FAQs

Travel Planning

Travel to Nassau on Friday is recommended when possible. We have hotels in Nassau we can recommend for the night. Also this takes the stress out of same day travel – no lost luggage or missed connections to worry about on the day of boarding! Let us know what you want to do and see while you are in the Bahamas and we’ll do our best to steer you in the right direction. Click here to go to the Trip Info page with hotels in Nassau. You might even want to check out one of the other Out Islands at the end of your trip!

Please contact the vessel if you experience any changes or delays in travel to the Bahamas on Saturday as our U.S. Reservations Office is not open on the weekends. The cell phone numbers to the boats are 242-376-7608 and 242-376-7606. If you have arranged Ground Transfers through us with Island Escape Tours, please ALSO contact Mr. Wright directly at 242.449.7862. The U.S. Reservations Office can take your calls Monday thru Friday 9:00am — 5:00pm EST at 800.327.9600 or 954.734.7111.

Canadian and U.S. citizens are not required to have a visa to travel to the Bahamas.

All non U.S. citizens should Click here for visa requirements. If a person is born in one country and is a resident in another, the documentation required is based upon the country of birth.

You will need enough spending money for an evening ashore (shopping, drinks, souvenirs), and for the crew gratuity (15% is customary). The local currency is the Bahamian dollar, which is equivalent to the U.S. dollar and are interchangeable. If you have U.S. dollars it is not necessary to exchange currency. You can charge your specialty classes and crew gratuity to your cabin account. Cat Ppalu accepts VISA, MasterCard and Discover.

Blackbeard’s sailboats dock at the Nassau Harbour Club Marina on East Bay Street, right across from the Starbucks. The ride is approximately 30-40 minutes from the airport to the dock. It is not that far but slow down, Mon! You are on island time now. If you need ground transfers while in Nassau, we can assist. You can make the ground transfer arrangements online or call our office at least 7 days prior to your departure. The cost is $18.00 per person per leg. If you prefer to take a taxi or miss the cut off date, taxis are readily available at the airport.

NAS is the airport code for Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport. All the major carriers fly into Nassau, most of them with very competitive fares.

Most visitors to The Bahamas do not need special vaccinations before entering the country.

***Latin American Citizens: However, travelers over age one must provide a YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CERTIFICATE, if they are coming from countries with the risk of infection such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. They must be vaccinated 10 days before entering The Bahamas. Information can be found on the following sites:
CDC Travelers’ Health.

Yes, with at least 7 days’ notice. Click here to arrange online or call our office. If your departure date does not appear in the date drop down box, the deadline has passed. In this case, taxis are readily available at the airport.

By all means, yes. There will always be a diving buddy for you. Many of our passengers come aboard as singles and it’s a great way to meet other likeminded adventure travelers who love to dive!

Dive liveaboard cruising is an appealing alternative to conventional land-based dive vacations and larger cruise ships. We offer a more flexible but inclusive travel experience – one that provides “twice the fun at half the price”. Aboard Blackbeard’s you’ll get a camping-like experience at sea with good food, dormitory-style living arrangements, a fun and friendly crew and with plenty of great diving.

Blackbeard’s leaves Nassau on Saturday afternoon for the Exuma Cays. Each week is a new adventure with no fixed schedule. The captain will vary the itinerary to take advantage of the best weather and diving conditions. Blackbeard’s will traverse the northern end of the Exuma Cays in search of great conditions with evenings spent anchored offshore one of the many islands. The last night of the trip will be spent in Nassau where you can explore the big island with your new buddies! Dinner on Thursday is served on board at the dock.

The liveaboard business is a service industry, and although the general public is seldom aware of it, gratuities are a major part of a crewmember’s salary. Few other recreational activities rely so heavily upon the professionals in charge for your enjoyment and safety. A gratuity of 10-15% is customary, but many leave more when they feel the service was outstanding. If you are disappointed with the service, you should inform the captain of your feelings right away so he may rectify the situation.

Space is limited on Blackbeard’s sailboats. We suggest several bathing suits, shorts, long pants, several T-shirts, and a wind breaker all packed in soft luggage. Also pack deck shoes, sandals or flip-flops, towels (see note below), sunscreen (non-oil/reef safe), sunglasses and foul weather gear (pants and jacket) which is a necessity to keep dry from spray or rain. During the cooler months, bring sweats/warm clothing for topside. Don’t forget jammies since this is dormitory style; you’ll need something to sleep in besides your birthday suit! Personal items such as aspirin, decongestants and shampoos are also recommended.

We provide all bedding. We have storage at our dock for any empty bags or any bags you won’t need.

We recommend 2 towels – 1 for salt and 1 for showering.

Each bunk has a shelf at the end where you can store clothes and other personal items and a few hooks to hang your ditty bag too. Click here for a checklist.

For flight planning purposes boarding is 12:00pm on Saturday and shove off by 3:00pm. Please be on board by 1:00pm at the latest. The latest we recommend landing is 12:00pm so that you have time to clear Bahamas Customs and Immigration and transfer to the dock. Once on board lunch is served; you will some have time to get settled in and then attend a mandatory safety briefing before we depart Nassau.

Blackbeard’s returns to Nassau on the following Thursday afternoon. Dinner is served on board at the dock and then you can spend the last evening exploring Nassau with your new friends! All passengers must disembark by 9:00am on Friday morning. If you have a flight later in the day, you may leave your luggage in the lobby while you sightsee. Your last dive is complete by early afternoon on Thursday. Plan your flight home according to your “NO FLY” standard from your certifying agency.

All travelers to the Bahamas need a passport. As you arrive into Nassau Airport you will clear Bahamas Customs and Immigration. Be sure your plane ticket matches your documentation. Check with the Bahamas Embassy for visa requirements if you are not a U.S. citizen. U.K. Embassies act on behalf of the Bahamas as well. As you depart Nassau at the end of your trip, you will clear U.S. Customs and Immigration before arriving at your departure gate. Please plan extra time to check in for your flight home.

It is recommended that all passengers purchase travel protection to help protect you and your trip investment. It is also recommended that all divers have diving accident insurance. For more information and to purchase dive and travel insurance, visit the providers below:

Diveassure: For annual combination trip and dive accident insurance.

Travelex
: Travel protection for a single trip. You may choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and select the optional ADVENTURE SPORTS COVERAGE upgrade which waives the policy exclusions for extreme sports such as scuba diving.

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Policies

A deposit of $250.00 per person is required to confirm a reservation. Balance is due in full 90 days prior to departure. We accept MasterCard, Visa and Discover, personal check, money order and wire transfers.

For individuals, if you cancel your trip more than 90 days to departure, a refund will be issued. Within 90 days of departure, there is no refund unless space is re-sold and the trip departs full. All refunds are subject to a 5% admin fee.

Blackbeard’s cruises are geared towards diving so the recommended age for children would be 10 for junior divers and 12 for open water divers. Keep in mind, children under 15 must be supervised by a parent or guardian at ALL times. While our crew is most gracious and good with all ages, they WILL NOT provide childcare services or supervision at ANY time during the cruise.

We offer a future credit for any days missed due to a named storm. We know many people have busy schedules so we don’t place a time limit on the use of this credit. There is no refund for cancellations due to weather.

The fees cover the Bahamas government taxes and fees.

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Diving

Certified scuba divers need snorkel, fins, mask, and regulator with pressure gauge, buoyancy compensator (BC), u/w watch, and depth gauge. For night dives the minimum requirement is two light sources: a dive light plus a backup dive light, a non-strobing marker light or a chemical light stick (cyalume). Cyalumes are $3.00 each and are sold on board. We provide tanks, weights and weightbelts. Between fall and spring, a wetsuit is recommended. There is storage on deck for all gear and we have rinse buckets for underwater cameras and regulators. Please request rental items on your Trip Application.

Month Water Temperature (F/C) Air Temperature (F/C) Wetsuit Recommendation:
January 72-75 / 22-24 72-80 / 22-27 Full Wetsuit 5mm
February 72-75 / 22-24 72-80 / 22-27 Full Wetsuit 5mm
March 73-77 / 23-25 72-85 / 22-29 Full Wetsuit 5mm
April 75-79 / 24-26 76-90 / 24-32 Shorty or Full
May 77-80 / 25-27 80-90 / 27-32 Skin or Shorty
June 79-81 / 26-27 80-90 / 27-32 Skin or Shorty
July 83-87 / 28-30 80-90 / 27-32 None
August 83-87 / 28-30 80-90 / 27-32 None
September 83-87 / 28-30 80-90 / 27-32 None
October 78-82 / 26-28 76-90 / 24-32 Skin or Shorty
November 75-80 / 25-27 72-85 / 22-29 Shorty or Full
December 73-78 / 24-26 72-85 / 22-29 Full Wetsuit 5mm

Divers will normally have the opportunity to log 3 to 4 dives per day, including night dives, as long as weather permits. We generally offer up to 19 dives on a 6-night trip.

The shoreline, mangroves and shallow reefs are perfect for snorkeling with crystal clear waters and lots of fish, both small and large! You can snorkel anytime the boat is anchored! You need to bring mask, fins and snorkel. We do offer rental of these items on board. Please note on your Trip Application. The snorkeling is not supervised. If you have not snorkeled before, we also recommend a snorkel vest.

Solo dive certification is required for those divers who wish to dive alone. You must have the requisite solo dive gear. Otherwise you will be buddied up with another diver.

Between fall and spring, a wetsuit is recommended. The chart below will give you a general idea of the water temperatures and what weight wetsuit you will need. When deciding which wetsuit works for you, consider that you will have the opportunity to dive as many as 5 times a day and it takes your body a while to warm up. Wetsuit needs are different for everyone. A general guideline follows.

Yes, an instructor is available to teach these courses. You can find details here on the Dive Instruction page. Prior arrangements are recommended and a Medical Form is required for those taking a training course.

We host all levels of divers from beginners on their check out dives to seasoned pros on vacation! Be sure to bring your certification card (c-card), we’ll need to see it. If not certified, you may take a Discover Scuba Diving course from our dive instructor for a $125.00 fee. A Medical Form is required. Please indicate the type of Dive Instruction desired on your Trip Application. Please indicate the type of Dive Instruction desired on your Trip Application.

If you do not have your own equipment, we have “top of the line” dive gear available for rent. For rates, click here. Please request these items on your Trip Application. We do not store our gear at the dock so last minute requests may not be available. We also have cyalumes available for sale at $3.00 each.

Yes. You can complete your open water checkout dives with an instructor. Prior arrangements are recommended. The cost is $25.00 per dive with 4 required plus cost of the certification form if not provided. Many guests choose to complete their open water certifications in the crystal clear, warm waters of the Bahamas!

We do not have the ability to accommodate rebreathers.

Single side mount diving is possible as each guest is assigned a dive position that holds one tank. Be sure to choose an end unit position to better accommodate your gear.

By all means, yes. There will always be a diving buddy for you. Many of our passengers come aboard as singles and it’s a great way to meet other likeminded adventure travelers who love to dive!

The Exumas are home to just a few wreck dives. We do visit the Austin Smith wreck. The wreck is not penetrable but it lies on a great reef and is the site of our shark feeding dive.

The dives offered on Blackbeard’s are unescorted. The instructor on board will give you a good, in depth briefing before each dive describing the conditions, the current, depth, and it will include a visual aide. The instructor and/or staff will be in the water for all drift dives and the shark feed! We do have crewmembers that would be happy to act as guides when they aren’t busy with other duties.

Our scuba diving instructor will give you basic instructions. This will allow you to make 2 dives under the supervision of our dive instructor. This resort course does not qualify you for certification. The BC and regulator are included with a resort course. The fee is $125.00. You can find details on the Dive Instruction page. Prior arrangements are recommended and a Medical Form is required for those taking a training course.

We’ll be diving up and down the Exuma Sound, an abyss that drops over 4,000 feet to the ocean floor! While the Northern Exuma Cays are only 30 miles from Nassau, land-based dive operators are too far away to dive this area. The Exuma Cays are known for their wonderful reef dives due to the protection they receive from the Land and Sea Park sanctions so you can experience truly virgin diving. Because of these laws, there are miles of undersea gardens in which coral, sponges and fish abound. Turtles, rays and sharks are seen regularly on most dive sites. Sometimes we dive Eleuthera but that is also weather dependent. Our specific itinerary varies with the winds to obtain maximum visibility for diving. The depths normally range from 20 feet to 120 feet. There are swift drifts between the cays as well as a blue hole that divers will love!

We have 63 CF (9L), 80 CF (12L) and 100 CF (15L) tanks for guests to use. There is no additional charge for the use of the larger 100 CF (15L) tank however, we have a limited number of these on board so note this request on your Trip Application. They will be first come first serve on board if more requests than tanks occurs.

Our tanks are fitted with yoke valves, however if you dive with a DIN regulator, let us know and we can have an adaptor added to your tank.

Yes, Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks frequent many of our sites. We normally offer 1 shark feed on each trip. This is the perfect time to see sharks up close and in action!

It is recommended that all passengers purchase travel protection to help protect you and your trip investment. It is also recommended that all divers have diving accident insurance. For more information and to purchase dive and travel insurance, visit the providers below:

Diveassure: For annual combination trip and dive accident insurance.

Travelex
: Travel protection for a single trip. You may choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and select the optional ADVENTURE SPORTS COVERAGE upgrade which waives the policy exclusions for extreme sports such as scuba diving.

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On Board

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free are pretty easy to work with as well as allergies so let us know upon booking if you require special meals. Please remember that you are participating in an adventure travel vacation that is occurring in a remote part of the world. Many of the modern conveniences, brands and pre-packaged goods we use at home are not available in remote destinations. As such, many special requests that are very specific may be difficult to accommodate.

Finally, if you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other special life event, please let us know. Our crew stands ready to assist you in making your special day something to remember.

Sleeping Cabins #1-4 upper and lower bunks are single bunks with curtains for privacy. These have less space but are more private. #5 and 6 upper and lower bunks are double bunks meant for two people to share. This is typically where couples are housed. #7, 8 and 9 upper and lower bunks are in the main salon. These bunks are double wide but usually only sleep single passengers. There is less privacy here but more room. Think camping on the high seas only better — we have air conditioning and do all the work!

Internet service is not offered on board, sorry. Unplug and relax while you dive all week! Your smart device may be able to connect to the Internet when we are within range of the one cell tower in the Central Bahamas. Be sure your cell provider has international service with the Bahamas before you go.

No smoking is allowed below deck. We ask that smokers step aft to the stern where a canister is kept for butts. Please do not throw them overboard.

Your BC and regulator set will stay on your tank all week. Other dive gear, like your snorkel and dive gear, can be stored in our top side storage compartments. There is a shelf at the end of each bunk where you can store clothes and other personal items. We have storage at our dock for your luggage.

You will need enough spending money for an evening ashore (shopping, drinks, souvenirs), and for the crew gratuity (15% is customary). The local currency is the Bahamian dollar, which is equivalent to the U.S. dollar and are interchangeable. If you have U.S. dollars it is not necessary to exchange currency. You can charge your specialty classes and crew gratuity to your cabin account. Cat Ppalu accepts VISA, MasterCard and Discover.

The shoreline, mangroves and shallow reefs are perfect for snorkeling with crystal clear waters and lots of fish, both small and large! You can snorkel anytime the boat is anchored! You need to bring mask, fins and snorkel. We do offer rental of these items on board. Please note on your Trip Application. The snorkeling is not supervised. If you have not snorkeled before, we also recommend a snorkel vest.

We have standard U.S. 110-volt current outlets. Devices should not be left unattended while charging. Fireproof charging bags – Lipo [lithium polymer] Guard – are available for purchasing online or check with your local dive shop.

Yes, one shower is equipped with both fresh and saltwater taps. Everyone cringes at the mention of a 30-second freshwater shower but it does warrant some explanation! There are two shower heads in the shower: one fresh and one salt. Saltwater use is unlimited so lather, shampoo, shave, etc., with the unlimited saltwater and then use the 30-seconds of freshwater at the end to rinse. You’ll feel fresh as a daisy! Bring your own towels-we recommend two – one for topside and one for showering.

Yes, each vessel is equipped with a DVD player and an iPod docking station.

The best time for sailing is from October to April. During the period from May to September there is normally very little wind. We often motor from dive site to dive site due to their close proximity. We will hoist the sails at least once … weather permitting.

For the non-diver there is swimming, sun tanning, beachcombing, fishing, snorkeling and just plain relaxing. If they are happy hanging out on a boat with other adventurous souls, they will be fine. If shopping and island hopping is on their mind, then remember- our cruises are destination and activity oriented, not amenity based. Casual, outdoor lovers that enjoy the salt air and open seas will be most happy on a liveaboard.

The Exuma Cays offers opportunities to go ashore and explore and enjoy the uninhabited beaches. For these occasions, we highly recommend proper footwear. Flip flops are not always suitable. We suggest water shoes or TEVA type sandals. Sneakers are fine but they will get wet!

Three complete meals are served daily, as well as snacks. We serve typical American fare — baked chicken, pork loin, lasagna and meatballs, with all the sides and dessert too! Meals are served buffet and eaten picnic style. There is always a hammock of fresh fruit for those between meals snacks as well as PBJ. A selection of beverages is always on hand from soft drinks and lemonade to beer, wine and rum punch — all included in the price of your liveaboard cruise! We can accommodate special diets. Please let us know what they are on the trip application.

Yes, all the fishing gear is provided for trolling and our cook encourages it! Whatever we catch that is edible is cooked for passengers or used for sushi! The rest is saved for the chumsicle and the shark feeding dive.

The law in the Bahamas does not allow for spearfishing on SCUBA. It also prohibits triggers. This means freediving and pole spears only. We do not hunt on our dive sites. We do not spear fish.We can offer guests the chance to lobster hunt during season. Lobster season is August 1 thru March 31.

Just keep in mind that we spend a lot of time within the limits of the Land and Sea Park which is a marine sanctuary. There is no fishing or taking of any kind while we are within the park boundaries.

If someone needs to get in contact with you because of a true emergency, they may contact the U.S. Reservations Office and we will relay the message. The boats travel to remote areas. The only possible way to contact them is to relay a request to return to cell range so they may call our office. Since the boat is frequently hours from the nearest tower, this can cause you and your fellow passengers to miss out on part or all of a day’s diving. This contact should be for true emergencies for this reason.

Motion sickness medication should be brought along in the event that we encounter rough seas. We want you to be comfortable. The boat will spend the night in calm anchorages and normally scuba diving will be done on the lee side of the islands. The best thing about a liveaboard diving vacation is that we can flex our schedule to go where the weather and conditions are best!

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Miscellaneous

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