Quite a bad experience with blue marline diving center. During our second dive, named "secrets" between Gili meno and Gili air - very nice coral dive though - it ended after 35' only, 130 bars left...
Then waited at least 10' at surface with rough see before boat came to pick us up. After a first and a second group pick up, the boat finally came but due to see condition impossible to get in with the boat approach.Then the engine of the boat broke down. Heavy current didn't help neither and we just started drifting away quite rapidly in the Lombok direction... It took quite some time - at least 50' to be rescued. Of course a broken down engine could happen but I'm strongly doubting of the daily boat maintenance. Last but not least, the manager didn't make a big deal out of it - "like it could simply happen and we never lost anyone"... I have around 100 dives so I am not considering myself as an expert but do have some experience and do feel comfortable under the water and I have never had such a bad experience.
The staff seemed friendly though and the center had a lot of teaching and was quite crowded, maybe too much actually if you're looking for a high quality diving center to my opinion. Last but not least, I had the chance to scuba dive in Gili Trawangan in January 2001 and enjoyed it very much, but didn't find the same quality this time... To finish on a positive note, we saw two giant turtles in "turbo" - quite impressive...
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
August 29, 2013
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Thank you for making a review of our dive centre, we are sorry to hear you did not find your second dive with us to be a positive experience. As we try to meet the needs of our customers in every way we can, we actually changed our original dive plan of Sunset Reef and went to Secret Reef at your request. We did this for you because we do care about our customers getting the most from their diving experiences, and try to tailor to our customers wishes as best we can.
August is windy season here at Gili Trawangan, which means bigger waves, particularly in the afternoons, which does make the journeys to and from the dive sites and the diver pick-ups a little bit more slow and difficult, and Secret reef is further away and more challenging than Sunset reef. However, ten minutes is a very reasonable time for the boat to come and pick up your diver group if it was also picking up two other groups just beforehand. In this instance, a freak wave then damaged our engine, which meant that the boat could not steer properly to pick-up your diver group at the end of the dive. As soon as this happened our crew contacted us back at the office where we immediately sent our staff and cargo transport boat out to help. It was much safer therefore, to keep you in the water and keep the damaged boat remaining beside your diver group rather than to try and pick-up and cause a possible accident, in the knowledge that another boat was on the way. Staying in the water was by far the safer option, and the temperature is 28 degrees so getting cold is not really an issue, and our divemaster, boat and crew were with you at all times. The rescue boat was there in twenty minutes which is the length of time it takes to get to the dive site and your diver group was picked up immediately and brought straight back to the dive centre, which takes another twenty minutes. You were already back here at 4.30pm, which is our estimated return time anyway from the dive, having left to go for the dive at 2.30pm so the situation was dealt with swiftly and efficiently.
This incident could have happened to anyone, it was caused by waves, and the way to measure the dive centre is by how the situation was dealt with. All our other customers complimented us on both the professionalism and speed with which we handled the situation, and the way we prevented any accident from happening. Furthermore, the fact that the staff and management stayed calm is surely a good thing. It should show that we knew what we were doing and were efficient at organizing solutions, it would be much worse if we seemed panicked or worried.
I would like to add just one note on the dive itself. We are very happy you enjoyed the reef, it is indeed very beautiful. When there is current, a 35 minute drift on Secret Reef is perfectly normal, remember the Gili islands are small so the drifting reefs are not long. After that time the reef slopes down deeper so unfortunately it is impossible to stay on the reef. You are obviously very good on your air, but it would be a little pointless to stay in the water just because you have air, if you are just in blue water with no corals or fish to look at. Any dive centre in the Gili islands can verify this fact. If you wish to stay on this reef for longer, then its best to dive secret reef when there is no current which is actually quite rare, or alternatively face into the current a little in order to slow yourself down and make it a 45 minute dive.
It is also good to hear you enjoyed the huge green turtles at Turbo reef, we are extremely lucky here in the Gili’s to be surrounded by turtles. Finally, it is true we are a busy dive centre with many students, but you have been here in August which is the busiest time of the year. There is less people here at other times of the year so perhaps if you return at a quieter month you would enjoy the experience more. We would certainly be happy to see you return and see how professional we are.
Blue Marlin Dive Team
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.