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Dive Review of Aqatic Safaris in
The Continental USA/Wilmington, NC

Aqatic Safaris, Aug, 2008,

by Tim, MD, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 4273.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 26-50 dives
Where else diving FL, Mexico
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, currents
Water Temp 81 to 72 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Deep & Wreck dives associated with AOW PADI certification. Had to stay with group of 8 for part of each dive, but then use personal dive computer profile for rest of dive.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 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 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments My son and I made special advance arrangements (3 months ahead) with Aquatic Safaris in Wilmington, NC to complete the 5 required dives for our PADI Advanced Open Water certification. The owner, Paul Gregory, was very accommodating for our needs. They ended up getting a group of 8 including us for this class during our 5 day visit. This dive operator typically has 2 boats going during the season, but the 48ft dive boat was down for maintenance while we were there. However, they made the 30ft ASII available for our deep and wreck dives. We dived on the John Gill wreck as our deep dive at 95 ft. This ship was torpedoed by German U-Boat during WWII. No current on bottom and very good vis. (for NC) 25 miles off the coast. Lots of local reef fish and a couple of large grouper. The wreck dive was on the Hyde. Ripping current on the bottom (est. 2 kts). Lots of sand tiger sharks (4-7 ft.) all around the wreck, especially on the bow. Also lots of large barracudas. We were able to go down into an open hold to get out of the current a bit - otherwise you are constantly swimming into it or holding on to the wreck.

Aquatic Safaris is one of the larger dive operators in Wilmington. Boats are a short 2 minute ride from the dive shop - plenty of parking and access at both. Our instructor - Andre Nel - was super. Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic for your participation and fun. The dive boat we were on was their smallest. But it was well run, clean and comfortable.

This was our first dive trip to NC, but we will return annually now. There are so many wrecks to dive, including U-352 which was also sunk during WWII. There are tons of hotels and restaurants in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. And it's a fairly easy commute by car from Maryland.
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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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