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“End of the Road” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Dive Academy

The Dive Academy
Calle Principal | Samana Peninsular, Las Galeras 1000, Dominican Republic
+1 809-538-0127
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Ranked #3 of 13 Attractions in Las Galeras
Type: Water sports, Adventure
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Attraction details
Owner description: Las Galeras' premier Scuba Diving School & Water Sports Adventure centre. English is our first language but we also speak Spanish, French, German, Danish, Swedish and Italian. We offer everything from Try and Tandem Dives to Instructor Courses, guided qualified dives over beautiful corals and the world famous 'The Tower'and Tibisi; all inclusive sailing & water sports day excursions - with skiing, snootering with our DPV's, diving and lunch on a beautiful sail boat to mini Live Aboard breaks. First Class Service with Economy Class Prices. We offer our clients professional and friendly, safe and affordable FUN.
Dominican Republic
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“End of the Road”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

I went to the moon, but there were no craters or lunar dust- just a grayish blue infinity wrapping all around me, a misplaced floating speck. It was both frightening and soothing at the same time, to hear nothing but the overpowering sound of my own, deep inhalations, followed by a flurry of bubbles racing towards the surface. You never lose track of what’s important underwater. Every single breath echoes in your head as if it were the only thing that mattered in your wet, blue world. In a sense, it’s meditative, clearing your mind of the problems that persist on dry land. Short of a few hand signals, I couldn’t communicate with the other specs floating around me. I was alone, but safe. I was in awe, but relaxed.

After you learn to trust the rubber hoses and aluminum tanks harnessed around your body, it all comes into focus. There was a forest of stringy, dark green seaweed strands, anchored to the reef, swaying together with the unceasing rhythm of the ocean wind. A school of tiny neon blue fish hovered around us for a few moments, curiously eyeing their alien visitors. Then there was a tiny gold fish swimming through them, like a beam of light, oblivious to their nautical ballet of coordinated turns- someone has to be the rebel I suppose. And then you roll over and look up, and feel tinier than ever when you see how far away the surface is. We were only 40 feet under, but it was quite a view, and quite a thrilling sensation. After spending a half an hour underwater, you don’t want to come up. Gravity is a buzz kill.

The English couple who were running the course, Paul and Diane, had enough personality to be cartoon characters, or bobble head figurines at the very least. Diane decided to show off her American accent by singing me Happy Birthday Mr. President, like Marilyn Monroe. Our instructor, Paul, was an ex-seminarian, who became a standup comedian, then a DJ, a restaurant owner in Spain, and was now was a spear fisher, cave diver, ice diver, and treasurer hunter, who spends his work week relaxing in the eerie skeletons of half millennium old Spanish galleons. They’re such interesting people, and will always have the gratitude of the Peace Corps' mosquito ravaged masses, for giving us unreasonably low prices for their course, and always bringing us a second round of bread with dinner.

Thanks so much for looking after my Peace Corps group! Hopefully we will see you soon for advanced diving certification!

-D

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tda-adventures, Owner at The Dive Academy, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
WOW...
We were thrilled to read this review, it made us want to learn to dive again (almost hee hee hee).

To hear our students feel talk about the first experience of taking their first SCUBA steps is something that makes the years of training as an Instructor Trainer so worthwhile.

To read about these feelings when they are so eloquently written was awesome.

We thank you so much for sharing this and do hope that you continue with your SCUBA journey and that we will be involved in it

We enjoy running the low price courses for Peace Corps Volunteers as it our small way of thanking you all for the committment you give to our local communities

As an aside, the Marilyn Monroe impression wasn't so bad was it?

See you all again soon we hope

Diane and Paul
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51 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Saint Louis, Missouri
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“An Excellent Two Days of Try-Diving and Reef Surveys”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2013

I had the opportunity to try diving for the first time with Diane and Paul from TDA. I was one of a group of 7 graduate students and 2 professors from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO interested in coral reef surveying as part of a 10 day trip across the Dominican Republic assessing public and environmental health in the area. The diving was just a plus!
We spent two days with TDA. The first day started with lunch at their cafe across the street with excellent burritos. We went out the first day to a cove for snorkeling and to watch how proper reef surveys were completed. The second day we had the opportunity to try diving in groups of three to four.
Overall, it was an excellent experience!! I felt confident in trying to dive after instruction, Paul, Diane, and Audrey were very knowledgeable, approachable, and good fun! I highly recommend trying out diving with TDA. After my experience, I would love to become certified and come back to dive with Paul, Diane, and Audrey again.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tda-adventures, Owner at The Dive Academy, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write a review for us, we do appreciate the feedback

Your professors and fellow students were great fun and we certainly enjoyed your company during the time you were with us.

We would love to have you back again for your certification and I will email you details of how best you can achieve that with us

Looking forward to seeing St Louis University again soon

Diane B
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Kakabeka Falls, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Add this to your bucket list!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2013

Our family spent 2 days with The Diving Academy and learned how to scuba dive. Great instructors, very knowledgeable and able to teach even the most skittish of learners. Kids (ages 17 and 19) thoroughly enjoyed checking out the ocean bottom and seeing the sea life. My husband went out on the last day of our stay to go spear fishing. After catching some lion fish they prepared a small feast of the catch of the day. Totally recommended.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tda-adventures, Manager at The Dive Academy, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Hi Donna

Thank you for taking the time to write a review for us, it is appreciated.

Conducting the NAUI Passport course that your family undertook was so much fun - even with the seasickness. They were keen to learn and explore so it really was a pleasure.for us.

The lionfish we speared was delicious and Carl needs to hurry up and come back to spear some more

Looking forward to seeing you all again

Diane B
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Bedford
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
225 helpful votes 225 helpful votes
“Our family outing was disappointing, but probably great for divers.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

I can completely understand why TDA get such consistently excellent reports for divers, but unfortunately our own experience was less happy. Diane is most helpful and easy to contact in advance, and arranged our pick up by taxi from El Portillo in Las Terranas. When the taxi turned up, we waited in reception but the manager came up to explain that they could not allow it onto the premises. When we got to the gate and saw it we understood why, a complete rust bucket, no seat belts, apparently made of bits and pieces, and bald tyres. For the life of me I cannot think why we were so mad as to get in it, we should have called a halt to the trip there and then. It appeared later that Diane and Paul were the victims of a scam by the taxi company, and had expected a decent vehicle. After a slow trip we arrived at Las Galeras, and admin took place in a sort of shack, which did nothing to increase our confidence in the outfit. What we did not realise, and were not shown, was a perfectly well equipped Dive shop across the road, also part of TDA. Had we been received there we would have felt happier. On walking to the beach, we were taken to what seemed a very small boat, and at this point our son wanted to take his kids straight back to our hotel as he was concerned for their safety. However Diane explained that it would be a "20 minute trip, maybe 30'" and we could return on their "bigger boat" . So we embarked. Soon we met serious crosswinds and to say we were scared is an understatement. Diane repeatedly assured us the the driver knew what he was doing, and they regularly went out in worse weather. With two vomiting kids and as it turned out our Brazilian Catholic daughter in law praying continually for our deliverance, after an hour and ten minutes, not the promised 20, we arrived at a beautiful cove, with sadly a less than beautiful, tiny, rocky, litter strewn "beach" . Paul and Audrey had gone ahead and set up a barbecue, with chicken kebabs salads etc, rated highly by those whose appetite had survived the trip. The planned diving trip was discussed, but by this stage our two divers were reluctant to go out in the boat., so we we stuck to snorkelling in the cove, where the coral was amazing, and TDA rightly claim that it is far superior to anything around Las Terranas. Everyone loved the sea scooter, especially the kids.
For the return trip, we were split into two groups, using the "bigger boat". Not much bigger! The trip took a mere 45 minutes, and was slightly less scary.
After being given the nicest drink of the whole holiday, involving rum and melon made by Diane , a proper taxi took us home.
I will not pretend that it was a good experience, Diane and Paul are absolutely lovely, and our divers would havec happily dived with them had their confidence not been sapped by the amateurish aspect of the taxi, the reception shack and the small boat. They really miss a trick by not receiving guests in the smart and professional looking dive shop. I honestly believe, and said so to Diane, that it was totally wrong to take small children out in the sea conditions that day with seemingly no means of summoning help if needed.
Because the trip was not as we had arranged which was a couple of hours dive and snorkelling then lunch then snorkelling again and snootering off the beach, Diane and Paul were very fair in adjusting the cost of the outing.
I have given TDA a low rating because the day was, overall and for us , not good. I am sure though, and our two divers agree, that under normal circumstances diving with Paul and Diane of TDA would great, and we wish them all the best.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tda-adventures, Owner at The Dive Academy, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
Firstly, apologies for not responding to your review earlier and secondly, thank you for taking the time out to write it for us. We do appreciate all the feedback we receive as this is the way we improve our services to our clients.
Your understanding concerning the taxi scam we were subjected to was, and still is, appreciated. We now regularly use the driver that took you back to El Portillo.
At no time was there any danger although it did turn a little choppy but our skippers are the best around. We have now refined the whole excursion, based in part on your comments, and have now conducted several very successful ones and I am sure these clients will post an honest review of their experience too.
The rum punch is equal measures white rum. fresh melon, orange and pineapple juice poured over crushed ice,
We do hope your family are all well

Regards
Diane B
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Clayton, Missouri, United States
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Dive Shop in Galleras great for students”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2013

Paul, Diane, and Audrey were terrific people to train us in beginning diving. We had 7 novices doing the try dive and two certified divers doing a shipwreck. The experience was great. Paul is patient, funny, and very professional. Thanks again. Roger D. Lewis, PhD

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tda-adventures, Owner at The Dive Academy, responded to this review, August 27, 2013
Hi Roger

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write a review for us, it's always good to get feedback from our clients.

Your group were great fun to work with and we hope that you enjoyed your visit to Samana so much you will want to come back again and again!

Diane B
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