Having the opportunity to visit Australia over the Christmas period both my husband and I jumped at the chance – we both work for Super Divers in Phuket so we were very keen to dive the Great Barrier Reef whilst we were there. We booked our trip through a company who did full day trips out to the Whitsunday Islands with two dives included.
The day started with the pickup which was prompt and we were on the way to the pier to join the boat. Upon on arrival we were greeted by the skipper and escorted to our vessel for the day. We registered and sat down with the other guests, was given a quick brief about the day (very brief!) and away we went. There were around 35 people on the boat (pretty crammed) and only 7 were diving that day. Jon and I were given our wetsuits, fins and masks and were asked to join another table for the ‘dive brief’.. Upon inspection of our wetsuits we laughed with sheer shock of the state of them, ripped and torn, they had definitely seen better days and the mask and fins were of the lowest quality – yes, we are dive snobs! We both work for the number one dive company in Phuket so our expectations were extremely high, perhaps too high. The Instructor who gave the dive brief was taking 7 divers on the dive, after learning Jon was an Instructor she asked if we wanted to go off and dive by ourselves but we didn’t as we didn’t know the dive sites and wanted to get the best out of them from an expert guide of the great barrier reef. But, first stop off was Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. Wow..
The Islands did not disappoint, incredible azure blue ocean, startling white sands and views that took your breath away. We were given a brief tour up to the view points and then were asked to be back at the meeting point an hour later allowing us to explore this beautiful place. Back on the boat we travelled for a short time to Hook Island where we would complete our dives of a maximum 45 minutes each.
The diving was pretty amazing too – An ocean floor full of healthy hard and soft corals, full of reef fish, huge humphead parrot fish, Napoleon Wrasse, Spanish mackerel, humphead Wrasse, just to name a few of the larger fish. The viz wasn’t brilliant, maybe 8-10 metres which is typical at that time of year, but there was so much life to see it didn’t affect the diving at all – you could still see beautiful nudibranch everywhere! What was a big disappoint of the day was conduct of the videographer. Firstly, he had taken a plastic bottle down stuffed with bread to feed the fish (what!!) and then he thought it was acceptable to pick up marine life to hand to customers for photo opportunities. I could not believe my eyes when I looked round and he had picked up a huge sea cucumber and handed it to a customer!! I immediately complained to the Instructor who was leading the dive of 7 and he didn’t touch anything again during the dives but by now the damage had been done, the sacred rule not to touch anything in the water had been broken. I guess I was one of those pain in the ass ‘look after our oceans’ customer who they didn’t want to bat a complaint against them off. I was so shocked about this conduct when we got back on the boat I spoke to our Instructor who totally agreed that his behaviour should not be allowed, however from her reaction this wasn’t the first and won’t be the last time this had happened and advised that the Manager of the company would be informed upon the return to shore.
At Super Divers, we teach our guests the importance of not touching marine life or anything in our oceans so it was so sad to see the other guests (who probably didn’t know any better) allowing this to go on.
“Environmental ethics are ingrained in PADI’s philosophy and professed throughout PADI’s training materials and Project Aware’s mission,” says Andy Auer, PADI Regional manager
If you’d like to find out more about Project Aware’s mission you can find details here on PADI’s website. You can also become an ‘Ambassadiver’ for your local dive community and across the planet helping raise awareness of the importance of protecting our underwater world.
You probably think I’m biased so I have the evidence to substantiate my claim by the way of our incredible guests, who have taken the time to write testimonials about their time with us on TripAdvisor Totally unbiased reviews of the Super Divers experience. So, if you’re ever in Phuket and you want to dive then we’d love to welcome you to join us!
Feeling blessed that we work for such an incredible dive company I felt compelled to write this piece on our experience with another dive company. Did we get the “Super Divers experience”…? Absolutely not, but we did get an appreciation of how much we really do value our guests.