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Discover Scuba destinations for teen


jstewie23
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Looking for recommendations regarding a destination for my teen son to try discover scuba. Is there an island/destination that's "better" for discover scuba? I'm OW certified and did my discover scuba in Aruba through RC excursion. We don't have any cruises booked, so not limited to certain destinations.

 

Thanks! 

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1 hour ago, jstewie23 said:

Looking for recommendations regarding a destination for my teen son to try discover scuba. Is there an island/destination that's "better" for discover scuba? I'm OW certified and did my discover scuba in Aruba through RC excursion. We don't have any cruises booked, so not limited to certain destinations.

 

Thanks! 

@jstewie23

 

I would say that if looking specifically for a Discover Scuba, you criteria would be diving that would provide an experience where your son would get to dive on some actual coral reef, with a good operator, and relatively close to the port. 

 

The good news is most Caribbean ports will fit the bill.  Here are some I think would be particualy good, along with my recommendation for dive operators the would be likely able to help make it a great experience:

 

Costa Maya (Mahahual), Gypsea Divers (https://gypseadivers.com/)

Barbados, West Side Scuba Centre (https://westsidescuba.com/)

St. Croix, Nep2Une (https://n2scubadiving.com/) or Adventures in Diving STX (https://www.adventuresindivingstx.com/)

St. Vincent, Serenity Dive (https://www.serenitydive.net/)

Aruba, Happy Divers Aruba (https://happydiversaruba.com/)

Bonaire, Dive Friends (Dive Inn location) (https://www.divefriendsbonaire.com/)

Curacao, Ocean Encounters (https://www.oceanencounters.com/) or CURious2Dive (https://www.curious2dive.com/)

Bermuda, Fantasea

 

Both Roatan and Grand Cayman would also be good places.  For Grand Cayman I think Sunset House would be your best call, but I've not dealt with them personally.  I don't have a strong recommendation for an operator in Roatan.

 

You can see several places that are great diving are not on my list.  This is because either the places either aren't in this top tier for a Discover Dive, or the site suitable for a Discover dive are so far from the port that it would be impractical.  These places include Cozumel, St Lucia, Belize, Grenada, Dominica, and likely some others. 

 

Then there are several ports I would not recommend for what you're looking for.  These include, Any Bahamian port (Nassau, Freeport, Bimini); Key West, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; Cartegena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Purta Limon, Costa Rica; St. Thomas, USVI; and San Juan, PR. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

 

 

 

Edited by omeinv
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8 minutes ago, jstewie23 said:

Thanks Harris. This info is awesome!

 

What's the reasoning behind not including St Thomas? 

St. Thomas currently has no dive operators close to the port, and you're dealing with a very expensive cab ride.  Otherwise, the sites there would be OK for a Discover Dive, but you can find better many other places. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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Why are you set on a "Discover" package as a teenager's introduction to diving?  That program delivers minimal training, just enough to somewhat mitigate the risk of a fatal accident.  Almost nothing to address pressure equalization in ears and sinuses.  

A much more rewarding experience would be to visit a local dive shop.  If your son remains interested, he could still complete the full Open Water Diver course before any likely sail date, then could go on a two-tank boat dive with you.

Fortunately, there is a NJ that can help with recommending a local dive shop.  https://njscuba.net/

Edited by gmerick
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23 hours ago, omeinv said:

St. Thomas currently has no dive operators close to the port, and you're dealing with a very expensive cab ride.  Otherwise, the sites there would be OK for a Discover Dive, but you can find better many other places. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

My upcoming Anthem sailing has a "Discover" shore excursion on St Thomas.  I have booked the 2-tank excursion there.  That usually indicates that even though the LDS may not be close to the port, the operator does pier-side pickup of Cruise guests.

 

Looking at google maps, there are 5 operators with shops on the cruise pier.

Edited by gmerick
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Just now, gmerick said:

My upcoming Anthem sailing has a "Discover" shore excursion on St Thomas.  I have booked the 2-tank excursion there.  That usually indicates that even though the LDS may not be close to the port, the operator does pier-side pickup of Cruise guests.

Well, if an operator is doing the ship's excursion that would definitely add St. Thomas to the list.  Please let us know who the dive operator turns out to be.  Other cruise lines may not have scuba excursions there, so an operator that would possibly do port pick-up/return would be good to know.

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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6 hours ago, gmerick said:

Why are you set on a "Discover" package as a teenager's introduction to diving?  That program delivers minimal training, just enough to somewhat mitigate the risk of a fatal accident.  Almost nothing to address pressure equalization in ears and sinuses.  

A much more rewarding experience would be to visit a local dive shop.  If your son remains interested, he could still complete the full Open Water Diver course before any likely sail date, then could go on a two-tank boat dive with you.

Fortunately, there is a NJ that can help with recommending a local dive shop.  https://njscuba.net/

Thanks for the link. He would want to try diving before committing to full blown certification. Unfortunately there are really no dive shops near me...probably an hour away. The one I used closed up. 

 

If we ended up doing a cruise (instead of just going to an island), I would look to see if they had a cruise ship excursion for discover scuba and likely sign him up for that. 

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On 9/1/2023 at 12:40 PM, omeinv said:

St. Thomas currently has no dive operators close to the port, and you're dealing with a very expensive cab ride.  Otherwise, the sites there would be OK for a Discover Dive, but you can find better many other places. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

What are your thoughts on Jamaica? 

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@jstewie23

 

If going to an island is the alternative, I just got this from Aldora Divers in Cozumel.  They could defintely do a Discover Dive first, and to get the full Open Water Diver course including dives, AND Nitrox for $586 is an AMAZING deal.  And I can tell you Aldora is probably the best operator in Cozumel. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

367961867_718571820282051_58352028131864

Edited by omeinv
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Just now, jstewie23 said:

What are your thoughts on Jamaica? 

I've only dove there once, and it was not impressive, plus the diving was a long way (like 40 minute taxi) from the port.  Add to that I don't care for Jamaica topside, and I'd say you're asking the wrong guy. 

 

You were posting this question right when I was posting thie info above about Aldora.

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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2 minutes ago, omeinv said:

@jstewie23

 

If going to an island is the alternative, I just got this from Aldora Divers in Cozumel.  They could defintely do a Discover Dive first, and to get the full Open Water Diver course including dives, AND Nitrox for $586 is an AMAZING deal.  And I can tell you Aldora is probably the best operator in Cozumel. 

 

Harris

Denver, CO

 

367961867_718571820282051_58352028131864

Thanks. I was unsure about Coz for discover since it seems like a lot of drift diving. Wasn't sure if that's a good option for a first timer.

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Cruise prices are way to high on my sailing, but Anthem is offering TWO Discover scuba excursions on the 18 Jan 2024 sailing - St Thomas and San Juan Puerto Rico.  This also was offered Jan 2023 in San Juan (Escambron Marine Park).  I didn't do the discover, I rented two tanks and went solo, but I did get to watch the three Discover groups get going.  The excursion stayed inside the reef, but apparently had a good time.  Plenty of placed features, maybe 15 ft visibility due to left-over storm surge.  I'd call Escambron more of a bucket list item, not a great dive site, but more to check off one more cruise port where I used up 2 tanks of air.

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We had a good Discover Scuba experience with our teens at Cozumel Dive Academy, which was a 10 minute walk north from our pier on a cruise (Royal Caribbean). There was  a little bit of current which caused a small, but not insurmountable challenge while we were going over the signals and information in the water (we were kneeling) and when entering and exiting. There is a shallow area there that is roped off and a whole dive area with benches and showers. The water is extremely clear there and there are lots of fish once you get moving. 

 

We enjoyed it so much that we came home and are most of the way through PADI certification now. We just have our open water dives to finish up. 

 

I can see Roatan being an awesome place to do it as well - I'm thinking of the French Key area where it is pretty shallow and warm and very clear. 

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I did my discovery dive on Grand Cayman at Eden Rock. Easy, peasy shore dive and some coral to swim through. It was a lot of fun.  I got hooked and later got certified.

 

Later I took my adult kids on a cruise and they did a discovery dive on Curacao with Scubaco and on another cruise did one in Roatan with Sun Divers.

 

Last Feb, my brother and their wives did a cruise with us and I talked my brothers into a discovery dive in Roatan. Went with West End Divers this time but only because Sun Divers were booked.

 

In every case, they did the discovery dive while I dived and then we dived together on our second dive.  All were good experiences.

Edited by mac66
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On 9/2/2023 at 7:27 PM, jstewie23 said:

Thanks for the link. He would want to try diving before committing to full blown certification. Unfortunately there are really no dive shops near me...probably an hour away. The one I used closed up.  

 

Was that Diveseekers by any chance?

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16 hours ago, mac66 said:

I did my discovery dive on Grand Cayman at Eden Rock. Easy, peasy shore dive and some coral to swim through. It was a lot of fun.  I got hooked and later got certified.

 

Later I took my adult kids on a cruise and they did a discovery dive on Curacao with Scubaco and on another cruise did one in Roatan with Sun Divers.

 

Last Feb, my brother and their wives did a cruise with us and I talked my brothers into a discovery dive in Roatan. Went with West End Divers this time but only because Sun Divers were booked.

 

In every case, they did the discovery dive while I dived and then we dived together on our second dive.  All were good experiences.

Thanks. Good info. I was wondering if I would be able to dive with him while he did the discovery dive. I'm guessing I would, but only if I signed up for a discovery dive as well.

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On 9/13/2023 at 11:39 AM, jstewie23 said:

Thanks. Good info. I was wondering if I would be able to dive with him while he did the discovery dive. I'm guessing I would, but only if I signed up for a discovery dive as well.

 For what that would cost, book a 2 tank dive. Dive while he's doing his discovery stuff (it's pretty boring if you're already certified) and he doesn't need dad nearby watching. Then do your second dive with him.

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 For Grand Cayman I think Sunset House would be your best call, 

 

I was gonna recommend Sunset House ... their 'house reef' is just down the road from Eden Rock so similar depths and profiles. I took daughter there for her 'discovery' during a cruise stop and as I'd been out of the water for a bit did it with her as a refresher. You can book additional 'discovery' dives there as well. I coordinated my 'wants' with the dive shop by e-mail (info on SunsetHouse.com). <one 'advantage Sunset Has over many other 'discovery' locations is a nice POOL for the basic skills training ... my opinion>

 

Subsequently after she got certified we went back for a week for her to build experience ,,, and soon she was on a college summer fellowship to CocoView in Roatan working on a research project, helping on the dive boats and providing evening talks to resort guests. I guess you could say she enjoyed her sunset discovery!

 

gearing up for first night dive at the sea pool Sunset House

 

image.thumb.png.99459c366b6f627acace8b74ebb3bbca.png

 

on the house wreck at CocoView

image.thumb.png.f6efaa02d7204a9be5f4641c169b4226.png

Edited by Capt_BJ
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