No greeting from dive staff. The person who met us at the dock kept talking on phone when seeing us. He didn't even pause for a second to acknowledge us. Later, he asked our name but never told us his name. I was particularly curious when he was gonna tell us himself so we didn't ask once, but he never did. And he was like the head of the staff on the boat, and I think he must also have been one of the owners because he implied something so when he took our payment: If the head was like that, how could we expect better manner from the staff??
The local staff was the worst I'd seen in Vietnam. I was Vietnamese, so I understood what they said. When we were getting from the big dive boat to much smaller one to transfer to shore, one of the local staff mimic the sounds guests made clearly in a way to ridicule the guests' clumsiness.
My suit was 3mm Mares Rover, intact, and in good condition. But my friend got just a hyperskin that was severely torn at the knees. My gauge was broken; I didn't have a dive computer, so I didn't know the depths I was during the dive. Very uncomfortable and near-panicking especially when I noticed the dive guide was still using his arms to maneuver underwater!!!!!
They didn't really check our certificate cards. We both had left cards at home but I had an image of it in my phone to show them. My friend didn't, so she tried to call her husband to get the number for her. While she was on phone, the guy who met us at the dock started briefing his dive group and he seemed to be immediately annoyed that my friend was on phone. Surprisingly how rude he was given that he kept talking on phone and ignoring us when we had first me at the dock. I explained to him what she was doing. He said she didn't have to do that and someone gave her a form to sign basically for her to guarantee she was at the dive level she said and they had no responsibilities whatsoever. I signed the same form as well. So on this dive boat, as long as a patron signed that form, the staff would take that person diving --> that's irresponsible and I seriously thought their license should be revoked.
They only had 1.5kg leads, so it would be either 4.5kg or 6kg weght belt while I wanted a 5kg. I went with 4kg, and for the later half of the dive, my neutral buoyancy position (even emptying all air in the BCD) was increasingly more positive than the remainder of the group and I had to finish the dive about 10 minutes before all others. And I didn't think the guide notice that until he finished his dive as well.
The dive sites there were extremely poor. I had anticipated it's no good - I came there simply because it's convenient and Vietnam's my country so I wanted to check out whatever it had to offer, but it was even worse than "no good". Dirty seabed with some corals here and there. Seeing a lion fish there would be a triumph, and for the record, I didn't see even one during my dive. I got so bored that I once watched the how the color of my nail polish had changed at the depth. The visibility was the worst I'd ever seen. Less than 5m.
The island was also not good for snorkeling or swimming. Aside from not much to see, there were a lot of jelly-like (but smaller and fortunately not stingy) creatures blooming near the surface and currents as well. Nha Trang was 100 times better in terms of diving, snorkeling & services (cheaper and still better).
I've been to Malaysia and Philippines to dive and my recommendation to others who have been to better dive areas in the world is to never consider diving here.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
October 8, 2012
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Your comment are so harsh that I authorise myselfr to answer.
- Sorry to be on the phone while greeting you but during july-august we handle 3 boats and up to 70 visitors from different hotels, sometimes before the departure I have important phone calls.
- Local crew is great, hard working and excellent and safe sailors, in my company, my staff is allowed to joke, even if sometimes they have a fishermen education.
- In a normally priced dive shop like ours, we can't buy new equipments every year, we repair some of our wet suits to save a little money. Regulator sets are all numbered and retired from circuit when any disfunction is noticed.
- Then you are blaming me for not checking your card. Sorry I trusted you, since in our company it cost only 10$ more if you are a beginner. The form you signed is a standard PADI form that everybody sign.
- And then Cham Island Diving center has safely operated in eight years over 20,000 snorkelers and almost 14,000 divers, has 139 great reviews on trip advisor and only 2 disappointed, we are doing our best everyday.
Gildas Fourny - Manager
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.