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Dive Review of Caribbean Explorer in
Bahamas/Great Exuma

June, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Corey Brown, MN, USA
Report Number 2040
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Lake Superior, Ft. Lauderdale, Cozumel, & Roatan
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
74   to 77    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Return w/ 500 psi, no deeper than 130  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  5 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Clean, uncluttered camera table, separate rinse tank, careful handoff f/
crew to diver in water & vice versa
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
[None]Now into into its second month of a new itinerary, the Caribbean
Explorer I began its trek from Georgetown, Great Exuma & motored its
way to Long Island, then Conception Island, San Salvador & back. My 20
year old daughter, newly certified, joined me on this great trip, in which
she received terrific instruction from a temporary DM, Cedar (yound guy f/
Alaska). After passing her 4 check out dives to complete her referral, she
became my outstanding dive buddy for the rest of trip, which totalled 25
dives. I'm not quite sure why Cedar was just a temporary DM (was on board a
couple weeks), other than this particular operation is so new - the company
would do well hiring him permanently. The rest of the crew was just as
amazing. I can't say I've ever encountered a group of people so friendly,
competant, & knowledgable in any service oriented industry. When each
of the 6 crew members weren't attending to their usual duties, they were
trading off diving the 5 dives a day with the 12 guests. 

Boat was very comfortable, clean and showing very little wear & tear.
A/C was down right chilly in our cabins, but great to sleep in with cozy
quilts provided. Though this is one of the company's older boats, even the
engineer, Henry (f/ So. Africa) commented it was his favorite one. We moved
from site to site with amazing speed. Libby was a great chef. We found all
meals to be quite tasty & varied. Everything from BBQ ribs, to lightly
fried Grouper, & even a "Thanksgiving Night" - complete w/
pumpkin pie (in the Bahamas?).

Now the diving: First day to Long Island where we dove fairly shallow coral
heads popping out of ultra white sandy bottom. Saw several cleaning
stations w/ lots of the little cleaning shrimp working away. All the divers
commented on seeing about the largest lobsters ever - I saw one taking a
casual stroll on the sand, pretty much the size of a Labrador! Temps
throughout trip were between 74 & 77. Viz wasn't terrific - between 50
& 75 ft. Anytime we hovered over the sandy bottom between reef
structures, we encountered jaw fish & garden eels popping out, all week
long. Days 2 & 5 we dove Conception Island, where we encounted the big
stuff: 3 hammerhead sitings, 2 reef sharks (one of which I captured the
best Mpg I've ever shot on my Sony rig - a half minute as close as 4 ft
away), several hawk bill turtles, & southern sea rays. No mantas or
dolphins. Here we did a deep wreck dive (100'), & have to say fish life
overall was a bit down, but coral & gargonians were abundant &
quite healthy. 

Best dive sites were to be found days 3 & 4 @ San Salvadore. So good,
that w/ the offer to sacrifice a dive for a land visit - no one took up the
offer. Throughout the week, we were given exellent dive briefings, & an
option to join the crew member on diving that particular dive, otherwise
dive your own profiles, as long as you dove no deeper that 130', & had
500 psi back on board. We dove all five dives each of these two days, but
because we were diving air, we watched our computers carefully, as mid week
dives began with 100' to 115' walls. I found it fairly easy for us to stay
out of the caution Ni loading zone since over half of even the deep dives
could be spent over the top of well populated reef stucture on our returns
to the boat. Saw scorpion fish, good size schools of jacks & grunts,
huge Nausau groupers, parrots, tang, grey angels, giant lobsters &
crabs on the night dives. Enjoyed a couple GREAT swim thoughs reminding me
of Mary's Place/Calvins Crack in Roatan - start out 60' or so & pop out
at 115'.

Great weather & calm seas thoughout trip certainly contributed to
making this my favorite trip so far in my 4 years of diving. My daughter
truly looked like an expert by the end - 'can't endorse getting your kids
involved in this great sport enough (& what better way doing so!). I
give Explorer Ventures a 10 on service, comfort, sense of safety, &
meals. I'd say an 8 on dive sites - they are still getting a feel for their
new itineray but getting there fast.
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Diving Guide to Bahamas
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