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Dive Review of Blackbeards in
Bahamas/Bimini & Freeport

June, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by guy johnson, illinois, usa
Report Number 2546
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Honduras, Caymans, Florida, Bahamas, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Belize,
North & South Carolina
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny  
Seas
calm  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
50   to 75    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
back on the boat with 500psi otherwise dive your own profile.stay in buddy
teams, no solo diving.  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
N/A  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
N/A  
Shore Facilities  
3 stars  
Comments
had dedicated fresh water barrel, crew would assist getting camera's in and
out of water
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
3 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
3 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  
This is a tough one as I love Blackbeards, been on four of them so
far.Since the boats are now based in Freeport, Bahamas they have created a
problem for themselves.Since they are close to base compared to being based
out of Miami, they will linger in the area off shore to allow divers who
have either chosen less direct flights, lost or
misplaced gear, etc.This means that all the other divers on the boat have
to settle for shallow, boring, fishless sites just off Freeport harbor
until the gear or divers show up.This never happened when they were based
in Miami, you either rented gear,made the departure time or  got left
behind.We had two divers who saved  around $30.00 on their airline tickets
and thus held up the entire boat waiting for them (and bragged about their
savings to those of us who planned our trips to fit the posted departure
times).Not fair to the rest of us as it cost us a day of better diving!This
is a nice gesture for those who don't plan their trips like adults but not
so good for the divers who did show up on time.Why have departure times
when you don't hold to them? Basically it cost the rest of the boat the
chance of having better dive sites for the day.Not to mention the 25 knot
storm we had to ride out waiting for them as well when we should have been
well out of harms way.! I doubt if the ones with their heads in the
sink/toliets puking thought much of the $30.00 savings!The boats are listed
as "camping on a boat" and that is fine but these ships need to
be updated/freshened up.The a/c isn't reliable, the ice machine seldom had
ice( they tried to get by with one small bag of ice each day to tide us
over), the soft drink dispencer didn't work half the time, bunks near the
heads smelled strongly of urine.The meals were filling but more than a bit
boring except for the one excellant roast beef/prime rib dinner.Whatever
didn't get eaten at a meal who show up again and again until it was gone.I
don't mind leftovers and understand the desire to save a buck, but I don't
think we should see some food item get passed through three meals to do
it.They did have a decent snack or desert after the dinner meal or night
dive.The crew tried for the most part but it seemed that for most of them,
their heart just wasn't in it.They have installed stations for tanks,
meaning you now have the same tank all week long compared to a different
one for each dive as in the past.This is a good idea for the most part but
the bases of these tank stations do not have any room for the diver to sit
down to get either ungeared or geared up for a dive.The tanks are also
postioned too close to each other which makes getting tangled in the next
divers gear a concern.It's way too crowded!The shark feed/dive was good if
abit short.Seems that whatever fish are caught determines how many will be
used as bait.So the shark dive can be very, very short, like less than 30
seconds!We dove mostly shallow dives on reefs that had little to offer.The
exception was one wall dive that was excellant!The main night dive was on a
wreck way too small for the number of divers.Overall the trip wasn't
terrible, but nothing compared to what Blackbeards has been in the past. I
hope this is only a minor setback and the operation will soon return to its
former self.They still have the welcome cookout on shore but when three
boatloads of nearly 70+ hungry divers have to wait over an hour to get one
burger or hotdog, tensions can get abit elevated.They either need to get a
bigger grill or more staff doing the cooking or both!On shore they have a
fresh water shower/bath that helps to wash the salt off you at the weeks
end.This is really nice, but one shower/bath for over 20 people takes a
long time, let alone factor in that three boats often show up at the same
time..can make for some real long lines!Once on shore they do offer free
internet service and an area with a tv, dart board and pool table to kill
the time waiting for your stint in the shower/bath.Overall, Blackbeards is
still a bargain, but some of the fun has left the operation.When you add in
their increased rates, then the added airfare to and from Freeport, the
value seems like less of a deal.
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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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