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  1. snagel says:

    Black Beard Trip Review
    Black Beard – Morning Star Review!
    Original post by Pandora on ScubaToys

    We were on The Morning Star from 7/31/10 – 8/6/10. We flew into Nassau on 7/30 direct from DFW on American Airlines.

    We stayed at the Nassau Palm on Friday night. It is a Giant Pink older hotel the I called ‘Hotel Rwanda. We had several drinks at the hotel bar and it was in walking distance to downtown. The cabs on Nassau are expensive. For 4 people from the airport to Hotel Rwanda was $35. The traffic is awful and there is a lot of horn honking and aggressive driving on the island. We left the hotel and headed to the Mariana at 11 am on Saturday. The cab was only $5 per person and $5 for all of our bags. The cab rates are negotiable.Just do it before you get in! There is NO free wifi on the island except for at starbucks! They want you to pay $10 per hour.

    When we arrived the crew was not ready for us to start boarding. So we dropped off our bags on the dock and walked around. Right across the street form the Mariana is a Starbucks (free Wifi), a KFC, liquor store, and a grocery store. Several people from our group picked up liquor & snacks, got a coffee or had fried chicken. The grocery store is large. we;; stocked and has cold AC!

    We started boarding around noon. They ask that you set up your gear a put everything else (wetsuit, fins, boots, mask, ect.) in your locker on the boat. Then they take your bag and lock it up at the office. The tank your gear is set up on is your tank for the whole week. However the spot your gear is in is not your spot for the whole week, but you locker never changes. We grabbed a locker under the canopy and close to the tank opposed to one that would always be in the sun and at the front of the boat. After you get your gear situated you can take your personal stuff to your bunk.

    The Living / Sleeping Arrangements:

    There are three areas on the Morning Star for bunks. Cabin 1 is in the front Cabin 2 is in the middle and the Galley. Each area has a head, and the one shower is in the Galley. Cabin 1 is larger than the 2nd cabin (sleeps 8). The passengers were complaining about he AC in this area.We were in Cabin 2 6 lower. This is the ‘couple area’ (sleeps 8 with four bunks). The bunks are not any larger, but there is a door that you can close off to the area you are in. Our area was more private than the others, and the HVAC blew cold. and the room stayed cold as long as you kept the door closed. The Galley bunks are in the eating / kitchen area The have curtains for privacy, this area does get late night traffic.

    The Bunks are about the size of a double bed. there are pillows on each bunk. There is a shelf at the end of the bunk that you can use for storage. We packed our clothes in 2 gallon ziplock bags. You do not need to bring allot of stuff! I packed 5 t shirts, 3 pairs of board shorts and three swim suits.There were several people to brought small plug in fans to keep their bunk area cool. There are plugs in the ceiling of the bunk areas. There is not a lot of space!

    The food was plentiful and better than most all inclusive. Everyday there was a big breakfast, nice lunch and a hearty dinner with dessert. They also provide snacks throughout the day (fruit, granola bars, nuts, ect). There is a keg on tap all the time. And at night the punch magically changes to rum punch! I was glad that I brought a no – slip thermal cup. The mugs they provide are small. It was nice to have a cup that would keep ice and not spill for on deck. They did have black beard thermal type cups for sale for $12.

    Overall it is camping at sea. I never had a problem going to sleep at night and never went hungry!

    The marine heads are marine heads. They break allot and stink.

    The Boat is in good shape and the crew works their butt off!


    The dives were for the most part shallow (under 50′). The marine life was fair to good and the visibility was never less than 50′. Our trip logged 20 dives, with four being night dives. All of the dives are done with out a DM. I like this! They give you a briefing where the DM on board reviews a drawing of the dive site and tells you what type of sea life to expect. Our DM would give us a fish of the day for us to look for with back ground about it. The seas were very calm and no one got sea sick. There were 2 small rain storms that came and went very quick. They ask that you surface with 500psi.

    We sailed down to Eleuthera. This area has more network algae than I expected and tons of lion fish. I also saw more nudibranchs than I have ever seen on this trip. We also saw a ton of sharks. It is not uncommon to have several large reef sharks drop in while you are on your safety stop. We saw a few turtles and eagle rays as well. The water is warm and most people dove in their suits and a rash guard.

    Everyday at 7am the wake you up with the smell of cooking bacon or hot coffee! Then after breakfast you are in the water by 8am. This is one area that I had a problem with. I do not like to dive after eating a large meal. The you would have a 2 hour SI (it takes 2 hours to fill the tanks) have a snack and be back in the water by 10:30 – 11:00. After the 2nd dive you had lunch and time for a nap. Some days we did a late afternoon dive and some days we did a night dive. It all depends on where you are headed. We docked 2 times. Once on a small island to walk around, lay on the beach and feed the Bahamas Iguana’s and once at the Yacht Club on Eleuthera. We stayed overnight at the club (on the boat) and were able to take a REAL shower and use a REAL bathroom!

    We did the shark feeding dive at Amber Jack Reef. This is a reef in the marine park, so the coral and life was much more plentiful. This was the best shark feed I have done. They ask that the divers follow the mooring line down and sit on your knees as directed by the DM in the water. Once everyone is seated, the other DM brings down the Chum. After the Chum is clipped off you are allowed to swim around while the sharks feed. Other shark feeds that I have done, they want you to stay in your spot until the sharks have finished the chum. Since I was taking pictures I got very close. Truth be told, probably closer than I should have. DD was so close that he was being rained on from the chum bucket. After the Sharks are done they hung out for a while. There were also very large groupers on the shark feed. This was also a shallow dive (65 feet), so we got to stay down for a long time. *There are a few videos out there that I am waiting on.

    The washing machine dive was fun. It is like a swirling drift dive. They have you follow a DM with a DM at the back of the pack to make sure no one gets off track.


    Be careful with your gear. The tanks and gear are packed in very tight. A few times our high pressure hose or bladder on our BPW was pinched. They have them crammed in there. The camera table is less than idea. This table also doubles as a table for cigarettes, glasses, and what ever else someone wants to set down. There is a camera rinse bucket on the boat.

    Overall it was a great trip! I would do it again, but maybe next time leave from Freeport and head to Bimini. The amount of diving, food and drink you get for the money is worth it. It is ‘camping at sea’, but we were fine with that. It was a great week. No phones, computers, tv, kids or decisions to be made at all!


    When we docked Thursday night the crew took us down to Crazy Johnies. There was much fun had by all. At the end of the evening (4am) the crew was on the bar and we were ready to sleep one more night on the boat! There is a pool at the dock that pasengers can use as well as showers. The cab from the dock to the airport was $10 per person and took 45 minutes to get to the airport. Our flight didn’t leave until 5pm so we used the pool and the showers. You have to be off the boat on Friday by 9am.

    I am still working on my pictures. I will post them soon, I promise!

    *****I would give the trip an 8 and would do it again!*****

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