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Dive Review of Bananarama in

December, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Jim Schoeneck, CA, USA
Report Number 2759
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Caribbean, Hawaii, California, Mexico
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

rainy, cloudy  
choppy, currents  
Water Temp
79   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 30    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
told we could dive to 45 minutes, no depth discussed  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
1 stars  
Small Critters
  1 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
1 stars    
Have been to Roatan before and had beautiful dive conditions.  This was not
one of those time.  My group of 12 divers was on island for 1 day, coming
off of a cruise ship.  We had chartered one of the Bananarama boats.

Since conditions seemed to be poor up top and I could not get him on the
phone, I went off the ship in a pouring rain to meet owner Ron Smith to see
if we would be diving that day, which I assumed we would not be.  Ron said
that we would be going out and that conditions in the water should be fine.
 I went back, got the group and we piled into vans to go to the shop for
paperwork, weights and tanks.  Everything went smoothly at the shop (nice
open air facility steps from the beach).  

We then drove to the boat, loaded the gear and took off. As we reached the
dive site, conditions looked OK, with 2-4 foot chop and some surface
current.  The first of our divers got in and had to pull themselves to the
front of the boat to go down the anchor line.  No line was in the water for
divers that did not immediately get to the boat.  One of our divers started
to drift and could not swim back against the surface current.  That diver's
buddy released from the boat and drifted back to keep the pair together. 
Shortly after the 2 divers dropped under the water and tried to come back
just off the reef about 35 feet down.  Current there was just as strong and
the pair came up farther from the boat rather than closer.  The crew did
not handle the situation well at all.  They were not willing to make the
call to abort the dive, seemingly because they were concern that Ron would
be upset.  I finally made the call to abort and the captain for that day
told me he'd only been working there a few days and implored me to tell Ron
that it was my decision to abort, not his.  Keeping his job was more
important than the safety of the divers.  Our pair in the water were picked
up by another boat and had a very rough tow back to us, but finally arrived
safe.  We had the boat return to dock and drop us back at the ship.  I
contacted Ron and told him what happened.  After pushing pretty hard, he
finally agreed to give us a PARTIAL refund of 40%...

Overall, one of the worst days of attempted diving I've ever had.  Most
importantly, Ron should have made the call that morning not to go, but he
didn't.  He and his captain put divers in danger to keep the charter rather
than either cancelling or aborting.  I've never felt my safety was second
to anything else on a dive boat until this experience with Bananarama. 
There are many fine dive operations on Roatan, this is not one of them.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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