In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…
Pedro Luis Ambrosi Zueco
What is the name of your business?
Scuba Caribe Mexico
What is your role within the business?
Dive Team Leader Playa del Carmen. Organizing the daily dive operations, supervising and mentoring of dive instructor team, control of company quality standards and staff training.
How long has the business operated for?
Scuba Caribe has been around for 27 years. We have recently received the PADI 25-year of Outstanding Service Member Award.
How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?
I have been diving since 2001, my latest qualification level in the PADI Ranking is IDC Staff Instructor. I also hold a Full Cave Diver certification. This year will be my 8th year as a dive professional. In my travels I have visited and dived in over 12 countries, my favorite being the Maldives, and a close second place are the cenotes in Mexico.
What is your favorite type of diving?
Any dive with a strong current is always fun for me. Holding your position on the reef in strong currents always held some excitement for me. Maldives diving, usually had some very strong currents so I learned there and have loved it ever since. Diving with sharks holds a high place as well. You can dive with manta rays and turtles and it is fun, but sharks somehow always get my adrenaline pumping. And last but not least: cave diving is always a special experience. The clearest waters in the world, over 300 mts of visibility, the hypnotizing effects of a halocline, the light show provided by the rays of the sun and the rock formations that are thousands of years old.
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
Playa del Carmen Mexico has something for everybody. We offer bull shark diving in the wintertime, cavern diving in the amazing cenotes all year round. Cenotes diving is only possible in a handful of countries and Mexico can be considered one of the main destinations where you can do it. We are also one of the few dive operators who do direct dive trips to the island of Cozumel to dive the wonderful reefs there. Not to mention the abundant marine life we have here on our local reefs.
What is your favorite dive in your location and why?
When it comes to local reefs, my favourite spot has to be the Sabalos reef. A colorful reef that has a decent current all year round. The dive site has some hidden little swim-through passages and you can spot a large variety of marine life ranging from barracudas and turtles, to nurse sharks and tiny seahorses.
Of the many, one of my favorite cenotes dives is Tajma Ha. Besides mesmerizing light shows, this cenote has much more to offer for both cavern and cave divers. It’s decorated with stalactites, stalagmites and plenty of hidden fossils. Haloclines in the deeper areas create interesting mirror like effects as divers penetrate the layer of salt water, which is below the fresh water. For cave divers there is the “Chinese Garden”.
In Cozumel, Palancar Caves is my top candidate – a maze of swim throughs and canyons that are beautifully decorated with corals and sponges. Giant lobsters, turtles, rays, nurse sharks and butterfly fish are common here.
What types of diving are available in your location?
Shallow reef diving – we have several local reefs with a nice sandy bottom at around 12 mts – perfect for beginner divers and courses. Also several deeper sites and close by, abundant in life and a nice medium current to along with it. Deep divers are also served as we there is a deep wreck dive – 27 ms, and some deeper reefs as well. Cavern and cave diving in the Riviera Maya cenotes is one of the highlights of any visit to Mexico. As for marine life – in the winter months (Dec – Mar) we have bull sharks coming to give birth, and we do observation dives to have a pretty close up look.
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
Mentoring new instructors and watching them develop into great professionals with a passion for their job. Teaching them good diving/ teaching habits and the value of good and honest hard work. Finding solutions for problems and working and teaching with the local staff. Mexicans have an amazing work mentality and a great sense of humor!
What is your favorite underwater creature?
Mantis Shrimps, ever since i saw these little critters in the Maldives I have been fascinated by them. So small yet so deadly and fast, and very comical looking too. This little shrimp has the fastest attack in world, it strikes as fast as a speeding bullet. It strikes so fast that it creates a vacuum bubble, when this bubble collapses it causes a small shockwave that knocks out its prey. Not bad for a little shrimp is it not? It is very intelligent as well. My favorite of the species is the peacock shrimp.
Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
This year we launched our direct to Cozumel dive service and this kicked off really well. We hope to expand our cenote and Cozumel diving aspects.
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
We have adopted a dive site with PADI Project Aware and are doing monthly clean up dives there. We tend to use as much environmentally responsible materials and ways of working. We banned the use of plastic cups and are using paper ones on our boats. We switched to a mostly digital system for all student manuals, thanks to PADI and their digital platform this has been a great change as customers don’t have to use much paper anymore. All our courses and Discover Scuba Diving experiences are begun with explaining the value and importance of the coral reefs and to be careful with them. We are a member of the Saving our Sharks organization in Playa del Carmen. Every winter, we dive with these amazing creatures and all guests are explained the importance of sharks and their role in the ecosystem. Also every diver that does these dives with us, automatically donates to this organization.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?
The diving industry is constantly evolving, new technology and and new methods make it safer and more accessible to more and more people. It is a dive center’s responsibility to uphold the highest safety standards. Snorkeling is one of the biggest activities in any destination, therefore this has to be one of the best supervised. We do our part in training and updating our staff in proper procedures. Having regular staff trainings and evaluations is a really indispensable tool for any centre to uphold its quality and safety standards.
What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
Mexico has it all. If you want to learn how to dive, we have excellent and beautiful shallow reefs to take you for your first dives. Want to improve your level of diving, deep, drift and wreck dives are here as well. If you are looking for some unique experiences, then try cenotes diving. The ancients Mayans considered these caverns entrances to another world – Come and see for yourself what they meant. And lastly, for the thrill seeker: nothing beats a dive where you are circled by several 6-8ft/2-4m Bull sharks. Up close and personal – you bet!
Where can our visitors find out more about your business?