I had the good fortune to lead a group of 22 divers to Nassau May 22-27,2013. Our dive adventure began at Stuart Cove's on the South West corner of New Providence Island. Stuart's is a first class operation with a full service dive shop, numerous boats, equipment for rental, and most importantly a friendly and service oriented staff. Their location provides direct access to the "tongue of the ocean" an area of very deep water carved out by the Atlantic Ocean. My group was assigned White Bungi, a 46 foot Newton custom dive boat which had recently been repowered with new John Deere turbo diesel engines. The boat was equipped with a large swim platform with two ladders, O2 kit, first aid kit, vhf radio, dedicated camera rinse bucket, covered and open areas for getting that vacation tan. Most importantly was the staff; Cleej was our captain with a great knowledge of the more distant dive sites, Terri and Charlotte, instructors who served as our divemasters and cruise directors who maintained an energetic and friendly demeanor during our four days of diving, and Chris from Fin Photo our own personal photographer. Our group of divers ran a range of experience from just certified to myself, a PADI IDC Staff instructor with 26 years of diving experience. Those that wanted and needed a little extra guidance and help were well tended to, those needing less were allowed to do their own thing. Our dive briefings were excellent with all necessary safety measures discussed and our bottom times were dictated by our computers and our gas consumption. Since most of my group dove enriched air, Alvin, the dock manager, kept his staff going to keep our boat stocked with nitrox tanks. It all ran smoothly, a daunting task considering there were 22 divers, most doing 4 dives a day ( 2 morning dives, 2 afternoon dives). After the morning dives, the boat would return to the shop (which was the set for the movie Flipper) where we would have a great lunch of either a fresh grilled fish sandwich, hamburger, cheeseburger, veggie burger, or hot dog - all grilled right there on the dock. During our lunch break, the staff would restock the boat with tanks and get us ready to go out for the afternoon dives. Back at the dock at the end of the day we were able to rinse out our gear in two huge rinse tanks and hang it up to dry in a guest gear storage room. As for dive sites; movie sets from "James Bond", "Into the Blue", "Splash", great walls and reefs as well as a number of wrecks. There were the usual suspects, turtles, queen angels, grey and French angels, all the regular colorful fish including lionfish (they didn't seem as numerous as in the past) as well as green morays, spotted morays, goldentail morays and a sharptail eel. There were southern rays and yellow rays. As for sharks, yes plenty - numerous caribbean reef sharks, a bull shark, and on three of the four days a hammerhead was spotted. But the highlight of the trip was the all day off island trip to Exuma. We packed the boat with gear, food, and beer and headed off early on Saturday morning. We did two dives off Highbourne Cay which featured great swim throughs very much like Grand Cayman (and one of the hammerhead sightings). The morning dives over, we headed for a deserted beach for an afternoon of picnicking and relaxing. The food was provided by Stuart's chef and he supplied all the important items, fried chicken, mac and cheese, potato salad, coleslaw, cold cuts, fresh fruit, snacks and soft drinks and water; we provided the beer(the diving was over for the day). A tired but happy group departed Exuma at 3 pm and we were back at the dock by 6:15pm - a great day!
Stuart (yes, there is a real Stuart Cove) and his staff really deliver a quality dive trip!
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