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Dive Review of Wind Dancer in
Trinidad and Tobago/Tobago

Wind Dancer, May, 2005,

by Edith and John Summey, IL, USA . Report 2112.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving USA (FL, IL, NC, TX, MO, CA, Alaska), Canada(BC, Nanavut), Greenland, Carribbean(Bahamas, Turks&Caicos, Curacau, Bonaire, Belize, Mexico)Pacific(Socorro, CocosIsland , Galapagos, Tahiti, Truk Lagoon, Palau, Yap, Sipadan, Bali, N.Sulawesi, Phuket, Burma, PNG) Australia, Antartica, Mediterranean (Costa Brava, S. France, Corsica, Sardina, Italy), Red Sea
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy, cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 80 to 0 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 40 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions The diving was treated as drift diving even though there was little current. Divers were herded down the reef as a group and not allowed to do their own dives. Very unsatisfactory!
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera table on dive deck was adequate with air pressure supplied and rinse buckets. But, dive policies were not photo-friendly in that rushing divers down the reef was not conducive to photographic activity.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments My husband and I scheduled diving together for the first week and I remained on the boat for a second week of diving. Week one was OK to a degree, but problems were becoming apparent. Our primary interest was video and still photography. Yet, the arrangement was for "drift" diving whereby we were expected to keep up with the group. Perhaps at times there is enough current to warrant drift diving, but during the two weeks I was there, there was not enough current to affect diving. Yet the other divers swam higher over the reef and sped down the reef not allowing any time for photography.
During the first week my husband and I managed to do our own dives most of the time, but during the second week, I faced a problem because even though I am a certified solo diver with my own redundant air supply and signed applicable waivers, I was told to drag a safety sausage throughout the dive. That would have been dangerous since it would have become entangled on the coral and would have interfered with my camera equipment.
I had great difficulty trying to chase after the group. Furthermore, frequently my air was not pumped to working pressure causing delay and argument about what was acceptable. Lynn, the dive director, seemed to delight in finding fault and fabricating policies such as stating that it is a Peter Hughes policy not to shampoo hair on the dive deck. (Other Peter Hughes boats even provide the shampoo on the dive deck!) There was a general attitude on the boat to prevent problems by restriction rather than by solutions. The answer was not how to do something safely, the answer was to not do it at all.
In general, these factors were frustrating and/or unpleasant:
Bad weather, rain, poor light
Terrible visibility on many dives, runoff from river
Exhaustion from almost constant hard swimming to keep up
Rapid use of air supply due to swimming complicated by the challenge of getting a full fill to 3000 psi
Dive sites inconsistent in terms of quality ranging from nice structure with plenty of coral and variety to devastated coral patches overturned from the hurricane, piles of junk and old tires and worn down, sediment covered coral rubble.
Warnings about strong currents as the reason for group drift diving yet they never materialized.
Often the group drifted up over the reef in what current existed so that they were carried along and were kicking as well, while I, down closer to the reef to take the photos of fish and other features, was out of any current and thus really left behind.
The last straw was a severe admonishment from Lynn over a couple of empty shells I picked up off of the sand. She claimed that collecting shells violated the law of Tobago, export of shells was prohibited, and having shells was punishable by fine. Furthermore, she announced that the Peter Hughes policy forbade picking up anything from the sea. In fact, there is no such Tobago law at all and the written Peter Hughes preservation of nature clause restricts the taking of "any live animal, shellfish, fish, coral..." There is nothing about seashells. If you like dive director aggression and dictatorship, the Wind Dancer is the liveaboard for you.
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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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