Undercurrent Home
Home  |  Members' Home
Get notified of the latest reader reports
What's this?

Join Undercurrent on FacebookJoin us on Facebook!

Dive Review of Paradise Charters in
Bahamas/Bimini and south to Ocean Cay

April, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Eric Dahlgren, CO, USA (1 report)
Report Number 2463
Subscribe Now Questions?
Subscribers can send this reviewer an email directly from here.
Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Hawaii, Florida Keys, Tortola, Saba, Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Cabo San
Lucas, Akumal, Cozumal, Channel Islands, Curaco, Honduras, Caymans, Turks
& Caicos, Dry Tortugas, St.Lucia, St.Kitts, St.Maarten, Walker's Cay 
Closest Airport
Getting There

		

Dive Conditions

Weather
sunny, dry  
Seas
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
78   to 81    ° Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
3
Water Visibility
100   to 150    Feet  
 
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
yes  
 
Enforced diving restrictions  
Stay within computers, do safety stop, come up with 500 pounds in tank  
Liveaboard?
yes 
Nitrox Available?
N/A 
What I saw
Sharks
Lots 
Mantas
None 
Dolphins
None 
Whale Sharks
None 
Turtles
> 2 
Whales
None 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Corals
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
 
 
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
N/A  
Shore Facilities  
N/A  
Comments
Separate fresh water rinse tank for cameras, crew assistance with cameras
in and out of water, no separate camera table, no film processing, usual
cable hookups to TV for video viewing.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Accommodations
5 stars
Food
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
N/A
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  
Snorkeling
N/A  
 
 

Overall Rating

Value for $$
N/A    
Beginners
2 stars   
Advanced
5 stars    
Comments  
Diving on the Easy Goin' is like being with family. The boat is
immaculately clean with lots of homey, personal touches. The 62' steel crew
boat, which they converted themselves into a dive boat, is home for Captain
Chuck Petrozella and First Mate Peg Schwallen (www.paradisecharters.com).
Divemaster/deck hand Dave Shoemaker lives on the boat much of the time
also.  The boat is docked at the Bahia Mar marina on the Intercoastal in
Fort Lauderdale about 20 minutes from the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood
Airport.  They do weekend dives off Fort Lauderdale and Bimini, mini-and
week trips to Bimini or Grand Turk, and Dolphin trips. The boat has an
impressive array of safety and nav gear and Chuck invites guests to hang
out in the wheelhouse anytime and listen to his never-ending repertoire of
jokes and stories which had us in stitches most of the time. A thorough
safety briefing is given before leaving the dock for the 6-hour ride to
Bimini, and safety is a priority throughout the entire trip. The boat holds
six divers in three guest rooms located below decks. Rooms have adequate
space for two people once the gear is stowed. There is a single bunk above
a smallish double bunk, but there is storage space at the head of each bed,
under the lower bunk, and in a small cabinet. Divers share the head which
also has a shower and sink.

Even though she was recovering from a double knee replacement, Peg managed
to supply the hungry divers and crew with delicious, hearty meals in vast
quantities. She got rave reviews from our group, especially for her
just-baked breads and desserts. She always had fresh fruit waiting after
dives and snacks were available anytime. Drinks, beer, and wine are
included in the trip cost but any alcohol consumption means your diving day
is done.

Dive gear is stowed on the back deck in seats below the tanks and there is
a bar with large hangers for drying wetsuits. A roomy dive platform is
three steps down from the deck and it has a large ladder for easy
reboarding after the dive. There is a warm water hose for rinsing off the
salt and biodegradable soap for a nice shower under the stars after the
last dive. A stairway lets you climb above the main salon to the small
"Melonoma Deck" which has lounge chairs for catching the sun.
Towels are provided for in-room use but you'll need to bring your own deck
towel.

Most of our diving on this trip was drift diving on reefs in the 50-75'
depth range.  On several dives the current was a ripping 4-5 knots and we
would drift a mile or more.  Dave would tow a float and the divers would
queue up on him at the end of the dive for the safety stop, then everyone
would come to the surface together.  Only when all divers were on the
surface in a small group would Chuck bring the boat in close and throw out
a tag line so we could haul ourselves to the dive platform and climb back
on the boat. This worked quite well since all of us used air at roughly the
same rate. Other boats in the area with larger numbers of divers couldn't
follow their groups in this manner so they generally had to anchor. This
meant that their divers had to stay close to the boat and fight the
currents. I much preferred our method.

There was a lot of shark action on several of our dives, usually reef
sharks but occasionally a nurse shark could be found on the sand under a
ledge. We often spotted hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, sting rays,
lobsters, crabs, large barracuda, and the usual assortment of reef fishes
(but not in huge numbers) and less often, small morey eels and garden eels.
The reefs seemed to be generally in good shape with colorful hard and soft
corals and lots of sponges. In one area, weedy algae covered much of the
reef. Many areas have lots of cuts, crevasses, chimneys, and swim-throughs
which make for fun, interesting diving. The locals are allowed to take
conch and lobster on hookah so we would sometimes see one "mother
boat" surrounded by several smaller dinghies. Their divers would
literally comb the reefs and sandy areas taking anything of commercial
value. Even so, we saw large lobsters on every night dive, often protecting
the eggs that were attached to their swimmerets, and conch were plentiful
in the sandy areas. Blackbeards and a couple other liveaboards were in the
area but we never saw other divers in the water.

Our group got a rare treat on the trip over to Bimini as we stood on the
bow after dark and watched bioluminescence trails from three dolphins that
were riding our bow wave. We couldn't see them when they leaped out of the
water, but the green sparks flew in all directions when they splashed back
down and the double green trail appeared again.

The Captain is willing to adjust the itinerary within reason to fit the
desires of the group and the weather conditions. There is a $65 Bahamas fee
and the trip cost is $1,525 pp double occupancy. With good weather, and
depending on your flight schedules, you can count on 20-25 dives. Note:
with ever-increasing fuel costs, Paradise Charters may be forced to add a
fuel surcharge as many other boats have already done.         
Leave a comment (Subscribers only -- 200 words max)
 

Subscribe Now
Subscribers can post comments, ask the reviewer questions, as well as getting immediate and complete access to ALL 302 dive reviews of Bahamas and all other dive destinations. Complete access to all issues and Chapbooks is also included.

Bookmark and Share

Other dive reports on Bahamas Live Aboard Diving

All Bahamas Dive Reviews and Reports
Diving Guide to Bahamas
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

Want to organize 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


Sign up to receive our free
Undercurrent Online Update email
with news for serious divers
            Unsubscribe
We will not sell, exchange, or give your email address to any third party
.


Copyright © 1996-2014 Undercurrent (www.undercurrent.org)
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.