Nekton boats may come back!!

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mike_s

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not having a dog that hunts, let alone fights in this here game, but...

Has any operator considered chartering a flight to their final boat departure port??

A charter of a twin prop out of MIA or some other american hub?? 20 people should be able to get a small-ish charter plane. This would allow all the guests to arrive all at one time, the land agent to forward them all one time and arrange a truck to haul luggage and supplies. It would allow guests much higher RESTRICTED WEIGHT for the final leg (provided the operator plans the flight with an eye for this increased weight allotment) so that those guests so inclined on taking EXCESS camera or dive kit could FEDEX or Greyhound it to an office IN MIAMI, who would then be able to confirm it's arrival during the week or two prior to the flight, and then forward that gear along with whatever spares and supplies the boat ordered from stateside on the charter plane. Since the previous week's contingent of guests would be heading back to the states, the incidence of dead-head flights would be lessened. This would make sure that kit and heavy luggage sent ahead of time can be accurately accounted and forwarded, and excuse guests from the hassle of arguing with airlines about their overweight pieces. Its possible this might only be cost effective for rebreather pilots and shutter bugs with bad a$$ pelican boxes full....

Just a thought from a mere instructor who washed out after 6 months on a liveaboard, but one formed from hearing constant complaints from guests about overweight charges. a quick pricing with greyhound put a 50lbs bag shipped from seattle to miami at 65$... MIGHT open some options including rebreather, photo and video exceptionally friendly boat....


If I had a Rebreather.... I doubt I'd trust putting it on Greyhound to get it there.

WAY too easy for a passenger to steal a bag from a bus when they unload bags essentially with passengers standing right there and people pick up their bags and leave without any checks to see if they have the right bag.

Good idea you had though for getting past the fees.... I applaud that. I just wouldn't trust Greyhound with my dive or camera gear. Too many chances for a screw up.


As for chartering a flight.... just too many variables in passengers arriving different times, different days, different airlines, or driving (or greyhound I guess), and then the same issues with them all when they depart. I can't see everyone willing to get on the "same schedule" for a charter flight. (just my opinion).
 

lwronk

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I been on the Rorqual twice and enjoyed both times. If you get the boat back in the water then my husband/buddy will be back. I am going to start saving the money for the trip.
 

tregrrr

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If I had a Rebreather.... I doubt I'd trust putting it on Greyhound to get it there.

WAY too easy for a passenger to steal a bag from a bus when they unload bags essentially with passengers standing right there and people pick up their bags and leave without any checks to see if they have the right bag.

Good idea you had though for getting past the fees.... I applaud that. I just wouldn't trust Greyhound with my dive or camera gear. Too many chances for a screw up.


As for chartering a flight.... just too many variables in passengers arriving different times, different days, different airlines, or driving (or greyhound I guess), and then the same issues with them all when they depart. I can't see everyone willing to get on the "same schedule" for a charter flight. (just my opinion).

If the charter down was included in the price of the trip, it would be the best bet return wise and many people would (in my estimation ) choose to take it. If not, then they are free to book commercial. It might also be effective to give the guests the option to stay an extra week at a local hotel and catch the next flight... since we bought the flight, a seat is paid for folks, use it when you want... provided there is room.

As for greyhound, I was merely flipping an idea.. there are any number of shipping options for those who don't want to burden themselves with the hassle of 150$ EXCESS BAGGAGE FEES EACH DIRECTION when they fly commercial. Also, if you are shipping by cargo carrier, the restrictions on valves in place on rebreather and pony tanks get a bit more lenient. You don't think the cameras and equipment were made locally or carried to the store personally by the master craftsmen in taiwan do you??? they were shipped. Ask any journalist about the ruggedness of their pelican cases. They work. They also lock. Insurance is available. If the customer is so concerned, then the Miami office could conceivably open the case and confirm nothing is blatantly broken, and put it on a certified scale to confirm the weight and thus nothing is missing either.

As for connecting flights... why is that a problem?? You depart at a certain specified time. Period. Miss the plane, and miss the boat. It's sad, but a fact of life. A fact that people can choose to either insure against, or choose to self insure (not buy insurance). As you are leaving from a US airport, the range of possible alternate flights is vastly superior than the options available to someone flying in on a once a week AA flight to a backwards island airport. Miss it and there some small chance that you can re-route through "air Jamaica" or "LIAT" or what ever other operator.... just the same as you could without your charter leaving from Miami. How is missing the plane any different than missing the boat??

The best part I saved for last. The office in Miami might also be located somewhere near a parkade!!! Folks with such inconvenient gear may also (if they choose to and are so inclined) drive and leave their vehicles in a parking area rather than the airport car thief shopping center!!


:dork2: I ma just throwing down some "wouldn't it be nice" ideas that rolled around in my head while I was on charter last year. If anyone does decide to use em... do the Karma Correct thing and flip me a biscuit :D I need to try it out and see it in action:crafty:
 

Oceandiver1

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We did 4 trips on the Nekton boats. There are just awful when the boat is full. There were many times we could not get a place to sit and eat as there is not enough room for all. We ended up sitting in the lounge or uptop. The crew that did not have to be waiters for the meal all sat around on the sofa's looking like starving puppy dogs. (they had to wait till the guests were finished to eat, what is with that?)

The dive deck is insane with a full boat. They never had enough O2 sensors for Nitrox checking, so you would wait and wait. You had to pay extra for the gas and then the %'s were like 27% and 28%!!

I don't know, I would hard pressed to do the boat again.
 

Darnold9999

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The charter idea is a good one.

Mike Ball does this with at least one of their itineraries. Divers fly in to a main airport and a charter goes to a remote island with one set of guests and returns with the previous. Divers only fly once as the boat is on a one way trip from the main airport to the island destination. One group boards at the main location - travels by boat to the remote island and flys back. The following group flys to the remote island and travels by boat to the main location.

TV on a dive boat is a bad idea.
 

sansky

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Hello all,

As a former Chief Engineer and Captain for Nekton Diving Cruises, I am looking for feadback from all my fellow divers.

I have an oppurtunity to purchase the Nekton Rorqual and start a new Liveaboard Charter. I know this boat extremely well and know what needs to be done to get it in shape.

If I purchase this vessel it will be completely refit. Every thing from the gemerators to the sheets will be assesed and replaced as needed. The Rorqual was a beautiful boat with state of the art technology when she first launched and can be again.

I am considering itineraries including Belize, the Caymans, Cozumel, and possibly the island of Mayaguana in the southern Bahamas.

Please give let me know how you feel about this boat re-entering the industry and if you or your group would be interested in coming back out. I know a lot of you are former Nekton customers that became disillusioned and left for other companies. Are you interested in coming back?

Please post all fead back good or bad and I will answer all questions posted. Thanks to all for your time and consideration.:D

As one who ran a group to Mona Island on the Rorqual and had a fabulous time and great dives right before they pulled it from that location and one who had a group set up to go to Mayaguana for a specific week (based on group being able to go that week!), only to have the dates changed and then itinerary pulled - I am all about an itinerary for Mayaguana, but would not want to go through booking it only to have the same thing happen again.
So that said, my advice to you is if you purchase and publish an itinerary, be darn sure the boat is in top-notch full working order and keep the intended itinerary and not change it at last minute ....
 
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As one who ran a group to Mona Island on the Rorqual and had a fabulous time and great dives right before they pulled it from that location and one who had a group set up to go to Mayaguana for a specific week (based on group being able to go that week!), only to have the dates changed and then itinerary pulled - I am all about an itinerary for Mayaguana, but would not want to go through booking it only to have the same thing happen again.
So that said, my advice to you is if you purchase and publish an itinerary, be darn sure the boat is in top-notch full working order and keep the intended itinerary and not change it at last minute ....
I have just this exactly this with Mike Ball. They sold the "fly+dive" packagge. I left Cairns by plane to Lizard Island, where we took the boat and stayed diving for 4 days while we are returning to Cairns. The boat droped us in Cairns.
I live in Brazil and dove with Nekton twice. I really loved and I'm happy with the possibility to dive again.
I hope it happens and I will consider to dive with the Nekton again. Just as an idea, think about to do a trip flying to southern bahamas, taking the boat there ans returning to Ft. Lauderdale during a week.
Ronaldo
 

ClaireOKC

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I loved the whole idea of the Rorqual - can't speak about the other Pilot. The diving was easy - the boat was full, but never crowded, everyone was really pleasant, and the group got to know each other easily. The complaints: poor condition of boat (but even - this was 4 years ago - the poor condition didn't deter from the fun, just made me not want to do it again), and itinerary - it was a rinky-dink itinerary where one location was good for the whole week - there are a lot better itineraries out there - so you can be creative with it - the Medio/so. Bahamas is one, but there are others. Think about places that you can't normally go with land-based ops, and use that to your advantage. If you offer something that no one else can or does, you have a commodity that's marketable.

I was amazed at the poor condition of the boat, but the high quality of staff - which was fabulously attentive and were willing to help all with any probs - even the captain got in the water with us on one dive to help with photography basics, they were very creative at making meals stretch. I'm a vegetarian and they always had something for me. The whole set up of how you can dive off the back was outstanding, and loved it.

Good luck and hopes this works out. I may be speaking out of turn here, but would rather pay a little more and get a great itinerary and accomodations, that have a bargain-basement price with poor schedule, conditions, staff, etc. IOW, I would be willing to pay a little more to have a great experience on the live-aboard.
 

Blackbeard's

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Let me clear up a few things as far as cost of having a boat leave out of the US. The cost of insurance is the same. Our cost for inspection & registration of the Aqua Cat, a boat of similar size to the Nekton run between $15,000 & $20,000 per year. I believe Nekton paid under $2,000 per year. The reason we moved the Blackbeard boats out of the US was the cost of getting out & in. This cost had increase to over $75,000 was continuing to go up. We had to send paperwork for each departure and arrival to USCG, Customs, Immigration & Agriculture. It took one employee to just comply with this. We also has to get a special hazardous waste dumster for anything that came off our boat since they considered our boats because they had been outside the US. We had to schedule a aggriculture officer to come to our boats to open the container. If they caught anyone putting something in the regular trash they hit us with a fine. This included someone walking onto the boats with a beer can and then departing & putting in a regular trash barrel. When we left we had over $30,000 of fines pending. We could appeal & did. We never lost one, but they a lot took time. There is also about $75/person taxes extra for trips leaving out of the US versus the Bahamas.

The Nekton itinerary out of Florida was great from spring to fall, but when the weather patterns changed they had problems. There was no place for them to dive or hide with the strong west winds you get in the winter. You would be wise to operate out of one spot year around. Most Caribbean liveaboards operate 49 to 50 trips per year. Nekton only average about 42. It is difficult to cover your fixed costs with that number of trips especially with what they charged.

Bruce
 
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