Well, I am (to say the least) pissed off.
I am a Brit living in Taiwan. I got my Open Water in Texas, where I had a truly wonderful experience.
I had earlier done a "Discover Scuba" in Phuket, Thailand.
So..... seeing as how Taiwan is an island...... ooh, with lots and lots of water all the way round it.....I thought I would try and find a Dive Centre to help me get my Advanced OW.
I have recognised my need for this qualification before I start any serious diving, for my own safety and peace of mind.
An easy task, you may think.
Island, water, rail/road links, internet, telephones and so on all being in existence here.
It is easier to find Rocking Horse poo than get someone to take me on as a student.
Diving is really only any good at the south of the island, warmer, better vis, safer sites and so on. All the dive centres are based there. I contacted one (now bear in mind I am less than 5 hours away in total travel time) and asked if they ran any AOW classes.
They said "No we don’t train people from the north of the island as the travel is too far
I wrote back saying "no problem, I shall come down and stay in a hotel for as long as it takes for me to get my certification. I really want to take this course"
Suddenly it was "Well we only do groups of 4 for courses. We will get back to you with alternative centres
So, after two weeks of waiting for further details, I gave up waiting and contacted another place.
Told them the same thing, really wanted the cert., prepared to stay in the town till course was completed, keen and committed.
I got a slightly better response which was "well, we really only take club bookings but we can do an individual course if you can bear the full cost
Me: "Yes please, I really am keen to do this asap. Please send me an estimate and we can take it from there"
SILENCE for two weeks.........
What the bloody hell do I do now?
I am not going to go with an agency that only speaks Chinese, for obvious reasons. The "Western" centres seem to think I am not part of the "clique" so won’t give me the time of day.......
I am a potential customer in the market for a whole range of kit, want my own BCD, reg and so on. Also want to do the Rescue Diver course and a couple of the specialist things (AWARE, fish identification and so on). HELL-O
?? Is that a cash register going "ker-CHING!"?
I have time, (some) money, enthusiasm and dedication....... all I want is a start.
I think that I shall have to fly to Thailand and do it all there, when I can afford to do so. This is insanity because there are some wonderful dive sites just a few hundred miles south of me, fairly unknown to the rest of the world’s divers and I am sitting here twiddling my thumbs (yes I am wearing my reef gloves, just in case!).
OK, vent over. I am just fed up and want to get back in the water.