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russp
06-02-2011, 08:57
Looking for the closest blue water dive area to Dallas. Want something where I can leave work early on a Friday, drive to where ever and spend all day Saturday and then Sunday morning diving and then drive back Sunday afternoon. I have AOW and rescue certifications but have done all my diving in lakes and springs so I'd prefer something where there is a charter group or guide available. I'm guessing the gulf but who has a good operation?

DevilDiver
06-02-2011, 09:22
For driving the TX Flower Gardens will be the closest, great diving but conditions can be a little rough at times and it's not a suggestion I would put to someone that did not have some experience boat diving in blue water. Dives are deep and you are a long way (8hrs) from shore. Usually you do not have a DM for these dives.

Considering you are in Carrollton you can catch a RT charter flight in the summer to Cozumel or Playa for $199-299 a lot of times, when you look at the gas and time from DFW to the gulf the expense is a wash and Coz is always a good blue water trip.

ReefHound
06-02-2011, 11:03
Coz can be competitive with FG economically but it can't be done over a weekend with no days missed from work (assuming typical M-F schedule). The big advantage with FG for Texans is you can drive there, get it done on a weekend, can often do it last minute, and if bad weather crops up you're only loss is finding something else to do that weekend.

You can also do day trips to the offshore rigs, from Galveston, Freeport, or Corpus. At $200-250 per two tanks, it's a bit more expensive per dive than FG (up to 7 dives for $550).

You could fly out late Friday to Cancun, do a morning and afternoon charter on Saturday, and fly back late Sunday but that seems to me a bit much for 4 dives.

If it doesn't have to be "salt" blue water, you could take the Scientific Diver course at Aquarena and then be a volunteer diver on weekends. It's less than 30 feet deep but usually crystal clear with plenty of cool fish and plants to see. Once you get past the $220 course there is no fees to dive. You wouldn't even have to leave work early on Friday, in fact you could drive there early Saturday morning.

Another option is Balmorhea but that is probably a ten hour drive for you. So drive all day Friday and Sunday for a day of diving on Saturday. It's about 20 feet deep and crystal clear with lots of fish.

Diver Kat
06-02-2011, 11:23
There's also South Padre diving - they do day trips .... you could hop a SWA flight, might be cheaper than driving.

South Padre Diving
(http://www.divesouthpadre.com/default.html)

mcr0112
06-02-2011, 13:32
Devil Diver' where do you find the charter flights for $200 to coz from DFW?
I did my open water at Aquarena and it was clear as Coz or The Rea Sea and a whole lot closer.

DevilDiver
06-02-2011, 14:20
Hot Deals from Dallas / Fort Worth, Texas - Funjet Vacations (http://www.funjet.com/hotdeals/detail.asp?plCode=&OAC=DFW#CUN)

Nonstop Round Trip Air to Cancun

Departure dates

Tue Departures 6/14/11, 6/28/11, 7/5/11, 7/12/11, 7/19/11
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8 nights from
$199.99 * (http://www.funjet.com/hotdeals/detail.asp?plCode=&OAC=DFW#disclaimer)pp

Nonstop Round Trip Air to Cozumel

Departure dates

Fri Departures 6/10/11
Air Only
2 nights from
$199.99 * (http://www.funjet.com/hotdeals/detail.asp?plCode=&OAC=DFW#disclaimer)pp

Nonstop Round Trip Air to Cozumel

Departure dates

Thu Departures 6/2/11
Air Only
7 nights from
$249.99 * (http://www.funjet.com/hotdeals/detail.asp?plCode=&OAC=DFW#disclaimer)pp

ReefHound
06-02-2011, 14:42
Then add a little over $100 for taxes.

DevilDiver
06-02-2011, 16:05
Don't get me wrong, I love the Flower Gardens and oil rigs and it's well worth the trip.

Just say'n...

russp
06-02-2011, 16:24
Coz can be competitive with FG economically but it can't be done over a weekend with no days missed from work (assuming typical M-F schedule). The big advantage with FG for Texans is you can drive there, get it done on a weekend, can often do it last minute, and if bad weather crops up you're only loss is finding something else to do that weekend.

You can also do day trips to the offshore rigs, from Galveston, Freeport, or Corpus. At $200-250 per two tanks, it's a bit more expensive per dive than FG (up to 7 dives for $550).

You could fly out late Friday to Cancun, do a morning and afternoon charter on Saturday, and fly back late Sunday but that seems to me a bit much for 4 dives.

If it doesn't have to be "salt" blue water, you could take the Scientific Diver course at Aquarena and then be a volunteer diver on weekends. It's less than 30 feet deep but usually crystal clear with plenty of cool fish and plants to see. Once you get past the $220 course there is no fees to dive. You wouldn't even have to leave work early on Friday, in fact you could drive there early Saturday morning.

Another option is Balmorhea but that is probably a ten hour drive for you. So drive all day Friday and Sunday for a day of diving on Saturday. It's about 20 feet deep and crystal clear with lots of fish.

The scientific diver course at Aquarena is definitely on my to do list but I really feel the need to get some ocean dives in my log book.

russp
06-02-2011, 16:26
For driving the TX Flower Gardens will be the closest, great diving but conditions can be a little rough at times and it's not a suggestion I would put to someone that did not have some experience boat diving in blue water. Dives are deep and you are a long way (8hrs) from shore. Usually you do not have a DM for these dives.

Considering you are in Carrollton you can catch a RT charter flight in the summer to Cozumel or Playa for $199-299 a lot of times, when you look at the gas and time from DFW to the gulf the expense is a wash and Coz is always a good blue water trip.

I keep seeing the Flower Gardens but wondered if that was a little more than I should try on my first ocean dive. Is it possible AND sensible to hire a DM to try this as a first ocean trip?

russp
06-02-2011, 16:27
There's also South Padre diving - they do day trips .... you could hop a SWA flight, might be cheaper than driving.

South Padre Diving
(http://www.divesouthpadre.com/default.html)

This looks real promising. I thought driving so I could use my own gear (except tanks); how does SWA deal with a bunch of dive gear?

Diver Kat
06-02-2011, 16:33
This looks real promising. I thought driving so I could use my own gear (except tanks); how does SWA deal with a bunch of dive gear?
Should be the same as any other airline .... we pack all our dive gear & clothes in 1 medium regular suitcase, 1 carry on & 1 personal bag each. (Cameras, computers & regs get carried on.) We pack a mesh bag for hauling the gear once we're wherever we're going. We'll be flying SWA to FL in 2 months and I don't anticipate any problems. Mostly we use Continental, but with the baggage fees these days, SWA comes out a lot cheaper.

ReefHound
06-02-2011, 17:33
This looks real promising. I thought driving so I could use my own gear (except tanks); how does SWA deal with a bunch of dive gear?

As long as it's not dripping wet, they deal with your checked bags the same as if they were packed with clothes. And you get two free checked bags.

russp
06-03-2011, 21:17
As long as it's not dripping wet, they deal with your checked bags the same as if they were packed with clothes. And you get two free checked bags.

Gotta love SWA. I guess I've gotten so used to AA and Continental charging for everything but the restroom, I figured a case full of dive gear would be either forbidden or counted as air freight. I think one of these Padre dives will be the ticket.

Zeagle Eagle
06-03-2011, 21:44
Then add a little over $100 for taxes.

Plus another @100 or more for fuel surcharge and $40 for departure tax.

Zeagle Eagle
06-03-2011, 21:48
Gotta love SWA. I guess I've gotten so used to AA and Continental charging for everything but the restroom, I figured a case full of dive gear would be either forbidden or counted as air freight. I think one of these Padre dives will be the ticket.

Good luck getting to Mexico on SWA.

ReefHound
06-03-2011, 22:00
Good luck getting to Mexico on SWA.

S Padre is in Texas not Mexico. Although when the Southwest / AirTran merger is complete, you will indeed be able to get to Mexico on Southwest.