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Dive Review of Blackbeard's Cruises in
Bahamas/around Bimini

September, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Carol Sommers, IIllinois, USA
Reviewer   (6 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 5113 has 1 Helpful vote
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Great Barrier Reef, Sea of Cortez, Belize, Cozumel, Grenada, Cayman Brac,
Bonaire, freshwater springs in Florida, Florida Keys, Lake Michigan
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
79   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
[Everyone had a buddy and we were asked to return with 500 psi in our tanks
although this was not checked.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  1 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
Diving with Blackbeard's has been compared to taking a road trip out West
with your buddies and this is certainly true.  With 18 divers and 5 crew on
a 65 foot sloop and sleeping in bunkbeds (which were very comfortable), one
certainly becomes a family.  We came from all over the country and Canada
and had a ball. At 61, I was the senior member of the group, but felt like
I was 30. The youngest was a teenager. (There are only ladders on the boat
and one must hang on to keep one's footing.)  I did have some extra help
lifting my tank while getting up the ladder at the end of a dive which was
appreciated. They even offered to have me doff my bc in the water. 

There were good dive briefings before each dive, including the "fish
of the day" and then we went in with a buddy and dived our own
profiles, staying in as long as we wanted as long as we came back with a
safe psi number (500). This was not verified, as I knew some divers came
back with lower numbers. I like to do REEF fish surveys when I dive and did
not need to bring a fish identification book since it is available. No
divemasters go into the water with you; you must buddy-up with a complete
stranger if you come alone. I would have felt more at ease with one of the
divemasters. They also should have had one at the ladder at all times once
divers went in since I needed to use my dive-alert once when I came back
early.  That was on a dive I had to abort because there was a strong
surface current and the line we were to follow wasn't attached to the buoy
with the line to go down.  They apologized for it, but I missed the dive as
a result.  None of the divemasters offered to go down with me and they
didn't attach the line so I could go back in.

Blackbeard's publishes a "what to bring" list and one should
stick to it, including a complete set of waterproof rain-gear, including
pants in case you need to sit on deck during a storm because of
seasickness. One needs to pack light for this cruise since there's only a
small shelf and hook for your non-diving stuff. On deck, there is plenty of
room for your dive gear and towels and wetsuits are hung to dry. The deck
is open to the elements, but a tarp is up for shade. When we sailed at
night, there were no bright lights topside so one could enjoy the stars,
including shooting ones. We listened to music divers had brought on their
i-pods.  There was a DVD player in the galley which helped pass the time on
the one long channel crossing we made. There was no nitrox, but most of the
dives were not deep. 

The food was superb, prepared by a chef who used to have his own
restaurant, but told me it was more fun and less headaches to cook for us
divers. We did have a lobster dinner with lobster killed (we were in
season) by several divers. I had a bit of a problem with this; it would be
like killing the koi swimming in my pond at home and eating them for
dinner. But frankly, the grilled lobster was tasty. Anyone who wanted to
could also kill lionfish which are a well-known problem.

The value for your money is unbeatable; less than $1,000, even after you
include all port fees and 15% tip! This was my second trip with the company
and I plan to do more because I saw a large variety of fish, several times
counting more than 40 species per dive. Routes are varied so that you do
not see the same dive sites as on a previous trip with the company. One can
go on two Blackbeard's trips for the price of one at any other resort or
liveaboard. This is a call for other seniors to come on board! Fixed
incomes don't have to stop your diving!
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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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