Once again the waters are muddied by mixing the technical and recreational divers. Was nothing learned on the NC trip in July? Everyone has different expectations…..Including the dive operator. So is this trip for recreational or technical divers? If the technical guys want to arrange a separate charter in conjunction with this trip then it shouldn’t have to involve everyone else. As a matter of fact it turns some people off.
We really are two very different groups when it comes to diving…..for me not a great mix.
Good point...thank you for asking. I'll make sure I clarify the original post so that everyone realizes that this is basically 2 charters in one a tech charter and a recreational charter on separate boats. As for NC, please allow me to clarify several things that Bill also tried to clarify. "Mixing" tech and rec divers is not all bad nor is it impossible IF both parties clearly understand the rules and expectations. For example, if you are a technical diver looking to do a more technical profile i.e. a full 60 min run time (meaning time you jump to time you climb the ladder again) then you will need to be one of the first divers to jump in the water. If recreational divers jump before you then it is now impossible to have a tech profile unless all the divers on the boat regardless of tank configuration will be doing an hour or more in the water.
And as you know from other trips...it is not uncommon for recreational divers to spend a full 60 minutes in the water just on a single tank...so often times a 'tech profile' is merely adding extra redunancy to that recreational profile or gas to allow them to stay deeper longer or enabling divers who can't do an hour on a single tank to reach that total dive time.
Also technical divers must know that they are limited to the same boat space as the recreational divers, (UNLESS they have paid extra for extra space), they are limited to the same number of tanks and extra tanks including pony bottles need to be stored under their boat bench in the same 2 ft of space that everyone is alloted. When you have 1 or 2 technical divers on a boat you hardly notice them. When you have 6 or more well its about 2-3 too many. What we learned from NC was that you need VERY clear guidelines for both the recreational and the technical divers. And you must limit the number on the boat so that the recreational divers barely notice that they are there...more like stealth tech divers which is what we've always done in the past until this past trip. And even still, it would have been ok had the boat capt not gotten bent the week before. As a result he was far more conservative in the dive profiles which only the technical divers were really impacted by. Some of the recreational divers didn't even realize that they had bottom and total run time limitations as all their dives were well within the timeframes allowed.
Technical divers do best on boats that they charter entirely for themselves or on larger boats that have lots of divers on them. If the tech diver enters the water as soon as the boat anchors up, the rest of the divers are only just starting to get ready. By the time they get ready and the last one jumps easily 30+ minutes have gone by. If the recreational divers do a 30 minute dive or even a 40 minute dive then the tech diver now has his 30-40 minute dive time plus the 30+ minutes of diver prep time giving him/her easily a total run time of 60 minutes. Everyone dives their profile, the recreational divers are not inconvenienced by the technical divers (heck they hardly know that they are there) and the technical divers are happy too as they get a full hour run time.
The problems only arise when these parameters are not followed or when as in the case of NC, the boat captain injected an artifical time parameter on all the divers which some adapted to and some like myself did not.
I hope this clarifies your question about mixing recreational and technical divers as well as answer your question about how the Grenada trip will be run. Any chance you will be joining us? The diving will be awesome! Thank you, Kamala