Author: Zak (---.columbus.res.rr.com)
Date: 04-20-12 07:07
Before you decide to book Aquatic Adventures, whether it be for a dive or snorkeling or whatever, you should read this - they are the kind of people that will promise you one thing and give you another.
My wife and I recently spent 5 nights in Culebra. The number one thing on our Culebra to-do list was to go to Culebrita. After calling a few water taxi numbers and not getting an answer, we were referred to Taz. I called and talked to Anne, told her that we were looking for a water taxi to Culebrita the next day - she mentioned that there was a high tide warning for the day, but that it should be fine. I specifically asked Anne how long they would be dropping us off, she said they'd drop us off around 11:15, and pick us up around 3-3:30 We booked the trip for $45 each.
So that morning my wife and I prepare for a day on a deserted island - we have shoes on (for hiking), we bring beach chairs, we have a cooler and a large bag full of sunscreen, beach towels, sandals, and snorkeling equipment. I have a cell phone and $90 in cash in my pocket. We meet Taz at the predetermined location, to find that 5 other people were going to join us on the boat - we soon find out that those people are going scuba diving.
As we were standing there waiting, with our beach chairs and cooler and shoulder bags, in our tennis shoes - Taz says that because of the tide we may not make it to Culebrita, but they'd try, and if he couldn't get us there, he'd take us to Luis Pena or take us back to Culebra. Seemed fair. Luis Pena isn't exactly Culebrita, but it would suffice. And sure enough, 15 soaking wet minutes of boating later, we are informed that they can't get to Culebrita, and that we'd be going to Luis Pena. Taz tells us they won't charge us extra and they will feed us lunch (isn't that nice of them? We had brought a cooler full of food!)
We arrive at Luis Pena, and Taz stops and ties off at a dive buoy and starts instructing his divers. At this point it becomes clear that we aren't going to be dropped off at the island... instead we are offered snorkeling equipment (we had brought our own). We are very disappointed, but decided to make the best of it. We hopped in the water and snorkeled... we are beginner snorkelers, and the tide was very strong, so after 20 minutes or so we made our way to the beach and relaxed. While on the beach, another boat arrives, one with a flat bottom, and drops off a couple on the island... it's then that we then realize that Taz's diving boat wasn't even capable of delivering people onto a beach!!!
Afterwards we snorkel our way back to the boat, fighting the tide. We get on the boat, eat the lunch we packed, and wait for the divers to get back. At this point we think that the trip is almost over, and after lunch we'd be returning to Culebra. Again we find out otherwise - we're told that we would be heading to Carlos Rosario (a beach on Culebra, mind you, one that we could have walked to!). Again, we grit our teeth and bear it.... we don't want to make a scene, and want to make the best of the situation. Arriving at Carlos Rosario the waves are very rough, the tide strong, and the reef they tell us to snorkel to is probably 200 feet from the boat. I'm not the strongest swimmer, and my wife can't do much more than float, so we have no choice but to stay in the boat. For an hour we sit there, in the hot sun, waiting for the divers to return, waiting to get back to our vacation.
Finally, after the divers return and rave about the great time they're having (a little extra salt in the wound), we head back to the dock. Again the water soaks us and our belongings... but it's okay, we're soon to be freed. We arrive at the dock, and since we don't want to make a scene, my wife hands Anne the $90, expecting to be offered at least a discount... Anne takes the money without apology, takes it all, and doesn't even offer help us get our cooler, beach chairs, or bags off of the boat.
At the end of the day, we know this much - even though we had asked for a water taxi, Taz's boat wasn't capable of such a service. They were made aware on the phone that we wanted to be dropped off on an island (both by my request for a "water taxi" and by my asking "how long will we be dropped off?"), and they did their best to make us think that we were getting that service. They never had any intention of putting us on a beach.
That day, Taz and Anne saw $90 sitting on the dock waiting to board their boat, $90 standing there in tennis shoes with beach chairs and bags and a cooler... they knew that $90 was going to walk away if they told us what we were in for that day. And they decided that $90 was worth being deceiving and ruining a couple's last day of vacation.
We were swindled. We were misled. That is what you can expect from Taz and Aquatic Adventures.