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Dive Review of Nekton Diving Cruises/Nekton Pilot in

May, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by James & Kandace Heimer, TX, USA
Contributor   (15 reports)
Report Number 1683
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Tahiti, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Hawaii, Mexico (E & W Coasts),
Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, N & S California, St Maarten,
St John
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 120    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Max depth 130 feet; "back on board" times specified at each
location while dive deck was open, e.g., dive deck opened at 8 am with back
on board time of 11:45  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Separate rinse tanks for cameras maintained and enforced on dive deck and
near camera tables one deck above; camera tables spacious with carpet
surface; well set up for digital photography: 42 inch flat panel screen
with computer hook-up to review photos, including video; limited software
for photo enhancement available; no E6 processing; photo contest at weeks
end (fun event, we were all amatuers).
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
3 stars    
This was our second trip aboard the Nekton Pilot.  We did the central
Belize itinerary.  We did five days on Lighthouse Atoll (walls) and one day
at Turneff (sloping bottom, coral heads). The wall diving was consistently
spectacular with 82+ degree water, 100 foot visibility, flat seas and warm,
sunny weather.  Hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, eagle and sting rays,
tarpon, large grouper, baracuda, and a single manta ray were the major
pelagics.  Lobsters and crab abounded, plus all the usual tropicals.  We
were usually anchored within sight of the Belize Agressor and Sun Dancer.

The Nekton has a capacity of 33 divers - we had 27. They ranged from
experienced tech divers to one couple doing their open water certification.
 The spacious lounge accomodated us all at dinner, and the Nekton opne dive
deck approach avoided crowding there as well.  The dive deck opens after a
morning briefing from 8 to 11:45 and you are welcome to dive any time
during that period.  The ship repositions during lunch, and the deck opens
again from 2 to 5:45.  A night dive is conducted at the afternoon location
after a presentation by a crew member on a marine topic of interest -
usually starts around 8:30. Diving is unsupervised, unless you request a
guide by one of the dive masters, and you are free to dive your computer.  
Divers log themselves in and out of the dive deck on a "muster

The food was excellent - several members noted having to add lead to their
weight belts during the week.  Dinners ranged from prime rib to fish to bbq
ribs and chicken. Lunches included a mexican, sandwich, and hamburger
buffets - soup was included at each.  Breakfasts were hearty (eggs,
pancakes, waffles, fruit, hot & cold cereal, home baked breads and
rolls, and juice).

One problem was delay in getting from the airport to the boat on the vans
that Nekton provided (via a hotel stop for dinner) - crowded and ran late -
we were finally bedded down about midnight Saturday.  One van ran out of
gas leaving the boat for the departing flights. The biggest downside is the
state of the accommodations.  We had a lower deck room and experienced (as
did most) moisture dripping from the chilled water piping that provide AC
above the ceiling tiles.  This dripped on bedding and the (rather worn)
carpet, leaving damp spots.  The marine heads in the bathrooms in each room
could have benefited from stick up deoderizers.

The boat repositions for Ft Lauderdale at the end of May with a stop in the
shipyard - hopefully some upgrading of the rooms will occur. In any event,
we liked the upper deck rooms from our first trip better.
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