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Dive Review of Blackbeard's -- Morning Star in

Blackbeard's -- Morning Star: "Blackbeard Morning Star - August 2016", Aug, 2016,

by Dave Madorsky, CO, US ( 2 reports). Report 9199.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments This was my first live-aboard. The Morning Star is a 65' ship, on which 25 people (20 divers, 5 crew) live for a week for a time. If you've heard it's 'camping at sea,' believe it! More like luxury camping, though, in that the food is excellent and lots of it, and the international crew (all very pleasant and attentive) catered to our needs without being overbearing or patronizing.

First some tips, especially if you've never been on a live-aboard before:
Be prepared to do ALL of your personal grooming with as little fresh water as possible. They have a water desalinizer on board, but it's slow going. If you've never been on a live-aboard, pay attention to the ships briefing at the beginning of the trip - especially the part about using the head!

Bring something soft to sit on while on deck. The seating area is ample, but there are no cushions. During the long transit from Nassau to the Eleuthera's we spent 6 hours in pounding 4' swells, which included a storm complete with lashing rain and lightning, so I was soon wishing for something to cushion my bones. Since the transit was rough, if you're prone to seasickness, medicate early and often. Once in the lee of the islands the water was reasonably smooth.

Even if you tend to tan more than burn, remember to use sun block. A lot of people had raccoon eyes because of their sunglasses. And the fairer skinned divers were showing plenty of red after the first day. :)

Avoid cotton clothing - remember, pretty much EVERYTHING gets wet or at least damp while on-board, and cotton takes too darn long to dry out.

Bring a bottle for liquids that doesn't have to be opened completely to be used. I had several spills over my face and chest using my wide-mouthed water bottle, trying to drink on a rocking boat. :) Having a bottle that you can attach a carabiner to, and hook on to a line, is helpful to keep it from rolling away from you.

Remember to thank the cook. Often. He or she is the most important person on board!

Remember to thank the crew. Often. They're working their butts off running the ship and catering to our needs. They want everyone to have a good time, so if you need anything, let them know; but especially let them know at the end of the trip with a 15% tip or more.

With a small galley, many people chose to get their food then make the steep climb up the ladder to eat on deck. Just remember that if you like salad, eat it down below first, or use use a thick salad dressing to weigh it down before going on deck where it's usually windy.

Privacy is at a premium, so don't expect this to be a romantic get-away for you and your sweetie; all of the racks have a heavy canvas privacy curtain, but it's insufficient sound proofing. ;)

As for trip impressions:
On my trip, all of the divers were American, so not a lot of diversity in that regard, but from various parts of the country. The close quarters and shared living space made several people feel quite close by the end of the trip. Fortunately there were no obvious personality conflicts, as can happen on a live-aboard with very little land time.

The food was excellent and there was plenty of it, including mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. Good solid foods, and creative but not exotic.

Except for one brief beach landing of a couple hours, the only time we were off the boat was for dives, up to 5 a day, with two night dives in the course of the week.

All divers were on their own to find a buddy and plan and execute their dives. The only exception was that a couple of people were getting their advanced certifications, so they dove with the Divemaster for their specific training dives. Being a lone diver, I found that my cabin mates all had similar objectives and training, so the four of us often dove together.

The dive briefings were excellent - clearly presented with diagrams of the site, boat, compass, and current orientation, and descriptions of what to look for, as well as some history.

The dive stations felt only slightly cramped, but it was easy enough to gear up and down, and the crew was always ready at the end of the dive to help us back to the station and make sure our tanks were tied in. Tanks were always filled to capacity and ready to go for the next dive. Personal dive gear (anything not attached to the tank) was stored in spaces below the horse-shoe of seats that ran around the bridge.

I rented a BCD and regulator, and of course the tank and weights are supplied; other items are available for rent, if you call ahead. For instance, I'm a gas guzzler, so I requested a 100cf tank, rather than a standard and it was all set up for me when I arrived. Everything was in excellent condition, and the crew was able to assist with the minor equipment issues that arose.

Having dived Key Largo a couple years earlier, I thought the diving was pretty similar in terms of water quality and sealife. Visibility around 50' to 60' through-out the week, and there was only one day where we had heavy currents that made diving difficult (for me, anyhow).

There was one small table at the stern for cameras, along with a camera soak tank, but that was about it. Not a lot of protection from the elements unless one went to the bunk, where you could recharging from the several outlets around the cabins.
Websites Blackbeard's -- Morning Star   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Hawaii, Key Largo, Catalina Island (California), Monteray Bay (California)
Closest Airport Nassau Getting There No difficulties flying American Air from Denver to Charlotte to Nassau. Bag arrived undamaged, customs line was long but moved smoothly and relatively quickly - very perfunctory.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 80-85°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-60 Ft/ 15-18 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Standard recreational limits based on our certification; No technical diving allowed; no wreck penetrations without clearing it with the Divemaster and Captain (and proper equipment); no diving after drinking alcohol.
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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