DIVERS BEWARE! I had booked an Advanced Dive charter with Olympus dive center hoping to make it out to the U-352. My father and I had tried years ago and the weather was not conducive for diving that day, so they canceled on us. The winds and weather can be very fickle around the Outer Banks, so it was understandable. This time the winds were very light and the ocean was glassy. I drove up from Wilmington, North Carolina the night before and stayed in an Airbnb, and my dive buddy drove all the way down from New York and stayed the night as well. This was his bucket list dive. This dive shop advertises the U-boat as their premier dive as you will see it with all of the pictures and memorabilia displayed all around their whole dive shop. They even have a picture of the sub on every scuba tank they own.
To say that this dive shop will nickel and dime you on rental gear is an understatement, and they even charge $1.50 for a K cup of coffee in the morning.
Upon boarding the boat, neither my dive buddy nor I were ever asked where we wanted to go. My dive buddy approached the captain before we left the dock asking about the chances to dive the U-boat, and he replied that he wasn't sure where we were going yet. They chose to take us to a wreck called the Caribsea for two dives, even though the seas were calm enough to access all of their dive sites. As we arrived to the wreck their sistership of the dive shop was tying up to the same dive site. At no time did any crew member mention to stagger the dives to avoid congesting the dive site with divers from both dive boats. I can say from vast experience that no diver likes a congested dive site (I have been a dive boat captain and a scuba instructor for 16 years). They continued to do the same with the second dive, splashing divers at the same time from both dive boats to congest the dive site once again. I overheard one of the crew members saying that it was a major gamble to go to the dive site because the visibility can be "hero or zero", and if the dive site was zero they would have no other options in the area even though the majority of their sites were available down south near the u boat. Later I found out some of the customers had requested to see sharks, that some of the wrecks offer within the range of the U-boat. At no point did they ever offer any explanation, remorse or even a hint of attempt to appease all of the divers on their boat.
This dive shop will lure you in with hopes of diving the U-boat, and even if the weather is more than ideal they may take you to another spot. When I called to talk to a manager to express my discontent they said the manager was busy but they would call me back soon. One of the crew members that was on our boat called me back and tried to explain to me that they had divers on the boat with a skill level less than the U boat standards. Then why do you even have an "advanced" dive boat with certain dive requirements prior to boarding the boat? At one time during conversations with the crew while on the dive boat they said dive site conditions change daily. Then later talking to the "manager" I was told that they chose the wreck dive because it had great visibility the day before, and did not choose the U-boat because it had current the previous day.
The contradictions and bad decision making was baffling. From my professional experience I have to say that their decision-making was subpar. Olympus dive center is bush league, and they don't care about their customers after you pay the money and board their boat. I will never dive with them ever again and will warn all of my customers on my own dive boat from here on out. I cannot be more disappointed with Olympus dive center, and their lack of attention to paying customers desires on their boat. Book at your own risk, and if you find yourself on one of their boats with a dive group, your requests will fall on deaf years.
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