My New Life after the building

So maybe you heard, that I have a new life. After the sale of the building that I lived in for almost 9 years, it does feel like a new life. Or maybe it is I am just not working 7 days a week. The old building is about to start its new life as a craft brewery. I always thought that a pot shop would have been the ultimate usage. But, the City of Grand Junction thinks otherwise.

new life

Yes, a new life. Teaching classes and taking people diving. Doesn’t sound like a bad plan. I remember standing in the Grand Junction airport one Friday morning about 7 years ago. A young man that was going on our trip with us to St. Lucia came up to me. I will never forget his question. He said to me, “Let me get this right. You get paid to take me on vacation and take me scuba diving?” I replied, “yep, sucks to be me”.

new life

Taking people diving. That is really the whole idea, right? Showing you the underwater world. Teaching you how to be a “critter hunter”.  Showing you how to identify certain habitats to find new and amazing creatures. Exploring, discovering different cultures right next to you.

Watching firewalkers and touring the local school in Fiji. Zip lining in St. Kitts. Watching fireworks in St. Marteen (the Dutch side) on their “Independence Day”. Meeting new people and making lifelong friends on dive boats. Exploring the undersea world.

Teaching you how to be a better diver. How to appreciate and care for Mother Ocean. How to shape your underwater images and yes even to enjoy using “geezer gas”.  Running search patterns and looking for pirate treasure. So many wonderful experiences.

We are still teaching and taking you diving. And looking forward to even more amazing adventures.

My journey to PADI OWSI and beyond

owsiHonest, I never intended to ever be a PADI OWSI (Open Water Scuba Instructor). I was happy and content to be making loans and playing golf and not really into the thought of basically changing my career and life to be Scuba Joe.  So how did I get here?

Well, it started with when I met Donna. See we made this deal, I would get certified to dive and she would learn to play golf.  Sounded like an easy plan and would give us to different hobbies to enjoy.  Then sometime in 2004 she decided that she was ready to become an instructor. Me? I was happy taking two trips a year and doing 20 or so dives and then playing some golf. Then in early 2005 after she passed her instructor exam the thought popped into her head that I should at least become a dive con/assistant instructor so I could help her with her classes and maybe it could be something we could do as part time work at retirement. I firmly dug in my fins and said I wasn’t really interested in that.  Then in 2007, my fins came out of the sand and I began my training.  After all, I was tagging along and going to the crater and helping out any way.

Back in 2003 on a Windjammer after a day of diving in Bonaire, we were sitting with some new friends and munching on a bag of fries from Whataburger, laughing and joking about being retired and “working” at a dive shop on some island.  My friends it wasn’t anything other than people sitting around and having a little fun.  But 4 years later, here I am starting my training on the way to OWSI. Then later that year (2007) the owner of the shop was in a horrible accident, Donna became the lead instructor and I her trusty second.  Donna even mentioned to the owner’s wife that if they decided to ever sell the shop she would be interested in purchasing the business.

storesideSometime in the summer of 2008, the phone rang. That phone call changed everything.  The shop was officially for sale and would we like to buy it? To make a long story as short as I can and to keep this post under 10,000 words, we officially took over on December 1, 2008.  We had 2 instructors and 1 assistant (me).  Shortly, after that Anthony finished his assistant instructor rating.  But, Donna was doing all the classes and with her job at the state requiring her to travel and teach almost constantly, we need to add a few more instructors to the team.

About a year or so later, PADI walked in the door and well made an offer that we could not turn down.  If we would switch from our current training agency to become a 5 Star PADI dive center, they would bring me and 2 others to OWSI. Again, I really had no desire to take on OWSI, but in order to help grow the shop and help Donna with the teaching load we walked through the door that PADI had opened for us.

What started out as a fun conversation in 2003 off the Island of Bonaire has become a self fulfilling dream of sorts. Maybe someday I will find myself updating this post from some tropical island and wonder how I got there.

lift bag

What is your Scuba Dream?

Some might think I am living my or even their scuba dream, after all not to many people get to go visit far away islands and take scuba dreampeople diving and as Colton said to me “get paid to do this”. And as you read this post I am walking along the beach in Cozumel, so maybe I am living the scuba dream (you can follow our adventure here).  I recently read an article about a 75 year old lady that is chasing her scuba dream and that got me to thinking, what is your scuba dream?

My first scuba dream was actually just to get through the open water class.  Honest, I just wanted to survive it and then I wanted my tank to last long enough that I wasn’t the first one back on the boat or at least long enough so I wouldn’t get the evil eye from my dive buddy.  From there my scuba dream morphed into maybe owning a little dive hut on the beach somewhere, wait maybe that is still my scuba dream with a side stop at Joe’s Scuba Shack.

From exploring and discovering new and exotic locals to discovering the underwater world in your own back yard.  Your scuba dream awaits you. Head off to the islands to find your fortune or maybe help develop and teach future generations of divers.  Maybe your scuba dream is like Instructor Jeff’s and that is to see and travel the world and scuba is how he decided to do it. Or maybe your scuba dream is to earn as many “merit badges” or specialties that you can.

Regardless of your scuba dream, whether you dream of owning your own shop or even teaching in the islands or maybe you dreamDigital Camera of finding sunken treasure or maybe you just want to go diving, as the lady in the UK proves you are never too old to chase it.

So tell us what is your scuba dream?  Share yours with us either in the comments below or send me email and I will share your stories in a future post.

Hunting for a Pirate Ship full of Sunken Treasure

I think every diver has some pirate in them and I know every diver dreams and would love to find an undiscovered pirate ship full sunken treasureof gold or sunken treasure.  So today I want to have a scuba dream and we discover an old pirate ship full of sunken treasure!

Now what?

I bet we are not telling anyone about our discovery, or are we sharing this with anyone outside of the most trusted circles and I can promise you I am not blogging about it or making it my status update on face book.  But to validate this discovery we will probably have to bring something back to prove what we have discovered.  So we are going to need some advanced scuba skills.  What advanced specialty scuba classes should we consider?

  • How about Underwater Navigation—I know we have found the pirate ship, but it will probably be broken up into many pieces and we are going to need to navigate and map out the area
  • Deep Diving—it is possible that this pirate ship is in water 100 feet or so.  Deep diving training and planning would be good to have
  • Night Diving—We might want to do some of this discovery work at night so people can’t see uslift bag
  • Wreck Diving—I think this one is too obvious
  • Boat Diving—Of course
  • Search and Recovery—I think this one is very important as we are going to be needing to know how to find and recover items from the pirate ship to prove what ship we found and I am rather confident that the items that we are going to need to recover will be heavier than 8 to 10 pounds and probably a little bulky and hard to carry up in our hands.  So the proper rigging of a lift bag and how to use it safely might be a necessary skill set to have

WOW, so many special skills that might be useful in my scuba dream.  Guess, I better get to scuba class and get ready to live out my scuba dream

ok

Are you ready for a scuba trip?

FIJIMost of us got scuba certified to travel and go places and you see all the awesome pictures and hear all the fun that divers are having on our group scuba diving trips, but you are not sure that a group adventure is for you?  Well, there are many advantages to group travel.

First, sometimes we can save a few bucks when we book group trips.  The resorts offer us things such as free Nitrox or extra diving to entice us to come and visit their resort and bring our diving friends.

Think that groups are for only the “experienced” diver?  We have divers joining our trips that are making their first dives after certification.  Actually some have gotten certified just to go along on the adventure.

Aw, groups are so “structured”.  You have to do everything as a group.  Nah, as I say it is your vacation.  Feel like just crashing on the beach and reading a book and not diving, that is your choice.  Want to head off and explore the local culture or night life, enjoy.  Now some resorts do have group meals, but that is to make things easier on them and it is rather rare.St. Lucia

Some groups are “cliquish”.  The group dynamic is what makes it so fun.  As you know divers are a rather friendly and outgoing group. I bet you will make lifelong friends instead of feeling like a third wheel.  Don’t have a dive buddy?  No worries, we have a group of dive buddies ready to dive with you.

Still worried about your experience level?  All of our trips are instructor led and we are very happy to work with you to increase your experience level on any trip we led.  From doing your advanced open water to a specialty class, we are there for you.

Welcome to Scuba Joe’s Blog

After many months and a little work we have a new look to our web page and a new addition to our page, Scuba Joe’s Blog.  Here we will try to post some wonderful pictures from our adventures and offer a few tips and pointers that you have enjoyed over the years in our newsletters, although on a more regular basis than our newsletter and a little more in depth than the newsletter allows.

scuba joe's blog turtle In this space we will try to feature all the happenings at Western Colorado’s only PADI 5 Star IDC.  All the fun local dives and social events that are happening such as our upcoming customer appreciation night on December 12, where we will have chair massages and other fun things.  Make sure to mark your calendar for a fun night of socializing with your fellow divers in Grand Junction.

Of course the Scuba Joe’s blog will cover all things scuba. New gear and specials.  Classes and trips and social nights.  We will even have a guest blog, writing about their scuba adventures.

We hope you enjoy our new page and Scuba Joe’s blog.  If you have any suggestions for tips and pointers send Scuba Joe a message or even better leave a comment