GUE Fundies -- Locally or Florida?

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Tug

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If you can’t get in a class at Dutch Springs, I highly recommend making the drive up to Alexandria Bay. Bob Sherwood has a shop up there and the logistics are nice and easy. Conditions are usually pretty good as well.
 

kensuf

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You're not taking fundies to look at the scenery in the water. You're taking it to learn the skills that fundies teaches. Take it locally, either with Bob or in Dutch Springs.
 

PfcAJ

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I vote for locally.

It helps you get plugged in with the local community which is big.

And honestly if you do it in Florida it’ll probably be at Blue Grotto. It’s a great training site but it’s not super scenic or anything.
 

Hartattack

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I vote for locally.

It helps you get plugged in with the local community which is big.

And honestly if you do it in Florida it’ll probably be at Blue Grotto. It’s a great training site but it’s not super scenic or anything.

Virgil would say otherwise, AJ! All kidding aside, I'm going to side with most in the thread. If you can take it locally or with Bob, it would be best to do it in your area, However, if you do it in Florida, it gives you a chance to see the history of GUE and how the agency came to be in their backyard with excellent local instructors, along with a tour of HQ and Extreme Exposure. High Springs is an ideal place, and it will give you the dive bug for sure. Nevertheless, the choice is yours, and welcome to the community! Also, if you ever make it out to Chicago, we have a great group of divers out here with Midwest Underwater Explorers; check us out on Facebook (same name), and feel free to join us any time. :coffee:
 

CAPTAIN SINBAD

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One pointer for you mate. Bob Sherwood!
 

Ayisha

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During the fundie you will be doing a lot of skills in shallow water, most likely without current...

Ha, I did Fundies in the St Lawrence river with current. I was the dummy that always seemed to get into position last with my back to the current with my ineffective back kick at the time. The Instructor and Instructor intern faced the current. My teammate faced the current, and she had a good backkick. The one time I took the position before her, she quickly rotated us back to her position. Haha. :D

We had to stay with an ascent line or keep it between us otherwise the current could drift us out of site of it within seconds, so it required constant attention and repositioning.

The Instructor told me on the last day that both of us could face the current diagonally to each other. We didn't have to be across from each other (the way we originally trained in the pool). Doh! :facepalm:
So, word to the wise. :cool:

The following year, Bob Sherwood and Andrew Driver put in platforms in a sheltered area at Bonnie Castle in A-Bay. At least that part is easy now for the Fundies students. :)
 

Ayisha

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I fifth the recommendation of Bob Sherwood. He is an awesome instructor and can really bring out the best in his students.

Bob has regulars that come from New York city and Syracuse often that took various courses from him, as well as his former students from other states, and they still come just to dive with him. It takes me less than 3 hours from another country, but their drive is a lot longer and they don't seem to mind. :)

He has his shop All About Scuba in A-Bay, with the use of a dive boat captained by the very capable Andrew Driver, and Bob will often join the charters just for fun dives. You could always chat with Bob and book dives, and see if you're interested in pursuing training with him.

Good luck in whatever you decide...
 

sunshower

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High Springs is a nice little getaway and Blue Grotto is more pleasant than Dutch; you can always add the gloves and practice when you get home.
 

Ski_Lounge

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Thanks for the fast responses! I think I was probably expecting more of a 50-50 split, but I'm appreciative of the feedback and the reasoning :)

Definitely like the idea of meeting the local GUE community if I dive locally. Are there other ways to meet fellow NY GUE divers if I go the Florida route?

Do it local given the majority of your diving is in the northeast. You will meet local GUE divers as well. I did my Fundies at Dutch Springs in August 2009 (lived in NYC at the time) despite the not stellar clear visibility. We spent most of the class on the platforms so not deep at all.

The visibility was (is?) kinda my primary concern. Being able to watch other folks perform skills is beneficial. I think with Dutch I would need to be rather close to get that kind of observation. Not sure how far apart one tends to be in the Fundies course.

And honestly if you do it in Florida it’ll probably be at Blue Grotto. It’s a great training site but it’s not super scenic or anything.

Actually Blue Grotto has been my favorite dive! Not that I'm looking for a scenic dive per se, but I did not love the high-viz (the one and only time I dived there).

Also, if you ever make it out to Chicago, we have a great group of divers out here with Midwest Underwater Explorers; check us out on Facebook (same name), and feel free to join us any time.

Ha, I might just be in Chicago in a few weeks or so, hoping to sneak in a few dives at Haigh. (Haigh is where I got my OW/AOW, I guess it's sorta like my dive-home?) I'll be in touch!

Advantages of doing it somewhere else:
- you gain experience because you dive into different environments; however, given the kind of training you will do with fundies, this is most likely a minor advantage

That's certainly an interesting point. It does sound rigorous enough to the point that the conditions are less relevant, and I dive often enough at Dutch to know how to deal with those conditions.
 
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