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Dive Review of Nekton /Pilot in
Bahamas/Cay Sal Banks

August, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by woody stene, Mn., USA (1 report)
Report Number 5112
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
All over
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, no currents  
Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Usual for sport diving  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Cameras handled gently by staff.  Two fairly large rinse tanks, but
sometimes got crowded by all the cameras. (more on that later) Two large
carpeted camera tables with compressed air available.  No dedicated
charging areas available, but 120V. outlets in cabins and in salon.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
5 stars   
3 stars    
The trip started and ended badly, but the actual cruise was not bad.  The
Pilot is showing signs of wear, but is holding up fairly well.  It is still
the stablest boat design out there, although relatively slow.  The trip
started when the airline sent the bag containing all our clothes to Detroit
instead of Ft.Lauderdale, but the Nekton people rose to it and proceeded to
drive Judy and I halfway around the city looking for replacement clothes. 
Thank God the dive bags arrived safely, and we had essential gear in
backpacks as usual.  Once we were underway, the trip proceeded without
incident most of the time.  We traveled down the outer Bahamas, stopping at
Tuna Alley and Victory Reef, both well known to western Bahamas divers, and
had good conditions in general.  Visibility was not the best, but we have
certainly had worse.  We finally arrived at the Cay Sal banks, and
proceeded to dive mostly a series of blue holes.  We started with Big Hole,
and several sharks came in to visit, as usual for this site.  Not as many
as I remember from last time, though.  We mostly focused on macro this
trip, and were not disappointed.  Lots of Pederson shrimp, banded coral
shrimp, arrow crabs, and a few lettuce sea slugs, along with the usual
tropical fish life.  Plenty of lobster and crabs were found, especially on
the night dive at Sistine Chapel, which was another blue hole.  I had a big
stingray slide up on me from behind and almost come close enough to give me
a kiss before I saw him.  We missed out on Damas Rocks due to wind and
current conditions over there, and the substitute of Lady's Secret was
nothing to write home about. (Another blue hole) The final day started with
their traditional drift dive at Elbow Cay, (which they handled very well
with that big boat) but the top of the reef wall was about 90 feet, and
this had us pushing Deco way too fast.  The last mooring was at Water Cay,
as usual, which was a nice shallow area next to an island with an
enchanting little lagoon in its center which was accessible through two big
swim through channels.  This area also held the only wreck of the trip, an
old airplane sunk in about 30ft. and mostly broken up.  
The cabin areas were nicer than some I have endured, and relatively roomy. 
We would have liked some sort of a shelf or table at the head between the
two single beds, however, for glasses, books, etc.  We had the traditional
Nekton wet spot on the floor in our room, but it was over by the door and
stayed put, which didn't bother us much.  Air conditioning in the rooms was
fine, but it got a little warm in the salon a few times.  Food was
excellent, as is usual for Nekton, and there was always plenty of it. 
Usual breakfast fare, and lunches were more imaginative than the usual
burgers/sandwiches. Dinners were substantive, as always, with several nice
entrees, including a sliced beef roast that must have been ribeye.  They
provided the normal Nekton selection of various non-carbonated drinks, like
lemonade, iced tea, etc, etc., and a pair of large coolers were provided
for guests to keep their privately purchased soft drinks/beer/booze, and
they made their usual stop at a grocery store before bringing us all to the
boat so that people could stock up.  Snacks were always available, ranging
from various packaged cookies and chips to fresh baked bars and goodies.  
Things went well most of the time, although I did develop a damaged sync
cord on my camera rig which shut down my strobes.  I was luckily able to
borrow a single sync cord from a fellow guest, and one working strobe was
certainly better that none.  Unfortunately, this same generous fellow
developed a camera flood when someone put another camera in the rinse tank
on top of his, and dislodged the dome port from in front of it.  Fresh
water, thankfully, but still a disaster.  My profound sympathy to a great
The trip ended with me falling halfway down a flight of steel stairs (which
I had run up and down a zillion times on this trip without incident, but
always barefoot before) as I was departing the boat at dockside in street
clothes and shoes.  I wrenched my side nicely, and the flight home was
interesting, in spite of airport obtained pain killers. 
Overall, the trip itself was great, and Nekton delivered their usual good
value for the money.  This was our second trip with them and I am sure
there will be more.
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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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