The Cat Ppalu was the last boat in the Blackbeard's family that our dive group needed to try. Over the last 15 years we have been on multiple trips on all of the sailing sloops and the big cat, but had never booked Cat Ppalu. Not sure what took us so long to finally board this wonderful vessel, but this past week we did and we had a blast. Cat Ppalu is reasonably priced, I'd even say a great value for all that you get.
The Cat Ppalu is a whole boat charter that can accommodate up to 12 people in six staterooms. The vessel has a large salon for meals and just hanging out between dives or when moving from location to location. The vessel is manned by a crew of four that go out of their way to make your trip the best that it can be.
Capt. Manny, Engineer James, Dive Master Martyna and Chef Elayna were awesome. No request was to large or too small. The crew do all within their power to make sure that everyone on board has a great experience. If I owned my own Yacht, I wouldn't hesitate to have them as part of my crew.
Now, down to the nitty gritty of this past weeks adventure and what one might expect. Weather not withstanding, Capt. Manny and crew will bring you to some off the chart great diving locations. In between dives you can choose to feed the pigs or iguanas of the Exuma Cays. You can take a day trip to the Land and Sea Park or just lounge about on a secluded beach. The options are almost limitless.
The state rooms are large enough to not feel like you're in a broom closet. Depending on who's in your group there are rooms with twin beds or queen beds. There are two shower stalls and two toilet stalls, just remember to knock!!!!
And finally, the food: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are served buffet style all timed around your days activities. Chef Elayna did a wonderful job with the meals and made sure there were ample snacks between dives and during non-diving activities. There is a soda fountain, beer on tap and what seemed like a limitless supply of spirits for those who wanted them, we did our best to help lighten the burden of having all those spirits on board...lol
So, if you have a group of friends or family that are looking for a week long adventure at a reasonable cost, Cat Ppalu might just be the ticket. We just got home and can't wait to go back.
We had a fantastic time on the Ppalu diving through Exuma. Great crew, solid CLEAN boat, lots of great food and drink... what more could you ask for! By far one of the best live aboard dive values ANYWHERE.
This is a 65 foot catamaran sailboat. It used to be a racing catamaran, but due to the extra equipment (e.g. galley and such) it can't do more that 5 knots on engines alone or about 10-12 knots with sail. The accommodations were very nice for a catamaran (watch your head if you are over 5' 11"). The crew was incredible! The ship's captain, Carlis, got us out of a 45 knot wind to Aluthera where we did 15 dives and then back to the Exuma Cays where we did an additional 3 dives. This was far better than the other Blackbeard boats that were out the same week we were. It was unfortunate that we didn't get any dives in on the first day at sea, but the knowledge of the captain got us to a place where we got 4 dives in the next day (the other ships got only 1 or 2). The cook was excellent as was the divemaster and engineer. Overall it was the single best vacation I have ever taken. The fish life was absolutely amazing and the water visibility was stellar at several dive sites and a bit limited due to wind at other sites. The food was great all week, the knowledgeable and friendly crew were absolutely amazing. I would do this before the sloops from Blackbeard's due to the living quarters and before the Aquacat as it is just way more expensive for the same diving.
Overall.... great diving (18 dives), great crew and a very stable dive platform (catamaran). Will do it again!!
In May we chartered the Cat Ppalu for a family cruise through the northern Exumas. This was one of the best family vacations we have had. Some of the places we visited were:
Thunderball Grotto -really beautiful inside with the light filtering through the hole in the top of the cave.
Swimming pigs -the pigs were a lot of fun, plus it is a beautiful beach.
Rachel's Bubble Bath - The bubble bath was run, also a nice hike to it and another beautiful beach we had to ourselves.
Rocky Dundas - We kayaked and paddleboarded over to the caves which were fun to explorer. We also snorkeled a beautiful beach off the island. Two or our group tried scuba diving here with the dive instructor onboard.
Exumas Land & Sea Park - We hiked up Boo Boo Hill. What a view from the top. We then headed down to the beach to swim and paddleboard. It seems like every island has a beautiful beach.
Shroud Cay - We anchored off Camp Driftwood. There is a beautiful view from the top of the hill of the mangrove creeks that meander through the island. We explored the creeks either by paddleboard, kayak or in the dinghy. We say seveal lemon sharks and a number of herons.
Allan's Cay - This is one of the last homes of the native rock iguanas. The kids had a blast feeding them grapes.
The Cat Ppalu is perfect for a family cruise. Our family was either doing things together at one of the islands, sitting on the bow while we were underway or sitting at the table eating meals or playing games. The crew were great. Like I mentioned several of our family got to try scuba diving. The one complaint was the food was too good. I actually added weight this week.