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Local residents taking the plunge with new scuba shop

Those interested in learning how to scuba dive needn't look any further than downtown Georgetown

Situated in a picturesque, old stone building on Georgetown's Main Street is a decidedly more modern business. Dirty Adventures Scuba, a shop that carries everything a diver needs, opened its doors here last month.

“We we are small, but we are full service,” said general manager Heidi Gay.

Snorkeling sets, dry suits, flippers, oxygen tanks, tank refills; you name it, they have it.  She and owner Geoffrey Hogan also have a variety of dive outings planned, and courses that local residents can join.

The shop's roster features programs for all ages and skill levels, from the Bubblemaker program for children aged eight and up to advanced open water training.

Beginner certification courses take place in Gulliver’s Lake and a nearby pool in Flamborough, while more advanced training is done in places like Lake Ontario.
Gay holds qualifications as an open water instructor, cave diver and a technical diver. A technical diver knows the necessary procedures for diving up to 45 metres. At those depths, one cannot simply come to the surface. They have to come up gradually so as to account for the bends, a potentially debilitating condition where nitrogen bubbles build up in the bloodstream.

Gay got her start with scuba diving in Vietnam six years ago. While in the city of Hanoi, she saw that a lot of her friends were diving and she wanted to see what the fuss was about. She learned to dive in a place called Nha Tran, right on the South China Sea. 

Hogan, on the other hand, learned to dive in Australian waters in the Great Barrier Reef. And so a journey began that led the two to cross paths in an Etobicoke dive shop in 2019.

“Our skill sets are quite complementary to each other,” said Gay. “My joke is that he has more patience than me. So he tends to take the weaker, more scared divers. And I definitely prefer more independent students."

They would take teaching trips to various locations, including up north in Tobermory. After leaving the Etobicoke store, Hogan started Dirty Adventures in Georgetown and invited Gay to work there. 

Up next, the shop is looking to sell black plate wings, a modular system of what's known as buoyancy compensation devices. 

“We're calling it the Build-A-Bear Workshop. So they can just pick the parts and choose a modular system that works for them,” Gay said.

The war in Ukraine, however, is creating a supply chain issue due to the products coming from Europe. 

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