Long-established dive centre Aquanauts Grenada is now under new ownership, with the Geer family from California taking over the reins from Peter and Gerlinde Seupel.
The Geers' – father Tom, mother Tammy, son Tyler and daughter Tiffany – move to dive centre ownership has been a rollercoaster adventure. Tom and Tyler made their first foray into diving on Father's Day 13 years ago, and what started out as a hobby rapidly became an obsession. The first inklings that this is what they wanted to spend the rest of their lives doing was now evident, and Tammy soon got her certification to be able to dive with them as well. Shortly afterwards Tiffany – who was away at university – got qualified as a diver too, while working on a coral restoration project in Nicaragua.
Now the entire family was hooked on diving, they started bouncing around ideas about what it would be like to own a dive centre. What began as chats around the dinner table rapidly progressed into a business plan, and they became more clear on their mission – ‘ocean engagement for a healthy planet'.
As Tiffany explains: “We not only wanted to embrace the magic of the aquatic world, but leave a lasting legacy and positive impact so future generations could enjoy this beautiful planet too.”
They came up with a name for their organisation, HydroSoul, and began actively looking for a ‘home'. The search started in the US, branched out to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, before island hopping across the Caribbean. In April 2020, Tom happened across Aquanauts Grenada, and as soon as the island reopened from COVID-19 restrictions, he and Tammy were on a plane to check it out. After spending a month in-island, Tom knew that HydroSoul had found its home.
Tyler and Tiffany were soon Grenada-bound to see it for themselves. The original plan was to stay for one month and then go back to the US to properly ‘move', but due to COVID-19 – and as Tiffany says, ‘our love for the island' – they never left. The transition of change of ownership happened much quicker than anyone expected, but now the whole family is committed to getting Aquanauts Grenada – and the island itself – back on the dive tourism map.
Aquanauts Grenada will continue to provide PADI and SDI/TDI courses, but will also offer SSI and, in the future, GUE courses. Inclusivity is also very important for the Geers, with both Tom and Tyler being HSA instructors, and they aim to run adaptive programmes for those with accessibility issues. True Blue Bay Resort, where Aquanauts Grenada is based, has accessible rooms, and as it has the only dock access on the island, boarding the dive boats is simple as well.
Regular Aquanauts Grenada clientele will be pleased to see all the familiar faces in place among the staff. Paul Ward is now lead instructor, and he is busy training up Chrispin, Bruce and Myron to become instructors in the next few months. They are also becoming boat captains. As Tiffany explains: “To help our crew recover post-COVID-19, we want to ensure the maximum amount of hours and healthy lifestyles for each of them. Diving every day can be taxing on the body, so they're training to be boat captains as well so we can rotate roles and keep them well”.
The Geers have also created multiple sustainable initiatives and community events since stepping into the role. They do monthly Reef Clean-up Dives and Lionfish Taco events. They go out for two clean-up dives, where divers can either pick up rubbish from the bottom of the sea, or hunt the invasive lionfish. Later that day, they collaborate with the local brewery, West Indies Brewery Co, to host the Lionfish Tacos and Live Music event. They provide the lionfish fillets, and the brewery chefs make delicious tacos and lionfish-and-chips. A local band provide the music, and at a break, Chrispin shares facts about lionfish and demonstrates how to fillet them so others don't get poked by their venomous spines but can enjoy the fish, if they choose to hunt on their own.
For Earth Day 2021, the theme was Restore Our Earth, so they initiated a multi-day, nationwide clean-up event and collaborated with other dive centres, restaurants and eco-organisations.
Tiffany is a yoga instructor, and has begun teaching weekly classes at the True Blue yoga deck, and plans on hosting yoga retreats in the future, as well as teaching Scuba Yoga courses to insight mindfulness in the aquatic world.
Peter and Gerlinde Seupel
German couple Peter and Gerlinde made Aquanauts Grenada into one of the most-popular dive centres in the entire Caribbean, with a high number of repeat clientele. They offered a sublime blend of recreational and technical diving, all delivered in a warm, welcoming and friendly environment.
Long-time friends of the Scuba Diver team, we wish them the very best for the future, although I can't see them being the sort of people to retire by putting their feet up. I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future!