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Scuba Habitat - Diamond Bar

by Nick Anis

Nick Anis

In 1978, Scuba Habit opened it's doors, and in the 22 years that followed this full service dive shop, service, repair, and training facility, they have taught thousands of people how to SCUBA dive, conducted hundreds of diving trips, and provided high quality and low cost equipment services, rentals, and sales.

Due to the tireless efforts of Proprietor, Instructor, and Dive Master Alan La Bounty, Scuba Habitat has developed quite a loyal following.  Customers are like family and the camaraderie between the divers is quite remarkable. 

Scuba Habitat is open Tuesday through Friday, from 11:00am to 7:00pm, and Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm.  There are five truly wonderful Master Diver Instructors on staff making it possible for Scuba Habitat to offer the full range of PADI - Professional Association of Diving Instructors certified classes.

I love these guys because it was their professionalism and personalities that helped me finally become a Certified Open Water Diver at the ripe old age of 46.  I knew from the moment I walked into the shop, which is located on Brea Canyon Road -- one block north of Diamond Bar Boulevard, that these were people I would be comfortable with, and that I could trust.

Besides the Open Water Diver course I took, Scuba Habitat offers Advanced, Rescue, Medic First Aid/CPR, Dive Master, Assistant Instructor, and Instructor courses.  There are also a wide variety of specialty classifications you can obtain, such Night Diving, Underwater Photography, Wreck Diving, and Spear Fishing.  

The full PADI Open Water Diving Certification Course I took included one (1) confined water (pool) dive, and four (4) open water (ocean) dives, along with five classroom sessions and was only $249 including the gear.  (There is some personal gear that may be required, but anyone who likes to swim and snorkel, like me, will make good use of stuff like fins, mask, etc. anyway.)

You know what?  SCUBA diving has vastly improved ever since the early days!  Many safety features have been incorporated.  Diving is considerably more comfortable and economical now, and it has become a mainstream sport that's enjoyed by all family members.  Dive Master Alan La Bounty told me, "Diving is a great activity for anyone over the age of 10 and under the age of 99," and having taken the course and gotten certified, I would have to say I totally agree with him.  My two sons are already bugging me to begin their classes.

Most people find out about Scuba Habitat from word of mouth recommendations, because to become one of Alan's student's often involves also becoming one of his many friends.  Scuba Habitat's dive trips are scheduled all the time, and there is always at least one day per month. 

Before long, all the clientele get to know one another.  It's a great way to make new friends.  Diving is a "buddy" sport meaning you dive with one or more buddies and closely watch over one another.  Groups of divers not only use the buddy system, they also help each other with gear, getting in and out of the water, and share the whole experience.

What's truly amazing is that even when you are with a group of experienced divers who have made hundreds of dives, everyone still gets real enthusiastic about the marine environment.  There are numerous discussions about fish, formations, colors, and so on, as if they are a group of astronauts who have just returned from a lunar landing.  Sometimes there is some much enthusiasm about what was down there, it makes you want to jump right back in and take another look.  And in fact, most of the divers make 2, 3, even 4 dives a day because it's so much fun.

Safety plays a major role in the diving experience.  Divers, especially at Scuba Habitat, are very responsible about safety.  All the training is safety oriented to provide years of safe enjoyable diving.  There is no typical SCUBA diver because just about anyone can dive, and you can dive just about anywhere.  One of the public's misconceptions about diving is that wintertime in California wasn't a good time to dive.  As it turns out, winter is a great time to dive because the beaches are so much less crowded, the water cleaner, there is more visibility, and there is more marine life to see. 

The first time I went for an ocean dive, my instructor took my dive buddy and me to Newport Beach.  Hey, it was the beach and, therefore, I didn't expect to see much marine life, just sand.  To my amazement, we saw several spider crabs as big as bowling balls, groups of bright orange/red Garibaldi fish and their iridescent orange and blue babies, octopuses, and even a school of harmless leopard sharks that peacefully swam below us. 

On my second dive, which was from a boat at Catalina, I saw an endless array of marine animals and aquatic features including lots of lobsters and fish, and I explored caves and wondered in the marvels of towering forests of kelp and incredibly beautiful reefs. 

I think my third dive was truly the most amazing.  We traveled overnight to the Santa Barbara Island in a cool boat the Scuba Habitat had chartered for his divers.  When we awoke from a good night's sleep, we were at this beautiful island untouched by man.  There were hundreds (probably thousands) of sea lions swimming all over the place.   When my buddy and I went diving, we discovered how curious and playful the sea lions are.  A few juveniles kept trying to pull our fins off in play, and they mimicked our moves as we did theirs.  We were so captivated by them, that we barely had time to collect some delicious lobsters.  You see, we had purchased fishing licenses before leaving on the trip, and divers can collect four of these delicious "bugs" per day as long as they have a fishing license.

Since becoming certified, I have discovered there are so many spectacular places to dive in Southern California and around the world.  I would recommend that anyone interested in a healthy, safe, and highly enjoyable sport visit Scuba Habitat in Diamond Bar, and also get certified.  Who knows, maybe next lobster season we can dive and dine together.

Scuba Habitat is located at 3220 South Brea Canyon Road, Suite B, Diamond Bar, CA 91765-3481 - Phone: 909-594-7927 - Web: http://www.scubahabit.com.

Nick Anis is a computer and technology writer and the author of 24 books who also writes about travel, food & wine, entertainment, skiing and family recreation. He writes for Ziff-Davis, Microtimes, The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Travel Watch, TravelGram, and Restaurant-Row. He is responsible for the Restaurant Row Ethnic Dining Guide, co-published by the Long Beach Press Telegram. Nick is a member of the Computer Press Association, The International Food Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFW&TWA), and the North American Ski Journalists Association. (NASJA).

Nick can be reached at NickAnis@travel-watch.com, Phone: 909-860-6914, Fax: 909-396-0014.

 

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