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Dive Review of Blackbeard's Cruises/Sea Explorer in
Bahamas

October, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Jim Sanders, NY, USA
Report Number 1980
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Florida, Niagara River, St.
Lawrence River
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, dry  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
80   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
50   to 75    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
[Unspecified]  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
1 or 2 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
None 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
2 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Comments
Rinse tank available; no table other than common table in galley.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
3 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
3 stars   
Advanced
3 stars    
Comments  
The Ugly: Crossing the Gulf Stream is an experience I will probably never
forget. Seas were rough, it was dark, and I'm no sailor. I took a couple of
motion sickness pills just in case, even though a week-long catamaran trip
the previous year left me confident I would be OK. We left Miami right on
schedule at 9 p.m. Friday for our long-weekend cruise.

My girlfriend and I chatted with other passengers for a couple of hours. I
was feeling pretty good and we went below to get a little sleep in our
shared berth. Another couple was in the bunk above us. It was pitch black,
waves were pounding the hull, and the boat was moving back and forth, up
and down, back and forth, up and down. I lasted about 10 minutes. Out the
side of the bunk I went with just enough time to get one sandal on, and
bolted up the ladder to the deck. There went my supper, lunch, and
breakfast. For the next 6 hours I must have tossed my cookies 10,000 times.
I didn't care that I was soaked from waves. I didn't care that I only had
one sandal on. I didn't care what kind of nasty sounds were coming from me.
I would have paid anything for my own bed. But hey, 6 hours goes by fast
when you feel like that (yeah, right), and soon we were pulling into
Bimini.

It was time for breakfast. I cringed at the others full plates of food. A
half of a banana was all I dared try. After all, we were going diving in
less than an hour and I was going to get my money's worth. Things were
starting to improve.

The Bad: About the only thing I was not too happy with was that we were
under motor power for the entire trip. One of the sails was raised during
the initial crossing but that was an attempt to stabilize us. If it made
any difference the attempt was too late for me. We were told the weather
was not conducive to sailing but later in the trip someone said there was a
problem with one of the sails. Regardless of the reason, it was
disappointing.

The Good: The trip was pretty much as expected. Friends had taken the
cruise several years earlier and filled us in on what we would do and see.
Diving was good but not outstanding, food was plentiful and well prepared,
and the other divers were qualified.

Out of the 10 dives we did my favorite was the shark feed. The feed itself
was OK, with plenty of Caribbean reef and nurse sharks and a very
safety-conscious crew. It was almost like an amphitheater setting. We
followed a line down and were led to our "seats." The sharks were
already there, summoned by the sound of the dinghy motor. Our backs were
positioned to large coral mounds in a semi-circle so there were not going
to be any surprises. This was not my first shark feed so I knew what to
expect.

The feed was over in a very short time. Silty conditions caused by the
feeding frenzy did not allow many photo ops. During the briefing we were
told about a possible encounter with "Fido," a somewhat tame baby
nurse shark. Sure enough, Fido was there during and after the feed and
seemed to like being around the divers. I had my trusty Nikonos V with me
and was doing what all the other photographers were doing: following sharks
and trying to get a shot.

Who knows what a shark thinks when some noisy, unnatural looking thing
follows them around? I decided to try something different by sitting in the
sand and waiting for a shark to come through one of the channels between
the coral heads. Well, doesn't Fido come along, warily at first, hugging
the bottom and getting closer and closer to me. I clicked off a couple of
shots, just as happy as could be. My fins were almost flat on the sand
extended in front of my sitting position. He gets closer, just like a
curious puppy, then he put his snout right under my fins! No one said he
was this friendly. I didn't know what to do, so I tried stroking him with
my fins. He didn't leave. I took another picture. He started working his
way up my body, snout still under my leg, and I just couldn't believe it.
What the heck, maybe he will let me pet him, I thought. I reached out and
started stroking his side, not knowing if I was going to scare him, hurt
him or become his lunch. He seemed to like it because he still made no
attempt to leave.

Just then I thought, no one is ever going to believe this. I didn't see
anyone else nearby until I looked over my right shoulder. There were at
least 5 other divers hovering behind me, taking pictures and just enjoying
the show. What a great bunch of folks. There was no, "me, me, it's my
turn" attitude. They just let me have my moment with this
"wild" creature and I am truly thankful for it. That was one of
the best dives I have ever had. As a caveat, I must say that I took a
chance touching this animal. Being a logical guy (I fix computers for a
living), I did not act in a logical way. I recently read of a diver who was
bitten by a small nurse shark and the shark would not let go. Both the
diver and the shark were brought to a hospital where the shark was
surgically removed. True or not, I would not recommend touching a shark or
any other sea creature.

All in all I would take the trip again. In fact, I am going back in October
2005. But this time Ill be trying one of those seasick patches. I hate
renting my meals.
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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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