Screw you single #scuba #diver


Divers arriving back to the main boat. I wasn’t able to be with them due to the danger of my situation arising out of the buddy-fiasco.

Within hours of being abandoned underwater by my ‘buddy, non-buddy’ Jose and ignored by Flo’s ‘divemaster, private servant’ Eduardo, I was gearing up again.

Getting back on the horse was crucial. Otherwise, I may not have ever dived again.

After the fiasco, Jose and Reuben went to chat with the captain about my non-buddy situation. The plan they came up with was this.

“Flo has to have a buddy,” they said. “You will be Flo’s buddy.” To review, Flo had fewer than 25 dives at this point and had hired Eduardo to keep her from dying. Flo was also socially challenged, rich, spoiled and a Grade A narcissist. I know this because she was my cabin mate.

Fat chance of Flo providing me with any buddy-assistance underwater. What a joke.

They also told me Eduardo would be my buddy for the next dive. Something he wasn’t required to do because Flo was planning to sit out the dive. Eduardo would be doing me and them a favour.

When I saw the dour look on Eduardo’s face, I knew he’d been ‘volun-told’ to be my buddy. He was pissed to the power of 100.

The dive was uneventful. Eduardo scowled the entire time.

Third time I thought I was dying

Next day, I joined my ‘buddy’ Flo and scowling Eduardo for a dive at a very tricky site. The currents were strong. We didn’t last long at depth. Flo wanted to surface. Which meant I had to go too.

The trip to the surface was terrifying, thanks to Eduardo. Grabbing both me and Flo by our arms, he dragged us about 70 feet up the surface – at a rate of about 30 feet a minute. It was torture. My fins were kicking so hard, I was struggling to breathe. At one point, he adjusted my equipment, which made it even harder for me to kick and ascend. I wasn’t able to adjust the equipment back. I thought I might blackout.

Once we’d surfaced, I made a decision. No more diving with these people – at least until the current lessened. It wasn’t safe. And, I told them so.

Next, the captain of the ship was offering to dive with me and be my buddy. I refused. Politely. Reuben pulled a sad face when I explained my decision to him. Others divers gave me WTF looks.

I sat out about six dives. When it was time to go back in the water, my ‘buddy’ Flo had a meltdown. She informed the crew I was NOT ALLOWED to be part of the buddy trio – to share her private divemaster. Not surprisingly, they went along with her wishes.

I was without a buddy again.

Three more days to go on the ship and I was counting down the hours.

To be continued…..

Lax safety on #Galapagos scuba yacht?


YOU’RE FIRED. Ivan, the useless lump of a dive buddy. I did only one treacherous dive with him.

Where to begin?

Along with my drysuit, scuba gear and camera, I guess I should have packed a ‘dive buddy’ as well.

I booked my seven-nights-aboard-a-luxury-scuba-dive-boat Galapagos trip in October 2015 (to happen December 2016). Nowhere in the fine print did it say, “we won’t give a shit about your safety if you travel unaccompanied and fail to bring along a loved one or friend to be your dive buddy.”

Yup, I travelled alone, fully expecting the dive liveaboard to partner me up with a buddy from among the other passengers – a responsible dive buddy. Because that’s what’s supposed to happen. Meaning buddies would be compelled to adhere to safe diving practices – such as sticking together. Or, have their diving privileges taken away – as the dive crew threatened, but NEVER acted on.

“Where’s my buddy?”

Ok, so the expectation on my part was that my cabin-mate – a woman diver – would be my buddy. And, she’d have some experience. Here’s the fine print: Recommended requirements include 50-100 open water dives, experience in currents, ability in removing gear in water and ability in getting into small boats in choppy seas.

Only, Flo, my cabin-mate, had roughly 15 dives. Most of those dives had been done one week earlier in calm, turquoise warm water, when she took an advanced skills course. Flo had NOTHING recommended in the fine print. A total rookie and prima donna, to boot. But, very wealthy. Money talks.

That’s not all, Flo had hired a private divemaster on the ship who acted as her personal servant/sherpa/ass-kisser for the week. Carrying her dive gear and essentially dragging her around dive sites. Meaning, Flo wasn’t going to be my dive buddy. (Maybe that’s a blessing because Flo would’ve been a danger to me).

Flo’s presence was the first of many clues the liveaboard company wasn’t exactly safety focused. (Lots of fine print in CAPS stating divers are responsible for themselves, yadda, yadda……) Essentially, the message was this: we’ll take your money, recommend you have some training and experience, but don’t really care if you don’t and we’re NOT responsible if you die.

As for my buddy? Well, “Ivan” failed to make it to the ship on time before we departed on the Sunday. “He’s coming tomorrow,” the dive crew told me.

“So, what do I do for a buddy until “Ivan” arrives?” I asked.  “Just stay near me,” the divemaster said. Bad idea.

Methinks, it’s possible Donna Newton and Eloise Gale may have laboured under the same delusion I did. That it was okay to travel alone because the liveaboard would pair you with a responsible other diver and ensure safety practices were followed.

To be continued…