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Being a newbie on this board and meaning no disrespect, it seems inappropriate to me to address causation/fault so close to this experienced diver's passing. Additionally to provide opinions or thoughts in response to a newspaper's account of what "Authorities believe" or of "one theory" seems a bit reckless, as it does to presume that the boat was unattended. I just don't know if that's the case or not. I would be interested in the views of this board's most experienced divers relative to the facts when they are released. I have read annecdotal comments involving current, sharks, heart attacks, etc. Again, I mean no eye-poke, but I'm choosing to wait for facts, assuming they surface publicly.
Welcome to SB. The whole story is hardly ever available. We just try to learn from the stories we do receive, attempting to avoid any accusations. Have you read Special rules - Please Read - if not, please do. Stickies on forums really are important to posting in the respective forums.
Yes, the folks at DiveBVI are a great dive shop! I dove with them in Sept., and will be diving with them again in early Jan. In fact, I did my OW cert. dives with Paul's wife, Cori, at their Leverick Bay shop in '03. Paul and Cori were celebrating their 25th in Sept., so they were not on VG, but I dove with Rudy & Jeff.
Mr. Johanning and the other 2 divers were at "The Playground" dive site, at the location you mention, which is to the west of Tortola. I have done 2 dives there, and it is one of my favorite sites in the BVI. It is on the northwest side of Green Cay, in a somewhat protected cove, but, as you can see from the satellite image, exposed to the Atlantic. There is always some current there, and a healthy reef system, with a large stand of pillar coral, boulders, overhangs, swim throughs, as well as large schools of fish. I've done around 40 dives in the BVI, and this site has the largest concentration of fish that I have seen in the BVI. It has been fairly calm when I've dove there in the Fall; however, both of my BVI dive books caution against diving there if the north swells are up, which can be a fairly common occurence during the winter months.
By the way, I just received this email from Capt. Colin of JVD Scuba:
"Jost Van Dyke Scuba arrived at 'the Playground' mooring buoy Thursday morning to assist and continue in search efforts with two Instructors and two advanced 'master scuba diver trainer' rated tourists who were paying to dive and wanting to help. Upon arrival at the buoy, VISAR divers were on the mooring and divers were being deployed minutes later to search. We were advised that no assistance was necessary in that area and our team went downwind to search at the Twin Towers area off the Northside of Little Jost Van Dyke, for the potential drift of the body. After a one hour search dive and 30 minute surface interval at the Twin Towers, our dive vessel returned to the Playground mooring where the body had already been recovered and VISAR divers had left the scene. Our divers went on the dive anyway, less than 1 hour after the body had been recovered and removed from the water, there were absolutely NO SHARKS in the vicinity at that time (and they were looking!!!). Abundant fish life, as usual, but no sharks whatsoever, and our dive covered the entire site and then some, totalling :55 minutes bottom time. We dived the site again twice on Friday and no sharks were seen either, so the rumors of some massive school of sharks invading the BVI is "all media/rumor oriented"... because we have four boats diving around Jost all day long, six days a week, and it's just our normal abundant marine life, nothing dangerous. Of course, we are all very sick and disturbed that a diver died here, but that can happen when BASIC scuba safety rules are neglected: the divers did not stay together and the fault is unfortunately that of all three divers, plain and simple, and sad: the 'Buddy System' must be adhered to from entering the water to leaving it, every time. Everyone MUST stay closely together when scuba diving at all times. Also, we understand that the diver, although relatively experienced (we hear), had not been diving in some time, and that was, in hindsight, poor judgement to go diving without Professional supervision on the first dive of their vacation. If I haven't piloted an airplane in a year, I wouldn't take one up with my wife and kids alone and fly, I'd hire a professional Pilot to take me up first and go over things again to refresh my skills with a Refresher Course. Unfortunately, we commonly see tourists rent sailing yachts and go diving unsupervised with little or no experience in true 'open water' diving, yet they have a false sense of security about 'how easy diving is' and we are truly lucky that these incidents are not more common in our area. We ALWAYS recommend Refresher Courses... and diving with any of the Professional BVI Dive Operators is the 'guaranteed way' to safely enjoy all of the wonderful dive sites we have to share with International travelers of all skill levels. My family and our Six Instructors are all deeply sorry for this tragedy happening so close to home for us, and more so disturbed and saddened that another family is passing through such a horrible loss of a father and husband, and our condolences, sympathies, and prayers are going out to them. A true loss. My best regards, Capt Colin D. Aldridge, Director Jost Van Dyke Scuba & BVI Eco-Tours , Great Harbour,
JVD, BVI 284.495.0271 JVD Scuba - Jost Van Dyke & The BVI email@example.com"
Again, not my place to try to blame, but for the readers here who want to learn here - I think Capt Colin's emails supports some of my assessment: The buddy team failed because the buddies did not keep it intact. And while local divers may do that dive with the boat unattended (which I'd still say is foolhardy if they do with that location), if the divers had been out of diving for an extended period and asked our suggestions on the plan, the refresher course would have been encouraged by many here. For any diver with a lack of recent experience to leave the boat empty there just screams "bad plan" at me.
Buddy teams, three man teams, or solo does not matter if everyone involved knows what they are doing and is prepared for it. I frequently dive solo and prefer it to insta buddy's or three man teams who are not used to diving together. I sometimes dive with two friends who are DIR trained and though I'm not I understand and am disciplined enough to follow them using their training as a guide. When we dive together the plan is discussed and followed. Changes are sometimes made on the fly for little things but they are agreed upon and followed by all of us. And there is none of this one stay down or one goes up. Everything is done as a team and constant contact is kept. How close depends on conditions but we are never to far apart to assist each other. Three man teams that are not disciplined or familiar with each other are to me very risky. I'd rather be solo in this case or have one stay on the boat. Tragic yes but it again reinforces that you plan your dive and dive your plan. Unfortunately his son's will have to live with the decisions that were made that cost them their father.
firstname.lastname@example.org for info and orders or call 724-255-3765 There are SCUBA Divers who are safe, skilled, and independent explorers with a sense of adventure. Then there are Underwater Tourists who need constant supervision. UDM Aquatics trains SCUBA Divers. To see how and why we do that click here