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In the past 13 months, I have Open Water Certified,
Nitrox and Advanced Diver Certified with Jimmie and Paul ..This was my
second trip to Cozumel (2/2009 and 2/2010) and once again it has been
Fantastic...The people that are on these trips have been tons of fun,
information and experience ..
I look forward to taking many trips in the future with them..
I have many more good things to say about Jimmie the instructor and Paul the
person in charge ,but no matter how many good things I say they still won't
carry my dive equipment...hahaha
I am writing this as we have just arrived back from
Cozumel (February 2009) leaving the warm confines of Mexico for the chilly
winter of New York…I wish I was back on the boat.
Word of mouth from my friends lead me to the crew at Ocean Horizons Scuba.
Hearing their tales about the beauty and serenity of the undersea world peaked
my interest, and from the first day of class I was hooked. Paul and Jimmie did
quite a thorough job teaching the techniques and safety associated with scuba
diving…every Tuesday night couldn’t come fast enough. Our class was quite small,
four to be exact, but from the beginning you felt more like a team and not
individuals…assisting one another, being supportive and performing drills as
“buddies”. The eight weeks go by so fast.
The trip to Cozumel for my certification was a “no-brainer” …besides seeing some
of the best reefs this side of the world, I was diving with my instructors who
knew my strengths and weaknesses. The dive group was quite large taking over an
entire boat for the trip. Everyone was warm and welcoming, and it was
interesting how there were conversations about scuba diving, need be it over a
cup of coffee in the morning, while traveling on the boat or while lounging by
the pool. Besides Paul and Jimmie, the veteran divers offered suggestions and
encouragement, and quickly embraced you into their family.
I’m not going to lie to you…there are a lot of things running through your mind
when you dive for the first time in the open water…anticipation, nerviousness,
anxiety,…but the amazing thing about this group is that while you are diving,
you always feel safe and prepared…dive masters, instructors, veteran divers and
your “dive buddy” all form a network with you. And once you embrace this idea of
a family, then its time to enjoy the beauty of scuba diving…
So what is it like underwater…close your eyes and think of the prettiest garden
of flowers you have ever seen, add schools of fish and crustaceans…every shape,
every size…mix in vibrant surreal colors…almost cartoonish…don’t be surprised if
you encounter a stray sea turtle, barracuda or shark…or catch a glimpse of an
eagle ray as it appears from out of the black abyss. And the tranquility of just
hearing your own breathing…
I want to thank Paul and Jimmie for guidance, support and friendship, as they
have opened my eyes to a world where we are just temporary visitors…
would like to thank all the divers from ocean horizons for welcoming me aboard
their boat on your trip to Cozumel. I enjoyed your company and friendship so
much. It truely made my week. Maybe we can meet again on a future trip. I will
keep an eye on your web site.
Diane from Oklahoma City
I will not be going to Cozumel, but I
wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for a wonderful scuba class.
I had an amazing underwater adventure in Bali, and I attribute much of
my confidence to the skills I learned in your class. You were a
patient, calm and knowledgeable teacher who helped set the stage for
many successful dives!
We had a wonderful trip. While we took photos, I am waiting on the
photos from one of our guides, and I'll send them along as soon as I
receive them. Wow. We saw amazing things. My favorite experience was
the drift dive near Nusa Lembongan, an island off the coast of Bali. It
felt like we were flying underwater - and the scenery and fish life were
We worked with a great NAUI dive company - so if you ever head to that
part of the world, I recommend connecting with them. And I completed my
certification, so I'll drop by soon to bring you the completed forms.
Enjoy your summer. Thanks again,
I used to kick myself for not taking up diving earlier in
my life. I always wanted to try it, thought about it many times, but just never
quite had the time or the money or whatever. Finally, about 3 years ago, I took
the class at my local Y, with Paul Bardo and Jimmy Grogan of Ocean Horizons
Scuba (OHS) in Brooklyn. I am so thankful I did! The classes were great, and the
NAUI/YMCA instruction I got with Ocean Horizons was the best - skilled teaching,
smart and patient instruction, a premium on safety, respect and love for the
sport (and for the ocean and marine life), humor, honesty, etc. etc.
At the end of that class I took my first group trip with OHS to Roatan, where I
did my certification dives, and then spent the week reinforcing skills and
learning a ton from Paul and Jimmy, and all the other experienced divers in the
group. Plus, I went by myself and was nervous and intimidated, but that faded
away with the all the FUN and true generosity of everyone there - need to ask a
question? (Even an embarrassing one?) No problem. Need advice? A cough drop?
bottle of water? fresh beer? extra t shirt? hair band? sunscreen? spare part?
wake up call? volleyball? flashlight? Help with anything at all? Just say the
word. Everyone was friendly, welcoming and supportive - not to mention that to
finally be diving - really diving! - was a total thrill. It was one of the best
experiences of my life. And now, 6 trips later? I'm so hooked.
I could easily go on, but long story short, I can't kick myself any more about
waiting. The luck of timing got me to that particular Y class and I just cannot
imagine having better instructors, or a life without OHS dive trips now. I
really can't - I only wish I could go a lot more often. The trips are really
well run, and Paul and Jimmy bring endless experience and enthusiasm to the
groups. They are both incredible divers, teachers, mentors and friends. (And
they are quite simply two of the best people I've ever met in my life. Ever.
Yours very grateful (and lucky!),
When I decided I wanted to learn how to scuba dive, the only advice I got was to
go with a NAUI instructor, and that I should check out the YMCA. At the time, I
lived on the upper east side, and I was also a relatively new transplant to New
York. I Googled Scuba instruction and YMCA. There were very few NAUI
instructors, and I called 2. Paul is the only one who called me back. He took
his time talking to me, and answered all my questions, and told when the next
class was meeting up, at the Y in Park Slope. He told me which train I could
take ad where to get off and how to find the Y. He was patient in the class and
in the pool. He took his time with each and every person in the pool, explaining
what everything was, demonstrating how it worked and sharing pearls of diving
wisdom throughout each session. No question was off limits. Paul's enthusiasm is
contagious, his words of encouragement still run through my head. I did my dive
training with Paul, and my checkout dives with Paul and Nino, and went on my
first trip to Cozumel with Ocean Horizons Scuba. I was a loaner/first-timer on
that trip, and believe me, I made every mistake, and I'm sure I was plenty of
work on that trip, but I never felt stupid, or afraid, or at risk. After all, I
was surrounded by a group of professional life-savers and long time divers whose
jobs were to save people in dangerous situations and surely they would be able
take care of me if I got into trouble! I felt that I was in the safest possible
situation. I felt friendship, warmth, encouragement, and camaraderie. There was
no judgment, criticism, or hostility. Just a bunch of divers on the boat. A
first I was terribly self-conscious, but it turns out it was for no reason. I
could ask anyone any thing, and always got a considerate and helpful answer. By
the end of that first trip it all came together, and I felt better than great.
My fate was sealed... I had become a diver. It has changed my life. I think
about diving the way some people think about Yoga, or running. I love it. I try
to get in the water whenever I can. My relationship to the ocean has changed. My
sense of adventure has been sparked. Instead of ooo-ing and ahh-ing a pretty
sunset or jumping in for a quick dip and laying on the beach with a
book listening to the waves break, I wonder about conditions: visibility,
currents, water temperature; if there's a dive shop close by, can I still get in
a dive that day?- what is swimming around just out of sight, and can I get down
there to see it? I still ooo and ahhh for the sunsets and the incredible vistas,
but there is now so much more to it. The diving community is broad and wide. I
find fellow divers in the most unlikely places, and immediately we have a
passionate interest in common, and its a great conversation starter, or
sometimes conversation saver! I will be forever grateful to Paul and Nino and
Jimmy for training me in class and in the pool, the chlorinated one and the
salty one! in addition to all the other people I have had the privilege to come
to know through OHS and who have shared their time and experiences with me. Each
time I go under water I can hear Paul's voice at one point or another, repeating
one of the many pearls of wisdom he shared in those few weeks at the Park Slope
Y. Heart-felt thanks and big juicy kisses to each and every one of the many whom
I have come to know and love through the glorious but not exactly glamorous
world of diving.
Until our next great adventure together- Caprice Bart, Minneapolis, MN
Back in 97 I got a gift certificate for the open water
certification, took the class at the Y on 9th street with Paul and Nino and
never looked back.
First trip was to Anthony's Key Honduras with over 40 people.I learned the
basics of diving with these guy's and with every trip I learned a little more,
twelve years later and a lot of Continental one pass miles and good times racked
up with Paul I can still say I'm learning more on every trip. Can't get to that
Elite One Pass mile status for some reason??
Paul and Ocean Horizons have brought me to places I never would have traveled
too if not for taking the class and the encounters I have had both under and
above the waves are priceless... For me one place stands alone - Palau - My Dad,
an old leatherneck Marine landed on Pelelui in 1945 with the 5th Marine
Regiment. He never spoke about his time spent on that Island and thanks to Paul
I had two chances to stand on the same beach he landed on and get a personal
look at the history of the battle. To see my dads pictures hanging at the
entrance of the museum and to get some the best diving in the world at the same
time can't be topped.
From dodging a Whale Shark in Costa Rica... Cruising through Taputu pass in
Tahiti... watching a sunset in Cozumel with some good tunes and Mike in the
background (ELLOOO!!!) to squaring off with a Sea lion in La Paz I owe a thanks
to Paul and Ocean Horizons.
No complaints here... just one minor detail I have been trying to figure out
after all these years.............................. you see Paul has 1,500 songs
on his IPOD and everyone is his (All TIME CLASSIC FAVORITE ) Just can't figure
Here's to good times, good diving, good music and good friends!!!
P.S. If you are looking to take a class with Ocean Horizons I highly recommend
them. Paul and Jimmy are the best I know at this and
will teach you a safe and fun way to dive.
|Bob Malfucci about
August 2008 Cozumel trip.
I'm basically the quiet type. My extemporaneous speaking
is usually limited to four or five words, like “My wife loves diving!”. But
given some time to contemplate an experience I occasionally feel the need to put
my thoughts down and share them with others. Our week in Cozumel last month was
such an experience.
I originally planned to write a brief thank-you to Paul; then I realized it
couldn’t be brief. Then I realized it was not only to Paul, but to Jimmy, and
Bruce, and everyone else too. This was a most congenial, relaxing, easy-going
group of people to be diving with. The Ocean Horizons team put together a great
trip, and Casa del Mar has a certain charm that just draws you back again and
again. But in the final analysis I believe it’s ultimately the group that
determines whether a trip is a success or not. And this week was a resounding
success. My thanks go out to all of you.
From the welcoming Caribbean party on Saturday night, to the beautiful rainbow
that bid us goodbye on the following Saturday morning, this trip is a string of
pleasant memories for me.
We saw some wonderful examples of nature both above and below the waves, and
many of us experienced our first night dive.
Did any of you notice the incredible stars in that moonless sky when we came
We had a number of relatively in-experienced divers (myself included), and this
trip gave us the opportunity to build on our skills and grow from our
experiences. We shared and enjoyed the triumphal smiles of Donny, Joe and
Barbara after their first reef dive, and saw that wonderful look of pride and
accomplishment in the eyes of their instructors.
Could anyone be better at this than Jimmy & Paul?
Relaxing in the pool after our dives, tossing the football around (and
occasionally into the bar), not only provided adult camaraderie - it also
developed a certain bond between Terance and Kevin. I don’t think Kevin
suggested any sort of aquatic acrobatics that Terance wasn’t willing to attempt,
and Terance may be the first human being to be launched over a volleyball net in
the Casa del Mar pool.
Mario and the team from Delmar Aquatics were superb as usual. We’re in good
hands with these guys.
Closing the week out on Friday evening, the entertainment by the pool and the
send-off dinner arranged by Sandra were just further examples of how Casa del
Mar makes you feel welcome and appreciated. It’s like going home.
Again, my thanks go out to Paul for all his hard work in pulling this magical
week together, made all the more difficult by the complications of last year’s
hurricane experience. It was a great week, at a great place, with a great group