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April 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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How Do You Handle a Bully on the Boat?

the debate continues

from the April, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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In our February issue, we featured two different itineraries on the Fiji-based liveaboard Nai'a. One of the writers almost had her trip ruined by an angry passenger we nicknamed Mac. An example: After bumping into her on a dive, Mac flipped her off and screamed "F*** you" through his regulator. Joshua, the Nai'a cruise director and divemaster, did not do a great job handling the obnoxious fellow. His reply to our writer when she complained: "This guy has been diving since the '70s, and you just can't talk to a guy like that." However, when a diver bullies another -- and to go farther, when a threatening male bullies a woman -- limits need to be set.

I expected feedback about that Nai'a review -- and I got it, from Nai'a staff, former passengers, and Undercurrent readers who had similar experiences in other places. Their range of views shows how difficult it is to manage an unruly diver -- and who should be the one to do it.

Why Can't We Be More Like Peace-Loving Fijians?

We'll start with Rob Barrel, owner of the Nai'a. He wrote, "I will not defend Mac's behavior, but it is wrong and offensive to say our cruise directors tolerated it because he pays big bucks and might leave a big tip." He said Joshua told him that he saw Mac get our writer's attention during the nasty dive, but at his distance, he couldn't tell that it was an aggressive move. Also, in response to our writer's complaints and his own observations, Joshua made several announcements to the boat about diving nice, and being aware of the coral and fellow divers. Joshua also says he talked to Mac after the finger-flipping incident to try to get him to apologize, but Mac refused to do it because he thought our writer was the one in the wrong....

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