Blackbeards welcome letter

Howdy Divers! I’m so excited you’ve decided to join me for Blackbeards 2022! Year 9 of this annual trip, and like always, it promises to be a blast!

Here comes a barrage of stuf you need or want to know for your trip with us this November to the Bahama’s. Hope it helps!

General stuff – Our trip is being arranged through Jim Smith (that’s me!), to Nassau Bahama’s to dive off Blackbeard’s Dive Cruises. All checks / deposits need made out to (strong preference of Venmo or cashapp where possible):

Steven Smith
5113 Klamath Ct SE
Salem, Oregon 97306

In case you need to contact me for any reason, my contact info:

541-971-3328
Jimmynemo2@gmail.com

Our boat is a 65 foot sail boat that sleep around 20. Currently our boat is full, so if you’re wishing a dive buddy would join you for this amazing trip, I can start a waiting list, but unless someone has to drop out, we won’t have more room on this year (sold out in only 6 days!). Our boat departs from the Nassau Harbor Club around noon on Saturday, January 8th 2022. We will return to the dock the evening of January 13th, then disembark early Friday morning the 14th. Almost all of the week will be spent on the boat, either diving, eating or motoring from one dive site to the next. Each dive has a pre-dive briefing where they’ll explain all you want to know in order to dive each location safely. Even an average diver in the Northwest is a great diver in that corner of the world because the conditions are simply as easy as it gets- crystal clear water, warm water (80+), less weight to needed to sink, etc. If you have doubts about your dive skills, and you’ve ever dove anywhere other than the Bahama’s, trust me, you’ll do fine. And if you need to dive with a Divemaster, the boat will have one available to you for the first couple dives to help you get oriented.

TRAVEL DATES AND PLANS- As far as travel plans: I will be flying out the evening of the 6th, arriving morning of the 7th giving me a day to relax on the island before we board, so I hit the boat rested and ready to dive. I also will choose my return flight home based on cost- last year, to stay one more day on the island saved me 200$ on airfare, so I stuck around through Saturday. My flight information will be sent to each of you just as soon as I’ve gotten my tickets. Generally I’ll buy them about 10 months ahead of schedule. Each of you are absolutely welcome to join me on the same plane, or to arrange your own travel plans. Either way, you buy your plane tickets directly from the airline or expedia etc. Average airfare prices are around 650 round trip, and bottom out around 550. I won’t be following up with each of you on your airfare, I’ll just assume you have bought your tickets. I don’t recommend waiting till the last minute as prices tend to go up. You should be flying to NASSAU, airport code is NAS. Again, the moment they open up flights, I’ll email this same group with my own flights so you can make even the airport fun in a group if you’d prefer to not travel alone.

PASSPORTS- This trip does fly into another country, and passports are required. Passports take 4-8 weeks, so I highly recommend getting this started early if you need it, as without your passport, your trip simply stops. Get it done early and save yourself the last minute panic of some of our previous divers.

Travel Insurance- Travel insurance is optional. Blackbeard’s will ask if you have gotten it on the trip app, but through companies like DAN, you can ensure that if you can’t make the trip for certain reasons, you get paid back for the cost of the trip and airfare. If this is something you’re interested in, feel free to call me for recommendations or input. Otherwise, it’s on each of us to make that decision if it’s something we need/want.  

Diver Insurance- DAN offers diver insurance, insuring your physical well-being and gear in case of emergency. For only 79 a year you can get yourself covered, and I can’t recommend this enough.

Refresher day and Potluck night! Set aside Saturday November 13th (2021)! On that day, we’ll have the pool to do a refresher for anyone who would like one. If you want to test out that new piece of gear before we leave, or verify that you’re as awesome with your buoyancy as you remember, that’s the morning to do it. Once in the Bahama’s, the first dive is a “check out” dive of sorts, but they’ll determine the weeks’ plans for dive locations based on our skills and comfort in the water. If you want those crazy cool dives on a wall, and drift dives worth writing home about, showing up comfortable helps for sure! (Plus why pay all that money to get around the world and waste a dive getting your calm back when you can dive in a pool right before you leave to lock in and already be chillaxed!) Obviously, if you’re coming from out of town, or this just isn’t do-able for you, no problem, I just like to make sure we all have that option. Also, if you are choosing to get certified on the boat, be aware Salem Scuba’s December class is hit and miss on if we do it or not, so we have a year and a half to get certified before we leave, I’ll encourage you strongly not to wait till the last month or two before we leave. Don’t add that stress to yourself, get certified well ahead of time.

Potluck – Then at noon at Jim’s place on November 13th (2021), we’ll do a potluck lunch after our pool session. I’ll provide the BBQ hot dogs and condiments for everyone, but bring any side dish that sounds good to you, and we’ll hang out and so everyone can meet others from our group before we go! I’d really like for everyone to know the other fine folks that we’ll be diving with that week, so you have more potential dive buddies, as well as just be more comfortable and social on our trip. So please, even if you don’t need the refresher, I’d love to see all of us for the potluck at my place at noon on the Saturday November 13th.

HOTEL- If you’re not flying in on the Saturday the boat departs, and leaving right off the boat to head home, you’ll need a hotel. Two good options would be the Nassau harbor club- it’s low cost, and the back door of the hotel is the dock the boat will be at, so it saves you one cab ride. OR I’ll be staying at the El Greco Hotel – it’s a tiny bit more pricey, but it’s very nice, and has some nice food and beaches right nearby for when you want to relax before or after the boat.

To book at the harbor club, it has to be done by phone or by email- be careful Aggie’s got a strong accent and doesn’t like repeating herself 🙂

Aggie
Nassau Harbour Club
Tel: (242) 393-0771
Email: nhc@nassauharbourclub.com

To book at El Greco, you can find them online on both trip advisor and expedia.

Money stuff- The exchange rate in the Bahama’s is 1:1, and you do NOT need to change your money- all places in the Bahama’s take American dollars and don’t even notice or care. Reminder that the dive industry is a tipping industry. A typical tip for trips such as this is 15%, and since there are no ATM’s on the boat, I recommend bringing minimum 150 in cash for tips. You’ll also want to bring cash for things like: eating on the island, cab ride from and to the airport, and trinkets on the boat and land (the Bahama’s is a hotbed of card theft, so I don’t recommend using your card unless you absolutely need to).

Gear Info- The water temp and topside temp in the Bahama’s is amazing, to that end, I pack zero clothes for warmth. I do pack some long sleeves under-armor type clothes to avoid too much sun. I bring a couple pairs of swim trunks, and some shoes that can get wet. Really pack light, as space is at a premium. As far as dive gear goes, I bring just a 3 mil core-warmer (neoprene vest) which I’ve worn for about 2 dives each year, but it’s nice to have if you decide you want it. If you need a larger tank (anything over an AL80) you just need to ask when you fill out your trip application online.

The trip app is supposed to be filled out when the final payment is due. Make sure you put in any food allergies or special dietary needs when you fill this out. The trip app link I’ll post here when we get closer. For now, here’s a link to the blackbeards page with info about what to bring and what not:

https://allstarliveaboards.com/blackbeards-bahamas-diving-trip-info/

As a reminder, where you should be on payments, if you aren’t paid your trip off yet:

250 holds your spot/non-refundable deposit

01-01-2021= 250

04-01-2021= 250

07-01-2021= 250

09-01-2021= 190

Payments can be with the CashApp ($jimmynemo2), Venmo (@Jimmynemo42), or actual cash.

If you have any questions, I want you to reach out to me. My contact info will wrap up this letter, and I’m all about making sure everyone has a great trip, so if you’ve got questions, anything at all, give me a buzz so I can let you know what to expect.

Can’t wait to take the trip of a lifetime with you all, and I’m looking forward to making all the best kind of memories!

Jim Smith
5113 Klamath Ct SE
Salem Oregon 97306
541-971-3328
Jimmynemo2@gmail.com