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Carib Dancer Captain's Logs

Discussion in 'Aggressor Adventures' started by Dancer Fleet, May 23, 2012.

  1. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Carib Dancer Captain’s Report Feb 23 – Mar 2, 2013

    Water Temperature: 74-76 F
    3 or 5 mm Wet Suit Recommended

    Saturday afternoon after everyone boarded, the Carib Dancer and its guest Fran, Earle, Barbara, Markus, Hans, Stefan, Carl, Liz, John, An and Olivier depart the Elizabeth On Bay Dock and made the easy ride to the Exumas for a week of diverse diving. The ride out to our mooring and first dive site Lobster No Lobster was very nice, lots of stars, a bright moon and smooth seas, we could not have asked for a better night.

    Sunday morning while sitting on our first dive site, Lobster No Lobster, we watched a beautiful sunrise come up over the Exuma Islands. Underwater we swam with Caribbean Spiny Lobsters, Yellow Stingrays, and Big Southern Stingrays. About a six foot, very healthy looking, Nurse Shark swam right in front of a few guest. Our next dive site was Crab Mountain (East). This is one of many of the dive sites we visit that is large enough for two mooring in different areas of the reef. At Crab Mountain there’s one in the shallows and one on the edge of the wall. We were diving on the dive site near the edge of the wall. We swam around medium-high profile coral heads and just down the edge of the wall seeing an array of hard and soft corals. Nearby we had schools of Horse-Eye Jacks and Yellow Tail Snappers. A few Caribbean Spiny Lobsters were out and a couple of Cero Mackerel swam near by. Our night dive was back on the shallow reef of Lobster No Lobster. While waiting for guests to get ready by putting on wet suits and checking computers, I looked over about 15 feet on the port side of the Carib Dancer and watch a small Hawksbill Turtle take a very breathes before diving. During the dive, lots of the normal nighttime creatures were seen including a Parrotfish laying on the bottom near the reef covered with sand made for great camouflage to get a good night’s sleep. Always a highlight when diving at night is seeing a couple of Common Octopus. It was great hearing guest come up talking about how the Octopus was showing off its colors when hunting along the reef.

    Monday morning we made our way to our farthest northern dive site called Dog Rocks. Dog Rocks is one of the crew’s favorite. We enjoyed lots of swim thrus and canyons and a wall covered with bight colored Tube Sponges, Sea Fans and Black Coral. One of the largest swim thrus had thousands of Silversides to swim past. Swimming in the small canyons we passed Bipinnate Sea Plume, Yellow Sea Whips and Venus Sea Fans. When I was headed up to finish the dive on my safety stop, I followed about hundred Creole Wrasse in their initial phase with their dark blue body swimming in and out of one of the small canyons. Next stop was south of Dog Rocks called Madison Avenue where we watched a Yellow-headed Jawfish go in and out its hole. Caribbean Spiny and Caribbean Spotted Lobsters were just on the outside of their hiding place. Still headed on southern path we stopped at Black Tip Wall. There are several things we enjoyed about Black Tip Wall. We have lots of swim thrus that start in a shallow area and come out over the wall. However at Black Tip there’s no need to go over the wall, while swimming on the top edge we swam through schools of Snappers, Grunts and had a few large Groupers came close in for a picture. We ended the day at Hammerhead Gulch. Hammerhead is a very tidal dive site and one of the nicest of the shallows. In the grassy area we can find small creatures and around the coral lots of color and schools of fish. The night dive with the full moon we had was awesome… because the water was clear and the moon bright it was easy to see the Lobsters, Rays and other creatures of the night. Then after the night dive we enjoyed a nice evening under the stars and a bright moon. For a Monday, this was a Very Good Day In The Bahamas.

    Tuesday morning we started off on Whales Tail Wall. Whales Tail has more swim thrus and one of the longest swim thrus on any of the walls or dive sites we visit. It’s always nice to see the different colors of a wall, but just as nice to see Scrawled Filefish covered with blue to blue-green spots and the Trumpetfish with its trumpet-like mouth. Our next stop was Jewfish Wall. Sometimes when you’re shooting pictures you think to yourself I wish I had the other lens on this dive. There’s always something big to shoot on this dive site and see the Caribbean Reef Shark up close and the small Hawksbill Turtle is always nice. But sometime when you slow down you notice the little things and that’s what happens to me diving Jewfish Wall. I swam up through a canyon and started watch two Four-Eye Butterflyfish and Barred Hamlet. That’s the moment I wanted the macro lens, because my new little friend swam just a few inches from my mask. I had forgotten how colorful the blues were around the eyes and other parts of the Barred Hamlet. I enjoyed the hour-long dive at Jewfish but the time past way too fast.

    Due to the winds picking up, we moved next to the bank side of the Exuma Islands. The first dive site we picked was Barracuda Shoals, which has scatted coral heads covered with colorful sponges and corals. Split-Crown Feather Dusters and Variegated Feather Dusters were everywhere to be found. We were able to swim near lots of Yellow Stingrays and one large Southern Stingray covered with sand, except for his eyes and tail. Everyone had an awesome dive and our guest Earle came up and said “Best Dive So Far”. Due to tide issues we had to leave Barracuda Shoals, however guests wanted to dive it again so I’m sure we will be back… Our late afternoon and night dive was on Flat Rock. Swimming around this site is like swimming around an aquarium. We were diving with schools of tropical fish, beautiful soft and hard corals and lots of creatures. Our best find was a Red-Tipped Sea Goddess almost three inches long and our guest John took an excellent picture of this beautiful Nudibranch.

    Wednesday morning we started in the Exuma Land and Sea Park at the dive site Wall City. Wall City is made up of several high profile coral heads located on the edge of a deep wall. These high profile corals are stacked like tall buildings in a city with alleyways between. As we swam through these alleyways we saw Spotted Moray Eel near the mooring line, several large Caribbean Spiny Lobsters and huge Channel Clinging Crabs. But this wonderful dive site was also covered with Blackcap and Fairy Basslets, Squirrelfish and more Peppermint Goby with their yellow-gold to translucent body then we could count. Next stop in the park was Danger Reef. As soon as we pulled up to the mooring we had several Caribbean Reef Sharks along side of the Carib Dancer. It didn’t take the guests long to get in and start shooting some excellent pictures and video with these Sharks swimming close by. Because the Exuma Park is a protected area and a ‘No Take Park’, the marine life in this area is larger. The Lobsters are bigger and the almost two foot long Midnight Parrotfish and Black Groupers swam in close for a picture or two. For the afternoon and night dive we picked 3 Peaks Reef. Having three separate big coral heads to choose from makes it nice. Most of us swam around the largest one, which was where we were moored. During the dive I saw lots of Angelfish and numerous Brittle Stars hiding between the coral and sponges. Towards the end of the dive we saw the biggest Barracuda I’ve seen in a long time - reaching a length of almost four feet!

    Early Thursday morning we headed back north to our morning dive site called Shroud Wall. It was nice seeing two-foot size Rainbow Parrotfish swim just a few inches away. As I was swimming in 57 feet of water about 15 feet from the edge of the wall looking out over the wall and I was thinking the last time I did a dive at Shroud Wall was just after Hurricane Sandy. Because of the Hurricane the reef here was coved with a thick layer of sand and the only good diving was along side the wall. Now just a short time later Mother Nature has cleaned her reef and it was full of fish and creatures. I was headed for my safety stop at that 57-foot mark I mention earlier when I saw the best view a diver could view. Just in front of me, schools of fish were swimming around a large coral head with Brain Coral, Blushing Star Coral, Button Cup Coral and colorful Sea Fans. As I looked past the coral head and all the marine life, all I saw was the beautiful deep blue color of the Exuma Sound. It was breath taking…

    Next stop on this Thursday was the wreck of the Austin Smith. If you have been with us before, or maybe you read about the Austin Smith, here we see Sharks! Today we had about 8 Caribbean Reef Sharks, in some cases swimming within mere inches of our guests. Diving with the sharks here is always enjoyable, plus we enjoy lots of fish and other creatures. We ended the day of a small Plane Wreck just off the main ship channel. All around the wreck we had a grassy area where we found a variety of small creatures. On the plane wreck itself we swam with several different schools of fish. With less then 20 feet of water, we had lots of bottom time to shoot pictures and video of more Banded Coral Shrimp then I could count. Big Ocean Triggerfish sleeping under the wreck, several Red Banded and Giant Hermit Crabs and a huge Loggerhead Turtle sleeping with her head under the Plane Wreck. Slowly making our way back to the Carib Dancer, after enjoying the all the creatures on and near the Plane Wreck, we came upon a Flame Box Crab half buried in the sand. And swimming under the vessel as we return were Squid, lots and lots of Reef Squid just waiting for their picture and video to be taken. The Plane Wreck is the smallest dive site we visit; yet this week it was the best dive of the week.

    Friday morning we enjoyed a pre-breakfast dive on the Blue Hole. Most of the time it’s better to dive the Blue Hole first thing in the morning. It’s easier to see the large Nurse Sharks, Loggerhead Turtle and watch the coral heads along the rim of the hole come alive with marine life. After enjoying our underwater time at the Blue Hole we slowly made our way to our last dive of the charter while everyone enjoyed a wonderful breakfast prepared by Chef Shea. Periwinkle Reef was chosen as the last dive of the charter because it’s like doing a long safety stop while swimming in an aquarium. Max depth around 20 feet, we enjoyed a very colorful reef with hundreds of tropical fish swimming near by; some within a few inches. Periwinkle Reef is so nice and sometimes we get a chance to dive it the first and last dive of the charter and never see the same area. It was an excellent way to end a wonderful week of diving aboard the Carib Dancer in the Bahamas.

    Crew for this Charter was Captain Dennis, 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Captain Mario, Engineer Ernie, Instructor Nicole and Chef Shea.




  2. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Carib Dancer Captain’s Report March 2 – 9, 2013

    Water Temperature: 74-76 F
    3 or 5 mm Wet Suit Recommended

    This week was a special ‘Dive With the Owners’ week onboard the Carib Dancer and visiting and diving with our guests this week was Owner and CEO Wayne Brown.

    Saturday afternoon after everyone boarded under a windy and rainy sky, the Carib Dancer and guests Patrice, Guillaume, Valery, Daniel, Lorraine, Rick, Susan, Steven, John, Angelika, David and Wayne departed Elizabeth On Bay, our home dock, for the outlying Exuma Islands.

    Sunday morning we raised the anchor we had set after arriving last night near Alan’s Cay and made the short ride to our first dive site called Crab Mountain. Crab Mountain is one of our large dive sites where it’s big enough to have two moorings; one in the shallow waters and one that starts shallow and we could easily swim to the edge of the wall. For this dive we were on the east site where some guests stayed shallow and some ventured to the edge of the wall. While underwater at Crab Mountain we saw Caribbean spiny lobsters, small yellow rays, also gray, Townsend and queen angelfish. It’s always nice to see a Caribbean reef shark, but it was especially nice when Guillaume and a few others saw a Great Hammerhead Shark! The Bahamas are like that, as you never know what will swim near you while enjoying the underwater world.

    We enjoyed the afternoon underwater at North House. It’s always good to slow down over a reef, by taking our time. We came across a banded jawfish slowly moving stones around its small home. Most of the time when divers see a moray eel they are hiding inside the cracks and holes of the coral reef, however today on North House we saw a spotted moray eel free swimming across the reef along with Caribbean spiny lobster walking across the sands, a large porcupinefish and a beautiful juvenile spotted drum.

    Monday morning began with ‘no suits’, ‘no ties’, just a wet suit and some scuba equipment and an excellent dive site called Up Jump The Devil. This dive site is one of our largest and deepest. Swimming away from the wall and then looking back at the size of the wall available for us to dive is just stunning. At any area on top, near the edge of the wall we saw lots of juvenile tropical fish in varies colors. John, one of our guests, followed me while we swam through a maze of long swim thru’s and canyons. Our afternoon was on Madison Avenue where the picture of the day was a white bearded fireworm on a beautiful bright purple sea fan. The video shot of the dive had to be the small juvenile spotted drum that just kept swimming in from of the video camera.

    Tuesday morning our guest enjoyed a colorful sunrise at Eleuthera as Monday the winds continued blowing, so we had just headed east to Eleuthera. It was just right. The island was blocking most of the wind, which made it nice and easy for us to dive. Our first dive was at the Cobia Cage. The cage looks like a huge spaceship hovering in the water next to nice wall. The local students on Eleuthera raise cobia for several reason and we get a chance to dive around this wonder place. The bottom of the cage sits in about 60 feet of water, while the top is in about 30 feet. The entire structure sits on the edge of a nice wall. Inside the cage we can usually see hundreds of cobia and also see part of a nice wall. But, the best part had to be the 6-plus-foot Hammerhead Shark that swam near several of the guests!

    Our next stop was a very nice wall dive with lots of swim thru’s and canyons to lead to the edge of a wall, the dive site is called Cut Thru City. It’s nice swimming along the edge of a wall and see a variety of marine life, however it also nice to slow down and look at some of the corals. We saw small colorful fish swimming around maze coral and rose coral. The easiest of all hard corals to identify is the boulder brain coral, which always seem to have is share of marine life. After swimming along the edge of the wall enjoying soft and hard corals, we descending over the wall passing colorful wire coral. It was fun swimming through the canyons and swim thru’s enjoying the different colors of marine life and corals.

    The early afternoon was spent on a shallow dive site called Knucklehead. There are a few small swim thru’s, however the best view was by Chef Shea who had discovered a fascinating porcupinefish. All enjoyed lots of the small yellow stingrays and the numerous brittle stars spread out over the soft coral. Diving over the edge is especial nice as this dive site is covered with marine life. Next up was Tunnel Rock, which is always nice for a late afternoon dive and night dive. I have to say that Tunnel Rock is my personal favorite dive site in Eleuthera.

    Wednesday morning we found ourselves enjoying our morning coffee back in the Exumas and at the Wreck of The Austin Smith. When someone wants to really see sharks, this is the dive site to get up close and personal with them and our first dive on the Austin Smith was all about Sharks! We had about 8 Caribbean reef sharks swimming around us at any given time and sometime these beautiful sharks were swimming less then a foot away from us. While diving the Austin Smith we also enjoy swimming with porcupinefish, a drum high hat and a huge Caribbean spiny lobster.

    Thursday morning we started making bubbles at Black Tip Wall. Black Tip Wall is one of our dive sites that we never know what we sill see. Today was no exception. While swimming in the shallow part of the reef our guest enjoyed a pair of large nurse sharks relaxing in the sand. While diving near the wall we saw Caribbean reef sharks, more nurse sharks and even black tip sharks. Hanging out under the boat, as the guests were doing their safety stop, we saw a pair of Wahoo swimming pass - one almost 3 feet in length the other about 4 feet. We never go wrong diving Black Tip Reef. But diving with the sharks around the Austin Smith is a lot of fun, so much so that the group wanted to dive the wreck again so that’s where we did our early afternoon dive. This time not only did we see several Caribbean reef sharks, but a few guests swam away from the wreck enjoying the coral heads and a great hammerhead shark swam close by.

    Our late afternoon was on Lobster No Lobster. We should just rename this site Lobster Reef because despite the moniker we always seem to find lobster! We also found a nice hawksbill turtle and a wide variety of marine life was enjoyed. Seeing all the variety of marine life is great, however, the best find on this dive site was by Angelika and David who found a very beautiful Caribbean Spanish dancer.

    Friday morning we enjoyed a pre-breakfast dive on the Blue Hole. Most of the time it’s better to dive the Blue Hole first thing in the morning when it’s easier to see the large nurse sharks, passing loggerhead turtles and to watch the coral heads along the rim of the hole come alive with marine life. As we swam around the hole we enjoyed watching the colors on the inside of the wall also come alive. We always enjoy this early morning dive especially when our huge loggerhead turtle friend passes by for a quick picture. Thank you ‘Mr. Turtle’.

    After enjoying the underwater scenery at the Blue Hole and slowly making our way to our last dive of the charter, everyone enjoyed a wonderful breakfast prepared by Chef Shea. Periwinkle Reef was chosen as the last dive of the charter because it’s like doing a long safety stop while swimming in an aquarium. With a max depth around 20 feet, we enjoyed a very colorful reef and hundreds of tropical fish swimming nearby - some within a few inches of us. Periwinkle Reef is so nice sometimes we get a chance to dive it the first and last dive of the charter and never see the same area. It was an excellent way to end a wonderful week of diving aboard the Carib Dancer in the Bahamas.

    Crew for this charter enjoying the front seat view of ‘Living The Dream’ was Captain Dennis, 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Captain Mario, Instructor Greg, Instructor Nicole and Chef Shea.





  3. diverdoug1

    diverdoug1 Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Florida (via Texas and New York)
    Do you guys ever go down to Staniel Key where the swimming pigs are?
  4. Moray

    Moray Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Here
    What about the fire?
  5. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Carib Dancer Captain’s Report March 23 – 30, 2013
    Water Temperature 72-77 F
    3 or 5 mm Wet Suit Recommended

    The Carib Dancer did the ‘Safety & Information Briefing’ then departed its home dock of Elizabeth on Bay just after our guests Doris, Carlos, Heidi, Chuck, Edie, Sylvia, Connie, Philip, Marie, Kathe, Dave and Nick boarded. The ride out to the Exuma Islands was delightful with lots of stars and calm seas.

    Sunday morning we started our first dive at Lobster No Lobster. Lobster No Lobster is a large area of scattered colorful coral heads. After getting our weighting down and seeing to make sure the bubbles go up while looking at Caribbean spiny lobster, channel clinging crabs and schools of tropical fish, we enjoyed a nice long lunch. The afternoon diving started on Pillar Wall. Like most of the wall diving in the Exuma Islands we don’t have to go down the wall because we can see so much marine life at the edge of the wall then anywhere. On the edge of the wall we saw Caribbean reef sharks and schools of Atlantic spadefish. We finished the night dive back at Lobster No Lobster and because we did a dive here earlier everyone found there way around easily. At night of course we saw the usual suspects, crabs, lobster and lots of schools of small tropical fish.

    Monday morning we headed north to a dive site called Dog Rocks. WOW!!! Is all you can say about Dog Rocks. This dive site has been always one of the crews’ favorites. We could stay here all day and never see the same thing twice. During one of the swim thru’s our guest Connie finds a juvenile frog fish sitting on a huge bright orange elephant ear sponge. After enjoying the colorful coral formations of the wall here we headed for Madison Avenue where we had the pleasure of diving with different types of marine life and also seeing some colorful corals like reddish-purple and purple bent sea rods, rough sea plumes and bolder brain coral.

    Tuesday we headed to Up Jump The Devil. I personally really like this dive site, with its deep valley just on the edge of a beautiful deep wall. Due to the direction of the winds the Carib Dancer was hanging over wall while sitting on the mooring. I dropped down over the edge of the wall and found a swim through around 85 feet. I followed the swim through as it turned and headed upwards ending very close to our mooring pin. I was shooting video and had a pair of French angelfish swim within a few inches of the camera. Then a short time later as I was headed back to the boat a huge barracuda let me get about two feet away in order to get a good shot of him. Pillar Wall was next on the dive slate. This part of the wall that makes its way up and down the Exuma Islands is nothing short of beautiful. I always find colorful fish and corals while diving the swim thru’s and canyons of Pillar Wall. One of my favorites has to be the Creole wrasse in its initial phase when it’s a dark blue color. Sometimes 50 or so will follow each other down the wall to give it a waterfall effect. The Wreck of the Austin Smith was where we did the late afternoon and night dive and we always find the Caribbean reef shark on this site. Today was no different when a few of the resident sharks swam by for a close look. By them doing that we were able to get some excellent pictures and video of this apex predator.

    Wednesday morning we made our way south to Cracked Coral Head. As we followed the mooring line down 45 feet to the bottom, about 40 feet from the pin is a almost perfect piece of brain coral, about 7 feet in diameter. Next to that brain coral is a huge coral mound that looked like someone hit the top of it and it split making several swim thru’s and canyons. At any given time on this reef we saw damselfish, grunts, snappers, crabs and the beautiful fairy basslet. After Cracked Coral we headed north and to the bank side for a shallow dive on Barracuda Shoals. It’s called Barracuda Shoals for a reason. A huge Great Barracuda, about 5 feet in length, hangs out under the Carib Dancer almost every time we dive here. It’s always nice to see cardinal fish, gobies and rays, but a two-foot porcupinefish nearby makes it even better. We ended our Wednesday on Jewfish Wall. The top of the wall on this site sits about 35 feet, with canyons and swim thru’s that can take you to the wall. We saw a couple of Caribbean reef sharks and a nice size hawksbill turtle today. During the night dive we also saw slipper lobster, as well as its cousin the Caribbean spiny lobster, lots of shrimps and a few of the giant basket stars. Jewfish Wall was a very good dive site to end a wonderful day of diving.

    Thursday we started the day at Whales Tail. I had queen angelfish and Nassau groupers swim in close to me, which made it very easy to shoot some underwater video of them “up close and personal”. The brilliant wall here is covered with colorful sea whips and sponges. But one of the highlights, especially for our guest Nick was the long swim thru’s that took us from right under the boat to over the wall. The Austin Smith was so much fun a couple of days ago that we did this dive site again. Everyone really enjoyed having the sharks swim close by, but for Phillip it was the large green moray that stole the show! We ended our day of diving on a small plane wreck off Ship’s Channel. This dive site is not very big, but it slowly becoming our best night dive sites. At any given time we can see lobsters, crabs, ocean triggerfish, octopus and a large loggerhead turtle that sleeps on the wreck. Tonight, after enjoying the dive on the plane, the highlight was about 50 Squid under the boat! Swimming around all those squid at the end of the dive was by far the best part of any night dive this week, maybe any dive, Awesome!

    Friday morning we woke up to a pre-breakfast dive on the Blue Hole. As we jump in to retrieve the mooring line from the bottom a huge loggerhead turtle was resting next to the hole and pin, a good way to start the morning. Diving the Blue Hole before breakfast is wonderful as we were watching the few coral heads come alive with their resident marine life, stingrays in the sand and the very colorful wall inside the hole. Our last dive of the week was on Periwinkle Reef. A shallow reef where there’s so many fish that it’s like diving inside your own aquarium. With a depth between 10 and 20 feet it’s like doing a very long safety stop. When you add sunshine, calm seas and good people it was the perfect way to end a week of diving in the Bahamas on the Carib Dancer.

    The crew would like to give a ‘Very Special Congratulations’ out to Heidi & Chuck for joining us in the Bahamas to help Celebrate their 26[SUP]th[/SUP] Wedding Anniversary and a ‘Very Special Birthday’ to Edie who spent her 70[SUP]th[/SUP] Birthday diving with us in the Bahamas on the Carib Dancer.

    Crew for this charter was Captain Dennis, 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Captain Mario, Instructor Greg, Video Pro David, and Chef Nicole.




  6. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Carib Dancer Captain’s Report Mar 30 – April 6, 2013

    Water Temperature 72-76 F
    3 or 5 mm Wet Suit Recommended

    Saturday afternoon, after everyone boarded the Carib Dancer, our guests Susan, Brad, Tanner, Rose-Aline, Anne, Cheryl, John H., Piper, Valciane, Sandro, Marie and John R enjoyed a wonderful dinner on the sundeck overlooking the lights of Nassau, Paradise Islands and all the boats on in the harbor. After dinner, we departed our home dock on Elizabeth on Bay and headed east for the Exuma Islands and a week of clear water diving.

    Sunday morning our first dive site of the week was Closemon Reef. Closemon Reef is a shallow dive site that can only be done on an incoming tide. We rarely get a chance to enjoy this site on the first dive of the trip and the first night dive, so when we do, the crew gets excited. During the dive we found and took pictures and video of Caribbean spiny lobsters, a pair of porcupinefish swimming in together and several large schools of different types of fish. But the best picture was the beautiful red-tipped sea goddess. Barracuda Shoals was the site we chose when dealing with the tides today. We enjoy being next to Atlantic spadefish, schools of snappers, and a couple of gray angelfish swam right up to me, which made it very easy to put them in the video.

    Monday’s day started on Flat Rock Reef. When diving Flat Rock Reef it’s like being in your very own aquarium full of coral, fish and other creatures. As my dive buddies and I entered the water just under the Carib Dancer I found a common octopus under a ledge eating a conch. It didn’t take long for other diver to get there for some excellent pictures. A spotted moray eel stuck his head out from under a ledge and not far from him was another red-tipped sea goddess. Next stop in our Tuesday schedule was Jewfish Wall. We are lucky in we always see lots of lobsters and sometimes they can get big. The massive Caribbean spiny lobster we saw in Jewfish Wall was had to be one of the biggest in the area. We also enjoyed lots of swim-thru’s and a hawksbill turtle that came close by for a picture or two. We ended our Monday on the west end of Barracuda Shoals. A large barracuda stayed under the vessel during the entire dive. We saw more red-tipped sea goddess nudibranchs and beautiful feather stars while enjoying a colorful coral reef.

    Tuesday started on Black Tip Wall. We enjoy lots of swim thru’s and schools of fish everywhere. I had a queen angelfish swim straight up to the lens of the video camera. A small Caribbean reef shark came by for a close look. With calm seas and excellent visible, this was an excellent dive. Next was the wreck of the Austin Smith. Everyone enjoys this dive site, and we always try to start off here with a little excitement. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the 8-10 Caribbean reef sharks that come swim near us while we dive the wreck. I was watching some of the video and a few of the sharks swam only a few feet from us. As we swam along the portside of the wreck near the bow, we saw Atlantic thorny oysters covered with bight green sponges and several large Caribbean spiny and slipper lobsters. You never know what some marine life will do. We had a couple of Nassau groupers have a staring contest with our guest Piper, while a Caribbean reef shark was swimming just a few feet behind her. It was a very relaxing and fun day on the wreck of the Austin Smith.

    Wednesday’s first stop was one of my favorite wall dives, a dive site call Up Jump The Devil. We enjoyed lots of swim thru’s, schools of snappers, grunts as well as a few groupers. The wall at Up Jump The Devil is one of the most colorful walls in the Atlantic and Caribbean. I could stay at this dive site all day, but it was time to visit Madison Avenue. Here we enjoyed channel clinging crabs, southern stingrays and lots of yellowhead jawfish. We ended our wonderful Wednesday on Lobster No Lobster. Lobster No Lobster is a shallow dive site with lots of colorful coral heads to swim around. Because it’s shallow, we were able to get lots of bottom time, taking pictures of arrow crabs, channel clinging crabs, huge Caribbean spiny lobster and lots of reef squid. I have to have the ‘Best Job in the World’…

    Thursday morning we had one of the best dives of the week on Pillar Wall. Hanging around the bottom of the mooring line were two turtles - one was a huge loggerhead that let everyone who wanted to get ‘up close and personal’ for some excellent pictures. Between the swim thru’s, turtles, stingrays, a beautiful wall, and lets not forget the Caribbean reef shark that followed us around for most of the dive. After lunch we headed for Crab Mountain. I really like diving the high profile coral heads we have on Crab Mountain. This dive site is huge; in fact we have two mooring on it, one in the shallows and one on the edge of the wall. We were diving on Crab Mountain East, which is near the wall. We enjoyed swimming along this massive wall that was covered with sea whips, sponges, hard and soft corals. Then we enjoyed swimming through swim thru’s, in canyons and just about any type of marine life we wanted to take pictures of came near. Our last stop of the day was the Airplane Wreck off Ship’s Channel. The Plane Wreck is a small dive site but, WOW! The late afternoon dive and especially the night dive were awesome. Today we saw a school of snappers, grunts, jackknife fish and a highhat drum, turtle and squid. Not bad for a dive site no deeper than 20 feet.

    Friday and our last dive was on the Blue Hole. Like last week, we did this as a pre-breakfast dive. Diving the Blue Hole as the sun comes up is always interesting because we never know what we may see during the dive. We swam with angelfish, Nassau and tiger groupers, blue chromis, hamlets, basslets and a large Southern stingray that stayed immediately under the Carib Dancer. As the sun comes up the reds, greens, blues, purple and a mixture of other colors come alive inside the Blue Hole and along the inner wall. Diving the Blue Hole is always a good way to end an excellent week of diving on the Carib Dancer in the Bahamas.

    Crew for this charter was Captain Dennis, Video Pro David, Engineer Greg, Instructor Nicole and Chef Shea.



  7. Dancer Fleet

    Dancer Fleet ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Carib Dancer Captain’s Report April 6 – 13, 2013

    Water Temperature 72-76 F
    3 or 5 mm Wet Suit Recommended

    Saturday afternoon after everyone boarded the Carib Dancer our guests Ivan, Oleg, Alexey, Marina, Pavel, Richard, John, Marina, Roman, Irina, Tatiana, Gleb, Roman and Manon depart our home dock of Elizabeth On Bay and traveled under a night sky full of stars to the Exuma Islands.

    Sunday morning we started our first dive at Lobster No Lobster. This dive site has to be one of my favorites to start the week. Lobster No Lobster is a shallow dive site with scattered coral head that are covered with colorful sponges and corals. While diving here we saw stingrays, barracudas, tiger and Nassau groupers, schools of grunts, snappers and a few very big Caribbean spiny lobsters. Lets not forget the several reef squid we saw while making bubbles. Next was Jewfish Wall and lots of swim thru’s and canyons. In the sandy areas of the canyons we saw three-rowed sea cucumber and yellowhead jawfish. Just under the boat near some soft corals a beautiful scrawled filefish covered with blue to blue-green spots. Also visited today was Crab Mountain East. The eastern part of this dive site is near the wall where swimming through the high profile coral heads is like walking around the tall buildings in a big city. As we swam slowly near these big coral heads looking closely we saw lots of sharpnose puffers, bridled goby and peppermint gobies. It’s amazing what we can see when we take our time diving. This was an excellent first day of diving the Exumas.

    Monday started on Dog Rocks where we had large swim thru’s, deep beautiful walls. The walls on Dog Rocks are very colorful with sea whips, sponges and black coral. I shot excellent video of crabs, shrimp, and sponges sponding. However, everyone that had the change to see it, watching the spotted eagle ray swim just off the wall was the best. After we enjoy the diving on Dog Rocks we traveled south to the Wreck of the Austin Smith. The Austin Smith is a good dive to enjoy with eels, crabs, lobsters and a variety of other sea creatures. However today it was all about Sharks! Using our ‘magical triangle’ that puts a voodoo-like spell on the local Caribbean reef sharks that makes them swim close so we can get some excellent pictures and video. The dive started slow with only a shark or two and then there were about 10 Caribbean reef sharks swimming sometimes with in a few inches of us. We ended the day on Whales Tail Wall. The top of the wall is only about 35 feet with lots of swim thru’s and canyons to enjoy. Being underwater watching the soft corals sway back and forth with small tropical fish amongst them is almost mesmerizing. Using our dive lights at night to swim through the swim thru’s and canyons made for a very colorful night dive.

    Tuesday morning’s first stop was Pillar Wall. I love starting the morning going through a nice canyon to the edge of an amazing wall. Along the wall we had a beautiful spotted eagle ray swim near the group, then circle around and come up from under the group for a second pass. A few other creatures we enjoyed were huge channel clinging crabs, spotted moray eels and a reef full of peppermint gobies. Let’s not forget a huge loggerhead turtle greeting us on the surface this morning.

    Like most places the weather is always changing and here in the Bahamas sometimes we have to change what we are doing due to the weather. The winds changed directions on us so we changed dive sites. During lunch we made our way to Eleuthera and our first dive site once we arrived was Hole in The Wall. As we swim along the top of the wall at 35 feet we found the hole, down we go a turn to the left down another 15 feet and soon we saw the dark blue opening of the Hole in The Wall. We exited the swim thru around 95 feet. On top of the wall we saw grooved-blade sea whips, angular sea whips and several other types of gorgonians. We finished the day on Tunnel Rock. Here on the Carib Dancer we are pretty luck to dive the warm clear waters of the Bahamas, but the visibility on Tunnel Rock this afternoon was Amazing! The rock that has several overhangs and swim thru’s starts about 15 feet and the bottom is around 45 feet and is covered with tropical fish. As we swam along the bottom we enjoyed seeing countless yellowhead jawfish, angelfish, lobsters, crabs and a beautiful spotted moray eel.

    Wednesday morning started on the Cobia Cage. Students from Eleuthera raise cobia for several different things. The top of the cage sits at 15 feet and the bottom 80 feet and is about 30 feet across. The entire cage is located next to a beautiful wall. It’s a very unusual dive site and a lot of fun to explore. Next was Monolith, my favorite wall dive. I just like that every time I dive this wall I see just about any type of marine life. I seem to always enjoy the different type of sea fans like the common sea fan, black coral fans, and Venus sea fans. All of these fans come in a variety of colors and shapes, however my favorite is the deepwater sea fans. I love shooting video and pictures of these wonderful fans. Split Coral Head was next. Split Coral has a wonderful wall and the huge coral head that’s split is awesome to dive around. But today it was about sharks. We had al least 12 different Caribbean reef sharks swimming within a few feet of us. All of this was happening in the sandy area between Split Coral Head and the wall. No matter how many times I get the opportunity to swim with sharks, it’s always amazing to watch how beautiful they are and how graceful the move through the water, sometimes only inches away. After enjoying a yummy, a very yummy desert from Chef Shea we enjoyed an incredible dive on Cave Rock. Cave Rock is a shallow dive that is covered with the nighttime creatures. We did see one of our favorite creatures tonight; it was the Caribbean reef squid.

    Thursday morning we started on a wall called Cut Thru City. This dive site is called Cut Thru City because of several swim thru’s and canyons to enjoy. All along the wall there are holes you can swim into and come out over the wall at varies depths. While taking several guest in and out of several swim thru’s we saw large Nassau and tiger groupers getting cleaned, schools of blue chromis and a variety of other marine animals. But the highlight was the three-foot long male loggerhead turtle that swam up to the group. During a lunch break to refuel our bodies we made our journey back to the west to the Exuma Islands and Highborne Cay. Just off Highborne Cay we enjoyed a fantastic dive with Caribbean reef sharks, loggerhead turtles and a huge spotted eagle ray. Wait I almost forgot about the eight-foot Great Hammerhead that swam within a few feet of one of the guest, Alexey. For our night dive we enjoyed the plane wreck just off Ship Channel Island. The small wreck sits in about 20 feet of water and is covered with marine life. While this is a nice dive site during the day, at night it really comes alive. We must have seen a dozen different types of stingrays, couple of lobsters, a huge barracuda under the Carib Dancer’s underwater lights and several Caribbean reef squid feeding under the vessel.

    Friday morning we ventured back into the sound for a wall dive just off of Close Mon Reef. We swam through very high profile coral heads, enjoying schools of horse-eye jacks, bar jacks, several French and queen angelfish and yellowhead jawfish in the sandy areas near the bottom of the corals. Watching a beautiful wall come alive with marine life before breakfast is a great way to start Friday morning. To finish a diverse week of diving around the Exuma and Eleuthera Islands we splashed on the Blue Hole. Located just of Nassau in the Bahamas, the Blue Hole has an array of marine life. Today we saw queen angelfish, horse-eye jacks, arrow crabs and a nice turtle.

    Crew for this Charter was Captain Dennis, Engineer Ernie, Video Pro David, Instructor Greg, Instructor Nicole and Chef Shea.




  8. Dancer Fleet

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    Carib Dancer Captain’s Report April 13 – 20, 2013

    Water Temp: 75 – 78F / 25 – 27C
    Exposure Suit: 3mm Shorty – 5mm Full Length

    Day One, Saturday
    Ten eager divers descend on Nassau for a fun-filled, action-packed week of diving aboard the Carib Dancer. Six of our divers are from Belgium: Sandrine, Yves, Edith, Joe, Natalie and Pol. Robert, Carol, Debra & Doug hail from the United States. Our group arrived early to drop their bags off at the boat and head into Nassau for a spot of retail therapy. The 4pm boarding time comes around quickly and soon our guests are unpacking their dive equipment and setting up their SCUBA units for the week ahead. With all the gear set to go and wetsuits flapping in the gentle afternoon breeze our guests decide to settle into their staterooms. Captain Mario gathers the troops in the yacht’s salon for the ‘Welcome and Safety Briefing’. Here the crew and guests had the chance to introduce themselves to each other. With the briefing taken care of we decide to leave the dock and head towards the Exumas. Engineer Ernie cranks up the engines; they spring into life, ready to propel the Carib Dancer in a southerly direction.
    The crew slips the lines, Captain Mario slides off the dock, spins the vessel in the turning basin and steers the boat out of our home dock at ‘Elizabeth on Bay’.

    On our way out of Twin Harbor we pass the cruise ships that bring in mass tourism to the Bahamas capital. Hoards of cruise shippers mill around the dock enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. We also pass by the Atlantis Resort and Casino, which this week is home to a vast array of mega yachts. The Carib Dancer continues south at a steady speed and passes by Potters Cay and all the local fishing boats that lie dormant against the docks. As we are making way Chef Shea serves up dinner, this goes down a treat with our hungry and weary guests. The crew stayed up late, as we have to cruise around the Yellow Banks. This is an extremely shallow group of coral heads that can only be passed in daylight hours. We decide to drive around this out cropping and a little after midnight we arrive at our anchor point for tonight – Barracuda Shoals. With the boat safe and secure on a mooring ball the crew and guests get a good night’s rest, recharging the batteries for a full day of diving to come.

    Day Two, Sunday
    As the sun slips slowly above the horizon it glows a beautiful blossom orange. The light shimmers on the surface making for a majestic picture opportunity. Some guests enjoy an early morning cup of coffee on the sundeck watching in awe at this amazing sight. Soon its time for breakfast, which is expertly prepared by Chef Shea. It’s soon time to dive; the first site up is Crab Mountain East. This site is a beautiful way to start the charter. The yacht tails into the shallows with the wall off our bow to the east. Divers descend into the azure blue water and down over the wall, ready to explore for elusive creatures of the deep. Schools of blue chromis whizz by our divers at frantic speed. Mahogany snapper bunch together protecting their coral heads they call home; two huge barracuda cruise by our divers. These snaggle-toothed warriors peer at our divers and slowly slope by into the distance and out of sight. The sheer color as we look up the wall is astounding, our divers report that the health of the coral is something that pleases them; we agree!

    After two awesome dives here we move onto our next dive site; Lobster No Lobster.
    This is a shallow dive inside the relative shelter of the Exuma Banks. Our group of avid divers managed to grab some rest after a hearty lunch, ready once more to plunge into the wet stuff. After two deep dives our divers were happy to hop in and explore this shallow reef system. The reefs were adorned with a plethora of reef fish from small gobies to huge black grouper. With the sun high in the sky and no clouds to block its path, our divers were fortunate to have a beautiful kaleidoscope of color blanketing the reef. No flashlights were needed on this dive!

    A southern Atlantic stingray is resting in the sand sheltering under a fine layer of sand, waiting patiently for an early afternoon snack or two. As our divers approach however he stirs into life and with a swoosh of sand he darts to the left and away from the wide-eyed gazes from our interested bubble makers. We spot a golden tail moray eel poking his head out of his hidey hole, a trunkfish slinks by aware of the divers presence he quickly takes shelter in the myriad of swim throughs in the one of the coral heads. We were fortunate to see a green sea turtle and two huge nurse sharks cruise on by us, mere feet away from us, quite marvelous. We complete two dives here on Lobster No Lobster and as there was a strong current we decided to skip the night dive. There would be many more amazing night dives for us to enjoy throughout the week.

    As always here aboard the Carib Dancer and indeed across the fleet safety comes first and we felt the conditions were not suitable to allow our divers enter the water and enjoy this amazing dive site. Our guests instead enjoyed a wonderful starlit night with a nice glass of wine or even a soak in the hot tub, quite a substitute I’m sure you will agree!!

    Day 3, Monday
    Next dive site for us was Madison Avenue. This is primarily a shallow dive, but if you swim far enough east you can find the wall as some of our Belgian friends did. The pin sits at around 50 feet and within a short swim there are three huge coral fingers for our divers to explore. We saw three yellow stingrays resting in the overhanging ledges; yellow-headed jawfish busily maintained their sandy chute, and some guests got some amazing pictures of these creatures. Madison Avenue had some of our guests in ‘hamlet heaven as they spotted an indigo hamlet not far from the mooring line, very cool indeed. Hogfish at a cleaning station rounded off a very good dive at Madison Avenue. We picked up the ladders dropped the mooring and motored to the next site; Up Jump The Devil. This is a deep wall site that has pinnacles you can swim around as well as swim throughs for our divers to explore. Divers came back with huge grins on their faces as they saw a huge eagle ray glide by them in the blue, this thing was huge and we managed to capture some video for our guests to enjoy. The reef was a hive of activity, cleaning stations everywhere you looked, banded coral shrimp and pistol shrimp were spotted by one of our ‘eagle-eyed’ divers. Queen triggerfish and queen angelfish fight for space on the reef making for interesting viewing from afar, but all too soon it’s time to ascend and board the boat. At least it’s Lunchtime… Happy days.

    During lunch Captain Mario moves to another site that has a shallower top to the wall than Up Jump The Devil. Next up was Dog Rocks. Dog Rocks is the most northern dive site on our itinerary. A fantastic wall site the top of the reef is around 25 feet meaning we can spend more time there as we multilevel our profile. We jump in and descend and are amazed at the abundance of marine life. Trumpet fish traverse through the reef, French grunts flea at the divers presence and butterfly fish bounce playfully around the coral heads. As we cruise down the wall we are treated to a piece of pelagic magic. Two eagle rays gracefully swim by us and before we can get the camera set they are fly into the milky blue haze and out of sight, what an awesome sight that was though!! Under a ledge we spot 15 or so horse eyed jacks circling tightly in a ball, as we ascend the top of the wall is abuzz with life. This was one of the densest fish populations sighted at this dive site in quite some time and our divers reported that they enjoyed this site immensely.

    Dinner was taken on the sundeck where we were all treated to the most magnificent of sunsets. The sun dropped below the horizon leaving a beautiful fiery orange glow in its place…. It was time to night dive Dog Rocks!

    On the night dive we saw a huge channel clinging crab out hunting in the divers’ bright flashlights. Basket stars in full bloom were a majestic sight to see, Pederson cleaning shrimp scurried across the sand flats, their pincers raised in a fearless nighttime dance. Our divers also saw a sleeping nurse shark resting under a coral ledge, apparently tired after a hard day scavenging. Our group of intrepid underwater explorers boarded the Carib Dancer happy with a full day of diving under their belts. We then dropped the mooring and headed east to Eleuthera. This is a 3-hour motor from the Exuma Sound, but with the flat calm seas we manage to do it in two and a half. A little before 11:30pm we are tied up to our next site of the week, Hole In The Wall.

    Day 4, Tuesday
    Eleuthera offers us some awesome wall diving opportunities as well as the chance to see sharks extremely close up. Our guests awoke to the smell of bacon wafting down the hallway and for our Belgians there was a taste of home with Belgian waffles on our breakfast menu for today, they went down a treat! Soon it was dive time and all of our divers took the plunge and headed down the wall with Dive Instructor Dave to explore this wonderful site. We were surprised at the amount of blue chromis buzzing around above us, there were hundreds of them all tightly packed together; safety in numbers is their mantra. We see a great barracuda chilling just beneath the Carib Dancer, his shiny scales glint in the early morning sunshine. Two orange spotted filefish swimming together in unison tracking north along the wall staying with us for quite some time before departing to deeper depths and way out of our range. A plethora of Nassau grouper suspend in the water column making for a cool sight to see as we venture up the wall and into the shallows. Spanish hogfish and a beautiful colorful school of goatfish, mahogany snapper and queen angelfish finish this dive off perfectly.

    We completed two dives here and while the guests ate lunch we moved the vessel a sort distance to the north to our next site of choice – Cave Rock. This shallow site has scattered coral heads that surround the main rock itself. In the main rock you can swim into a cave that is teaming with life. This cave is absolutely stunning; the vibrant colors were something our divers loved seeing as well as the plentiful marine life. Yellow-headed jawfish pop up and down in the sand, Soap fish lie there appearing to play dead only stirring into life once the divers approach. Huge channel clinging crabs hang upside down trying hard to avoid our divers bubbles. Edith reported that she saw a stonefish chilling on one of the smaller coral heads, what a find that was from our hawk-eyed Belgian, way to go Edith! Yellow stingrays were sighted in the sand flats and some of our guests spotted a turtle munching on a sponge…. All in all it was a brilliant dive. Time to soak up the sun on the upper deck and wait until the bell rings once more. Dive time will soon be upon us.

    The sun is swooping low to the west; we jump in to enjoy the final daylight dive of the day. The light penetrates the cracks in the rock, piercing through with laser beam precision. The horse eye jacks circle the cave in wonderment at the light show going on around them. Two French angelfish cruise by us with consummate ease while over on the coral heads Robert has found a porcupine pufferfish, very cool find by him indeed. As we ascend after a brilliant dive we see the splendor on top of the reef. Divers bubbles meander through the coral and slowly pop out giving a champagne glass like effect, the fish are confused, and they bomb around the reef wondering what this strange phenomenon is. With our day diving over with it’s almost time for a wonderful steak meal, which will be prepared by our chef Shea. The conditions over here in Eleuthera are not far short of perfect!!

    We complete our night dive here at Cave Rock and what a night dive it was. We saw basket stars surrounded by bloodworms, our divers flashlights attracting them to impending doom. Stingrays rest under a blanket of darkness all the while bar jacks dart around above them at a frenzied pace. A black and white moray is spotted in a coral head as well as a smooth trunkfish that zooms past us, gone in a flash! Yellow stingrays hunting in pairs slither inches from the sand looking for a crustacean to munch on.
    After a brilliant dive we return to the boat for a hot shower and a hot chocolate with a kick!

    Day Five, Wednesday
    With copious amounts of coffee drunk, our bunch of bleary-eyed divers is going to dive before breakfast. Split Coral is next up! For this dive we decide to put the shark triangle down. This is in order to attract the sharks without the need to feed them. We are not disappointed. We are surrounded by up to 15 Caribbean reef sharks zooming close to our fearless underwater mouth breathers. Divers eyes are wide and their gaze follows the sharks every move. This is an awesome experience, allowing us to get close up and personal with this apex predator. We spend two dives with the sharks before we bid them farewell and head a little further north to Knucklehead. This is a shallow dive with an abundance of color; the scattered coral heads give us swim throughs aplenty for the divers to enjoy. We are lucky enough to see big amberjack patrolling the reef keeping a beady eye on our neoprene-clad warriors. A hawksbill turtle cruises by to say “hello” and we also see sail fin blennies maintaining their lair. Swathes of reef fish call this site home, we are very lucky to have Knucklehead on the Carib Dancer’s itinerary as the sheer color and vibrancy will keep you coming back for more. We complete our night dive here and decide to stay here under the beautiful starlit panorama of a majestic Bahamian evening.

    Day Six, Thursday
    The next dive site for us was Cut Through City. This site is a beautiful wall that drops like a sheer cliff face plummeting into the deep blue abyss below us. Swim throughs aplenty give the divers a chance to get some epic overhead action in! Deep-water gorgonians, sea whips and black coral decorate this wall with a colorful fauna that lights up magically into gorgeous purple’s, pinks and reds under the harsh bright lights of divers’ ever popping flashbulbs. As the divers track north hugging the reef close to their right we see an eagle ray out in the blue. Tank bangers are clanging signals are exchanged to grab a look at this amazing pelagic beast. It turns toward us and swims by us feet away. What an amazing experience this was to see such a beautiful creature close up. As we reach the NDL’s (No Decompression Limits) of this dive we multilevel up towards the shallows. Here we see schooling horse eyed jacks and an abundance of graysbys. Our divers are in ‘parrotfish paradise’ with the plethora present before them. Scrawled filefish squirm awkwardly away from the divers advances taking refuge in the soft corals. Two dives are completed here at Cut Through City after which we make the 3-hour crossing back to The Exumas.

    Sailing west we have beautiful calm seas, very little wind therefore the Carib Dancer eats up the miles with ease and soon our next dive site comes into sight. Situated off to the east of Highborne Cay we have arrived at the Wreck of the Austin Smith.
    The wreck is a popular haunt for our friends in grey suits so we decide it would be prudent to drop the shark ‘triangle of love’ onto the deck of the wreck to have some fun with these misunderstood beasts. Cruising by close to us they are elegant and graceful in their movements. Undeterred by the divers presence the sharks seem to be comfortable with us being close to them. Friendly Nassau grouper also call the wreck home, these fearless fish will allow you to stroke them under the chin and bask in the attention all at the same time. Grey angelfish are also present circling the triangle with great interest.

    After a wonderful experience on the wreck we decide to head to a site we have not dived in a while…. Hammerhead Gulch. We love this site for the amazing clarity, color and massive diversity of life we see. Situated of to the west coast of Long Cay we are in paradise, white sandy beaches, beautiful turquoise waters and seaplane hangers make this one sought after destination for the rich and famous. The mooring pin is surrounded by turtle grass that gives life to small stuff such as nudibranchs, small shrimp and gobies. Moving west we reach the coral heads and we see a reef full of life. Everything from blue tangs to grouper and barracuda to stingrays are present here. Trumpetfish meander through the coral; lizardfish lay there basking in the afternoon sunlight and triggerfish flap by us warily. We complete our afternoon and a night dive here that was enjoyed by all.

    Friday, Day Seven
    After a wonderful night’s rest and at the request of the passengers we opt to dive again on Hammerhead Gulch before breakfast. Watching the reef come alive is something that you must do as a diver, its truly an awesome experience to see the reef fish going about their morning rituals not unlike their human visitors. Divers reported seeing a couple of spotted drums playing in the shallows and a group of four butterfly fish cruising by in a quartet!

    All too soon its time to head away from Hammerhead Gulch and move north to our final dive site for the week, the Blue Hole. As ever the Blue Hole didn’t disappoint! We saw the resident family of purple crowned sea goddesses and we also saw a couple of nurse sharks cruising around the hole itself. Inside the swim through we see slipper lobster and Caribbean spiny lobster. We look up from the deep blue abyss and find the sun rising high to the east above us, divers silhouettes visible as they circle around the shallows above us. All too soon it’s time to end our dive and board the Carib Dancer.
    Guests busy themselves washing off their gear, rinsing off a week’s worth of salt is no easy task! We head back into Twin Harbor and back to our home dock at Elizabeth on Bay.

    Congratulations to Carol who completed her Nitrox course onboard, way to go Carol. We also found out that Carol loved Carrot Cake, but we forgot to bake it so we just doused her in flour and carrots instead, I think she preferred it that way!

    We hope to see you soon aboard the Carib Dancer for a fun-filled week, Bahamas Style.

    Crew this week: Captain Mario, Engineer Ernie, Video Pro David, Dive Instructors Greg and Nicole, Chef Shea




  9. Dancer Fleet

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    Carib Dancer Captain’s Report April 20 – 27, 2013

    Water temp: 79 – 82F (it's getting warmer!!)
    Exposure suit: Skin or 3mm shorty / full length wetsuit

    Thirteen guests converge on Nassau to join us aboard the Carib Dancer for a week of liveaboard diving around the Bahamas. Summer has reached us finally! The warm air that envelops us is very welcome after a few months of breezy, cool conditions. The light breeze that zips over us from the west is very welcome, cooling us off somewhat in the mid afternoon sun. Once our attentive crew has prepared the yacht our guests start to arrive for the 4pm boarding. This week we welcome Erick, Fred, Jason, Linda & Tim, Mike & Sandra, Melissa & Rick, Evan & Ellen, and finally Terry and Paul, aka “The Texas Pokey Possey”! Our guests unpack their dive gear and start getting it set up. Some choose to head to their cabins and settle in. Once all the formalities are out of the way, Captain Mario briefs the group on the week ahead and also about the safety aspects of our dive vessel. As we have fabulous weather, dinner is taken on the sun deck. Chef Shea prepared a sumptuous meal, which was thoroughly enjoyed by our group of hungry travellers. The Carib Dancer leaves her homeport and heads south toward the Exumas. Our travelling is done during darkness, thus meaning we must cruise around the Yellow Banks rather than venturing through the shallows. We make good progress as we encounter relatively calm seas. We reach our destination for the night; Allan's mooring, a little after midnight. Guests and crew take the opportunity to get some rest ahead of the first day of diving in the morning.

    Our eager divers awake and are treated to a beautiful breakfast by Chef Shea. The dive deck briefing is completed by Mario and alas it's time to dive! Lobster No Lobster is the first dive site of choice. This shallow dive gives our divers a beautiful reef to test out their gear; if perhaps it's been a while since they had been diving. This site is a series of scattered coral heads that give life to an abundance of marine life. Colorful fauna drape from each coral mound, purple sea fans sway in the gentle swell slowly moving back and forth with the rhythm of the ocean. The blanket of color that greets our divers is majestic; with the sun rising the reef gradually illuminates and reveals its full glory. We spot a 7-foot nurse shark resting in the sand flats as a green moray pokes its head out of its hidey-hole at the commotion our divers are making. Two remoras playfully dart between divers carefully choosing which one of us they are going to hitch a ride from while a yellow stingray basks in the morning sunshine lapping up the attention of our divers. We complete two dives here before moving onto our next site... Crab Mountain.

    Crab Mountain is a deep wall site situated on the Exuma Sound. Named for the plethora of crabs normally found there, Crab Mountain is fast becoming one of the most popular dives of our charter. We spot Caribbean spiny lobster out walking in the open, lizardfish lie there motionless moving only once our divers are close, Atlantic spadefish peruse the shallows around the mooring pin apparently attracted by the gentle hum of the Carib Dancer’s generator 50 feet above them. Queen angelfish zoom by us at their usual frantic pace and we are fortunate to see a school of five oceanic triggerfish flapping by us in the blue. A great barracuda hangs out beneath the boat staying with us as we do our safety stops. With two fantastic dives on Crab Mountain our divers board the 'love boat' (Eric knows what we mean!) and we tuck back inside ‘The Banks’ and to the leeward side of the island to complete our night dive on Lobster No Lobster.

    Twilight is upon us; the sun dips below the horizon and disappears down to the southern hemisphere. Our group of interested divers hop in to see what creatures have come out to play in the dark. Basket stars are out in full bloom as our divers advance toward them they close up in a defensive action, crabs and lobster scurry over the sandy bottom looking for food. A porcupine pufferfish is spotted on one of the coral heads as well as a southern Atlantic stingray scavenging the seabed. After the dive our divers board the Carib Dancer to enjoy a hot shower and a hot chocolate. They regale each other with stories of amazing sightings on the first day of diving.

    Barracuda Shoals is next up for us; this shallow dive site is full of color and vibrant marine life. Because we are diving shallow we can elongate our bottom time a little. Our divers are in ‘hamlet heaven’ due to the sighting of an indigo and yellow belly hamlet. We also see a golden tail moray eel, sailfin bennies and extremely friendly Nassau grouper. After spending a couple of dives here we decide to track north to dive at another shallow dive site, Flat Rock. This stunning dive site brings us close to one of the uninhibited cays that are dotted around the Exumas. We tie up to the mooring and hop in to explore. We see a plethora of yellow-headed jawfish and an abundance of feather duster worms sway with the swell. We sight a red-tipped sea goddess hanging out right next to the mooring pin, what a find! A huge mutton snapper is also spotted here cruising close to our divers as well as a big school of blue striped grunts. The electric blue and yellow stripes make them one of the more colorful fish that we see here in the Bahamas. After completing our day’s diving here we decide to get a good night’s rest prior to heading north toward the next dive site of choice, Dog Rocks.

    Dog Rocks is a deep dive situated at the northern part of the Exumas. The Carib Dancer glides effortlessly over the glassy ripple free ocean; conditions out here were perfect. We tie up to the mooring and jump in to the deep blue abyss. Horse eye jacks greet us as we descend toward the dive site, schoolmasters and dog snapper perch next to their coral lairs and we spot a peacock flounder scurrying across the reef tops. A scrawled filefish and a giant puffer fish round off our dives here at Dog Rocks.

    Next we cross to Eleuthera for a few days diving the awesome dive sites that this island affords us. Before we know it we have arrived there and it's soon time to dive again. Tunnel Rock was next up. This shallow site offers up a lot of color and plenty of critters to feast our eyes on. We see juvenile filefish, a bunch of sea urchins, flamingo tongues and we also see a green sea turtle that flaps by our divers with no fear at all. We complete one dive here before venturing south to play with the sharks for the rest of the day at Split Coral Head. This awesome site is named for a large crevice that runs through one of the many pinnacles that juts out from the deep abyss. We lower the “triangle of love” and wait for the men in grey suits to greet us and soon we are surrounded by 10 to 15 frenzied Caribbean reef sharks. This is always a great adrenaline rush as we come face to face with one of the ocean’s apex predators. Happily we were not on their menu but it did mean that we got some amazing picture opportunities and it made for some dazzling video. This was also our night dive site where we were fortunate to see two playful reef sharks, a honeycomb cowfish, a green moray and two beautiful yellow stingrays. Divers then re-boarded the yacht for the ever-popular hot chocolate with a 'kick'!

    First dive site for Wednesday was Cut Through City. This majestic site has a load of swim throughs that lead us out into the blue. On our two dives here we saw a golden tail moray hiding in the cracks, giant southern stingrays, a couple of inquisitive reef sharks and to top it off we also saw the biggest loggerhead turtle we have seen in some time.

    We next track north to a shallow site named Knucklehead. Prior to entering the water the gang was set a challenge... first one to find a lettuce leaf sea slug wins a prize!!! The winner of this awesome mystery prize was in fact our ‘eagle-eyed’ diver Robyn. She found one clinging to a coral head and showed our Divemaster Dave. Well-done RobynJ Here we also saw huge schools of schoolmasters, lots of yellow-headed Jawfish and a group of huge lobster taking shade from the afternoon sun. This was to be our night dive site too. We saw huge basket stars, lots of arrowhead crabs and massive channel clinging crabs; quite the way to top off a brilliant day of diving.

    First dive site up was Monolith. This site is so named because of the giant structure that greets us at the bottom of the mooring pin. This is a wall site, which is teeming with life and color. As we descend to our max depth of 100ft we see a plethora of black coral and deep-water gorgonians. Colorful rope sponges decorate the reef with a myriad of color that would adorn only the craziest of artist’s palettes. An eagle ray is spotted in the milky blue, treating our divers to an early morning fly by. A green sea turtle munching on a sponge is beautifully shot on the video camera by dive instructor Greg. Schools of blue chromis and yellow tail snapper swarm the reef tops. Peterson cleaning shrimp are spotted as well as a pistol shrimp hiding in a corkscrew anemone. Beautiful butterfly fish and some very inquisitive barracuda round off a top dive at Monolith.

    Next up is Cave Rock and this is a shallow site where we can gain some more bottom time. A gorgeous site which today was bathed in sunlight. We see three different types of hamlet, so much so that our divers are in ‘hamlet heaven’! Squirrelfish pop in and out of their hidey-hole and sailfin blennies greet our divers. We see a beautiful hawksbill turtle grabbing a mid morning snack. Inside the cave we see big French angelfish munching on the coral. All too soon it's time to ascend.

    We decide to cross back to The Exumas and head to our next site, which is the wreck of the Austin Smith. Again we drop the much-loved “triangle of love” onto the deck. When we drop in with it we are greeted by over 10 Caribbean reef sharks. The sharks seemed to be in a frenzied mood, which made for some very interesting video footage. After our guests have had another dose of pelagic magic we head inside the banks to complete the afternoon and night dive on Sea Plane Reef. Here we have one of the most compact dive sites you will find but we also have some of the densest fish populations anywhere in the Exumas. Hoards of blue striped grunts, yellow tail snapper and goatfish call this sunken wreck home. We are fortunate enough to see a juvenile spotted drum in one of the engines as well as a smooth trunkfish hiding under one of the wings. Quite epic! In the sea grass we are also on the hunt for red-tipped sea goddesses. The only sea goddess we see though is Sandy in her colorful purple sea goddess dive skin. Go Sandy!!!!

    After an awesome dive we ascend for a sumptuous Thanksgiving-themed meal prepared by our Chef Shea. This was taken on the sun deck due to the fantastic weather we had on this beautiful clear night. On our night dive we got to see the crustaceans taking over their nation. Spiny and slipper lobster scavenge in the sand while a 6-foot nurse shark rests in the sand. Parts of the coral are surrounded by bloodworms, which were attracted by the divers’ flashlights. After a nice hot shower we pull the ladders up and head back north to anchor for the night just south of New Providence.

    We wake to find inclement weather upon us, which means we complete just one dive on Periwinkle. This shallow reef is more like an aquarium. Here we see every reef fish known to man and a healthy colorful reef to boot. This is always a brilliant way to end our charter. Lots of life and vibrant corals. Quite splendid!!!

    Alas it's time to wash the dive gear, hang it up to dry and set sights on returning to this jewel in the Caribbean. The Carib Dancer heads back to our homeport of Elizabeth on Bay where our passengers enjoy lunch on board followed by some retail therapy.

    At our cocktail party we hand out a very special prize to Eric. Only us in the loop know exactly why he won this award, suffice to say he was caught in a compromising underwater position!!!!!

    This week also saw Fred celebrate his 51st birthday, Happy Birthday Fred! Fred also completed his 100th dive on board, so it was a double whammy for him. All too soon it was time to say our goodbyes as Saturday rocked around way too soon.

    The crew aboard the Carib Dancer would like to thank Mike for bringing such a wonderful group of people together for splendid week on the water. We truly hope to see the ‘Texas Pokey Possey’ on board again very soon. To coin a southern phrase, which was banded about all too frequently this week - 'To the Texas Pokey Possey, bless your heart'!!!

    Until next time, safe diving always.

    Crew: Captain Mario, Engineer Ernie, Chef Shea, Dive Instructors and video pros Dave & Greg

    P.S. Sandy thank you for the skin, the crew love it!





    ---------- Post added May 9th, 2013 at 03:47 PM ----------

    Carib Dancer Captain’s Report April 27 – May 4, 2013
    Diving the Exumas and Eleuthera

    Water temp: 79 degrees
    Wet Suit: 3-5 mm

    Guests this week: Andre, Bernard, Michel, Philippe, Pierrick, Dominique, Steve, Hubert, Dominique, Jean, Olivier, Marie, and Patrick.

    Saturday 27[SUP]th[/SUP] April
    Thirteen guests this week, all from France, boarded the Carib Dancer at 4pm. After the Captain’s safety briefing is done we leave our home dock at Elizabeth on Bay and begin our journey out to the Exumas Islands.

    Sunday 28[SUP]th[/SUP] April
    Our first dive of the trip is at Crab Mountain. This is a wall dive and this time we had just enough current to bring out all the blue chromis that hang out on the edge of the wall feeding. On the first dive a turtle swims by like nothing matters to her and a Caribbean reef shark comes around to check on the divers. After the dive we cross to Eleuthera and tie up to Hole in the Wall. Its name come from a tunnel that starts at 70ft and exits to the wall at 90ft. It’s a great view into the blue when you exit it. We finish the day at Tunnel Rock, which has a coral formation that has three separate tunnels that meet in the middle. Sea fans and gorgonians decorate the top of the site and on the bottom are overhangs that during the night dive are the favorite spot of big channel clinging crabs.

    Monday 29[SUP]th[/SUP] April
    During a nice breakfast we moved the Carib Dancer a couple of miles south and tied up to Split Coral. This site is one of the staff’s favorites with a dramatic wall that starts at 60ft. The main feature of this dive is a massive coral head that rises from 60ft to 26ft and is split on half. Here is one of the few dive sites where we regularly see the blue parrotfish. But this is not the highlight of the dive because as we lower our famed triangle we attract up to 15 Caribbean reef sharks that swim in circles around the divers while they are kneeled on the sand. A big school of horse eye jacks join the scene and suddenly you feel like you are in a big underwater aquarium. It’s a great dive. Cave Rock is our next dive site. A fun swim through that goes up and down crossing the reef gives its name to this dive. On the night dive we turn off the lights and look up to the ceiling part of the tunnel to see how the bubbles light it up when they crush against the reef. It’s like looking at the stars.

    Tuesday 30[SUP]th[/SUP] April
    We enjoy a dive at Monolith in Eleuthera before we head back to the southwest to the marine park area of the Exumas. As soon as we tie to the mooring on Amberjack a couple of reef sharks swim up to the surface to welcome us. This gets our divers excited to hurry to jump in. On this dive all the action is under the boat as horse eye jacks mix with yellow tail snappers and chubs swim all over the place. Two big black groupers that seem like the owners here are not afraid of the divers at all and after the dive all you can see is happy faces.

    Wednesday 1[SUP]st[/SUP] May
    We started heading north and our first dive today is on Shroud Wall. Two big, but shy, spotlight parrotfish are the first sight we see as we jump in. But one lucky diver spots a Manta! The first we have seen this year. We keep cruising north and next dive Whale’s Tail. At this site all the divers have fun going though a 100ft long swim through that goes all the way to the wall. Here a couple of Caribbean reef sharks swim by and we also come across a massive turtle. We then follow with a shallow dive at Hammerhead Gulch. We remained here for a night dive and an octopus steals the show as we watch it hunting.

    Thursday 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] May
    We wake up and start the day with a dive at Jewfish Wall. Next we go to the Wreck of the Austin Smith. This site is home to both reef sharks and one very smart black grouper. It’s a great dive to shoot some wide-angle stills as we watch the action surround us. Barracuda Shoals is our next site and is our last dive at the Exumas.

    Friday 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] May
    We end our diving for the trip at a site called Periwinkle. This is a small, but full of life reef that is close to Nassau. When our divers get close to the reef, the sergeant majors rush right at them, surrounding them completely. On the turtle grass they spot two big nurse sharks that are still sleeping while a baby hawksbill turtle swims around looking for a sponge to eat. It is a great dive to end the trip for our new French friends.

    Crew this week: Captain Mario, Chef Shea, Engineer Ernie, Instructor Greg and Video Pro Dave.




  10. Dancer Fleet

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    Carib Dancer Captain’s Report May 4 – 11, 2013

    Water Temperature: 75-79 F
    3 or 5 mm Wet Suit Recommended

    Saturday afternoon after everyone boarded the Carib Dancer, our guests Giel, Gerard, Monika, Peter K., Steven, Ann, Daniel, Peter S., Lorri, Todd, Allan and Marian, representing five different countries, enjoyed a beautiful ride towards the Exuma Islands.

    Sunday we started making bubbles on Crab Mountain East. Crab Mountain is an excellent dive site to start the week because of the diversity in marine life and depth. Most of the dive is only about 20 to 45 feet, but it’s a short swim to the edge of the wall if you choose. We enjoyed Caribbean spiny lobsters, arrow crabs, and channel clinging crabs. At one point during the dive I watched two Caribbean spiny lobsters chase each other, one jumping off the edge of the coral making a 5-foot drop onto the sand. But the highlight to start the week was a couple of guests seeing a great hammerhead shark just off the wall!

    Next stop was Jewfish Wall where we enjoyed lots of swim thru’s, several Nassau and tiger groupers and a few hogfish. Towards the end of the dive most of the guests had the opportunity to swim right next to a small hawksbill turtle. To finish our first day diving the Exuma Islands we stopped at North House just off Highborne Cay. North House is a shallow dive that makes for a wonderful afternoon and fantastic night dive. I was lucky enough to be scheduled for the first night dive. Of course I made the schedule ☺ During the dive we had two large porcupine fish swim near by and watched a sea cucumber eating while it moved through the sand, but the best part for me was having a squid swim right into my light and stay there. It started out to be just a short night dive and I ended up being underwater for over an hour, too much to see.

    Monday and our first dive was Up Jump The Devil. Up Jump the Devil is one of the deepest dives we do in the Exuma Islands. Divers do not have to go deep; in fact where the mooring pin is located on top of the wall is only about 40 feet. But there’s a huge valley that goes to about 90 feet where you can relax on a lawn chair or sneak a peak over the to see a beautiful array of marine life. We swam through lots of swim thru’s and canyons, saw large flat worms and more Caribbean spiny lobsters all over this dive site. Next stop was my favorite dive site in the Northern Exumas; it’s called Dog Rocks. At Dog Rocks we have the largest amount of swim thru’s and canyons then any other dive site we visit. We swam with French angelfish, large schools of snappers, grunts and parrotfish. The swim thru’s, canyons and the wall are covered with colorful corals and sponges. I could dive this dive site all day and into the night. However, we needed to move for another wonderful site called Madison Avenue. This is a somewhat shallow dive site that has lots of overhangs. We also watched lots of yellowhead jawfish, queen angelfish and a few spotted moray eels. Our last site of the day was a small Airplane Wreck off Ship’s Channel. The plane wreckage is full of marine life including crabs, eels, and angelfish and let’s not forget about the huge loggerhead turtle.

    Tuesday morning started at Whales Tail where we swam along a beautiful wall covered with sponges and corals. Whales Tail has one of the longest swim thru’s we get a chance to dive. Also we swam with spotted eels, porcupinefish and another big loggerhead turtle. After we enjoyed a wonderful wall dive we headed to the shallows at Hammerhead Gulch. Hammerhead Gulch is one of the crew favorites, but it’s very tidal so we can’t always get here. However today it was perfect tide and flat calm seas with no wind. While enjoying the 100-plus foot visibility underwater, everyone enjoyed schools of tropical fish, several stingrays, bright colorful coral heads and four hawksbill turtles. Next stop was the Wreck of the Austin Smith and lots of Caribbean reef sharks. The Austin Smith is always a fun wreck dive and we are always able to get some excellent pictures of sharks. As we swam along the wreck we also saw lots of groupers, snappers, angelfish and a mixture of colorful marine life. But the highlight today was the eight Caribbean reef sharks that came within a few inches of us just so we could take their pictures and shoot a little video ☺ It’s always amazing to watch the beautiful creatures swim, but to have them swim close to us while enjoy a wonderful wreck just makes diving the Austin Smith one of the best dives of the week. After the sharks of the Austin Smith we made the short ride to Jewfish Wall. We did a dive earlier this week here so we are back for more. And more we got as gray, French, Townsend and queen angelfish were all over the dive site as well as Caribbean spiny lobster. But have a spotted eagle ray swim over us just after exiting a swim thru was very sweet. Can diving this week get any better?

    Wednesday morning found us deep in the Exuma Park at Jeep Reef. It’s not often we get to Jeep Reef due to winds and tides, but when we do everyone loves the site. Today we were diving Jeep Reef before breakfast to catch the tides correctly. Jeep Reef is a shallow dive site that is covered with colorful corals, lots of lobsters and rays. A special bonus was seeing a red-tipped sea goddess nudibranch with its white body, red mantle border with yellow edges. After finishing the excellent dive on Jeep Reef we headed to Wall City. Wall City is a deep dive that very high profile coral heads. It’s very enjoyable to swim between these huge coral head; it’s almost like walking between large buildings in a city. We saw pufferfish, huge Caribbean spiny lobsters and small spotted lobster. We next headed west to Danger Reef, a site that is located just outside the Exuma Park Headquarters. The dive site is medium to high profile corals covered with soft and hard corals. We saw large Nassau groupers, several greater amberjacks, almaco jacks and a large barracuda hanging under the boat. As a few guests and I were standing on the back of the Carib Dancer enjoying the beautiful surroundings we watched a few Caribbean reef sharks swimming by the dive platform. We also watched a spotted eagle ray leap out of the water about 200 feet behind us before we geared up again to enjoy another great dive with sharks.

    Thursday morning started at Shroud Wall where we saw a seemingly endless parrotfish parade with very large rainbow parrotfish, queen parrotfish and several small stoplight parrotfish between the several swim thru’s and canyons that ended just out over the wall. This dive was a great way to start Thursday! After Shroud Wall we head north to Cracked Coral Head. The swim thru here is awesome and is a long swim thru filled with silversides. The top of the coral is covered with hard and soft corals as well as many types of sponges. Next up this Thursday was Crab Mountain West. Crab Mountain West is the shallow end of a larger dive site. We swam with schools of chubs, saw lots of damselfish, and watched a queen angelfish run a gray angelfish away from its area. A few of us went through another long swim thru that had silverside inside, and I ended up face to face with about a 30-pound grouper. Yes, I let it go by, as this is apparently his home. We ended the day at Closemon Reef and with an incoming tide today this is a great playground. We swam at this ‘aquarium-like’ dive site with all the different types of marine life. Plus, we enjoyed drifting with the tide that was just on the outside of the site with a cute little hawksbill turtle.

    Friday morning started with a pre-breakfast dive on Flat Rock Reef. The only time we dive this beautiful shallow reef is on an incoming tide. This morning conditions were perfect for Flat Rock. Very calm seas, incoming tide and lots of marine life came out as we enjoyed watching the reef come alive from a long night. After enjoying Flat Rock we had an awesome breakfast while making our way to the Blue Hole, which is located just off Nassau. Many guests come to the Bahamas and ask about the Blue Hole and what’s inside and around it? This week we found Caribbean reef sharks, queen angelfish, colorful sponges and corals, a school of blue tangs, a variety of tropical fish and a very colorful wall inside the Blue Hole. Thanks to all our guests this week as it was an excellent week of diving in the Exumas onboard the Carib Dancer with you.

    Crew for this Charter was Captain Dennis, 2nd Captain Mario, Engineer Ernie, Instructor Greg and Chef Shea.





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