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Eagle Ray Divers, Cozumel......Review

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Craig66

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As I mature in my diving I am often amazed at my perception of events that occured in my early days and sometimes I look back with amusement and sometimes I thank the Lord that I am alive. Clearly OW certification is only a license to go on with further learning and become a proficient diver. While the OP was clearly not current with the diving in Cozumel he definately does show traits that will hopefully make him a safe, responsible and reliable diver (and I certainly dont mean to sound patronizing and if I do I am sorry). I have no doubt that when he looks back on this situation after another 75 dives or so he will look at the events with a different eye and that is the wonder of learning to dive.

I often watch with amazement how the DM's that I have dived with both with DWM, Scuba Mau and BlueXTSea can spend half their dives literally saving the lives of less experienced divers. Everytime life in NJ takes a turn for the unexpected and I feel the urge to chuck it all up and go and be a DM in Coz I have visions of my wonderful DM's chasing after a floaty diver who stubbonly refused to take extra weight or a sinking diver who would not allow the DM to help them with their weight and my fantasy goes out the window. They can keep that job :)

For the regulars it is possible that their are things that we might take for granted that occur in Coz - (the six packs, The back rolls, the 6 feet - ok closer to 4 feet - docks, the relatively loose dive briefings - loose just because the dive depends on the current, viz and what is encountered as against a moored boat, the beach intervals, the dive as a group mentality. These things might appear foreign to a new Coz diver and also a bit overwhelming and possibly that is what was bieng experienced by the OP.

From the point of view of the OP whilst I am not suggesting that everything that happened was appropriate I do believe that much of what did occur such as the weighting issue was standard not only for caribbean but any time a DM is in the water and it is possible that in another 25 dives or so that you might be able to look at some of the activities with a different eye.

Unfortunately the OP's story highlights many of the issues that people have with discover courses, resort courses and cruise diving in general. Diving is not something that a resort diver can rush off a ship to do in a 4-6 hour stretch.

Having siad all of that I hope that the OP will continue to dive and dive and dive and will make sure that he and his hopefully certified wife will come to Coz for a good several days and enjoy all that Coz has to offer. Perhaps he will one day reopen this thread and reanalyze the events.

I do know one thing for sure and that is the OP understands the dangers of this sport we have chosen and has shown traits that will make him a good diver and would make me want to be his Dive Buddy one day!!!

Craig
 

ggunn

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Well said, Craig. I did hold back from my customary rant against resort/discover scuba dives. I just don't think they are safe, and to try to do one in a rushed, improvised situation with more unknowns than knowns is definitely unsafe, whether it be the fault of the customer, the operator, or a combination of both. The OP is lucky that nothing more went wrong than did. There is a bigger lesson here than whether to ever to dive with a particular dive op again.

What it boils down to is this: each of us is ultimately responsible for his/her own safety in the water, no matter how supervised the dive. I would never consider taking anyone dear to me diving without first getting them fully trained on how not to kill themselves doing it.
 

mjarens

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Wow... A very interesting thread. I "liked" several replies.

One thought I would like to add: Greetings OP, From the beginning of your lengthy post, several times you mentioned that either you and/or your wife were very uncomfortable with what was happening. Missed connections as to pick up, boat load times, etc.

For ANY dive experience: All divers must be informed and in their comfort zone. From your rant about everything that went wrong before you stepped on the boat, you, as the experienced (ie: certified diver) you should have "called" the dive day before you stepped (jumped) onto the boat. Did you not learn this in your OW & AOW training?

I am not a very experienced diver, but the stress level you two must have been feeling prior to water entry must have been a "10". Never dive when you are stressed. That is a bad idea.

Just sayin'.
 

BTravlin

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Cozumel
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As I mature in my diving I am often amazed at my perception of events that occured in my early days and sometimes I look back with amusement and sometimes I thank the Lord that I am alive. Clearly OW certification is only a license to go on with further learning and become a proficient diver. <SNIP>

Craig

Well done, Craig. I think this thread needed that post right when it came aboard.

My wife and I did our OW referral in Roatan a little over 5 years ago. Our first boat dives were with a DM who was most concerned with a pretty young lady diver in a skimpy bikini and was not paying attention to us whatsoever even though we were newly minted divers. We went to 80' on our first dive. Were down at the 100' level a few dives later. Thankfully, nothing went wrong but I can tell you the nerves were definitely on edge. Not what I would recommend for new divers. We look back at that trip now and marvel that we were able to do what we did without incident and it is definitely a testament to the quality of instruction given by our dive instructor. We failed the part about calling a dive you're uncomfortable with but the instructor and the manual both covered the topic well so that was our fault.

Some of the advice given here might be a little more direct than the OP would like but I hope you take away the main lessons that (1) diving is a great sport but (2) at the same time can be quite dangerous if not approached with the proper training and respect and, most importantly, (3) your safety is your responsibility.

I hope your wife gets properly trained and certified and that you two enjoy many great dives together. It's one of the best things that my wife and I have done and we eagerly look forward to each new dive trip together.
 

ggunn

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My wife and I did our OW referral in Roatan a little over 5 years ago. Our first boat dives were with a DM who was most concerned with a pretty young lady diver in a skimpy bikini and was not paying attention to us whatsoever even though we were newly minted divers. We went to 80' on our first dive. Were down at the 100' level a few dives later. Thankfully, nothing went wrong but I can tell you the nerves were definitely on edge. Not what I would recommend for new divers. We look back at that trip now and marvel that we were able to do what we did without incident and it is definitely a testament to the quality of instruction given by our dive instructor. We failed the part about calling a dive you're uncomfortable with but the instructor and the manual both covered the topic well so that was our fault.
A few years ago my wife and I were out with an op who is now defunct, with a divemaster who was, well, not so good. On our second dive, he started going way deeper that my wife and I were comfortable with, so we had a brief consultation and decided to stay well above him, although the other couple on the dive stayed right with him. When we got back in the boat, the guy half of the couple turned to me and asked, "What does it mean when my computer display flashes on and off like this?"

Oops.
 

beautybelow

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Everyone's perspective of things change with experience, no doubt. One thing that I always have to remember is that a new diver has a totally different "feeling" in their head about going on a dive than I do. They may be apprehensive about things that I have long forgot about or don't even think about.

With this in mind, I believe it is the responsibility of Instructors or dive masters to remember this and treat each diver accordingly.

With this in mind again...and I am not saying at all that this happened...but...maybe the INSTRUCTOR (not DM) made a little slip in either judgement or an error in the way he was physically managing the discover scuba diver and maybe, just maybe some of the blame for the bolt to the surface lay upon the instructor. It can happen...if there is an instructor here who can't admit to ever saying "oops, maybe I shouldn't have done that right then" then I bet you have never pee'd in your wetsuit either.

Maybe the events wouldn't affect the OP in another 5 years and 200 dives, but they happened now.

PS...I am not saying the events were worth trashing a dive op over either.
 

sharky60

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man, sorry about the experience...get off a cruise ship and come down and stay for a while and dive with someone who knows what they are doing!!

p.s. back rolls are how we get in the water in Coz on most boats, this part of your trip was not unusual.
 

Phil_218

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LSU, Unfortunately my wife had a similar negative experience while doing a Discover Scuba with them. My dives went fine, but Antonio took her on her first dive over 50' of water. She had never worn scuba equipment and was nervous to begin with. I won't go into detail, but he was less than patient with her and caused her to lock up completely. Now I no longer have a potential dive buddy, she simply has no desire to try again. It sucks.

If I had been a DM at the time, instead of a new diver, I would have reported his actions to PADI. Unfortunately I wasn't aware PADI had a Quality Assurance program.
 

boscobc

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Ok, After watching this thread, and keeping silent for awhile , it must be said that there are always different experiences with every dive OP.
Many years ago I to stepped off a cruise ship with two 16 year old girls to dive with Antonio. I also chose Eagle Ray because of Chellie being a english speaking Ark. ridge runner.I booked 3 discover scuba dives with them and met both Antonio and Chellie in someone elses' shop by the water.
The instruction went fine and they took it very slow. All the basic emergency procedures were covered and demonstrated, including regulator recovery. We geared up in the waist deep water to get familiar with the very new feeling of breathing underwater. After a time all four of us took off with Antonio in front by a couple of feet.
After a gentle decent along a sandy bottom we arrived at about 30ft. One of the girls was beside me and the other was just behind us when the girl in the rear jetted past us toward Antonio with both regs at her side. Upon reaching Antonio she was out of breath and headed for the surface. He grabbed her, pulled her back down, removed his reg from his mouth , placed it in hers, and purged it all in a split second. If you have not dealt with a mortified 16 yr old at 30 feet they can be very difficult and quite strong , not only in their will but also in strength.
The girl beside me ,and myself, just stopped and waited. Antonio got his back up reg in his mouth and proceded to try to calm her down. After about 5 minutes or so he got her to control her breathing all the while she was insisting to get to the surface. Please remember this is, like your wife LSU, underwater with only hand signals with which to communicate.
After the girl calmed down the next order of business was to return her to her own equipment to supply her air. After a little coaxing the swap was made and we continued back up the sandy bottom to the shore.
That quick thinking, unwillingness to let her surface, and his insistance that she stay on the bottom, where she was perfectly safe, was in large part responsible for that 16yo girl turning out to be an avid diver with over 500 dives under her belt.

I no longer dive with him for different reasons but , Antonios' ability to safely manage difficult situations should not be doubted.
 

Tbittrix

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My girlfriend and I just came back from a weeklong cruise and had a fantastic experience with Eagle Ray Divers. We both had never been diving before.
We dove off the both for a 2-tank Discover course with (i hope i got the names right) Miguel and Antonia and I have nothing but positive things to say about the process from start to finish.

We got off the boat and got in a taxi at the pier, instructing the driver to go to the La Celeta Marina. The driver asked with tour operator we were diving with and I answered Eagle Ray Divers. He recognized the name immediately and took us directly to the boat at the pier. As the ship time was an hour ahead of local time is Cozumel, we did have to wait for approx. 20 minutes for Antionio to arrive.

Antonia & Miguel were fantastic! Very knowledgeable, very friendly, and were certainly eager to ensure we enjoyed our experience. On the way to the first reef, we recieved a thourough safety briefing on scuba basics...water pressure, clearing the mask, recovering/clearing your regulator.

My g/f and I felt pretty confident by the time we had reached the 1st dives location. Despite the fact that we were jumping off a boat, we were not too nervous as Miguel had tossed a buoy with a rope attached to it into the water for us to hang on to while we practiced all the techniques explained to us on the ride there and to use for the initial descent.

For the duration of our 2 tanks, both Miguel and 'Tony' kept a close watch on us, reminding us of body posture, to exhale/inhale to make minor descent/ascent corrections and constantly giving us the "ok?" signal while checking up on us. They really made us feel at ease in the water.

Like I said before, this was our first dive experience, so despite the fact that I don't have anything to compare it to, I feel they were very professional all the way from the time we stepped onto the boat until we stepped off. If we do return to Cozumel (when, not if lol), I would not hesitate to dive with them again.
 
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