If you've never been on a Blackbeard's cruise it is the perfect trip for those that want a lot of great dives, wonderful food, fun and knowledgeable crew, and lifelong friends and dive buddies. You only need to pack light, a couple bathing suits, neoprene if you are so inclined, maybe a t-shirt or two and your dive gear. Spend the week diving, eating, relaxing, diving and eating some more.
During our week at sea we were treated to reef dives, wall dives, wreck dives and a shark feed. We stopped one day on a beautiful island which we will forever lovingly know as Schyler's Island for a walk on the beach, some swimming and a easy hike to the top of a hill for some breathtaking views. We made another quick visit to another island where we got to feed the iguanas.
One evening we anchored and were given dingy rides in to visit a beautiful small resort on Norman's Cay, where we sampled Miranda's home-brew, an excellent ale. Norman's Cay is a small island with a storied history that included drug smuggling and a 3,300 foot long runway. You can also see the wreckage of a DC-3 that crashed just off the island, part of which is still above water.
No one will forget our dive in "The Washing Machine".The strong incoming tide of up to 6 mph takes scuba divers thru a narrow cut where water drops off a ledge and then makes a sharp bend to the left. This causes the water to swirl like the water in a washing machine. This swirling water will toss scuba divers head over heels. After passing through the cut you glide over a large patch reef. Even members of the boat's crew said it was the most exciting dive in the Washing Machine they had ever had and one of the fastest drifts. Credit goes to Pancho, our captain, who has tried several different put-in spots and marked them on his GPS until he has found the absolute best and most exciting spot to toss his divers into the wash!
It wasn't just the scuba diving that was great. We were lucky enough to be there for the opening day of lobster season. You are not allowed to take lobster on Scuba so with a few lessons about breath-hold techniques and free diving, and some tips on how to spear "bugs", several of our bunch jumped in and tried their hand at spear-fishing for lobster. Lucky for us the crew actually knew how to catch lobster or we might have had to share one lobster amongst the 22 of us. Instead, the crew came up with an additional 10 on opening day and another 6 or so over the next couple of days. You really haven't lived until you've had Nadia's twice-baked lobster stuffed potatoes. But then that was only one of the many dishes that came out of Nadia's galley that week. Believe me, no one is hungry on a Blackbeard's cruise.
The trip was really unforgettable for a lucky few of us who got to see a Hammerhead Shark! Rarely seen up close, this one was not far off the anchor line when we descended and Mark B. was able to get photographic proof of the event.
We returned home on the 5th of August and immediately added next year's trip to the travel board. Stop by the shop, watch the video filmed by Brian Erickson on our trip, and sign up for next year's Blackbeards, June 16-22.
If you would like to travel with Bluewater Scuba, visit our trip pages to see what exciting place we're diving next.