Dearing, owner of Underworld Scuba - Scuba Shack, was born in Branson, Missouri, where she grew up
working in the tourist industry. At age 8 she'd show visitors to
Branson where the best fishing holes were for crappie and bass,
directed them to the best "mom and pop" cafes, and stood
on the main street corner lecturing on the crotophytus collaris
(collared lizard). Of course, the brave tourists were the ones who
petted the 13-inch-long male, sleeping on her shoulder.
paid her way through college by working for local weekly newspapers,
and was graduated with a degree in English. She worked in print
media for more than 17 years, starting as a journalist, artist,
editor, finally general manager.
At the age of 37, she radically changed her
lifestyle and career, became a scuba diving instructor, and moved to
Pto. Vallarta. After 3 dissatisfying years, she relocated to
Manzanillo, where she operates the dive shop, teaching all levels
of scuba diving from beginner to instructor.
Susan at PADI's Project
AWARE beach clean-up with Mexican Special Forces divers. Last year's
ocean clean-up, sponsored by Underworld Scuba, had more than 40
|In November of 1998,
she returned to school once again to become an instructor with PADI,
and now also teaches all PADI courses, including Discover Scuba,
Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, Divemaster and
Emergency First Response.
Susan, 60, and single, currently lives in Solearis (behind the Soriana supermarket). She has several a new additions to her animal family,
Lucky and Sandy (adopted street dogs), and 12 adopted cats. You can visit them at the new
scuba shop, named Scuba Shack (opened September 1, 2003), at Km. 15,
Blvd. Miguel de la Madrid in Santiago.
Teaching new divers is
always a pleasure, especially in Manzanillo's warm waters.
Susan also designs
web sites and web pages, including the popular www.gomanzanillo.com,
sells real estate, and is the author of a tourist guidebook, "Facts,
Tips & Day Trips, Guide to Manzanillo and Colima,"
designed to give prospective visitors to Manzanillo information to
make their stay more pleasurable. She has also written a tourist
guide for the Barra de Navidad and Melaque area. The
book is also available locally for $25 at the Hotel La Posada or at
Susan's scuba shop.
Other hobbies besides diving include
underwater photography, camping, hiking, ATVing, and exploring Mexico, and
writing feature articles about Mexico.
Not counting her own pets, she is active in
turtle and iguana rescue (both endangered species), helps out at two
orphanages, and is on the board of the Enrique Corey Scholarship
Fund for disadvantaged children. Recently, she has joined two humane
society groups, and is active in animal rescue and spay-neuter
She has lived in Manzanillo for 20 years.
This pregnant green
iguana visited the dive center one day. Before it was released into
the wild, Susan had to have a final photo.
|Carlos Cuellar, partner
and general manager of Underworld Scuba - Scuba Shack has been with
the company for more than 15 years. A former marine and Viet Nam
veteran, Carlos learned to dive when he was 12, living with his
mother and stepfather in Manzanillo. His first dive was in Playa
Audiencia, where they filmed the movie "10" with Bo Derek
and Dudley Moore.
Born in Redwood City, California, of Mexican
parents from the Guadalajara area, Carlos divided his time between
the U.S. and Mexico. After Viet Nam, Carlos settled in Houston,
Texas, where his two grown sons, Shan and Mark are now living. His
mother and other family members currently live in Guadalajara,
except for two cousins, who live in Manzanillo..
Though he spent a lot of time in Texas,
Manzanillo was never forgotten, from his
younger days, and he moved back here in 1993, to manage his cousin's
fumigation company. Not being overjoyed at exterminating "creepy
crawlies," Carlos decided to get back into scuba diving after a
chance meeting with Susan at the old Jalapeños restaurant in Manzanillo.
Carlos, 62, and
single, oversees the daily operation of the business, though he is
also a CMAS instructor and a PADI Divemaster. He now enjoys dual
citizenship, and is proud to be both Mexican and American. He was
actually the first person in the state of Colima to receive dual
citizenship, after the passage of a new law several years ago.
Diving for Trash
Filming a Pacifico beer
In addition to his duties at the scuba
shop, Carlos does translations, helps out with Susan's real estate
transactions, is chairman of the Enrique Corey Scholarship Fund
Dinner Dance, and heads the PADI Project Aware ocean clean-up
campaign for Manzanillo. He also does radio spots and speaks about
ecology/ocean issues at the various schools and orphanages.
Obviously an animal lover, he helps care
for the Scuba Shack menagerie, and also enjoys doing tours and
visiting botaneros, particularly when the featured singer is a
beautiful female Mariachi!
worked with both the Discovery Channel videophotographers, and the
American Pacifico beer company, who are producing a video for a
promotional "Web Trek" via the Internet.
Carlos at "Wings Army," a restaurant in
Manzanillo with a military theme. Carlos' USMC flag is proudly
Carlos the Cowboy
|He also answers
questions about Manzanillo under his web page, "Ask an
Hombre!", which is a section of www.gomanzanillo.com.
If you have any particular question to ask, whether it be about
scuba diving or living in Mexico, write him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Besides scuba diving, Carlos enjoys all
sports, including basketball, baseball, football, soccer, and the
If there is a game on, Carlos will be
watching it! If you want to make sure you see a game, come to the
He adds, "All marines
and former marines are welcome! Semper Fi!"
Giving instructions to
divers at the
PADI Project AWARE beach clean-up
Hernandez, 50, PADI Master Scuba Diving Instructor and
marine biologist, has lived in Manzanillo for many years, along with
his wife Elaine, also a marine biologist, and two children Daniel
and Brenda, who are currently going to college in Colima. Thirteen
years ago, he was one of Susan Dearing's first students, and since
that time he has turned his love of diving into a career.
By working for the government agency
CRIP--Centro Regional de Investigación Pesquera de Manzanillo
(Central Region for Investigation of Fish) under the auspices of
Instituto Nacional de la Pesca (National Institute of Fishing),
Fernando participated in many studies of marine animals and the
marine environment in the Manzanillo area.
Self portrait: Looking
at the underwater
world through rose-colored lenses.
In the early days with CRIP, Fernando and his
fellow divers used an onboard compressor to provide air to them at depth.
The gasoline-powered compressor pumped air through a common plastic garden
hose, which was attached to a regulator second stage. As they collected
samples of marine life, they would sometimes reach depths of almost 100
feet, and the pressures at that depth made the surface-supplied air hard
to get out of the nearly collapsed hose. Though trained scientists, they
had no idea of the rules of diving. After seeing several divers get the
"bends," or decompression sickness, and once, running out of air
at 95 ft. (the compressor above stopped after running out of gas),
Fernando decided he needed to know more about diving.
After becoming a certified SCUBA diver and
learning all the laws and rules, Fernando knew he could never be
comfortable diving any other way, and his love of the ocean and its life
made Fernando want to progress to become an instructor, working his way up
with Underworld Scuba, and doing thousands of dives in Manzanillo's bays
and along its rocky coast.
Not only does
Fernando love the ocean, but he also discovered he loves teaching
diving. He has a special talent for teaching, too, whether it be a
PADI Discover Scuba Diving beginners class, or training a PADI
divemaster. He is well-known for his patience, enthusiasm, and
concern for the safety of others.
As an advocate of protecting the marine
environment, he has participated in numerous ocean clean-ups, and
teaches several PADI specialty courses, such as Underwater Fish
Identification and Underwater Photography. Many of his incredible
photos are seen throughout this website. His hobbies, of course,
include diving, underwater photography, hiking, and mountain biking.
His wife of 31 years, Elaine, who has a PhD in
marine sciences, just published her first book of fish species of
commercial value along the coast of Colima. Fernando and Elaine live in
Las Brisas, where they also help in turtle rescue. Any turtle eggs
confiscated from poachers are given to them to incubate, and the
hatchlings are turned loose in a ceremony at sundown on the Las Brisas
beach whenever the need arises.
Private class at Scuba
Shack; learning is fun
under a shady palapa.
Fernando and Elaine are currently coauthoring a
book, under government grant, entitled "Sea Life of the Colima Coast." It
will contain his underwater photos, and all sea life will be identified by
both their English and Spanish names, as well as genus.
Johnson doesn't have time to get old.
Diane, who retired and moved
to Manzanillo 3 years ago , has been divorced since 88. She has two grown
sons, Michael and Mark, and a grandson Josh. She grew up in Massachusetts,
and in the beginning spoke French fluently (French-Canadian ancestry), but
hasn't spoken a word since the age of 10. She moved to hot and arid
Arizona in 1970, (quite a change from the northeast), and loves "not
shoveling my weather," Diane quips. With most of her family gone, she
deeply values her friendships, and looks forward to meeting new people and
developing new relationships.
Diane, who is a PADI
Divemaster, states emphatically, "Diving is MY PASSION!" She regularly
dives in Manzanillo, and can hardly wait until her next dive vacation. At
Scuba Shack, she serves as a back-up Divemaster, and dives "whenever
someone needs a dive buddy." She also serves as a guide on snorkel trips
for the dive center.
a single woman who is extremely independent and outspoken, Diane seems to
be able to handle everything life deals her with aplomb and
determination--and she does it with style! In her quest for sunshine, and
warm turquoise waters to dive in, she has made many new friends, including
the fishy kind, as the photos aptly show.
Diane, whose favorite color
is Pink (you didn't notice all that pink dive gear?), enjoys other
activities, such as going to amusement parks, antique stores, flea
markets, art galleries, museums, country clubs, comedy clubs, concerts,
live theater, movies and restaurant/bars. She also enjoys, boating,
sailing, rafting, walking or hiking. Nature is important, as is enjoying a
margarita while looking for the mystical "green flash" at sunset.
enjoys all kinds of food, and all types of music. She often sneaks away
for a weekend trip with
friends. Diane considers herself very "low maintenance," and firmly
believes everyone needs a hug.
"I am a very 'young-at-heart' woman; age is
relative, and I don't act mine!" Diane says of herself. "I'm a sun
worshiper, so I want to be somewhere that is warm, wet and salty!" Diane
describes herself as "real and grounded, honest and trustworthy. I don't
play head games, and am the type of person who just tells it like it is."
She has been diving with
Susan Dearing for more than 20 years. In fact, they met when they were
both on a dive vacation. To her, working at Scuba Shack is not work at
all.. "It's like getting paid to have fun," Diane says.
Always has a
smile for customers
Jonathan Martinez is Scuba Shack's newest staff member. At 18, he
is also the youngest, and hails from Washington, D.C. Fluent in both
English and Spanish, he is a great asset to Scuba Shack. He has the
responsibility of running the office while Carlos and Susan are away,
as well as conducting snorkeling trips.
He has been recently
certified in PADI Emergency First Response (EFR), and is working his
way toward a PADI Divemaster certification. He is also a Jujitsu
martial arts practitioner, works out at the gym daily, and plays
safety on the first American football team in Manzanillo.
his 18th birthday party
In addition to staffing the
office and serving as a guide on snorkeling tours, Jonathan prints out and
guidebook, helps wash equipment, and assists the staff instructors
Jonathan's parents have lived
in Manzanillo for a long time, and his mother is originally from Colima.
His 3 other brothers and sister live in Washington, D.C.
- Scuba Shack Canine and
Feline Staff Members
Not only does Underworld's staff believe in
taking care of our divers, we believe in taking care of our environment,
including dogs and cats, and sometimes burros and iguanas! Thanks
for your support all these years. Our kids above and below appreciate it!
Sandy, above, was rescued at La Boquita, where a little boy was trying to
drown her. She still loves the water, however, especially riding in the
boat or sitting on a snorkeler's back. She's also cat-friendly.