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Dive Review of Blackbeards Cruises in
Bahamas/Northern Islands

Blackbeards Cruises, Oct, 2002,

by Pat Wikstrom, NC, USA . Report 769.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Socorro Islands, Roatan, South Africa, Costa Rica, Channel Islands, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Bonaire, Cozumel, Florida, Yucatan Caves, Bahamas, Little Cayman & Brac, Belize, Turks & Caicos, Indonesia, Thailand, Cocos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 80 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions no decompression diving, stay with your buddy, come up with 300-500psi
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 2 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 1 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Blackbeards Cruises serves up a time tested itinerary of decent Caribbean diving interspersed with snorkeling and spearfishing opportunities, aboard three 65ft sloop rigged sailboats. The experience can best be described as dive camping as your only personal space is your bunk, showers are limited, toilets are shared, conditions are cramped, and everyone gets pretty familiar with each other. This was my second trip on the Sea Explorer and since they offer one of the best values in terms of diving/dollars I very well might go again. I find its best if youre taking new divers, without a lot of money, who like to drink beer.
Captain Yolanda had some problems with a contingent of mid-western divers who were mainly interested in spearfishing. The guys in this group were pretty vocal about their displeasure at her inability to put them on the good sites and it cast a bit of negative energy on our trip with some of us siding with the Captain and some folks siding with the dive group. Other than that everything went perfectly. Even in good weather the crossing can be a bit harrowing for those who tend towards sea-sickness. So wear your patches and pop your pills if you have that susceptibility. Food was plentiful, nutritious, sometimes great, sometimes mediocre. Beer, wine, and rum drinks are included.
Stand out dive sites included the wreck of the Hesperus, usually done as both an afternoon and a night dive so youd know your way around. I found it even better than in 1995. The wrecks nothing to speak of but the huge schools of Grunts and mixed Snapper, squadrons of Southern Stingrays, and legions of Ocean Triggerfish have proliferated. At night this dive turns into Loggerhead Turtle central. Youre guaranteed to see big turtles. Other good dives included Swiss Cheese, a huge coral mound with lots of swim throughs and a good variety of healthy fans, ropes, sponges, and coral; and La Lanni, another decent site with multiple coral mounds and ridges, healthy coral growth, and an amazing amorphous school of Mackerel Scad and other tiny fish swirling around. The best site of the trip was their shark dive location Bull Run. This conglomeration of big profile coral mounds offered the prettiest coral growth and lots of great cracks and swim throughs to explore. The presence of a dozen Grey and Blacktip reef sharks made for a little excitement when youd stumble upon one in a crack. The shark dive itself went quick and was exciting for the uninitiated and routine for the experienced.
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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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