Re: Setting the Record straight about the Great Escape

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by MHK on October 17, 2005 at 09:53:04:

In Reply to: Setting the Record straight about the Great Escape posted by Erik Wade on October 14, 2005 at 16:50:09:


It seems as though your complaint can be boiled down to 2 fundamental issues:

1) Destination;

2) Alegged bad air.

I don't post to this list often, but I was on a boat over the weekend and someone showed me a copy of this post so since I know Tim, and I've been on his boat more times then I care to count, I thought I'd offer a alternative point of view. Specifically, you wrote:

"I would like to also say that at no point was anyone informed of any weather conditions, nor the possibility of a change in destinations while we were at the dock. If we were told what the conditions appeared to be, my group of four would have gladly rescheduled as we didn’t have any interest in diving Catalina that day."

Right here is where I believe you make your mistake. Scuba diving is a weather dependent sport, and when you sign up for a trip to an intended destination, you assume the risk that to the extent weather isn't condusive to a safe diving experience, that the captain of the boat will exercise prudent judgement and re-route. Can you point to ANYWHERE on either the Sport Chalet and/or the Great Escape website or trip offer that guarantees you will dive Farnsworth Bank? Moreover, I'm puzzled as to the idea that if you were told what "conditions appear to be" the "group of four would have gladly rescheduled as we didn't have any interest in diving Catalina that day".. That statement, in and of itself, speals to an extremely inexperienced, or niave, vantage point. To the extent you are either inexperienced or that niave, I would suggest that you do some additional due dilligence prior to making such an open and inflamatory post. Do you really think that the four of you should just be able to "reschedule"? Who should bear the cost of those four spots?? Sport Chalet? Great Escape? If we ever get to a point where the captain needs to guarantee a destination or else the trip doesn't go, then any boat skipper would need to charge about triple the current costs. If you go ski Mamouth Mountain and when you arrive they close one of your favorite trails do you think you shoudl get a refund and "reschedule"?

You further wrote:

"We never made it to Farnsworth Banks, and in fact, we didn’t even make our way around the northern tip of Catalina to take a look at the conditions."

Did it ever occur to you that Tim has communication devices that make such an exercise futile? Let's turn this around another way, let's assume that Tim had received word that the backside was undivable, but wasted a whole bunch of time "to take a look", and as a result of that time you wated an hour or so and could only do 2 dives that day, would you blame Tim for wasting the time? It's sort of like a Pilot that gets a report that says there is turbulence at 35,000', would you expect him to go to 35'K to confirm it, or would you want him to take a different route?

Now to this issue of the alleged bad air, you wrote:

"As a Divemaster myself, I disagreed with his assessment, but decided that I would just deal with it to see if I had the same symptoms, and I was rather upset at the idea to pay that much and only get one crappy dive."

Given that this is a subjective concept, it will be difficult to discuss without the benefit of having been there and smelled the sir, but as you say you are a Divemaster, but chose to exercise such poor judgement as to continue diving even though you considered the air was bad because you "only got one crappy dive".. That doesn't sound like prudent judgement to me, so I must question your other "judgements".

You then continued your thoughts with this:

"As the boat moved to Eagle Reef, one of my favorite spots, I decided to dive regardless of the air"

At this point, what were you thinking?? You are on here trying hard to make a case that not only you, but 7 other people are saying how bad the air is, but yet you continue diving even though you supposedly aborted the prior dive because of the air? Your judgement is serioulsy questionable, or your analysis of the air quality is exagerrated..

"I would also be willing to bet that others like myself would likely not charter the Great Escape again as a result of that dive."

I have thousands of dives on the Great Escape, and I've spent many hours in the wheel house with Tim while we wated time "looking" when we knew full well the backside wasn't diveable. One of the things you are paying a skipper for is his judgement and experience, and in the instant case I'd put my money on Tim's judgement over yours any day of the week.. You did 2 additional dives when you thought the air was bad, whereas Tim exercised a prudent course of action and did what he could do to salvage the day and keep his passengers safe. If those are the options, it seems clear to me that Tim acted more prudently.

You then speculated the following:

"My issues are that apparently Tim had little to no intention of ever making his way to Farnsworth Banks."

Based upon what?? Time does a fair amount of chrters with Sport Chalet [ sadly from my point of view, but that's a whole different matter ;-)], so from a pure customer service point of view, you have no basis for making such an baseless accusation.

"I am upset that rather than give everyone the choice while on the docks if anyone wanted to go or not based on the “Weather Reports”, Tim gave us no option and simply chose for us."

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but that is what Captains do. While for certain they can discuss the issue with the charterer, or the DM, or even the passenegers if they so choose, but in the final analysis it's the captains call and if that is a sore spot for you, I suggest that you take up golf because in a sport that is weather dependent and involves a water craft vessel, the captain is the boss..

"However, I never was offered anything for the failed trip to Farnsworth Banks."

This seems to me the heart and crux of your complaint.. You didn't make it to Farnsworth and feel as though you should be offered "something".. This is why you see little support for your position. You are a Divemaster so you should have enough experience to appreciate that you aren't going to get offered anything if you don't make it to the intended destination, that is part of the risk you assume when you sign up for a trip. The day we start requiring skippers to either make the intended destination of refund the trip, is the day either someone gets hurt as a result, or we all start paying triple the cost of the charter.


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