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Dive Review of Explorer Ventures --Turks & Caicos Explorer II in
Bahamas/Southern Bahamas

May, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by David E Reubush, VA, US
Top Contributor   (42 reports, with 5 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6576
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Australia, Belize, Bimini, Bonaire, Caymans, Curacao, Galapagos, Indonesia,
Philippines, Red Sea, St. Thomas, Turks & Caicos   
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, dry  
Seas
calm, no currents  
Water Temp
78   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
5
Water Visibility
70   to 100    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Max 110 ft., return with 500 psi, max dive time 60 minutes  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
yes 
What I saw
Sharks
1 or  
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
1 or 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
1 or 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  1 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
1 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
No camera room, but working on the tables in the dining area was not an
issue.  Large rinse tank for cameras.  Big issue was lack of stuff to
shoot.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
4 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
N/A  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars    
Beginners
2 stars   
Advanced
1 stars    
Comments  
The trip started off on a down note when I arrived at the airport in Provo
and found out that, while a crew member met me at the airport, I was
responsible for the cab fare to the boat.  This was the first live-aboard
where I have had to pay for airport transfers.  Things started looking up
when I arrived at the boat and found a relatively large boat with space for
20 had only 9 guests.  All the singles got private rooms and there was
ample room on the dive deck for hanging wetsuits and gearing up without
bumping into your neighbor.  That said, I believe things would be a bit
crowded with a full boat.  Another very positive was the discovery that the
chef was Stan who was formerly on the Peter Hughes Sea Dancer.  I liked
Stan's food on the Sea Dancer and his food this time did not disappoint. 
On the boat the rest of the crew was attentive and aimed to please.  The
boat was comfortable, clean, and had plenty of room, particularly on the
upper decks, to find a place to lounge between dives - either in the sun or
shaded from the sun whichever you wanted.  The cabins were relatively roomy
and the beds comfortable.  The A/C worked very well.  The operation was
very environmentally responsible and had extra crew onboard who were
installing moorings at locations where there were none to avoid reef damage
from the anchor.  This trip was not the boat's standard itinerary in the
Turks and Caicos.  On this trip the boat went from Provo to Great Exuma,
was going to stay in the Bahamas for a few trips, and then return to Provo.
 Now, the disappointment.  The quality of the diving was such that we were
often shaking our heads and wondering why bother with the moorings because
there was almost nothing to see except fat lionfish.  To give you an idea
of the quality of diving I am normally someone who does every dive on every
trip and have been the only one to do a dive on a number of occasions.  On
this trip, which offered 5 dives a day, I never did more than 3.  Our first
several days of diving were off uninhabited islands where there is nobody
to even try to limit the lionfish impact.  Most notable were the total lack
of cleaning stations - the lionfish have eaten all the cleaners - and the
relative abundance of fish with isopods and other parasites.  Once we got
to islands which had resorts with diving the fish life improved somewhat
and there were a few cleaning stations, but still lots of fat lionfish.  I
assume that the dive resorts are taking lionfish and it is actually having
a positive impact on the quality of the fish life and the reef.  My other
complaint is that the dive masters' typical dive was to swim out for 20
minutes, turn around and then swim back to the boat for 20 minutes.  They
normally also went deep to make sure that you burned up your air so that
the dives did not last longer than the allotted 60 minutes.  After we got
back to the boat, of the 3 dive masters, I only remember Lynn hanging
around to look for stuff to show us, but there was never very much to find.
 After a couple of days with this routine some of the photographers gave up
going on the "guided" dives and went off on their own to try to
find things to shoot.  All in all, I'd go on this boat again, but with the
caveats that it not be this itinerary and I'd skip the guided dives to do
my own thing.        
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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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