Category Archives: Upcoming Trips

2018 Blackbeard Liveaboard Dive Trip!

blackbeard logoHow many people grew up playing pirates?  Imagining boarding a ship, lifting anchor, and sailing to exotic tropical lands and exploring uncharted waters?

That is the idea of a Blackbeard Liveaboard.  Blackbeard’s allows divers to board one of two motor sailboats in Nassau and travel the Outer Exuma islands of the Bahamas and dive places too remote for normal dive boats to go.  See sharks, turtles, rays and a myriad of other sea life.  Walk ashore a remote island that used to be used as a hideout for pirates.  Enjoy great food, drinks and company of fellow divers as you experience things that very few people get to see and do!

Aquatic Dreams went on a Blackboard Liveaboard in September of 2016 and all of the divers had a great time and asked about going back.  They also posed a question… could we run a trip so the only people on the boat were Aquatic Dreams divers?  Our response was that we could look into it, but we would need our diver’s help in filling spots on the boat.  We came back and began asking questions and have officially chartered a private trip with Blackbeard Cruises for September of 2018 for our divers.

This means that if we fill our spots, there will only be Aquatic Dreams passengers on this trip, and we will have much more freedom in choosing our dive sites, activities, and locations for this trip.  It also means our divers will be traveling with people they know and are already comfortable with, making this a much closer experience for everyone!

Our exit from the morning star.

Details

  • Cost: $1130 per passenger*
  • When: September 15th-21st, 2018
  • Where: Nassau, Bahamas
  • Includes berth on ship, all docking fees, up to 19 dives, tanks/weights, all food and drink, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic
  • As an added perk, Aquatic Dreams will include any gear rental necessary for divers as long as we have your size available and you travel with it.
  • $100 deposit will hold a diver’s spot.  An easy payment plan schedule is available to allow all divers the ability to go on this trip!

What is not included?

  • Airfare to and from Nassau
  • Shuttle/taxi to and from airport
  • Tip to crew of the boat
  • Hotel accommodations before or after trip for those arriving early or extending their stay
  • Miscellaneous purchases or souvenirs

* We were previously looking at booking this as a private charter. However, we were not able to fill the entire boat so we are going to release any unneeded berths in the next few weeks and open it up to other dive groups, so the price has dropped to the normal non-charter price.

Payment Schedule**

  • $100.00 – Deposit Needed immediately to secure berth on boat
  • $100.00 – Due 03/01/2017
  • $200.00 – Due 06/01/2017
  • $200.00 – Due 09/01/2017
  • $200.00 – Due 12/01/2017
  • $200.00 – Due 03/01/2018
  • $200.00 – Due 05/01/2018
  • $190.00 – Due 07/01/2018

** If divers sign up after the initial dates posted, payment amounts will be split up evenly among remaining payment dates to allow for affordable payment amounts

How do I sign up?

If you would like more information or to sign up for this trip, please contact us by calling us at 859-594-4611 or emailing us at info@aquaticdreamsdiving.com.

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Reef Shark 3John Hoh - Sea Turtle 5

More Photos?

For more pictures from our 2016 trip, visit our Facebook album here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you running this trip in September?  Why not earlier in the summer?
Weather in the Bahamas is a balancing act. The months of August and September have the warmest water temperatures and calmest seas, but a greater chance for hurricanes. We believe the tradeoff for warm calm water is better for everyone.

Why is airfare not included?
There are several reasons we do not include airfare in our trip prices. Many divers have frequent flyer miles, travel vouchers, or credit cards with mileage benefits they want to use. If we book people’s travel our divers could not take advantage of many of those benefits. There are no travel discounts today with airlines if dive companies purchase blocks of seats on flights, so divers would be restricted to having to only fly at the times that we purchase. Finally, many dive companies partner with special dive travel companies if they wish to offer airfare. These companies often have additional fees that make travel through them more expensive than booking on your own, or require use of certain hotels or resorts, eliminating Aquatic Dreams signature use of large houses and villas that many divers would never be able to stay at otherwise.

Why is the price on the Blackbeard website cheaper than your posted price?
Please review the total price on the Blackbeard website. While the advertised price is $999.00, they add the necessary taxes and fees to the trip, which increase it to the price we are offering this trip at.

How do I get from the airport to the docks for the boat?
You may use a local taxi service, or we highly recommend using the Blackbeard shuttle that they offer for a very low roundtrip price. They guarantee to be there when you land in Nassau, and take you back to the airport.

What time does the boat leave?
Normally the boat pulls out between 2 and 3pm. You must be boarding the vessel between 11am and noon. Once everyone is checked in and all the pre-trip checks are done, the boat will pull out. Because of this timing, most people opt to fly into Nassau on the day before the trip starts. There is a very affordable hotel attached to the docks that most Blackbeard divers use. On our last trip the entire group arrived the day before and we had a pizza and pool party that night to celebrate the trip! This way you are guaranteed not to be delayed the day of the trip or miss the trip because of a cancelled flight.

What kind of diving do we do?
There are a large variety of dives that are done, dependent on water conditions and where the boat goes. Expect wall dives where divers swim through coral canyons out over the edge of underwater cliffs, wreck dives, shallow reefs, blue holes, shark feeding dives, night dives, and drift dives.

Do I have to go on every dive?
Absolutely not! Divers are welcome to dive or not dive any site they choose.

Can I take classes while on this trip?
Yes, we will offer checkout dives for both open water divers and advanced diver classes. Please be aware though that for open water students, to make the most of the trip we would highly recommend that you do your checkouts before coming with us. That way you can enjoy your entire week of fun diving and not worry about checkout dives! If you do not have an Advanced Diver certification, this is a great way to get all of your checkout dives done on one great trip!

What are the cabins like on the boat?
You will be on a 60′ motor sailboat. The ship is divided into 3 distinct cabins, forward, center, and aft. The forward compartment has a total of 8 bunks or berths, each with their own curtain to separate them and a large curtain to divide the space into two areas. This section has it’s own head. The center cabin is for couples and has 4 couples or double berths, again with privacy curtains for each berth, and a head. The aft cabin doubles as the main galley and salon. It has 6 berths in the cabin, plus eating space, galley, head, and shower. This is the main gathering place, but at night most people stay above deck and enjoy the weather, so it’s left mostly for sleeping. This is not a cruise ship, you are on a smaller sailing ship so everyone gets very cozy with each other before the end of the week, which makes a trip with people you know that much better for everyone!

What about cell phones, internet, and emergencies?
We will be cruising the outer islands of the Exumas. There is no cell service and no internet on the boat, so think of it as truly getting away from it all! While we are in Nassau, the hotel we use for the night before does have internet, as well as the Starbucks in the strip mall across the street, so you have plenty of opportunity before and after the trip to check emails. Phone calls there are international in Nassau so check with your local cell provider on international rates. If there is an emergency while we are at sea, family can call the Blackbeard’s main number and give them a message and they will use a satellite phone to reach the boat.

Can we fish on the trip?
As long as the boat is in motion and we are not in the Exumas marine park, you may fish and the crew is happy to supplement supper with your catch! Lobster and conch collecting is also allowed, though all Bahamian laws apply to fishing and collection of lobster and conch.

What about non-divers? Can they come?
Yes, Blackbeard welcomes both divers and non-divers on their trips. Just bear in mind this is a dive vacation, so the focus is on diving. However, on the trip we were on last year, we had non-divers on the boat. They sunbathed, snorkeled, relaxed, and went on the islands when we made landfall. This is still a great way to truly get away from it all and

What about food allergies?
Before the trip all passengers must complete a pre-trip form from Blackbeard. Among the questions are food preferences. If you let them know ahead of time they will make sure they accommodate any allergies or preferences you may have.

All alcohol is included?
Yes, all alcohol is included. Beer is on tap, wine is available, as well as a very full liquor cabinet and rum punch every night. You may also bring your own alcohol if you have a favorite beverage. The only stipulation Blackbeard has is if a diver decides to skip a dive and drink alcohol, their dive gear is locked up the rest of the day.

What about medical insurance?
Standard medical insurance does not work outside the United States. You either need to pay cash in case of medical emergency, or we highly recommend the use of the Divers Alert Network (DAN) for their trip insurance. You may purchase either a yearly insurance policy or a per trip policy. DAN insurance covers medical expenses, travel expenses, lost luggage, the actual trip cost if you have a medical emergency and cannot goo on the trip and the refund period has passed, and a host of other things. For more information, visit their website for more information.

Aquatic Dreams Diving Summer Trips Being Planned Now

We are currently putting our summer trip list together for 2016.  We are finalizing dates and prices now and will be publishing them soon, and will let everyone know as soon as we have them together.

As a head’s up, mark your calendars.  The first weekend trip is expected to be July 9-10 and we will be going to Pennyroyal Blue Springs Dive park in Hopkinsville, KY.  This is a great training park with extremely clear water that is suited for both open water and advanced open water students as well as plenty of fun diving.  We will be offering checkout dives for both courses on this weekend and are offering two special discounts:

1) If you sign up for both the Advanced Scuba Diver course and this Pennyroyal trip, we will discount your Advanced Diver course from $199.00 to $150.00.

2) If you sign up for this weekend trip, your gear rental will be free for the weekend (provided we have what you want in stock at the time of the trip).  This means BC, regulator set, wetsuit, hood and gloves (if needed), dive light (if requested) or anything else.  If you need something and we have it available, you can use it for the weekend.  Just put in a request for what you need ahead of time so we can pull and mark it for you!

September 24-30, 2016 Blackbeard’s Liveaboard Dive Trip

blackbeard logoBlackbeard’s Cruises is based out of Nassua, Bahamas and is one of the best valued dive trips on the market today.  Divers spend a week at sea on a sailboat, food and alcoholic/non alcoholic drinks included, dive up to 20 times during the week in varied conditions including reefs, wrecks, drift, blue hole, night, and shark dives, and visit some of the most remote islands in the Bahamas. The sailboats only hold a maximum of 22 divers, so it’s small and personal and you get to dive away from the crowds.

Your price includes a berth on the ship, all food and drinks for the week, all diving for the week, and your docking fees for Nassau.  It does not include airfare to/from Nassau, any extra nights you want to spend before or after the trip (and food for those extra nights), souvenirs, or a tip for the boat crew (roughly 10% is customary).

These trips usually book a year in advance and they allow us to split payments up into a very generous payment plan for divers to make it affordable for anyone to go.  A $200 deposit will hold your spot on this trip.  Additional payment information is below:

  • 10/15/2015 – $200.00
  • 01/15/2016 – $200.00
  • 03/15/2016 – $200.00
  • 05/15/2016 – $200.00
  • 07/15/2016 – $135.00

We are now taking reservations and booking spots.  I have 10 spots reserved as of now with the option to reserve more if needed.  For anyone thinking about vacations for next year, this is a great way to get many types of diving in on a very laid back vacation destination and see the out islands of the Bahamas that many people do not travel to.

September 11-13 Dive Trip – Loch Low Minn, Sweetwater, TN

Our final regional dive trip of the 2015 season is officially booked and open for reservations.  We are going to Loch Low Minn in Sweetwater, TN.  Loch Low Minn is a medium sized quarry nestled in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains.  It is located just south of Sweetwater, TN, and is fed by runoff from the Smokies.  This results in very clean and usually very clear water conditions.

The majority of the quarry is 30-45 feet deep, with a 70 ft trench in the middle.  The natural landscape is beautiful enough, but it is also home to a decent population of hand-raised paddlefish as part of a study by the University of Tennessee.

When: September 11-13, 2015
Where: Sweetwater, TN
Cost:  $155.00 per diver/ $145.00 per non-diver ($145.00 diver/$135.00 non-diver cash price).  Rooms are based on double occupancy.  Rental Equipment available if needed.
RSVP

Trip Includes:

  • 2 nights hotel accommodations
  • 2 days entry into dive park, including night dive opportunity Saturday evening, weather permitting.
  • Tank/weight rental (if required)
  • *2015 Special* Any additional gear rental is included in cost (pending availability)

August 21-23 Dive Trip – Mermet Springs, Metropolis, IL

Aquatic Dreams is going to Mermet Springs  for our August regional trip.  This trip is now open for reservations.  Mermet Springs is one of the premier regional diving destinations.  Underwater attractions are found at all depths of the quarry, and their claim to fame is the fuselage of the 727 jet used in the movie U.S. Marshals, whose tail sits at 15 ft. and the nose at close to the 65 ft. depth mark.

In addition to the jet, Mermet also has a school bus, several smaller planes and boats, a suspended semi, and train cars in the deep section.  The owners installed an underwater PA system/emergency recall for use in bad weather and lost or injured divers, but its also used to play music on request as long as students aren’t doing checkout dives.  In terms of wildlife, it abounds at Mermet Springs.  Large bass, crappie, catfish and bluegill are found throughout the quarry, and you may catch a glimpse of WIlbur, the resident giant blue catfish that isn’t above a little feeding by the divers.  If you haven’t seen a paddlefish, this is the place to find them.  Paddles are prehistoric fish unlike anything you’ve seen before, and can get up to 7 feet long.  There’s truly something to see for everyone here, and that is why it is one of Aquatic Dreams’ favorite dive destinations.

When: August 21-23, 2015
Where: Metropolis, IL
Cost:  $135.00 per diver/ $115.00 per non-diver ($130.00 diver/$110.00 non-diver cash price).  Rooms are based on double occupancy.  Rental Equipment available if needed.
RSVP

Trip Includes:

  • 2 nights hotel accommodations
  • 2 days entry into dive park, including night dive opportunity Saturday evening, weather permitting.
  • Tank/weight rental (if required)
  • *2015 Special* Any additional gear rental is included in cost (pending availability)

July 10-12 Dive Trip – Pennyroyal Blue Springs, Hopkinsville, KY

Our first regional dive trip is officially booked and open for reservations.  We are going to Pennyroyal Blue Springs in Hopkinsville, KY, July 10-12th.  An easy drive to get to, Pennyroyal has been operating as a regional dive destination for 20 years now.  With full dive shop, shelters, gear stations and new Dive Monkey Grill, they are a full service destination. Pennyroyal also boasts some of the clearest quarry diving in the area, due to a proprietary treatment of the water that settles the sediment and clarifies the quarry.

Pennyroyal has a gradual walk-in entry or giant stride entry points.  The quarry is divided into shallow and deep sections, with a vertical wall and drop-off.  The shallow area drops to a max depth of 30-35 feet, while the deep side reaches 120 feet.  This quarry has several sunken objects including buses, boats, and abandoned mining equipment.  Night diving is particularly enjoyable due to the clarity of the water.

When: July 10-12, 2015
Where: Hopkinsville, KY
Cost:  $145.00 per diver/ $125.00 per non-diver ($140.00 diver/$120.00 non-diver cash price).  Rooms are based on double occupancy.  Rental Equipment available if needed.
RSVP

Trip Includes:

  • 2 nights hotel accommodations
  • 2 days entry into dive park, including night dive opportunity Saturday evening, weather permitting.
  • Tank/weight rental (if required)
  • *2015 Special* Any additional gear rental is included in cost (pending availability)