Del Rio Dive Club

Where Divers Meet In Southwest Texas!

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Grand Cayman after-trip report

OCTOPUS5In the middle of July 2013 Terra and Rob “Scubadog” Wade returned to Grand Cayman island for a week-long dive vacation.  Trisha Urban and Gay Culbertson were also onboard for this island adventure.  Interestingly enough, Grand Cayman was where Terra had her first salt water dive–an opportunity during their Caribbean cruise in 2005, and it was also Gay’s first salt water diver.  The group stayed at Compass Point, which is also home for Ocean Frontiers.  This place is valet diving at its best.  In fact, you’d likely have to spend a week on a live-aboard in order to get the service you receive at Compass Point.  The dive sites were almost all first-rate, and you’re missing out if you don’t insist on hitting places with some of the best swim-throughs anywhere.  The couples went on a night dive, a shallow drop at about 25 feet, but it presented some nice surprises, including a fantastic encounter with a small octopus.  This was also Gay’s first night dive, making it a great way to be introduced to the magic that happens when the reef wakes up.  Since Compass Point is on the opposite side of the island from the main town and the airport, a lot of time was spent travelling back and forth in order to do some shopping and touring.  Everything is pretty expensive on Cayman, nearly double what one would pay in the States.  Having been a British territory, the driving is on the left, and when anywhere outside of the main town you’re more likely to see a “roundabout” rather than a four-way stop.  If you’re willing to be adventurous in terms of both exploring and dining, there are some real gems for eating establishments.  Rob finally got to try some lionfish—and it was delicious!  Hopefully folks all over the Caribbean can push a new industry in lionfish.  The Tortuga Rum Factory visit is, of course, a must, and the gang came away with quite a few rum cakes.  Much to their surprise, there was a Divers Supply outlet on the island.  Divers Supply happens to be Scubadog’s favorite place to buy gear and they have multiple locations in the States.  Prices were higher than you can get online.  Speaking of prices, the common mistake (one which the group made, in fact) is to always assume any gear you purchase at a dive resort carries a significantly higher markup than at a traditional brick-n-mortar.  As it turns out, the exact same gear was almost always cheaper at Compass Point–there just wasn’t the variety.  So, after it was all said and done, it was a fantastic week of diving, driving, dining…and the first internationally presented netcast of Two Guys Who Dive.  If you’re looking for an easy Caribbean dive vacation, consider dropping down to Grand Cayman!

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August Balmorhea After-Trip Report

Terra and Rob celebrated their 24th anniversary weekend with a dive trip to Balmorhea State Park.  This seems to have become a tradition now, and this year did not disappoint.  Surprisingly, the park wasn’t as packed as it normally is this time of year, but there were of course the expected dive classes going on.  There was a particularly large group of youth getting certified, and it was great to see the dive community expanding with so many at a younger age.  There was also another encounter with the “purvey turtle”, although not nearly so dramatic this time.  It was a nice, relaxing time, but it was a shame that none of the local Del Rio divers decided to come along.  We really can’t stress enough that it’s diving that makes you a diver—not a C card.  (Note: For anyone interested in the camera used for the pictures below, it was the Sea Life DC1400 Pro Duo–and amazing camera!)

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Welcome to 2014!  We’re set for the first dive club meeting of the new year, so come out and join us.  Although very informal, the Del Rio Dive Club meetings serve as a chance for divers and non-divers alike to get together, share stories & ideas, ask questions and enjoy a bite to eat.  Meet us at Rudy’s Restaurant for some great barbecue 7pm on the third Thursday of each month.  Help us plan more activities and do more DIVING!  You don’t have to be a diver to come out and have a good time.  Maybe you’ll even get the bug for it just by hanging around us!  We hope to see you there.

Help Spread The Word!

A club is nothing without people.  And with today’s wide spread of social media, we’re hooking into different ways to make people aware that, yes, there ARE people diving in the Del Rio area!  So, we’d like to encourage everyone to not just visit our website, Facebook page, UStream channel or YouTube channel, but subscribe, follow and like us, too!  That way you get the latest information and get helpful reminders when things are going on!  And word-of-mouth (verbally or electronically) is still one of the best ways to expand.  Help us out by sharing!

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We invite your comments, questions and suggestions.  You may contact us via the following:

General Information: drdc@delriodiveclub.com

Club President: Rob Wade / 830.774.2992 / Robert.wade@cetifox.net

Vice-President: Robert Garza / rsgarza821@yahoo.com

Correspondence: DRDC / 507 W. 14th / Del Rio, TX 78840

About Us

The Del Rio Dive Club was establish in 2007 as a way to gather active divers as well as non-divers interested in the sport and increase awareness of scuba diving in the Southwest Texas area.  Normally, dive shops are a natural nexus for divers.  Since Del Rio has none, the club serves as a surrogate.  We make ourselves available to organizations and educational institutions to help share the sport in a number of venues.  The club also participates in citywide cleanup efforts, focusing on the San Felipe Creek area.  Del Rio Dive Club also has a PADI instructor who independently conducts classes and orientation.  The transitory nature of a large portion of our potential membership means we have a small core of permanent members, so there currently is no sponsorship of dive trips, etc., although frequent group dives are organized for divers to participate in.

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We’ve jumped into the new year head-on!  If you missed our 2014 movie picks, you missed a fun show.  As always, you can see more recent episodes at www.youtube.com/user/cetifoxproductions and episodes older than 73 at www.youtube.com/user/scubadog2008 .

The Two Guys Who Dive netcast began in January of 2012 as a bit of an experiment.  The two most prolific divers in the area, ScubaDog and Scuba Bob, had toyed around with ideas to increase awareness of the sport that would also be fun.  When they finally settled on the idea of a live streaming netcast it sparked a considerable amount of work.  What was already being used as a home music studio was renovated and updated with some new equipment that could support video podcasts.  It’s been a learning experience for both, in terms of format and in terms of technology, and you can see the gradual progress made over the first year if you view the netcasts on YouTube.

Showing no signs of stopping, this show is not just about scuba diving, but includes topics of local, regional and national interest, frequently involving technology and some politics (particularly if it affects the dive industry).  Viewers are invited to participate in the chat room while the show is live and encouraged to subscribe to the YouTube channel to catch the shows afterward.

You can see Two Guys Who Dive every Saturday night, 8pm Central, at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/two-guys-who-dive.

Scuba Class

Although not official a part of the Del Rio Dive Club, scuba diving certification is available locally.  Robert Wade is a certified instructor with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), #234370, and has been teaching classes including Basic Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver and Divemaster since 2008.  An avid diver since 1985, Robert (aka ScubaDog) has consistently maintained the high standards of the PADI curriculum while keeping the classes fun and interesting.  His primary motivation for teaching scuba diving has always been to share wonder and excitement of the sport with anyone willing to try.  Classes are structured to give students plenty of self-study time and then maximizing value with the in-class and in-water portions.

 

The Basic Open Water course schedule for 2014 is as follows:

April 24-27 (Sign-up NLT 1 Apr); May 22-25 (Sign-up NLT 29 Apr); June 26-29 (Sign-up NLT 27 May); July 24-27 (Sign-up NLT 1 Jul); August 28-31 (Sign-up NLT 29 Jul); September 25-29 (Sign-up NLT 2 Sep).

Basic Open Water classes are $325 per person or $425 for private instruction.  If you have completed the PADI eLearning portion and bring your documentation to complete the in-water portion of the course, the cost is $225.  This price includes the student self-study workbook, dive tables (aka Recreational Dive Planner), logbook, instructional DVD, the formal instruction and use of a BC (buoyancy compensator), pressure gauge & dive computer console, tanks and weights.  Students must supply their own personal gear: wetsuit, boots, mask, fins, snorkel and submersible watch.  Students must also be able to swim 200 meters (any style or styles, not in a wetsuit) or 300 meters with mask and fins and tread water for 10 minutes.  After successfully completing all required course objectives students will be given a signed temporary certification card with their permanent card to arrive typically 2-3 weeks later.  Newly-certified divers are encouraged to dive as often as possible after getting certified in order to build more confidence in the fresh dive skills.

Prior to considering taking the course you should download the following documents: http://www.delriodiveclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/THINGSTOKNOW.pdf andhttp://www.delriodiveclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/10063_MedStmt_v201.pdf.  The first document provides more depth and detail to the requirements of the course, format of the instruction and my personal notes.  The second document is a Medical Statement that you’ll need to fill out.  In some cases you may find that a physician is needed to evaluate your specific condition and make a determination if it is safe for you to dive.  As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

LLakeLevelsake levels at Amistad continue to drop.  Two years ago the levels rose to record levels due to a dam break upstream in the Rio Grande.  To control the flooding, all the gates were opened at Amistad Dam.  Unfortunately, the lower gates are rarely used, so when time came to close them the mechanisms froze.  Navy SEAL divers had to be brought in to free them, but by the time they were closed the levels had dropped well below normal levels.  That, coupled with continue drought conditions and irrigation farming requirements have continued the dramatic drop.  This image is of Scuba Cove, adjacent to Diablo East.