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WARNING: Don't Dive with SafetyStopDivers (Green Island) or PioneerDivers (Taipei)

Discussion in 'Taiwan' started by mty, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. mty

    mty Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: CA
    7
    3
    3


    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    The video link referenced has been removed. It is ScubaBoard's policy that when advised of a copyright infraction by the copyright holder, we remove the copyrighted material immediately. In this case, the material held in copyright was posted on a third-party's site, over which SB has no control. The only possible course of action was to remove the link. Marg, SB Senior SB Moderator


    I had the experience of diving with Craig Johnson from Safety Stop Divers in Green Island, and he was a fun guy to spend time with. I quite enjoyed diving with him and learning more about Green Island with him.


    ...unfortunately, he and his dive shop have absolutely no regard for the ecosystem in which they dive. He sent me a bunch of videos of him diving, and I was... genuinely horrified.


    I feel bad coming onto the site to just call out this dive shop and the owner and this guide... but this sort of behavior needs to be called out.


    Their website is SafetyStopDiver.com, and their address is N0. 2 Fish Port Road Ludao, Taitung, TAIWAN. The owner is Ken Hou (PADI MSDT 46039), who owns a few different dive shops around Taiwan. Our dive guide that we worked with was Craig Johnson (PADI MSDT 337566).


    Craig and Ken have a habit of taking divers out who don't have any control of their buoyancy, and then tying rope to coral heads underwater for them to hold on to. This isn't something that is happening from some rogue irresponsible divemaster who doesn't know what he's doing - this is one of the first dive shops in Taiwan - it is the owner of 3 dive shops and the boss of one of those shops.


    Here are the videos - note that Craig is taking the videos, completely unconcerned by the divers rampaging through the coral, and that the dive guide who owns the shop is pushing off with his fins from the coral head. They're signaling to the other people underwater to literally grab onto the coral and grip it.



    Maybe I'm missing something here, and this behavior isn't as repulsive as it seems to me. Maybe it's all CGI! But maybe I really am wrong about something, and maybe Craig or Ken can get on here and explain what I'm missing, or why they're doing this to the reef. Sorry for all the negativity =(.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2015
  2. Zeagle Eagle

    Zeagle Eagle Barracuda

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Texas
    439
    106
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    Normally, I don't take seriously someone who has zero posts and logs on to complain. However, you have video and it is indeed sickening. I hope everyone takes the time to look at the videos.
     
    Jai Bar likes this.
  3. jcaplins

    jcaplins Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Davis, CA, United States
    213
    92
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    Wow.
    It looks like a pretty stiff current in some places and they all had 1 glove. Was this one glove specifically for holding on to the coral and rock?
    Did you question Craig about it?
     
  4. Dirty-Dog

    Dirty-Dog Frequently Censored ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Pueblo West, CO, USA
    1,986
    1,007
    113
    I don't see anything that identifies the people in that video. Could be anybody whatsoever, including the OP.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  5. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,634
    1,411
    113

    What are you expecting? Name tags on the wetsuits? The OP just joined the board, and it is the OP's first post, and I am willing to take his word on the people involved. Maybe I have not reached the appropriate level of cynicism.
     
    Zippsy and Jai Bar like this.
  6. Dirty-Dog

    Dirty-Dog Frequently Censored ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Pueblo West, CO, USA
    1,986
    1,007
    113
    Well, yes, an awful lot of shops do have their name on rental gear. And an awful lot of new divers use rental gear...

    Yeah, it's always convincing when someones first ever post is a complaint. I can recall at least one incident here where it turned out to be a competitor posting...

    Good for you.

    Realism and experience can sometimes be confused with cynicism...
     
    Bob DBF and ColoDale like this.
  7. nimoh

    nimoh Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Rochester, MN
    3,455
    1,689
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    I too am a little skeptical when a person's first post is a complaint. I am guessing the youtube videos were posted by the OP (mty - Matty G), how am I supposed to determine if the videos are authentic without something to identify the instructors, or if the OP just had a bone to pick with the dive shop and fabricated some video?
     
  8. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,634
    1,411
    113

    I have a very long lifetime of realism and experience, but I try very hard not to become cynical about the overall honesty and motives of people. I choose to view a person as honorable until proven otherwise, and that philosophy has worked well for me with very rare exceptions.

    I could be proven wrong about the veracity and motives of MTY, but I doubt it. I am sure there are rare instances where new members join SB to deservedly or undeservedly slam some dive op/LDS, but that gets exposed pretty quickly from what I have seen on SB. I certainly am willing to give the new guy credit for the post and video until such time as he is proven wrong.
     
  9. Eco Diver

    Eco Diver Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Taiwan
    2
    0
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    It's my first post as all may see and i don't usually have a habit of participating in forums, however this topic on hand is too intriguing not to. So this is what i had to say about it.

    Nyt has a valid case in point here, though the real underlying problem doesn't wholly lies with the instructor Craig Johnson or the dive operator Safety Stop Divers. It's a PADI, problem, and this even extend to NAUI, SSI and most other agencies alike. Their school of taught at the very start to students was all wrong from the beginning;



    bbtech.jpg

    firstDive2.jpg


    Main.jpg

    The above photos are of no reference to Craig Johnson or Safety Stop Divers or even PADI but my case in point is of how students were taught during their Open Water classes. You can't deny you yourself were certified through such teaching modules. It's a vicious cycle and once these students become instructors themselves, the same is again taught to the new students.

    This issue will never be eradicate, not until such method of teaching is abolish once and for all. While i don't see this happening, what we divers alike can do by not adding more damage to the corals and the eco system is to practice not walking or kneeling on the sea bed during your dives.

    i do not need to emphasis how one single trample of your fin is enough to kill the corals that takes years & years to form!

    BE AN ECO DIVER TODAY!
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  10. mty

    mty Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: CA
    7
    3
    3
    Hey folks - me again.

    Yeah - so I've lurked Scubaboard for a while, but never needed to post. Never really had much of my own significance to contribute. I'm pretty darn passive about most things, but destroying the dive sites that I've come to love felt like something worth talking about.

    I can appreciate being skeptical, and that makes sense to me. I've seen some shops be pretty darn horrible to other shops, so I can understand people not being too comfy with random anonymous person calling out some shop. You can see in the youtube videos that there are two people from the shop - the owner, who is the Taiwanese guy leading the dive, and Craig, the Canadian dude behind the camera. Here's a link to his profile on the TaiwanDiveSites website: Log in , featuring this profile picture.

    5-8.jpg

    I sent a personal message to Joe Garrity on Scubaboard back on August 3rd about looking for shops to dive with on Green Island, and he ended up pointing me towards SafetyStopDivers.

    Again, Craig & the shop were great with me. They were nice with my wife and I, and I didn't see any ridiculous blatant coral destruction like that while I was hanging around with them. Craig took goPro videos, and sent me a USB stick with a bunch of videos on it, including these ones I posted. When I saw it.... I was just so shocked by the callous way that this guy who had just been a very conscientious diver with me had absolutely no concern with this other group. I wouldn't be surprised if Craig, the white dude, is in kind of a rough spot here - that's his boss (the owner of the shop) who is leading the dive. So Craig probably has to choose between calling out his boss for being a weapon of mass-coral-destruction or just sucking it up.

    I was just shocked to see him smiling and waving and giggling with everyone in the videos - then tying ropes around coral and showing people the proper grip to latch onto the coral the best... sigh.
     
    nimoh likes this.

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