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Dive Review of Baja Diving & Service/Club Cantamar in
Mexico (Western)

October, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Randy W. Saffell, OK, USA
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 3714
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Truk Lagoon, Saba, Bonaire, Florida, Flower Gardens, Guadalupe
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, surge  
Water Temp
85   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 75    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth & Time: Even though we were diving very shallow the DM's would
only allow 50 minute dives. We were NOT ALLOWED to dive our computers/psi
profiles. We were ending dives with 1500-2000psi.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
1 stars  
Shore Facilities  
1 stars  
Cameras:  There are no facilities for cameras. There are no camera tables
on any of the boats. There were 1 and sometimes 2 large water barrels for
everyone to put their cameras in. A hard task since our group had a Light
& Motion HD video camera with lamp heads, 2 Ikelite video camera
housings with lamp heads another video camera and 3 Ikelite Digital Camera
housings with large strobes. None of the crew has the slightest idea of how
to pick up a camera which led to the flooding of one housing and the
destruction of a Canon Digital Rebel XTi on the first dive day. The
flooding of the camera occurred after the crew took the camera from the
diver following the dive, dislodged the port, and placed it in the rinse

At one point the DM suggested we put our cameras down below to keep them
out of the way because there was no room on deck to avoid them being
stepped on, tanks dropped on them, or just plain kicked off the sides. When
we told management about the camera handling issues, they just shrugged and
said, oh well and then walked off.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
2 stars
1 stars
Service and Attitude
1 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
1 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
1 stars    
C-Cards: No one ever asked this diver for a c-card or anyone in our group.
Nitrox was available and on the boat. I did see divers analyze their mix,
but never saw any logs for divers to sign off on the blend.

Dockside:  The dock area is one of the nicest features of the experience
with large lockers made from chain link fence. There are not enough for all
the divers they service so we had 5 of us in one locker until another came
open.  Of course you do have to have your own lock which is not on the
webpage, but they do sell tiny luggage locks when you get there for $10.00.
There are two large gear rinse tanks with hoses and a gear rental section.
No one gives new guests any orientation on what is going on.  It was up to
the other divers to orient each other as new guests arrived.  Plus, there
are baskets to store your gear in to carry it back and forth to the boat. 
The baskets are a good idea since the boats have very limited storage
areas, but often not even enough space for all of the baskets.

The crew started loading the boats with supplies about the time the divers
were to show up.  About 30 minutes was wasted each morning watching the
crew load the boats. There was a lot of standing around time in the

With a different crew each day, very little rapport is gained between the
guests and the crew, which is not conducive for them to know and respond to
the divers experience and needs, nor conducive to allowing the crew to
earn tips.  Very frequently, divers on a package will tip the crew at the
end of the week.

Site Choices:  For the most part there are limited dive site choices. We
dove on 2 wrecks, Fang Ming and Salvatierra. The Fang Ming was a PADI
project and is diver friendly. The Salvatierra was originally sunk at
another location and rolled to its current location by a storm, and is now
mostly unrecognizable junk, but does have a great deal of sea life. The
trip to Los Islotes for the sea lions is terrific and makes a good two tank
boat dive. We dove it 3 times, the 3rd dive on request to see more sea

Divers on a 5 day trip will dive some of the same sites more than once 
not by choice. Although this area of La Paz boasts a large number of sites,
we were exposed to a very limited few, with no explaination.  We also
visited El Corralito twice, El Bajo for the Great Hammerheads, Swanee Reef
and La Partida.

None of the tanks I saw had a full 3000psi to start, most around
2800-2900psi. A vast majority of the O rings were trailing bubbles, and
we had one serious O ring failure U/W. The DM just shrugged these
problems off and found something else to do.  One diver got geared up,
turned on his air and found he had been set up with an empty tank.

Night Dives:  We asked several times the first two days about night dives,
but were never given an answer and no one would get back to us. They do
advertise night dives on the web.  We gave up!

Shore Diving:  There is no shore diving.

Crew:  The boat crew ranged from the apathetic to the quite helpful. Their
best was one Japanese female DM that was quite enjoyable, but she was the
definite exception. She did show us the only seahorse we saw.

Gear Handling:  The crew did little in the mornings to be helpful but with
the overcrowding there was no way they could do much. We always set up our
own gear in the mornings and I would change my own tanks to make sure it
was done right. I would trust no crew member.

Cattle Car:  Make no mistake about it, Baja Diving Services is a cattle car
operation of the finest kind. They will keep putting divers on the boat as
long as they have the money to get on. There is no such thing to them as a
crowded boat. Our last dive day our group of 5 got off the boat due to
overcrowding and no room for gear or cameras. Even the DM had no where to
put his gear. When we spoke up, we were told that they could get 5-10 more
divers on that boat easily (which we translated to get over it).  When
the boat returned in the afternoon we were informed that dive sites were
repeated, and that even with the five of us gone the diving had to be done
in shifts and they ran out of food for the "lunch included".

When we confronted the manager of the diving operation that we got off the
boat due to unsafe and crowded conditions, his only concern was that we
should immediately clean out our lockers so other divers could move in. His
response was Im sorry you feel that way. (interpretation: I dont think
there is a problem.) He offered no apologies, and could not get away from
us fast enough.

Problem Solving:  Again, this is easy. There is no problem solving. 
Summary:  Baja Diving Services is a classic cattle boat operation. They
will put as many divers on the boat as they possibly can. The staff is
apathetic, not interested and will flat out lie to you. Club Cantamar is a
nice place to visit as far as facilities. The management and staff do not
give a damn about their guests. You are just a money supply and a bother. 
It just goes to show you cannot believe what is on a resorts website.

Like one of our group said. Running a cattle car operation is fine, as
long as you have room for the cattle.
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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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