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Thread: Blackbeard's Cruises- Bahamas- Exumas

  1. #1
    RBW Member Rock51 is an unknown quantity at this point Rock51's Avatar
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    Blackbeard's Cruises- Bahamas- Exumas

    I took a trip to the Bahamas recently and enjoyed my first liveaboard trip. We sailed on Blackbeard’s Pirate’s Lady with Pancho Jimenez as Captain. I also brought along my Sport KISS rebreather, which added to the adventure.

    We sailed from Nassau to the Exumas. I got a large tank of breathing grade oxygen from Bahamas Welding & Fire. (242-394-0004) They missed their promised delivery and thanks are due to Captain Pancho for sending their van after the tank of gas. The tank arrived at just under 2,000 psi, which worked out well as I have a 2,000 psi Luxfer oxygen tank on my Sport KISS. I used a hose whip and adapter set up to charge the oxygen tank. A single charge lasted all day.

    Pirate’s Lady did not have a DIN charging adapter for the diluent tank, but I had an insert bushing on hand so charging the diluent tank with air was not an issue.

    I broke the scrubber down into double zip lock plastic bags, at just under 5 pounds each. TSA opened my suitcase and swabbed it several times with their explosive detector gizmo, and it came up clean each time. Next time, I will put it in a kitty litter container

    The diving worked out well in spite of the fact that I was the only rebreather diver on board. I was diving with my kids, newbie divers all, and so was able to make four or five dives each day. I turned off the oxygen valve, and recharged the diluent tank if necessary, but basically didn’t do anything to the rig except take it off and put it back on. Scrubber change, oxygen fills and rig maintenance and safety checks were done early in the morning when the younger set was asleep.

    Living conditions could be described as spartan, especially if you compare it to the conditions on the Agressor fleet and the rest. The other liveaboards don’t allow rebreathers, so Blackbeard’s looked like a good deal. I spent a long time in the military and had to live in less than ideal conditions, but found my bunk on Pirate’s Lady to be a warm and comfortable place. My kids adapted to life on an 80 foot motor-sail sloop pretty well, and we all practiced talking like pirates: “KEELHAUL THE BO’SUN”, whatever that means….

    The food was good, and we had fresh lionfish (the crew cleaned the fish), conch, and were able to catch some dolphin on rod and reel. Captain Pancho is an accomplished free diver and was able to spear a nice grouper. Unfortunately, four reef sharks decided they wanted his grouper. Discretion was the better part of valor.

    Blackbeard’s doesn’t “support” rebreathers, but they do allow them on board as long as you have the wherewithal to get your rig and some scrubber to the boat and find a tank of oxygen. A Haskel pump would have been useful to get my oxygen tank up to full pressure, but given our circumstances, it really wasn’t necessary. I also brought an adapter bracket along that would allow me to dive open circuit with my wing, just in case the Sport KISS went south on me. Both the Sport KISS and the Shearwater Predator performed flawlessly and I couldn’t be happier with both units.

    All in all, the diving was excellent and I got to dive in some really cool places in a tropical paradise. Captain Pancho kept the divers out of the chamber, the boat off of the rocks and made sure that everybody on board had fun. The crew was always helpful and considerate and I can strongly recommend Blackbeard’s. My kids are already planning our next trip, sometime this fall.

    Last edited by Rock51; 2nd June 2010 at 04:44. Reason: Remove Microsoft Word artifacts

  2. #2
    Go DEEP!!!! Explorer is a jewel in the rough Explorer is a jewel in the rough Explorer is a jewel in the rough Explorer is a jewel in the rough Explorer is a jewel in the rough Explorer is a jewel in the rough Explorer is a jewel in the rough Explorer's Avatar
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    Re: Blackbeard's Cruises- Bahamas- Exumas

    Good for you. I believe that this is a first on one of Blackbeard's sailboat.
    Hope the will see the light one day.
    O2 has to be carried on deck but room was always too tight.. (asked the captain on one of their trips).
    Like the idea of kitty litter container!!!!

  3. #3
    RBW Member Rock51 is an unknown quantity at this point Rock51's Avatar
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    Re: Blackbeard's Cruises- Bahamas- Exumas

    Captain Pancho told me that there wasn't room on board for Nitrox. Add to that the hassle with oxygen plumbing. The oxygen supply tank was lashed to the railing on the stern and was pretty much out of the way. There was room for one or two more big tanks in this area.

    The "room" hassle I ran into was trying to don my Sport KISS while it was tied into one of the rack seats the open circuit folks use. Wound up busting my a*s on the deck and had to be helped up by the crew. We finally found an out of the way corner and stowed the rebreather on the deck, lashed to the starboard railing. (I pick up this nautical stuff pretty quick.)

    Getting the rig on involved hoisting it up and putting it on one of the chest high tables on the deck. Then came the fun of putting on all those straps and buckles and attachment thingys. My biggest problem was the childproof buckles on the Shearwater Predator. Not an easy task one handed, especially since I am left handed. If that is my biggest problem on a dive trip, then it is a good trip.

    Everybody on board was curious about the rebreather and how it worked. There were a few requests to dive the rig and Captain Pancho thought about it and decided it was not a good idea since I am not an instructor and do not have liability insurance.

    One thing I will add to my wing is a loop of one inch nylon webbing tied to the top of the plate. This will give the crew a good place to grab when I get out of the water and the sea is rough.

    Diving with my kids in the warm tropical waters of the Bahamas was an experience none of us will ever forget. There was a lot of "Did you see that shark/lobster/angelfish/sting ray/grouper?" WOW. My son is kind of full of himself (Go figure), but when I gave him a little taste of narcosis at 130 feet on a wall dive, he looked at his old Dad a little differently.

    Blackbeard's is more affordable for me than the other liveaboards. Using a little ingenuity, I was able to arrive on board with my rebreather and all the requisite supplies. Captain Pancho Jiminez and his crew were very supportive and enthusiastic about having a rebreather diver on board. There wasn't the chance to do those two and three hour rebreather dives, but it was never a big deal to me. I was diving with the fun bunch, all newly certified, and that was all I really wanted to do.

    In hindsight, I could have saved myself a lot of extra work by diving open circuit like everybody else. I am glad I took my Sport KISS with me, as I still feel that diving with it is a lot safer and a lot more fun than open circuit. Having a four foot reef shark get curious about the diver with no bubbles was pretty cool. My daughter saw him and came over and blew bubbles at him to chase him away. She thought I need "saving"... She tells all her buddies that she had to "save" her Daddy from the twelve foot tiger shark...

    If the divers on this forum want to give this liveaboard a try, I can highly recommend it.
    Last edited by Rock51; 2nd June 2010 at 17:03. Reason: Grammar error

  4. #4
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    Re: Blackbeard's Cruises- Bahamas- Exumas

    Sounds like a fun relaxing trip, anyone else up for another????

  5. #5
    Supporting Member Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36 has a reputation beyond repute Dsix36's Avatar
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    Re: Blackbeard's Cruises- Bahamas- Exumas

    Nice trip report. Sounds like everyone had a great time.
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  6. #6
    Shearwater Copis Diver Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy has a reputation beyond repute Gill Envy's Avatar
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    Re: Blackbeard's Cruises- Bahamas- Exumas

    thanks for the trip report, I do find it a little ironic how in some ways non-tec boats can sometimes be more enthusiastic and accomodating than tec operations, and much more affordable.

    g

    Gill Envy

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