A World of Diving Adventures

Call us today! 954.734.7111 or 800.327.9600

FAQs

Travel Planning

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 number to the crew is 242.376.7603. If you have pre-arranged Ground Transfers through All Star Liveaboards, to report any changes in flight arrivals on the day of travel, please contact Mr. Wright from Island Escape Tours 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.

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 Cat Ppalu docks 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.

We have a list of hotels that we can recommend. 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.

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.

Dive liveaboard cruising is an appealing alternative to conventional land-based dive vacations and larger cruise ships. We offer a richer travel experience – one that goes beyond the typical tourist sites. Aboard Cat Ppalu you’ll get to experience a week of delicious meals and great diving along with optional included shore excursions and eco adventures.

Your group will have a great time exploring the northern Exumas with their many beautiful beaches. In addition to scuba diving, you can spend time beachcombing, hiking, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding or photographing the many natural sights. In Nassau you can enjoy the shopping, casinos and night life of Nassau and Paradise Island.

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.

The atmosphere on board Cat Ppalu and the islands we visit are very casual. You’ll spend your days in bathing suits and casual wear. We suggest bringing several bathing suits, shorts or pants, t-shirts, and wind breaker. In winter, a sweatshirt or sweater is advisable. Also bring deck shoes, sandals, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen (reef-safe), plus personal items such as aspirin and decongestants. Click here for a quick checklist.

You may board after 12:00pm on Saturday. We plan to shove off by 3:00pm at the latest to make the trip from Nassau to the Exumas during daylight hours. We can, of course, stay longer to accommodate later arrivals as this is a charter only vessel. Keep in mind that if it gets too late, then the captain may decide to leave early Sunday morning instead of Saturday afternoon for safety reasons.

The Cat Ppalu returns to Nassau Thursday afternoon, usually by 5:00pm at the latest. We still serve dinner and provide lodging at the dock. This is your night in port so that you can experience some of the local culture. All passengers must disembark Friday by 9:00am.

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.

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.

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

The fees cover the Bahamas government taxes and fees.

A deposit of $500.00 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.

If the cancellation occurs more than 6 months prior to departure, the deposit is refunded less a 5% cancellation fee. Within 6 months of departure, there is no refund unless we resell the charter, in which case there is a full refund less a 5% administrative fee.

When Cat Ppalu is a private charter, there is no minimum age for children but 5 years old would be a recommended minimum. Please remember to bring a child-size life jacket. 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.

When booked by individuals, the minimum age is 12 years. 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.

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Diving

Certified scuba divers need snorkel, fins, mask, regulator, buoyancy compensator, u/w watch or computer 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. Storage is available on deck for all gear and there is a hose to rinse cameras and regulators. Between fall and spring, a wetsuit is recommended.

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 have the opportunity to log 3-4 dives per day Sunday through Wednesday with 2 more on Thursday. The 4th dive of the day is a night dive and is offered Sunday to Wednesday.

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.

Between fall and spring, a wetsuit is recommended. The chart will give you a general idea of the water temperatures and what weight wetsuit you will need. When deciding what to bring, consider that you will be diving a lot each day and it takes your body a while to warm up after a dive. Air temperature, the wind and whether it is sunny all affect how fast your body warms back up after a dive. What each person needs is an individual choice. Some wear a full suit in the summer and some dive with a shorty in the winter.

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.

Yes, anytime the boat is anchored. You will need to bring mask, fins, and snorkel. Snorkeling is not supervised. Our instructor on board will be happy to instruct you in snorkeling skills.

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. Payment is made while on board. All rentals must be arranged prior to departure.

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.

For a fee of $125.00, our dive instructor will spend some time at the beach giving you instruction. This will allow you to make 2 dives under their supervision. This resort course does not certify you. The BC and regulator are included in the cost. Additional dives may be arranged with the instructor for a fee. 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) and 80 CF (12L) tanks for guests to use. We do not have 100 CF (15L) tanks on board as they will not fit in the dive bench.

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.

We serve three meals a day, as well as snacks and fresh fruits. Fresh fish is also served, in season, when caught. Most meals served will be American cuisine. A selection of beverages is always on hand from soft drinks and lemonade to beer, wine and rum drinks.

Cabins #1, 2, 5 and 6 each have a double bed that sleeps two. Cabins #3 and 4 each have two twin beds. All cabins have a sink and vanity. There are two shared heads and two shared showers.

We do not offer connectivity on the Cat Ppalu. 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. Otherwise, you are disconnected. Breathe, it’ll be okay! Be sure your cell provider has international service with the Bahamas before you go.

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.

Cat Ppalu has standard U.S. 110-volt current outlets in each cabin as well as the salon. 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, we have a DVD player. We also have a stereo system and CD player with iPod docking station.

We return to Nassau Thursday afternoon so that our guests may enjoy an evening ashore. Nassau has much to offer, with dining, entertainment, casinos and shopping all within a short distance. There aren’t any ports in the Northern Exumas, just quiet uninhabited beaches and gorgeous sunsets.

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 non-divers, paddle boards (SUPs), kayaks and eco-adventures are available. Keep in mind that extensive time devoted to shore excursions can affect the dive schedule.

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!

Yes, anytime the boat is anchored. You will need to bring mask, fins, and snorkel. Snorkeling is not supervised. Our instructor on board will be happy to instruct you in snorkeling skills.

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 our U.S. Reservations Office and we will relay the message. Cell coverage in the Exumas is spotty but if we are near a tower, you can use your phone. Be sure to turn on international plan prior to travel to avoid roaming fees.

You will have the opportunity to visit isolated beaches where you can sunbathe, explore, kayak, SUP, snorkel or fish. You will enjoy feeding and photographing the iguanas on Allan’s Cay. You can visit the headquarters of the Exumas Land and Sea Park on Warderick Wells and explore the many trails. Be sure to check out the whale bones on the island. Don’t miss the blow hole! You can also kayak the creeks that meander through Shroud Cay. These creeks are nurseries for many varieties of fish and sharks. For those interested in bird watching, the Exumas are a nesting area for many species of seabirds including White-Tailed Tropic birds, Audubon Shearwaters, Brown Noddies, and Bridled and Sooty Terns. The possibilities are endless!

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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