An Interview On Cat’n Around Bimini Owner’s Rendezvous With Steve Oatman
-Dive Highlights in Bimini-
We normally have 4-6 divers on the boat when in NC. For the Bimini trip, we had 9 people (my family of 4, 2 close friends of my sons and my brother and his son and daughter. All 9 of us were diving. We started out at the Sapona for an easy dive and then we went to Rainbow Reef off N. Bimini and made several additional dives. With 9 divers we split into 2 groups with one group diving and the other relaxing on the boat. The relaxing didn’t last too long when the kids not diving at the time realized they could catch the fish hanging out under the boat. So, they proceeded to catch and release large Bermuda/Gray Chubs until their arms were so tired they almost couldn’t reel them in anymore. On each dive, we did the sea life was abundant and we typically saw 1-2 sharks (Nurse & Lemon) on each dive.
-Bimini Trip for the Family-
With the weather that popped off earlier than forecast, Crossing day was sporty. If we had been in anything besides our 295DC I do not think I would have made the crossing in the conditions, we did. This was the 1st crossing for all of us but having run the boat in heavy NC seas I trusted the boat and while it took longer and was pretty wet everyone still talks about it over a year later. We were the first boat to arrive form Port Everglades I think we surprised the reception team when we rolled into the Marina. I was definitely laughing at the looks from all the Hilton guests delayed and waiting to leave due to the storms when we came into the lobby looking like drowned rats. The trip overall for everyone, especially the teens was unforgettable (crossing in 6 ft seas, legally gambling and drinking, spending the days on and under the water and meeting others who had the same passions was fantastic).
-World Cat Owner’s Comradery and Passion-
The WC family of owners is awesome, there are not a lot of places where you can bring together 30+ boats and several hundred people and everyone is friendly and engaging. We meet several families during the rendezvous that we have continued to keep in touch with and that we have gotten together again with since the rendezvous.
The WC Team (factory, dealers, etc) is in a class of its own. The event is first class all the way and goes by entirely too fast. Which is why before we even got back to the mainland US during our return crossing we had already committed to participating in every rendezvous we possibly can, as well as planning to extend our Bimini trip by a minimum of 2 days either side of the rendezvous so we can enjoy even more of the area.
Who is the best Diver?
In the family, I am the most experienced so if asked they would probably say that I am the best diver. If you asked who loved diving the most then that would be a resounding “DAD”. I think I am truly lucky that my entire family enjoys diving and while they may not live and breathe it like I do (I am actually completing my PADI Instructor certifications in January down in FL), being able to enjoy and experience all that diving and boating has to offer with my family and close friends is the icing on the cake.
Who loves the Boat the most?
That’s easy; “ME”. I honestly never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be able to afford/own a boat like my 295DC. I have to attribute some of that opportunity to the fantastic team at Saltwater Marine. Joel, Jodi and all of the team at Saltwater are amazing and it truly was my first experience talking with Joel that solidified my desire to own a WC and to buy it from him. My subsequent support and interactions with the Saltwater team have always fantastic and I really consider Joel and Jodi to be friends and not just my boat dealer.
Diving Advantages of World Cat?
I looked at multiple mono and cat hulls when we decided to buy another boat. I know going in that with a family of divers rear cockpit space was going to be a big factor for dive prep. I also knew that we would use the boat for cruising and fishing so the layout was still important. The cockpit area of the Dual Console really feels like a small Express in size and I have not seen any other hull in the 30 ft range that has close to the space my 295DC does.
The stability of the Cat even at anchor makes pre and post-dive operations easy and safe. Having the swim step centered between the motors and wide clutter-free gunnels gives me multiple options for divers to enter the water and the large dive ladder handles fully rigged divers and the extra weight with no problem at all when exiting the water.
Typical dive boats in the 30-35 foot range have a cruise speed of 14-20 knots normally which isn’t bad all things considered. But in like conditions my WC will cruise at 28-32 knots with fantastic fuel efficiency when the total weight of boat, crew, and gear is taken into account. I estimate that when we are running 40 miles offshore in NC with a full crew of 6-8, full tanks of fuel and water, plus associated dive gear and 16 plus scuba tanks we weight close to 12,000 lbs and still get a fuel burn of 1.3-1.5 mpg from the twin 300s.