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Shearwater vs Dolphin Dream


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#1 Scubysnaps

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 06:42 AM

Please could someone tell me (PM me if you want) why the majority on here seem to favour Jim Abernethy's trips to Capt Scott Smith's?

I dont want to elaborate, as I guess everyone whos been on either would know the factual differences, and none of them make me understand why you prefer Jim's (no disrespect intended btw)
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#2 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 07:01 AM

AFAIK, Jim discovered the many of the sites for diving (such as Tiger Beach) and pioneered the shark experiences in the area. He also runs the boat 100% dedicated to getting images - and I tend to see a much higher hit rate of great images coming from Shear Water trips.

But that said, I don't think there are many people who have been on both boats - so few people have experienced the differences.

When I was last on the Shear Water the crew on their were very complementary about the crew on Dolphin Dream.

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#3 TN DIVER

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 07:37 AM

Well said and described Alex .... I continue to dive with Jim and also appreciate his photography tips and knowledge!
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#4 MIKE POWELL

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 07:49 AM

I've been on both boats twice....the biggest differences to me are 1.) The DD is a roomier boat 2.) The shark diving is more intense on the SW while the DD is pretty laid back.

You can't go wrong with either boat/captain, but if it's your first Tiger Beach trip and you want to be introduced slowly I would opt for the DD first...just my opinion and no offense meant for boat, captain, or crew.

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#5 stewsmith

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 08:15 AM

I asked the same kind of question many moons ago. Loads of people saying that JASA are the best but like Alex has said they had not been with DolphinDream to actually compare the 2. So their opinions didnt really count for much. There are a few WP members that have been on both and have PM'd me their views and I am sure that you will get a few PM's yourself Paul. As you know I have chartered the DolphinDream for a ten day trip in march and the price I am getting it for is great value for money. To me, looking at the photos of JASA's boat it just did not look like something that I would want to spend 10 days on. It looks small and cramped and doesnt really look to have much in the way of camera table, which if he catered mainly for photographers then I would have thought that he would operate a boat which is designed for the UW photographer in mind. Like I say, these are only my opinions that I have from looking at photos. The cabin layout on the DolphinDream is much more suited for my needs too. For the price that JASA charges I could not justify paying that for zero luxury. OK so the DolphinDream is not a luxurious boat, but it looks to have some space and my prefered kind of sleeping arrangements. Again this is why I chose the DolphinDream over the Shear Water. I am sure that I will go to the Bahamas and come away with photos that I am pleased with, maybe the diving will not be as in your face as it would be with Jim and this is mainly what was reflected by the PM's that I received. Most people that PM'd me said the biggest diving difference with the two is that Jim puts a lot more bait into the water to bring the sharks in, where as Captain Scott has a more subtle aproach.

When I was last on the Shear Water the crew on their were very complementary about the crew on Dolphin Dream.

Alex


Thats good to know, although I wonder if they would be so complementary with Jim onboard.

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#6 Drew

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 09:34 AM

One should also look at the responsibility of the operator in the protection of sharks. I doubt anyone could doubt Jim's commitment toward sharks in the Bahamas. However, the Dolphin Dream crew have been involved with dubious TV productions which perpetuate the shady myths about sharks, sending shark conservation backwards. These are the discussions that crossed WP:

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=27838


http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=31927

Basically, any operation getting my money, besides being professional and safe, also has to be contributing to the conservation of the environment or at least not contributing to the detriment of the creatures they are showing to customers. Sometimes that can be the differentiator in how I choose an operator.

However, the shear water isn't for everyone:

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=29988

It's always good to make an informed decision.

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#7 stewsmith

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 10:10 AM

Can we have an emoticon for opening a tin of worms please Eric.

This is almost like the Canon V's that other make thread.

Then there is always this threaD

http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=29988

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Edited by stewsmith, 25 November 2010 - 12:11 PM.

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#8 Drew

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 01:45 PM

Thats good to know, although I wonder if they would be so complementary with Jim onboard.



Can we have an emoticon for opening a tin of worms please Eric.

This is almost like the Canon V's that other make thread.


The only person who seems to make it so is apparently you, Stew. :) Everyone else has stated their opinions in a congenial way without too much bias.

The facts are pretty plain to see. JASA has a comparatively crummier boat, but offers better interaction due to the knowledge of the crew. Jimmy is a character and has built quite a following of clientele who don't care as much about the amenities as they do about getting the shots. The most publicized fatality also happened with JASA, although it was clearly an unfortunate accident.

Dolphin Dreams has the nicer boat but the operational side is less intense and even suspect. They allowed Les Stroud to stuff dummies in wetsuits full of fish to entice Tigers to attack the dummies for a sensationalistic TV show (see the protests by industry types here.). To some people like myself, such information is pertinent to any decision making. To others, it's a big deal about nothing.

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#9 Scubysnaps

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 03:56 AM

Dolphin Dreams has the nicer boat but the operational side is less intense


I guess that decides upto the individual, the sharks were always there, it depended how close you wanted to get, with DD, we were allowed to go in as often as we wanted, on our own if we desired, the chum is always out there in the crate, and what the eye doesnt see...
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Edited by Scubysnaps, 26 November 2010 - 04:00 AM.

Cheers
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#10 tdpriest

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 04:39 AM

I can't comment on DD, but the Shearwater experience, on a quiet summer trip, is one of the highlights of my diving life. The (admittedly) basic facilities are only part of the charm, and despite tropical storm Bonnie and all of the lunch plates leaping onto the floor I'd go back in a shot, even if Jim was cluttering up all the camera shelf!

And that despite getting the newbie bollocking for not having eyes in the back of my head!

Tim

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#11 PRC

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:35 AM

Whatever - all this loose talk is making me want to go again !

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#12 Scubysnaps

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:52 AM

Isnt the Shearwater at least $1000 more than Dolphin Dream, this was where my main question arose from. I guess its for the danger money for Jim to feed them, maybe I could hire my services out!? :)
Cheers
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#13 stewsmith

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 09:43 AM

The only person who seems to make it so is apparently you, Stew. :) Everyone else has stated their opinions in a congenial way without too much bias.

:)

The facts are pretty plain to see. JASA has a comparatively crummier boat, but offers better interaction due to the knowledge of the crew.


Really, how on earth do you arrive at this Drew, you do suprise me. How on earth do you know what Knowledge the crew on the DD have. Do you actually know them personally, do you know how long Captain Scott Smith has been visiting the Bahamas and diving with sharks. Is it not because of the amount of bait that is in the water that attracts more sharks than the approach of DD.?

Jimmy is a character and has built quite a following of clientele who don't care as much about the amenities as they do about getting the shots. The most publicized fatality also happened with JASA, although it was clearly an unfortunate accident.

I dont actually think that you would describe the sad death of Markus Groh in the same way had it happened whilst on a DD trip in the same circumstances either Drew.


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#14 Scubysnaps

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 10:20 AM

I dont actually think that you would describe the sad death of Markus Groh in the same way had it happened whilst on a DD trip in the same circumstances either Drew.

I thought exactly the same Stew, and comparing it to someone working with a with film crew, whatever their methods, thinking that was worse
Cheers
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#15 TN DIVER

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 02:16 PM

I thought exactly the same Stew, and comparing it to someone working with a with film crew, whatever their methods, thinking that was worse




Wow what a debate! Its all about what you expect in a liveaboard and about the images you want and get during the dives. Personally I'm a Shear Water guy and enjoy the enthusiasm on the boat. My images are great from my trips on the Shear Water!so I have no reason to change! Look forward to more Tiger Beach reports!
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#16 Drew

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 09:19 PM

Really, how on earth do you arrive at this Drew, you do suprise me. How on earth do you know what Knowledge the crew on the DD have. Do you actually know them personally, do you know how long Captain Scott Smith has been visiting the Bahamas and diving with sharks. Is it not because of the amount of bait that is in the water that attracts more sharks than the approach of DD.?

Stew, wrangling, safety protocols and allowed diving practices are part of the subset of a knowledgeable crew. I've seen both at work and the work of both. What happened on that Guerney production shoot is out there for people to read. If you are saying that's something a 'knowledgeable' crew who have shark conservation and diver safety at heart would allow on their boat, that's your prerogative. I know that Jim won't allow such things to happen. However the facts speak for themselves and I'll let the next person decide if it's important or not.

You wish to make a case for Dolphin Dream as an alternative to JASA, and that's great you want to share your experiences on your charter. I feel it's always good to have an alternative and I think JASA's operation has a huge fan club here on WP and needs a little rattling of the cage. It's a great thing to have as much information as possible to make a decision. Factors like price, food, amenities, professionalism, safety and for some, conservation principles, all come into play.

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#17 stewsmith

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 04:00 AM

Well Drew it appears that the safety of the ShearWater should be brought into question. One death and now Jim being bitten should surely start alarm bells ringing. If this had happened to one of the DD crew then I am pretty sure there would have been a public out cry from certain members of the JASA fan club.

Stew

Edited by stewsmith, 29 January 2011 - 04:04 AM.

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#18 adamhanlon

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 05:12 AM

Hi Stew,

Until the facts emerge about this unfortunate incident I think we are best leaving conjecture and opinion out of any debate. To ask anyone to comment on any issues it might raise publicly at the moment is both unrealistic and unfair.

For the moment, let's just wish Jim a speedy recovery and wait until we have the facts.

Adam

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#19 SimonSpear

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 05:42 AM

My god JASA vs DD is like comparing Nikon vs Canon after listening to you lot!! :island:

I'm actually booked onto DD in May for a dolphin week so I'll report back my experience after that. I've never been on Shearwater and I don't know Jim so I can't comment personally, but I've talked to quite a few people who have been on Tiger shark charters in particular who tend to not be so complimentary in their opinions to those I read on Wetpixel where I never really ever hear a bad word said about Jim/JASA/Shearwater.

Personally it would not stop me in booking up with them (and I hope to one day very soon), but it is always best practice to have a balanced opinion rather than appearing to steam roller out opinions that don't fit in with the official line. Not trying to be controversial here or stir anything up, just trying to point out that there is another side to the story that deserves to be heard.

I'm sure that we can all agree that we want a board that we can trust for balanced opinions? Don't we?

Cheers, Simon

#20 adamhanlon

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 06:20 AM

Hi Simon,

I'm not sure whether your post is in response to mine, or the other posts on this topic?

I'm sure that we can all agree that we want a board that we can trust for balanced opinions? Don't we?


Absolutely, I have no axe to grind on this issue at all-I haven't dived with either boat, so cannot comment on their operations. In this case however, we do have an instance of one of the skippers having been injured, in circumstances that have not yet been determined. My point was that you cannot make an informed, balanced and objective statement or even argument until those facts that are needed to make those statements or arguments are available! Stu specifically asked Drew to do so, which is simply not fair or reasonable.

Let's also not lose sight of the fact that a fellow underwater photographer has been injured, and deserves our support in recuperation regardless of your view on his operation.

As I say none of this is actually germane to the DD vs JASA debate.

Adam

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