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November 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Cuan Law, British Virgin Islands

first-class trimaran and service, but the diving . . .

from the November, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver:

Right off the bat, I knew that a liveaboard trimaran that carries two Hobie cats, a kayak and water skis served a more diverse crowd than dedicated divers. I also recalled that my first dive trip to the British Virgin Islands produced gentle, if unspectacular, reef diving. Nevertheless, when a June group trip came along that allowed me to bring a few friends and family members who didn't dive, I signed up. After all, I can find an underwater subject for my camera anywhere, and the 105-foot Cuan Law sustains a fine reputation, having been in operation for nearly 30 years in these waters. Why not give it a go?

After overnighting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Seaborne Airways flight to Tortola was aboard a Saab 340, meaning most carry-ons must be checked on the tarmac. I asked the gate agent for a fragile tag, as my carry-on contained my camera equipment. They handled it with great care, but not so for a friend whose carry-on was not tagged; somehow, the handle on the housing inside his carry-on was broken off.

In Tortola, the Cuan Law sent a taxi to pick us up. Since it was a couple hours before our noon boarding time, we were dropped off at a market in Road Town to pass the time, while our bags were taken to the craft. After our shopping excursion, we were picked up for the short drive to the marina, where the owners, British expats Duncan and Annie Muirhead, and the full crew met us.

The trimaran Cuan Law was designed and built in 1988 by the Muirheads, who reside in Tortola. In his mid-seventies, Duncan has a sincere smile and a pleasant wife about his age and half his size. Annie jumps right in to grab mooring ropes or do anything else that needs doing, and never hesitates to tell Duncan to get moving if need be. It was clear to me they have been working well together for a long time, with Annie at the helm.

Cuan LawUpon arriving aboard, I took my shoes and put them in a basket, only to retrieve them upon departure -- a true "barefoot cruise." Crew members Amy, tall and bubbly, and Florrie, shorter and equally pleasant, showed us our cabins off the main salon. Roomy for liveaboard cabins, they had either a full double bed or two twins, AC, and a head with a shower. Then it was a briefing on policy and procedures, and within an hour after boarding, we were off to the first dive site. All divers, with the exception of those with instructor credentials, met guides Jamie or Ben, both fullfledged instructors, on the bottom for a mask clear, regulator removal and hand signal review. While divemasters or crew were always in the water, divers were free to do their own thing as underwater photographers prefer, some spending as much as 90 minutes in the 80-degree-plus water and nearly filling up their chips....

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