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Dive Review of Nekton Rorqual in
Cayman Islands

Nekton Rorqual, Jun, 2006,

by Irv Kaplan, NV, usa . Report 2530.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Belize, Roatan, Cozumel, Bahamas, Hawaii, Tahiti
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 81 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75 to 125 Feet

Dive Policy

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

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Air hose for drying cameras, broke and took 2 days to get a replacement.

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 1 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Crew: Great dive crew. My buddy had some ear problems and so I got to dive with 3 of the dive masters. They were great buddies. All the dive crew and the captain had great attitudes, and genuinely wanted to please (I wish the cook had the same attitude).
Boat: It needs a lot of fixing and freshening up. Scrapping and painting is only the start, inside and outside. There were a large amount of exposed rust and peeling paint, including railings, thresholds and walls. The closet in my cabin was held together by duct tape. The cushions in the salon/dining room are covered in plastic which is all cut up. It is very uncomfortable. My cabin, being amid ship was quiet. Other people complained about the noise of their cabins. Cabins on the same floor as the salon, underneath the sun deck, were disturbed by the people waking on the sun deck. Cabins in the aft of the dive deck, heard the tanks banging around during the crossing. Our cruise had 18 passengers; I cannot imagine the boat full with 32 passengers. There is not enough room in the salon/dining room for that many. The dive deck with a full contingent would be ridiculous. Luckily, the restrictions on diving Bloody Bay Wall, limit 20 divers to a mooring site, so the Captain has to hire day boats. The Rorqual swath design limits the side-to-side sway in rough water, but crossing in rough water, the up-down motion caused some people to be sick. The Rorqual, because of its high profile and exposure to wind, is limited to the number of pins it can moor onto. So on the Brac, we only got to dive the Captain Tibbets (4 dives). On the Brac, they require all the passengers to be off the boat for re-fueling, but they make no arrangements for you. No lunch, rent a car, hire a cab, go to a hotel, buy an expensive lunch at the hotel, and spend 4 hours at the hotel. The spot where they left you off has good shore diving, but the Rorqual wont arrange for any tanks. They facilitated the car rentals. The Brac has good diving on the south side, but the Rorqual couldnt make it there. Live aboard diving in Sting Ray City is not something I really want to do, nor was the small wreck (Doc Paulson) on Grand Cayman worth diving after the Tibbets. The North Shore and the East End have some good diving, but the Rorqual is too slow to get there. Little Cayman, Bloody Bay wall is great diving and that makes the itinerary worth while. The boat uses steel 95s, which takes significant weight off your weight belt, but the hang tank was leaking from its neck seal. Nitrox is the most expensive of the live aboards, and Nekton only guaranteed 26% - fills were typically 28 to 32 percent, with 2,800 to 3,000 psi fills (told not to complain if fill was at least 2,500).
Food: At best, poor. At worse, they were out of food. For breakfast, scrambled eggs were the choice for most days, plus cold cereal or bagels (of course, if you dont get there at 7 am for the 7 to 8 am buffet, all the cream cheese is gone). Pancakes arrived too late again, no meat, no butter (cook found some) but no syrup, therefore no pancakes. I filled out the form that indicated that I dont eat fish, told the cook on the first night that I dont eat fish, so when they served fish, the cook was upset that I wouldnt eat the fish. I was served leftovers from the previous evening. Forget their deserts. You couldnt even get ice cream as a substitute until the last night. By Tuesday they ran out of hot chocolate (DM from previous week drank a whole lot), Thursday they ran out of Strawberry flavored drink. Cook and the passengers werent allowed to make coffee, so you had to wait for a DM.
Overall: The itinerary would be great if they adjusted how they refueled and dove Cayman Brac, plus eliminated Sting Ray City. BUT, the Rorqual is definitely not a luxury dive experience. I cant recommend the boat, especially if its full. NOTE: The Cayman Aggressor never made it to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. Per the people we met at the airport heading home, Little Cayman was not diveable with only 10 feet of visibility and the day boats werent going out.
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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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