I was unfortunate enough to have completed my divemaster course at Calypso Diving, Boracay. What a mistake, and I would strongly advise anybody thinking about diving with Calypso to think again, especially if you are thinking about taking up diving professionally (i.e Divemaster and Instructor courses).
Why I wouldn’t go diving with Calypso:
• None existent customer service, Calypso’s only goal is making money.
• Safety issues: Constantly take people diving beyond their certification.
• False advertising of Project AWARE & National Geographic status- they are not in the slightest concerned for the environment.
• Poor quality of training, especially at the professional levels.
• Poor divemasters, who in the words of a guest ‘guide dives like their driving a bus’.
For more examples look below (I apologise in advance for the essay!)…
I love diving, and becoming a divemaster was something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I wanted the best experience possible, somewhere I could gain lots of experience. This was not the case. Calypso care only about making money, customer satisfaction is none existent here.
The management are absolutely diabolical, they possess absolutely no people skills, and certainly no managerial qualities. They walk around Calypso looking completely miserable, yet criticise their staff for not having constant smiles on their faces.
From day one I was not impressed with Calypso, and my disappointment grew over the 2 months I spent here.
I find it ridiculous that the management at Calypso constantly reiterate about keeping to PADI standards and being a good role model, yet I had a concerned student approach me and ask if she should be concerned that her instructor turned up reeking of alcohol (the instructor being Andy, also a member of management).
There was one occasion; I was supposed to be shadowing a divemaster to gain experience. On this dive I was asked if I wanted to do some videography for Calypso, which I thought was a great opportunity, until I found out I had been buddied up with a guy who hadn’t dived for 7 or 8 years, and was quite nervous about getting back in the water. I was not told that this person hadn’t dived for such a long period of time, and I only found this out for myself by talking to him. Upon finding this out I went and spoke to management and expressed my concerns about diving with this guy (especially as I am not yet a qualified divemaster) and it wasn’t my responsibility to chaperone him. I suggested that I would still go along for the dive, but solely to ensure the customer was safe and comfortable, management were more bothered that I took video footage, rather than the safety of their customer. I find this absolutely disgraceful (not good role modeling!)
On another dive, I assisted Andy, half way through the dive the o-ring on my tank started leaking quite badly. I know from experience that a slight leak is insignificant, but this leak was unacceptable. I signaled to Andy that I was concerned, as was the other dive master trainee with me. Andy did nothing, but just gave me to O.K sign without any further explanation, and we carried on diving, I did not feel comfortable. If he had told me, that he didn’t have much air remaining in his tank, and the dive was nearly over (as was the case), my mind would have been easily put at rest. I only found out that he had 10 bar remaining upon surfacing. Again, is this good role modeling?!
The boats have no emergency oxygen on board, and there have been numerous dives, actually 4 consecutive dives where myself and customers have been left bobbing around on the surface for well over 30 minutes, with the amount of boat traffic around Boracay this was unprofessional and unsafe to say the least.
Calypso diving is affiliated with both National Geographic and Project Aware, two companies that do a lot for raising awareness and aiding the conservation of the marine environment. I would have expected Calypso to share the same ethos as these organisations. This was not the case. And really this was the nail in the coffin for me. Once a month, give or take, Calypso staff participate in a beach clean-up dive, which I loved being a part of. For me I find it really rewarding knowing you’ve made a difference, however small, to preserving the underwater world. Towards the end of our beach clean up dive, we stumbled upon a massive fishing net, stretching 50m over the reef, engulfing plants, corals, fish, crabs etc. As soon as we returned to Calypso we informed management and the rest of the staff about the net and that it needed to be removed before it caused further destruction. Nobody seemed that bothered, and Management once again showed their true colours, instead of being concerned for all the marine life dying in the nets, they was more irritated by the fact that we were asking them to do something about it i.e arranging extra pairs of hands to help us clean up the net. The next morning came, nothing had been arranged, and no extra staff members had been designated to help us. Three of us (including a guest, who spent one day of her holiday helping out) spent the best part of 4 hours cleaning up the net. I find it disgusting that the dive masters, instructors and management who are quite happy to make a living from diving, think its too much hassle when the ocean needs a little bit of help. Calypso, you really need to practice what you preach.
On a more positive note, I would like to say I had the best instructor, from who I have learnt so much from. Leo is an excellent instructor (who has since also come to his senses and left Calypso). The Philippino staff who work at Calypso are brilliant, it’s a shame management are so patronising towards them.
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