Did a two dive package with these from a Princess Cruise. We were all told we needed PADI Open Water certificating as a minimum and it was checked. However first of the two dives was a wall dive at 80 feet.
Hang on that sounds a bit dodgy, PADI Open Water divers are only qualified to 60 feet.
I was told by the DiveMaster not a problem, it's only a PADI guide, I can just go to the level I'm comfortable with say 40 - 60 feet and follow the group from above. So I'd be at 60 feet and my buddy, nearest back up air supply, would be at 80 feet. In the event of emergency I'd have to swim down to buddy, clearing ears etc as I go down, to get some air! So it would have been a choice of burst eardrums or drown. I passed on the first dive.
The rest of the group, mainly PADI Open Water certified, went for it despite PADI 60 foot limit. It turns out that one guy was only comfortable with 40 feet so he hung onto the down line, on his own, at the 40 foot mark while the rest of the group swam off. None of this struck me as very safety conscious.
2nd dive was at 40 foot reef and wreck. One of the best dives I've been on and in most other respects the dive was good. But alas the blatant disregard for safety means they get a "Terrible" rating from me.
We were told make sure we're quick to get on the bus back to town. Bus was 30 minutes late.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
January 27, 2013
Tony and Wendy, thanks for your review and opinion. Your comments will be passed along to our Dive Guides during our next Staff Meeting. We like to evalute the positives but more so the no so positive with the idea to improve the experience for our guests.
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Your points regarding the diver that was left "alone" by the mooring line are taking seriously and that scenario is investigated as we speak with the participating crew. We do not saction "solo" diving. If the diver had any situation that did not allow him to continue with the dive, his dive buddy should have stay there with him.
With regards to the PADI Depths Limits you mention, our Dive Master is correct. PADI reccomends Open Water Divers a 60 Feet depth. As such it is a reccomendation and not a standard. Part of that is the fact that recently certified Open Water divers have only dove to a maximun depth of 60 feet as part of the class a sit is a standard procedure with PADI.
I have sought clarification from PADI and they at no time have a depth "limit" but only a suggestion for recently certified divers.
You are correct, the majority of the divers that visit the Caymans are Open Water Certified and it is common practice by all operators to dive the Wall site and then a shallow site as part of a Two Tank Dive since conditions in our waters allow participants to experience these sites in a more controled manner (great visibility, usually calm seas and no current, with most wall sites starting at about 50 to 60 feet). The Princess shore excursion tour's description reflects the kind of dives that will be taking place (number of dives and maximun depth) so certified divers can evaluate in their own if the Two tank Dive is for them.
One important consideration though is that as a certified Open Water Diver (and like in other activities that require skill training), divers are expected to have a certain level of skill when engaging in scuba diving including following the general standard of diving practices from most scuba diving training agencies. That includes diving within your own limitations, making and following a dive plan and dive with your buddy. In your case, if you were comfortable diving at lets say 60 feet maximun, you and your buddy should have plan to stay together (as oposse to your buddy been away from you).
Tony and Wendy, I will review these procedures with our staff and make sure the buddy procedures get followed as it should be; and that Dive Masters make sure that besides the dive plan we offer during the briefing, divers understand they have a responsibility toward their buddies (whether they know each other from previous dives or not). It is critical that we all exercise our own right to our own responsibility when engage in activities like scuba diving with others. Based on your comments it does seem to me that there was a communication brake down and for that I apologize. This company takes pride in the service provided. We have been in business since the 1980's and we would not be here if we did not have safety as paramount. We have a solid repeat customer base built thorugh many years of diving. I realize we only have one chance to make a first impression and in your eyes we let you down. However I hope you get to return to the Cayman Islands and perhaps dive with us again and get another chance to show you our service.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.