This is the fourth and final installment of our five-part series on becoming a proficient recreational scuba diver.
2016 has run its race, and it is time to reminisce a bit, and look to the future.
It has been an exciting year here on Roatan and at West End Divers.
Business has been great! Our typical slow season, October thru November, saw weekly arrivals of return friends taking advantage of the calm seas, and personalized service that comes with smaller groups. What we lost in our board game tournaments, we gained in some incredible laid-back diving with friends
We have gone through the fleet upgrading and remodeling. Our flagship the Delfin III is literally a new boat with refurbished and fiber-glassed hull, and a newly overhauled motor. Small additions are starting to stand out like the over-head railings for rough seas, and the down turned exhaust away from the divers (Nobel Prize worthy says Bugs).
The last year has also seen the upgrading of our scuba equipment, and the addition of a dedicated Nitrox/Enriched Air compressor. This has allowed us to take group nitrox dives to sites like Texas where with the increased bottom time we have found new and unique areas. We have even come across two more populations of the Sargassum Trigger fish (arguably the sexiest fish in the ocean) and yet we are just starting to scratch the surface (er...bottom) of this incredible site. Our future plans for this site include filming / mapping with an aerial drone to aid in the exploration.
We now have over 25 of the Black Water Expeditions we introduced just better than a year ago under our collective weight belts, and the shine hasn't even started to wear off. Late at night, suspended in water two miles deep, we drift with the current amidst the nightly Diel Migration of zooplankton, and those which feed upon it. Most of the organisms are small and alien in appearance, yet many turn out to be familiar reef fish in the totally unrecognizable larval stage. Photographers are finding this dive to be especially challenging with small translucent moving subjects, but when caught the images are nothing short of incredible.
Added to our ever increasing pile of scuba toys (yes, us too!) are a couple of the popular GoPro cameras, with which we hope to bring video of ever increasing quality, and portent. Give us a chance to prove ourselves here! We grew up as still-shot guys with Instamatics (ask your Grandpa).
There are new faces at the shop! It's not that strange I guess that after a couple of years, a thousand or so dives, and a few permanent relationships Scuba instructors can get that faraway look in their eyes, and soon it's off to a new reef, new dives, (and etc) joining the global Scuba community. We all continue to live vicariously off each other's social media accounts. Our latest valued team members are Maike and Alex, pictured with the rest of the gang. The sordid details of their respective pasts can be found here.
Just this last May saw the celebration of West End Divers anniversary of being in business for 25 years! We had such fun that we are going to do it again, sorta. This May, the week of the 21st thru the 27th we are gonna be celebrating our TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY! Now before you accuse me of "not being left behind", let me defend my "Fuzzy math". Following the general rules of addition one would come up with a sum of 26 years in business. And you would be correct. However this May will mark the TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the business under present ownership!! (The appropriate gift seems to be "tin", we'll take ours around a beer!)
We are in the planning stages at this point, with updates to follow, but we know you need time to plan too. Come celebrate with us! We have spots for 20 divers and we intend to spend a week of fun celebration with a bunch of friends. Day trips, Blackwater dives, booze cruise, group BBQ dinner, and whatever else we can dream up! TEN YEARS, we're gonna make this one stick! Drop us a line and save yourself a spot soon.
Now...what else has happened.....OMG! How could I forget? Bugs remodeled the restroom!
Newly Certified Divers!!
PADI Open Water Certification
Charitie Fuller, Matthew Shamey, Alex Ree, Carson McCarns, Maggie Seida, Gregory Edelstein, Grayson Roth, Peter Jefferies, Madeline Gordon, Ezra Hereth, Tyler Culliton, Hayley Simera, Suzannah Crandall, Lauren Lorow.
PADI Advanced Open Water Certification
PADI Enriched Air Diver
Emergency First Responder
Ruth Jellicoe, Lyndsey Kistner, Jeffrey Mann