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Dive Review of Brendal's Dive Center/Moorings Bareboat - Marsh Harbour in
Bahamas/Abaco

Brendal's Dive Center/Moorings Bareboat - Marsh Harbour, Jul, 2014,

by T2inSF, CA, US ( 2 reports). Report 7675.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Brendal's Dive Center is frequented by families who return year after year to dive with Brendal. He is quite a charming and entertaining character, a bit of a local celebrity on Green Turtle Cay. He's an experienced diver, PADI and SSI instructor with high standards when it comes to his training and his expectations for his students.

Brendal's Dive Center books out in advance, even during what we thought would be a typically "low season" (July in the hurricane belt). It can be difficult to plan ahead if you're on a sailing trip, but I recommend emailing Mary (Brendal's wife) and arranging something in advance if you can. We radioed ahead and were told there was nothing available for several days. Arriving that very wet afternoon, we were only able to dive the following day because we happened to be hiding out in his shop during a thunder/lightning storm as a group of four called to cancel. We were happy to take advantage of the opportunity, which turned into more of an adventure than we had anticipated.

As we headed to the dive site, Daniel expertly cleaned conchs, standing on the back of the boat, sharp knife in hand.

Thinking we were signing up for a 2 tank morning dive, once on the boat, we realized we were in for the long haul for a family "adventure day." Despite not being able to leave Green Turtle in time to sail to make the Whale Cay passage that afternoon, this serendipitous development ended up being an unexpected treat.

Our 1 hour and 20 minute dive was limited only by my bladder capacity... we still had 1000-1500 psi at the end of the dive. The dive was not rushed and I was even able to jump back in and snorkel at the end to take some naturally-lit reef shots. Brendal's "secret" site (Coral Caverns) was great for snorkelers and divers alike. Starting in the shallows, with the snorkelers trailing behind above beautiful healthy mature coral reefs with occasionally passing Caribbean reef sharks, we moved on to watch Brendal put on a bit of a show as he got up close and personal with some Nassau groupers. He then lead us deeper (40-50 ft) and past a large group of tarpons as we began passing through a system of swim-throughs sprinkled with thousands of glassfish and copper bodies, with beams of natural light shining through. Brendal made sure to point out plenty of fish, beautiful displays of light, and tiny macro subjects for the photographers in the group.

Following our dive, Brendal cleaned and seasoned fresh fish (hogfish and grouper), while his son Kyle pointed out parts of the reef as we motored to the picnic spot; 2 acres on the beach with a BBQ pit and picnic tables labeled "RESERVED FOR BRENDAL'S." Soon after arriving, a little girl exclaimed, "Here come the stingrays!," and I slipped in with my snorkel to take pictures as they slid over our legs and feet at the water's edge, while people fed them fish and conch scraps from our lunch prep.

We feasted on conch ceviche, fresh green salad, stewed fish, and coconut bread, washed down with rum punch with our new friends. Brendal then informed us with a smile, "you won't be sailing out of here today." We could not help but laugh along with him, and did not mind another night moored at his dive shop.

Of the various sites we dove in the Abacos (The Towers and The Tunnels at Fowl Cay, Sandy Cay small boat moorings x 2, Cathedral and the White Hole at North Guana), the reefs at the Coral Caverns North of Green Turtle were amongst the healthiest. We heard that the San Jacinto was worth a visit, although we weren't able to make it there on this trip.

We'd happily dive with Brendal's again, but will be sure to make our reservations in advance, and make sure we know what we're getting ourselves into!

(Many thanks to Brendal and Mary for being gracious hosts and providing us shelter and entertainment during the lightning storm.)



Websites Brendal's Dive Center   Moorings Bareboat - Marsh Harbour

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Roatan, Utila, Bonaire, St. Barth's, Little Corn, Cozumel, Cocos, Galapagos, Komodo, Bali, Andaman Sea, Red Sea, Monterey, Channel Islands
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas
Water Temp 80-82°F / 27-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions All Abaco dives were relatively shallow, long (> 60 min), no decompression dives.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Good assortment of standard reef fish, with some staged Nassau grooper feedings. Bring some dog food in a plastic bottle if you want to get up close and personal with some fish of your own. Not my thing to pet fish, but we saw plenty of other people doing it. Occasional semi-close passes from medium-sized Caribbean reef sharks and barracudas. While some people purportedly saw "bull" sharks, I cannot confirm this. Lots small critters (Pederson anemone shrimp, arrow crabs, banded cleaner shrimp, gobies, juvenile reef fish) for macro opportunities. Plenty of fairy basslets and blue chromis sprinkling the reef, augmenting wide-angle reef shots filled with lush, healthy coral. Many coral swim-throughs teaming with juvenile glass-fish. Lots of opportunity for natural light shots in the shallow reefs. Good tarpon encounters with Brendal, as well as a shallow water stingray feeding during a picnic at the end of our "adventure day."
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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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