By: Dave Anthony
More a warning than a report, unfortunately!
I've just returned from a liveaboard on board the Rum Runner I,
operated by Coral Sea Diving Company out of Cairns, Australia. I felt I
was so badly ripped off that I had to warn others...so read on!
trip as advertised was an overnight trip to Holmes Reef, followed by 2
days of diving before another overnight trip home. The first part of the
trip went reasonably well, although it was pretty choppy and about half
the people on board were seasick. The food was great (for those that
could face it!), even for vegetarians, which I really appreciated - I've
been on other boats and ended up on baked beans for the week, not a
great idea in enclosed cabins!
We arrived in time for the first couple of morning dives, which were
spectacular - 40 metres plus visibility, pristine coral, reef sharks,
barracuda, trevallies, garden eels, cuttlefish. So far, so good.
Then the problems began. The northwesterly winds that had made our
trip out choppy began picking up to about 15-20 knots, and the company
had no moorings suitable for winds from that direction, which apparently
only blow a couple of times a year. So, we had to turn back and head for
shore. Obviously we were all pretty annoyed about this - but things got
worse when we arrived back at the office and were told we were only
entitled to a 25% refund.
While we all understood that the company doesn't control the weather,
the winds had been forecast, and were already blowing when we left
Cairns, so noone could understand why they had sent us out in the first
place. There was no way we could get the trip we had paid for, so
sending us out seemed like a very greedy bit of money-grabbing.
It seems that the company manager had originally refused to offer us
anything, and only changed his mind on the advice of his marketing
manager. He became quite abusive when we pushed for a bigger refund, and
threatened to give us nothing if we continued complaining... So, if
you're headed that way, my advice would be to avoid Coral Sea Diving
Company and the Rum Runner I at all costs! Service obviously comes
second to profits as far as their manager is concerned...
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