Scuba diving in Colorado

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Mar 232004
 
Authors: Taylour Nelson

Leave it to adventurous Coloradoans to explore even the depths

below the surface.

In the traditionally ocean-based sport of scuba diving, Colorado

is home to a large population of scuba-loving swimmers.

Fort Collins hosts three scuba diving shops and one

international scuba certification company, based in Fort

Collins.

Each shop rents and sells equipment to recreational divers, as

well as instructing and certifying curious customers.

High Plains Scuba Center, 1671 S. College Ave., holds

instructional dives in their pool and also requires passing a

written test to be certified. An instructor will also take the

divers on an open water dive for their final certification

test.

Mark Williamson, an advanced instructor at High Plains Scuba

Center, said about 15 to 20 new divers are certified every month,

most of who dive in lakes and reservoirs in Colorado to keep their

skill level up.

“A lot of people head down to the Caribbean for vacation and

dive there,” he said. “But the rest of the year, they dive in

Colorado.”

For the past eight years Williamson has been an avid scuba

diver, even though he lives in land-locked Colorado.

“If you look at a confirmed diver, anything bigger than a mud

puddle and we’re in it,” Williamson said.

Alpine Scuba, 1110 W. Prospect Rd., organizes trips for

customers who are interested in traveling to popular diving

spots.

Doug Donaldson, owner of Alpine Scuba, said larger groups are

able to get discounted rates on the airfare and hotels. A diving

trip to the Great Barrier Reef is being planned for June of

2005.

Spear fishing and wreck diving are also popular among Colorado

scuba divers. Scuba Colorado, 115 W. Harvard St., has organized

trips to Pruk and Palau, where World War II ships sank into the

Pacific Ocean.

Gary Clark, president of Scuba Schools International Inc., said

scuba diving is popular in Colorado because it appeals to so many

different people.

“The type of people who are outdoor oriented and like to travel

usually like to scuba dive,” he said. “They like the weightless

feeling that it gives you.”

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