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Dive Review of Caribbean Explorer in
Bahamas/Great Exuma

Caribbean Explorer, Jun, 2005,

by Corey Brown, MN, USA . Report 2040.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments [None]Now into into its second month of a new itinerary, the Caribbean Explorer I began its trek from Georgetown, Great Exuma & motored its way to Long Island, then Conception Island, San Salvador & back. My 20 year old daughter, newly certified, joined me on this great trip, in which she received terrific instruction from a temporary DM, Cedar (yound guy f/ Alaska). After passing her 4 check out dives to complete her referral, she became my outstanding dive buddy for the rest of trip, which totalled 25 dives. I'm not quite sure why Cedar was just a temporary DM (was on board a couple weeks), other than this particular operation is so new - the company would do well hiring him permanently. The rest of the crew was just as amazing. I can't say I've ever encountered a group of people so friendly, competant, & knowledgable in any service oriented industry. When each of the 6 crew members weren't attending to their usual duties, they were trading off diving the 5 dives a day with the 12 guests.

Boat was very comfortable, clean and showing very little wear & tear. A/C was down right chilly in our cabins, but great to sleep in with cozy quilts provided. Though this is one of the company's older boats, even the engineer, Henry (f/ So. Africa) commented it was his favorite one. We moved from site to site with amazing speed. Libby was a great chef. We found all meals to be quite tasty & varied. Everything from BBQ ribs, to lightly fried Grouper, & even a "Thanksgiving Night" - complete w/ pumpkin pie (in the Bahamas?).

Now the diving: First day to Long Island where we dove fairly shallow coral heads popping out of ultra white sandy bottom. Saw several cleaning stations w/ lots of the little cleaning shrimp working away. All the divers commented on seeing about the largest lobsters ever - I saw one taking a casual stroll on the sand, pretty much the size of a Labrador! Temps throughout trip were between 74 & 77. Viz wasn't terrific - between 50 & 75 ft. Anytime we hovered over the sandy bottom between reef structures, we encountered jaw fish & garden eels popping out, all week long. Days 2 & 5 we dove Conception Island, where we encounted the big stuff: 3 hammerhead sitings, 2 reef sharks (one of which I captured the best Mpg I've ever shot on my Sony rig - a half minute as close as 4 ft away), several hawk bill turtles, & southern sea rays. No mantas or dolphins. Here we did a deep wreck dive (100'), & have to say fish life overall was a bit down, but coral & gargonians were abundant & quite healthy.

Best dive sites were to be found days 3 & 4 @ San Salvadore. So good, that w/ the offer to sacrifice a dive for a land visit - no one took up the offer. Throughout the week, we were given exellent dive briefings, & an option to join the crew member on diving that particular dive, otherwise dive your own profiles, as long as you dove no deeper that 130', & had 500 psi back on board. We dove all five dives each of these two days, but because we were diving air, we watched our computers carefully, as mid week dives began with 100' to 115' walls. I found it fairly easy for us to stay out of the caution Ni loading zone since over half of even the deep dives could be spent over the top of well populated reef stucture on our returns to the boat. Saw scorpion fish, good size schools of jacks & grunts, huge Nausau groupers, parrots, tang, grey angels, giant lobsters & crabs on the night dives. Enjoyed a couple GREAT swim thoughs reminding me of Mary's Place/Calvins Crack in Roatan - start out 60' or so & pop out at 115'.

Great weather & calm seas thoughout trip certainly contributed to making this my favorite trip so far in my 4 years of diving. My daughter truly looked like an expert by the end - 'can't endorse getting your kids involved in this great sport enough (& what better way doing so!). I give Explorer Ventures a 10 on service, comfort, sense of safety, & meals. I'd say an 8 on dive sites - they are still getting a feel for their new itineray but getting there fast.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 51-100 dives
Where else diving Lake Superior, Ft. Lauderdale, Cozumel, & Roatan
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 74-77°F / 23-25°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-75 Ft/ 15-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Return w/ 500 psi, no deeper than 130
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Clean, uncluttered camera table, separate rinse tank, careful handoff f/ crew to diver in water & vice versa
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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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