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Captain Lost Our Group

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by Billiken1, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Billiken1

    Billiken1 Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Dallas, Texas USA
    We were excited to go to Cozumel for the first time and experience the incredible diving we’ve heard some much about. A friend recommended Blue XT Sea, so we contacted Christi via email. While she was a little slow respond, I figured it’s an island and things move a little slower down there. We paid the $100 deposit for two dives on Friday, June 16th. Five days before we traveled, I sent her an email to confirm and get some details on where to meet. I got a little worried after two days without a response. Christi finally got back to me saying she was very busy, but we were confirmed and asked that I call her on a local number after we arrived in Cozumel. On Thursday evening, June 15th, I called her around 6p from my hotel. No answer but left a message. The owner of the hotel where I was staying called from his local cell and left another message. I sent her two more emails letting her know that we were in town and didn’t have any information for the next day’s diving. I kept checking my email throughout the night, but no response. The next morning, Friday, I called around 9a and she finally answered. I told her who I was, but her tone and response was unpleasant to stay the least. She said that she received no message and no emails from me and seemed a little put out that I was accusing her of not getting back with me. I chose not to argue with her, just get the details of where we needed to meet the boat.
    We arrived around 2p at the pier and met our dive master, Miguel. He got us all set up and everything seemed fine. After our second dive, however, we experienced something I never thought would ever happened to me. The captain of the boat couldn’t find our group after we surfaced. Our group of five divers had different levels of experience. I’ve been certified for 6 years, but for one of us, this was her very first ocean dive trip since certification. We could see the boat off in the distance appearing to look for us. He would circle, then turn back and go the other direction. The dive masters had inflated two large inflatable buoys, holding them up high. Nothing. We were starting to get very worried watching the boat turn south and disappear from view. Finally, Miguel suggested we swim for shore. The newest diver had a leak in her BCD and wouldn’t inflate. We had to hold on to her tank and she had to hang on to one part of the buoys. Needless to say, not having any experience, she was starting to panic a little. After about an hour, the captain found us and began to head our way. By the time the boat reached us, we had made it to shore. In addition, it was almost 7p and beginning to get dark. While Miguel was great and never panicked, we couldn’t believe we had just experienced our own version of “open water.”
    We spent another two days on the island. We never heard from Christi. We went back and looked at Blue XT Seas reviews on tripadvisor and noticed a very common theme. Most praised the dive masters, however, some were very critical of the poor communication from Christi. I don't believe there is a store front or dive shop. You have to rely on her responding to your emails or answering her phone. I was stunned that we didn’t hear from her after our experience of being lost for an hour. As you can see from my review and others, the dive masters, like Miguel, are very good and in this situation he did a great job staying calm. However, the experience certainly tainted our first experience in Cozumel.
  2. flots am

    flots am Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wherever you go in life, that's where you are.
    Live drift dives aren't very forgiving and rely on the boat driver being able to follow your bubbles on the surface. I tend to avoid them.

    While it's extra weight and bulk, you might want to consider carrying some extra "getting found" equipment. The Coz DMs typically carry a small lift bag or safety sausage, however when the boat is actually missing, something like this, which will stick up 9 or 10 feet out of the water is more useful.

  3. Diver Kat

    Diver Kat Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Madison ALABAMA!
    All I can say is this sounds like a horrible experience. What reef were you on? With the amount of boat traffic usually going on, it seems you would have been spotted by someone, if not your own boat captain. I know we've had situations where we have come up somewhat far away from our boat due to current changes, so it's taken a few minutes to be spotted, but we've never not been spotted at all. And the initial lack of communication sounds very 'un-Christi' like. Blue XT Sea is well known for their service in and out of the water. (We are not current customers, but I have friends that have used Blue XT Sea for years, and they have a extremely loyal group of customers here on SB.) As for lack of a diver shop or store front, that's pretty normal for Coz. Since most people book long before they ever get to the island, it's not cost effective for a lot of ops to keep a store front and, pay staff to man it when they're almost no shot at walk-in traffic. The op I use has never had a store front or dive shop and they're booked up weeks in advance.

    Hopefully this won't totally put you off going back to Cozumel. It's a beautiful island with amazing diving and great people.
  4. mediumone

    mediumone Barracuda

    At this hour, there are 41 reviews for Blue XT Sea on trip advisor. 37 rate them excellent. 1 very good, 2 average, and 1 rated them terrible.

    The one that rated them terrible was critical of Christi's communication, as well as one of the average ratings. I didn't read all of the reviews that rated them excellent or very good, but I presumed that there wasn't much of a communication issue if they acheived that rating.

    Just sayin.

    Disclosure: Never met the woman, never dove with Blue XT Sea.
  5. deeper thoughts

    deeper thoughts Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Christi and Blue XT sea have a great reputation. No doubt she will respond to this
  6. Brules

    Brules Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Oklahoma City
    Getting separated from your boat happens in Cozumel due to the currents. 9.9/10 times, you are diving in the mornings and there are several other boats/groups around you who will find out what boat you are on and radio the boat to come get you. Had it happen last year to me, took the boat 20+ minutes to come get me, so it is not uncommon. Being the late afternoon, with no other boats - I can see it being harder to find you as there was probably no boats nearby who could radio the captain.

    The currents move differently in the water column, the captains essentially follow your groups bubbles - so.....yeah, it can happen., it does happen, has happened to most of us who dive there regularly. At least they found you before you got to Cuba. :)

    ^ This is a good example of why I think EVERY diver diving in Cozumel needs/should be required to carry an SMB. But thats another post......

    Essentially you had less than stellar communication and the captain lost you on your second dive. What is the real issue? And was it exactly an hour? I find it hard to believe it took a boat captain down there 60 minutes to find his group - those guys are pretty dang good at what they do. Was it really a full hour?

    And maybe the DM's need some new SMB's:


    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  7. Christi

    Christi PADI MSDT/Dive op owner ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Cozumel, MX
    first - I would like to extend my most sincere apologies.

    I attempted to reach you the following morning and I went by the hotel, but no one was there. There was what I assume to be a maid who told me to come back in an hour - but I was unable to go back. If you will check your credit card receipt, you will see that I refunded you for Friday afternoon after Pedro and Miguel told me what happened.

    There is no excuse for what happened after your second dive on Friday, I know that you were on the surface for 55 minutes - I have no words to express my apologies, but trust me when I say - that Captain (Luis) is no longer employed by Blue XT~Sea as a direct result of Friday afternoon. I have tried to reach you to give my personal apologies, but I understand that you are on vacation and did not expect you to be hanging around the hotel on Saturday.

    As far as the communication issues, I have 17 e-mail exchanges between the two of us - including my confirmation to you, questions and answers, check-in procedure explaining to call upon check-in, etc. At 6pm Thursday, no I was not in the office, but asked that you leave a message if I was not in. I had one message from you on Thursday evening at 7pm and one message 5 minutes later from the hotel owner - I was not in and did not return from dinner until after 10pm, and did not check e-mails that evening so did not return the call that night. We spoke Friday morning at about 9:00am am when you called - as I explained then, I was planning to return your call Friday morning to give you meeting instructions for Friday afternoon, you simply beat me to the call. I knew that you were returning home yesterday and actually planned to call you this afternoon to give you time to get settled back in. I have not received any e-mails from you after Friday afternoon and I did not feel that this was something to discuss by e-mail.

    Again, there is no excuse for the Captain leaving you all in the water for any period of time and that is NOT typical by any means - I really was/am speechless myself as to what happened and why he was not right there when you surfaced - no excuse. Again, your credit card has been fully refunded and I still plan to call you this afternoon to give you my personal apologies.

    Other than refunding you and giving you my sincerest apologies, I am not sure how to make this right - this is a first and I can make no excuses, only apologize and do my very best to ensure that it doesn't happen to anyone else.
  8. JamesK

    JamesK Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: SW Florida
    Wow. Well if I do end up back in Cozumel, I know what place I will be using.
  9. xspect

    xspect Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Louisiana
    Good response Christi.
  10. Wookie

    Wookie ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    I think you have succeeded beyond any possible expectation in making this right. Kudos. You are a class act.
    pidgiepoo likes this.

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