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January 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 33, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Bahamas Aggressor, The Bahamas

sharks and swimming pigs

from the January, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver,

The fall of 2017 was a brutal hurricane season. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated many Caribbean and Atlantic islands, so in October I was both anxious and eager to see how things fared in the Bahamas. Amazingly, the reefs looked great on this Bahamas Aggressor itinerary, and the weather deities offered a fine week with only a few hours of rain.

Bahamas AggressorUnder the able leadership of Captain David Patterson, the crew of six took great care of the 13 divers on board, keeping things clean, making sure we got the food and drinks we preferred, teaching courses (two divers took Nitrox training and two took other courses), and of course, keeping to the dive schedule. We began with the captain's briefing on safety; the nearest hyperbaric chamber was in Nassau, which made it either nearby or many hours away, depending on the itinerary.

The boat (formerly the Carib Dancer) is 100 feet long, has a salon that doubles as the dining area, a spacious sun and shade deck, but some of the tiniest cabins I've seen on a liveaboard (under 7x7 feet/2x2m.) Five identical two-person cabins have a double bed and a single-sized bunk above, and there's one quad cabin in the bow, all with ensuite baths. Because cabins were minuscule, I had little inducement to hole up, so I socialized or relaxed on the sundeck or in the salon between dives. Because I was in the quad, I showered on the dive deck instead of the cabin shower, one of those shower/toilet combinations that leaves you wet but not feeling clean.

Our first dive set the tone for the trip. The high-profile topography of Jewfish Wall near Allen's Cay in the northern Exumas was typical of the many dramatic walls we dived. Staff briefings included dive site drawings with compass headings and noted significant landmarks and what we might see. The compass headings were worth noting, since, between complex underwater topography, currents, and some low visibility, a few divers had difficulty finding their way back to the boat. One experienced group had to be picked up in the inflatable half-a-mile from a site with brisk current; they returned rather shame-faced. So, a safety sausage or SMB is essential. Most divers dove with their buddies, though one crew member was always in the water. We made all the dives from the mothership by giant stride off the transom....

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