Mexico offers cheap dives

By Jimi Jo Story
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 19, 1996

The sun beats down on the Mexican beach. Your friends are all in Tucson wishing they were here. You are in the water, swimming with the sea creatures and having the time of your life.

Does this sound tempting? Most of the scuba diving companies in Tucson are offering reduced rates on diving trips to San Carlos, Mexico over spring break.

Debbie Feldner, molecular and cellular biology junior, learned to dive during spring break 1995 and says that it was an amazing experience.

"I was terrified of swimming in the ocean, but you can see and breathe in the water with the equipment you are surviving together with these creatures in a delicate little ecosystem. It's really cool," Feldner said.

The trips, which range in prices from $125-$425, are tailored to both divers with previous experience and those who cannot tell a snorkel fin from a face mask.

Each of the companies provides certification for novice divers and have top-quality instructors as well as challenging entertainment for experienced divers.

Adventure Quest will be offering a trip from March 9-14. The non-diver package is $182, while the diving package is $280. Both include round-trip transportation by land, five nights in a beach-side hotel, free use of a sea kayak, and a complimentary margarita party.

"Most people won't be divers on this trip," said Michael Kennedy, certified instructor and manager at Adventure Quest. "It's primarily set up for people going down to have a good time inexpensively."

For the more adventurous souls who prefer to camp out on the beach, The Dive Shop may have a preferable package.

This trip is set for March 9-15 and includes two training sessions in Mexico, use of scuba equipment, most snorkeling equipment, all meals and all dives.

The campsite is on Himalaya Beach, about 25 miles from San Carlos. Campers will sleep 10 to 15 yards from the water.

"It's a great place to hike, go tide-pooling, and snorkeling. There are hot showers available if you bring your own water, and a flush toilet," said Peter Hardy, an instructor at The Dive Shop.

The Dive Shop package is $333, and divers must provide their own transportation to Mexico.

Aqua-Fin offers a trip that is $425 for air fare, food, all scuba equipment, and lodging aboard the El Duque dive boat from March 10-15.

The boat will tour the diving areas of the Baja coast, including Isla Tortuga, Isla San Marcos, Isla San Ildefonso, and Punta Concepcion.

"We work together with Outdoor Adventures (at the University of Arizona Recreation Center), so if you need more information, you can ask there. You can also sign up at the Rec Center," said Scott Elliot, owner of Aqua-

Though this trip is more expensive than the other packages, it is the most inclusive package available for a dive, said Erin Austin, English sophomore who works at Outdoor Adventures and was certified earlier through the Aqua-Fin/Outdoor Adventure partnership.

"I had a really great time," Austin said. "The spring break trip will be six days of touring optimum dive spots."

If any of these trips have caught your interest, make reservations with the companies as soon as possible. Classes will start soon for participants wishing to receive certification, and deposits are required for most packages.