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Dive Review of Nekton/Rorqual in
Bahamas/Cal Sal Bank

June, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Randy W. Saffell, OK, USA
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 4176
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Flower Gardens, Cozumel, Saba, Bonaire, Truk Lagoon, Thailand, Florida, Sea
of Cortez, Isla Guadalupe
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, currents  
Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 50    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Do not go into deco.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
There are four outside camera tables on the boat with air hoses, there are
no electrical outlets. The Rorqual seems to be still in the age of film
cameras and has no facilities for cameras larger than point and shoot. My
wife and I both have larger systems with multiple strobes and numerous
batteries to be recharged. Our room had only one two outlet receptacle. The
only other receptacles are in the salon, near the floor if you want to
charge your batteries where everyone is walking and sitting. Personally I
do not like to put my camera equipment on the floor for everyone else to
walk around. There was no table or chairs in our room so one of us worked
on our camera on the bed and the other in the floor. We took turns sharing
the single outlet, getting up in the middle of the night to change

The Nekton really needs to upgrade the indoor space and facilities for
larger camera systems; systems like Ikelite, Gates or Light & Motion do
require some space and battery recharging facilities. However, the crew was
excellent in camera handling, both in and out of the water. Again, kudos
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
2 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
5 stars    
The Boat

The Rorqual was delivered into service for Nekton in the fall of 2001 and
since then has been rode hard and put up wet. She is in need of new
carpeting on all decks from stem to stern, new upholstery and needs old
paint/rust sandblasted off and completely repainted, inside and out. The
lack of upkeep was a real shock to me upon boarding, apparently there has
been no maintenance in these areas since she was launched. One of her two
rudders is missing.


The food on the Rorqual was excellent, and I do mean excellent. The chef
had gourmet meals for dinner, prime rib, salmon, pork and pastas. This was
some of the best food we have ever been served on a live a board. There
were plenty of salads, vegetables and fruit. All served with a special
quality that made each meal something to look forward to. Breakfast and
lunch was equally well prepared and served, all you can eat, served buffet


All of the crew members were instructors for various certification
agencies, except for one which was a divemaster. They were very helpful
with every request and did an excellent job of getting you in and out of
the water. All were fun to interact with and made a real effort to learn
your name and get to know you. I really enjoyed the crew. Both the captain
and first mate were very easy to interact with and relaxed during the trip.
The crew really worked to make sure you had a good time.

Dive Deck

The dive deck on the Rorqual is very small for the number of tanks and
divers they try to cram onto it. Tanks are as close together as possible
and you cannot gear up while divers on either side of you are gearing up. I
would expect this type of arrangement on a day boat carrying as many divers
as possible, not a live a aboard like the Rorqual which is advertised as a
first class dive boat. Several of us were diving Nitrox and there was only
one 02 analyzer, normally there was a wait for it to go around. The dive
deck is a weak spot on the Rorqual, to many tanks and divers for the size.


The normal dive day was two morning dives on a site and move the boat
during lunch. Afternoon dives and the nigh dive were done at the next site.
That makes five possible dives a day at two sites. The dive sites are big
enough and varied enough that repeating them was not a problem. I did like
making the night dive on a site that I had been at twice that day. The
critters are all different and I know the lay of the land.

We visited three Blue Holes (Silver Sides, Ladies Secret & Big Hole)
and an airplane wreck (Water Cay) with the rest of the dives on reefs.
There were lots of sharks at Big Hole. Two of the dives were drift dives on
a deep reef (Elbow Cay) with each dive lasting about 30 minutes. The drift
dives were my least favorite due to the depth of 100 and current there was
no time to explore the reef or take pictures. Most of our dives for the
week averaged between 60 and 80 minutes with the steel 95s provided. We
dove Nitrox and the crew was very good about changing the gas mixture for
each dive, less 02 for deep stuff, more for shallow, up to the max of 32%.
There is a hang bar with tank and regulators at 15 for safety stops.

Over the course of 6 days I managed 26 dives with a good variety of bottom
topography. Visibility was between 30 to 50 with lots of particulate in
the water.

All and all it was a good trip, but the Rorqual is severely lacking in
upkeep and being upgraded, lack of camera facilities and the dive deck
being too small for the number of divers. The diving, the crew and the food
made the trip.

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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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