What did you guys think of the Wind Dancer as a boat?
What were your impressions of the tenders and having to leave your gear out on these little boats?
I would love to hear about your above water reviews of the boat and crew from a quality of life stand point, and curious how you felt about how you felt the logistics of getting in and out of the water?
Do you feel your dives were long enough?
Is there a way to fresh water rinse your regulator after each dive on those tenders?
Not sure I'm the best to answer this... the only other liveaboard I've done is the Spree...and the only other boat experience I have besides 2 or 3 tank diving days from a land based package is going up a river in a small boat with an outboard motor to fish. (BTW, I really like the Spree.)
So...what did I think of the Wind Dancer - liked the main cabin area, nice seating both for eating and a couch area for lounging/sleeping as you desired, had a nice big screen for any movie watching/dvd playing and (really not the person to ask on this) a reasonable variety of drinks. Descent sun deck area and nice place for the barbeque that we had one night. Boat was originally built as (I think) a crabbing boat for Alaska so very seaworthy but also more back and forth sway...I'm not sure I noticed, once I got past my two day queasiness I was just as happy as on land. Beds were fairly comfortable, but then I was on the top bunk, and always had a bit of a mental challenge figuring out how to get down without landing on my roomies head.
Food was GREAT. I think the chef made some terrific dishes. There was a couple of dishes that were not my liking, but they were far outnumbered by the food I did like. I also appreciated the warm towels when we finished the dives. And the hot chocolate with (if you wanted it) rum hit the spot after the night dives. I will say as the week went on, the staff were clearly needing some more help, they were running short staffed.
It wasn't too hard to get on and off the boat to the tenders. Cameras did need to be handed down then you could get down. Just had to pay attention to what you were doing, and no one seemed to have any problems. I had no problems keeping my BP/Wing on the tenders along with most other gear. Wetsuits were put on and taken off on the Dancer and the deck shower was reasonably convienent. Getting in the water from the tenders was easy, quick backward roll and you were in. Getting back on the tender was not bad, staff tried to help by steading you grabbing your tank valve. This was helpful to me for all but one instance... I nearly lost my balance and I'm afraid I may have wrenched my helpers back...
I was still working on not being an air sucking diver...so I had no problem with the lengths of the dives.
I never did figure out a way to fresh water rinse my reg after the dives with the tenders. Someone else may have figured something out since our trip, but no one was doing that.
Hope this helps.