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Nassau trip report August 9 - 15

Discussion in 'Bahamas' started by RalphJr, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. RalphJr

    RalphJr Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Fresno California
    63
    15
    8
    Dive Report:

    First for the land side of things, Orange Hill Beach Inn – 5 star scale.
    • Accommodations 2 stars,
    • Food 3 stars, :14:
    • Friendly Staff 5 stars:blinking:
    We arrived on Thursday too late for dinner and they feed us anyhow. The main cook Evon was a wizard in the kitchen and the dinner menu was different each day with chicken, pork, mutton, fresh fish, conch, lobster and beef rotated and cooked in a wide range of down home styles offering plenty of selections each night. Vegetables and starches varied widely and the desserts were to look forward to. If you get a chance at the Guava upside down cake don’t pass it up. Prices ranged from $13 up for the entre $3 for a self serve salad and $4 for dessert. Breakfast was self serve continental style $5 or hot buffet $8. Lunch was sandwiches and hot dogs or burgers $4.50. The bar is on the honor system and you fix your own, $4 for a beer or mixed drink. The dining room is closed on Saturday and Wednesday evenings. The pool side room was clean and offered AC, a ceiling fan, a TV with 8 or so cable channels, refrigerator, microwave and a coffee maker. The beds were only so-so as I have a bad back and find most hotel beds not good for me. The power failed in a storm one night and in about three minutes a diesel generator whirred to life and we had power when most of the Island was out for twelve hours. The staff was as good as it gets they will tend to your every need. The overall environment is very laid back and nothing like the Hilton or Waldorf, this is my kind of place. Cabs are expensive to get down:14:town at $27 but most of the time you can take the bus for $1.25. There is a liquor store and a couple of good restaurants within walking distance. It was an easy 15 minute shuttle ride to Stuart Cove’s on their bus but if you need to get over there on your own it is a $30 cab ride.

    Stuart Coves:
    • Friendly Staff 5 stars:14:
    • Organization 1 star:no
    • Dive boats 4 stars:14:
    • Dive sites 3 stars:blinking:
    • Shark Dive 5 stars:sharkattack:
    • All other dives 2 stars:shakehead:

    The entire staff was top notch, friendly, helpful, and cheerful. We made 12 dives on five diving days.

    Every day we had to wade through the large crowd of new people signing in just to find out which dive boat we were assigned to. I do not understand why they do not have a board posting this information; this simple improvement would be most beneficial to the overall experience. We were on a different boat each day; this made it virtually impossible to tip the crew for their courteous help and efforts at the end of our stay. I would have had to tip 15 different people and even though I am pretty generous this goes too far for even me. I would prefer to have the same crew and boat for the majority of our multiple diving days. This allows you to settle in to a routine which is more relaxing to me. In my opinion the organization needs work.


    The shark dive was an incredible experience and worth every penny of the cost of our entire trip. I bought the video and pictures from FIN Photo. Found a few shark teeth and will never forget how those sharks mauled Viviano – the shark feeder.

    In my book any dive you surface from is a good dive. That being said I am really unhappy about Stuart Cove’s 35 minute dive policy. We traveled 6000+ miles to dive here. We purchased 5 days of 2 tank am diving and 3 days of unlimited Nitrox which is a total waste on 70 minutes of bottom time a day. All 3 Nitrox days everyone on our boat had to wait for our Nitrox to be loaded because they were not filled the night before. Most dives I surfaced with 1500+PSI. My longest dive time was 42 minutes.

    The wreck dives were interesting. We dove on the Bond Wrecks, DC3, Twin Sisters, Willaurie, Ray of Hope and the Blue Plunder. The Blue Plunder bought and sunk by the BBC in order to study reef formation has just been released for diving. The nearby reef to the Blue Plunder was also the most pristine with a good diversity of marine life. The walls and other reefs visited were not spectacular compared to the GBR we visited on our last trip but were ok. Water temp was warm at 85F, visibility averaged 65 to 80 feet. I wore my 3/2 Tilos but a skin would have been enough.

    The dive boats were very clean and in excellent repair. We travel with all of our own dive gear so I cannot comment about the rental gear other than to say that I did not observe any equipment problems on divers using rental equipment during our dives.

    Conclusion:

    Go here to dive with the sharks.:sharkattack:

    Find another dive provider for the rest of your trip. I doubt that I would dive with Stuart Cove’s again. I want full bottom time when I travel that far to dive.
     
  2. Captain Morgan

    Captain Morgan Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Virginia Beach
    96
    0
    0
    Great review! Thanks for sharing. My girlfriend and I will be staying at the Orange Hill January 9th through the 18th. I look forward to it. It's been 10 years since I dove with Stuart Coves. Sounds like their organization efforts haven't came a long way since I remember. They always seemed to be in disarray. I got certified there, loved my instructor, Karen. Hey, you wouldn't happen to have meet enough of the staff to know if she's still there? I doubt it. They are all very friendly and helpful. I'll definitely take up on trying that Guava upside down cake. Sounds yummy.
     
  3. lourie

    lourie Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Carolina - Central / Low Country
    4
    0
    0
    Thanks for the report. I hope to dive in Nassau Oct 23 - 28. Did you happen to get any names of smaller dive operators in Nassau? We don't want to do the shark dive...maybe with time I will. I want to do reefs and some wrecks. Any reefs better than others?
     
  4. RalphJr

    RalphJr Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Fresno California
    63
    15
    8
    Hi Lourie:
    The reef located with the Blue Plunder was by far the most pristine of the ones we dove while in Nassau. I don't know if they go there but Custom Aquatics picked up some divers that were staying at Orange Hill while we were there and they were really happy with the service and thier dives.

    Les The Prez:
    I hope you are reading this, It was great to meet and dive with you. No one turned in your gloves to the lost and found and the Skipper of the boat was off when I made the inquiries for you.
     
  5. Jim Ernst

    Jim Ernst Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Sacramento CA
    5,126
    20
    0
    Thanks Ralph.

    I am soon hoping to spend my two week vacation there , And I was very much looking to dive with Stuarts cove, But I now think I will do the shark dive and then move on to another Operator, I usually get a good hour out of my minimum dives and 35 minutes will not cut it for me.

    Great report and I thank you for sharing with us!
     
  6. lourie

    lourie Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Carolina - Central / Low Country
    4
    0
    0
    I appreciate the advise about Nassau. I will contact Custom Aquatics today. Thanks again....Lourie
     
  7. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,281
    5,856
    113
  8. deeper thoughts

    deeper thoughts Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    6,321
    2,125
    113
    Thnx for the informative report
     
  9. robint

    robint Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
    6,540
    1,150
    113
    very interesting report. I think maybe you should consider trying out a liveaboard in the Bahamas next time though. I bet it would be about the same price when you work in all those meals and taxi rides, plus on a liveaboard you are going to get in 4-5 dives per day and no short bottom times.
    We have done the Nekton twice, my reports are here:
    http://www.rnrscuba.net/NektonRorqual_TripReport.html
    and
    http://www.rnrscuba.net/NektonCaySal.html

    Others here on SB have great things to say about the Aquacat which leaves from Nassau (Nekton leaves from Ft. Lauderdale and dives different areas of Bahamas). Either of those may have been better for you. Just my 2 cents.

    robin:D
     
  10. stu_in_fl

    stu_in_fl Divemaster

    # of Dives:
    Location: newly land-locked in Cinci-freaking-natti
    797
    3
    0
    if you find one, let us know !

    I have to go out there occasionally for work and only found Stuart's Cove - my experience was very similar to Ralph - ridiculously short bottom times surfacing with more than half a tank on every dive. I'd have been very annoyed if I paid for the trip (although I do pay for the diving part, so still find it a little annoying). I did find that the aftrenoon dives are a little better - less people and slightly longer, although only by 10 mins or so.
    I think they are so concerned with getting back at a certain time, that in the morning chaos when they get loads of people checking in, needing gear etc. it takes a long time, then they still need to be back, so simply cut short the dives (rather than cutting short their lunch)

    I looked at Bahama divers website last youe and it is seemed to only do a morning dive.
     

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