Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes

Dive Review of Epic Diving/Blue Marlin Cove Resort in
Bahamas/Tiger Beach

Epic Diving/Blue Marlin Cove Resort: "Weather-interrupted Tiger Beach trip", Mar, 2018,

by Jim Harris, TX, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 9 reports with 22 Helpful votes). Report 10212 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Quick summary: Even though we lost 3 of 5 days of diving to weather (high winds/seas), we still got in half the planned 10 dives at Tiger Beach and the dives didn’t disappoint. The owners/operators of Epic Diving are great people to dive with and they did what they could to help us find alternate activities on the weather days. We had 3 tigers and 1 great hammerhead the first day, 1 tiger and 1 great hammerhead the last day along with about 30 other lemon, reef, bull, and nurse sharks. The shark action at the bait crate on the bottom is almost non-stop so there’s little down-time waiting for another shark pass. The Blue Marlin Cove resort (where the dive boat docks) is comfortable to stay at as long as you can deal with its quirks. If you’re comfortable with sharks then this trip is a must-do.

Some details:
The dive boat is ~65’ long for 12 divers. The cabin provides weather-protected seating and there’s also protected seating up on the fly bridge. The dive deck is tight quarters for 12 divers. If it was about 8’ longer it would be a little more comfortable trying to get geared up and provide room for a camera table. There’s a marine head in the bow, virtually no battery charging facilities on the boat (just a couple of USB ports that are used to keep their phones charged) so make sure you have enough batteries to last through 2-3 dives. There’s a shelf on the dive deck about 2’ deep by 8-10’ long so it’s a catch-all for storage off the floor. In the cabin there’s a cabinet top that provides a little storage area but most everything is stored on the floor in the cabin or the dive deck. I’d advise having a dry-bag for your towel and other personal items as the floor in the cabin gets quite wet. And bring your own towel, the boat doesn’t provide them, the resort’s towels are small and thread-bare. The boat does roll quite a bit in the right sea conditions and we had two people seasick in spite of whatever meds they took (the patch worked for me).

Meet at the dock at 10am-ish for a leisurely departure to Tiger Beach. It’s 1:45 to 2 hours to get there so having a Kindle or book to read helps pass the time. They shoot for a return to the dock by 6pm. We only had to wait a few minutes the first day for the tigers to appear (we were met with lots of lemon and reef sharks at the surface). One of the owners will go in the water first with the bait crate starting a 45-60 minute timer until the crate is emptied so it’s best to be ready to get in the water ASAP. On the first dive there were still lots of people debating over how much weight they needed to to stay on the bottom (there is current, you’ll sit on your knees, it’s manageable if you’re overweighted enough) so it took a while for people to get in the water on the first dive. The deck is crowded so it seemed easier to let Michael the boat captain grab your tank and help you put it on while you’re sitting on the transom. But that turned out to be time consuming so I started getting into my BC with the tank in the rack so I could be one of the first in the water rather than losing bottom feeding time.

Crossing the deck to the stern while geared up, overweighted, holding mask and camera while the boat is rocking has to be done carefully if you choose to get in your gear in the rack. But then it’s fins-on, wait for a gap in all the sharks at the surface, and giant-stride in. The lemons, reefs, and bull sharks will just ignore you so there’s no need to be concerned with them. Drop to the bottom at 30’ and form a line left and right of the person handling the crate and get your camera ready. Sometimes the sharks would pass the crate and take a wide loop to circle back and come up-current for another pass, sometimes they’d pass right behind/over the line of divers, sometimes they’d turn inside the line of divers. They will be CLOSE – literally swimming a couple of feet from you so the photo/video opportunities are awesome. They never showed any aggression towards anything other than the bait crate, but sometimes they might want to swim through the spot you’re sitting in. This means you need to be prepared to grab them by the head and push them left or right of you to encourage them to go to the side. It’s explained in the dive briefing (which is very good) how to do this. I had to do it twice with the great hammerhead and it was quite easy and took little force to push its head to the side. It wasn’t a scary thing but it was an adrenaline rush.

After 45-60 minutes the owner will head back to the boat and exit. The sharks will hang around for another 10-15 minutes but do start dispersing once the crate is gone. You’re free to head back to the boat at any point during the dive, the only request was be back on board with 500psi. Most of my dives were 60-65 minutes.

The water temps the last week in March were 74-77 degrees and a 5mm was the order of the day. I had e-mailed the owners the week prior to check water temps and see what they recommended for wetsuit thickness and they told me they’d be in 5mm so that’s what I took. Those in 3mm were very cold to frozen at the end of a 60 minute stationary dive.

I was there for the tigers but the great hammerhead really stole the show. It’s faster, much more maneuverable, more of a bully at the crate than the tigers were, and just the look as it passes within a couple of feet with its toothy mouth half open is a gorgeous sight.

Rental wetsuits looked to be well-worn with holes and didn’t look like there was a great selection size-wise so I’d advise bringing your own. They mention not having bright flashy colors on your gear so I asked about neon yellow octopus hoses and they said that was fine. There were some problems filling tanks – a couple of times I had a tank with less than 1000 psi so it was swapped with another tank. Make sure you check as early as possible. They have an onboard compressor and try to fill some of the tanks during the interval and there’s extra tanks since there’s not time to fill them all.

The provided lunch is a ham and cheese sandwich on toasted white bread along with a tray full of snacks like pretzels, nutrition bars, chips, peanuts along with water and lemonade coolers – they’ll give you a water bottle similar to what bicyclists carry.

All the gear is left on the boat overnight and they’ll hose everything with freshwater at the end of each day. There didn’t seem to be any concerns about the gear getting stolen.

For the cancelled days Vince (the owner) tried to accommodate us. The first day he arranged for a bus to take us a few miles down the road to Paradise Cove which is a snorkeling area. They have a couple of hundred reef-balls in the shallows and further out there’s rocks where turtles like to hang out. Some in my group saw as many as 10 turtles while snorkeling. This facility also had a great snack bar – cheaper than the marina restaurant and a large selection of burgers/fries/hot dogs/etc along with beer and other drinks. There’s tables in sun/shade and a beach so overall not a bad place to hang out. The second cancelled day we took the boat out and made a couple of reef dives in 40’ of water near Paradise Cove. They weren’t anything to write home about. The 3rd day we didn’t want to do reef dives again so we chose to go back to Paradise Cove and hang out there all day if for no other reason than the food. After the trip Vince sent me an e-mail with a “weather letter” that I filed with my claim to Dive Assure to get some recovery for the lost dives. 11 days later I got a check for $450 (3 days times $150/day) which was the max benefit (clearly the diving was more than $150/day but the check was better than nothing – I paid $315 for the insurance).

The Blue Marlin Cove “resort” is where the boat docks and where Epic will put you up unless you make different arrangements. It’s 30-45 minutes from Freeport (a $75 taxi ride - cash). It’s out in the middle of nowhere so without a car you’re stuck at the resort. The restaurant has a basic breakfast and dinner menu, the food was good enough, not as crazy expensive as I expected (breakfasts $9-12, dinners $20-30), but sometimes they were out of things, service was extremely slow (sometimes 45-60 minutes after ordering your food before it would show up, and our dive group were the only people at the resort the week I was there). Paying cash with small bills is easiest. The restaurant had a large screen TV over the bar and it didn’t bother anyone if we hung out in the restaurant using the WiFi while watching NCAA March Madness on the TV.

The condos/rooms were quite nice accommodations-wise. The A/C worked well, each unit had a stacked washer/dryer, 2 bedrooms (one with a queen, the other with two doubles), 2.5 baths, full-size kitchen with fridge with in-door water dispenser (which tasted a little better than the tap), stove, microwave, toaster, and I think there was a coffee maker. The living room was huge and comfortable, good satellite TV signals. But other than toilet paper, the initial bars of soap in the bathrooms, and small hotel shampoo there weren’t any other household items. No Kleenex, no dish soap (I used a plate for pop tarts that I brought but no soap to clean dishes), the bath towels were small and thread-bare. There was no maid service during the week. I didn’t see any place to stop on the taxi ride in from the airport to stop and buy things but one of my roommates found someplace to buy a box of donuts, cookies, a 6-pack of coke. I had brought a number of snacks/breakfast items from home. There’s no store/gift shop at the resort to buy anything (batteries, sunscreen, water, snacks, etc) so you have to bring everything you’ll need.

Free WiFi worked well in the lobby and restaurant/bar. I paid for an AT&T Passport but only about half the time could I get a working signal in the room (it didn’t help if I went on the balcony or to the pool area). I’d run down to the lobby (took 30 seconds) and use the WiFi like just about everyone else was doing.

There’s some kind of no-see-ums in the marina area and they are vicious. They’re small and black, I saw them when I first jumped on the boat so I ran back to the room and got my Deep Woods Off. I got some bites but others had dozens of them around their ankles and they itch pretty badly.

To get back to the airport we talked to the bar/restaurant manager and he took 6 of us in his minivan at $20/person. I have no idea how the other 6 got to the airport.

An option to consider if you are willing to rent a car is to stay at the Old Bahama Bay Resort which is about 5 miles further out to the tip of the island. It looks like a nicer place with more accommodations for the guests (a beach, a general store, in-room WiFi, etc) and just a short drive from Blue Marlin to make each day for diving. This would especially be true if you have a non-diving person with you as there’s no beach at Blue Marlin.

You go through US Customs at the Freeport airport which was nice so you don’t have to claim luggage if you’re connecting in the US. They had two Global Entry kiosks.

In March the “restaurant” at the Freeport airport was closed for construction. But it was air conditioned and comfortable and snacks/drinks were available to buy.

Even with losing 3 days of diving I loved the trip. I recognize that nobody controls the weather so I just rolled with it. I loved having the owners of the company running the dives, appreciated that they were willing to leave early (8am) on the last diving day at our request so we could get 3 dives in to make up for one of the lost dives, and we had good shark action for 5 dives. I would definitely recommend going in the season where you have chance of seeing a great hammerhead. And plan on the chance of some days getting weather cancelled – I’d hate to have booked a 3-day trip with them and then have each day cancelled at 10am and end up with no diving.
Websites Epic Diving   Blue Marlin Cove Resort

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Galapagos, Socorro, Palau, Cocos, TX Flower Gardens, Hawaii, Bahamas, Caymans, Belize, Cozumel
Closest Airport Freeport Getting There DFW to Charlotte to Freeport

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, cloudy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 74-77°F / 23-25°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 75-75 Ft/ 23-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments The boat had a rinse bucket for cameras but otherwise weren't set up to accommodate cameras. The boat isn't that large so there's no camera table, almost no battery charging ability (just a couple of USB ports that are really for the crew use to keep their phones charged). There's one shelf on the back deck where a couple of GoPro rigs would fit but others use that for storage of towels and other things. In the cabin cameras are stored on the floor. In rocking seas it would be easy to see cameras getting stepped on. The owner/operator did tell us there was virtually no charging on the boat so bring enough batteries to last a day of diving.
Was this report helpful to you?
Report currently has 1 Helpful vote
Leave a comment (Subscribers only -- 200 words max)
Subscribers can comment here

Subscribe Now
Subscribers can post comments, ask the reviewer questions, as well as getting immediate and complete access to ALL 440 dive reviews of Bahamas and all other dive destinations. Complete access to all issues and Chapbooks is also included.


Want to assemble your own collection of Bahamas reports in one place?
Use the Mini Chapbook Facility to create your personalized collection.

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.

Undercurrent Home

Get more dive info like these and other important scuba updates sent monthly to your email.
And a FREE Recent Issue of Undercurrent

Free Undercurrent Issue
Get a free
monthly email and
a sample issue!

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2024 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.

Page computed and displayed in 0.07 seconds