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

February, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Steve & Kathie Payne, IN, USA
Report Number 362
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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 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
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  
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  
 
 

Overall Rating

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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Diving Guide to Barbados
Diving Reviews for All Dive Destinations

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