Business offers underwater adventure
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This article was published 09/02/2021 (846 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Wayne Kolomi, who co-owns Diver City Scuba with wife Jacqui Dufault, attributes his initial interest in scuba diving to French explorer and scientist Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Cousteau’s popular TV show, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, aired when Kolomi was a youngster. He said he was fascinated by the world Cousteau revealed.
Meaghan Noakes, an instructor at Diver City Scuba, said her passion for diving was sparked by vacations with an aunt who lived in the Caribbean.
“You get the bug,” Noakes said.
Kolomi and Dufault opened Diver City Scuba in 2013 at 731 St. Mary’s Rd. in a building that has housed scuba diving businesses since 1998. The company merged with Diver’s Den in 2015.
While scuba diving in the centre of Canada — far from either coast — might seem odd, Kolomi said there are thousands of Manitobans who have taken training to earn their Professional Association of Diving Instructors certification. “Most people do it to travel.”
He and Dufault normally offer five or six diving trips each year and have taken groups as far as The Philippines and Fiji as well as Mexico, Honduras and the Bahamas. They also offer trips to sites in Canada and the U.S., such as sites in Lake Huron where divers can explore shipwrecks.
“We’ve had many compliments on our tours,” Kolomi said.
A very unique event Diver City usually holds in January and March is an ice dive at West Wawk Lake.
“You can stand on the bottom of the ice,” Kolomi said.
He added that light shining through the ice allows divers to see much further than they ordinarily do in the summer. Ice diving draws participants from around the world, especially from countries that don’t experience ice-covered water.
After taking an entry level course that typically starts with dives in the Cindy Klassen or Pan-Am Pool and finishes with open water dives in West Hawk Lake, a diver will be able to dive anywhere in the world to a depth of 60 feet or 18 metres. Completing advanced training allows divers to go further down to a depth of 100 feet or 30 metres, which is the common standard for most diving tours, Kolomi said.
Diver City Scuba offers a discover scuba class for those aged 10 and up who want to try the sport. All the equipment is provided along with information on how to use it safely. Participants are then able to test the gear in the pool.
“It’s a bucket list thing for some people,” Kolomi said. While the majority don’t go on to further training, there are always some who get bitten by the scuba bug.
Diver City Scuba provides instructor training and specialized courses.
The store offers rental equipment and also carries a wide variety of popular brand. They also service and repair equipment. While the initial cost of buying a full set of equipment can run in the thousands, much of it will last for decades, Kolomi said.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced Kolomi and Dufault to postpone a diving trip to the Cayman Islands originally set for last November, but Kolomi said 2020 was still a good year for diving. It’s a sport in which people can easily socially distance and be outdoors. He’s optimistic that this year will also be successful.
Kolomi hopes to be swamped when travel resumes again. “People have been cooped up for too long.”
For more information on Diver City Scuba, see divercityscuba.ca
Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Vital community correspondent
Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital and was once the community journalist for The Headliner.