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Daggles Jun 21st, 2003 09:59 AM

My husband are planning a long needed vacation (after two years spent building our home). We have travelled to many destinations in the carribean and mexico to relax and go diving. I would like to combine a hotel/sailing trip the way its done on Young Island.
We would be staying there accept they are not airconditioned and we are afraid the heat will cook us. Two or three days of sailing would be wonderful, with 4 days on land.
We only have 8 days. I have searched the internet for days at a time to try and come up with something and I just get more and more confused with info overload.
I would love to do something like this on the Turks and Caicos or the Grennadines, but I am open to any suggestions.
We are not millionaires so I am hoping to stay within $300.00 to 350.00 per day, not including extra for diving, service etc. Any help from all of you fellow adventurers would be GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Robert Jun 21st, 2003 11:29 AM

Balckbeard's Cruises have liveaboard scuba dives. I know they go from Miami, where they're based, to Bimini, Grand Bahama, the Berries, Cay Sal Bank, Andros, and Nassau. The diving is fantastic; they know the places which are awesome. There 3 boats are 65 foot catamarans and house a dozen passengers each. Not sure if they go south of the Bahamas. Their toll free no. is 800-327-9600. They do wreck and shark dives as well as visits to isolated coral reefs and walls. Not sure if they go to T&C or Grenadines but they are friendly and will steer you to those who do. Hope this helps. Good luck. Robert

Daggles Jun 21st, 2003 03:35 PM

Dear Robert,
Thank you so much for putting your time and effort to help me. I will get in touch with Blackbeard Cruises. Your info was so thorough and helpful.
It sounds like you really enjoyed your trip with them.
Thanks Again!

Robert Jun 21st, 2003 04:59 PM

Daggles; I've never been with Blackbeard, but my wife and I do reef surveys off New Providence, Abaco, San Salvador, Eleuthera, Exuma and Bimini. We've run into them and have met other scuba divers who have been with them. Their business is to connect scuba divers to beautiful reefs. Have never heard anything but good about them. Robert

Daggles Jun 22nd, 2003 12:21 PM

Dear Robert,
It sounds like you and your wife do a lot of diving(heaven).
We are still debating as to whether we should do a private charter on a small
sailboat. I hate to keep bothering you
but of the areas you mentioned that you
have been is there one above all that you would recommend. Beautiful coral formations are firt and formost. I really haven't seen a pristine reef in a long time. Spent many years diving in Bonaire. Before hurricaine cliff sent a rogue wave there the dive sights were not to be believed. Snorkeling right on the beach there were all kinds of beautiful creatures as well as some spectacular coral. Some of that has been destroyed, all in all it is still a pretty nice place to dive, but we need a change.
Went to Ambergris Cay last year and while the people were super nice the diving was extremely dissapointing. The
reefs had a fungus growing on them which the divemasters were not even
aware of. It seems the reason for no sea life is the fishing industry which
supports the local people.
I saw one juvenile spotted drum on four dives, not even a common parrot fish was
in the water. I hope someone educates the people there soon or else they are going to loose there much needed divers trade. Thanks again for all your help!

Robert Jun 23rd, 2003 08:01 AM

Daggles; yes, it is upsetting about the decrease of fish populations, including the grouper. Each year, thousands of grouper congregate to breed in key areas of the Caribbean, one being around Grand Cayman islands. Unfortunately, fishermen with the latest sensors zero in and take huge quantities, before they can even breed! I have rarely seen a Nassau grouper in places where I used to count dozens of them. There is a Grouper Moon project being conducted to document these breeding times, and to protect the breeding process in order to jack up the grouper population. Too bad about the fungus on the reefs in Ambergris. To answer your questions. Bonaire will have you spoiled; it is by far the richest island around for coral reefs and fish. The best island I've scuba'd on in the Bahamas would have to be San Salvador in the eastern Bahamas, about 200 miles SE of Nassau. We went with the Riding Rock Inn dive op to beautiful spots. Believe it or not, the island of Bimini has some pristine places, too. North Turtle Rocks is a favorite area of mine, just south of Bimini. There is a string of tiny cays running further south of Bimini, with great dive sites around each. Went with Keefe's Undersea Adventure. As far as a small private charter, I've run into one at the Conch Inn Marina in Marsh Harbor, Abaco. It's called the Moorings, I believe, and they have small sailboats for rent or to charter with an expert. The Abaco's have nice reefs on the Atlantic side of the cays running north to Walker's Cay (where Walker's Cay chronicles series with Flip Pallot is filmed) to the southern tip of Great Abaco Island. Good luck! Robert

Athena39 Jun 27th, 2003 05:44 PM

Both the Bitter End Yacht Club and Biras Creek Resort in the British Virgin Islands offer combo hotel-sailing vacations. Also the Moorings in the BVI. I think the BVI are hard to beat for a sailing vacation. We've done just the sailing part many times, and we'll go again.

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