According to the information set forth here, I would say that this instructor didn't have his logistics worked out very well. This instructor should be held accountable to the standards set forth by his certifying agency. I agree with TexasMike about writing a carefully worded detailed account of what transpired and send a copy to the agency, the store, and others that may need to be informed about this.
I have to agree with the fact that one must feel at ease with their instructor and the addtional staff (i.e. other instructors and divemasters/dive cons) that may be assisting. The creation of that ease is done in the first few minutes/sessions/meetings that on has with that instructor. First impressions go a long way. But, one still needs to research and ask questions (i.e. may I see your instructor certification? How long have you been teaching? etc). One has to be accountable for their actions. Also, one needs to trust their lives to that instructor. I look at people and ask: would I trust this person tending my line while ice diving? If the answer is no, then it's no.
I have been diving in the midwest since 1988 and just love it. I can't afford to go to the carribbean or where ever just to do a warm water dive every year. I love diving, I love the serenity and peacefulness, and there's a world of opportunities in my backyard. Lake Superior (or any of the Great Lakes) offer a myriad of shipwrecks to explore; it's just an awesome experience to drift down upon a majestic steel or wooden testament to human diligence, history, and sacrafice. The water is cold (36 on a recent dive), the vis is 50 feet or better, and surface conditions can change during the dive. On the flip side, I also dive in a quarry that has 5 feet of vis on a good day. With vis conditions like that, it gives one a chance to practice skills and test the comfort level.
I don't think that people dismiss scuba in the numbers that have been posted because of their initial in-water experience; most people dismiss scuba because of their experience with the store and instructing staff. Customer service, upbeat personalities, and true concern for others goes a long ways in keeping divers diving.
I hope that your diving experiences continue and that you will revisit local lake diving. There's an adventure waiting for you in your backyard.
[This message has been edited by jmsdiver (edited 05-17-2001).]