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BTW-the "trip report" is actually large excerpts from my private diary, so please excuse the navel gazing etc.-it was not really for public consumption, but it was the easiest fastest way to post a report.
I feel bad about discouraging people from taking this boat-the folks from Galapagos Adventures are EXTREMELY serious about doing a good job, and I suspect they will be on this issue immediately.
I forwarded pretty much the post I made here to Ken at galapagos Adventures - i feel it`s only fair to post his responses here
It looks like the feedback was taken quite seriously - and efforts are being made to address the teething problems - this boat does have the potential to be quite a star - i`d be interested to hear what things are like after the dry docking
>> = my inital comments
** = ken`s e-mail
**Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed email.* I do appreciate your
**observations.* As a tour operator specializing in diving in Galapagos, I sell all the
**dive yacht down there and I can tell you that none are prefect.** The owner of the
**Deep Blue is trying very hard and I will be speaking with him early next week
**about many of the issues you raised.* Many of the issues you addressed will be
**taken care during the January dry dock.* Others will need be to be resolved
**sooner.* Here are clarifications so you can see they are trying.
>>They failed to take care of relatively inexperienced diver that was on the trip - I
>>know that the Galapagos is a challenging location but having accepted a guest on
>>the trip the crew have to deal with their lack of experience.
**There should have been no inexperience divers on this trip.* All divers that are
**signed up through Galapagos Adventures are screened for this.* Here is the
**number of reported dives of diver signed up directly with Galapagos Adventures;
**700, 100, 400, 250, 400, 30.* Of course people are not necessarily telling the
**truth.* I would assume that the inexperienced diver came from SRI and* I guess I
**need to re-emphasized* to SRI that they need to screen people better.
SIDE NOTE = What Ken said is ture - the diver was booked via the Shark Research Institute - never the less - she was not taken care of well enough IMHO
>>Toward the end of the week Antonio got so drunk he was unable to get up the*
>>next morning to make to dive and so the days plans were switch the do land
>>tours first - we didn`t miss any dives through it and it wasn`t a massive deal - It
>>just didn`t sit well with me.
**I'm shocked.* I've known Antonio for several years and I have never seen him
**drink anything alcoholic.* I offered to buy him a beer once and he told that he
**doesn't drink at all.* The policy of the Deep Blue is the guides are not suppose to
**drink.* The Deep Blue is the only yacht in Galapagos with this policy and I have
**seen many guide on many other yachts totally drunk.* I've also gotten countless
**complaints about "drunk" guides and crew members on other yachts over the
**years but I have never seen or heard about a guide or crew member on the Deep
**Blue even having a beer at night.
SIDE NOTE - both dive guides were drinking ...
>>Other examples of the lack of professionalism included a crew member putting*
>>on a porn DVD while I was in the lounge in the afternoon and 3 or 4 random
>>friends of the Juan Carlos sleeping in the lounge on the last night.
**This is unacceptable and I will complaint to the owner about this.
>>The camera rinse tank consisted of 12 inches of brown murk. I was told this*
>>was water that was taken on at San Cristobal - ( I noticed later that day that the
>>same murk was coming out of the showers and bathroom taps ) - The crew also
>>do not give the* camers a good rinse - they quickly swish them in the murk and
>>put them on the table.*
**The water IS from San Cristobal (one of the ONLY sources of fresh water in
**Galapagos and the only source accessible for yachts based in San Cristobal).* It
**does look that way and it is the same water that you did shower with.
**The Deep Blue will be installing a water maker in January and adding another
**rinse tank for wet suits, regs, etc.* Once the amount of fresh water on board is no
**longer an issue, the water in the rinse tanks* will be changed everyday and it will
**not look like the brown water of San Cristobal.
SIDE NOTE - I was a little unclear - it was the lack of water in the rinse tank in addition to the quality
>>The camera rinse tank also seemed to be the general pool of washing the boat
>>water - I saw the crew dipping brooms in there to wash the boat - so it was*
>>pretty disgusting by the end of the week.
**I was told that the crew changed the water after cleaning the boat and was simply
**trying not to waste the fresh water.* If this is true, then I don't see a problem BUT **I will make sure they are aware not to do this again as the appearance is not \
SIDE NOTE - quite possibly the case - but the tank never fully empties and traces of boat detergent stay in the tank - while I applaud the effort to conserve fresh water - I think a better system could be put in pace that uses less water
>>The boat is appears older that advertised - some of the door handles are* broken ( I have snipped out my general decription of some of some of the general issues )
**The yacht is one year old but it has not been to dry dock yet.* ANY yacht running
**for a year will have wear and tear.* Most of the above issue will be resolved
**during the first dry dock in January.
SIDE NOTE - This is a fair comment .....
>>The boat is advertised as having A/C through-out - which is does - they even
>>have all the dials and buttons in each cabin which do absolutly NOTHING - best
>>I can tell is the A/C is centrally controlled which ment it was on full in the early
>>evening when you are trying to rewarm after a days diving and seemed to go off
>>at 3am - just when you need it ! The A/C needs to be controlled in each cabin
**The original AC unit had serious problems and had to be replaced (thus the left
**over buttons that don't work).* Remember it has not been in dry dock and has had
**very little down time.* Therefore the problem needed to be solved BUT there was **not enough time to correct it the way they would have liked.** This issue will be
**addressed in January.
SIDE NOTE - Also fair enough - but don`t advertise + breif as if the boat has controls of the A/C in each cabin !
>>The after dive towels are taken upstairs and dryed on a line and brought back
>>down - by the end of the week they had some interesting aromas. I would had
>>preferred if each person was issued a deck towel if they were going to do that !
**A washer and dryer will be added shortly and this will eliminate this problem.
>>The after dive snacks were OK - but often ran out before everyone got
>>something - the hot chocolate always ran out before everyone got a cup.
**I've already addressed this with the owner and he has told me this will be
>>My biggest gripe with the boat was the battle to get water - the only water
>>available was a large plastic jug sitting in the bar - that was always warm or a
>>small bottle left in the cabin .. sometimes .. also warm. There were no plasitc
>>cups - just small glasses so you had to stand around the bar and get several
>>refills to get properly rehydrated, There were few other soft drinks - just some
>>cans of coke. The fridge it seems was reservered for keeping beer cold ! There
>>was not water easily available to take on the land walks. Large plastic cups than
>>can be left safely around the boat and a large jugs of water in each cabin and a >>larger cooler with water is needed
**All yachts in Galapagos attempt to reduce the amount of "waste" that is
**produced thus you will not find plastic cups on any yacht in Galapagos.* I will talk
**to the owner about installing a water cooler where passengers can refill their
SIDE NOTE - I ment plastic beakers - not throw away cups - more ones that won`t break if dropped
>>The food was OK - certainly nowhere close to Aggressor standards - I and a few
>>other folks eat no seafood at all - this the boat knew about - but seemed
>>unprepared for - there was little choice - we had ( horrible ) Tofu on 2 days and
>>boiled chicken pieces on 3 days for dinner.* I didn`t starve but I could have
>>eaten more on some occasions but there was never any extra non seafood* -
>>There needs to be a choice of dinners !
**I've already addressed this with the owner and he has told me this will be corrected.
>>At the start of the week the air* fills were definatly a bit rough - a slight oily taste
>>and several people with bad headaches after the dive - I mentioned this and I
>>was told they would change the filters - I don`t know of this happened - the air
>>never tasted good ( but it was better ) + the headaches didn`t come back !
>>Although there is a book with a long explaination of how they have been*
>>screwed by the system supplier explaining the lack of Nitrox - sorry to hear that >>- but they still don`t have Nitrox !
**ALL problems associated with air fills and Nitrox can be directly related to the
**unethical behavior of Undersea Breathing Systems.* A lawsuit has been filled
**against them.* To avoid litigation UBS last week delivered the high pressure
**compressors which were ordered and paid for in full last December.* They are
**suppose to deliver the nitrox system next week.* It is my belief that they will
**because should this case reach the courts, it is my belief that the court would
**aware substantial damages.* Therefore very shortly these issues will be
**resolved.* I'm glad you mentioned the "taste" of the air because it indicates that
**the all the tanks need to be broken apart and cleaned.
There are often different opinions about the same exact thing.
This site was pointed out to me by someone that was looking for a dive trip to Galapagos. When I mentioned the Deep Blue as possible choice for their trip, they responded "I've heard horrible things about that yacht". Surprised - I asked where did you hear that ? The answer was Scubaboard.com so I did a search and located these comments.
First I would like to say that some things written here are legitimate and the owner of the Deep Blue has been made aware of these problems and is working to fix them. The cook will be replaced, a water cooler will be installed in the dining area, and a bunch of new towels will be purchased. After every passenger that books a tour with Galapagos Adventures returns from Galapagos, they are sent a questionnaire. This is so regardless of which yacht they are booked on, I can let the owner know what they are doing right and more importantly - what they are doing wrong.
However, like everything else in the world there are different opinions about the exact same thing. Therefore I would like to share with everyone some of the comments that I received from other guest that were not only on the same yacht as these folks but were on the exact same tours.
It was amazing time I have spend on Deep Blue. The boat is perfectly designed for diving. The cabins are spacious and comfortable (and the bathrooms too). I liked Antonio's way of presenting and organizing the trip and, unlike many things in Ecuador, Deep Blues is always in time according to schedule including dive times. It made 4 day dives possible - many divers would appreciate a lot. The crew worked hard to make it a real luxury trip.
Did you enjoy your trip ? Very much
Did the yacht meet or exceed your expectations ? Excellent Yacht exceeded my expectations.
Did the crew meet or exceed your expectations ? Very good crew
How would you rate the guide ? Excellent guides
How would you rate the food ? Very good, not excellent food. sometimes the meats were tough. Deserts were just ok. Water should be made more readily available.
Would you recommend this trip to your friends ? Definitely
Did you enjoy your trip? YES!
Did the yacht meet or exceed your expectations? Exceeded my expectations greatly - not only was the yacht beautiful and well maintained, it was big enough to even find some space to be alone - although, with the other guests and crews' fun company, it wasn't necessary.
Did the crew meet or exceed your expectations? Outstanding crew - couldn't have been better and provided great hospitality.
How would you rate the guide? Antonio and Juan Carlos are very knowledgeable and professional - top notch
How would you rate the food? Excellent - hats off to the chef.
Would you recommend this trip to your friends? Without hesitation.
The Deep Blue was and is the First Class Boat. Everything was great. The whole trip went well. Everyone had fun and all passengers got along great. My wife loved every minute of it.
Here are the comments from the "inexperienced" diver referred to on several of the earlier postings. Please note the comments concerning the assistance she feels she received from the dive guide.
I can definitely say that the trip was a complete success. In reference to your questions;
1. I enjoyed the trip very much
2. yes the yacht meet my expectations
3. the crew were extremely helpful and did a great job
4. I felt Antonio was a fantastic and very knowledgeable guide
5. food was good
I look forward to going to the Galapagos again and using the same service and I would recommend the trip to a friend. Over all I felt the trip was a complete success and one of the best trips I have been on. Being the youngest I felt the crew, passengers and guide were extremely helpful and willing to provide extra help during my dives. I would most definitely use this service again and strongly feel that the guide, Antonio, helped make the overall trip more successful and interesting.
Thanks for everything! We could enjoy ourselves sooooo much! We were extremely happy from the start to the end of our trip. The Deep Blue and the crew did exceed our expectations! The yacht was so comfortable in the cabin, in the restaurant space, in the living room and
the other public space. We saw the other yacht, Sun Dancer, at Darwin & Wolf. Our yacht looked much nicer and more comfortable than it. All of the crew were so kind and friendly! Antonio was a great guide both in undersea and on the land. He has a lot of knowledge, his briefing was easy to understand and interested us so much.
How would you rate the food ?
- 100 points! I've never found so many vegetables and fruits served on the diving yachts before. Chief served even hand-made sweets at every lunch and dinner. He also kindly delivered Pizza at our cabins as an afternoon snack once! A lot of variety! Ecuadoran, American, Italian dishes.
We have decided to save our money for your charter dive cruise with Deep Blue! Please keep on organizing the Deep Blue chartered trip! We will try to work hard to join with you again in next summer! Please get our big thanks also to the crew of Deep Blue. I'll keep my eyes on your website to come back in Galapagos!
This message is not posted with the intent to discredit anyone's opinion. It is simply posted to say, there are always two sides to any story.
Pres Galapagos Adventures
I'm planning an October dive trip with Deep Blue and will let all know how it goes following that one. I dove with Galapagos Aggressor (I) last year and so, can offer a contrasting view.
Thanks again for all of the great information!
I did in my posts concentrate on the "bads" for want of a better word. I really have no desire to kill a budding business here - the boat was NOT terrible - there were many very positive points
The crew were very very nice - they worked hard and were very helpful - and careful - we did have a couple of rough days and all transfers to and from the pangas were carried out with nothing even close to an accident. They were also always very neatly presented
Antonio on of the dive guides - was one if the best Galapagos underwater guides I have dived with - I am sure we had many more Whaleshark encounters because of his willingness to take us into the blue.
I did like the dive schedule - I always prefer the coffee - dive - breakfast - dive lunch - dive - dive set up
The cabins were clean and neat - the common areas were kept very neat. There is a good amount of storage in the rooms. I liked that each person was provided with a bathrobe - and note - this was changed half way thro the week. There are also hair dryers in the rooms - yeah - I actually had dry hair during the trip - I usually spend a week on a liveaboard with my hair constantly wet !
I didn`t visit the sun deck othet than to dry my gear ( I`m not a sun worshiper ) but it looked pretty nice up there - there is a nice large shaded seating area on the second deck - the wooden loungers are very comfortable - I did hang there ! ( pale skin )
There are 2 big camera tables that are well positioned and a good height - there was plenty of room for everyone and most people have cameras and/or video - many people touting multiple cameras.
There are 2 decent hot showers on the deck - and the room showers were also consistantly hot - even at peak use the water was still warm.
The handling of the luggage between Equador and Galapagos and the transfers were perfect - We didn`t pay any over weight charges ... yeah .. that is a first !!
Just to clarify *my* personal problems with the food - I do not eat any seafood and much of the food served at dinner was seafood - and it looked good - they did make a couple of alternatives but it wasn`t great - I think if you eat anything the food was probarbly OK
The boat is FAST - and seemed pretty stable - even on a fairly rough crossing back from Wolf I managed not to redecorate the side :0) I do tend to get sick - and I was OK on this boat.
The Hotel used in Equador - Grand Hotel is very nice
".....Antonio on of the dive guides - was one if the best Galapagos underwater guides I have dived with ..."
i sure agree with this statement, diving with this experienced galapagos native dive master, is worth the trip.
he is really amazing guy, thats my opinion, and that was the general opinion of all our dive group, last december....
From Galapagos Adventures, regarding the food. I received this a few moments ago, and it is reprinted with Ken's permission. Let me take this chance to emphasize again what a terrific job or organization was done on this trip, and how excellent the guides were.
Dear past "Deep Blue" diver,
This email is to let you know that your comments do make a difference
and that the owner of the Deep Blue is committed to provide services on
the yacht that are second to none.
I received numerous responses to my "How as your trip" comment form.
Although overall the comments were overwhelming positive, the only
constantly poor comments were concerning the food. Of course we all
have our different tastes and eating habits and some passenger did
report the food as being "excellent or good", the majority of people
reported that it was "bland" and a few actually described it as being
"virtually inedible". I have discussed these comments with the owner of
the yacht and he agreed that with comments like this, he must make some
changes. I am happy to report that the owner of the Deep Blue has just
hired a chef (not a cook) who is a graduate of a culinary arts school
and is currently working at one of the finest restaurants in Quito. He
will begin working on the yacht on next week's charter.
Galapagos Adventures will continue to monitor the progress of this new
yacht and suggest improvements where need.
Thanks for you time and interest.
Pres Galapagos Adventures