29 May 2005 16:49:37
Blackbeard's Cruise Report, May 14-20-2005

Blackbeard's Cruise Report, May 14-20-2005

Just back from a week on the mighty Sea Explorer cruising in the
Bahamas. What an adventure. Blackbeard's provides a great combo of
travel and diving. The voyage was half the fun, especially being under
sail at night. The crossing of the Gulf Stream provided for some
excitement and seasickness among the landlubbers. Stopping in Bimini
and Freeport supplied some local Bahamian culture. Great conch
fritters and jamming with a local drum troop on Bimini. Access to a
pool and showers and partying with boat mates in Port Lucaya/Freeport
were nice diversions.

The diving varied from excellent to mediocre. May water temps were
from 77 to 79 degrees with vis from 30 to over 100 feet. Most dives
were under 70 fsw deep. The diving off Freeport was surprisingly good
with excellent visibility on the Theo wreck and amazing coral plateaus
and canyons at Annie's Paradise. The Gingerbread Grounds at the
north edge of the Bahamas Bank had beautiful lush corals and sponges
with tons of life at Swiss Cheese. Around Bimini diving was highly
variable from mediocre low profile at Turtle Rock to excellent at Tuna
Alley. The highlight for me was seeing huge Loggerhead turtles on two
occasions both off Bimini. We did 17 dives in 5 days with 2 night
dives. Good diversity of diving over a large area with 5 wreck dives .
Only one deep wall dive and I would have liked another night dive but
we were underway a lot.

Accommodations on the boat were comfortable, I had a double birth to
myself in the main salon. Couples sharing a double birth might be a
little cramped. The single births looked to be large enough in the
forward cabins. The marine heads were a subject of some discussion, and
people who require a private bath might not dig it. Some people say
it's like camping at sea but I was surprised at how comfortable and
spacious it was. Ample food and drink, unlimited rum and Bud light on
tap. Watch out for the rum punch. That's Bacardi 151 in them thar
jugs, ye might get relegated to sitting on the hatch.

The crew of 6 were excellent, maintaining a great attitude throughout
the trip. They seem to really enjoy their work, what a great gig.
Most of the passengers on our journey were affiliated with a dive shop
in SoCal. the other three were single unaffiliated divers. The vibe
was a little rowdy with a lot of trash talking typical of most meathead
divers. There was a decent contingent of woman folk aboard to keep it
slightly civilized.

A couple of people on this newsgroup had suggested that the Sea
Explorer tends to have the more ambitious voyages, this proved to be
true, thanks for the good info. While the other two boats stayed in
the Bimini Orange Key area Sea Explorer sailed for Grand Bahamas and
the Gingerbread grounds. Good weather with prevailing easterlys
allowed this. The Pirates Lady seems to be the party boat while the
Sea Explorer tends to be more adventurous. Things to bring, insulated
coffee mug, clothes pins, warm clothes, rain gear, pillow, tunes, sense
of humor.

At $900 including port tax for 5 days diving, 6 nights accommodations,
transport, food and drinks tis is a good bargain for a live aboard but
you can do Cozumel for that easy. For me the best thing about
Blackbaerd's is the voyage. Hope this provides some useful
information, peace T.

30 May 2005 23:31:03
Lee Bell
Re: Blackbeard's Cruise Report, May 14-20-2005

"T" <[email protected] > wrote

> A couple of people on this newsgroup had suggested that the Sea
> Explorer tends to have the more ambitious voyages, this proved to be
> true, thanks for the good info.

You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.