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Block Buster News In Por Esto Re Scuba Mau Dive Op


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#1 Carey

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:23 PM

Translated from Por Esto. As my friend who sent me this put it, this is a new low for Cozumel
Read it and weep.

***
The boat that sank in the channel between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen
with nine people aboard was not only inappropriate for such a trip, but
was not even named “Living Underwater” but rather “Nora Gabriela.”

It was operated with a license plate “overlay” and posing as another boat
in order to navigate within the Marine Park. This is only possible
through corrupt practices. Not only were the lives of nine people put at
risk, but it uncovered the corruption and influence peddling between the
Port Authority, The Federal Maritime Guard, businessmen and boat
operators.

Moreover, in the case of the company involved, Scuba Mau,
this is just the latest in a series of problems and incidents involving
a terrible diving accident that occurred on September 3 or last year
during a staff excursion. Since there was no complaint about the events
and no tourist were involved, the matter remained a tragic anecdote
known only among local dive operations and on the internet, but the
incident has resurfaced following the sinking of the boat.

Three divers in the accident suffered severe decompression illness caused by what
many in the island qualify as a reckless dive that took unnecessary
risks. The worst case was that of the senior partner of the firm, a
United States citizen named Opal Torelli Cohn. She emerged from the dive
conscious but paralyzed from the neck down. Her condition steadily
worsened and she was transferred by emergency airlift to a hospital in
the United States where she died days later. None of the divers had
insurance.

After the tragedy, the company Scuba Mau was divided into two
different businesses, Scuba Mau and Opal’s Dream.” Scuba Mau retained
the Nora Gabriela that went down as “Living Underwater.” The boat in
question was a modified glass bottom boat that was inadequate to travel
across deep water, and moreover was overloaded with nine people, 18
tanks and all equipment, food and drinks, and powered by a Yamaha 250
single-engine outboard. The Port Authority was not notified of the
boat’s departure from Cozumel.
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#2 nauticab

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:01 AM

while the recent scuba mau incident should not have happened, please keep in mind that the por esto reporter was HORRIBLY MISTAKEN with the relationship of the 2 companies.
Mauricio and opal were scuba mau. he left the shop at least 6 to 9 months BEFORE THE OPAL ACCIDENT and was doing his own thing with his own people. she, at the time kept the name scuba mau and kept her crew.
mauricio and opal were going thru an ugly divorce when the accident in september happened. mauricio and his people had NOTHING to do with the accident that took place that left opal dead, gabi paralized, and heath seriously injured. and hating to point fingers, but it was the owner, opal, and her then boyfriend heath, who decided to go deep and gabi was asked to just keep an eye on them. heath, by the way. WAS insured. mau and his people were not involved and were in a totally different dive shop operation.

after she passed, the shop changed the name to opal's dream. mauricio took the name scuba mau, and was using his people, when his boating accident occured. so his boating accident has nothing to do with opal's dream.

the two shops shared a name, but the two incidents have ZERO connection, with operators, owners, and crew.

and yes, the renaming a boat using an existing parque marino permit, is relatively commonplace. perhaps not 100% legal (not involved on legalities so can not speak about this with authority), but common.
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#3 Carey

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:08 AM

Slightly skewing the topic here, Nauticab, but can you give us an update on Local DM, Gabi, the Mexican hero who tried to save Opal and ended up paralyzed as a result? I am hoping to hear good news but am fearing that's not what we're going to hear? Tell me I'm wrong.
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#4 MarkC

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:07 AM

My 02 cents...

They need to stop calling the Sept 3 incident an "accident..." Accidents and stupidity are two different things.

I remember working my butt off to obtain my divemaster certification.

These people are ruining PADIs reputation, endangering (and losing) lives and giving Cozumel a black eye.

Regardless of when Mauricio was at Mau or Opals or whatever, he obviously subscribes to the same type of unsafe risky behavior – and deserves the same punishment as anyone involved in the Sep 3 stupidity.

Is my my original Sept 2011 opinion is making more sense yet? PADI to demonstrate some sense of responsibility and REVOKE their certifications, and all of them banned from obtaining certifications from any other agencies.

Shame on PADI for nor stepping up to the plate and investigating this and revoking certifications.

Shame on Scuba Mau staff for attempting such a stupid stunt last year.

Shame on Opals Dream for owners for capitalizing on a dead woman's name.

Shame on the New Scuba Mau for the latest act of negligence

Shame on the Mexican government for allowing these scumbags to continue to run an unsafe business
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#5 nauticab

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:59 PM

mark for the most part i agree with you. i was pissed off at how their actions put a horrible black eye on the dive industry. i also agree it should be called an INCIDENT rather than accident.
now about gabi, the latest i heard is that he is still paralyzed from the waist down, and that he was in contact with a doctor in honduras who does miracle work with chamber treatment for patients such as he. but no new news directly from him. he is in good spirits at least.
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#6 ScubaMom56

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:53 PM

My daughter, Opal's last dive was her own decision. There we no threads on SB banging a drum to go on deep dives with her. This was a personal decision and in no way should have impacted the businesses on the Island except through the postings of uninformed speculators. However, in the case of the Nora Gabriella/Living Underwater sinking, that was a BUSINESS decision and was basically advertised through a thread on SB. Now, you have on one hand a risky, personal decision and on the other an advertised risky business decision. What carries more impact? A personal risky behavior or one based on the almighty dollar (or peso)? I too wish they wouldn't tie Opal's death to Mau's business practices. The Nora deserved better than what Mau did to her.
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#7 MarkC

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:08 PM

While I am sorry about your loss, I stand by my opinion that everyone at both establishments should have their diving certifications revoked (including your daughter had she lived to dive again), and be banned from running a business in the diving industry altogether.

In the latest incident, I hope Mau is sued into bankruptcy and closure and criminal charges pursued to the fullest extent of the law.

As far as Opals Dream, I hope the drug peddlers are caught and brought to justice as well.
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#8 ScubaMom56

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:53 PM

ROFLMAO Dude, you've got to be kidding me?!!! Oh My God!!!! Thanks for the chuckle, here I had "girded my loins" for a battle...... You want me to take those postings seriously, then name the other dive shop. If not, let it lie. Oh, read the SB thread on things people like about Cozumel....
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#9 MarkC

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:08 PM

I can’t name the other shop, because I was not there and I was not who posted that.

Both businesses deserve to be and should be shut down.

Haven’t enough people died or been put at unnecessary risk already?

MC

PS - I don't read SB, there are too many know-it-alls on there and I refuse to waste my time with them.
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#10 Coz2wonder

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:26 PM

One tragic event, and another near miss does not bring any kind of emotion except sadness.
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#11 ScubaMom56

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 05:57 PM

This is so true.... We would no sooner start to drop our guard and get on with life, then, I guess folks just couldn't stand to leave us in peace. Due to the malicious and hateful things that have been posted, Cozumel has taken many nasty hits that actually had nothing to do with the majority of the good people who live there. It's the vocal handful, and it is just a handful, trying to prove their importance and insider knowledge that keeps these things going. I have refrained from posting as I didn't believe I should meddle in the Islands business, but, this stuff needs to stop. I have no dog in this hunt, except for my daughter's name. The shop is totally owned and operated by Roger and Ishi. That is how Opal left it. The last time I was on the Island, one of the boys said Welcome Home Momma, I corrected him. I am and always will be just a visitor.
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#12 cozdiver00

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:07 PM

Plenty of articles in the Mex news........
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#13 hillbilly

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:13 PM

I would have to agree about scuba board . There are allot of experts and they are not afraid to vocalize their opinions. Fact is though they have posted articles about the accident, some quoted from another local blog and some from the news. What I want to know is how the divers were spotted by the other ship that picked them up? how long in the water? No radio on board , that kind of thing
I never want to be in a boat in that channel floating to wherever and wondering where I will end up. We go with reputable dive shops only and if it costs more then fine.
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#14 nauticab

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:10 PM

the black eye on the diving industry after opal's tragic incident.... i was referring to heath's claim that the downcurrents took them to 350+ feet which as we all know, is a lie. it was a CYA scheme for his irresponsible actions.
but this scheme, albeit short lived, spread like wildfire as to the "dangers" of diving here. yes, there are downcurrents, but any experienced divemaster here knows how to see them from the surface, underwater, on the wall, and how to best avoid them or get out of them. the general public of SB did not understand this and there were something like 15 pages of posts before the truth got out that there was NO downcurrent.
so while her personal dive decision was just that, heath's posts and claims left an ugly scar for the business community of cozumel.

april, i hope the upcoming memorial helps you and your family bring a comforting closure to this tragedy. take care.
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#15 MarkC

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:44 PM

That's funny, I have been diving for over 23 years, and in cozumel since 1990 and i never have experienced a downcurrent.
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#16 CZMDM

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:10 AM

There are sometimes down currents at Santa Rosa and in the spring sometimes very strong, but it is not a normal current.....you can get out of it and you can almost always see it from the surface. It's kind of like rip on on a beach...it is way over-rated as far as danger (the rip only goes out to end of a usually unseen sandbar). I have seen the current going over the wall at Santa Rosa at such a rate that the water directly above the coral formation would form a 2 foot wall as it rushed over the top. Back in the late 80's there was a video circulating showing divers at Santa Rosa inflating BCD's, dropping weight belts and some divers were climbing up the wall.

Like Dailene said this is usually easy to see and most DM's know how to get out of them. In the spring there is lots of weird water related stuff. Currents going the wrong way, currents seemingly going in cirles, whirlpools as big as F-150's. So IMHO with 3 diving pros I seriously doubt there was a downcurrent as they would have recognized it and regressed to the boat.
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#17 DanB

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:20 AM

I am on the island this week. I spoke with a Canadian diver who says he was on the boat. He told me that the boat broke apart and began to sink so quickly that there was very little time to react. He said he dove after the boat as it was sinking and grabbed most of the BCDs and a camera strobe. The divers manually inflated their BCDs and used this as flotation. His strobe had a manual flash button which he used to point at any aircraft he could see and any other boats he could see. The 'yacht helicoptor" apparently saw his strobe flash and alerted the yacht to check it out. He appeared to find this experience unfortunate but remained very supportive of the owners and staff of the dive operation.
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#18 hillbilly

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:41 AM

Thanks DanB. That is kinda what I wanted to know. Nobody was clear about radio contact or any details like that. I may just invest in one of those strobes and get rid of my little red weiner thingy.Uhhhhhh inflatable red weiner thingy that is.
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#19 Carey

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:16 AM

Now, that Canadian was a clear-headed guy, I must say! Kudos on that. But it seems a little strange that he would be supportive of a dive op that would send out a boat like that. Maybe he's a personal friend of a couple employees and doesnt want to see them booted out of a job if the op closes down.

Thanks for posting that first-person description.
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#20 MarkC

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:47 AM

I am one of those that will be the proud owner of a safety sausage before my next trip.

Just as an FYI, it was my 1990 model Underwater Kinetics UK1200 flashlight that saved two lives on a DAY DIVE when we were almost left by the boat - had I not had the light, i probably would not be here to tell the tale.

MC
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”




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