Author Topic: Scuba Diving, SE Florida, Mustachian Lifestyle?  (Read 2872 times)

Big Boots Buddha

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Scuba Diving, SE Florida, Mustachian Lifestyle?
« on: February 24, 2014, 08:01:01 AM »
Hey fellow Mustachians,

DW and I and thinking about where we want to move in the US to live our frugal lives. We're in China now and while the money is great and I'm happy with my friends and playing lots of board games (cheap) / basketball (free) we want to move back to the USA.

We went to the Phillipines and fell in love with Scuba diving and both also love snorkeling. SE Florida, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Jupiter area (anyone from?) appears to be a great mix of beaches, snorkeling, beach dives, reefs, wrecks, great weather and reasonable prices.

So the big Q: What about Scuba and Mustaches, do they mix? Once the gear is bought (I have some now, but need most and DW needs all) its not that expensive especially if I employ some Mustache techniques and learn to service my own equipment and get more hands on to the hobby instead of paying people to do everything for me. Any SCUBA-ers can chime in please do!

I would LOVE to move to Honolulu but our 'stache just isnt large enough and while we both make good money here it wont translate into high paying jobs in the states. I teach English and save about 30K US a year. DW is Chinese employed as a heating and cooling design engineer, not as many skyscrapers going up in the states as in China (thousands) so she has lots of work here but her friends in the states say its hard to get a job. So we would be poor when we go back, but thats ok! We're frugal, live cheaply and just need some water to play around in, some bikes, maybe a motorcycle/scooter and a double wide (house insurance is killer in Florida, I couldnt believe I had to look it up several times).

Thanks in advance friends, Any Advice about SE Florida mustachian lifestyles and SCUBA diving there frugally would be great. I do plan on traveling down there in the next year and spending some time couchsurfing, tenting, slumming it in general to get a feel for the place, then maybe rent something cheap for a couple months and snorkel everyday, look for work. So I'm already kinda zero'd in. But really looking for some ideas about the lifestyle from someone who may be living in now *fingers crossed*.

Jmoody10

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Re: Scuba Diving, SE Florida, Mustachian Lifestyle?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 09:36:32 AM »
Diving certainly isn't the most frugal activity but it is certainly a blast! A few things to keep your costs down:

Stick to beach dives to save on gas or find someone with a boat and room to spare. Learn to service your equipment. When you get your other equipment, check with the dive shops/local colleges. You can often get some good deals on their 2-3 year old items (like tanks, BCs, etc)

You might also want to look at inland dives. Florida has some nice springs/lakes that are fun and nearly free!

the fixer

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Re: Scuba Diving, SE Florida, Mustachian Lifestyle?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 10:23:11 AM »
Servicing your own equipment requires some scale to save money, and/or the right gear. I used to do a lot of tech & cave diving and owned 6 regulators, including the two built in to my rebreather. Almost all the regs were Dive Rite, with the exception of one Atomic. The Dive Rites were really easy to service, you could find the service manuals online, you could buy the parts kits online, and there was only one special tool needed for the whole process, a pin spanner that could be bought either from some online SCUBA retailers or from McMaster-Carr (a mail-order hardware supplier). There are a few other generic items needed, like a first stage handle that lets you mount the first stage in a vise without clamping the body. The Magnehelic is the most expensive piece of equipment, but if you have the right 2nd stages you don't need it, I never bought or used one. I also owned enough regs that I got to get a lot of practice at it.

You will want to own this book: http://airspeedpress.com/newregbook.html

The Atomic, however, was a pain and I never bothered to service it myself. It would have cost an extra $100 in proprietary Atomic tools just to take the thing apart, and I'm not sure where I could get the parts kits. But at least I found an online service manual for it. Aqualung and Scubapro are even worse from what I hear.

One way to hack this is to do some part-time work for a dive shop, either teaching or DMing. By being an instructor you can basically let your hobby break even on costs, and the shop will probably take care of servicing your gear for you at a discount or for free. You could even get them to send you to DEMA so you can take the manufacturer's courses and become an official repair tech.

I second the suggestion of the inland dives, that's where I did almost all my diving. Cave diving is super-cheap compared to ocean diving, at least once you've done all the training and have all the gear. Check out the Florida state parks which only require a $50/year pass: Peacock Springs, Troy Springs, Manatee Springs, Madison Blue, etc.

Big Boots Buddha

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Re: Scuba Diving, SE Florida, Mustachian Lifestyle?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 06:09:33 PM »
One way to hack this is to do some part-time work for a dive shop, either teaching or DMing. By being an instructor you can basically let your hobby break even on costs, and the shop will probably take care of servicing your gear for you at a discount or for free. You could even get them to send you to DEMA so you can take the manufacturer's courses and become an official repair tech.

I second the suggestion of the inland dives, that's where I did almost all my diving. Cave diving is super-cheap compared to ocean diving, at least once you've done all the training and have all the gear. Check out the Florida state parks which only require a $50/year pass: Peacock Springs, Troy Springs, Manatee Springs, Madison Blue, etc.

Great thoughts Fixer,

I'm thinking of going down to Honduras and diving for a while to get all my needed certifications so that I could get a part time job at the Local Dive Shop. That makes a lot of sense. Work at the shop will learn a lot. Dive in, as they say. =)

Why would cave diving be cheaper compared to beach dives? And since I've never been cave diving, whats the allure? Other than swimming around, are there fish or any life there? I've dived some wall reefs in the Philliphines near Bohol that were destroyed by the earthquake they had last year and while the there were huge overhangs and places to putter around and check out, it didn't do anything for me. I'd rather see a big school of jacks swimming around =0

Info was super!

the fixer

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Re: Scuba Diving, SE Florida, Mustachian Lifestyle?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2014, 06:52:47 PM »
Sorry I wasn't clear, cave diving is cheaper than boat diving, which I did a lot of for a while until I could no longer justify the enormous cost and unpredictable conditions. If you do beach dives it's even cheaper. There's some really neat wildlife in the caves, but it's of a different nature and sometimes harder to find. I think that makes it more exciting when you do see it!

There's one other option you have in the dive industry, especially if you want to move to a really popular dive destination: leverage your non-diving skills to get a job at a dive shop or resort. I heard one story from an instructor of an accountant who wanted to move to the Caymans and become a diving instructor. She sent her dive instructor resume out to lots of resorts but got no interest. It turns out she was doing it wrong; per my instructor's advice, she switched to sending out an accounting resume. She got a job for a resort doing their books and some DMing/teaching on the side. Everyone will have the exact same instructor credentials and hundreds of dives that you have when you look for these jobs, but you can stand apart from the crowd by other talents you may have that you can contribute. All these places are small businesses and will appreciate people who can wear lots of hats as needed.

artScience

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Re: Scuba Diving, SE Florida, Mustachian Lifestyle?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 01:59:38 AM »
As a caver and a diver (but not a cave diver), I just want to warn you that cave diving is a whole different thing! It's much more dangerous than either of the other two activities alone, and experienced people die relatively frequently. I did do one 'cavern dive' in a cenote in Mexico -- overhead environment, but never too far from a being in a place where there's air above your head. It was absolutely beautiful, especially to someone who loves caves; it's cool to just float through a cave! But definitely get the proper training if you decide to go for it.

My husband and I are moving to Central Fl in about a month, so I'd also be interested in hearing what good deals you find :)