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On monkey outfits and responsible dive ops in Cyprus...

Andre - Advanced Nitrox/Gardener
July 13, 2007 at 09:46:39

Opening a dive center i am sure is not an easy task by any standard, it would probably be cheaper and easier to open a monkey sanctuary, the cost, i am sure would be cheaper, but in our small island of Cyprus there are many dive centers in operation all competing for bussiness in a lucrative market with a short tourist season.

Every dive center needs a set of full dive equipment for at least 10 divers and tanks and a compressor and at least a boat. Even Mr Martin and Mr Irvine started from the very basics and survived the competition to become two of the well known and best centers on the island.

I would be amazed to find any dive center on the island without the basic cover of insurance considering to cost of libel in court should any of them lose a diver during a course or recreational dive. However, i think what Martin and Irvine are both referring to are the practices by many of the dive centers on the island. I started diving in 1999 and i was a student of Latchi Water sports owned by Mr Irvine and my instructor was a Mr Mark Sarens who is a very good instructor who now runs his own small dive shop next door to Mr. Irvine. I dive regularly with a small group of highly experianced divers and we regularly visit the famouse wreck in Cyprus which many experianced tourist divers specifically visit Cyprus to see. It is during my many dives there that i have witnessed some of the crazy practices carried out by some of these monkey outfits that Martin has written about. Zenobia is sitting on the sea bed at 42 metres and the  wreck begins at 17 metres and i have on two occassion in the last 12 months been witness to a dive shop giving a discover scuba course on the wreck!

Last week i was descending from the line with my buddy when i noticed a diver going down the line with his buddy and one of them had  bubbles pouring from his a-clamp. I rushed down to the divers and stopped them at around 12 metres and signaled to the diver to   come back to the surface with me. His buddy was his girlfriend and both were tourists but i was not aware of any dive instructor with them, had i noticed one i would have pointed out the problem to the instructor and let him make the descision to end the dive. However on the surface i told the  two divers to get back on the boat and fix the leaky valve and i continued back on my own dive. At the end of my dive i was shouted at by the dive instructor who was supposed to be leading these two tourist that the leak was nothing to worry about, just a few bubbles!

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