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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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June 2001 Vol. 16, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Oh Captain! my captain! our fearful trip is done!

from the June, 2001 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

On a recent trip to Jamaica, my husband and I went diving with Resort Divers, based in the Jack Tarat Montego Bay. Our first dive was uneventful and we returned to the shop for our surface interval. For the second dive, it was the divemaster and boat captain, my husband and me. There was a current that was not present on the first dive. Once in the water, we tried to let the boat know that we would not be returning to it, that this was going to be a drift dive, but we could not get the captainís attention. While it was my gut feeling to scrap the dive, the divemaster assured us the boat would pick us up. When we surfaced, the boat was not within any reasonable distance for us to make contact. We had whistles and safety sausages; we waved our brightly colored fins. No luck. The boat captain was asleep!

The current swiftly carried us down the coast, past the airport, away from land. When we neared a navigational bell that I suggested we try to reach, the current was too strong. Land was fairly close. Do we ditch our equipment and swim for shore? Or float a while longer and hope for a passerby? Thank God for the little old fisherman passing by in his little rickety boat. As we were waving to get his attention, he waved back, then realized we needed his help. He picked us up and brought us to the dive shop. Ninety minutes had passed since we first entered the water. The boat could be seen from shore at the dive shop and it had never moved. The captain had to be radioed to be wakened from his little nap.

The dive shop was not too grateful to the fisherman for saving our asses and gave him no compensation. He wanted nothing from me but I made it worth his while. I asked for a refund for the rest of our diving, which they gave me reluctantly. The owner of the operation called me the next morning at my hotel, apologizing profusely and told me they fired the captain on the spot and anything that I wished to do the rest of the week was complimentary.

In hindsight, I should have trusted my gut and not continued the dive. Luckily, we were experienced divers and did not panic.

Tim and Lori Mattozzi, Griffith, Indiana.

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