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Blackbeard - Questions Backup

Discussion in 'All Star Liveaboards' started by nagel, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. nagel

    nagel Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Knob Noster Missouri
    481
    24
    18
    We are planning our first liveaboard trip next May with Blackbeard. We have been told don't over pack. We are thinking about backup equipment. Of course, we will bring our light and backup light, but should we be prepared for other issues as well? Do they have the ability to fix equipment or loan something? For example, should we bring a backup Reg set or at least pressure gauge and computer in case our primary fails? Would hate to miss out on diving because of something like that. Of course, all that will take up room.

    Also, what recommendations for wetsuit in May? We are thinking a 3mm with possible vest or fleece under. We do tend to get a little cold (as we get older). I really would not want to pack a 5mm again because of the space issue.

    Also, I read somewhere that they don't allow flashing tank lights on night dives. Is that true? Why?
     
    SteveC likes this.
  2. KathyV

    KathyV ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    4,605
    2,581
    113
    You can have a light on your tank at night but flashing lights are annoying and confusing for other divers (and the fish!) and they may compete with the light lowered by the boat to help divers stay nearby.
     
  3. nagel

    nagel Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Knob Noster Missouri
    481
    24
    18
    Thanks, that makes sense.

    Another question: Tipping on Blackbeard? What is a proper tip amount? I know it is personal and gauged by how helpful the crew is/was, but I'm sure there is "standard" amount.... Typically, when we do boat dives with guides we tip $5-$10 per dive....is that a good gauge?
     
  4. noj3333

    noj3333 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Albany, New York
    861
    392
    63
    From the BB FAQ's page...
    "The liveaboard business is a service industry, and although the general public is seldom aware of it, gratuities are a major part of a crewmember’s salary. Few other recreational activities rely so heavily upon the professionals in charge for your enjoyment and safety. A gratuity of 10-15% is customary, but many leave more when they feel the service was outstanding. If you are disappointed with the service, you should inform the captain of your feelings right away so he may rectify the situation."

    IMHO 10%-15% ($100-$150) would be kind of a light tip for a week long live aboard...
     
    KathyV, Sam Miller III and Hoag like this.
  5. Landau

    Landau Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver
    355
    230
    43
    I got back from my second Blackbeard's trip about a month ago.

    Tank lights: flashing is OK, but not white flashing. The only white flashing light is on the anchor line so no one follows a fellow diver in the distance when meaning to head for the boat

    Spare gear: they carry some spare gear onboard. They don't want a sad customer if you blow an LP hose the second day. This happened to a diver on my first trip. The crew provided a replacement for a small rental fee.

    Wetsuit: I wore a 3mm full most dives, but just a rashguard on others. Was a little cool at the end of 2 rashguard dives in a row. Some of the sites are quite shallow so you can be down a long time. Other divers used only rash guards, 3mm shorties or a 5mm full

    General packing:
    you don't have a lot of room on your bunk/shelf, but you spend so much time in the water you don't go through many clothes. A mesh stuff sack or two is a great way to store your clothes.

    Towels: instead of regular towels I took a camping/travel microfiber towel for the shower and a swim shammy for after the dives. They worked great. Similar to these:

    https://www.amazon.ca/BOGI-Microfiber-Travel-Sports-Towel/dp/B078CQHYXM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1544962902&sr=8-3&keywords=camping+towel&th=1&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.ca/Speedo-753528...&qid=1544963205&sr=1-1&keywords=speedo+shammy

    Have fun, it will be a great time!
     
    KathyV likes this.
  6. nagel

    nagel Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Knob Noster Missouri
    481
    24
    18
    Again, thanks for all the info. Our trip is 5 months away and we can't wait. (Actually, just got back from Bonaire and ready for our next adventure).

    The only outstanding question I have at this point is about the backup gear. I have a spare computer and plan on bringing it, but what if my pressure gauge malfunctions....should I bring a spare or would this be something they might have on the boat? Trying to cover my bases on things that could go wrong that would leave my sitting on the boat and not diving because I can't drive down to the dive shop and get a replacement.
     
  7. nagel

    nagel Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Knob Noster Missouri
    481
    24
    18
    Oh..one more...

    Electrical outlets. I would need to charge camera batteries. Is there an electrical outlet in the bunks, near the bunks? Is this community use? I do have a small travel power strip would I be able to use that?
     
  8. Landau

    Landau Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver
    355
    230
    43
    I beleive they have spare regs including SPGs.

    There are power plugs in the roof above each top bunk. Top and bottom bunks share the same outlets. A power bar is fine to use.
     
  9. Scuba-74

    Scuba-74 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Longmeadow, Massachusetts
    450
    258
    63
    I have to ask - why do you think it's light? What are you using as a benchmark?

    Even in the FAQ you are quoting it says that "gratuities are a major part of a crewmember’s salary", it doesn't say it's the only source of it. Plus, my understanding is that Blackbeard's has a relatively high guest/crewmember ratio, compared to higher end liveaboards. Don't take me wrong, my comment is not a reflection on the crew members or the job they are doing, I'm just curious why you think that the numbers suggested by the actual dive operation itself are light.

    I will be diving with them next months for the first time, and certainly was going to use their suggested figures as a starting point.
     
  10. noj3333

    noj3333 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Albany, New York
    861
    392
    63
    @Scuba-74, there's really no 'scientific' answer to my question. I will also say, in general I feel I'm a good tipper. For several reasons I won't get into here, I always try to tip on the higher end when I can.

    I will say on a recent dive trip I did...

    23 dives, tipping roughly $250 (and a nice, but used $60 DGX light (guides choice, $20 or the light, and she went for the light))... but we'll call it $250.

    Restaurant server tips, maybe $80

    House cleaning tips, maybe $20

    I realize I was tipping for 'guided' dives, and I understand the BB doesn't put a guide in the water, but the BB crew does cook all the food, clean the toilets (and common areas, and the bunk when you leave), they also fill tanks, give the dive brief, and do a million things you don't realize or see...

    So on my trip I tipped a few people $400 (more then that in all reality), to carry me my food when eating, guiding my dives, and cleaning my room...

    On an 'average', enjoyable BB LOB I'd imagine I'd tip $200 to $250. Not a huge amount more then the suggested amount, but even on their website I read it as, if you have an ok time, please leave $100-$150... I'd expect to have more then an ok time, and I'd at least be prepared to tip a little more then the suggested amount.
     

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