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Dive Review of Caribben Divers & Sunn Odyssey/Island Seas in
Bahamas/Grand Bahama

Caribben Divers & Sunn Odyssey/Island Seas, Dec, 2008,

by David Reazor, MI, USA ( 2 reports). Report 4648.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments One was of many trips to Grand Bahama Island. On this trip we dove with Caribbean Divers and Sunn Odyssey Divers based on previous experience. The first two days we dove with Caribbean Divers. They picked us up at our hotel within 5 minutes of the scheduled time. Caribbean Dives is an Uncle and Nephew setup and when you arrive at the shop, you signup and pay.You get to the boat via the laundry room of the hotel and need assistance with someone holding onto the floating dock The boat shows it age, but is in good shape. There is cover for a break from the sun. They have ship-to-shore radio and was mentioned a first aid kit and oxygen were in the small cabin. The first dive had four divers, two were newbies and six snorkelers. We went to a shallow reef 30-40ft and observed some good but mostly bleached coral. The small reef fish didnt seem to mind and they brought along some bread crumbs to attract the fish, but nothing large. We spotted two smaller lobsters hiding out during the day. If you take you time, you discover there are a lot of small critters around. We scheduled the next day and left our gear for them to store over night in a secured room. Next day pickup was the same and our gear was already setup. Dive was scheduled near shark alley. When we got near the shark feeding area, there was at least 1215 sharks as Unexso was conducting a shark feed. Since we are not into this practice, we headed away and found a spotted eel trying to hide on the upside down wreck. There were a few large groupers hanging around, but most of the other fish were gone with all of the commotion. We could only go on afternoon dives as they had scheduled classes in the morning.
Tanks were at 3,000 or more and plenty of weights available on the boat as needed. Two buckets, one for masks and the other cameras. Back at the dock, two large barrels with fresh water to rinse your gear. Caribbean Divers is a smooth operation and they take care of you. You were request to stay within sight of the dive leader and they suggested length of dive, not enforced, just return to the boat with 500 psi.
The next dives were with Sunn Odyssey. The first dive was at Pigmy Caves also called the Tunnels. These are groves in the coral and the bottom of the grooves is sand. The coral is reasonably healthy and you can find all sorts of critters if you look for them. Lobsters and crabs hide everywhere and not uncommon to find cleaner shrimp. We did not see any larger fish. The next dive was shark alley. As we got ready to step off the swim platform, we could see 56 sharks circling below. As we dropped down, we discovered there were about 10 sharks. They circled us, mostly likely waiting to be fed. As we explored the rest of the area, the sharks were always close by. One larger shark liked to sneak up behind you. One liked to play hide and seek behind the coral heads and then pop out as you would move around the coral. You just needed to let them know you know they were there. When we surfaced, I mentioned that the sharks were playful and discovered another dive indicated they were very nervous. We have dove with the sharks many times and keep an eye on them and have never had a problem. We enjoy watching them as they glide through the water. Most of them are Caribbean Reef, occasionally a bull shark we be in the mix.
Sunn Odyssey is a husband and wife team. The wife runs the office and Nick takes care of the diving. Nick was breaking in a new helper that needs a little more work. The boat is old but maintained and there is shade from the sun. Two buckets, one for masks and the other for cameras. The boat has a ship to shore, no mention of first aid or oxygen. The operations runs reasonably smooth, although we were late pulling away from the dock with a lot of tanks low in the 2,000 to 2,300 range and caused a lot of exchanging. They offer pick-up and locked storage for you gear overnight. There are two large freshwater barrels to rinse you gear at the dock. They request that you stay with the group, but its not a follow the leader type dive, just keep within the area. Dive times are more of a suggestion.
There is not a lot of difference between the two. Sunn Odyssey is a little more expensive but they have a nicer shore setup. Both operations provide great overall service.
Island Seas are comfortable condos with full kitchens. Out two bedroom easily handled the four of us. They are 10 minutes by bus/cab to Port Lucaya with a free shuttle during the day. We were there over the New Years celebration and on New Years Eve, the square at Port Lucaya had live entertainment and New Years Day the Janakanoo parade was downtown Freeport. We enjoyed both and had a good time. The volume of tourists was definitely down and talking to some of the locals, they were being hit hard by the overall economic problems.
Grand Bahama is easy diving. The shallow reefs show bleaching and a lot of algae. The deeper reefs have not suffered the same problem. There are a few wrecks that are interesting. Generally there is not any current, although there can be some mild currents depending on the weather. The larger stuff is noticeably absence.The lack of anything large is the same problem that I have noticed happening throughout the Caribbean, over fishing and pollution being the major issues. Amazing, we did not see any Lion fish on this trip.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Florida Keys, Grand Cayman, St Kitts, Nevis, Stacia, Grand Turk, New Providence Bahamas
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, no currents
Water Temp 78-82°F / 26-28°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25-70 Ft/ 8-21 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Stay within sight of DM, return with 500psi, dive time stated but not strictly enforced
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

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

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Had seperate buckets for cameras on boat. Nothing setup on shore, Sunn Odyssey did have a fresh water hose at the dock you could use to rinse you camera
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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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