Trip Report.This year's trip saw a return to Nassau in the Bahamas to the dive resort we visited two years ago. Dive,Dive,Dive is a small dive operation located in Coral Harbour with its own on-site accomodation for self catering guests; we enjoyed our last stay here and decided to do it again. For a description of the place, see the report from 2001 - not much has changed, although of the boat crews there was only one (Tony) who was there from last time around which was shame as one of the nice things about this resort compared to a place like Stuart Cove's is that you can get to know the staff really well.
This years' plan was to share the bungalow between three of us, Myself, Grev Commins and John Brewster but in the event John was unable to make it so it was just me and Grev again. In fact the whole place was very quiet this time around as the owner had been making attempts to sell the business which had been progressing but then fell though. In fact by the time we arrived, it should have already been under the new management. As a result of the confusion, very few bookings had been taken so we had the place almost to ourselves for the week. This was a mixed blessing: the previous trip had seemed exceptional value because we were able to join the afternoon boat free of charge as long as there was space. There always was, so we could dive four times a day even though we paid for only two. This year, however, there were no afternoon trips planned at all because the centre had no diving classes going on at the resorts (these diving classes formed the basis of the afternoon boatloads - instruction in the morning, then two OW dives in the afternoon). As a result, the total number of dives we managed was 15, rather than the 19 we did last time.
The upside of this situation, however, was that the boat felt like a private charter; the most divers we had on board was six, and a lot of the time it was only Grev and myself - in the end we dispensed with the DM altogether.
There were a number of new sites we visited this time around; of course we did the usual favourites - The Will Laurie, Bond Wrecks, the Cessna - all of which are excellent dives, but it is nice to go somewhere new and there is a lot of activity around New Providence Island sinking new wrecks as diving sites. If these sites have a failing it is that they are predictable; the ideal site from an operator's perspective is one where you can drop the anchor in a fairly shallow area but close to a wall where the experienced divers can get their kicks while still having a reef top and wreck for newbies and for deco after a deeper dive. This pretty much describes the majority of dive sites in that area. The obvious exceptions are the Bond wrecks, which are sitting on a flat sandy bottom and the Will Laurie, but that was an accidental sinking in any case.
Because Grev and I are both competent at depth, our boat captain was happy to take us to a new wreck, wilth no name that anyone knows of, which was deliberately sunk in the normal way but the operation went wrong and the hulk is now upside down on the side of a 45 degree wall at a max depth of about 40 metres. This turned out to be such a good dive that we did it twice! The wreck looks very unstable since the whole weight is resting on a mast which looks like it is the only thing preventing it from rolling off its ledge and going down into the blue. Needless to say, we were very circumspect and didn't even contemplate a penetration. There is no telling how long this wreck will last - it looks like one good winter storm would see it off, so I am not expecting it to be there next time. There is a bouy tied off to the propellor, which is at about 30 metres, so the whole dive is at or below this level. On both occasions we accumulated a small amount of deco, which we got rid of on the first dive by mooching around the reef. In fact it is not a very interesting reef in any case, so on the second dive we just hung out on the line like real divers.
We did not do a shark dive this time - I was not impressed with the circus like feel of the last one - but we did visit the area so that Grev could film sharks. In fact, just doing a normal dive with a lot of sharks in the area is a much better experience than the feeding frenzy. The whole thing was much more relaxed and natural feeling; I know that without the feeding dives which train the sharks to come up and congregate there would be a very reduced likelihood of seeing sharks in the first place so natural is not the right description but I found it a big improvement over the last time.
The big problem with dive,dive,dive when you are not diving is the remote location; it is a long way to Nassau and there is almost nothing at coral harbour. This means that if there is no diving in the afternoons, things can get just a bit boring. In fact we did persuade the owner to send the boat out on a couple of afternoons but the rest of the time we had to make our own amusement. You can usually get one of the staff to take you to a point where the jitney busses run into town, which is what we did a couple of times. If you stay late, then the only option is a taxi back and it takes a bit of negotiating to get the fare down to $40.
|Nassau 2003 Photos|