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Dive Review of Carribean Explorer I in
Bahamas

Carribean Explorer I, Jan, 2008,

by Harry O'Neil, VA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 3856.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Most places in the Carribean, Florida Keys, North Carolina.
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy Seas choppy, no currents
Water Temp 71 to 74 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Std. nitrox depth limits. Buddy up and dive own profile. Std. rec. limits (130')
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Separate camera table with "no liquids" rule actually enforced. Separate camera rinse. Crew did an excellent job handling cameras in and out of the water. Compressed air and separate towels available. Few photographers and lots of room. Separate small area for charging on dive deck; would probably get crowded with several photogs.

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The boat departs from the main pier in Georgetown, Great Exuma. I arrived a day early and Explorer arranged my airport pickup which went smoothly. I spent the Friday evening at the Club Peace & Plenty. Ive done several liveaboards, including Explorers Turks & Caicos and Saba/Statia boats. The CEI is a little older than the other Explorer Caribbean boats, but for the price, is an excellent value. The five lower level double state rooms share two heads/showers. The upper cabins are en-suite, I believe. I booked in the lower level. There were only nine divers this week, which made for a relaxed pace. The full compliment is 18 and Id expect it to get crowded, especially on the sun deck and in the lower level showers/heads with a full boat.

The crew was two people short, by design, but I was never wanting for anything. All crew members pitched in and worked as an efficient team. Food was very good and the chef readily accommodated special requests.

The normal itinerary is Long Island, Conception Island and San Salvador, then reverse back to Georgetown. We had some weather issues, but got to all three islands for some exceptional wall diving. Captain Ian was able to dodge all the heavy stuff and keep us in reasonably calm waters for most of the trip. We missed 4-5 dives due to weather or lack of interest in night dives, but spent three full days at San Salvador. That was the highlight of the trip. Most of the dives were deep walls starting at 50-60 feet. However, most of the fish life was at the crest or on top of the walls, so you didnt have to go real deep if you didnt want to do so. On Friday, we dove the wreck, MV Comberback, off Long Island. This was the only real disappointing dive of the trip.

I was somewhat disappointed in the numbers of large fish we saw. We did see 6-8 hammerheads and numerous reef sharks, small rays, etc. Most of the usual reef fish were there plus lionfish on most dives, but the reef fish were on the smaller side. Generally the coral was in decent shape compared to other Caribbean trips. There was little sign of bleaching. Also not as much macro stuff as I've seen elsewhere in the Carribean.

On departure day, the Explorer arranged for cabs to the airport. Mine never showed up and Captain Ian stayed on top of it until he was able to get me there. His attention to all details was evident throughout the week.

There was a dedicated camera table with separate towels and compressed air. The crew was good about enforcing the no liquids on the table rule. The dive briefings were excellent. There as a divemaster/instructor in the water on every dive and they were actually watching the divers, not just blindly leading. You could go with the DM or dive with your buddy. Safety was paramount and enforced in a professional manner. One group exceeded their nitrox depth limits and were quietly warned. One diver got blown away and the crew promptly got the dingy to him.
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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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