Friday, 31 July 2009

Diving Taganga: Don't All Rush At Once

Judging by my experience here, I'd just say don't. I've probably been spoiled by indonesian and Philippines diving recently. But if you've never dived before, it's a very cheap place to do your PADI Open Water. One or two dive shops also offer the Discover Scuba course free, so you have nothing to lose.

Now I won't name the dive shop I went out with, but any divers can contact me if they'd like more info. Myself and Jocky went out on two dives one afternoon. Things got off to a bad start when each diver's gear was in unmarked bags on the tiny boat, and the computers they'd promised us had not materialised. I asked about them, and was told they were on the way from the shop. The boat set off, and I asked again...the boat driver doing a U-turn in the bay to get them, literally ten minutes after I'd asked the first time.

At the site, I was kitting up. The divemaster asked me why I was loosening the silicone straps while putting on my fins, instead of using the plastic quick-release clips? I explained my Instructor in the Philippines had said the clips were a bad idea, and repeated use wore them out...leading to them coming off when you least expected it. He looked at me like I was a fool, and tried putting them on for me. On turning on my air, a constant hiss indicated an air leak somewhere...and my first stage was still moveable on the tank valve when it was opened...something which shouldn't be possible. But in we went.

The leak didn't seem too bad, and the dive went without a hitch. But to say there was nothing to see would not be an exaggeration; a complete lack of life in places, and a dull, discoloured reef. They'd only given us 3mm suits, and the water was a chilly 23°: we'd been promised 5mm. I was that numb, I didn't think I'd make the second dive...and I don't feel the cold. But after warming up on the beach, we went to the next site. The DM again picked me up on the way I donned my fins and, for the sake of argument, I let him adjust them on my feet using the clips. I jumped in and what happened? fin came off and sank down to the bottom. Luckily it was only 5m down. But my air leak was getting worse. The female DM came over to look at it and, instead of getting the gear back on the boat, took the first stage off while we were in the water. Unbelievable...that's one expensive service that bit of kit's due. Satisfied with it, we descended.

On this dive, we were taken between 2 reefs within 20 minutes of commencing the swim. A good third of the dive was spent over sand, trying to keep up with the DM who was streaking ahead. I tried to stay at the centre of the group, as the guy at the rear was only visible by his bubbles. The DM checked on the group a maximum of 5 times on the whole dive; I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I'm no expert, and only qualified in May, but it's basic common sense to keep the group together, surely?

The icing on the cake was when the DM found a spot to send up an SMB (an inflatable devive you send to the surface to indicate your location to the dive boat) and proceeded to partially inflate it. He hovered upside-down, obviusly showing off, and sent it up. It stopped short of the surface by a good 3 metres, and it was a while before he realised this. Too much showboating, and not enough brains, obviously.

We ascended into 2-3 metre swells, the waves tossing about as we awaited pick-up. It's an indication of the quality of the experience that this was the most fun part of the dive. To cap it all, the curt female DM nearly broke my wrist with the weight belt as I handed it up...dragging it off me and banging my hand against the edge of the boat. Jocky and I exchanged glances and shakes of the head as we clambered aboard. He said I was overly critical, but I said it's no bad things to gave standards...especially when it comes to an activity like diving: you want people around you whom you can rely on.

I think the staff were surprised when we turned down the chance of a night dive and further diving the day after. They shouldn't have been.


april said...

Thanks for the report, Will be great if can give more details about that company.

Andrew said...

That couldn't be Poseidon, could it? :)
Similar experience myself. DM was trying to break 100m swimming record and left myself an American woman and her kid in murky viz looking for him...

april said...

I think it was Poseidon, no other company offers computers.. I went with the company next door..
good experience

old8oy said...

It was Poseidon, Andrew. Sorry for the late reply, you two. Glad you had a better time, April...