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Dive Review of Blackbeard's -- Morning Star/Nassau Harbour Club in
Bahamas/Exumas and Eleutheras

Blackbeard's -- Morning Star/Nassau Harbour Club: "Great trip, fantastic crew, and tons of fun on the Morning Star!", May, 2017,

by Nancy Boore, MD, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 9621.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This was my first liveaboard, and I really looked forward to this trip with Blackbeard's. I read just about all of the reviews on Undercurrent and on other sites, and just about everyone sang praises and had positive comments about the crew, the diving, and the camaraderie they experienced on the trip. They weren't kidding! This trip was well worth the money, the diving was fantastic, the crew was phenomenal, and I had a blast.

The boat I went out on was the Morning Star, and we had 23 pax on board with 5 crew: Captain Red, First Mate Iain, Engineer Tamlyn (Tammy), Divemaster Justin, and Cook Gladys. We boarded at noon on 27 May, and received a quick intro of all the crew, and a briefing from Captain Red, who gave us our bunk assignments. My bunk was in the main salon, a 2-person bunk that I had all to myself, which was great. We unpacked our bags and got settled in, had lunch, and pulled out of port to our first dive site, which was the Blue Hole. Captain Red said they usually save that dive site for last, but the weather forecast for later in the week wasn't looking good, so he decided to go there first, which ended up being a great decision. Our sister ship, the Sea Explorer, saved that site for last, and ended up not being able to dive it due to less that optimal conditions. The blue hole was fantastic! When we dropped down over the edge, we saw hundreds of reef sharks swimming below us, very cool sight to see! That was the only dive we did on the first day, after which we motored to our next dive site and got some rest for the next day.

Sunday through Wednesday we did 3 dives during the day and a night dive each night, and Captain Red did a fantastic job of choosing the dive sites that gave us a great variety of critters and corals to see. My favorite dive of the trip was our last one, the "Wreck of the Miranda." There was such an abundance of fish on the wreck, really the best dive of the trip! Throughout the week we saw plenty of sharks, lots of turtles, parrot fish, a few spotted eels, lots of lobster and crabs, plenty of hermit crabs and arrow crabs, conch, saw a flame box crab on our last night dive that was feeding, arrow crabs, porcupine puffers, tons of urchins on the night dives, lots of rays and skates....definitely plenty of things to see! A few of the dive sites had nice swim throughs, too. Overall, the diving was easy and comfortable, some current but fairly light. I wore a 5mm suit, most folks were in skins or swim suits, a few had 3mm suits. I tend to get cold even in warm water, so I did fine with a 5mm.

Living quarters were a little tight, but comfortable. There's not a whole lot of privacy on board, but it didn't pose any problems for anyone. Waiting in line for the shower sometimes took a while, since the changing area was right outside the shower door. You had to pull a curtain across to change, and the area was a little cramped, but not too bad. When showering, you could use all the seawater (which was cold) you wanted for getting lathered up and rinsing, but only 30sec of freshwater (which was nice and hot) for final rinse. There was no timer or anything, so it was sort of on the honor system that you stick to the 30sec, but Captain Red emphasized that if people abused the use of fresh water he would turn it off in the shower to conserve it for more critical functions on the boat,including cooking.

The crew worked their butts off during the trip, and the Gladys was an absolute pro at putting together fantastic meals and snacks that were yummy, plentiful, and made our bellies very happy!! If there was an MVP award for the trip, she would have gotten it for sure. Justin was a great DM, incredibly friendly and helpful, very upbeat, made sure everyone had what they needed for each dive and addressed some equipment issues during the trip, making sure everyone's dives went smoothly. The crew have a brutal work schedule...6 to 8 weeks straight with only Thursday and Friday nights to themselves when the boat is back in port, but otherwise they're working just about around the clock, with little rest, for up to two months. Some of the crew were on their 5th straight week, and sometimes it showed. At times they could be a little grumpy and get easily frustrated with things that we might do or not do, like remembering to bungee our tanks properly, or keeping the walkways free of gear. They muscle through a lot during each trip, and sometimes have to endure things like not having enough to eat or getting a shower because they put the passengers first. We heard that the trip before ours the crew ate salad just about every day because some of the passengers took several helpings of food at each meal, leaving nothing but salad for the crew. If I had to eat salad for a whole week I'd be pretty grumpy, too...and I like salad. But, in spite of the brutal work schedule and sometimes unforgiving work conditions, they did a phenomenal job at making it a fantastic week of diving for everyone!

Getting us in the water for dives could have been managed a little better. The tanks were too close together to allow everyone to gear up at the same time, so sometimes you were ready to gear up but couldn't just because there wasn't room. When we did negative entry dives things were very organized, and I think perhaps every dive should be conducted that way, or at least in a more regimented fashion. I was on the trip by myself, but had no problem hooking up with some great dive buddies.

Bottom line - this was a fantastic trip with a phenomenal crew, great value for the money, terrific diving, and a great way to have fun with some fantastic people!!
Websites Blackbeard's -- Morning Star   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Florida Keys, Pompano.
Closest Airport Nassau (NAS) Getting There Took Southwest from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale, with a layover in Lauderdale before flying into Nassau with Southwest. Getting through immigration was a breeze. Arranged transportation ahead of time through Blackbeard's, taxi was waiting for me when I arrived, and took me to the Nassau Harbour Club. Same for the flight back to Baltimore. Cost was $15 one way, so $30 total.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 80-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Guidance was to dive to your training level, don't dive beyond your certification level, no solo diving, no deco diving. No limits placed on dive time, but try to stay to about an hour. Generally had a 2hr surface interval between dives, that was spent motoring to the next dive site.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Bare minimum for cameras, had a freshwater tank and camera table, but that was about it.
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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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