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Nekton, Caribbean Explorer or Curacau


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#1 mellingson

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 10:18 AM

Would like to do a liveaboard within 2 months and only ones available are Nekton (Cay Sal) and Caribbean Explorer (St Kitts/Martin). Have not seen much on those liveaboards. Other option is Curacau or Bonair (have been to Bonair).
Any thoughts on which trip I should take? If liveaboard, I'm looking for a nice boat since wife is going. Please don't work price into the equation.

Thanks

#2 MikeO

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 11:51 AM

Both get good reviews, though the Caribbean Explorer is, at the moment, the Caribbean Explorer II, which, up until January was Peter Hughes' Sea Dancer in Providenciales. The original Caribbean Explorer is now in refit getting ready to begin life anew in Providenciales. I was on Sea Dancer (noe Caribbean Explorer II)three years ago and it was a nice enough boat -- not the best liveaboard ever but the price was right (Oh crap -- you said not to mention price -- sorry!), though I stayed in the "twin" cabin, which was very small. The meal and common area is enclosed only by heavy vinyl sheets but was air conditioned when we wanted it to be. I won't comment on the crew because it is obviously different now that the boat is somewhere else. The diving and sights around Saba /St. Kitts might be a bit more exciting than what the Nekton has to offer but it will be deeper diving. The Nekton (from all reports) is a much larger boat and stable boat with larger cabins. Never been on it, though. I was in Curacao a couple years ago as well. I stayed at Habit Curacao and thought it was very nice. At that time, the Habitat house reef made diving off the resort pier quite pleasant. Can't comment on its current condition, though. The boat dives out of Habitat were nice, if a bit farther than the boat dives out of the resort I stayed in on Bonaire. I made the mistake of going into Willemstad on Curacao -- apart from the slave museum and the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere (really!) it was a typical cruise ship town (ugh). Dove in Bonaire several months ago and enjoyed that as well. Much more flexibility if you're land-based. I guess it all depends on what you want. Your wife is a diver, I trust . . .

Mike

PS Really, those are the only two liveaboards available? Sometimes if you call Peter Hughes' booking office, they have short lead time deals, as does Aggressor

PPS Please, nobody flame me for saying the words "Peter" and "Hughes" in the same sentence -- I am aware of what happened two years ago (I was in Curacao then and saw it all on CNN).

Mike Oelrich
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#3 mellingson

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 01:37 PM

Thanks Mike, Aggressor seems to be booked for a while and I'm not sure about Peter Hughs. Not sure what to think about PH right now. I've been looking at some other boats which can be chartered and accomodates a small group ie "MY Lady Bebe, 105' power yacht" (caribbean). I hate trying to plan a big vaca on short notice.
I'll keep looking. Any additional suggestions are more than welcomed.
PS My wife dives as well.

#4 MikeO

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 04:29 PM

Have you looked into the Aquacat? Looks like a pretty nice ride.

http://www.aquacatcruises.com

Mike

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#5 scottyb

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 07:08 PM

I talked to several guest that came off the Nekton and they unanimously gave thumbs up. We dove beside her on the Aggressor all week in Belize. The only thing I could see that might be less than desireable was their dive deck in the event you had bad weather. If I was going to dive the Bahamas, I would probably do the Nekton.

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The boats in the Aggressor Fleet are hard to beat if there is an option.

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#6 davephdv

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Posted 12 March 2003 - 08:14 PM

Have done the Nekton Pilot, Cay Sal trip twice. Decent diving for the Caribbean, but pales by comparission with Fiji or the S. Pacific. Crew treated me well and are competent. Plenty of room. I have never had a bad trip on a liveaboard and would do it again if the price was right but I would rated it as the least outstanding of all the liveaboards I have been on.

Not meaning to be negative. I had a good time and the boat was fine. But I look upon it as the trip to make when money is short and other plans fall through. It's just that the diving was average and the boat is very SLOWWWW.

I might be tempted to try the Belize, or S. Bahamas trip.
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#7 ahplee

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Posted 26 March 2003 - 06:38 AM

Have you looked into cayman brac beach resort or little cayman beach resort. The diving is great and you can get up to three dives a day plus a couple of night time dives to make four a day some times.

The reef is pristine and the very three dimensional. Although I did not see any big animals it was an excellent vacation. They come and get your gear from your room and you never have to touch it again. It always stays on the boat. They carry your gear to the back of the boat where you sit on the dive platform and you jump in once you are ready. Between dives they head back to the resort and feed you with excellent meals and deserts and then you are off to dive again. Three great meals a day, thee dives a day, nice resort, nice rooms great service. have all of your dive gear taken care of.

http://www.bracreef.com
http://www.littlecayman.com/

I also heard nice things about http://www.turneffelodge.com/ in Belize.

In three weeks I off to a trip on the Nekton pilot in Belize. I'll post a report when I get back. My wife dives with me also. She also likes very nice accommodations and great diving. For her the vaction has to have both.