Imagine paying thousands of dollars for a bucket list scuba trip to one of the most challenging dive sites in the world (the Galapagos). You get there and discover the crew is lax about safety.
On a yacht where AT LEAST two divers have drowned since 2009 after they were abandoned by their dive ‘buddies’.
You’d think the operator would be a wee bit more safety oriented. But no, because when you question safety practices, the operator tells you “divers dive at their own risk”.
Translation: we’ll take your money. We’ll let you dive. Our dive guide may even point out a turtle or two. But you’re responsible for EVERYTHING. Don’t expect any help from us if things go wrong underwater or on the choppy surface.
Diving without safety briefings is NO problem
My assigned dive buddy, Ivan, arrived on the vessel one day late. He missed ALL the key safety briefings pertaining to the way dives are to be conducted on the vessel. The dive crew let him dive anyway and partnered me up with him.
Divers are supposed to stay behind the dive guide and NOT dive any deeper. On our first and only dive together, Ivan was all over the place – but mostly below – at least 15 feet deeper at times. I stayed close to him. He didn’t care where I was.
At one point, I became winded in the strong current. I tried to signal to Ivan that I needed to stop on the rock for a minute, to rest and catch my breath. I was beginning to panic. What did Ivan do? He swam off with another diver who had a fancy camera.
Overexertion kills divers. More than 400 dives under my belt and I’d never been so scared.
Alone, I had no choice but to follow Ivan. The rest of the divers had disappeared. Ivan finally took notice of me and I signalled to abort the dive. To go to the surface. That he agreed to follow me was astounding.
Back on the boat, I reported Ivan to the dive crew. I informed them he wasn’t a safe buddy. I also reminded them Ivan hadn’t been present for ANY of the safety briefings. They scowled.
The remedy they came up was even worse than being buddied with Ivan.
To be continued…..