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Help please going to Nassau for the first time

Discussion in 'Bahamas' started by ratjn, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. ratjn

    ratjn Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Landlocked Calgary
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    We are heading to Nassau in Mid-February and want to dive a bit. We have contacted what appears to be the big two dive operators and were surprised at the brevity of the dives. 30 minutes on the first and 45 minutes on the second with only a 20 minute surface interval. We are used to Cozumel where with big steel tanks we are getting 80 minute dives, 90 minute interval and about 100 minutes on the second dive.

    Is anyone in Nassau going to dive in this style? Dive your air/computer, a nice relaxed surface interval and dive air/computer on the second? A small operator maybe?

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. seeker242

    seeker242 DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pompano Beach, FL
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    Sounds typical for nassau. 80' to the max NDL, (30 min on air) then a SI that would then give you 40-50 min at ~40-50''

    They are very few dive ops there and most of their customers are cruise ship passengers that have to get back to the ship at a certain time, so probably not.
     
  3. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

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  4. KathyV

    KathyV Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
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    We did a lot of great diving with Frazier Nivens and the Nassau Scuba Center years ago - but they have been closed for a long time - but there appears to be a dive op called Nassau Scuba Dive that you could check out, see below. I don't know if they also cater to the cruise ship customers.

    Nassau Scuba Dive
     
  5. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
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    They're just a booking agent for the two shops. The shark dive they list is Cove's, the Blue Hole dive is Bahama Divers. The third dive they list sounds like Cove's two tank but I can't tell.

    The only other option in the past 5 years that I know of was Custom Aquatics - a private full boat only charter on the south side. Closed recently.

    A few years ago Landshark Divers offered a shore dive but their boat dives were with Cove's also. Also closed afaik. I don't believe a shore dive would be very good there - nice beaches=poor diving generally.

    Frazier relocated to Key Largo. One of his videos is the Wakatobi promo video. FRAZIER NIVENS, OCEAN IMAGING South Florida High Definition Video & Film Production Services Key Largo, Florida
     
    KathyV likes this.
  6. Hoag

    Hoag Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
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    One of the "issues" that Nassau has is that it is a stop for just about every cruise ship in the Caribbean it seems. Because of this, the two main dive ops are hamstrung. They absolutely must get the divers from the cruise ships back to the boat before the boat leaves Nassau. The impact that this has on shore based divers who are there for several days is that their schedules are now being constrained by the limitations imposed by the cruise ships. Read that as artificially short dives to hit a known, fixed timeline. This timeline starts when the Dive Op picks the customers up at the docks and it ends when they drop them off at the docks at the end of the day. Everything else (filling out paperwork, gear rental if req'd and returning gear at the end of the dive, the drive from the cruise docks to the dive op and back at the end of the day, etc.) has to fit inside of that window and there is no room for error. The cruise ships will leave when they are scheduled to whether the customers are back on board or not, and then it becomes a matter of who pays to get them to the next stop to meet back up with their ship. There are potentially huge financial consequences if they are not back on time.

    There are a couple ways that you might be able to mitigate this. If you can join up with a group that will be there at the same time as you that has enough people that they have their own dive boat, then there may be more flexibility in the schedule. (I was a part of a group that was using Stuart Cove once and we had our own boat as well as the same Captain and Dive Master all week. We were able to pretty much set our own schedule within reason.) Keep in mind that we were a big enough group that it was viable to supply us with our own ground transportation to/from our hotel. A big group buys a lot of flexibility and if you can get "adopted" by one for the time you are in Nassau, it might serve your needs.

    Another way to extend your dive time is to play the edges so to speak. I wouldn't try this until they get to know you a little, but I have been able to gear up and be ready to splash as soon as the boat stops. You might miss the dive site briefing, but you might get an extra few minutes underwater. DO NOT try to extend your time at the end of the dive, like I said, they are on a hard schedule that is dictated by the cruise lines and they have little to no leeway in hitting those timelines.

    @ratjn you start of by saying "we are ...". How many people are in your group? If there are enough, then it might be worth it to contact the two major dive ops now and see what can be worked out for a group your size or if there are any groups that you could join up with that will be there at the same time and would alleviate the cruise ship timeline.

    Communication is critical. I can not stress that enough. Talk to the two main dive ops. The bulk of their business is based on the cruise ship divers and that is what they tend to gear their business model to accommodate. Maybe, just maybe, there might be a way to make it work more the way you are hoping for or at least some middle ground.
     
    diversteve and KathyV like this.
  7. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

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    One point I would add is that Cove's is often under time pressure to return divers since they're about 45mins. via their shuttle from the cruise port.

    I would guess that 2 tank afternoon dives insread of the feed dives might be a little more relaxed as they're likely only returning local guests to the resorts then. I looked at a Carnival list once and they were selling the shark dive as an option. IIRC our cruise sailed while it was still light so they likely have to get those divers back b4 4PM or so - local time.

    Bahama Divers is just across the bridge from Paradise Island and their shuttle does not pickup at the cruise port - just hotels on Paradise Island and Cable Beach so although one can take a 10min. cab ride from the cruise port - it's likely the majority of those divers get picked up by Cove's.

    total speculation on may part.
     
  8. ChuckP

    ChuckP Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel
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    I dove with both places, Bahama Divers more - I never ever seen a cruise ship person on a Bahama diver boat - they are a much smaller operation then Stuarts Cove.

    Over 20 dives with Bahama divers and they are all 35-50 minutes depending on depth.

    Cozumel you drift, Nassau you swim - you'll use more air swimming for sure. There's only aluminum 80's, no HP120's so your bottom times are what they are.

    Stuart's Cove is ok, lot's of people, big dang factory over there, plus the long ride. Bahama Divers - much much more low keyed, right across the bridge from Paradise Island. If you stay at the Bahr Mar, you're about in the middle between them.
     
    Hoag likes this.
  9. ratjn

    ratjn Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Landlocked Calgary
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    Thanks all for the response. We are only two divers, I am leaning toward diving with Bahama Divers as we will be staying in an Airbnb on Paradise Island. I also prefer smaller shops rather than the large companies catering to Cruisers.
     
    ChuckP likes this.
  10. RayfromTX

    RayfromTX Student Of Gas Mixology Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hill Country of Central TX
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    We did 4 dives the one day we dove there. We figured out the drill early and maxed our dive time by getting them to tell us what time we had to be at the boat. We got geared up quick on the way out and as soon as we were stopped we asked to splash and went. We got 45 minute dives. Everybody else got quite a bit less. We usually connected with the group at some point for a little while but didn't stay with them most of the time.
     

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