Re: Galapagos Aggressor II - we were lucky no one was killed...
KM - Divecon/Engineer
October 20, 2007 at 22:20:34
My experience on the Galapagos Aggressor II (registered name "Albatross") a few years ago was downright scary. We nearly lost two divers who drifted downcurrent past the mother ship when in the Wolf Island area; there was no one on watch on the Albatross and they just happened to be spotted drifting past through a porthole by someone making beds.
The boatmen on the upcurrent and upwind Zodiacs had no radios (they were "in the shop") and the ship's horn couldn't be heard upwind. The divers were preparing to make a landfall on a rocky island shore in heavy surf when one of the Zodiacs finally caught them.
At least one contaminated tank was making the rounds among the divers; the result was that five (of 14 total) divers experienced regulator failures at depth on the trip. My buddy's reg clogged up and stopped delivering air at 70 feet; we were forced to ascend with her on my octopus. My own regulator continued to operate only because the clogged polymer intake filter deformed enough to allow air around it. Bear in mind that if you get bent in the Galapagos, the nearest chamber is (or at least was) 600 miles away in Guayaquil.
Both the divemaster and the Albatross' captain were completely uninterested in hearing about the tank contamination problem. Overall, this was one of the sloppiest, most dangerous dive operations I've encountered anywhere - and in a demanding dive environment like the Galapagos, this is absolutely unacceptable.
A lot can change in a few years. Crew members and captains come and go, boat owners change, and because this is a franchise, the name "Galapagos Aggressor II" might not even be on the same boat now. But you won't be seeing me on any Aggressor boat in the future.