Dive Alabama offers locals a unique experience

By JOSEPH ANTONIO / For the Reporter

PELHAM – Since 1973 people from all across the country have traveled to Dive Alabama in Pelham to get their feet wet in some marine adventure. At the entrance, the building almost resembles a small surfer-like establishment you would find somewhere on the west coast. However, it is much more than just a groovy, hip place to shop. In fact, between 3,000 and 4,000 people each year come to this establishment to learn recreational diving, dive training and to stock up on rental gear. Summer is of course the busiest season.

The facility is fortunate enough to house a 26-acre quarry outside behind the retail store where clients and students from other dive schools are trained. That is of course after they pass an online certification course. According to Stefanie Combs, a diver and business manager at Dive Alabama, the age groups are not discriminatory at all.

“Anyone aged ten and up in good standing health or with a doctor’s permission is allowed to participate in the underwater activities” claimed Combs. “Professionals will train here as well as instructors, instructor trainers and others who just want to try it for recreation” she added.

Combs also had a couple of interesting stories to share in regards to some of the people who have trained on the premise in the past.

“Gabe Watson trained here back in the 90’s. Which is kind of freaky now when you think about it.” Watson notoriously made headlines as the “honeymoon killer” when his wife Tina was killed while scuba diving on their honeymoon. He has since been acquitted. American Idol winner and Alabama native Taylor Hicks was also certified at Dive Alabama.

The quarry gives a realistic approach to diving as the water is full of bass, sunfish, catfish, brim, bluegill, Japanese coy, carp, rainbow trout and turtles. The quarry is also more than adequately equipped with a subterranean playground of sorts.

“We have underwater dive sites such as a swim-thru school bus, a sailboat with lots of cars, boats, two fire trucks, and much more,” said Combs. Happy diving!