04 July 2006

Eastern Caribbean Cruise

Some cold water divers I've been talking to were wishing to hear dive reports about the warm water places I've been to so today I'm going to talk about our Caribbean Cruise. Now I haven't done to many dives but my open water classes were aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. A 138,000 ton ship accommodating 3114 guests. It sounds like a lot of people but I never felt crowded. The ship has 15 decks, a royal promanade (shopping mall) 3 salt water pools, dive center, basketball court, fitness center, track, rock climbing wall, wedding chapel, inline skating course, ice skating rink, casino, library, conference center, Johnny Rockets, several bars, resturants, buffet & clubs, not to mention the University of Miami's state-of-the-art oceanographic and atmospheric science lab. We saved up our pennies and stayed in a stateroom with a balcony. It's a real pleasure sleeping in your room, with the doors open, listening to the sea. The cruise took us for 7 days to the ports of San Juan, St. Maartin, St. Thomas, and Nassau, departing and arriving at/from Miami.

Ok ok, if you do take the open water dive class on a 7 day cruise, go out and buy the PADI dive manuel (or whatever instruction manual that ship uses) and read it first. I tell ya, it's a good thing my wife's family came with us because most of the time I was either taking the dive class, doing pool dives, open water dives, or reading that big freaking book.

As far as the dives, hmmm, let me see what I can remember since I just packed my dive log for our move. Ah I got it! My PADI online dive profile. None of the dives were to extreme. (Open water class, remember). All were boat dives.

The first 2 were in St Thomas.
  • Site - Buck Island Cove
  • site depth - 45 feet
  • vis - 80 to 100 feet
  • temp - 70 to 80 degrees
  • small wreck & small reef.
The second 2 were in Nassau.
  • Site 1 - Bahama Mama
  • site depth - starts our around 30 and they say over the wall it drops into a 6000 foot oceanic trench!!
  • vis - 80 to 100 feet
  • temp - 70 to 80 degrees
  • The dive operator was Stuart Cove's Aqua Adventures . This is a great site to see Caribbean Reef Sharks. There were almost always 1 to 4 sharks within our field of vision. Most around 5 feet in length. I understand this is where they filmed the shark scenes for Open Water and Into The Blue. Were there sharks in Into the Blue? I don't recall. In fact we sort of swam into the set for that movie. Where the plane is sunk. Oops. I remember the film crew were using something so you could hear them speak under the water. If the sharks weren't erie enough, swimming out over that trench to attain our 60 depth was. All of a sudden that sandy bottom slopes away into dark blue.
Site 2 of Nassau was a short boat ride back in towards shore. Only maybe 15-25 feet of depth here. Otherwise the same conditions. I don't remember any sharks at this location.
Of all the dives on the cruise we saw Caribbean Reef Sharks, Yellowtail Snapper, Yellow Jacks, Blue Tangs, Squirrlfish, Wrasse, Trumpetfish, Redband Parrotfish, Yellowtail Damselfish, and Nassau Grouper to name a few. I would do any and all of the dives again. But hey, I love to dive. See my scuba photos of this trip and other's here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/neutralbuoyancy/sets/72157605653051581/

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