Captain Red is the best of the best -- knows his stuff and obviously very committed to customer safety and experience.

James Palkovic

The Vessel

Vessel layout of Blackbeard's dive liveaboard in the Bahamas

Blackbeard’s cruises are delivered on one of our two 65-ft. sailboats.

  • Exceptional oceanfront and island views
  • Dining – picnic-style outdoors in the horseshoe or inside near the kitchen (galley)
  • Bunks – beds come in doubles and singles as uppers or lowers
  • Bathrooms (heads) – small and shared with your mates
  • Showers – hot water and long showers are a luxury – enjoy them before you arrive
  • Kitchen (galley) – yes, a compact space where all your meals are prepped. We’re serious.

Don’t pack tons of clothes. We’d rather have room to store all the food we’ll eat each trip.

Our dinghies are our transportation to and from islands.

Meet Our Crew

Captain Jim Swartzell of the Blackbeard dive liveaboard Sea Explorer

Jim

The Captain

Captain Jim first joined Blackbeard’s in 1991 as the dive instructor on the Sea Explorer. He later served as engineer, until earning his Captain’s license and began the rest of his time as First Mate and Relief Captain throughout the fleet. He also sailed a few times as the chef! Jim left in ’95 to work in yachting. He came back in early 2016, missing the pirate life. Outgoing, friendly, and full of stories, he’s returned to his passions, sailing, scuba diving and fishing. Jim is a world traveler, and an avid motorcyclist/collector. Hobbies also include snowboarding, paddleboarding, rock climbing, and cooking.

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Capt Red is the captain of the Blackbeard dive liveaboard Morning Star.

Michael "Red"

The Captain

Red joined us years ago and hails from Virginia originally but if you ask him, the Bahamas he calls home. He went to the school of hard knocks and got a BS in BS. He loves to travel, take wild road trips to see NASCAR and never misses Talladega! He enjoys cook outs with friends especially. The lure of the sea brought him to diving. He started out as a cook and worked his way up to Captain. When he was just 14, he used a fake ID to join the crew of the Schooner AMERICA and sailed to Key West from Norfolk. She was built in 1851 and was the first winner of the America’s Cup. When they arrived in Key West, he was detained and then sent home. He found his way back to a sailing vessel a few years later and has made it his life.

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Iain

Captain, Engineer & Dive Instructor

AKA Podgey, this criminal psychologist major decided to pursue diving as a profession back in 2008 but has been diving since he turned 14. He enjoys watching real football and also playing it. He likes to go out, take long walks on quiet beaches and has no intention of telling us a secret about himself so we’ll be creative and make one up — Podgey likes to take bubble baths with rose scented soap!

 

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Blackbeard captain Drew.

Drew

Captain & Assistant Crew Chief

Drew has a long history with Blackbeard’s! going to his college days at Ole Miss where he was the scuba club sponsor and brought new students out each year for spring break. We finally lured him to the life at sea and he joined us as an instructor working his way up to captain. He hails from Itta Benna, MS and now lives in Miami Beach when not on the boats.

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Tamlyn

Captain, First Mate, Engineer &
Dive Instructor

Tamlyn hails from South Africa and is both PADI and SSI certified as an instructor. She loves diving, hockey, hiking and basically all sports! She studied literature in university and is fluent in Afrikaans and English.

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karen

Karen

                                  Chef

Karen hails from Matagalpa, Nicaragua.  She attended Columbia University in NYC prior to joining our crew.  Karen doesn’t miss the snow at all.

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Morgan

Dive Instructor

Morgan was born in Cooperstown, New York and earned his degree in Biology prior to becoming a dive instructor. He started his diving career Mexico working on a conservation project during his gap year and fell in love with scuba diving, marine conservation and coral reefs. He managed a scuba diving store in Charleston for several years and in April 2018, he lead a trip on Blackbeard’s- he had such a great time he decided to try his hand at the liveaboard instructor position. When not under water, he loves to play and watch soccer. When he is in port, he walks 3 blocks in Nassau to go say hello to a neighborhood dog for his canine fix.

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Corrai

Engineer

Born in Florida, raised in Alabama, Corrãi thrives in getting his hands dirty and engineering tirelessly as the food, the conversation, and the sights that come after come with greater satisfaction. He spent his college days studying Philosophy and Psychology at Auburn University. While he can’t have the engines aboard the Cat Ppalu recline on a couch and unravel their feelings to him, a mind conditioned for analytical thought, attention to detail, and problem-solving serve as the foundation for his newfound mechanical passion.

Corrãi is an avid reader, a bluesy pianist, a world traveler, and a determined writer, hoping to cultivate some stories of his own out here and further advance his skills as an engineer.

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Justin

Dive Instructor

Justin is 22yrs old from Dayton Ohio. He was dive certified when he was just ten years old and was hooked. He has traveled throughout the Caribbean such as Bonaire, Tortola “BVI’s”, Grand Cayman, Roatan, and of course the Florida Keys. Before he decided to chase a dream of diving, he attend college in Dayton Ohio. He enjoys spending time with his family- all 4 siblings, him being the oldest. When he wasn’t gaming with them he enjoyed going out with friends, playing disc golf, going to the gym, and helping coach youth wrestling. Something you guys would never guess about Justin is that he has a love for musicals, West Side Story is a classic.

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Elayna

Engineer, Chef, First Mate, DI

Elayna hails from Auckland, New Zealand where she left her job as a marketing consultant to pursue a life on the ocean. Since then she has worked as a crew member on boats all around the world and has never looked back. Her hobbies include yoga and boxing as well as driving her motorbike ‘Vicky’ around the country-side back home. Something not many people know about her is that she used to be a part time special effects artist and has sculpted and designed prosthetic ears, noses and teeth that have been used on characters in Lord of the Rings & Narnia (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

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Ian "Hoppey"

Dive Instructor, Engineer

Ian comes from a small town in sunny South Africa. He is a PADI dive instructor as well as a PADI Freedive instructor. He has been working as an instructor for the past 5 years along the South African coastline. Ian is passionate about the ocean. Ian loves playing soccer and is an avid cricket and rugby fan. Something no-one knows about Ian, he loves all animals except for squirrels.

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Brian

Dive Instructor

Brian was born and raised in Connecticut and after graduating high school, moved to Huntington Beach, CA, where he lived for 15 years. Brian eventually tired of the corporate life and decided to quit his job, sell his home and travel around the world for a little while. Brian became a PADI DM in 2015 and an instructor in 2018. He has been fortunate enough to visit over 20 countries and dived in 10 of them.  One thing you may not know about him is that he hiked the highest mountain in the continental US- TWICE!

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Aldrin

Engineer

Aldrin was born in Venezuela and moved to Miami with his family when he was very young.  He loved growing up around the water and in it too.  After college, he enlisted in the Army and served three years in Alaska.  When he returned, his father told him about Blackbeard’s and told him he should apply.  so he did and it’s the perfect fit.  He loves a challenge engineering presents and being on the water is the bonus.  Aldrin is into working out and drawing.  

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Renee

Chef, Dive Instructor

Renee is the most recent hire as rotating Chef and soon to be Dive Master! She is from the Yosemite area of California and until now has been a summertime backcountry chef of the high sierra camps in Yosemite National Park. Between her summer seasons working in the park and her winter seasons working at an on-mountain restaurant in Beaver Creek, Colorado she enjoys traveling. During the most recent winter, however, she decided to forego her winter mountain life and instead finish her dive master certification on the island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras. Having finished her open water and her advanced open water in Costa Rica only a year and half ago, Renee is relatively new to diving and is very enthused to continue her diving career with Blackbeard’s Cruises! Fun facts about Renee, she can play the ukulele and has hiked over 500 miles in the Yosemite wilderness.

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Gladys

Chef

Gladys is from Nicaragua and learned to cook in her native country.  She loves to dance, dive and go on adventures.  She has three beautiful daughters.  

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Blackbeard dive instructor Thato.

Thato

Dive Instructor

Thato was born in Johannesburg South Africa and went to university in Cape Town. It was there that she fell in love with the ocean and travel in general. After University, she moved to South Korea to teach English and travel through Asia. Thato visited the Philippines 8 years ago and did her open water course in Coron; known for its shallow shipwrecks. Over the next 8 years she travelled and dived all over Asia including, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. During this time, she accumulated her higher diving certifications until she completed her divemaster training in El Nido Philippines. This was two years ago and that is when she decided to become a professional diving instructor. She also wanted to explore the Caribbean, so she moved to the Dominican Republic where she completed her training as an Open Water Instructor and MSDT. Thato worked full time as an instructor both in Punta Cana and Bayahibe. Hobbies: Diving, Videography, Cycling, Snowboarding, Surfing, Reading and Writing
You would never guess that she  once travelled through every major city in South Korea over 2 months by bicycle.

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Chris

Engineer

Hailing from San Diego, Chris is a professional Uno player and believes you can stack multiple pickup cards on top of each other. A recently certified diver, working towards his rescue course, he now enjoys the recreational activity of practicing rescue breathing on damsels in distress. His favorite color is pink, he owns the most magnificent flamingo shirt. He traded in his bar tending skills and cold water fishing expeditions for the sunny teal blue skies of the Bahamas. Tinkering is his strong suit, therefore as one of our engineers, he plays with all sorts of tools.

His hobbies included crafting animal figurines out of used o-rings, and racing Japanese imported hamsters.

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Now Hiring!

 

We are always looking for adventurous individuals to join the team.  Life on board is hard work but very rewarding- send in your application today! Dive instructors, chefs, and engineer positions available.  

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