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Dive Review of Carib Dancer Liveaboard in
Bahamas/Exuma Cays

July, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Harlan Bittner, VA, US (2 reports)
Report Number 6638
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Caymans, Utila, Belize, Bonaire, Virgin Islands, Great Barrier Reef,
Hawaii, California Channel Islands
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, windy  
Seas
choppy  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth 130 feet, no time restrictions.  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
yes 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
1 or 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
Large camera table, plenty of outlets for recharging, dedicated rinse tank.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
3 stars
Food
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
N/A  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
Beginners
3 stars   
Advanced
3 stars    
Comments  
The Carib Dancer was recently overhauled (I understand it used to be the
Cayman Aggressor) and put in service in the Bahamas in May.  The boat can
accommodate 14 passengers in 5 staterooms (one is a quad); our week had 13
passengers and 5 crew.  

There was ample space for relaxing in the common areas.  The hot tub on the
top deck was a treat.  Several meals were served top-side where we could
enjoy the breeze.  Our stateroom was small but adequate for the two of us. 
We enjoyed the HD TV for watching movies a couple of times; there was a
large TV in the lounge, but I don't think anyone used it during the week. 
There were some air conditioning problems in some of the staterooms (our
room was comfortable except for the last night, when it was too hot). 
During the first part of the week, there was an unpleasant smell in many of
the bathrooms.  The crew explained that these problems were being worked
out.

The food was delicious--early continental breakfasts each morning followed
by made-to-order eggs, sometimes pancakes, and excellent fresh fruit. 
Mid-morning snacks were usually home-made cookies.  Lunches often included
an outstanding home-made soup followed by a excellent main course. 
Afternoon snacks were varied and included cakes, cookies, quesadillas or
cheese and crackers.  Dinners were also delicious--Mexican one night, steak
another, and a wonderful fish a different night.  Desserts were always
provided and were always sinfully good.

The dive set-up was outstanding.  Entry into the water was via a short set
of steps down to the dive platform and then a giant stride into the water. 
The crew was available to help anyone with special needs.  There were
plenty of rinse buckets.  The photography setup was outstanding, including
a huge camera table, plenty of plugs, and a dedicated, large rinse tank. 
The best part was a hot shower at the back of the boat--including a liquid
soap dispenser--and a bin of towels.  After night dives, the towels were
hot out of the dryer and often came with a quick shoulder massage.  To top
off the night dive, hot chocolate and Irish Creme were provided!

Our diving was mostly in the Exuma Cays.  Some of the dive sites were
gorgeous--pristine corals, gorgonia, all the familiar tropicals, and we did
see many Caribbean reef sharks and some turtles and rays during the week. 
We also saw several huge Remora, which tried to hitch a ride back to the
boat with us.  However, too many of the dive sites, especially the deeper
sites, were covered with algae.  At those sites, most of the coral appeared
to be dead and there were very few fish.  Those dives were for the most
part disappointing to me.  We saw many Lionfish--in fact, on almost every
dive.  The Bahamas do not allow anything to be taken, including Lionfish,
and I wonder if that is exacerbating the problem. The night dives were fun,
revealing a multitude of Lobsters, some octopus, and a plethora of
macro-photo subjects.  On the last day, we dived the Lost Blue Hole; my son
and I descended to 130 feet for the fun of it, but the real pleasure was
exploring the sandy edges at about 50 feet--we saw many Shieldhead slugs,,
jawfish, sharks, and many now-familiar fish to bid us goodbye.

I can't say enough good things about the crew.  Capt. Tom did an excellent
job finding the best dive sites, calm waters for overnighting and keeping
us safe.  First mate Craig was helpful in many ways--with the cabins, the
common areas, the dive operation, and he was outstanding as a dive
master--I had the feeling that he was the glue that kept the entire
enterprise afloat so to speak.  Engineer Gareth, from Wales, was a
delight--he could fix anything and he happily entertained us with his
life's adventures.  C. Lee was a great chef and a lot of fun to boot.  Dive
instructor Brian was friendly and always available.





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