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Dive Review of The Phoenix Charter in

The Phoenix Charter: "The Phoenix Falls Short", Sep, 2022,

by R W Berry, MI, US ( 1 report). Report 12272.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation N/A Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments The Phoenix Falls Short

We had a crazy experience I want to share.
First I must add the friends referred to below are some of the nicest divers we've met. We were so happy to be invited to join them. We met at a simple house for the night before heading to port. Everyone was punctual and organized. We walked to dinner and caught up with stories and lots of silliness. 
We got to Bay Shore Marina in Nassau early. The sun pressed down hot without a breeze. This would hold steady for four days. The crew of three seemed more stressed than the usual "let's pull this sh#t together” vibe before a live-aboard trip. We dragged our luggage to the 39 ft catamaran we’d seen sailing beautifully on videos savored from home during the last seven months. Our trip’s organizer Simon had researched hundreds of dive trips. He was particularly excited to charter this one for a week of “dive dive dive” with his wife Hannah, Rob and I, Wayne and Mary, and Bart. Great people and with the exception of myself, excellent divers.
After boarding at 11:00 am, both engines wouldn’t start. Crew member Nico politely asked to plug in under our berth to charge the AGM battery so we could get going. “No problem.” I crawled out around the cords and got out of the way. We wouldn’t leave for 3 hours. Lunch was served at 4 pm.
We suffered through the first night with no air conditioning and a low of 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The small window in the roof of our berth offered some air until midnight rain fell through it onto our already sweat soaked carcasses. Some said it was the worst night of their lives. Having had seven pregnancies, well, I couldn't say that. 
I remember waking before sunrise on Blackbeard’s live-aboard the week before. For five mornings I’d get tea for Rob, then sit with my coffee for a pristine sunrise with a few calm divers sipping hot drinks and chatting nearby. Blackbeard’s often gets a bad rap for tight quarters, simple accommodations, and too much partying. We told some fellow divers there, that we were excited for our private catamaran the following week. This my second trip on the Blackbeard’s 63 ft monohull sailboat would prove to be top notch, with the most complete safety instruction, dive briefings, and most respectful crew I’ve experienced having a little over 100 dives as a PADI advanced diver. 
After our sweaty night on the Phoenix we woke to the pounding of a generator trying to keep things going. I tried to make coffee but had to wake the captain/cook sleeping on the galley bench to ask for a filter. This was his bed. We couldn't use the galley because it was filled with clutter. This meant we had to keep moving to stay out of the sun. The only hydration was jugs lined up in the sun. We had to write our name on our jug and drink warm water. Refrigeration problems meant no cold drinks. 
Rob's translation: The boat's onboard generator didn't work. This caused a cascade of system problems including no water desalination, no air-conditioning, refrigeration problems, and problems starting the boat. Rob says they jury-rigged a 2-3,000-watt old auxiliary gas generator to power low wattage devices.
Since we departed late, they decided to dive “The Blue Hole,” about 40 minutes from port. There was no dive briefing or boat safety briefing. The dive was a break from the heat. I love diving, but the rest of the friends would rather live underwater. We enjoyed the dive but I had no idea how to manage the flimsy T-shaped ladder. Holding fins couldn’t work so I tossed them up to no one. Once on the third (top) rung, there was no way I could reach the single handle on the hull. I called out and waited patiently for a hand up. 
we began to feel trapped, crazy, and angry. This was complicated by the fact that many of us felt bad about not enjoying this trip. In a group meeting after the first dive, a few of us, including myself, decided we were done. We’d come to dive. Putting up with inconvenience was expected. We’d been positive and looking for good. We tried to ignore the smell wafting from our bathrooms. This would serve as a metaphor for the entire trip. Greasy floors, piles of clutter, terrible communication from our captain/cook, broken systems, and ultimately an unsafe vessel would cause our group to learn a tough lesson about trusting TripAdvisor reviews and videos. After the trip, we found one review that matched our experience, but it after two weeks it was removed for some reason. 
After discussing the situation with all crew and passengers, Simon told the captain we wanted to end the trip. He seemed to not take it seriously as he came to Simon the next morning and suggested we go back to port and rent a bigger generator, then go out again. After the night we suffered some of us were upset that he wasn't hearing us. I said it was like communicating with my former husband. ;D

Other problems including missing guard lines on both sides of the boat, emergency the o2 bottle being empty and the second taking over an hour to open due to rust, emergency oxygen, and no AED, 
After about 10 weeks of negotiations, Simon got our refunds. A negative review by our group was not posted to TripAdvisor.

Hopefully this will help some of you not to be misinformed and ever have to go through what we did. We didn’t want to bash the Phoenix and crew. It seemed they were under a lot of pressure to complete the excursion with broken unserviced equipment even though they knew it was risky. These seemed to be simple men trying to make a living. I’d rather blame owners and managers for this one. We’d later discover the cook/captain was the owner. We hope our calling the Phoenix out for what it was, saved them them bigger problems and most importantly saved future crew and passengers from injury or worse.

Let’s hope this Phoenix rises from the ashes some day.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Coral Sea, Bonaire, Cozumel, Honduras, Caymans, Belize, Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Michigan, California, Missouri, Florida and the Keys
Closest Airport Nassau Airport Getting There no problems

Dive Conditions

Weather dry Seas calm
Water Temp 85-89°F / 29-32°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
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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