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.”
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…