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Dive Review of Blackbeards in
Bahamas/Bimini & Freeport

Blackbeards, Jun, 2006,

by guy johnson, illinois, usa . Report 2546.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Honduras, Caymans, Florida, Bahamas, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Belize, North & South Carolina
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50 to 75 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions back on the boat with 500psi otherwise dive your own profile.stay in buddy teams, no solo diving.
Liveaboard? yes 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 4 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments had dedicated fresh water barrel, crew would assist getting camera's in and out of water

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This is a tough one as I love Blackbeards, been on four of them so far.Since the boats are now based in Freeport, Bahamas they have created a problem for themselves.Since they are close to base compared to being based out of Miami, they will linger in the area off shore to allow divers who have either chosen less direct flights, lost or
misplaced gear, etc.This means that all the other divers on the boat have to settle for shallow, boring, fishless sites just off Freeport harbor until the gear or divers show up.This never happened when they were based in Miami, you either rented gear,made the departure time or got left behind.We had two divers who saved around $30.00 on their airline tickets and thus held up the entire boat waiting for them (and bragged about their savings to those of us who planned our trips to fit the posted departure times).Not fair to the rest of us as it cost us a day of better diving!This is a nice gesture for those who don't plan their trips like adults but not so good for the divers who did show up on time.Why have departure times when you don't hold to them? Basically it cost the rest of the boat the chance of having better dive sites for the day.Not to mention the 25 knot storm we had to ride out waiting for them as well when we should have been well out of harms way.! I doubt if the ones with their heads in the sink/toliets puking thought much of the $30.00 savings!The boats are listed as "camping on a boat" and that is fine but these ships need to be updated/freshened up.The a/c isn't reliable, the ice machine seldom had ice( they tried to get by with one small bag of ice each day to tide us over), the soft drink dispencer didn't work half the time, bunks near the heads smelled strongly of urine.The meals were filling but more than a bit boring except for the one excellant roast beef/prime rib dinner.Whatever didn't get eaten at a meal who show up again and again until it was gone.I don't mind leftovers and understand the desire to save a buck, but I don't think we should see some food item get passed through three meals to do it.They did have a decent snack or desert after the dinner meal or night dive.The crew tried for the most part but it seemed that for most of them, their heart just wasn't in it.They have installed stations for tanks, meaning you now have the same tank all week long compared to a different one for each dive as in the past.This is a good idea for the most part but the bases of these tank stations do not have any room for the diver to sit down to get either ungeared or geared up for a dive.The tanks are also postioned too close to each other which makes getting tangled in the next divers gear a concern.It's way too crowded!The shark feed/dive was good if abit short.Seems that whatever fish are caught determines how many will be used as bait.So the shark dive can be very, very short, like less than 30 seconds!We dove mostly shallow dives on reefs that had little to offer.The exception was one wall dive that was excellant!The main night dive was on a wreck way too small for the number of divers.Overall the trip wasn't terrible, but nothing compared to what Blackbeards has been in the past. I hope this is only a minor setback and the operation will soon return to its former self.They still have the welcome cookout on shore but when three boatloads of nearly 70+ hungry divers have to wait over an hour to get one burger or hotdog, tensions can get abit elevated.They either need to get a bigger grill or more staff doing the cooking or both!On shore they have a fresh water shower/bath that helps to wash the salt off you at the weeks end.This is really nice, but one shower/bath for over 20 people takes a long time, let alone factor in that three boats often show up at the same time..can make for some real long lines!Once on shore they do offer free internet service and an area with a tv, dart board and pool table to kill the time waiting for your stint in the shower/bath.Overall, Blackbeards is still a bargain, but some of the fun has left the operation.When you add in their increased rates, then the added airfare to and from Freeport, the value seems like less of a deal.
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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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