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I have a newly certed ow student coming to the Destin area in August. She wants to dive but is the only one in her family who dives. I'd like to refer her to someone who is good with newbs and will take her on easy dives. She should have at least 4-6 more before she comes down but it will be her first time in salt water as well and never from a boat. She's also 63 yrs old. In very good health but still 63 is 63 and she may need a little assistance with gearing up and such. Post or PM me. Thanks, Jim
Destin only had two dive Operators. ScubaTech and Emerald Coast Scuba.
Scuba Tech has an oil field type crew boat. Easy to get on and off of. Nice big dive ladders on the back. They have a tendency to do the same sites over and over again, but so do many of the other operators that are +/- 60 miles from there. For a new diver though some of their shallow sites might not be that bad. The MIss Louise, a tug in under 60' of water' might be a good start. they go there often. Their harbor location has plenty of parking and easy to get to the boat. Easy to get fills from them as you can just back your truck up to their fill station out back. They usually bank 32% and can partial pressure fill anything. I've always gotten good service from them. Their website is Scuba Tech - Destin Florida - scuba & snorkel dive shop
Emerald Coast Scuba is the other shop in town. Dive Destin - Emerald Coast Scuba PADI Gold Palm IDC Instructor Development Center Their boat is what appears to be a converted sport fishing boat. Do a search and you'll find reviews on it here. They have a tendancy to do boat trips to the Jetties. While normally I would say this is a waste of money, for a 63 year old student, it might be a good intro dive without having her do do the 1/2 mile walk to the jetties from the parking area in full gear and summer heat. The jetties are a good dive and often you'll find Scubaboarders there. You'll want to dive it at high slack tide.
Outside of Destin, you've got Dive boat operators in Ft. Walton, Pensacola and Panama City. All have some decent wrecks near them. They are a short drive away and a nice change of pace for the area.
Here is the thing, both dive ops often dive the jetty which is an OK beginner dive but most of the offshore diving in Destin is in 60 to 120 feet of water, sometimes current and seas, generally moderate to decent viz but on ocassion not very good and just as often very good. I don't consider this area exactly advanced but a 63 year old beginner, I don't know if this would be the place. JMO.
BTW, I am down there right now, been pretty rough but for today, Mostly an entertainment trip for my parents but the boat has been put to sea several times now, a long run this morning to the Mohawk, a few thunderstorms about and such, brought in some nice fish too afterwards.
Last edited by Nemrod; June 12th, 2008 at 09:11 PM.
Reason: add pic
We dove with Scubatech last summer for 2 dives and we didn't have more than 8 people on the boat. But the dive site was not what I would call beginner friendly. The visibility was about 30 feet and murky green, and the current was moderate. Easy for experienced divers but I'm not so sure about a 63 year old newbie. We had to swim against a bit of current to get to the wreck. It was one of the Liberty ships. Ok dive. Wouldn't go diving there again though. Just a stop on the way to the Mighty O.
Also, make sure she knows to ask for a DM to buddy with her. We had no DM on our boat--well there technically was one but she was doing her own photography thing. Many new divers need a DM to go with them so be sure she asks.