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Taveuni Fiji - Aqua-Trek Nightmare


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#1 digits1981

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 02:29 PM

Hello all, wanted to pass this info along to see what people think and perhaps get the word out about the way my wife and I were treated after a nightmare dive in the Somosomo Strait:

If anyone is familiar with the Great White Wall that will make this easier to explain perhaps.

My wife has about 90-100 logged dives and grew up diving so she's not an unexperienced diver just to preface.

We were on our first outing with Aqua Trek Diving which is located at the Garden Island Resort in Taveuni Fiji. The morning of our checkin the staff, especially one woman, was rather unfriendly which is unusual for a diveshop but quite a few people from a returning group of divers had stated how good the dive shop was so we trusted their advice.

We were heading to the Great White Wall which is a big wall dive where you go around a coral formation, through a small nook in the coral formation, and then descend through a hole and out through the face of a big White Wall. We had just purchased a new housing for our D300 and were pressure testing it without the camera and my wife had it. The unfriendly woman in the dive shop was going to be our group leader on the dive and she tried to give my wife 12lbs of weight(my wife is 5' 7" and weight 120lbs) but my wife took 8lbs instead as she didn't realize how buoyant the housing would be.

Anyway, as we descended in a current(a strong one to be fair) my wife couldn't descend due to the buoyancy of the camera so she went back up to the boat to give the camera back to the captain and continue the dive. The divemaster saw her and my wife made an "I'll be right back signal" and we rounded the coral formation and headed into the crevice in the coral formation towards the tunnel which you swim through to go to the tunnel. As we arrived my wife still hadn't returned. The divemaster sent 3 women together through the tunnel in what I deem a fairly strong current. I was somewhat uncomfortable with the strength of it but I was with the divemaster and clung to a rock. I motioned that I didn't know where my wife was and the divemaster told me to wait. She swam up to the boat apparently, came back down, and told me to partner with her and head through the tunnel.

MY ASSUMPTION: The housing had a big problem, my wife didn't want to leave it on the boat if it leaked without rinsing it, or something. I FULLY assumed that my wife was on the boat since the divemaster told me to partner with her and go through.

We went through the tunnel and were diving for a total of about 30 minutes when my wife appeared out of nowhere, the void that is. I could tell she was peeved but assumed it had something to do with the camera and just tried to enjoy the dive.

Our divemaster ran out of air a full 10 minutes before any of the rest of us and left the group in the current alone as we finished our dive.

When we surfaced I could tell my wife was angry, she was really pissed.

Apparently what happened is that she went up to hand the camera(this took a total of 4 minutes), when she returned below she couldn't find us since the divemaster chose to go around the first coral head without waiting, and my wife had to resurface. The boat captain told her that there were bubbles below and that she should dive there. So my wife descended again and started searching in the wild blue for us, in a rather strong current mind you.

When the divemaster had ascended while I waited outside the tunnel she saw no sign of my wife, went up to the boat and saw that she wasn't there, and continued with the dive anyway. To me this is disgustingly egregious. In a current that strong my wife could have been easily 1 mile from the dive site after 30 minutes.

We confronted her on the boat and she snapped back "I told you to take 12lbs, it was your fault!" Then some other guy who wasn't in our group decided to interject and state that it was my wife's fault...I later learned from the dive shop manager this guy has some strange love for the dive shop workers and was just being emotionally defensive it seems.

Anyway, post dive we tried to talk to the dive shop "manager" so he told us and he told us that others in the group (the emotional man) told him it was our fault which he couldn't have possibly known anything about since he was in the 1st group and not our group. The three women in our group also said they felt very uncomfortable with the divemaster. The dive shop "manager" told us never to dive with them again, etc.

I asked the divemaster for her certification card so I could report her to PADI. She didn't have her card and refused to bring it the following day. She did however write down her number.

This was all an uncomfortable point of staying where we were even though we found another dive shop and had a boat to ourselves with two wonderful guys the following few diving days.

Am I crazy to think that the divemaster was completely in the wrong to know that a diver was lost in the water by herself and just continue on the dive? Isn't it her responsibility to take care that people are safe? Granted, I was alone but she knew exactly where I was and the 3 other women who went through the hole had been diving with the diveshop for a few days and were indeed all together and near to the 1st group of divers. My wife was certainly the only one who was "lost" and the divemaster let it slide and went on with the dive anyway.

Any input or comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

#2 MatthewAddison

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 03:02 PM

It sounds to me like a somewhat inexperienced divemaster was at the helm of your dive group. A good divemaster will never split a group, no matter what the conditions, especially if there are "unknowns" in the group. . You and your wife on this particular dive constitute the "unknown" as it was your first dive with the operation. I am quite surprised that a weight check was not done at the surface prior to attempting a descent as you had new equipment in hand. This simple check could have avoided the problem before it began. While the divemaster should have reminded you of this, the diver also bears responsibility.
As to the rude behavior, there is no excuse and shows the inexperience of your dive professional. "The best defense is a good offense" was in play.
Quite happy to hear that you found a better group to play with though!
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#3 brendiver

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:58 PM

Really bad treatment, poor management, have you put a report on Trip Advisor or similar?

I'd also write to some of the dive magazines that have a balanced letters page, or maybe write about it as a "It happened to me" type article for the sort of back page many magazines appear to have.

Shoddy treatment like this is inexcusable - use the power of Web 2.0 to make your voice known.

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#4 Steve Williams

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 10:13 PM

I don't see the issue quite the way you guys do. I think maybe there is also some fault to be laid at your feet. In my world, I am responsible for my safety, not some poor overworked dive guide. You folks did some things to put yourselves in a very unsafe position. You're not alone though, lots of folks do the same things, I think the best thing you can do is take some responsibility for what happened and learn from it, so you'll be safer next time. You may not want to hear it but I'll try to show you what you might have done differently.

My wife has about 90-100 logged dives and grew up diving so she's not an unexperienced diver just to preface.

The number of dives someone has made has little to do with the safety factor. Has she dove that spot with that gear, in those conditions? If I understand you correctly, Nope, first time with the camera. First dive of the trip.


We had just purchased a new housing for our D300 and were pressure testing it without the camera and my wife had it. The unfriendly woman in the dive shop was going to be our group leader on the dive and she tried to give my wife 12lbs of weight(my wife is 5' 7" and weight 120lbs) but my wife took 8lbs instead as she didn't realize how buoyant the housing would be.

So if I understand, the diveguide suggested 12 lbs and you said no thanks I'll take 8? and this is her fault? Next time you go on a trip use the first opportunity to get in the water with your gear and check your weights. Before the boat leaves the dock. Things change, different tanks have different bouyancy, different gear, new wetsuit, maybe you gained or lost a few pounds. The experienced divers I know are moving 1 lb wts around to get not just their wt but their attitude in the water right. You failed to check out your gear and that is your responsibility.

Anyway, as we descended in a current(a strong one to be fair) my wife couldn't descend due to the buoyancy of the camera so she went back up to the boat to give the camera back to the captain and continue the dive. The divemaster saw her and my wife made an "I'll be right back signal" and we rounded the coral formation and headed into the crevice in the coral formation towards the tunnel which you swim through to go to the tunnel. As we arrived my wife still hadn't returned.

Let's stop right there. You let your dive buddy go back to the boat and you kept descending to 80 ft in a strong current? Sorry partner that makes no sense to me. I'll ignore the fact that the "I'll be right back signal" could have been something else entirely. You left your wife and maybe worse your new camera (just kidding). Resonable thing to do at this point is abort, you guys weren't ready to go. No shame in that. Hard to do, first dive, we all feel the pressure to go. That's how people get hurt. Your divemaster could have been wearing a clown suit and been in a super mood up to that point, but divemasters get stressed when they leave the boat with 5 and get to the hole in the reef with 4. If you stress people like that some will react negatively.



I motioned that I didn't know where my wife was and the divemaster told me to wait. She swam up to the boat apparently, came back down, and told me to partner with her and head through the tunnel.

Just for the record your rude divemaster went looking to see if your wife was in trouble while you clung to a rock.

I FULLY assumed that my wife was on the boat since the divemaster told me to partner with her and go through.

Putting aside the old joke about assumptions, you were mistaken, you did not know where your wife was and you did nothing.

Our divemaster ran out of air a full 10 minutes before any of the rest of us and left the group in the current alone as we finished our dive.

Maybe because she was looking all over the ocean for your wife?

To me this is disgustingly egregious. In a current that strong my wife could have been easily 1 mile from the dive site after 30 minutes.

I agree, and you would have been responsible.

We confronted her on the boat and she snapped back "I told you to take 12lbs, it was your fault!" Then some other guy who wasn't in our group decided to interject and state that it was my wife's fault
Anyway, post dive we tried to talk to the dive shop "manager" so he told us and he told us that others in the group (the emotional man) told him it was our fault. The dive shop "manager" told us never to dive with them again, etc.

I'd love to know what the etc. was. Do you realize how bad you have to screw up to have a guy tell you not to come back? I'm afraid partner your not listening. Three different folks other than the divemaster are trying to tell you something and your not hearing it.

Isn't it her responsibility to take care that people are safe?

No, absolutely not. It is your responsibility. There are a couple of things you could have done as noted above and none of this would have happened.

Any input or comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

I sure hope so. It is far too easy to smear someones reputation on the internet where thousands of people will read it and the "accused" cannot answer for themselves.

Look partner, I can understand that you guys were righteously frightened by the way this went down. That's OK, anybody would have been. I just don't think blaming some dive guide is going to help you in the long run. It doesn't matter if she was rude or not. If you don't want to listen to me go talk to the folks who certified you and see what they think, Ask yourself what you could have done differently to avoid the dangerous situation you were in. Good luck and dive safe!

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#5 PIG004

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:23 AM

I don't see the issue quite the way you guys do. I think maybe there is also some fault to be laid at your feet. In my world, I am responsible for my safety, not some poor overworked dive guide. You folks did some things to put yourselves in a very unsafe position. You're not alone though, lots of folks do the same things, I think the best thing you can do is take some responsibility for what happened and learn from it, so you'll be safer next time. You may not want to hear it but I'll try to show you what you might have done differently.

The number of dives someone has made has little to do with the safety factor. Has she dove that spot with that gear, in those conditions? If I understand you correctly, Nope, first time with the camera. First dive of the trip.
So if I understand, the diveguide suggested 12 lbs and you said no thanks I'll take 8? and this is her fault? Next time you go on a trip use the first opportunity to get in the water with your gear and check your weights. Before the boat leaves the dock. Things change, different tanks have different bouyancy, different gear, new wetsuit, maybe you gained or lost a few pounds. The experienced divers I know are moving 1 lb wts around to get not just their wt but their attitude in the water right. You failed to check out your gear and that is your responsibility.
Let's stop right there. You let your dive buddy go back to the boat and you kept descending to 80 ft in a strong current? Sorry partner that makes no sense to me. I'll ignore the fact that the "I'll be right back signal" could have been something else entirely. You left your wife and maybe worse your new camera (just kidding). Resonable thing to do at this point is abort, you guys weren't ready to go. No shame in that. Hard to do, first dive, we all feel the pressure to go. That's how people get hurt. Your divemaster could have been wearing a clown suit and been in a super mood up to that point, but divemasters get stressed when they leave the boat with 5 and get to the hole in the reef with 4. If you stress people like that some will react negatively.



Just for the record your rude divemaster went looking to see if your wife was in trouble while you clung to a rock.

Putting aside the old joke about assumptions, you were mistaken, you did not know where your wife was and you did nothing.

Maybe because she was looking all over the ocean for your wife?

I agree, and you would have been responsible.

I'd love to know what the etc. was. Do you realize how bad you have to screw up to have a guy tell you not to come back? I'm afraid partner your not listening. Three different folks other than the divemaster are trying to tell you something and your not hearing it.

No, absolutely not. It is your responsibility. There are a couple of things you could have done as noted above and none of this would have happened. I sure hope so. It is far too easy to smear someones reputation on the internet where thousands of people will read it and the "accused" cannot answer for themselves.

Look partner, I can understand that you guys were righteously frightened by the way this went down. That's OK, anybody would have been. I just don't think blaming some dive guide is going to help you in the long run. It doesn't matter if she was rude or not. If you don't want to listen to me go talk to the folks who certified you and see what they think, Ask yourself what you could have done differently to avoid the dangerous situation you were in. Good luck and dive safe!

Steve


Steve I agree 100% with you. I was infact typing something similiar when your reponse came up and saved me the effort. Also yours is better. :)
Now I don't want to sling any mud but I have several divemaster/guides as friends and frankly some of the things they have to put up with are amazing. Now I don't condone the rude behavior from the dive guide but she had 5 people to deal with not only you and your wife. She gave good advise which was ignored.
From what you have written I guess you expected the dive to be aborted because of the problems with the additional bouyancy of the housing. I certainly would have been vocal if I had been in your group and yes your wife would have been blamed as she choice to ignore sound advise.
Sorry for being so blunt.

As a matter if interest how much weight did she use in the following days?

#6 digits1981

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:36 AM

Steve I agree 100% with you. I was infact typing something similiar when your reponse came up and saved me the effort. Also yours is better. :)
Now I don't want to sling any mud but I have several divemaster/guides as friends and frankly some of the things they have to put up with are amazing. Now I don't condone the rude behavior from the dive guide but she had 5 people to deal with not only you and your wife. She gave good advise which was ignored.
From what you have written I guess you expected the dive to be aborted because of the problems with the additional bouyancy of the housing. I certainly would have been vocal if I had been in your group and yes your wife would have been blamed as she choice to ignore sound advise.
Sorry for being so blunt.

As a matter if interest how much weight did she use in the following days?



Thanks for the replies. I take all of them to heart.

Regarding me messing up and not sticking with my wife/dive buddy that is correct, I was partially at fault and learned a valuable lesson.

The divemaster only went up to the boat to check for my wife at my insistence underwater and repeatedly told me to stay and I was stuck to a rock in a strong current holding on. I am not nearly as experienced as my wife or the divemaster and I erred as well. Her seeing that my wife was not on the boat and knowing that she was not on the boat and not doing something other than continuing with the dive was inexcusable. If you were a divemaster and you knew that one of the members of the group, the only one who's position was unknown, was not with the group or on the boat in a strong current would you carry on with the dive as usual? If you don't answer that question please don't bother responding.

My wife and I both learned valuable lessons.

The dive guide was in a horrible mood from the get-go Steve...sorry to disappoint you. Also, regarding your lightly veiled slight at me regarding what three people said about it being our fault, one wasn't in our group and had no idea what happened and the only other responded that way out of defensive posturing which was later confirmed with the real manager of the dive shop. Again, sorry to disappoint you.

While it's clear that we made some misjudgements, you should probably ask any divemaster who has a clue whether they would split up the group(in this case sending the 3 women through the tunnel) before going to look for my wife. Up to that point the only separated party was my wife, the divemaster is the one who split up the group herself.

In response to the question about the weights, my wife used 8lbs the following days. The first dive was without camera and therefore the housing was positively buoyant, the following dives with the camera it was negatively buoyant.

Thanks for the all the replies and I'm not looking for backpatting but I'm not looking for Steve-like-replies which turn the incident on its head. The divemaster is a group leader who should keep the group together(especially if one party is missing) and is only leading people who are unqualified to lead themselves in a location that they don't know. Some people seem to forget that this is a recreational sport.

Thanks and while there are lessons learned I staunchly know the divemaster was heavily in the wrong since the one thing she did know was that she DIDN'T know where my wife was and went on with the dive anyway.

Edited by digits1981, 22 April 2008 - 12:38 AM.


#7 PIG004

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:55 AM

Thanks for the replies. I take all of them to heart.

Regarding me messing up and not sticking with my wife/dive buddy that is correct, I was partially at fault and learned a valuable lesson.

The divemaster only went up to the boat to check for my wife at my insistence underwater and repeatedly told me to stay and I was stuck to a rock in a strong current holding on. I am not nearly as experienced as my wife or the divemaster and I erred as well. Her seeing that my wife was not on the boat and knowing that she was not on the boat and not doing something other than continuing with the dive was inexcusable. If you were a divemaster and you knew that one of the members of the group, the only one who's position was unknown, was not with the group or on the boat in a strong current would you carry on with the dive as usual? If you don't answer that question please don't bother responding.

My wife and I both learned valuable lessons.

The dive guide was in a horrible mood from the get-go Steve...sorry to disappoint you. Also, regarding your lightly veiled slight at me regarding what three people said about it being our fault, one wasn't in our group and had no idea what happened and the only other responded that way out of defensive posturing which was later confirmed with the real manager of the dive shop. Again, sorry to disappoint you.

While it's clear that we made some misjudgements, you should probably ask any divemaster who has a clue whether they would split up the group(in this case sending the 3 women through the tunnel) before going to look for my wife. Up to that point the only separated party was my wife, the divemaster is the one who split up the group herself.

In response to the question about the weights, my wife used 8lbs the following days. The first dive was without camera and therefore the housing was positively buoyant, the following dives with the camera it was negatively buoyant.

Thanks for the all the replies and I'm not looking for backpatting but I'm not looking for Steve-like-replies which turn the incident on its head. The divemaster is a group leader who should keep the group together(especially if one party is missing) and is only leading people who are unqualified to lead themselves in a location that they don't know. Some people seem to forget that this is a recreational sport.

Thanks and while there are lessons learned I staunchly know the divemaster was heavily in the wrong since the one thing she did know was that she DIDN'T know where my wife was and went on with the dive anyway.


If someone is missing from a group on a dive site that they haven't visited before then yes the dive should have been called. I'm surprised this was not mentioned in the briefing. Normally if you are lost after a minute you should surface and check for the missing group especially when the missing diver is in the blue and cannot see the wall.
Clearly you have learnt from this episode and I bet it never happens again. I am sure the diveguide has also learnt from the same episode and the experience gained will hopefully prevent a reoccurence of this type of incident in the future. But remember prople are not born knowing it all, that comes from experience and wanting to cruxify someone for a bad day is rather unfair.
Now if a dozen people come on here complaining about the same guide then fine, string her up.

#8 digits1981

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:03 AM

Now if a dozen people come on here complaining about the same guide then fine, string her up.


As it was we were told that others had complained about this particular dive guide previously. Who knows as we weren't there but I wouldn't doubt it based on the way we were treated.

Normally I would live and let live but in this scenario I honestly do feel that what the divemaster did was so careless that(if she really has been a divemaster for 10 years) she should lose her license. I've seen divemasters do things that made me shake my head a number of times but never something that seemed to put someone(or the group for that matter, by splitting us up before going to look for my wife) in such a position as leaving their position unknown for the duration of a dive without alerting anyone.

I feel worse than anyone as I now know that I should have surfaced with my wife instead of descending and sticking to the group. I am still inexperienced to a large degree and I know that...it's why I pay someone a good amount of money to supervise for our safety. My wife spent some time crying and quite a while totally shaken up about the incident but luckily came to realize that it was a particular instance of something gone wrong. It wasn't a small mishap but a huge problem that luckily didn't turn out to be a person lost at sea.

Cheers.

Edited by digits1981, 22 April 2008 - 01:05 AM.


#9 james

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 05:33 AM

I am glad that we get to hear about both points of view. I think in situations like this it's good to put yourself in the other person's shoes and see the situation from their side. Hopefully everyone can benefit from this thread.

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#10 Lionfish43

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 05:52 AM

I know if this had happened to us my wife would be kicking my ass, not the dive guides. I don't know how it came about but you have no business on the GWW on the first dive of a trip. The GWW is well know as a potentially difficult dive: deep, shear dropoff, strong currents. I have done it a couple of times and it is definitely not the place to be sorting your bouyancy or trying a new camera setup.

Like I said, I don't know how you ended up on that dive. Maybe you overstated your ability. It sounds like you probably came off a little cocky by ignoring the DM's advice on weight. But the bottom line is, YOU are responsible for your own safety and that of your buddy. You made the decision to go on that dive and got in over your head.

In the end the only thing hurt was your pride and maybe you ass after your wife got through kicking it. Take it for what it is, a lesson learned

Edited by Lionfish43, 22 April 2008 - 06:04 AM.

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#11 digits1981

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 09:36 PM

I know if this had happened to us my wife would be kicking my ass, not the dive guides. I don't know how it came about but you have no business on the GWW on the first dive of a trip. The GWW is well know as a potentially difficult dive: deep, shear dropoff, strong currents. I have done it a couple of times and it is definitely not the place to be sorting your bouyancy or trying a new camera setup.

Like I said, I don't know how you ended up on that dive. Maybe you overstated your ability. It sounds like you probably came off a little cocky by ignoring the DM's advice on weight. But the bottom line is, YOU are responsible for your own safety and that of your buddy. You made the decision to go on that dive and got in over your head.

In the end the only thing hurt was your pride and maybe you ass after your wife got through kicking it. Take it for what it is, a lesson learned



In retrospect it was a bad dive to take a new camera on. Perhaps if someone in the diveshop had been nice and conversed with us we would have known...knowing nothing other than that the GWW is a famous dive on the Rainbow Reef we had no clue. I'm not blaming them but we had no clue.

Didn't overstate any ability. I, as well as my wife, will be the first one to tell you we're none too fond of strong currents. We even mentioned it on the boat I'm sure and the guide said it wouldn't be too strong.

My wife wasn't being cocky at all, just inexperienced with a professional housing for the camera. We're the ignorant students...you can't learn if you're not taught. Know what I mean? Those who are preaching how it was all our fault would do well to realize that...we learned more than a few lessons but the hard way, there was perhaps and easier one...the dive guide could have suggested hopping in with weights to test the camera, but instead the crew was rather unattentive and unfriendly and didn't suggest anything. We were ignorant about that fact and now we're not.

Cheers and thanks...you put your criticism in a far less snide and rude way than others and for that I can thank you.

#12 tscher

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:11 PM

Wait!

I am the one who was there, not even my husband witnessed it...

1. I knew since i got in the water that I should have checked the buoyancy of the camera first.

2. I ASKED the dive master why she gave me 12lb, instead of replying to my question she got upset and told the other dive master to give me what I wanted, I asked the other dive guide the same question and he only replied with his shoulders as "I don't know" since we didn't get anything but a bad attitude from these people since the beginning this didn't surprise me.

3. I usually use 6lb, I took 9lb so I was aware that the housing would be buoyant.

4. I signaled the to wait for me, my dive computer recorded it took me 3 min to go back down, that's how long it took her to leave me...In all the dives I've been I had never seen a dive master abandoning a diver before going to check on him, I've waited 15 min for people to go down, it is all about safety and that's why people dive with guides and in groups.

5. YES i almost kicked my husband's ass as soon as we surfaced, but I understand he is not as experienced and he had never experience such a current, and he never thought the dive master would just go and tell him to continue the dive with her without knowing where I was...dive master are certified professionals and this one wasn't suppose to be the exception.


I've always been very aware of what other people are doing, I know that diving is a team sport (at least that's one of my main principles in this matter) lesson learned, I won't ever rely on someone else, next time I'll make the simple buoyancy test that would have saved us from experiencing this matter.

Thank you all for your comments, I know it is easy to misjudge without witnessing.

#13 Steve Williams

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:13 PM

Hi tscher, welcome to wetpixel. Glad you explained a little more. So you understand where I was coming from, I get concerned when anyone gets held up for ridicule on the net, and especially here on Wetpixel. The diving community is really a very small place. There are always two sides to a story (if not four or five) and when someone gets dumped on red flags go up. The main thing I reacted to was the assumption in the earlier posts that the divemaster was responsible for your safety. I just don't see it that way. And I think it's a dangerous assumption to operate with for exactly the reasons you discovered. Granted dive guides are trained professionals, but I don't want to bet my life on somebody I don't know. It's my contention that I'm the one responsible for my dive buddy and my own safety. If there is a guide along who can show me some cool stuff, great but that is all I ask from them. We may not agree on that and that's OK I guess. Just be sure you tell your divemaster your expectations before you leave the dock. I'm sure everybody learned something and that's a good thing. I do fault the dive shop for putting you guys on that spot, in current on your first dive of the trip. It's just not typically done anymore because a bunch of us only get to dive two or three trips a year and we can be rusty. We always try to get in a short dip when we get to a location to check out that our gear made it OK and get weighted for the conditions.

I'm very glad you had a good time for the rest of your trip. Getting back to what Wetpixel is all about, Did you get any pictures to post? How did the new camera work out? I hope you find the time to enjoy all the great info here and use Wetpixel to your advantage. Dive safe. :)

Steve

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#14 tscher

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 08:55 PM

Hi tscher, welcome to wetpixel. Glad you explained a little more. So you understand where I was coming from, I get concerned when anyone gets held up for ridicule on the net, and especially here on Wetpixel. The diving community is really a very small place. There are always two sides to a story (if not four or five) and when someone gets dumped on red flags go up. The main thing I reacted to was the assumption in the earlier posts that the divemaster was responsible for your safety. I just don't see it that way. And I think it's a dangerous assumption to operate with for exactly the reasons you discovered. Granted dive guides are trained professionals, but I don't want to bet my life on somebody I don't know. It's my contention that I'm the one responsible for my dive buddy and my own safety. If there is a guide along who can show me some cool stuff, great but that is all I ask from them. We may not agree on that and that's OK I guess. Just be sure you tell your divemaster your expectations before you leave the dock. I'm sure everybody learned something and that's a good thing. I do fault the dive shop for putting you guys on that spot, in current on your first dive of the trip. It's just not typically done anymore because a bunch of us only get to dive two or three trips a year and we can be rusty. We always try to get in a short dip when we get to a location to check out that our gear made it OK and get weighted for the conditions.

I'm very glad you had a good time for the rest of your trip. Getting back to what Wetpixel is all about, Did you get any pictures to post? How did the new camera work out? I hope you find the time to enjoy all the great info here and use Wetpixel to your advantage. Dive safe. :)

Steve



Thanks for the welcoming and your comments.

I have always been very responsible for my dives, I grew up in a family of dive instructors and I was taught by the older ways (which were way more challenging than nowadays). If i was so upset is because we are out here paying good money expecting good service in a recreational sport, and they were really irresponsible. I wasn't expecting the DM to take my hand all the way through the dive or to check my air every 5 min, I know very well what I am supposed to do and what not, but it seemed really unethical to me and against every values regarding a qualified DM to abandon somebody without saying a word. If I could dive by myself then I'd do it, the truth is that I am not certified or qualified to do that and these people get paid to guide divers through sites they had never been before, and they didn't even explain the hazardous conditions of the dive.

After the dive I couldn't help wondering what would have happened if this was one of my first dives, or what if that happened to my husband....it is a scary thought, specially when somebody could go so easy about ignoring a missing person in the middle of the ocean in such a strong current.

I've been diving for 12 years now and I have very little dives logged for that time, so I don't considered myself the most experienced person, and there are people even less experienced practicing this sport having to deal with this kind of people, do you know what I mean? it sucks that I learned this lesson this way, but i am sure that something as simple as a DM answering a simple question as "why so much weight?" could have avoided fatal accidents/

Anyway...the camera is awesome!! really it is a world of difference to take pics with a D300 compared to a smaller canon 640. And yes! I will try to post my not so bad pics soon.

Cheers!
Tatiana

#15 Steve Williams

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:32 PM

Thanks Tatiana, Looking forward to seeing some pictures. Let us know which housing you have too.

Steve

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#16 PIG004

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:47 PM

Yes what type of housing and which strobe set up?
I will be taking my D300 into the water for the first time next month and would really like to know which housing you have?

#17 tscher

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 06:13 PM

Yes what type of housing and which strobe set up?
I will be taking my D300 into the water for the first time next month and would really like to know which housing you have?



I have an Aquatica, it is really good housing, it might be a bit more expensive than the Ikelite but it offers so much more value, specially for a camera such as a D300.

It is really easy to handle, even lighter underwater than the one I had for my small camera.

I will be happy to answer any questions you have regarding the camera or the housing (according to my little experience though) I've enjoyed a lot taking pics with it so far, we've taken it in about 10 dives now and it is so much easier and nicer than the smaller models.

Cheers
tscher

#18 jeremypayne

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 08:35 AM

As you posted here looking for comments, I'll offer one ... and please take this as it was intended - constructive criticism. I know first-hand how scary a dive-related "accident" can be ... I had an out-of-air experience a few years ago at 30M in the middle of the Persian Gulf that scared the P*SS out of me. While there were definitely others who contributed to that day's event, at the end of the day it was my life and my responsibility.

In my opinion, you are being unfair to the dive master. After you chose to resurface after the initial descent and left the group in a challenging environment, you probably should have stayed topside. I have never returned to depth after an unplanned surfacing - even if that means I have to swim topside quite a ways to get to the boat.

I don't know the signal for "wait here, I'm unexpectedly going up to the boat for some reason - but I'll be back and I expect you to wait here until I return." That's a fairly complex expression to get across to someone underwater whom you've just met ...
Jeremy Payne
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#19 Steve Williams

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 02:21 PM

That's a fairly complex expression to get across to someone underwater whom you've just met ...

I'm with you in some repects Jeremy, I think communication is the key to this scenario. We can't expect new divers to be able to understand all the non verbal stuff we use underwater. It takes a while even for people who spend a lot of time together on land to be able to read each others minds underwater. Once Tatiana was in the water on the dive, I think she did the right thing though, she did a great job of following the bubbles back down to her buddy and got back together with the group. I would have done the same thing in her place. I'd bet most of us have been seperated from the group at one time or another, you just get back together and go on. I had an interesting experience on my wife's first open water dive in Cayman many years ago. She had about 10 Califiornia dives under her belt at the time. There is a pinnacle on the west side of the island that comes up to 80 ft. from a depth of about 300 ft. It's about 40 ft. wide at the top. Our group consisted of 6 friends and the guide. On our descent I noticed one of the other divers didn't look right. The group was headed down and he was bringing up the rear at about 30'. I swam over closer and saw his eyes were rolled back in his head and he was losing it. I got him back to the surface where he came to and we got him back on the boat. He found out the hard way it's not recommended to try and drink the airplane dry then dive the next morning. My wife meanwhile was somewhere below me headed toward I knew not where. I still hold the unofficial record for descending to 80 ft. She was fine of course and was merrily enjoying the new experience, my other friends had joined up with her when they saw what I was up to. There was no way I was going to stay with the boat with my inexperienced wife somewhere below me. We have since learned to dive together and communicate much better. In her couple of thousand dives since that day we have descended together and can read each others mind. Every situation is different, we have to make the calls based on our experience and the conditions. Im not saying your wrong. I just think Tatiana did the right thing in that situation and I sincerely hope that she and her husband have many years of enjoyable dives ahead of them. Hey Tatiana, if you read this tell your husband " We need to work on our communication" we just love to hear that. ;)

Steve

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Canon7D & 40D, 60mm, 100mm, 17-40L, Tokina 10-17, Nauticam 7D, Sea & Sea MDX-40D YS-250's ULCS arms, Lightroom


#20 PIG004

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 07:38 PM

I have an Aquatica, it is really good housing, it might be a bit more expensive than the Ikelite but it offers so much more value, specially for a camera such as a D300.

It is really easy to handle, even lighter underwater than the one I had for my small camera.

I will be happy to answer any questions you have regarding the camera or the housing (according to my little experience though) I've enjoyed a lot taking pics with it so far, we've taken it in about 10 dives now and it is so much easier and nicer than the smaller models.

Cheers
tscher


Yeah I have ordered the aquatica housing aswell.
Hopefully here within the week. ;)