What should I bring? Space is limited and the islands we visit are very casual. Several bathing suits, shorts, long pants, several T-shirts, one blouse/shirt, and a wind breaker all packed in soft luggage. Deck shoes or sneakers, sandals, towels, suntan lotion (non oil), sunglasses, and foul weather gear (pants and jacket) which is a necessity in winter to keep dry from spray. Also, in winter, sweatshirts or sweaters are advisable. Personal items such as aspirin, decongestants and shampoos are also recommended. Checklist
How much storage space is there for my dive need? There is plenty of space for your dive gear 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. Everything else must be stored in your luggage on the floor next to your bunk or in your bunk, so it is best to bring as little as possible. We have storage at our dock for any empty bags or any bags you won't be needing.
Do I need a passport? All travelers to the Bahamas need a current passport. Be sure to book your air tickets with your name as it appears exactly on your passport. Check with the Bahamas Embassy for visa requirements if citizenship is not US by clicking on this link. Bahamas Entry Requirements. If you need a US passport, click here for the application download.
How do I get to Freeport, Grand Bahamas? FPO is the airport code for Freeport's international airport. Many major carriers fly into Freeport, most of them with very competitive fares. If flying isn't your favorite way to travel or if you want to try something different, Discovery Cruises departs from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and cruises to Freeport, Bahamas and back each week! More info
How do I get to the docks? Taxis are readily available from the airport. The ride is just 10 minutes travel time from the airport to our docks. Group transfers can be arranged with our office prior to departure. Inquire for more details. Directions to our dock
What time to do we sail? Our trips begin boarding at noon on Saturday and we like to leave the dock by 3 pm. Passengers that arrive early to Freeport are asked to wait until after 12 p.m., as we are not prepared to receive guests until this time. If passengers have spent the night in Freeport prior to boarding, then please check your luggage with the front desk if you must check out prior to noon. Shop or relax poolside until noon so that you can arrive at our docks after we open for business!
When do we return to port? You will return to port in the evening on Thursday. Your last dive is completed by mid afternoon. Plan your flights for Friday based on this dive plan. You will be served dinner and still have lodging on board on Thursday in port. If we return early enough, you may wish to enjoy the nightlife of the main island!
What time do we disembark at the end of our trip? All passengers disembark by 9 am on the following Friday. All passengers must vacate the Blackbeard's premises by 10 am. If you have a later in the day flight out of Freeport, you may leave your luggage with us while you sightsee and return 2 1/2 hours prior to your flight's departure to retrieve your bags as international flights require this much time for check in and customs clearance.
Will I get seasick? 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 live aboard diving vacation is that we can flex our schedule to go where the weather and conditions are best!
What is our itinerary? There is no fixed schedule. The Captain will vary the itinerary to take advantage of the best weather and diving conditions. Most of our trips explore either the Bimini chain, Freeport area or the Berry Islands of the Bahamas. One evening midweek is spent in an out island port (typically Bimini) with the other nights anchored offshore one of the many islands. We return to our Lucaya docks on Thursday evening, no set time is given as we go with the flow! If we return early, passengers often take cabs to the square to explore the Port Lucaya area.
Do we actually sail? Yes, as often as the wind blows. The best time for sailing is from October to April. During the period from May to September there is normally very little wind. Passenger participation is welcomed by the crew or you may just relax in the sun.
Do you have showers? Yes, there is one shower equipped with both fresh and saltwater taps. Everyone cringes at the mention of a 30 second fresh water shower but it does warrant some explanation! There are two showerheads in the shower: one fresh and one salt. Saltwater use is unlimited so lather, shampoo, shave, etc. with the unlimited salt water and then use the 30 seconds of fresh water 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.
What are the meals like? 3 complete meals are served daily, as well as snacks and fresh fish in season, when caught. There is always a hammock of fresh fruits for those between meals snacks. A selection of beverages is always on hand, from soft drinks and lemonade to beer, wine and rum punch. More info
Can I fish? Yes, all the fishing gear is provided 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.
How much spending money do I need? Spending money for an evening ashore (drinks, souvenirs) and crew tips (15% recommended). You might note some of the smaller Bahama Out Islands do not accept major credit cards. The currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian Dollar which is on par with the US dollar and is used inter-changeably.
What is the recommended gratuity?The live-aboard 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 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. Leave no more gratuity than you feel is right.
What is a resort course? Our scuba diving instructor will spend some time at the beach giving you instruction. This will allow you to make two 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. Please download this medical form to participate in our resort course program. If you answer YES to any questions, then a doctor must sign off to allow you to dive.
Can you do open water checkouts? Yes, our dive instructor can with prior arrangements. The cost is $15 per dive plus cost of the certification form if not provided. Many new divers choose to make their first dives in the gin clear and warm waters of the Bahamas instead of in cold muddy lakes!
Where do we dive? The areas around Bimini, Freeport and the Berry Islands offer some of the most spectacular, varied diving in the world. Our specific itinerary varies with the winds to obtain maximum visibility for diving. The depths normally range from 20' to 100' Dive sites
How many dives per day? Normally 3 to 4 dives per day, including night dives, as long as weather is not a factor. We generally offer 2 or 3 night dives on 7 day trips and one night dive on weekend trips.
What dive gear do I need to bring? Snorkel, fins, mask, regulator, buoyancy compensator, u/w watch, depth gauge and for night dives, a dive light and cyalume stick (may be purchased for $2 each) are required. We provide tanks, weights and weight belts. There is storage on deck for all gear and we have rinse buckets for underwater cameras and regulators.
Do you have scuba diving gear rental equipment? We are proud of our "top of the line" ADV/BCs, computers, dive lights and regulators with octopus and gauges. We don't have wetsuits for rent. All must be rented by prior arrangements thru our US reservations office. Prepayment is required so please call to make these arrangements. We do not store our gear at the dock so last minute requests may not be available. We also have cyalumes available for sale.
Do I need a wetsuit? Between fall and spring, a wetsuit is recommended for snorkeling and scuba diving in the Bahamas. The chart below will give you a general idea of the water temperatures and what weight wet suit you will need. When deciding what to bring, consider that you will be diving frequently each day and it takes your body a while to warm up after each dive. Air temperature, the wind and cloud coverage, all affect how fast your body warms back up after a dive. Choosing a wetsuit is a very personal decision, some people wear a full suit in the summer and some dive with a shorty in the winter.
Do you have a compressor and tanks? Yes, we have an electric 17 CFM compressor on board. This new electric compressor system will keep the noise down compared to the gas powered ones of the past! Tanks on board are typically 80's. We do have 50's, 63's and 100's available upon request. Each diver has a dedicated tank for the week with our updated tank benches too!
Do non divers enjoy the trip? For the non diver there is swimming, sun tanning, beach combing, 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. Those non diving travelers happy to hang out with out door lovers, enjoying the fresh air, chatting with people, will be happy with the experience.
Is lobstering allowed? Yes, but we follow Bahamian law which limits you to free diving only. No trigger and no tanks! We have Hawaiian slings & pole spears on board for you to use. The lobster season runs from Aug 1 until Mar 31.
What if I need to cancel my vacation? In the event the participant cancels their vacation prior to 60 days before departure, the deposit is refunded. Within 60 days of departure, there is no refund unless space is filled and the trip departs full. It is strongly recommended that all passengers purchase trip insurance to protect you in the event that you may need to cancel your trip. It is also recommended that all divers have diving accident insurance. You can request a brochure from our office or go to:
What if I want to spend extra time in Freeport? We have compiled a list of hotels that are conveniently located in Freeport. Mention Blackbeard's upon booking to get the special rates listed! More info
When is hurricane season? The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The peak period is August through early October, but hurricanes rarely affect our trips. That is also the time of year that the seas are the calmest and the water temperatures are the warmest.
What if I need to be contacted in an emergency? If someone needs to get in contact with you because of a true emergency, they may contact our office and we will relay the message. We have a Satellite phone on board available for outgoing calls. The cost for international calls is $5.00 USD per minute. Most cell phones will work in part of the area we cruise. You can check with your provider to see if yours will work in the Bahamas.
What travel documents are needed? All travelers to the Bahamas need a current passport. Be sure to book your air tickets with your name as it appears exactly on your passport. Check with the Bahamas Embassy for visa requirements if citizenship is not US by clicking on this link. Bahamas Entry Requirements.