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July 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Bahamas Master Cancels On Diver Twice In Two Years

from the July, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Everything mechanical breaks down from time to time -- never more so than a diving liveaboard doing back-to-back charters while repairs are being done along the way. Boats are also at the mercy of a hostile environment: the ocean. The history of the world has changed thanks to the effect of wind and waves -- the Spanish Armada sent to invade medieval England was sunk by a storm, and D-Day might have had a different outcome if the weather had been worse. So it's no surprise that liveaboards have their troubles.

The trouble with that for us is when we book a trip, we spend hard-earned money on plane tickets. We also allocate precious vacation time from work, and for many of us, this time is irreplaceable. So we were sympathetic when Michael Braunstein (Bruxelles, Belgium) wrote to tell us that his trip on the Bahamas Master was canceled -- for the second time -- because, it's rumored, the boat had run aground.

We're also sympathetic to the boat's owner, Worldwide Dive & Sail, which faces the costs of repairing it. That company has had a lot of bad luck previously with its Siren fleet (five incidents in six years), but it doesn't help Braunstein, who had his booking money refunded but not his vacation time. Ironically, his booking on Bahamas Master was canceled at short notice last year, and he was paying for this year's trip with the vouchers offered in compensation.

We wrote to Worldwide Dive & Sail's owner, Mark Shandur, and he replied, "We had to go into the yard early for some unforeseen repairs. She's not the youngest of vessels (Bahamas Master was formerly the Yemaya II, operating between Panama and Malpelo Island), so the parts can take a while to find, and when we can't find them, we need to get them specially machined. It's currently scheduled to be back in operation in September.

"Last year was a nightmare (for us)," Shandur says. "The amount of work we had to do prior to the start of operations was much more than we thought. We tried to run her till our scheduled long break during hurricane season, but due to customer feedback, we decided it best to cancel trips. We are extremely sorry that Michael was affected by both sets of cancellations."

That's all very well, but Braunstein has paid for his air ticket to the Bahamas (and that of his buddy), and now has too much free time on his hands. He didn't have trip insurance, he tells us. "And in addition to the air flights, I will have lost time at work."

You Tell Us: Do you think liveaboard companies should cover the cost of unused flights due to unforeseen cancellations?

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