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View Full Version : Stuart's Cove - one of the worst!



kroorda
09-18-2007, 10:10
A while back, I was invited to visit Stuart's Cove with a local dive shop. Previous to my visit to Stuart's Cove, I have been to many dive destinations around the world; both land based and liveaboard. Unfortunately, after visiting Stuart's Cove, I must honestly say that it was/is one of the worst places/operations I have ever visited. They promote their area by saying that "a lot of underwater movies have been filmed there." That may be true, and the warm, clear waters are good for filming. However, what they don't tell you is that the waters are void of nearly every living thing, except for sharks. Yes, it's a good opportunity to sit in the middle of a shark feeding and have lots of sharks swim around you, but that's about it - literally. Going out to dive sites, the captain(s) of the boats had difficulty finding bouys in calm waters. Once they found bouys, it took them from 15 minutes to 1/2 hour to hook the bouy and tie to it. During that time, they circled the bouys and constantly shifted the boats back and forth between forward and reverse - a rather sickening boat ride. Then, once the boat(s) were anchored, it was time to connect our regs to the tanks (the crew do NOT do that for you!). Not a day, or dive went by in which someone found that they had been given a tank that had NOT been filled at all, or had only been partially filled. Of course, since the rule is that you come up when you reach 500 psi, if you start the dive with 800 psi, you might as well not get in the water at all! As I mentioned previously, it was up to YOU, the diver, to get your equipment assembled and ready. The crew were of NO assistance at all. When your dive ended, help getting on the boat was minimal. You could hand them your fins as you climbed on the boat with all your gear on. Then, you walked to your place on the boat (with all your gear on). Once at your place, it was up to you (the diver) to put your BC and Reg on your second tank which would be used on the second dive. Again, no assistance from the crew on the boat.! If, after your dive, you wanted a sip of water, or even a snack, you were/are out of luck unless YOU purchased your own bottle of water or candy bar, (which was greatly overpriced in Stuarts' Dive shop) before you left on the boat. The boats carried NO water or snacks for the divers! So much for the diving! Next, the accomodations: Stuart's Cove uses a Golf Resort adjacent to their dive shop for accomocations. Unfortuantely, the accomodations were BAD. Despite the amount of and killer (insecticide) that was used in the rooms (and the rooms wreaked of insecticide), ants and roaches were everywhere...in all your clothes, your toiletries, in your bed - EVERYWHERE! Getting home without a few hitchhikers in your luggage was/is just about impossible! As far as food and meals go, the Golf Resort has a restaurant, but it is nearly TWO blocks away from the rooms. And, it's the ONLY place to eat unless you want to take a long taxi ride to somewhere else on the island. Prices for food were outrageous. Twenty two dollars for a hamburger which consisted of a bun and a piece of meat. Fries or chips were extra and a lot extra. A simple evening meal could cost as much as $40 a person. Overall, prices in the Bahamas are high anyway, but, at Stuart's Cove, you are a captive audience and prices are even higher. Everywhere we went, and everything we did someone had their hand out. As many of us know from experience, the Bahamians are not the most friendly or accomodating people. A visit in the Bahamas leaves one with the impression that they really like our money, but they don't like us - the people who bring the money. Stuart's Cove is most definately the least accomodating dive operation we have ever visited. If you want to see Sharks, I suggest that you tune in to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel and save yourself a ton of aggrevation and money. Why, or how anyone could or would ever consider returning to Stuart's Cove is beyond me.

chinacat46
09-18-2007, 10:26
The gear part I don't mind since I like handling my gear myself. But not filling tanks and not having water on board is way out of line. As for the resort and resturant they sounded awful. The diving was very unapealing as well. I've wanted to go to the Bahamas but have heard others bad mouth Stuart's Cove as well. If I go it will probably be on the Caribbean Explorer which dives a totally different area. Thnx for the heads up.

loudgonzo
09-18-2007, 10:31
Sorry to hear about your experience with SC. I dived with them this past April and had the opposite experience. I found them to be a very well run shop and very accomodating. I didn't stay at the Golf resort so I can't comment on it, but they do provide free pickup from any hotel.

After finding out which boat we are going to be on, they did provide help loading the gear to the boat.

We reached our first site within 20 minutes or so. As for setting up our own gear, I think most would prefer it that way, but I think you would have received help if you ask. The first dives of the day are typically wall dives, the second dive was decided by us, either shark alley, wrecks, etc. We had plenty of water on the boat, and all the tanks were full.

Our crew called in our food order by radio and it was waiting for us when we returned to the docks. I remember ordering a hamburger and chips, but I know I didn't pay more than $8 or so including a drink, there were plenty of condiments, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes etc.

The prices for snacks and stuff at the shop are fair, what you would pay at any other shop. If you want to save money, then you should bring your own snacks.

Besides being only 1 of 2 operators on the island, I believe they offer great service and would not hesitate to dive with them again. There were only 7 divers on my boat, although I have heard they can get crowded sometimes.

Ramgib
09-18-2007, 10:57
Sounds like a pretty bad dive trip. As for the gear setup, I too always put my own gear together and change out my own tanks. BH will lend me a hand, but he is my buddy. I have had people put my gear together, to find my reg cross- threaded on the valve (DIN). So I have the rule "No one touches my gear without asking. I don't care if you are a DM or Scuba God Himself. If my buddy has helped me, I still double check what he did.

As far as Stuarts cove, we have heard good and bad. The bad is starting to get more prevailent. Again, sorry about your trip.

Lisa

loudgonzo
09-18-2007, 11:07
As far as Stuarts cove, we have heard good and bad. The bad is starting to get more prevailent. Again, sorry about your trip.

Lisa

You could look at this several ways I suppose, I was in Nassau for business, and had the chance to go diving one day, so I did 4 dives with SC and had a great time.

If you are on the island and want to do lots of diving over several days, then I guess it wouldn't be so great.

Just depends on what you are expecting beforehand.

RECDiver
09-18-2007, 16:42
You should fill out reports on Undercurrent.com (http://www.undercurrent.org/) and on the Scuba Diving Magazine's website (http://www.scubadiving.com/GeneralMenu).

cgvmer
09-18-2007, 16:47
I have had the opposite experience with Stuart's cove. Here is the posting of my experience: http://forum.scubatoys.com/showthread.php?t=3484

kroorda
09-19-2007, 10:26
From Kroorda:
In the top paragraph, I forgot to add something else:
There was one day where they told us that we would be able to dive 3 or 4 dives. Likewise, they gave Nitrox users the opportunity to use Nitrox, but instructed us (Nitrox users) to order our Nitrox tanks the night before so that they would be ready for us in the morning. We did so. However, when we checked our Nitrox tanks in the morning, before taking them out, WE FOUND THAT THEY HADN'T BEEN FILLED AT ALL! So, they rushed to fill the Nitrox tanks for us while the boat was waiting to go out. Then, after filling the Nitrox tanks, and we double checked them, we found that some of the tanks were not filled all the way up, and also found that Nitrox levels ranged anywhere from 21% (no extra oxygen at all!) to over 50%! We basically told them where they could put their Nitrox tanks. Then....after that, they still charged us for Nitrox and the ONLY way we got those charges removed were to dispute the charges on our credit cards. Stuart's Cove is a nightmare; particularly for experienced divers who have received "good" service from other dive operators. Having to buy your own water and snacks from the dive shop before going out is absolutely the worst.

chinacat46
09-19-2007, 10:32
I'm more of a liveaboard kinda diver anyways but between you and what I've heard from others about Stuart's Cove I wouldn't go near the place.

CompuDude
09-19-2007, 15:19
Good to know this.

I don't let anyone touch my gear, but aside from that, I would not tolerate such shoddy service.

Geekybiker
10-17-2007, 18:21
You're an experienced diver and you want someone who isnt going underwater with it touching your gear? Oh my.

Anyhow, I had a overall good experience with them. Good dives for the most part, I found the bahamian people friendly to me as well. My only real complaint is that most of the hotel are on the opposite side of the island. So you get to pick from a few not so good ones near SC, or you get to have a long ride both before and after the dive that ends up eating up all your time.

I had a couple tanks that had iffy o-rings but got those swapped out, and divers that insisted on using the camera bucket to rinse their masks.

You need to get on the boat, hook up BOTH tanks, listen for leaks, check tank pressure and make sure everything works. Only you can really be responsible for your own equipment, rental or otherwise. If you haven't checked before you get on the water, I hope you're checking it before you hop in at the least.

FWIW I do this with EVERY dive operator. Its simply good sense.

hychang
10-18-2007, 09:16
This was one of the places that I was considering for a nice dive trip (when we can afford a nice trip!). It looked like a pretty decent outfit based on what I saw of them on the Discovery HD Channel I get at home. They were showing teasers for the Discovery 360 Club. However, buying your own water and not filling tanks fully or with the right mix is not encouraging. I'll check out someone else's report on their experiene there, but I doubt we'll seriously go there. Thanks.!!

RoadRacer1978
10-18-2007, 10:18
Wonder what was different on your trip? Sounds like they were very disorganized and nobody was running the show. I've never been there, so have no valuable info to give, but it sounds like you visited during a really bad time and hopefully it is something they are working on getting fixed.

reservecops
10-18-2007, 10:33
I've got to go with the consensus: I don't want anybody touching my gear, but the lack of even the most basic essentials (e.g., water, snack) would tick me off.

Heck, if you can't trust them to provide tanks that are full, why would you WANT them setting up your gear or moving it between tanks?! :dunno:

loudgonzo
10-18-2007, 10:55
I dove (dived, still can't figure which one is correct) with SC earlier this year and found them to be a very well run op. Looking at my log, my tank pressures were 2900, 2900, and 3000. We were provided with water on the boats, and on the way back to the hotel, I talked to a couple that missed their boat for the afternoon dive and got left back at the docks, SC took them out on another smaller boat and it turned out to be a private guided dive for them.
I think the OP was just letting out a rant.

chace_nicole
10-18-2007, 18:36
I dove (dived, still can't figure which one is correct) with SC earlier this year and found them to be a very well run op. Looking at my log, my tank pressures were 2900, 2900, and 3000. We were provided with water on the boats, and on the way back to the hotel, I talked to a couple that missed their boat for the afternoon dive and got left back at the docks, SC took them out on another smaller boat and it turned out to be a private guided dive for them.
I think the OP was just letting out a rant.

glad to hear you had a good experience there because I am considering them. I would like to do a shark dive down there, and Stuarts Cove are the people who come to mind, advertising & all. Have any of you guys used another op down there?

cgvmer
10-18-2007, 20:20
Again, my 2 sons and I had a great time with them. My older son did his OW dives my other son and I dove on a seperate boat with no issues. They did not setup my gear but did walk around and when they saw some divers having issue asked if they could help. Before we were in the water they asked if they could check our gear, it appeared to me they let you do yourself or help which ever was needed. As for water, I really don't remember
My 13yr old son still had his junior OW, so his dives (except the sharke feed) was free when he dove with me...

Sounds like the OP had a bad trip.

Soonerwink
10-18-2007, 20:51
Do the divemasters on board work for tips or are they paid by SC? All of the boat dives I have done the crew worked for tips and I think they were a little motivated to please the customers.

tc_rain
10-18-2007, 21:16
I too prefer to set my own gear up. That way if something is wrong, there is only one person I can blame. As far as the under filled or empty tanks, if you set up your own gear check the tank. If it is under filled, you can move to another tank. I have had this happen to me on a couple of occasions and it is not that big of deal.

Miked
10-19-2007, 13:31
Quotes:
I think the OP was just letting out a rant.[/quote]

glad to hear you had a good experience there because I am considering them. I would like to do a shark dive down there, and Stuarts Cove are the people who come to mind, advertising & all. Have any of you guys used another op down there?[/quote]
.................................................. ...............................................

I tend to agree with the first comment-based on diving with SC for a week each, in Aug. of '06 and '07. SC's does have an "assembly line" feel to it-especially when the "a.m.2 tank" people are returning from the dive,while the "p.m.2 tank" people are arriving by bus.
They tend to manage dive times rather tightly-but-so do many other ops.
That said, I've never had a low fill, and the nitrox was blended at the dock, and I analysed it-full tanks again.

The staff was helpful, but not intrusive-they offered to help set up my gear- I declined-that was fine with them. I plan on diving with them again, vacations permitting.

Regarding other ops in the area: the 2 ops that WERE located near SC-"Dive-Dive-Dive" and "Nassau Scuba Center" have both gone out of business. Causes: (?); I've heard: internal strife, hurricane damage; small fish eaten by the big fish (SC) ??????
Whatever the cause, they are gone.

AFAIK, the only remaining dive op in New Providence/Nassau is "Bahama Divers", which I believe is located on/near Paradise island.
(I did see a sign for "Paradise Island Shark Dives" last August- but no op was mentioned.)

loudgonzo
10-19-2007, 14:10
glad to hear you had a good experience there because I am considering them. I would like to do a shark dive down there, and Stuarts Cove are the people who come to mind, advertising & all. Have any of you guys used another op down there?

It's just SC and another dive op on the island, I can't remember the name. I would not hesitate to use SC again. Best of luck and us know how it goes, I hope you have as much fun as I did!! Enjoy the Bahamas!! oh, and stop by the fish fry for food on the way back to the hotel:smiley20:

caroln
10-19-2007, 17:39
I didn't like the Bahamas at all. I thought it was overpriced and way too commercial. Plus we were told by people at the hotel that it wasn't safe to walk around downtown at night, which pretty much sucks. I was considering going back anyway to dive with SC after seeing them on Discovery Channel when Mike Rowe did the shark dive, but I'm glad I read this first. I think I'll save the money and do a shark dive elsewhere.

Geekybiker
10-19-2007, 17:49
Dont let one negative report spoil your plans. SC always does very well do the scuba diving reader surveys. (And it seems lot more people here have a positive experience with them than negative)

Athena2c
10-20-2007, 12:39
Hmm..I agree that having no water or snacks and empty tanks are bad things, but on every boat I have been on, I have always set up my own gear and swapped out my tanks. And the way you were helped onto the boat has always been my experience too (in Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Roatan, and Monterey, CA). I have no problem with it being that way.
I have heard the Bahamas are expensive-we are going in January with a liveaboard (Caribbean Explorer), and expecting it to be great!

PhD4JC
12-05-2007, 09:04
I did the SC dive from a Disney Cruise Summer 2006.
I was sorely UNimpressed.
Everythings was dead.
Plenty of broken dead gray coral bits floating around in the water
Precious few fishes (or other marinelife, not even a shark, though this was not the sharkdive).
Barely civil customer service.
I was literally a number.
Bus service back to the dock was sketchy and LONG, since apparently the dock is the 1st/last pickup spot.
I would NOT do it again.

ScubaJW
12-05-2007, 12:49
Wow, I am sorry to hear your experience with Stuart's Cove. Thanks for sharing with us.