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“Is BAD the right dive shop for You??” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Beqa Adventure Divers

Beqa Adventure Divers
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Level Contributor
287 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 332 helpful votes
“Is BAD the right dive shop for You??”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 24, 2013

I was scheduled to be in Pacific Harbor for four days and I wanted to dive with the sharks for two of those days. There are two dive shops in town and I did a bit of review for both of them. I still couldn’t decide so I emailed both and decided to dive with the first shop that responded. After they responded I learned that both shops only dive with the sharks on certain days of the week so I ended up diving with both shops. I will provide my thoughts on the differences and what I liked and didn’t like about the dives.

PRE DIVE
The largest difference by FAR in my opinion between both dive shops is style. Beqa Adventure Divers (BAD) is a dive shop run that runs like swiss clockwork but is choreographed so you feel like you are a bit player in stage show. No personal gear on the boat, everything has to be placed in a plastic pail (like at the airport security line), you must change before getting on the boat. No lockers to secure your valuables except cubbie holes in the one outdoor changing room. If you want them to lock up your money you must count it all out and make a receipt. I wasn’t sure if I was going diving or entering a jail.

Once on the boat you sit in your assigned seat at attention (ok maybe not at attention) while the staff lectures you what will happen and what your part is in the play. No deviation from the plan or you are out! The Divemaster’s were like Seinfeld soup Nazis.

Aquatrek on the other hand is more like a normal dive shop. Valuables are left in your bag and stored with the reception. You are free to take your own gear on the boat and sit where you want. Everyone acts like they are having a good time diving with friends. Relaxed atmosphere where you get the same information as at BAD but it doesn’t feel like a lecture.

The ride to the site is much easier with Aqua Trek because they have the better shop location. The boats are virtually the same.


SHARK ENCOUNTER
The dive shops have their own shark sanctuaries in two different locations.
With BAD there was only one boat so the number of divers was small. The location was great and the setup was excellent for seeing the sharks. The problem again was the absolute control and choreographing of every movement. Get in line, jump when told, line up and decend when told, line up on the reef and shoot what comes by. If the person next to you gets in your shot too bad. Ascend as a group, up on the boat as a group. BAD makes a point of saying it is friendly to smokers and once on the boat they let everyone light up which I found distasteful. Overall great dive and as a professional photographer I got some good shots of bull sharks, reef sharks, black tips and white tips.

With Aqua Trek they immediately noticed my camera and said they would help me get some great shots. They had me drop into the water first. One of the guides made sure that everyone with serious cameras were located in front of the rest of the divers. There were more boats and divers with at the dive site but when it came to pictures they came out like I was all alone. During the dive the DM’s came and moved me around to be closer to the action and to get the truly GREAT shots and video. They kept me and another photographer down on the site after the others had ascended to again get the one of a kind shots.

All of the shots and video that I posted on my photography site after diving were from the Aqua Trek dives because the angles, light and setting was soooo much better.

SNACK/TOWELS
The cookies and drinks on the two boats were virtually the same. BAD provides towels on the boat since you can’t bring your own.

CONCLUSION
If you are a relatively new diver, you are worried about diving with sharks or want someone to take care of you BAD is definitely the shop for you. If you want an once in a lifetime experience or some truly one of a kind photos you should choose Aqua Trek.

I have reviewed many dive shops on Tripadvisor and in the end you can't go wrong with either shop but when I go again it will be Aqua Trek all the way.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank ksiddel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
42 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“GREAT DIVING & WONDERFUL CARING DIVE MASTER!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 21, 2013

We just got back to the States from our honeymoon and while staying in Pacific Harbor we did twelve (12) dives with them. Our dive master Jone (pronounced "Johnny") and the other dive instructors were very friendly, relaxed, knowledgeable and professional in taking care of my wife who was a novice diver. The staff at the office was very friendly, and we had no issues with timeliness or safety. I have been diving over fifteen (15) years from the Caribbean to Fiji and was especially impressed with their orderliness and safety on the shark dives. COULD NOT RECOMMEND MORE HIGHLY!!! Andrew (manager), Jone and the staff were very good in the water and at the dive shop. We hope to make it back to Fiji soon, so that we can dive with them and hopefully Jone again!!!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank PDX_James
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Yes, Yes, YES. - Brilliant Dives”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2013

Just had to book this Dive. I've dived with sharks before but not Bull Sharks.

Very well organised and the equipment was well maintained. We had very good briefings before each dive and like a previous reviewer said there was no 'buddy system' in place. There were from memory about 5 staff diving with each group of about 10 paying divers and they had about 2 staff feeding the sharks whilst the others were hovering above us with metal sticks to keep any 'interested' sharks from getting too close. I felt very at ease with this dive and would thoroughly recommend it.
The boats were perfect for diving from and very well maintained.

There was tea and biscuits on board.

I was told by my booking agent that there were plenty of hotels near by where I could get a breakfast beforehand as I was driving from about 2 hours away and didn't get chance to eat. I thought I would use the resort this dive centre was attached to but there were no guests and a handful of staff. Very strange. No breakfast.

I would have gladly paid extra to have a small bite to eat at the dive centre before hand. I don't like diving on an empty stomach.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank landrover90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Mixed feelings – owner yells at his guests”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2013

Mixed feelings – owner yells at his guests

In the end very happy about the two days of shark diving. It is excellent in every detail and recommended to everybody! The highly professional approach of Beqa Adventure Divers makes the encounters safe and fun. The great Fijian crew is well trained, knowledgeable, always helping you and happy to share their thoughts.

I would like to make a note about the attitude and behavior of the owner of Beqa Adventure Divers who dived with us on both days. His presence made me have less fun on all 4 dives. Other guests shared this same feeling with me. It was his way of looking down on his crew; pointing with a grumpy face or just shouting. He was yelling at guests. Out of the blue and not about something really to worry about otherwise they should mention it in briefings. Some examples; A experienced diver taking his mask of on the surface to avoid fogging it up when waiting (3 min) for the descent. People making a slow and safe ascend to the surface (out of sight of any sharks and within 3 meters from a dive master); in his opinion not fast enough. People who misunderstand crew directions and standing up when apparently not being asked for (instead of person next to him/ her). If you asked him a question about safety (my tank had only 165 Bar before a deep dive) he was not helping me out.

You see the sparkling in the eyes of the Fijian crew when it comes to taking guests diving with sharks, on the same time you see the fear for their manager. Not good. Being directive to your employees or yelling at your customers/ guests is not a good thing and has nothing to do with being a good leader. With a smile you reach so much more. He shows no interest in his guests. On me he made a somewhat bitter and frustrated impression. I don’t know why and it didn’t make any sense to me. Maybe he made the same dives too often. Then he should step back for a while till he understands the fun again.

My message to the owner is that yelling at guests or your employees is simply a very bad habit. A habit you can change. Same for smoking between everybody on the boat and smiling no more then once in 11 hours…..

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank Prins8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Best dive of my life”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 17, 2013

If you are in Fiji doing this dive should be on your priority list. Over 30 bullsharks and countless reef sharks. All the guides were great and had hilarious stories. Make sure to ask Pops about Steve Urwin.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank ccs5t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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