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

Nekton /Pilot, Aug, 2009,

by woody stene, Mn., USA ( 1 report). Report 5112.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving All over
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 84 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Usual for sport diving
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments 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 guy.
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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