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HISTORY: Underworld Scuba was set up as a business in Colorado in 1987, just before the planned permanent move to Mexico. After 3 unsatisfying years in Puerto Vallarta, and tired of the corruption, Susan Dearing moved her dive operation to Manzanillo, after first checking out several other towns along the Pacific Coast. At first there was no dive center, and she operated her entire business out of a booth at the Hotel Sierra (now the Tesoro).
In 1995 Susan met Carlos Cuellar, who had more than 30 years of diving experience, most of it in Manzanillo. Carlos, formerly from the Houston, Texas area, but holding dual citizenship (American and Mexican), encouraged Susan to open up a dive shop, originally located in Plaza Pacifico on Av. Audiencia.
Just days after their new dive store opened, an 8.0 earthquake struck Manzanillo, October 9, 1995. Parts of the Plaza were destroyed, though nothing in the dive store was broken or damaged. Plaza Pacifico owners tried in vain to get funds together to deal with the damage, but in the end, the plaza went back to the bank.
Underworld Scuba–now a PADI International Resort Association member–after 8 years at the plaza, moved to its current location on the boulevard in Santiago. The new location allowed Underworld Scuba to expand, adding more services and increasing retail sales, and in 2002 it became a PADI Dive Center.
NAME CHANGE: Over the years, Susan had various Mexican employees, and none could pronounce the word “underworld.” (“World,” or the “rld” ending just doesn’t slide off the tongue right if Spanish is your first language.) Another problem was that many times, the company would be mistakenly called “Underwater Scuba” by customers, and even PADI had the company listed as “Underwater Scuba” for more than a year!
With the move to the larger building, Carlos and Susan decided to come up with a name that employees could pronounce–hence the name Scuba Shack, or in Spanish, La Cabaña del Buceo. Now both names are being used, because all the suppliers of scuba equipment, PADI, their American bank account and business, plus 20 years of repeat customers still know Susan and Carlos by Underworld Scuba.
New customers will know Scuba Shack, or La Cabaña del Buceo. Currently with PADI, both names are being used; however, their store is listed in 12 different tourist guidebooks with the Underworld Scuba name, so, for a while, they will have to continue using both names.
The PADI Dive Center is located at Km. 15 (15000) Blvd. Miguel de la Madrid (Hwy. 200), Santiago (Manzanillo) 2 blocks north of Juanito’s Restaurant at the light. There is a PEMEX gas station/Kiosko convenience store next door, the only one in Manzanillo on the ocean side of the street.
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20 years in Manzanillo
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