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Dive Review of Shear Water - Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures in
Barbados/West End-Grand Bahama

Shear Water - Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures, Feb, 2003,

by Steve & Kathie Payne, IN, USA . Report 362.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Florida, West Palm - Key West; Mexico - Cozumel, Cancun, Akumal; Dominican Republic - Punta Cana - Catalina Island
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 73 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 80 to 150 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera Table inside Salon; Jim Abernethy is world class photographer and makes certain photographers have more than adequate space and facility - also great at helping with repair or adjustments. Always crew on back of boat to hand down or take up equipment prior to/after dive.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The best dive trip we have ever taken; this was our 8th trip on the Shear Water - we began diving on this boat with its prior owner - Gold Coast Charters. Capts. Mike Walker and Kurt Dix remain from those days and the new staff is equally wonderful - although we really miss Mike's Dad, Bill, in the office. Jim & Anna Abernethy have done ALOT of cosmetic work on the boat - refurbished the salon, refinished the wookwork, added linens and towels (had to bring your own when it was Gold Coast,)updated the heads. Our group included a friend of our son; these were his first post certification dives and the crew was wonderful in helping him become comfortable and a pretty good diver over the course of the 10 dives. Now for the diving. We actually hate this word, it is so overused, but we agree that it is exactly the right word for this - AWESOME. This was a 4 night/3 day trip, the cost was $695 plus $30 departure tax. This includes everything (but please don't forget to tip!) First dive was at Sherwood Forest. This is always a good dive site for sharks and we weren't disappointed. Also wonderful corals, fans, sponges, tropicals and great macro-photography site - beautiful Shy and Indigo Hamlets, Butterfly fish and a perfect Jewelfish. Next we dove a site named Tora-Tora-Ramora. This was so nice that we dove it again. The captain asked if we wanted a night dive and we all agreed that we were too tired so he headed back to Sandy Key to tuck us in to completely calm flat waters for the night. The next morning, we first dove a blue hole and then the wreck of the Theo. I didn't get to spend too much time on the hole as my "new dive buddy" wasn't comfortable yet with descending down into it. But it was really neat from the top. This was our first dive on the Theo and we will go back. This wreck presented great opportunities for safe penetration. It has a terrific profile, the prop is intact and there is a plethora of marine life on the ship. The dive on the Theo was followed by a shark feeding dive at Shark Junction. Jim Abernethy and Mike Walker sent down a sealed milk crate with bait to a flat sandy area directly underneath the boat. Then we dropped down and sat there in awe. Sharks everywhere - large, 6-8' Caribbean Reef Sharks, at least 20. Also at least a half-dozen Grouper in the 40-60 lb. range - they were quite friendly and not the least bit worried about the sharks. They parked themselves in the sand with us and watched the show. Our new diver and I went for a brief tour of the coral heads and found a Grouper parked at a cleaning station. We watched that for a bit while my husband stayed back taking photographs of the sharks. The highlight of the trip was the last dive day. We dove Jew Fish Mountain first - there was a Tiger Shark just at the periphery of the visibility; it worked its way into about 50 feet but then headed back out. Then came the 10' Hammerhead. It darted in and left, too. This was followed by the 8' Bull Shark. This doesn't even take the Reef Sharks into account, and there were at least a dozen, some 7-8'. The next dive was only about a mile and half away - El Dorado. There we were visited again by the Bull and Hammerhead Sharks. I was putting my new diver back on the boat when the Hammerhead came in - CLOSE. It took me 248 dives to see one - he saw one on his 7th dive. He was almost out of air, but I still had 2000 psi; I descended again and sat on the bottom as Jim and Mike took both still and vidoe photography of all the activity - Sharks everywhere, the Hammerhead swam directly over my head - I could have reached up and rubbed its belly, but didn't. There were beautiful lush corals, fans, whips, large and small fish, turtles, even a Spanish Dancer nudibranch. Everything was absolutely pristine and perfect. We followed this dive with a trip to the White Sand Flats where we found the Wild Spotted Dolphins. We snorkled with them for about an hour and a half. There were more than a dozen; at one point we were joined by a couple of Bottlenose Dolphins, but they didn't stay. The Spotted Dolphins stayed to play and imitated the divers who were using the DPVs - arching and flipping in the water. We finished the trip with a late afternoon and night dive on the Sugar Wreck. It is just like diving in an aquarium. Fish so thick you cannot see the wreck - and they don't even move out of the way. Baracuda stacked in rows and it's only 20 feet deep. There used to be several turtles on the wreck everytime we dove it, but we only saw one on this trip. But there were beautiful fish everywhere, crabs, eels, lobster, shrimp, blennies in the sand and crevices - every small fish you can imagine. Orange cup anemone on the night dive were just gorgeous. This was simply the most wonderful dive trip. Mike, Jim, Kurt and cook Kerrie made this an experience that will be hard to surpass. Our new diver will certainly have wonderful dives to compare with his future experiences. I'm already planning the 9th 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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