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Dive Review of Blackbeards Cruises in

April, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Lucius "Bud" Foster, MN, USA
Report Number 1893
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
California, Lake Superior, Hawaii, Jamaica, Bahamas, Cozumel, Anguilla, S.
Florida & Keys, Roatan, Palau, Saba, and Grand Cayman.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, dry  
choppy, noCurrents  
Water Temp
74   to 76    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
130' max and no deco. diving.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Large rinse tank trash can filled with fresh water for camera's/video, no
real specific place for camera/video storage or work area, and no
photo/video pro on staff like some more expensive live-aboards.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
This was my third cruise with Blackbeards and I have to say, for the $890
US dollars or so, it is the best dive live-aboard deal for the money
around.  However, you must understand before going that if your concept of
experiencing the great outdoors is going to a Sheraton, then Blackbeards
Cruises is not for you.  Blackbeards has three boats the Pirates Lady, Sea
Explorer, and Morning Star.  The sleeping quarters are bunk beds (some
double size for couples)with a privacy curtain and a total of three shared
bathrooms and only one shared shower.  Anotherwords, no private rooms.  So,
if you enjoy sailing on the open ocean, are not a chronic suffer of motion
or sea sickness, likes camping out and kinda ruffing it, Blackbeards
Cruises is the best dive vacation for the money.  Each day basically goes
like this, 3-5 dives a day and a couple of night dives during your week. 
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is buffet style and as much as you want to
eat.  The cooks are wounderful and if you dont like what they are serving
and want something special or have special diet needs, just tell the cook
and he or she will take care of your needs.  Normally on Wednesdays in the
late afternoon the boats goes into port for the night and you can get off
and take a private hot shower and hit the town for a night of wild
partying.  The diving is best near Bimini and accounts for some of the top
10 great wall dives in the Carribean such as South Peak Wall, Tuna Alley,
Yellow Brick Road, and my favorite Nodules that has a eerie story attached
to it, it was told to me like this: A few years back the Pirate's Lady was
ancored to the site and setting up for the first of the morning dives. 
Captain James Boddi and the first mate decided to take a quick dive before
the passengers awakened.  They dove down and followed the sand chute to the
wall at approximatly 130' were they were to take a left with the wall to
there left shoulder coming up very slow until they reached the next sand
chute and then were to swim back up gradually until they circle back to the
ancore line.  When they got to the 130' first part of the wall dive, James
signaled to the first mate he was going to do the Sponge Tunnel and he
would meet him at the ancore line.  Legend has it that at approx. 210'
there is a huge sponge that has grown straight out from the wall and then
comes back in the shape of an upside down U swim-thru.  The deal is to swim
under the sponge and then look back up toward the surface.  Captain James
never meet the First Mate back at the ancore line and there is now a plaque
with his name, birth date, and missing date on it were the permenant
mooring line attaches.  If the story is not true and he was just missing
from the dive and never came back, it has keep me from ever going below
130'.  The Bahamas also has alot of great reef dives and wreck dives and
many trips change locations basied on the weather.  If the weather is bad
in one area, there is always another that is good.  My only complant is
that at some dive sites closer to the Andros area, I saw alot of carpet
alge covering coral.  I know that Blackbeards is involved with special dive
trips that relocate sea urchins to help with this problem and I have heard
they are having some success.  Last but not least, the Bahamas still allows
shark chuming dives.  The dive site is called Bulls Runn and it is a really
cool dive site that is set up like an ampetheater with the coral to your
back while you watch the divemaster with a line feed the sharks with
barracuda on a stick.  As soon as the sharks are finished they split and
one or two will hang around with a few large groupers for some close up
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