Fdog review – AquaCat Liveaboard
By: James Flenner
This is a review of the AquaCat liveaboard, which we were guests aboard on the week of 21-28 January 2012. The charter was all-inclusive, and cost me $2195. There were additional taxes and fees (such as a fuel surcharge, Marine Park fees, Port fees, etc) that added roughly $250. I chose to breathe Nitrox, which added $150.
The AquaCat lays alongside at port in the Atlantis Marina, not their usual berthing, in Nassau, Bahamas.
The AquaCat is a liveaboard that is based in Nassau, Bahamas. They frequent the dive sites at the Exuma Cays to the southeast, Eleuthera Island, and (not so much) Nassau.
The size of the AquaCat just doesn’t sink in until you see her next to another vessel.
When it comes to liveaboards, our group has been traveling to a different liveaboard, about 2 liveaboards a year, for the past 10 years or so. The vessels have varied from the Red Sea to Palau to the Caribbean, on a variety of “brands”. Comparisons become inevitable, and the AquaCat compared very, very well indeed.
Our group generally consists of about 80% expert divers, and the remainder low-time divers just starting out. This trip was no exception, and gave us a chance to see how the boat accommodated differing skill levels.
Janet hangs out for a stop at the end of a dive. The boat also deployed a “hang bar” at 15’ with hooka regulators.
The stern, and dive deck. The AquaCat is equipped with 3 smaller boats for diver support and shore excursions.
We had heard about the AquaCat for years, seeing the ads in the magazines. We really hadn’t considered them seriously, because we’d been on previous shore-based trips to Nassau. These had been nice, but we experienced underwater conditions that were just average, and not what we’d pay the expense of a liveaboard for. Also, when perusing the website, it always appeared to have a smallish dive deck.
As it turned out, neither of these assumptions were correct!
Waiting to board: our group mills around waiting for the magic 6:00 PM boarding time.
As we waited to board the AquaCat, I observed some worn paint and scuff marks on the exterior. This is different from most of the liveaboard vessels we’ve been on, where the exterior generally looks like they’ve been freshly repainted. It was with a sense of foreboding that I accepted the cheerful invitation of the crew to come aboard.
That foreboding disappeared instantly when I stepped on board the AquaCat.
The reality of the vessel, once on board, could not have been more opposite from the exterior: absolutely spotless, in perfect condition. The interior of the vessel looked, smelled, and felt like it was brand-new. When I asked how long since the vessel had been in for a refit, it had been almost a year! The crew works hard to keep the interior shipshape, and it shows.