Trip Report Juliet - Bimini - Oct 2-8

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Kimela

Kimela

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Also lots of barracuda, who were, without exception, all jerks.
They just really, really liked Ed! Honest to goodness, if you saw Ed in the water, you generally saw a barracuda or a SCHOOL of them following him around!
 

Janie88

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How many days did the patch last with the diving?
The patch needs to be replaced every 72 hrs - unless it comes off on its own. Mine stayed on just fine, my husband's came off once but after that was good. I also added a Dramamine prior to the crossing back over, but probably didn't need it. The crossing back was, as Ed said, pretty tame. If I did this itinerary again, I'd probably do the patch AND the dramamine the night before boarding, and then just replace the patch as noted above.
 

Catito

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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!).
Thank you for the report. Very helpful. I have been considering the Juliet for a four day trip from Miami. The crossing does not sound appealing. Is it two hours or more?

Loved the Stargazer. I have only seen one…of course at the Blue Heron Bridge.
 
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Kimela

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Thank you for the report. Very helpful. I have been considering the Juliet for a four day trip from Miami. The crossing does not sound appealing. Is it two hours or more?

Loved the Stargazer. I have only seen one…of course at the Blue Heron Bridge.
The crossing is a full 6 hours, maybe more. I think we left port around 3 and were told we'd be through around 10. If I'm misremembering I hope someone will chime it to correct me. And we were rocking and rolling pretty hard for much of it. I think if you plan for it, medicate, and plan on staying stationary for a bit, it helps.
 

Catito

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The crossing is a full 6 hours, maybe more. I think we left port around 3 and were told we'd be through around 10. That seems right. And we were rocking and rolling pretty hard for much of it. I think if you plan for it, medicate, and plan on staying stationary for a bit, it helps.
Oh boy. Thanks. I doubt my Buddy will agree to a 6 hr terrible boat ride.
 
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Kimela

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Oh boy. Thanks. I doubt my Buddy will agree to a 6 hr terrible boat ride.
Better living through medication ... Dramamine, scopalamine, Bonine ... if it'll get you there, it'll be worth the ride. It's a fun boat. But I totally understand. I've only gotten a little bit sick once, but it was enough to always take Dramamine ahead of time for 'just in case'.
 

Brant Emery

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I worked on a LOB that crossed from Miami to Bimini or Cat Cay for 8 years. Most of the crossings were relatively calm, I would guess that 1 in 5 were bumpy.

I loved the diving there, but that was over 25 years ago, and I don't think I would want to go back.
 

Janie88

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Oh boy. Thanks. I doubt my Buddy will agree to a 6 hr terrible boat ride.
The crossing was rough, no doubt about it. My feelings are biased b/c I was throwing up almost the entire time. Unfortunately getting that sick left me feeling "meh" and not 100% fo the remainder of the trip. I'm sure if I'd been SMART and put on my scopolamine patch the night before it would have been a very different story. Maybe add a dramamine too. We had a couple of dive sites that were pretty good, but in general I did not feel the diving was better than when we did Bahamas Aggressor. The crew was excellent, and the food was the best I've ever had (although I never ate much b/c my stomach was off the entire time). We are booked for St. Croix and I'm looking forward to that itinerary. Never been to St. Croix, there is no crossing (although now I will not forget when to start meds) and the only down side is the water temps will be much cooler. Might be time to invest in a heated vest/rash guard :)
 
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Kimela

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I worked on a LOB that crossed from Miami to Bimini or Cat Cay for 8 years. Most of the crossings were relatively calm, I would guess that 1 in 5 were bumpy.

I loved the diving there, but that was over 25 years ago, and I don't think I would want to go back.
Of our three trips, we had two really rough crossing (I think our other two trips were 2014 and 2015). I wonder if conditions have changed over the years or we just hit the law of averages at the wrong time?
 

RIHappyDiver

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Of our three trips, we had two really rough crossing (I think our other two trips were 2014 and 2015). I wonder if conditions have changed over the years or we just hit the law of averages at the wrong time?
Do you always go this time of year, which is hurricane season? I’ve never done that crossing, so don’t know if it changes things much.

Erik
 
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