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How to Avoid "Guided" Dives? I don't need/want my hand held.

Discussion in 'Underwater Photography' started by avengedkevinfold, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Alucard

    Alucard Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Upstate New York, USA
    On Grand Cayman, with the ops I have dove, they don't put a limit on dive time, just remind us to be on the ladder with a certain PSI for safety (usually 500)
    caydiver and KathyV like this.
  2. Radoo

    Radoo Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Wow, this is such a selfish way of seeing things. I’m sure you were born a diver and before birth you actually “breathe” from a regulator insted of your mother umbilical cord. Why don’t you go an rent your own boat and your own DM and let us, the rest, enjoy our life?
  3. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    Who were you aiming this at?
  4. Radoo

    Radoo Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Forgot the quote - it was supposed to be a reply to OP.
  5. bvanant

    bvanant Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: Los Angeles (more or less)
    I think there are three issues here. One is the idea of group diving which I won't do any more. We did several trips early in our diving career to places like Palau and Cozumel where you had to dive with the guide and stay with the group. Totally not conducive to photo/video captures. We don't do this anymore. We are now in Jakarta going to Triton Bay following 2 weeks on the Damai. On the Damai we had three excellent dive guides (each guide had 2 to four guests) who found lots of things I would have swum over without noticing. The guides did not ask us to keep up with them, rather when one of us stopped to shoot something, the guide noted where we were, went off looking for the next cool critter and came back to the group when we were done shooting. Sometimes, I would tell the guide that I had an idea for some shooting so please know that I won't be following you but be off on my own and that was fine with them.
    The third thing is the "a-hole photographer"/moronic beginner thread. Sure lots of photographers can be idiots but in my experience photographers are great at showing other folks what they find and most of us share nicely with other photo/video folk. Beginners are just that, mostly they don't know how they should behave (dive training can now be pretty lame at many places) but if we older/more experienced divers take the time to help them (with buoyancy, how to look at little things, swimming horizontal etc.) we will be better off. Right now there are not a ton of new young divers, we need to encourage them to keep the sport growing.
    dhaas and markmud like this.
  6. Mantra

    Mantra Barracuda

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Brisbane Australia
    Beating a dead horse, but:

    We are quite experienced divers and shoot supermacro.

    If we are doing a boat dive with other divers we always pay for a private guide. There are two reasons for this. Firstly for the kind of subjects we are shooting we rely on a good local spotter. We can find a lot of critters ourselves but in a new spot we don’t know the behaviors and likely substrate/food to find the special local critters. With a private guide we can plan exactly the kind of dive we want to do, tailored to our style of photography, desired profiles, specific animals we are looking for etc. The guides only job is to make our dive as optimal as possible, find things, maybe advise on angles, etc.

    Secondly this is a courtesy to those we might be sharing the boat with. Everyone on that boat regardless of skill level deserves to have an amazing time. Some of my most memorable dives were within the first 100 just being awestruck (while still dialing in skills). We don’t expect fun divers to sit around for 20mins watching us line up the right shot. Actually we’ve found other ‘semi-pro’ photographers to occasionally be really annoying boat companions before - doing 2hr dives while everyone else is doing 1 can really throw off the rhythm of a boat and leave everyone sitting around for an unreasonable amount of time waiting (and very cold on one memorable occasion).

    I get the frustration with seeing newer divers kick up a reef. I’m a big fan of encouraging good buoyancy and trim and situational awareness as fast as possible (‘you will use a lot less air if...’ is often a polite way to raise frightening buoyancy with a new diver if you must). To add to what’s been said, I agree photographers as a group are notoriously shite about respecting the substrate when trying to get a shot (partly a cultural thing too). The maddest I’ve ever been at another diver was in the Philippines seeing a diver breaking off chunks of living coral to try to get an unobstructed shot of a frogfish. I came so close to ripping off his mask. I did take away his camera for a bit until he got the finger-wagging message.

    Anyway, if this is an issue for you, pay for a private guide. I dare say I take a decent photo too, yet I don’t for a moment question the value an experienced local photo guide brings to a dive. This is a trivial expense given how expensive UW photography is to begin with and everyone will be happier for it.
    Pangeababy, Dogbowl and caydiver like this.
  7. aquacat8

    aquacat8 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Savannah, GA
    So glad I quit in the middle of divemaster training, LOL. Think what it’s like for these poor guides to be responsible for large mixed groups of all types of unknown divers! I bet if you demonstrate competence they are only too glad to check you off their list of people they have to worry a lot about! Not surprising they would let you then go off by yourself with your buddy or even solo if that’s ok there. They are stuck taking care of the very divers you wish to avoid. What a thankless job—for tips!
    markmud likes this.
  8. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

    I have an op in GC. When I go out with someone else I never mention that. If the captain knows me so be it. Usually after the first dive I get cut loose. Happens other places as well. Maybe it is about how you come across. Humble has been a huge part of our skill set followed by acceptance.
    Johnoly, cgills and aquacat8 like this.
  9. Aqua-Andy

    Aqua-Andy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern NH.
    The OP might not have been politically correct but I can see where he's comming from. In the Northeast all of our boats are basically a water taxi to get you to the dive site. There is a briefing of the site and conditions but once you are in the water you are on your own. Shore diving around here is all self guided unless you hire a guide by yourself. My only warm water destination so far has been Bonaire, on my first trip we did a few boat dives as it was included in our package. The second trip we did one boat dive and my buddy and I both agreed that we will stick with shore diving. I have no interest in playing follow the leader when I'm diving, If I see something interesting I want to stay and observe it for as long as I would like and not feel rushed. Lucky my buddy and I are about a perfect match in every aspect of diving so both trips were great. All this talk here about having to follow a DM around has me wondering if I would want to dive in any of the locations that require it.
  10. SoloMonkey

    SoloMonkey Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Hertfordshire United Kingdom
    Agreed with most people on here about the want to avoid a diveguide where possible.

    I actively track down locations where they accepted unguided diving, so Bonaire and Curacao were absolute musts for me before I met the missus. I did my solo course in Malta in 2013, with the strand and then got shafted when following the Stephen Martin incident in Malta we went on a club exped there with a different dive outfit. The instructors/guides were treating us all like basic open water trainees, when most were DM level or instructors ourselves.
    In short, do your homework and ask the dive outfit about unguided before you go. Don't try and lay the law down once in country that'll get you nowhere fast.

    Now since the Stephen Martin incident in 2014 Malta I won't go to again there, Lanzarote and Madeira are European diving places with decent fish life and wrecks.
    if you go somewhere and turn up with a serious piece of camera gear, decent wings and two independent regulators, then chances are they are going to clock you as "Yeah they know what they're doing". Even when the center doesn't offer twinsets, take a set of buddy pylons and rig one for your own use and then they'll figure out, you're serious and have some concern for your safety and dependability, unlike the DM who is most likely diving a 10 litre tank on a 40 metre wreck. When the manure strikes the expelair that DM is of no use to anyone in an OOA situation.

    Ultimately the avoidance of one up, all up, is the prime here! I'm not going up just because they have an interloper on 20 bar when the rest of us have 120 left!!
    markmud likes this.

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