The Carib Dancer will be offering two extended 10-night itineraries in 2014 and 2015 where guests will be able to enjoy more of what the Bahamas has to offer by adding more islands to their Liveaboard experience with some unique stops.
The dates of the two 10-night itineraries are September 24 – October 4, 2014 and September 23 – October 3, 2015.
Beginning in Nassau, these trips will cruise the Bahamas Out Islands and journey far into the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. This protected area is the first of its kind in the world and is famous for its pristine beauty, outstanding anchorages and breathtaking marine environment. The many islands, forming a chain stretching 100 miles southeast of Nassau, are flanked by the Exuma Sound to the east providing deep-water reefs, and the shallow banks to the west providing sea gardens, anchorages, shallow reefs and passages between the islands.
Excellent diving, snorkeling, and even a few shore excursions await passengers as the Carib Dancer visits some weekly favorites such as the Exuma Islands and Eleuthera, along with some Out Islands rarely visited. Though the actual route of the charter will be flexible due to the nature of the weather, planned stops are at the Exuma Islands, Eleuthera Cay, Little San Salvador, Conception Islands, Staniel Cay, Halls Pond Cay, Warderick Wells Cay and Highborne Cay before returning to port.
Guests aboard the Carib Dancer will journey to Eleuthera for some outstanding diving opportunities, as this land mass sits between the ocean-swept reefs of the Atlantic and the shallow, underwater gardens of the great Bahama Bank. Next, a planned stop at Little San Salvador, more commonly known as Half Moon Cay, is open for exploration as the island is also a significant nesting area for waterfowl and to date only 2% of the island has been developed.
The Carib Dancer will cruise next to Conception Island, which may be the loveliest island in the Bahamas as this uninhabited island has miles of pink sand beaches, gorgeous sandstone cliffs, and an extraordinary abundance of wildlife on the land and in the sea. There are numerous locations for spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling and the coral reefs and grass flats in the surrounding sea are unusually healthy and are home to an abundance of sea life.
In all, there are 365 islands in the Exuma chain (one for each day of the year), with Staniel Cay in the center. This small island is known for its hospitality and Thunderball Grotto, one of the most outstanding snorkeling attractions in all of the Bahamas. While this hollowed out rock has been the location for the James Bond movies ‘Thunderball’ and ‘Never Say Never Again’, as well as the blockbuster movie ‘Splash’, it lures snorkelers to enjoy a natural fishbowl of colorful fish, corals, sponges and other sea life. Not far away is Big Major Cay, home of the famous swimming pigs. Yes, that’s right, swimming pigs – and guests will have a chance to share these warm, inviting waters with these friendly mammals.
Guests will then cruise to Halls Pond Cay, which is privately owned and visits ashore are ‘by invitation only’, but spectacular diving is found just offshore at a site called Jeep Reef. Out of the sand and turtle grass beds, small pieces of coral begin to appear, gradually developing into massive boulders standing up to 28 feet. There is the wreck of a jeep on the southwest side of this “J” shaped reef and typical of many sites in the Bahamas Out Islands, it is best to dive this reef at slack water only because of the strong current that maintains the pristine nature of these reefs.
Next planned is a visit to Warderick Wells, which is home to the Exuma Land & Sea Park headquarters. Unique on this cay is Boo Boo Hill, a 70-foot high hill where for many years boaters have been placing memorabilia of their vessels. From the top of Boo Boo Hill the views of the island are incredible! There are also some pretty cool blowholes nearby that shoot a tall stream of water up through the rocks when the conditions are right. From the blowholes you can take a side trip down to Careen Beach where astounding views of the Caribbean waters await or take a small detour down to Powerful Beach where you can see the skeleton of a 53’ sperm whale that washed up on shore.
Guests will continue to dive the waters of these Out Islands as the Carib Dancer continues north of the Exuma chain and back to port in Nassau.
Carib Dancer signature amenities are included in these charters: deluxe accommodations, chef-prepared meals and snacks, soft beverages, local beer and wine, tanks, weights and air fills.
As the longest operating and largest organization of liveaboard adventure cruises in the world, the combined knowledge, resources, experience, and technical expertise of Aggressor Fleet and Dancer Fleet are all focused on delivering a safe adventure you will remember for a lifetime on each and every cruise.
For more information or to make a booking for this itinerary email email@example.com or call +1-800-348-2628 or 1-706-993-2531. Visit www.aggressor.com and www.dancerfleet.com for specific yacht and destination information.
Join Murex Resorts in North Sulawesi and embark on a Passport to Paradise!
Are you planning your next tropical diving holiday? With literally the world at your feet and so many different types of diving to choose from it can be tough deciding where to go…
The Indonesian province of North Sulawesi lies in the heart of a marine rich region and offers incredible wall diving in the Bunaken Marine Park: wreck, critters and reef combinations in Manado Bay; colorful coral reefs surrounding Bangka island; and the world’s best muck diving in the Lembeh Strait. So how do you begin to choose which region to allocate your holiday time to?
Whilst many divers have heard of these world class diving destinations, many may not realize the close proximity within which they are located. Taking a scuba diving holiday in North Sulawesi does not mean that you have to choose between locations – you can see all that is on offer and explore the areas which appeal to you – IN ONE TRIP!!!
Bunaken Marine Park was one of the ﬁrst Marine Protected Areas in Indonesia – and it shows! The dive sites around this small island are characterized by staggering coral walls which are teeming with life. The resident population of green sea turtles has grown from strength to strength and at some dive sites you’ll lose count of the number of turtles you see in a single dive.
Manado Bay is home to wide ranging marine life and diverse dive sites. Manado Bay is becoming increasingly recognized for its black sand, muck diving sites, which are home to a plethora of unusual critters from numerous cephalopod species through to seahorses, nudibranch and crustaceans. The Molas wreck is an exciting wreck dive and also offers a myriad of ﬁsh and critters. To the South of Manado Bay lays Poopoh – a record breaking site where 385 different species of ﬁsh were recorded in just one morning.
Bangka Island is as beautiful underwater as it is on land. This white sand, paradise island is surrounded by kaleidoscopic, soft coral reefs. Schooling snappers, passing reef sharks, occasional dugongs and an array of reef ﬁsh and critters have all made Bangka Island their home. Bangka offers phenomenal diving coupled with the chance to completely get off the grid on this stunning, remote tropical island.
The Lembeh Strait is home to the highest concentration of rare and unusual marine life on Earth. Exploring Lembeh’s world famous muck diving sites is akin to opening a treasure chest of critters. Even the most seasoned of divers can’t help but be impressed by the species found here: eight different species of frogﬁsh, ﬂamboyant cuttleﬁsh, wunderpus, mimic octopus, blue ring octopus, bobtail squids, harlequin shrimps, tiger shrimps, three species of pygmy seahorses, countless species of nudibranch, bobbit worms, Ambon scorpionﬁsh and rhinopias – just to name but a few!
The idea of moving from resort to resort can seem arduous and result in wasted diving days – but in North Sulawesi this does not need to be the case! Stay with us at Murex Manado (for diving Bunaken and Manado), and smoothly transition to Murex Bangka and then on to Lembeh Resort too. You can choose the number of nights you wish to stay in each location and transfers between resorts are by boat and include two dives along the way! No wasted diving days, no logistical planning, no drying and packing gear and your dive guide will stay with you from start to ﬁnish. Dive your way, hassle free, from one place to the next. Two resort combinations are also available.
For those of you who want to experience the full diversity of Indonesia, choose from up to 150 dive sites and maximize your diving opportunities – a Passport to Paradise is the dive trip of a lifetime.
For more information or for enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Flying Visit to Nusa Penida, Bali
Once I’d organised my 6 day/5 night Jurassic Komodo trip, I knew, if I was going to travel all that way, I needed a bit more time to acclimatise and explore. With flying through Bali a popular route from the UK to Labuan Bajo, it made complete sense to spend a couple of days there before flying out. What better way to get the trip started than revisiting where my underwater photography journey started back in 2013 and diving around Nusa Penida? The opportunity came up to spend 2 nights with an amazing little dive resort on Nusa Penida Island called Pure Dive Resort, and it was the perfect start to my trip.
Pure Dive Resort was created in January 2019 after the owners sold their share in a dive resort they built on Ceningan, and has been operational since 1st May 2019. Pure Dive Resort has big plans to create a full-scale dive resort offering quality diving on Nusa Penida. Unfortunately, the Covid outbreak caused delays, and at the moment only the dive centre is operating. However, while I was there, you can see work is in full effect and the place is already looking amazing. After speaking to the owner Ark and the ambition he has for the place, it’s clear that Pure will be a sought-after resort on the island; a place focused on high service and safety standards, while concentrating on keeping it personal for each and every guest.
While the plans for the resort proceed, Pure Dive Resort are using Ring Sameton Hotel for their dive and stay packages, just a 2-minute stroll from the dive centre. Pure Dive Resort are running 2 custom built dive boats, each capable of taking up to 14 divers (including guides) onboard. I for one was very impressed with the dive boat and how spacious and comfortable it was, especially as ‘Manta Point’ is quite a ride away and it can be a little choppy; however, on this occasion the journey was a super comfortable and a fun ride out. The boats are equipped with marine radios, 2×100 4 stroke engines, emergency O2 and life jackets, keeping safety paramount. Not only is Pure Dive Resort a well-equipped dive centre, it also has a freediving school, and they use their own custom-built boat with the capacity of a maximum of 10 freedivers onboard.
While I was impressed with the professionalism and facilities of Pure Dive Resort, it was the equipment for hire and the capabilities of the centre which really stood out. As I was flying to Labuan Bajo late the next day, and I was only scheduled for 3 dives, I was reluctant to use my own dive gear for fear of drying time. I requested a wetsuit and BCD and was really impressed with the quality on offer. Almost brand new ScubaPro equipment is available, and you can see it is well looked after and kept in perfect order in a dry room at the back of the centre. So, after the formalities were over, it was time to get familiar with diving in Nusa Penida once again. Our first dive was scheduled for ‘Manta Point’, easily the most famous/popular dive site of Nusa Penida. I was really looking forward to getting back to a dive site that was the catalyst for me becoming an underwater photographer 10 years ago. The journey to ‘Manta Point’ is an adventure in itself, and just adds to the experience. The rough and ready coastline of dramatic cliffs, pounded by a lively sea, leave you in awe, as the rising sun breaks over the top of the island, creating dramatic rays of light through the spray and mist. The boat skips along the surface, with the excitement building over every swell.
After around a 45-minute journey, we arrived at ‘Manta Point’ earlier than a lot of the other boats that were heading there, thanks to Pure Dive Resort working to create the best experience for their guests and aiming to beat the crowds. Ark was my dive guide for the dive and one other diver would join us. After a thorough dive briefing, where you could tell Ark was very knowledgeable about the area, dive site and mantas, we dropped in and were soon graced by the presence of a black-morph manta ray. Honestly, it couldn’t have been much more than 2 minutes into the dive and the manta went gliding over my head. What a start! Two more manta rays were seen during the dive, but they didn’t seem to want to stay around. That’s wildlife for you; you can’t guarantee the manta rays will circle above you for the whole dive. We still got guaranteed manta rays and saw three, along with a fever of blue spotted stingrays all huddled together on the reef floor. A great start to my trip, and seeing a manta ray within 2 minutes of entering the water is pretty incredible.
Our manta fix wasn’t quite finished though. While we headed back along Nusa Penida to our next dive site, we stopped at a known manta feeding spot for juveniles. It’s an area where a lot of the snorkelling boats go to experience manta rays, and sure enough, we could see a lot of activity in the bay. Ark made the decision to take us over and see what kind of action was happening. It wasn’t long before we spotted a large black shape breaking the surface, and Ark asked if we’d like to jump in and snorkel. It was a unanimous decision and we were dropped in the path of the manta ray. More incredible manta moments were had, as it passed by circling the bay area as it fed. I managed to grab some cool shots showing the contrast of the top of the manta to the seafloor. Nusa Penida really is a unique place and great for manta ray interactions.
After a brief snorkel, we were soon back on the boat skipping across the surface to our next port of call located on the North West side of Nusa Penida. Our next dive site of choice was ‘Pura Ped’, a sloping hill reaching down from the surface creating a gradual descent broken up with stunning hard and soft coral spread throughout the site. The visibility was just amazing, and while Ark kept an eye on the depths in the hope of seeing Mola Mola, I concentrated on the reef and marvelled at the amazing coral on show. While we had no luck with Mola Mola, Titan triggerfish, huge pufferfish and three hawksbill turtles kept me entertained throughout a thoroughly peaceful dive.
Before I descended for my third dive of the day. We ventured back to the dive centre and enjoyed an incredibly tasty lunch, included with a dive day package. The Soto Ayam in the restaurant opposite the dive centre was bursting with flavour and well needed after two great dives.
My third dive was to concentrate on some macro critters that call Nusa Penida home, and Intan was highly recommended to be my guide. Intan had a big reputation with the other guides who said she was incredible at finding the small stuff. I wasn’t originally planning on doing any macro, so it was lucky that my room wasn’t far, and I rushed back to change my lens. The dive site also wasn’t far, as we made a short journey out to ‘SD Point’. I’m so glad I switched to macro and could witness and document the diversity of diving here. Intan’s reputation was well deserved, as she continually pointed out some amazing critters, with leaf scorpionfish, peacock mantis shrimp, scorpionfish, nudibranch, porcelain crab and more spotted throughout another amazing dive.
My trip to Nusa Penida with Pure Dive Resort was short and sweet, and left me wanting a lot more. A day of diving was nowhere near enough that’s for sure, with Ark confident he can find Mola Mola within a few days during the high season of August and September. I feel a trip must be planned for that time next year to explore so much more that this area has to offer. I feel I also missed out on exploring more of the island and its rugged beauty. A trip across to Kelingking Beach is a must next time (even though it is the quintessential tourist view of Bali). While I enjoyed meals at Penida Minang and Penida Colada, a week of culinary exploration is also much needed while I take in the sites. The only question I have now is – ‘Who’s joining me and Pure Dive Resort for an amazing week in Nusa Penida?’
For more information about diving in Nusa Penida:
Whatsapp: +62 811 3999 852
Sean Chinn Instagram: @greatwhitesean
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