Videography or #scuba diver safety?

20170211-20170211-screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-1-35-34-pm

Dive guide Jose and his GoPro video camera

Of three dive guides on the Galapagos yacht, Jose was the most arrogant. Thirty-something guy with a swagger.

Jose led the majority of the safety and dive site briefings. He was easy to dislike. As an ‘older’ woman, I got an inkling early on the feeling was mutual. (He was very fond, however, of the 25-year-old skinny girl – more on this in a future post.)

I recall a particular briefing on the third day. Jose forcefully lectured us on not being annoying to the turtle mamas-to-be who needed to surface from time to time during the mating season. “Stay out of their way”, he said. “Don’t swarm them to take photos.”

20170211-20170211-screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-1-45-27-pm

Dive guide Reuben and his GoPro on a stick

So, what does Jose do as soon as we drop in the water? Shoves his GoPro in the face of a turtle. Other divers followed his lead. WTF?

Turtle-abuse aside, I was astounded the dive guides were shooting videos during our dives. A revenue stream, I guess, if they can sell their videos to the divers onboard.

I thought priority one for a dive guide was to keep an eye on the divers. Especially in the dangerous, strong currents of the Galapagos. Video shooting is a distraction.

Remember, AT LEAST two women divers have drowned during dives from this ship –  in 2009 and 2015.

Enough. A wonderful diver on the ship (kind, caring, animal lover) was equally annoyed about the dive guide’s video-shooting and turtle harassment. Together, we decided to have a chat with the captain.

Long story short. The captain reiterated that ‘divers dive at their own risk’ (yeah, we know – the ship isn’t responsible if we die), but agreed to curtail dive guide videography for the duration of this trip.

What was most remarkable – the other diver is my witness – was a comment the captain made. That in his opinion, the dive guide to diver ratio of eight to one (8 divers looked after by 1 guide) was a source of concern considering the challenging diving conditions in the Galapagos.

I was already getting a taste of dive guide inattention and there was more to come, courtesy of swaggering Jose.

To be continued…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s