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Dive Review of Stuart Cove's in
Bahamas/New Providence

January, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Brent Barnes, OK, USA
Reviewer   (5 reports)
Report Number 3325
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, noCurrents  
Water Temp
74   to 76    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
60   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth limits and time limits  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
2 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Separate camera rinse barrel available. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
3 stars    
Did 10 dives over 3 days with Stuart Cove's including two-tank dive at
Shark Arena for shark feeding dive. It is important to understand what to
expect when diving with Stuart Cove's, especially if you prefer dive
operations with small numbers of divers and individualized attention. In
reality, Stuart Cove's is likely one of the most efficient cattle boat
operations in the world. I estimated they worked between 100 - 180 divers
through their operation each day with a large fleet of boats taking 10 - 20
divers per boat. As most hotels are on the north side of the island, they
send multiple buses to pick up divers staying all over the island and also
cruise ship passengers doing an excursion with them each morning. We stayed
at the Comfort Suites on Paradise Island which is the farthest stop from
their facility. This meant we were the first to be picked up each morning
and the last to be dropped off in the late afternoon. We were picked up at
7:30 AM each morning even though the boat did not leave until 9:00 AM, and
had a one-hour bus ride every morning while making stops at many other
hotels to pick up other divers. This then repeated in the afternoon as we
were the last to be dropped off. This meant a minimum of 2 hours on a bus
each day, though buses were air-conditioned and comfortable. This bus time
could be shortened by staying at a hotel closer to the shop such as on
Cable Beach. Once arriving at the shop, you would check in to find your
boat assignment and set up your own gear. Dive sites were all short rides
from the shop. Briefings were good, divemaster was always in the water
leading the group. Maximum depths and time limits were advised and
enforced. Several divers were politely reprimanded when they stayed down
longer than the stated 2 - 3 minutes after the shark feed to search for
shark teeth before surfacing. The average diver at Stuart Cove's seems to
be fairly inexperienced and they do cater to the beginner. I was frustrated
on my first dive as all divers were asked to remain on the surface until
all divers were in the water and had performed a buoyancy weight check. I
was the first in and multiple inexperienced divers after me had to swim
back to the boat to add or remove weight causing me to have to hang on the
tag line for 10 minutes before everyone was ready to descend. This only
occurred on my first dive of the trip and I suspect may be required on the
first dive only. Divemasters were friendly with good briefings and polled
divers to see where they had dove previously to try and minimize repeat
dive sites. Boats were fairly spacious and covered and ice water or juice
was provided. After morning dives, you had 30 - 45 minutes before the
afternoon dive boats would load. There are no restaraunts nearby and there
is not time to leave the grounds for food, so bring your own lunch or you
may purchase homemade sandwiches and chips at the shop which were fairly
tasty. After your final dive, you were responsible for unloading and
rinsing your own equipment. They unloaded and rinsed rental gear. They do
have a locked storage area where you can leave your personal dive gear
overnight if you are diving the next day. They have a large amount of
well-maintained rental gear. Stuart Cove's has been instrumental in
assisting many underwater projects for Hollywood movies and has an
interesting wall of fame with photographs of many movie stars and
celebrities that dove or did work with them. 
    The diving itself had good and bad also. The reef system is not
incredibly healthy and there is very little large fish life. There is no
marine sanctuary or protected area so there is a notable lack of large
fish. The walls on the Tongue of the Ocean were dramatic but do not have
the vibrant coral or fish life seen at other major walls in the Caribbean.
However, you do not come to New Providence to dive with schools of fish or
see vast coral. Diving in New Providence is strictly about sharks and
wrecks. Two of my dives were among my top all-time dives for photography.
The shark feeding dive is outstanding and provides you with the opportunity
for extremely close photographs of 15 - 20 large Caribbean reef sharks. I
preferred the "pre-feeding" dive at shark arena as we were
allowed to swim about the area and out over the wall with 15 - 20 reef
sharks swimming closely between us obviously waiting for the upcmong
feeding. The actual feeding dive was much more controlled, you had to sit
or kneel in a semi-circle during the feed dive and could not move about.
The wrecks are smaller but good and are fairly shallow, allowing good
photo-ops and longer bottom time. Had lengthy encounter with a large
lionfish and free swimming green moray on the Sea Viking wreck. Lionfish
are becoming more common and are seen on many dives. Diving the Bond Wrecks
on the "Tears of Allah" wreck used in Never Say Never Again and
the scaffolding of the airplane "Vulcan Bomber" used in
Thunderball were very interesting. The Vulcan Bomber has been down for over
40 years and makes for great macro photography. Visibiltiy was excellent
throughout the trip. 
We stayed at the Comfort Suites on Paradise Island, a comfortable but not
spectacular resort. Main advantage is that it is next door to Atlantis and
guests of Comfort Suites are given admission to all of the Atlantis
attractions including the waterparks, though you must wear a special
bracelet to get in. There is a great deal to do on Paradise Island but it
is very expensive. Good place for the diver with non-diving families or
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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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