On our recent visit to the Grand Cayman Island, we had the pleasure of diving with the dive masters and Instructors of Dive Tech, the Cobalt Coast’s onsite dive shop/charter/training center. Dive Tech is a full service dive shop, complete with mascot Mojo the dog, offering a wide range of classes, from beginning to tech diving including a rebreather intro course, kids programs, free-diving, nitrox, tri-mix and more. They even provide underwater wedding services and classes for the disabled. Their dive packages include 2-tank and 100% computer profiles, for 2 full 1-hour dives. This provides you with a bottom time window beyond a lot of charter operators. A few others charters advertise unlimited bottom time, but we learned that this restricts divers to a smaller portion of the available dive sites.
We loved diving with the folks at Dive Tech! From the first encounter to the last, we found them friendly, knowledgeable, safe, environmentally sensitive, interesting and highly skilled. They had a warm camaraderie with one another and engaged in frequent joking and bantering with with their guests and each other. Usually with a staff so large you expect to find a mix of the great and not so great. But we found that all but one of the 15 or so DiveTech employees we encountered were fun, friendly people. Only one dive master out of the whole group was a little bit edgy and would probably be well suited to working with only tech divers. That is an amazing and telling percentage of happy employees. Their pre-dive briefings were thorough and always included detailed custom drawings of the sites we were about to explore. They informed us of what to look for, as well as what to watch out for. They kept an eye out for the Lion Fish and scooped them into bags if found (Lion Fish are an invasive species in Grand Cayman). As you would expect, they assisted the divers as needed in getting ready to splash but merely observed “at the ready” if you appeared competent. We felt well cared for and knew we were in good hands with the DiveTech staff.
They typically posted one Dive Master at the front of the group and one at the end. They guided us to depth and back and let us go off on our own once they determined our competency. Our dives were enjoyable and relaxing with an abundance of critters, both large and small.
Many of the DiveTech team had a particular passion and most have lead fascinating lives: Simon loved free-diving; Jeni loved to find the little critters tucked into rocks and crevices. We enjoyed hearing Artemis’ adventurous stories and laughed at the easy banter and kidding she took from the rest of the crew. Emma comes from a family of Kilt makers and has fitted a Kilt for comedian Craig Ferguson.
At the end of our stay we were discussing some background with the staff. When talking about making a living as a divemaster, one said “tips are greatly appreciated, but the staff is well paid and does not need tips just to survive”, like in other charters she had worked with. When they do get tips, all are shared equally. No one clamors for tips or gives you better or worse service depending on how much you gave. It was a refreshing reality. One of the dive staff informed us that she had worked at over 60 dive shops around the world and that DiveTech was by far the best place she had ever worked. The friendliness of her co-workers contribute to this, but also they get to work and get paid every day whether there were divers or not. The security allows them to focus much more on customer service. We wish more dive shops employed such policies.
Overall, we give a high five and a 5 star rating to DiveTech for their genuine warmth, knowledge, skill and the passion they gave to their jobs. Although staying at Cobalt Coast (see our review) and diving with DiveTech is a great way insure a perfect trip, even if you are staying elsewhere on island, we can fully recommend that book your dives with DiveTech (http://www.divetech.com/ 1-888-946-5656 or 1-345-946-5658).
FULL DISCLOUSURE STATEMENT: Scuba Gadget staff paid regular prices for our stay at Cobalt Coast and diving with Dive Tech.