Now, Cheryl and David Babineau, and Dan Walters, proprietors of the Pro Scuba Dive Center in Scotts Valley can help you do both at once.
Boasting some 160 members, the center's Dive Club is open to all certified divers with the goal of having fun, expanding knowledge about diving, and maintaining dive skills.
“You want to keep divers diving,” said David Babineau. “That's absolutely essential.”
The club meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the dive center — located at 4637 Scotts Valley Drive in Scotts Valley — for guest speakers and other diving discussions, Babineau said.
He added that the club does not charge membership dues and the only two rules are to be a safe diver, and play well with others.
“It's a very, very social atmosphere,” Babineau said. “A very friendly group.”
Often, he said, the group will venture out to the many diving locations California has to offer, setting out from boats and from shore in places such as Monterey, San Diego, Lake Tahoe, and the northern California coast for abalone diving.
“It's a good opportunity for people to get to know the dive areas,” Walters said. “It doesn't have to be thousands of miles away.”
For the more adventurous divers, the club also gives its members first crack at signing up for the big dive trips that the dive center offers several times per year.
“Our unwritten rule is to have three big trips per year,” Walters said.
He said that since the dive center opened its doors last year, they've already organized three trips to such places as Cozumel, Mexico, and Roatan, an island off the east coast of Honduras. The package, Walters said, includes everything except the airfare.
“The idea is we make it as simple as possible — from transportation, to gear, to drinks at the bar,” he said.
In 2014, Babineau said, the center is planning two trips to Cozumel in August and September, as well as one trip to Turquoise Bay, Roatan in May.
The big trips, he said, are limited to 14 people and are always accompanied by several dive center staff members — which he said is beneficial because the staff's knowledge of each diver's individual skill levels and can coordinate with local guides to find ideal dive locations.
“We can match our dives to people's abilities,” Walters said. “Since we'll have basically rented the entire boat, we can (dive) where we want.”
Typically, Babineau said, planning a dive excursion takes more than a year of preparation — even more for someplace like the Galapagos Islands. But, he added, that much prior planning gives people time to save up as well as train with staff to maximize their skills beforehand.
“It appeals to a lot of people,” he said. “They really like the safety that's involved.”
For those desiring a more independent experience, Babineau said that the dive center often acts as something of a dive-centric travel agency.
Experienced divers, he said, will come to the dive center and describe the diving experience they are in search of, and the staff can offer suitable locations, as well as make the necessary arrangements for them.
For more information about Pro Scuba Dive Center, visit www.proscubadivecenter.com/ or call 431-6824.
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