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Thread: Aquacat or Turks and Caicos Explorer II?

  1. #1
    TadPole
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    Aquacat or Turks and Caicos Explorer II?

    I'm looking into doing my first live aboard trip. I'm considering the Aquacat out of Nassau or the Turks and Caicos Explorer II. Does anyone have any experience with either of these boats?

    Price wise, they will be very comparable, I'm most definitely a novice diver, and have only logged a few dives since my certification in Sept. of 2015. Thanks for all advice!

  2. #2
    Moderator ST-Forum Mod PACKRMAN's Avatar
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    Great choices, I would also look at the Aggressor boat. All three of these boats dive the same area, in fact, you will probably see the other boats thru out the week. A liveaboard like this is a fantastic option for a new diver. They will put a guide in the water each dive to do a tour so you cant get lost. The mooring pins are in the middle of the best diving so you don't have to go far. The best thing is the repetitive diving every day. It will give you a chance to practice and perfect skills in a short period of time rather than re-learn after a six month layoff. There are going to be 20 other divers on the boat with you. You will be able to watch them and see different gear and skills in action. Absolutely ask questions, I don't know a single diver that doesn't love to talk about gear or the way they dive. I would make a point of talking to the dive staff too. They are there to make your life easy. They will love to help you out with anything you might be struggling with. Really, it makes their job easier.
    Originally from the Great White North, I give you...

  3. #3
    TadPole
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    Thanks, not sure if that helps me make a decision between them though!

  4. #4
    Megalodon
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    I've not dove Turks and Caicos, but have heard it's good diving. Aquacat is a good boat, on her, you'll dive off Iíve not dove the Turks and Caicos so I canít give any good information on Explorer II.

    Aquacat is a good boat, more luxuries than the Blackbeard boats (same company, different levels Ė Blackbeards is more dive oriented with a ďCamping at SeaĒ atmosphere 65í sailboat). While nowhere near as opulent, Aquacat is closer to a cruise ship in amenities. Aquacat dives off the Exuma Banks and Exuma Sound. While there is some current, most dives are planned around neap tides so itís light and easy. Diving on the Banks side of the Exumas-west side of the islands, the water is usually 20í-40í deep, fairly clear (100í+) with varying degrees of sea life. The Sounds side Ė East side is deeper but usually more clear with a much more diverse underwater environment.

    Another consideration is travel Ė Nassau is very easy to fly into, Iím not 100% sure, but itís a bit more restrictive going to T & C. Also, a quick look at airfare from DFW to Nassau is $500 +/- and Providenciales starts at Around $850.

    Not much more help, but a little. Me, personally, if given a choice, Iíd pick Caicos as I havenít dove there yet.

    I once saved a man in Wichita just to watch him dive...(inventor)

  5. #5
    TadPole
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    Thanks for the suggestions! After corresponding with a few of the live aboard operators, I went ahead and booked a spot on the Turks and Caicos Explorer II

  6. #6
    Megalodon
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    Have a good time, be sure to let us know how it was when you get home.

    I once saved a man in Wichita just to watch him dive...(inventor)

  7. #7
    Here's the absolute best tip for that boat - it swings a lot on the mooring since all that hull/glass above deck presents a good target for the wind. So as it's getting close while finishing your safety stop - unless you're immediately under it - don't try to chase it, let it go by and catch it 5 minutes later when it comes around again. Trust me on this, better divers than you have tried and failed to catch it. It's pretty funny to watch...

    Some of the best dives I've done in the Caribbean were at French Cay. And I've dove much of it - 9/10 of the "best of Carib" lists. They should put a guaranteed shark sightings comment on their website b/c you will see them there - we did every dive. And turtles, dozens of stingrays, barracuda, huge lionfish (they don't cull) plus all sorts of macro life around the shallow coral heads near the moorings. Watch/listen for wild dolphins off West Caicos also - they're out there. We heard but did not see them at the site with the old engine block - btw it's not worth the swim...

    You made the better choice. I've dove both areas via liveaboard. The Banks are nice but the deep walls off the Caicos can be spectacular. The upwellings from several thousand feet down bring up nutrients and the coral grows on top of itself - in many areas you can't even see the sand.

    One thing to watch is your depth. The water in many places is so crystal clear that you can get deep fast if you're distracted following a shark or something. The last dive of the afternoon is the same site as the night dive so don't sit that one out - good chance to get familiar with the area/landmarks.

    Two other things I did - carried enough cash to tip the crew - I'm a 20% guy since they work hard - plus on our last dive one of them dove after a fin I dropped. If you charge the tip, they don't get it until their next paycheck is mailed to them from the U.S. the next week.

    On the ride over to dinner Friday night I suggested that we'd pay for the crew's meal - the Captain, Purser, lead DM and another crewman met us there. Most of them don't make very much money. Our boat had a purser/dm married couple working to buy into a boat of their own - they didn't even have an apt. on Provo.

  8. #8
    TadPole
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    Thanks for the tips! That is great info

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