Author Topic: Cozumel Deep Blue Report  (Read 5848 times)

IronMike

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Cozumel Deep Blue Report
« on: September 07, 2009, 06:41:49 UTC »
Just a quick note on Deep Blue COZ.  My wife and I returned from diving 6 days with this outfit for the first time and while I wouldn't go so far as to say the operation was bad, we weren't impressed. 

A little background: we first dove Cozumel 9 years ago as our first ocean trip after getting our certs.  We dove with Martin, then and had a great time.  Since then, we've hit someplace new every year or so as our schedules allow.  We heard that since Martin's passing, the quality of service had declined so we rolled the dice with another operator who a) had been around a while, b) seemed to not have a lot of negative reports and c) had small boats.

I set up the arrangements via email with Gary (it's a very convoluted process, but I didn't have any problems with the deposit (half, via Paypal) or reservation process.  Our travel dates were solid from the first communication.  8 days (sat-sat) in Coz, 6 days of 2 tank diving.  He wanted to know about our experience level and recent dives, how many days we'd be diving, rental equipment, etc.  He also wanted us to call him when we got in to reconfirm.  So far, so good.  When we got to our hotel room I found the phone ringing.  Long story short, it's Gary and he thinks we've been on the island for 3 or 4 days already and haven't contacted him.  Wanted to make sure we were still diving 3 days, and he had our rental BC sizes wrong.  Got all that straightened out.  I figure we'll be on the dock at 9:30 and a boat will either show up or not.

The boat showed up, and including us, it had 9 passengers, 2 DMs and a Capitan.  No rinse buckets.  A partial shade cover that covered the forward 6 pax.  Those of us in the rear got the full sun ride.  There was a little net suspended from the shade cover for dry storage.  Luckily we bring a dry bag, because it was full up.  There was no sort of safety briefing, particularly no mention of O2 or first aid on the boat.  I saw the green O2 case strapped to the bow when they were docking, so I assumed it had a working bottle in it.  The divers were a group of 5 with one DM and our group of 4 with the other.  In spite of giving them our detailed diving history, we were stuck with a father/son duo who were, to put it mildly, very inexperienced.  Luckily I only had to get smacked in the head and look at silt for about 25 minutes until they had to head up for their safety stop and we had the whole reef to ourself.  They let you dive your computer and only ask that you hit your safety stop with 700psi.  Snacks on the boat were bottled water, watermelon and bananas...Every. Day.  Surface intervals were at a deserted beach with a dock that is used by several other operators.  No shade, No banos.  Get in the water to pee.  After the second dive, the DM asked, "Are you diving tomorrow?"  Si.  In the morning?  Si.  This continued for the next 5 days. 

Over our six days of diving we had 4 DMs.  We had to constantly remind them what sites we had already dived.  Except for the first and last days, the total number of divers was between 4 and 6, with us having 8 on Friday (with 2 DMs).  For 4 of 6 days, we had at least one newby and/or freak in our group who had no business being in the water unsupervised.  One guy hadn't dived in 20 years (he looked early 30's, so had to be a kid when he got certified) and he pretty much panicked and started flailing around underwater and almost grabbed my wife's reg out of her mouth.  This other dude was an Eastern Euro Speedo wearer who refused to back-roll into the water and at the last minute would stand up on the gunwall of the boat, almost capsizing it, and giant stride in.  Our bright-spark DM du jour launched us on a 120' dive with this wierdo and I didn't once see him ask about our air situation.  After a while, I couldn't find our DM and started looking around for him.  He's 40 feet above us with the Euro guy buddy breathing off him.  That's a first for me.  Being a small group, we could stay away from the bozos for the most part (when they weren't physically assaulting us underwater) and dive our own profiles, but it is still annoying to have to deal with that.  A couple of days we did have a pretty squared away group and a good DM and the diving was just that much better because of it.

Anyway, that ended up being a lot longer than I had intended.  Overall the diving was very good.  We had flat seas, good visibility and hit The Cathedral, Mariceibo, and the Devil's Throat.  The "customer experience" I would rate a solid "5".  If it was a choice between them and a cattle car operation, I'd pick them, but with so much competition on the island (I counted 75 in the phone book) I am sure there is an operator that goes that extra mile to really earn your repeat business.  Hope this has been helpful, and if not, at least entertaining.

deepbluecoz

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Re: Cozumel Deep Blue Report
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2009, 16:27:11 UTC »
I think you are being very unfair in your assessment of Deep Blue …

You say our booking procedure is convoluted.  This is how it went: You sent us an email inquiring about our services…….. we replied. You then sent an email saying you wanted to confirm a reservation….. we replied with the estimated overall cost and a link for a Paypal deposit……you made your payment, we sent you a confirmation.   You never had to come to the shop in town, everything was done on-line…….What was convoluted about that?

Yes, Gary mistakenly wrote you in the reservations book as arriving on the 26th of September….instead of the 29th… a simple human error….he wrote 6 instead of 9….didn’t affect anything. He phoned the evening of the 29th just to confirm you had actually arrived and were still diving the following day as planned. Normal procedure if you are not planning on coming to the shop to CHECK IN before the dives. How else are we supposed to know if you are here…if you don’t call us? 

Our boats do have sun covers, but some of the seats might not get the shade 100% of the time depending on the angle of the sun…..  Regarding the dry net, yes being the last passengers on the boat then I can imagine it cold be filled by all the other divers belongings, but I honestly don’t see what a big deal it is if you have dry bags. If you had asked, we would have found somewhere else to stow them.   And to make comments about “assuming the oxygen had a working bottle”..I resent that implication, which was for NO reason at all.  Obviously all our boats fully comply with the regulations, radios, oxygen first aid kits etc.   

Regarding your comments about mixed divers in the group a couple of times……Did you happen to consider that you were here on one of the slowest weeks of the year for any tourist industry business….the week after school starts?  We do pride ourselves in grouping divers of similar ability together and I know we do this better than most ….but we typically have 3 to 4 boats a day ….we had 1 or 2 that week…….  And in spite of being so slow for EVERYONE on the island, we managed to get you and your wife to the premier advanced sites like Punta Sur - Cathedral, Punta Sur - Devil’s Throat, and Maracaibo reefs.   I don’t think there would’ve been another shop that would’ve been able to make that happen for you that particular week, and as a party of 2……But you seem to have taken that for granted…..The fact that it was a slow week also justifies the different DM’s…..you can’t expect us not to rotate our staff and give all the work to only one DM? 

BTW, the diver that you said had not dove for 20 years had done a refresher course in April…we cannot deny someone service if he is a bad or inexperienced diver…but that is why we take 2 DM’s and take a smaller group of divers per DM that most operators.   

If you want small, fast boats, then you have to settle for the fact that they don’t have bathrooms…….if you want bathrooms, and plenty of storage space you should dive with a large boat operator, or pay a lot more than you paid us.  If you would’ve requested a rinse bucket, we would’ve provided one for you.  If you would’ve requested stopping somewhere you could’ve used a bathroom, we would’ve…..It is our experience that 95% of the people prefer to take the interval on a deserted beach….rather than a crowded beach restaurant and the fact that you were staying at the Iberostar limited the interval location options as well…..
 
Anyway…I’m sure you will try a different operator next time…..and I hope you happen to come that specific week again…or in the middle of October… so you can compare apples to apples…because I think that under the circumstances, we did as well as we could’ve and did nothing that terribly wrong….certainly not enough to deserve such a negative review that you hope people will find entertaining and are oblivious or simply don’t care about the negative effect it can have on a business….. We DO care about our clients coming back to dive with us over and over again, and have a very strong following.  We have been in business for 15 years and as you mentioned…there are many dive shops in Cozumel…..You cannot survive if you didn’t make most of your clients happy, and we do. 

Sincerely,

Deborah – Owner


HardyC

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Re: Cozumel Deep Blue Report
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2009, 17:07:13 UTC »
I simply want to say that I consider the review to be unduly harsh given the circumstances.  "Context" is critical when making such observations...  I've dived with Deep Blue a number of times, ALWAYS finding them professional, more than accommodating to whatever needs or wishes we made known (such as choice of dive sites), and all of the boat captains and DMs we've had were very attentive to detail - whether it was a matter of safety, equipment needs, pointing out things of interest on a dive or whatever.  Companions who have received dive certification training from Deep Blue have had only the highest praise for their competence and willingness to share their significant knowledge with them.

I would HIGHLY recommend DEEP BLUE for your next dive trip to Cozumel...  I know I'll be going back.

Sharkwil

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Re: Cozumel Deep Blue Report
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2009, 14:16:33 UTC »
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this review sounds more like finding little things to complain about.   I doubt that anyone could have made him happy or satisified his every wish.  I think Debbie's right, he needs to take a slow, cattle boat next time so he'll have a real bathroom.  If he thought it was bad diving with 1-2 inexperienced divers, just wait until he's in a group with 5-10 of them!  It sounds like he wanted a little more pampering, so he just needs to learn to speak up and ask.  My husband I were diving the same week in Cozumel w/Deep Blue and had a great time.  Yes, we did not have the same dive master everyday, but I enjoy that, as they all lend a different view to each dive site.  Deep Blue has been very accomodating, and it is my experience, if you ask, they'll do everything possible to make sure your diving experience is everything your hoping for.

IronMike

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Re: Cozumel Deep Blue Report
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2009, 17:33:01 UTC »
This was an objective review of my experience.  I do not need to be "pampered".  Except where I obviously expressed an opinion, I simply stated facts.  The fact that the boats do not have a head or full shade cover is just that, a fact.  Not a complaint.  That may be important to other divers when they are making their plans.  The fact that there was daily confusion about sites dived and the number of days of diving was annoying, but if readers search other reviews on other sites, they'll find this to be a recurring theme at Deep Blue.  It seems my experience was par for the course and not some anomaly.

If the owner were truly concerned about providing outstanding service, she would take my comments seriously and look to improve their processes instead of picking apart my review making excuses for each point that I made.  Remember the old saying that for every customer who complains, 10 do not? 

Objective reviews are what Undercurrent is all about.  It's not about dive ops contacting their customers to post positive feedback. 

scubawoman

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Re: Cozumel Deep Blue Report
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2009, 17:38:08 UTC »
Cozumel, for the people who live here, is a very poor island.  Visitors who arrive here see flashy jewelry stores and all-inclusives, very American-like.  But go a little deeper in the island to see how the people live, in very small houses, many without refrigerators, washing machines, etc.  But every house is full of love for the family and the people work hard so that their children can, perhaps, get a better education and live beyond the poverty level.  DEEP BLUE does what every dive shop on the island tries to do - rotate their staff rather than laying them off during the slow season, so that at least everyone has some money for food.  Dive shops cannot afford to send out boats with only 2 guests because they will lose money from fuel use and wages for employees.  During slow season, which this year started last Oct. because of the economic situation, and then the swine flu scare, work has been hard to come by on the island.  If a dive organization only has a few divers, they even try to "buddy up" with another op who has only a few divers rather than refuse service.

So perhaps when you travel, look past the fancy ads and really try to find out what is going on in the area you are visiting.  Read up about the culture and traditions.  Do more than just leave your footprints in the sand.  Put yourself in the shoes of others.  Ask questions when you arrive, don't just stick you nose in the air because you feel things aren't like you want them.  Everyone was once a newbie and caused others to shake their heads.  Be glad the divemasters are working hard to help the new diver have a safe experience, while keeping an eye on you.  Being a DM is not an easy job, believe me!

I love this island and the people of Mexico.  It is not America!  It is an experience  a lot more stress-free; a land of sunny days and warm breezy nights, a place where you should be    ;)

 

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