life is lacking compared to the Keys and
Cozumel. Not too many large fish probably because there are no marine
sanctuaries and spear fishing is allowed off scuba. You can spear lionfish
on scuba. Several wrecks, particularly the Theos and Seastar were
excellent. The shark dive was a highlight and run very safely. Exit from
the boat was giant stride from either side and entry was from a long ladder
on the stern. You had to remove your fins and put them on your wrist to
safely climb the ladder. Once back on board a crew member guided you to a
bench seat with a tank cut-out. They had whips to refill the tanks so your
BC stayed on the same 80 cu ft AL tank for the entire trip. Tanks were
filled consistently to 3000 psi. No nitrox available. Only the one drift
dive was guided. Most dive sites had pretty straight forward natural
navigation, but divers need to have reasonable situational awareness and
compass skills since currents can pickup/change and the visibility made the
anchor line difficult to see at times. Water temps varied from 73 to 78,
mainly 75. With the wind, frequent cloud cover, and multiple dives I was
very happy to have my dry suit and noticed most divers missed some dives
because they were cold.

The crew was very safety conscious but two incidents did occur that I felt
could have been handled better. On the last diving day, the first dive was
a wreck in about 95 ft. Swells were 3 ft and the wind was shifting in
direction making the boat buck and roll pretty good. On the way back up at
about 25 ft, we saw a crew member in the water motioning to us seeming to
want to check our air status. We signaled OK, but then the propeller was
turned on for several seconds a couple times. Divers were a safe distance
away but it was still disconcerting. I asked about it on board and was told
the sea conditions required a slight change in direction. While I can
understand this need, the underwater communication would have been clearer
with a slate or better hand signals. Then on the last dive of the trip, we
dove on an old navy Higgins boat briefed at a max depth of 50 ft, but it
was actually in 90 ft. A crew member had to set the anchor and then came
back on board in time to correct the briefing, but didnt. While divers
should be able to handle this situation, briefings to known sites should
have accurate max depths.

A travel word to the wise. Dont count on checking the Internet to
reconfirm your flights since Wi-Fi is spotty. Make the phone call when in
cellular range a couple days before. I neglected to do this and I missed my
original Continental return flights as flights/times were changed to two
hours earlier than I had booked. 
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Other dive reports on Blackbeard's Cruises

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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