Posted by Eric Frasco on January 15, 2001 at 15:03:02:
In Reply to: Is It Just Me...? posted by Rory B. Bellows on January 12, 2001 at 16:57:11:
I was a loyal Truth Aquatics customer while I was living in Santa Barbara from 1987 - 1996, and now that I am living in LA, I don't get to dive on their boats as much as I would like to.
I used to be on a first name basis with many of the skippers and workers at the Sea Landing, and still am with some of the folks that have stayed on. They have had a big turn over in the last few years, probably because some workers and skippers move on, decide to take jobs that allow them more time with friends and family, or have some disagreement with management (which happens everywhere). From my experience, everyone is always helpful and friendly.
I was on a boat last November, and weather was really crappy, everyone was tired after that trip. Several days in a row of that weather could wear out the most experienced crew members they have.
As far as food goes, did you notice whether or not they were eating left overs from a previous day? Every multiday trip I've been on has had a great spread of freshly prepared food, and lots of it. There are always left overs, but the cook never served any up. Often times the crew will eat that and the paying customers will get first choice of the freshly prepared meal.
As far as the crew seeming more aloof, I've noticed that on the Truth, which is smaller, the crew interacts with the customers just because space is tighter on the boat. On thier largest boat, the Vision, there seems to be more places that the crew can "dissappear" to, which can give you the impression that they are less sociable.
I've also noticed that the Hiking and Kayak trips have displaced a lot of dates for diving trips. But this is just a consequence of the downturn in divers signing up for trips. TA (Truth Aquatics) had to find other sources of revenues to be able to keep in business. Back in the early 90's, the boats were out nearly seven days a week. In the mid 90's, a serious lack of sign ups caused TA to look towards alternative sources of incomes, and getting the permit to land hikers at Santa Cruz and the other Islands was a good business decision. Probably didn't make Channel Island Packers in Ventura very happy.
So consider this: Back in 1994, with TA running each boat 5+ days a week, they probably had a huge pool of employees to choose from, and could probably give all of them enough work to live on. Today, when you look at their calendar, the boats look like they are running only 2 or 3 days a week, which means that they probably have a smaller group of workers to choose from, and those folks are probably getting worked pretty hard.
The market has changed a lot. But I guarantee that if you had months between boat trips, rather than years, some of the crew would start recognizing you and being more social. They do love return customers.
What concerns me is that up to 30% of the Channel Islands will soon become desgnated as marine reserves. How this will affect us as divers remains to be seen. After a boat has taken game on board, it cannot enter a reserve according to current practices, even if the skipper tells all divers that they cannot take game. If DFG boards that boat, they do not know where the game comes from, just that there is a boat with game aboard in an area where it is not allowed to take game. This, of course, could affect TA significantly. Where can they anchor up overnight if the good anchorages are reserves and divers brought game aboard already?
With that said, maybe the decision to do hiking and kayak trips was an even better business decision that was first thought?
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