Bad Scuba Experience, Belize. Dive Master leaves me Stranded and lost. Ep121

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Ep121. Bad Scuba Experience in Belize. Dive Master leaves me stranded and lost on a dive.

In this episode of Cruising Off Duty we continue our series where we use a Cruise Ship to get around the Caribbean to go scuba diving at 3 different islands. This is the episode where we take a Dive excursion at Belize. Although the Coral was healthy with lots of colour, it was not a big and breath taking as the coral canyons and deep coral walls (that drop off into some serious deep water) like there was in Roatan.

It was still quite good and we would dive here in Belize again. We would not dive with the company that took us on this dive though. It was booked through the cruise excursion desk. It was horribly run. It was disorganized and the Dive Master we had seemed to not be paying attention to the 6 swimmers he was responsible for. He left me stranded and lost on our second dive. In this case as I was stationary and filming some fish in a coral reef and was in plain view of the Dive Master. Without tapping his tank to get everyone’s attention, he swam back to the boat and left me stranded out there alone. When he got back to the boat and realized he was missing a diver, he did not swim back to look for me. He got on the boat. When I realized I could see anyone, I swam for a bit in the direction I figured they went but still did not see anyone. I had no idea which exact direction the boat was, so after a while of swimming, I eventually surfaced to be able to see where the dive boat was.

One other thing of concern was, we noticed that this dive company did not take a roll call of the returning divers by calling out their names (like the other excursion companies did) and only seemed to count heads to see if everyone came back. With people moving around on the boat it would be quite easy to count someone twice and think that everyone is back aboard and motor away and leave someone behind. That is something of nightmares, and movies have been made of just such occurrences.

So, in conclusion ….. Belize is a good place to dive, but book a private dive company and make sure they get good reviews from previous divers.

Hopefully you enjoy this episode. If so, give it a thumbs up and subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. If you have any questions you can leave them in the comments under the video or for an even more detailed Q&A you can reach us at [email protected]

Thanks for watching,
Craig and Janice

PS – Somehow my small camera bag with my usual main camera, Panasonic GH5, and my usual Vlog Camera, Canon G7Xii, were accidentally left in the trunk of the car and didn’t make the trip to the Cruise Ship. In my backpack I did have my GoPro 5 and my Mavic Pro Drone, but I ended up shooting most of this episode using my iPhone X. It actually did a pretty good job. Except when I used the front facing camera or “Selfie cam” to try and Vlog our thoughts. Then, the fact the front facing camera does not have image stabilization was obvious. It made me miss my G7Xii a lot. Plus the G7X is a BEAST in low light, which is always a good feature in a Vlog camera.

If you are interested in any of the Camera Gear I Usually use or the Mavic Pro I use as my drone, you can go to the following Amazon links. If you purchase anything after going through this link, it helps support the channel by giving us a few shekels and it doesn’t cost you a thing extra.

Panasonic GH5

Panasonic GH4

Canon G7X mark ii:

GoPro Hero5 Black

Azden SMX-30 Shotgun (Mono/Stereo) Mic

Mavic Pro Drone

Rating: 4.21

  1. FilmsTo Enjoy says

    What did you use to record underwater shots?

  2. Mason Photography says

    I'm going to Beliz this summer, and I'm just wondering how you flew you're there? I looked at a few websites and they all say you cant bring drones to Beliz.

  3. ENTERTAIN ME !! says

    I done a dive in abrolis island of geralton Australia, we were crayfishing i was only down 10 minutes and the rest of the group got back on the boat i, but i didnt realise until i herd the boat start up and bloody drive away (charter boat 55 footer) i came to the surface waiving and shouting
    But it kept driving away were 400 kms of sure so you could imagine my panic after a fair while the dinghy came looking for me and eventually picked me up, while i was diving my cousin was sleeping on the boat, as it drove off he woke up came on board and he did not see me and asked about me it was then they realised i was missing, you could imagine how angry i was and i never got back in the water.

  4. Peter King says

    Search for 1 minute, then surface. It’s taught during your open water.

  5. H. V says

    A DM goes out with 6 people then he should return with 6 people. Responsibility is at both ends, and an extra eye with newbies. Craig, the more experience you get the more comfortable you’ll be. Your dive buddy should have made you aware of her mask issue. Chalk it up as a learning experience and glad you guys came out of it ok.

  6. Chelsea Woods says

    Tbh, divers that feel they should be babysat by the DM negatively affect the experience of everyone else. They don’t pay attention or have any self awareness (of their buddies/equipment-air consumption or personal space etc.) and it’s always worse when they have camera equipment and can’t multi-task.
    Of course, lots of companies do provide babysitting services to people that seem to need it, but frankly, once you’re certified you should be able to take care of yourself (not that I endorse the actions of your DM at all – it just seems that you’re more outraged and less embarrassed than you should be). I agree with other posters that the camera equipment should be second priority (or perhaps put aside) until multi tasking is more natural for you underwater.

  7. Andrei Haragus says

    Yes, DM was not perfect. Should have looked behind with more responsability to make sure all group returned. But you sound so confident when you put the blame just on him that it worryes me. And it seems that as a certified diver you think that his role there was to babysit you, not to guide and show you cool stuff around. Ever wondered how the rest of group was able to stay with the DM? Ever wandered what was your buddy doing or thinking about when she left with the group? So to make it a bit more clear, yes, his fault to leave whitout checking group, but also your's and your buddy's fault. Maybe even more than DM's. And as others already told you, after all, this turned out to be a good lesson, (I hope for DM and you alike) to be more conscious about that's going on around you when you are in the water (but bot only). Also, maybe it's a good idea to leave that camera aside for a while if you are not that used to multitasking. Ohh.. And that eel was not angry. It's just the way they breathe.

  8. Rodel Toledo says

    Eel always not happy 🙁

  9. Charles Prevatte says

    Really interesting reading the comments of folks here. I don't know about the dive operation that was running that trip, sounds like they did not have their stuff together at the beginning with the equipment issues. Not calling roll by name and physically seeing ever diver back on the boat after the dive is really inexcusable in my book. As divers, we have to be responsible for our safety underwater. I was shocked the last 2 time was went diving when the DM on the boat tried to set up all of my gear for me. He wanted to assemble everything. I think this was in an effort to get bigger and better tips and I was shocked by the folks that let him. I am pushing 210 dive and there was just no way, I was taught that I had to set up my gear on the boat. hate the tank tapping too, but I also hate spearfishers, that are acting like they own the ocean, but that can be a debate for another time. Glad y'all got back safe, really can't wait to someplace warm, tropical and wet again.

  10. paul litrop says

    wow, your belize video was crystal clear, the water looked so nice,great video.

  11. Will Mitchell says


  12. Chase Mixon says

    Craig, what are you holding at 4:59? looks like some kind of anchor system? as far as the gopro5, #BadLuck

  13. meMiner says

    Heck of a story. Most dive boats that I have on are completely anal about safety. They follow their processes to a Tee. Sorry that there is one out there that puts people's lives at risk. Anyway, wonderful video (pics, b-roll and editing).

  14. Jc Clopton says

    Dive masters are not there to make sure your are comfortable. They are there to make sure people don't die. That being said, when you have low hours of experience, you constantly want someone watching you. When you get a few dives under your belt you will know immediately who needs watching and who does not. You must be one of those that they thought didn't need watching. Congratulations. Also, friends don't let friends dive with cruise ships. They are always cattle boats with a high diver to dive master ratio and notoriously inexperienced divers. Private charters are the way to go and you can hire your personal dive master…. How do I know? 20 years of diving. Master/rescue diver (with several recoveries in waters where no one should go), hundreds of dives in clear, murky, no vis, cold, warm, overhead, open, fresh, salt environments. Keep up the good show. Keep up the wonderlust!!!

  15. egghead foryou49 says

    WOW that is so cool awesome video sarg

  16. Moira O'Brien says

    I hope you sent a formal letter of complaint to the dive company – and maybe you should name and shame.

  17. XboxAsap says

    You should report Dive Master to authority he has a Duty of Care – glad you made it

  18. jimfromri says

    “Belize—an island state”??? And I thought Americans’ knowledge of geography was awful.

  19. Casey Jones says

    Nice job Craig! Loved the drone video. Do you do any research ahead of time to make sure drone flight on those islands is allowed and they won't take it away? That's what I would be worried about.

  20. Dave Miller says

    How deep were the dives, the color is great

  21. Bubble Chasers says

    Divers with cameras always seem to think we should baby sit and wait for them to take the perfect shot. Remember he had other drivers also to think about. Maybe someone had a real issue besides getting salt water in there eyes. Maybe you looked ok and someone else was panicking. Did you ask the dm what happened?

  22. Joe S says

    Tank tapping.. UUGGG! Most divers HATE tank tapping or other noise makers. #1 it scares the sealife and warns of approaching humans. #2 – Hearing "ting ting ting" throughout the dive gets old fast to most divers. I'm being brutally honest with you here. You and Janice are certified divers and you were trained to be self sufficient during a dive and not depend on a dive professional. You are asking for trouble down the line if you continually expect a divemaster to take care of you. If you want to stay with the group or the divemaster, then take personal resposibility to make sure that happens. Don't be so fast to blame the divemaster, because he didn't hit his tank, make sure you were looking at him or that he just swam off. Many divers hate overbearing divemasters that are continually banging the tank and expecting you to look at this, look at that, come here, go there, how much air do you have, do this and do that.. That is often times what an instructor does during training, but after you're certified it's more ON YOU to do what's right. As for the other person's comment about running out of air, that's not the dive master's resposibility either. If you are ever on a dive and you're to the point of needing to end the dive due to air, then end the dive! Don't stay underwater until you completely run out and have a need to share air with anyone! Yes, some divemasters are really good about playing mother hen, but it really is each diver's responsibility to take care of yourself and your dive buddy. Think of the divemaster as just a guide (someone that leads you around and points out cool stuff). Keep in mind that a divemaster is the lowest rating in the professional dive industry. Anyway, not trying to beat you up too much, just maybe think about not being dependant on the divemaster so much. My favorite dives are the one's where I get in the water and then left alone to enjoy the dive on my own terms. Yes, I make a point of keeping up with the group, but don't feel a need to be constantly interacting with the DM.. I'm an adult and I'm a certified diver. Just lead me to the water and I'll do the rest! 🙂 It was a sea cucumber.. Sea slugs are called nudibranch. Pretty cool little creatures too. If you guys ever make it down to North Texas and want to work on diving, then let me know. I'll get you guys whipped into shape in no time! You will leave laughing at yourself and some of the things you said in the video. Cheers!

  23. On the Road Australia says

    Beautiful footage Craig, glad your both ok. You need to come to The Great Barrier Reef next….

  24. Allyn Onderdonk says

    I am impressed you can drive a stick! Most people really can't. Are you headed to the Spring Annapolis Boat Show?

  25. Jim Williams says

    What a bummer you had such a bad dive experience! 🙁 Especially when it only takes a little effort to ensure a decent dive experience! What a jerk! Oh well, it's just a bunch of water behind you now. Look forward to the next bunch. 😀 Thanks for the report though! You had some really pretty things to look at and very good visibility! 🙂

  26. Tangerine Firebird says

    I had similar in Cozumel but not nearly that bad. I constantly alerted the divemaster I was running out of air. Anyway, at the end, I had to buddy breathe with a divemaster's emergency at safety stop.

  27. Dereksdyna96 says

    nice job guy's looks like fun, would you all retire and stay in Belize, safe place…heard ppl do retire there!

  28. John Johnson says

    WOW glad you guys are safe!

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