Why help lawyers get rich?...
Dick - Recreational Diver
December 14, 2001 at 15:34:20
I have watched and listened to all online reports I could find on the horrendous results of the WaveDancer capsizing in hurricane IRIS. HERE'S MY 2 CENTS--I was onboard the Wavedancer during Hurricane MITCH in 1998. From what I read of this incident nearly all of the timing, actions by the crew, hurricane hole etc were identical to my experience with MITCH. Upon warning of MITCH's arrival the Peter Hughes's office in Miami insisted all passengers get off in Belize City. Nearly all of the passengers requested to stay aboard knowing we had electricity, food and a warm bed.
There really wasn't an option. The Wavedancer could not realistically dump (my words) passengers in Belize City because all hotels and businesses were closed and boarded up. Belizean soldiers with weapons guarded most street corners and businesses. The city was partially flooded and road trafic was improbable at best. The Captain did not "ask passengers for a vote on staying aboard or not" as reportedly happened during IRIS. As for the crew, most of them departed at Belize City to protect their families and homes with best wishes by all passengers. We also went to the best hurricane hole up Big River with the Aggressor and tied to the same dock.
The BIG differnce between IRIS and MITCH was that MITCH stalled 150 miles south of us so we did not see the heavy winds or surge that capsized the Wavedancer. The point of my story is to relate that ALL of the Peter Hughes organization from their HQ, the Capt to remaining crew did an outstanding job of protecting the passengers and their boat under nearly identical conditions up to the capsizing during IRIS. As a matter of faith several of us from that trip have been back aboard twice since then. I have spent many years with the U.S. Navy and been aboard many dive liveaboards, I cannot see anything Peter Hughes did wrong based on CDNN and other reports. All divers and operators should concentrate on grieving for the people lost, not to help the lawyers get rich at anyone's expense.