Trip Report Juliet - Bimini - Oct 2-8

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Kimela

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This was my third trip on the Juliet (all Bahamas itineraries) – and the last time I was on the boat was 2015. @Trailboss123 did such a great, detailed review for his May trip that I don’t want to repeat everything he said. This trip was especially great because we had SIX ScubaBoard folks aboard - @Tundrahog, @edoralive, @Janie88 and her husband (Bill), as well as me and my husband, Roger. We had a fun group, and it amazes me that you can throw a bunch of strangers together and we all get along great.

The food was extraordinary – and that’s not an exaggeration. The cook was Janeau (sp?) also knick-named Frenchy. He did a fantastic job of serving up delicious meals using fresh ingredients and I don’t think he ever made the same meal twice.

If this is your first trip: take your Dramamine or put on your patch 12 hours before you arrive at the Juliet – or the night before and then in the morning too. The crossing from Miami to the Bahamas has a better than average chance of being rough. We had a few people who were chumming for the better part of the day. Even if you think you don’t get seasick, I’d still recommend taking something in case this is ‘the one time’ you get seasick.

Before the crossing, make sure all your stuff is tucked away so it won’t fall to the floor. Our fan catapulted over Roger’s camera before it hit the floor. We had a really rough crossing. Nothing was damaged, but we were trying to fish batteries off the floor as they rolled around – we had them plugged in to charge and something knocked into them and they went flying.

Special notes: Women - leave your hair dryer and hot iron at home – seriously – it could overtax the generator. Bring minimal makeup. I always put on eyebrows, liner and mascara – but that’s it – should have left all the rest at home. Embrace the ‘dive hair, don’t care’ attitude and wear a baseball cap or buy one of their fun safari hats.

Bring a couple of t-shirts and a couple of bottoms and rotate them. Same with swimsuits. It’s nice to have a dry swimsuit/rash guards to put on for the next dive. Things dry pretty quickly when hung over the rails. Don’t bring clips to hang stuff – they have plenty on the Juliet. Pack light. Whatever you bring, you won’t use it all.

Bring your own personal meds or things you know you’ll need and can’t chance them not having it (like Sudafed or Afrin), but don’t worry about first aid stuff like Tums, Pepto, bandaids. They’ve got it all.

Water temps for the week were right at 83 degrees. I brought my 3mil and only used it the first day and then switched to rash guards. We had sun every day but one, and it was a brief shower right before a night dive. We were very fortunate.

Juliet provides Stream2Sea shampoo/body wash and conditioner. I think they have sunscreen too. The hot shower on deck is heavenly after a dive – and they have shampoo/conditioner there as well as at the indoor shower. If you’re worried about sharing bathrooms and showers, please don’t. I never had to wait during the entire trip.

I love the crew of the Juliet! Truly, these folks are professional and work so efficiently together. Liza was our captain (and she’s the owner); Kat was the dive master; Brittany was our ‘marine biologist’ and did a lot of other fun things like laundry and cleaning; and, of course we had a magnificent chef!

I think the diving was better 5 years ago, but that could just be me misremembering. It seems there is more algae on the reef on most sites, and it appears to be having a negative effect on the coral. The soft coral is alive and well, but the hard coral underneath seems to be suffering. Crossing my fingers this is a temporary issue and it will rebound quickly. If you’re trying to decide between the Juliet and the Bahamas Aggressor, you’ll get MUCH better diving on the Juliet (Bimini), as the Aggressor (Exumas) is diving areas that are very damaged (and the Juliet departs out of Miami and the Aggressor departs out of Nassau).

We saw sharks, turtles, lots of fish, including big groupers, lobster, tons of Pedersen shrimp – not many ‘common’ anemones (between Roger and I we only saw three the whole trip). Much to Kat and Liza’s delight (and then disappointment), Roger and I spotted – and got pictures of – a Stargazer. When I showed the picture to Kat, she did a second take and immediately yelled “LIZA!!!” and they began questioning where we last saw it … exactly … because they’re generally not seen in the Bahamas. That was exciting – but they/we weren’t able to find it again. By the way, Stargazers bury themselves in the sand – so those of you who think “I’ll just put my muck stick in the sand to stabilizer myself”, you might be accidentally stabbing a pretty cool fish. They can also stab you with spines to inject you with venom, so be careful with hand placement as the only part of them that shows when they're buried are their eyes, and you could easily miss seeing them. I suspect divers in the next few weeks will be shown the star gazer as the ‘fish of the dive’ to find and report back!

Pictured below are the Sapona, the Juliet, and the infamous Stargazer. Then a group picture of us, left to right is John (@Tundrahog), Ed (@edoralive), me, Janie (@Janie88), Bill, and Roger. Then Janie & Bill in the water, then Ed, then John again. Last but not least, the ugliest, strangest and most alien thing I think I've seen in the water - on a night dive on the Sapona - a beaded sea cucumber. It looked like a transparent/with yellow bit of intestine, with wiggling tentacles at the end. Another diver said you can actually see the food travel down a few inches as it eats, but we didn't watch it that long. It was about 3 feet long.

Juliet again gets a huge thumb's up from me - (Hi Kat!).
 

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Divin'Papaw

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Great report!!! Thank you! You almost make me want to jump on the Juliet one of these days.
 

drrich2

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Very good. Glad to see more Juliet reports in recent times. Hope to enjoy it one day.
 

Gene

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Thanks for the report and photos. Looks like the Sapona hasn't changed much in 26 years. (Except maybe for the graffiti.) We used to run over to the Bahamas on my aunt and uncle's 23 foot boat with dual everything. (Engines, batteries and bilge pumps.) On one trip, we did the longer ride down and over to Bimini from West Palm, summer of 1995. A great trip! Cracked conch, swimming with a dolphin pod, exploring those "Atlantis" rocks, etc. Plus, the Complete Angler was there then too. I believe it was this trip too where we encountered a number of empty hand-made Cuban rafts.
 

Johnoly

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A great 'Must-Read' report for your travel tips for any reader taking this trip. Crossings are tough when you don't have a private boat that you delay for a couple of days and flatten out the seas. Thank you for writing this up!!
 

Jase Carter

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Thanks so much for the report! I'm going on the Juliet at the end of this month (October 23rd) and am very excited. I wouldn't have taken the Dramamine beforehand, but will now after reading this. This is my second liveaboard (first was Explorer Ventures Turks & Caicos) and first on the Juliet. Again, a fellow Missourian really appreciates the trip report.
 

Tundrahog

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Wow Kimela you got that done quick. I just want to confirm that the crew made this a great trip. They do a professional job, while at the same time keeping a very relaxed tone. I've heard the Blackbeard boats described as camping at sea, this is more like hanging out at a cabin. Everything you need is at hand, and you can make yourself comfortable. We spent a lot of time just hanging out and swapping stories with the other passengers and crew.

As far as gear bring a pair of gloves ( I think its in the notes on the site, be sure to read all of that especially the FAQs). We ran into currents on several dives, were hanging off the mooring line for safety stops, and a couple times crawled on the bottom to get from one protected area to another.

The Sapona night dive was incredible. My buddy and I had to stop on the way to the wreck while a convoy of about 8 rays went by. Turtles, rays, lobster, shrimp, Kimela and Roger's weird Intestine cucumber, the whole thing was bristling with life.

If you are interested in a relaxed week of diving you should really look into the Juliette.
 

Janie88

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This was my third trip on the Juliet (all Bahamas itineraries) – and the last time I was on the boat was 2015. @Trailboss123 did such a great, detailed review for his May trip that I don’t want to repeat everything he said. This trip was especially great because we had SIX ScubaBoard folks aboard - @Tundrahog, @edoralive, @Janie88 and her husband (Bill), as well as me and my husband, Roger. We had a fun group, and it amazes me that you can throw a bunch of strangers together and we all get along great.

The food was extraordinary – and that’s not an exaggeration. The cook was Janeau (sp?) also knick-named Frenchy. He did a fantastic job of serving up delicious meals using fresh ingredients and I don’t think he ever made the same meal twice.

If this is your first trip: take your Dramamine or put on your patch 12 hours before you arrive at the Juliet – or the night before and then in the morning too. The crossing from Miami to the Bahamas has a better than average chance of being rough. We had a few people who were chumming for the better part of the day. Even if you think you don’t get seasick, I’d still recommend taking something in case this is ‘the one time’ you get seasick.

Before the crossing, make sure all your stuff is tucked away so it won’t fall to the floor. Our fan catapulted over Roger’s camera before it hit the floor. We had a really rough crossing. Nothing was damaged, but we were trying to fish batteries off the floor as they rolled around – we had them plugged in to charge and something knocked into them and they went flying.

Special notes: Women - leave your hair dryer and hot iron at home – seriously – it could overtax the generator. Bring minimal makeup. I always put on eyebrows, liner and mascara – but that’s it – should have left all the rest at home. Embrace the ‘dive hair, don’t care’ attitude and wear a baseball cap or buy one of their fun safari hats.

Bring a couple of t-shirts and a couple of bottoms and rotate them. Same with swimsuits. It’s nice to have a dry swimsuit/rash guards to put on for the next dive. Things dry pretty quickly when hung over the rails. Don’t bring clips to hang stuff – they have plenty on the Juliet. Pack light. Whatever you bring, you won’t use it all.

Bring your own personal meds or things you know you’ll need and can’t chance them not having it (like Sudafed or Afrin), but don’t worry about first aid stuff like Tums, Pepto, bandaids. They’ve got it all.

Water temps for the week were right at 83 degrees. I brought my 3mil and only used it the first day and then switched to rash guards. We had sun every day but one, and it was a brief shower right before a night dive. We were very fortunate.

Juliet provides Stream2Sea shampoo/body wash and conditioner. I think they have sunscreen too. The hot shower on deck is heavenly after a dive – and they have shampoo/conditioner there as well as at the indoor shower. If you’re worried about sharing bathrooms and showers, please don’t. I never had to wait during the entire trip.

I love the crew of the Juliet! Truly, these folks are professional and work so efficiently together. Liza was our captain (and she’s the owner); Kat was the dive master; Brittany was our ‘marine biologist’ and did a lot of other fun things like laundry and cleaning; and, of course we had a magnificent chef!

I think the diving was better 5 years ago, but that could just be me misremembering. It seems there is more algae on the reef on most sites, and it appears to be having a negative effect on the coral. The soft coral is alive and well, but the hard coral underneath seems to be suffering. Crossing my fingers this is a temporary issue and it will rebound quickly. If you’re trying to decide between the Juliet and the Bahamas Aggressor, you’ll get MUCH better diving on the Juliet (Bimini), as the Aggressor (Exumas) is diving areas that are very damaged (and the Juliet departs out of Miami and the Aggressor departs out of Nassau).

We saw sharks, turtles, lots of fish, including big groupers, lobster, tons of Pedersen shrimp – not many ‘common’ anemones (between Roger and I we only saw three the whole trip). Much to Kat and Liza’s delight (and then disappointment), Roger and I spotted – and got pictures of – a Stargazer. When I showed the picture to Kat, she did a second take and immediately yelled “LIZA!!!” and they began questioning where we last saw it … exactly … because they’re generally not seen in the Bahamas. That was exciting – but they/we weren’t able to find it again. By the way, Stargazers bury themselves in the sand – so those of you who think “I’ll just put my muck stick in the sand to stabilizer myself”, you might be accidentally stabbing a pretty cool fish. They can also stab you with spines to inject you with venom, so be careful with hand placement as the only part of them that shows when they're buried are their eyes, and you could easily miss seeing them. I suspect divers in the next few weeks will be shown the star gazer as the ‘fish of the dive’ to find and report back!

Pictured below are the Sapona, the Juliet, and the infamous Stargazer. Then a group picture of us, left to right is John (@Tundrahog), Ed (@edoralive), me, Janie (@Janie88), Bill, and Roger. Then Janie & Bill in the water, then Ed, then John again. Last but not least, the ugliest, strangest and most alien thing I think I've seen in the water - on a night dive on the Sapona - a beaded sea cucumber. It looked like a transparent/with yellow bit of intestine, with wiggling tentacles at the end. Another diver said you can actually see the food travel down a few inches as it eats, but we didn't watch it that long. It was about 3 feet long.

Juliet again gets a huge thumb's up from me - (Hi Kat!).
Kimela's review is spot on. I don't mind admitting I was the main person barfing and horribly seasick. Why? I did not put my patch on the night before. Hard lesson learned. I think I'd been lulled into false security by recent Aggressor trips where there is no crossing, or the crossing occurs much later in the evening and putting the patch on after arrival was fine. ALWAYS start your seasick meds the night before. As Kimela said, the crossing on Juliet was rough. And the crossing starts very soon after you board.
 

gqllc007

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How many days did the patch last with the diving?
 

edoralive

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How many days did the patch last with the diving?
I was one of the ones on this trip. My first patch only lasted a day before coming off, but the second and third one I put on got me through the proper number of days.

To add to the sentiment here - I put my patch on the morning of the departure, about six hours before we left the dock. I didn't chum the fish, but I sure didn't feel great. Get started early - we had 8-9' swells on our way out. The way home was more or less sublime.

I'd also add this: I had the forward en suite. I think the greatest advantage was the size of the berth - it was quite large (comparatively speaking) and the beds were quite separate. I didn't find the en suite head and shower to be all that critical, and I might skip it next time.

This trip also featured the biggest puffers I've ever seen. There were some truly enormous porcupine fish.

Also lots of barracuda, who were, without exception, all jerks.
 
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