We went to Mauritius in Dec 2015, our family (my husband RK, I and our 5yr old kiddo) and my sister-in-law and her husband (Sush and Jeet). Though both me and my husband do not know swimming, we have done SCUBA dive before in Lakshadweep and Andaman. Jeet has dived before in Australia’s barrier reef and knows little swimming too. Everytime we come back from beach holidays, we resolve to learn swimming, but somehow we still haven’t 🙁 When planning for activities in Mauritius, we read that it has some great dive sites. The cost was much more than what we had paid in India, and I was considering sea-walking instead of SCUBA. RK was keen on SCUBA only, so I researched for operators with good reviews on tripadvisor and wrote to some of them to find out if they do beginner dives and how much they charge etc. I wrote a very standard mail:
We are visiting Mauritius in Dec (13th Dec-18th Dec) and would like to do Scuba Diving. We have some queries:
1. We want to know your Scuba rates.
2. How long will be one dive?
3. How deep do you take beginners and to which sites?
4. We are 4 adults, and none of us know swimming. Do you have any group rates?
Looking forward to your reply.
Many of them replied back. After a few days, I received mail from Neysen of Dive Dream Diving Center on Trou Aux Bitches.
My name is Neysen, dive instructor from the Dive dream divers and I would like to say thank you for your mail..I also would like to apologise for my late reply but we had a website problem and I was not receiving any mail.
Well the dive centre is based in Trou aux biches close to the Police station and i also have a dive centre in Coral Azur Beach resort, we are open everyday from 08:30 – 17:00 except on Monday( closed) . We have 3 dives per day which are at 09:00,11:30 & 14:00.
We speak English, French , German & Italian. As dive spot , we have reef exploration, wreck dives, wall diving , volcanic formations & night dives.We propose also safari Shark diving in the south of the island but it depend on the weather condition.we do safari dives at coin de mire but it will depend on the weather condition.
The normal dive price is at 2500mur per person ,but in your case I make a special price of 1800 per person. We offer pickup service for free. you just need to give me a phone call upon your arrival and I will arrange your pickup to the dive centre.
I hope that I was able to answer all your questions if not please feel free to contact me again.
With warm regards
Dive centre: 00230-2655552
Dive Dream Diving Center was rated very good on Tripadvisor (~150 excellent reviews, 5 very good and only 2 terrible/poor reviews). And Neysen was also giving us a discount (all the other quotes I had received were 2500 MUR +). What else could I ask for 🙂 We decided to go with these guys. We didn’t know which date we would be going towards Trou Aux Bitches, so didn’t confirm on mail or pay online. We also didn’t want pickup since we rented a car for our entire stay.
We went to Trou Aux Bitches on the last day of our trip and spotted Dive Dream Diving Center easily. They are on the way to Trou Aux public beaches little before the Trou Aux Biches police station.
I showed Neysen’s mail to the lady at the counter and she called Neysen and our dive was arranged. We were to train under a guy called Pascal, in the swimming pool at their office premises. Earlier,we were trained in shallow sea only. Even in Australia Jeet had been trained in shallow sea. In the mails that I had written to other operators, some of them had mentioned about training in a pool, so I am assuming that is how it is done in Mauritius.
Pascal was okay though he seemed to get irritated if someone did not follow instructions. Seemed to be little impatient. With our earlier experiences, this training seemed much easier, mostly because it was fresh water pool. I was not able to master the technique to get the water out of my mask when it got inside. But I knew that if my mask was tight enough, I should be okay. Pascal also didn’t insist much. Neysen had come once in the beginning of the training and seemed very pleasant guy. Had a good sense of humor too.
We went to the dive with 6 other people. 3 were to dive with Neysen, 3 with another lady instructor and 4 of us with Pascal. We wanted to do 2 people at a time because kiddo could not be left alone on the boat. Pascal said that judging our levels at the training, he would be more comfortable with men first and then the ladies. We were okay, though I was hoping I could first time dive together with RK.
Pascal took the 2 men first. They were supposed to do a backroll entry. To know more about backroll entry, see this video:
Now imagine doing this in an open sea when you do not know swimming. Maybe thats the way experiences divers do, but I was surely scared looking at that. In none of our earlier dives, we did like this. We used to go down using a ladder and then the instructor would be with us. We were not even told about this during our training in the pool.
So the 2 men dived. The dive site was hardly 10mts deep, and as beginners we were supposed to go 7-8mts.
Jeet had water getting into his mask through his mustache so he was not very comfortable initially. Pascal took RK down, while Jeet was adjusting his mask. In a few minutes, we saw them coming up and Pascal telling RK – “I cannot pinch your nose for you, you have to do it yourself.” in a very irritated tone. This is a standard procedure to make sure you don’t have ear pain when you go deep inside. But if you are taken deep fast, this won’t work. Usually instructors take you deep slowly to make you adjust to the pressure. RK was taken down in sometime and Pascal came back to take Jeet after around 10min. They were together in the sea for another 10-15min and were brought on the boat. That was ~25mins in total, hardly 12 min for Jeet.
It was our turn then. Sush backrolled first and Pascal took her inside. He left her there and then came back to pick me. When I dived, water got into my mask somehow. I tried the procedure to get it out, but it didn’t work. It had not worked during my training also and I panicked. I tried telling him things were not okay, but he didn’t understand. He didn’t let me remove my gear to speak also. He asked me to calm down and despite trying to get water out, I could not. He told me my friend was waiting down so he needs to go back and left me with the lady instructor there. She got me back to the boat, not knowing if I would be taken back again. The helper on that boat told me Pascal instructed him to take my gear off, which meant I was not diving again. Needless to say, I was very upset. Neysen came back with his set of divers in 10-15min and I told him what happened. He asked me if I want to dive again and I said yes. He asked me to get ready and I dived again. This time again some water got in, but he helped me get it out and took me down immediately. He was with me all the time showing me different fishes. But I was aware that we were hardly 3-4mts deep. I did not see many variety of fishes. After we came up, I asked him if it was even 10mins and he said it was more than 20mins. Sush was back and she had dived for around 40min and was happy with her first dive. But the others were as disappointed as me, because they didn’t go very deep or for long. Usually, every dive is ~45mins, unless the diver feels uncomfortable and wants to come back.
After we came back and discussed our dive experiences, we realized all of us had ear pain (because they took us down rapidly). Other 3 had cuts in their fingers, Jeet had one on his toe too. These guys had held on to only those corals that Pascal had asked them too, which supposedly had cut them. Not the most comfortable dive for us 🙁
After I came back to India next day, I posted a review for Dive Dream Diving Center on Tripadvisor. You can read the review here:
Next day, I got a mail from Neysen:
Am very sad of your behaviour, It’s very cheap of you, honestly we have been working since a very long time with Indian people, I even have been even training several guys from the Indian army.
As an Indian , am ashamed of you. We have been trying our best to make you feel comfortable and make enjoy your dive in a safety way and you dare to write something so bad on trip advisor on me.
You beg for cheap price and you think you are gonna be queen.
Besure of one thing I will check with the immigration if you are still in Mauritius, which I don’t think so , as I sure you will only write something like that after running away like a coward, but we will meet at your place as we will meet very soon.
We clear this issue of stupidity face to face.
I felt I should clarify to him why I had written a review like that:
Hi Neysen,I stand by what I have written in the review. All of us had ear pain after the dive. The first time Pascal took Ravi inside and he complained of ear pain, Pascal brought him up and told him rudely that he cannot pinch his nose; Ravi will have to do it himself (we could hear it on the boat too and the tone was not that of a patient instructor).Ravi, Jeet and Susmitha all had cuts in their fingers and Jeet on toe too after the dive. They did not touch any corals on their own. They touched only the ones Pascal asked them to hold on to. When Ravi mentioned this to Pascal after he came back – that previous instructors always briefed us that some corals should not be touched, he just smiled.Since I went with you and you never left me on my own, I did not have any such cuts. I have mentioned in the review that you were more understanding with me when it came to water in the mask etc.Regarding timings, I noted the timing Ravi went inside. It was 22min to be precise (jumping from boat to coming back to boat). Since water was getting inside through Jeet’s mustache he was taken later; and he was inside for hardly 10-12 mins. I felt I was inside water for a very less time and checked with you too..and you said we were in for approx 20mins. But again, these guys had checked the time and it was hardly 10mins. Susmitha was the only one who was inside for 45mins+. Pascal left her inside, came back to fetch me, left me when I panicked and went back to her again. We met again inside water when I went with you and then she came back with Pascal. She was happy with the timings and her review might be different than mine.As for “begging” on the pricing, I asked if you have any group rates and you mentioned it as 1800 MUR per person (refer to my first mail in the thread). I don’t call that as “begging” and you mail suggests you differentiate people based on how much they pay you. You could have mentioned that you can reduce prices but that would mean compromising on the quality and quantity of the dive too!I had contacted you based on the tripadvisor reviews and was expecting a better experience for sure. Maybe it would have been better if we dived with you.Yes I am back in India. Feel free to come and meet me when you are in India. I live in Hyderabad.Best Regards,Priyanka
My friends will visit you soon, and then I will come to be honest , all this is just Bullshit , you should be ashamed to be Indian. We treated you nicely , why you didn’t tell this in the boat or at the dive centre, because you are a coward.If you this by writing bullshit on me and my dive centre, this will make close my business you can fuck your self. Am very rude now and it’s just the begging.If you think by writing such things in trip advisors make you feel important or like a global trotter. You are lying to yourself. They were all happy and I will all my guest which was on the boat to write somethings on you on trip advisor to tell everybody how stupid and ugly you have been to me. When we will see how will be stupid.And yes, you are a beggar, as you doing all this just to points on trip Advisor, next time tell I will offer it to you as I don’t need your cheap , dirty money.
I would have not written this elaborate review and just taken it as a bad experience if Neysen had not written such mails to me. If I were in his position, I would have written an apology and thought to myself that it does happen sometimes. Maybe Pascal was having a bad day, maybe these guys had high expectations, maybe they were scared and did not confess before diving… its not possible to keep everyone happy all the time.And one bad review would surely not mean I need to close my business.
But he went ahead and mailed a nasty reply, not once (I would have thought he was drunk when he wrote that), but twice. I had never once written in my review that he was biased because we were Indians. But his replies insisting about us being Indians suggest he is biased towards Indians.
I of course did not exchange any mails after this. I will not recommend anyone to dive with Dive Dream Diving Center, Trou Aux Biches, Mauritius. Not because they are bad at what they do – maybe they are good, so many reviews suggest that. But because of the belligerent attitude of the owner. He cannot get more arrogant that this!!
If you have had similar experiences with Dive Dream Diving Center/ Neysen, do post in the comment for others to know. Share the post with others who might be headed to Mauritius and have diving in their mind.