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Thread: Flower Gardens 9/17 - 9/18 - Questions

  1. #1
    Barracuda
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    Flower Gardens 9/17 - 9/18 - Questions

    Me and Wheelman are hitting the Flower Gardens mid-September. Looking forward to the diving, but this will be my first live-aboard so I have some questions...

    Would any FG veterans please chime in on tips/tricks for topside? I'm curious about the bunks, quarters, down-time, etc. What did you do or what would you be sure to do next time?

    Things like "bring a battery powered fan cuz it's an oven in your room" is the type of advice I'm looking for.

    Also, I know they have beer and soda for purchase. Do you pay as you go or do they run a tab?

    Lastly, when it comes to tipping, what was your method? Do you tip the crew individually or give a lump sum, and was it cash?

    Thanks, homeys.
    i'm not as think as you drunk i am ...

  2. #2
    Grouper Founding Member
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    Enjoy the trip -- I hope the weather is good.

    Bunks are first come first serve -- there are 2 (or maybe 3) quad bunks that have a door. The unwritten rule is that you let groups that are going together take those instead of a single traveler throwing his crap on all four bunks to make it look "taken". The bunks right under the stairs aren't bad - although they look like they would be noisy. But maybe I'm just a sound sleeper. I've never tried the bunks in the bow - they are accessed through the bridge, so I can't comment on those.

    Bring your own towel.

    If you like things chilly when you sleep, then yes, you'll need to bring something. The interior is air conditioned, but if the boat is full it isn't hot, but warm. I've never brought a fan, so I can't speak to if there are any restrictions.

    Beer/Soda are recorded on a tally sheet to the left of the galley. They will have unlimited water and lemonade stored in 5 gallon water jugs. They settle your tab at the end of the trip. You can also purchase shirts and related sundries at that time. That is when tipping is done as well.

    Tipping is a pot of money split by the un-paid crew members. I think only the captain is paid, but don't hold me to that. Tips can be cash or you can add them when you settle your bill and pay via CC or cash.

    The boat typically leaves right at 8:30 - they won't let you on the boat dock until 8pm, so no real need to show up early. The boat dock entrance seems to have lots of mosquitoes, so the less time I stand there the better.

    If you bring shoes, leave them in the car or take them off as soon as you get on the boat -- no need for them.

    The crew will give you a brief introduction right around 8pm about how to board the boat, get your bunk, where to place your gear, etc... The beauty of live-aboards is you set your gear up once and outside of unscrewing the regulator for fills after each dive, you don't worry about it till the end of the trip.

    The crossing from Freeport out to the FGs can be rough -- if you have a sensitive stomach you might want to plan ahead.

    The boat does have TV (either dish or direct TV) and an assortment of movies and a small library. I typically bring my Kindle with a few books and my dive gear and a couple T/Shirts and shorts and that's it.

    Bring a primary and secondary light and a tank marker if you plan on doing the night dive.

    I can't remember if the boat provides weights, I bring my own.

    Use soft-side luggage if possible. Easier to store than hard-sided luggage and if the boat is full, space is a premium.

    I'm sure others will have more, but that is my brain-dump. Enjoy, it is fun diving.
    Tom

  3. #3
    TadPole
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    Tom just about covered it. Regarding down-time--there's really not much of it. It's pretty much eat, sleep, dive all day, then the next morning. After a dive, I'd take a quick rinse in the deck shower, towel off, then grab some chow. By the time you eat and socialize a little, you've got about an hour till the next splash time. I'd go ahead and test my nitrox and get my gear prepped at that point, because they always seemed to open up the diving about 10-15 minutes earlier than they said they would.

    Boat details: they REALLY want you to bring your own lead if at all possible. They've got a little on board, if you need to add a couple of pounds, but not enough for everyone. There is an indoor shower (supposedly--I've never used it). Storage space is tight, so pack light.

    Have fun! I'll be out the week before you so I'll try not to scare off all the whale sharks
    -JoeT

  4. #4
    Grouper
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    The same advice for getting your bunk goes for where your gear is set up on deck....if there is somewhere specific you'd like to gear up at (like close to the exit (usually off the side) or entrance (at the back) then get there first thing. Since you are going with a buddy, you might want to have one of you go down and get your bunk and the other stash some gear where you want to sit. Since you are on a liveaboard, once your gear is set up, you never change spots. I like to gear up slow, so it's no big deal to me, but those who are fast and want to get off the boat, don't want to have to maneuver over every elses fins, etc. If the weather is nice, it's always good on the surface interval to go up top to get some sun/relaxation or do some dolphin searching.

  5. #5
    Grouper
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    Are you going on the Spree or Fling, they are setup a little different, Spree takes 24 divers and the Fling 36. Usually in Sept they aren't full though. Did a Sept. trip about the same dates as yours once and had only 12 divers.
    Tulsa Aquanauts
    www.tulsaaquanauts.com

  6. #6
    Grouper
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    I received an email from Capt. Frank on the Spree today. He is not planning on coming back to the Flower Gardens in 2012. He is losing too much money doing the trips and his Florida trips are doing very well. I wish I had done a trip aboard the Spree this year, I was planning on one next year.
    Tulsa Aquanauts
    www.tulsaaquanauts.com

  7. #7
    Barracuda
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    thanks for the advice, peeps!
    i'm not as think as you drunk i am ...

  8. #8
    Barracuda
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    can anyone give me typical water temps in september. i've done some poking around on the web and haven't been able to find anything reliable.
    i'm not as think as you drunk i am ...

  9. #9
    Grouper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigg_Budd View Post
    can anyone give me typical water temps in september. i've done some poking around on the web and haven't been able to find anything reliable.
    I was there in the middle of Sept. four years ago and temps were 82-84. I dove in a .5 mm suit. I did 12 dives in 3 days. I don't remember getting chilled, and I get cold easy. It was a rough trip as far as waves though. There were only 12 divers on trip and at least half got sea sick.
    Tulsa Aquanauts
    www.tulsaaquanauts.com

  10. #10
    Barracuda
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    thanks, sooner. i run hot, normally. i dive wet in water that is 36 with <20 on the surface. will they let me roll in a shorty?

    i hear you on the waves. i'm gonna start poppin' dramamine 2 days prior and all through the trip...
    i'm not as think as you drunk i am ...

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