Disclaimer: Views expressed are solely by the writer and do not reflect views of any particular group.

This is a form of constructive criticism and a bad experience doesn’t really tell all for a person who would consider trying it in the future. But this is how it went for us.

Let’s first have a recap of what I, along with my experienced diver friends signed up for:

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Let’s make a check list out of that info column:

[ ] Departs – Thursday night 9PM and back to the city by 6PM

[ ] 3 dives + 1 night dive

[ / ] Dinner, breakfast, lunch

[ / ] Drinks all day (non-alcoholic of course)

[ / ] 2 AC cabins for sleeping

[ / ] 3 Majlis, 2 open decks and 1 AC

It’s very obvious that the main objective of this trip, of what costed me 660QR is the dive experience. All the other factors and amenities are bonuses, which by the way I’m at least thankful for.

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I was making a smart decision of taking screenshots of the conversation while we’re at sea hence, no service.

On October 25, we have agreed to meet up at Dairy Queen from the Whatsapp group chat that was created a week before the scheduled dive. The meet-up’s purpose was for us to be briefed of what to expect on Thursday night to Friday, as well as to make a down-payment of at least half of the total price. I chose to pay in full because what difference would it make if I paid half on Wed and the other half on Thu (Rightt!? But I really wish I did pay half first!!!). So instead of risking it to be spent to some other unimportant thing, I made the decision to give my 660 along with my trust that everything goes well during the trip itself. But as for the briefing – there was none. Na-da. Zero. I literally went there to pay.

Fun fact: I’ve never joined any other group than Buhangin Divers, and it may have taken me almost a year to get my license but at least my instructor and DM candidates who guided me during my dives were patient enough to develop my self-confidence when I am underwater. They never let their students just get their license for the sole purpose of doing it for business.

[ ] Departs – Thursday night 9PM and back to the city by 6PM

We all have agreed to meet up at 8PM at the docking area in corniche and I don’t want to be hypocritical because I’m never early. In fact I arrived at around 8:15 but still early enough to load my stuff because they said the “Dhow strictly leaves at 9PM”. We left past 10 because we waited for the other group to be complete, as for us we were all present at 9PM.

We had a quick briefing of what to expect and everyone else is excited, especially the organizers cheering on for an adventure we had high hopes for. While we were busy taking pictures of the view of westbay from the Dhow that we were riding, posting pictures on facebook with our individual choice of hashtags, captions and whatnot.

[ ] 3 dives + 1 night dive

I’m an open water diver so the night dive was just more time for me to sleep.

So going back to the story, from the time we left the city I was just literally turned off, my body and soul went to sleep until we were woken up, feeling chilly, expecting that it was an excited call by the organizer to gear up immediately because we arrived at the destination, but I was wrong. I was still trying to get back to life and the announcement confused me a lot. The organizer said that there was a mis-communication between him and the ‘captain’ and that he has brought us to another place and not the dive site we all have agreed on. He quickly gave us two options (for the first time, because there were a series of “two options” after that), 1) we wait for the other boat’s operators to wake up so that we could ask them for an okay place to dive nearby because they didn’t know the coordinates of the place. or 2) we go back to Doha.

Wait, wait. I paid 660QR. We’re in the middle of nowhere. And with those two options, it was very clear no one really knows what’s under and after a 4-hour trip, we’re going back to Doha out of a mistake?

To be honest, I don’t even know how many were diving but I was sure that those included in the group chat were 2 dive groups, we were 11 and the other group had 5. So just imagine the different reactions of these people.

At that point, my only concern was how I was gonna get home with my money. LOL

And then the organizer had to regroup with the boat operator/owner, and then went back outside and gave us a new set of options, we either, 1) same as before, wait for the other boat’s operators to wake up and advice. 2) go back to Doha, get 275QR for refund.

Wait, what? Did you just say sleeping here costed me 385QR???

This is easily unacceptable.

My group talked to each other and majority wanted to go back to Doha with a full refund. A lot of people were talking already, my golly I’m posting it 4 months later and I’m still mad. The other group wanted to go back to Doha but there were some from our group who started to have second thoughts on going back since one guy was trying to persuade us to going back to where we initially were. He said that there was really a nice dive site there and that he couldn’t just meddle anymore because the other group was acting dominantly. But bro, if you could talk to us now while we’re on our way back to Doha, what could’ve stopped you to do it earlier?! We were making decisions in the middle of the sea with these strangers whom we’ve trusted, giving us different options, trying to lure us to the light like fireflies. It was obviously a trap.

So, after our group has decided to, okay let’s go back there. He comes and says that it’s not possible for the speed boats to carry us as a whole. Okay, wait. I appreciate spontaneity but at least you offer some service then be professional enough to make alternative plans.

To cut the story short, we then headed back to Doha for a dive site, he calls it “free” and in exchange of a really bad experience, that he’d give us two free dives the following week. They cooked food for us. We trusted you, hello!?

HELLO, IT’S 2018. 4 months later, AND I HAVEN’T HEARD FROM YOU.

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By the way, that dive in Doha was near Safliya Island and man, it was 4 meters. Do I even need a license to go that deep??? The hassle of washing your dive gear after and the painful way your money said goodbye to you. I could give a long list of bad things to say about the organizers. But really, I’m just treating this experience as a way of telling myself “Be contended with New Club Reef, girl”. It’s not like you throw this amount of money for a sandwich on the boat. I expected to explore and discover. It wouldn’t have been bad if I went somewhere, dove three times and saw a single fish, but that’s clearly not what happened.

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Buhangin Divers ❤

All the drive trips I went to with my group combined wouldn’t amount to that price and yet I still had fun, made mistakes and definitely learned a lot. It’s just so disappointing how some people go against humanity just because they’re blinded with money. And the fact that they knew of our friend, who was part of the group was leaving the country for good and this was his way of  celebrating and yet… Ugh. I’m just so lucky to be surrounded by people who play it cool. But really, you cannot imagine how much this experience has turned into a bad joke. By the way, we still see the girl organizer when we go to New Club Reef and she just passes by as if nothing happened. We decently made the most out of it while we’re on the boat cause hello, what choice do we have. We were not rude. We deserve kindness in return.

They still owe us two boat dives. And this outrage could only be fixed if they try to extend their concern for the matter.

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ANYWAY, if you want legit, professional, experienced divers then come with us. Send me a PM and I’ll refer you to my dive instructor who has honed me to become the diver that I am today (CHAROT). We’re all about fun diving and while we’re at it, we practice our skills so that we can dive with other groups too. I personally have plans on diving in the Philippines and I’ve never been this excited!!! Underwater, there’s no bullshit. The noise is all above the surface. 😛

Send me a message and be part of Buhangin Divers!!!!!

Lablab,

B1

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