Re: Re: To go or not to go? That is the question.

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Posted by Dr. Bill on October 11, 2005 at 12:45:01:

In Reply to: Re: To go or not to go? That is the question. posted by The diver is right to want his money back on August 31, 2005 at 09:25:00:

The only experience I've had with the Great Escape was a time four of us boarded to go to San Clemente Island. I had just crossed the San Pedro Channel from my home on Catalina. The seas were fine.

My group boarded that evening to sleep on board. We were not told by the G.E.'s crew that we weren't going to Clemente in the morning, but heard it from people on a nearby boat. I was a bit perturbed in that I'd requested a call if they rerouted. Apparently theyu did send a message, but well after I'd caught the Catalina Express to the mainland. The reason given was that the ocean was too rough.

We also heard from other dive boats that Clemente had been closed due to military activity (and they were re-routing to other destinations). However, we were told it was due to ocean conditions. Fishing boats I know that were out near the island that day said conditions were not very bad at all.

We ended up on the leeward side of Catalina. This was in Feb or March as I remember. Our first dive site was Italian Gardens. I protested to the crew before hand that I.G. was a pretty lousy dive site if the black sea bass aren't there. I was told we might see them. BS- I've dived Catalina waters long enough (36 years) to know that BSB's are not seen at I.G. that early in the year (except perhaps on rare occasions I'm not aware of). It was a horrible dive... all four of us were disappointed.

Second dive was at Bird Rock. Vis was poor due to the plankton blooms that had been plague'ing us that year. It wasn't a terrible dive, but not fantastic either (no fault of the G.E. or its crew).

Several of us requested a move to nearby Ship Rock to see if we might get better visibility further offshore. The crew (politely) refused to move the G.E. to that site and we did a second dive at Bird Rock as our third one.

All in all I was quite disappointed with this experience. I felt we were not being told the correct story regarding the re-routing from our original dive destination. I would certainly have understood the crew telling us that the Navy had closed the island (as was reported to us by the other dive boats on their way out there that day). The G.E. is in no way responsible for the poor vis of course. However, I really couldn't understand the rationale for not moving to Ship Rock for the third dive.

I recognize that many divers have had great experiences with the Great Escape so my experience may be atypical. And I also recognize that dive boats cannot guarantee their destinations since the ocean is Mother Nature. However, I do not think I will take another trip on board this vessel. Just my humble opinion... for those that do, I wish you a "great escape."

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