East Timor / Dili – A diving update

After comments made on the Dili Guide post and a rather heavy-handed (and angry, and vaguely threatening) email from Wayne at Free Flow I’ve kind of had my arm bent into putting this post up. Wayne is wanting (nay, demanding) an apology for my comment that Free Flow’s safety measures are (to quote myself) “rather slipshod”.

As Wayne has pointed out to me, Free Flow’s safety record is 100% – they have had no accidents, mishaps, deaths, injuries, lost divers or any such during the time they have been registered and keeping records. There. That’s clear.

The information I was given was from a third party PADI Professional and related to practices at Free Flow. I had no reason to disbelieve what that person told me, and to date I still have no reason. To the best of my knowledge, this individual has and had no axe to grind with Free Flow as an organisation, I had (at the time) made no mention of personally using them and it came up in conversation about diving in general and in East Timor specifically.

However, do bear in mind that I am one person who heard this from one other. While I am a PADI Professional (as Wayne pointed out) and must not defame PADI or other PADI members/organisations, I am also bound to be honest as far as I can be. As such, I reported one concern I had which had – as I stated – come from another PADI Pro (who I will now most certainly not be naming). As such, said individual is also bound by the same rules.

If the information I got was incorrect – and I knew as such – then I would unreservedly and without prompting adjust the original post and issue an apology. People who know me know that I’m stubborn as a mule, but very quick to back down if proved wrong. I am not too proud to apologise or to be corrected.

In this instance, though, I effectively have one person’s word against the other. One I regard as, if not a friend then a passing acquaintance. The other I regard as someone who – perhaps with justification, in fairness – has thrown some weighty messages my way and who I don’t know other than this.

I hope this puts my comments on the safety of Free Flow Divers in Dili, East Timor into some clarity. People, if you’re going to dig out info on a company or individual – do it through more channels than just one blog post.  My original post clearly stated that I had no personal experience with Free Flow and was only passing on something I’ve heard. Their published safety record and current  PADI Dive Resort status should also be brought into the equation when you’re weighing things up.

Even though I don’t really feel I have to do this, but to prove a point that there are many positive comments about Free Flow and Wayne himself out there if you look hard enough, do check out the “People Say The Nicest Things” post on Free Flow’s own blog. Notice that some of the sources listed are somewhat more well-respected and experienced than some guy’s travel blog.

For completeness, in his original comment (I won’t repeat his email on here as it does mention some other matters which I don’t believe are for public reading relating to Free Flow’s business) Wayne also had a go at me for my comments on pricing. Re-reading my original post, the mention of “pricey” was actually against Dive Timor-Larosae, another dive business.

However – and I have edited the post to reflect this – this was badly written on my part. I should have made it clear, or kept the pricing issue separate, as I had intended to emphasise that diving is expensive in East Timor as compared to other regions, such as the Gili Islands, Borneo, Ko Tao and the like.

For this, I do apologise.

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