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Handicapped Scuba Diving

Disabilities Don't Have to Limit Underwater Activities

In late January 2006 a group of eighteen people embarked on a dive trip to Divi Tiara Beach Resort in Cayman Brac that would forever change their lives. One of the Caribbean's top dive resorts, Divi Tiara has welcomed thousands of divers over the years. What made this group special was that five of the people in the group were paralyzed and each was making this trip as part of a dive therapy/disabled diver program for quadriplegics and paraplegics.

The trip was put together by Englewood, Colorado's A-1 Scuba & Travel Center and Craig Hospital, which is dedicated to providing care to patients with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.

Although each diver had a different story to tell all came to the resort with the same ultimate goal - to experience the adventure and exhilaration of scuba diving just as any other able-bodied person would. For Tom Isaac, this trip was especially emotional. Nearly twenty-four years ago he broke his neck bodysurfing and had not been back into the ocean since. While on this trip to Divi Tiara he became certified.

"The only limits we have are the limits we put on ourselves. Some-body who's disabled can do anything they can put their minds to."

Dave Farrell took this trip on the one year anniversary of his injury. Speaking about scuba diving he said "it gives me the joy that I got out of the other things I did…I get back to the same kind of happiness I had before."

For another member of the group, David Hosick, diving gives him the ultimate freedom - "once you're in the water, there's no issues of accessibility, there's no longer steps to worry about."

While this group was particularly special to the staff at Divi Tiara it is not the first group of disabled divers the resort has hosted. Divi Tiara along with its "sister" dive resort, Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino in Bonaire have been welcoming handicapped divers for many years, and have developed strong ties with the Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA).

Giving disabled travelers nearly unlimited access to all resort facilities Divi Tiara and Divi Flamingo offer handicapped-accessible guestrooms (fifteen at Divi Tiara and eight at Divi Flamingo) with roll in showers or tubs with handles and holdbars and doors wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, and ramps throughout the resorts to the dive docks, bars, lobby/front desks, beach areas, pools, restaurants and the patio at Divi Tiara.

Additionally the resorts' on-site dive centers offer wheelchair-accessible custom dive boats and the staff are specially trained to accommodate disabled divers and their particular needs.

The seven other Divi Resorts also offer handicapped-accessible guestrooms (some facilities are accessible as well).

"Our handicapped-accessible facilities provide not only accessibility, but also give disabled travelers independence," said Mark Steward, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Divi Resorts. "Providing the facilities to enable disabled people to dive like any other able-bodied person sends an important message that there is really no limit to what they can do. The five divers from Colorado, in particular, and their determination to live life to the fullest is an inspiration to us all."

Located on Cayman Brac, the Divi Tiara Beach Resort offers a freshwater pool, complimentary use of lighted tennis court and bicycles, kayaks and water trampoline, volleyball, meeting facilities, three gift shops and one restaurant and bar. Its on-site dive center, Divi Dive Tiara, is a PADI 5 Star Gold Palm dive center. With its patented hassle free valet-style dive service Divi Dive Tiara offers daily boat dives, complete gear handling and storage, instruction at all levels to Nitrox, five 40-foot custom dive boats and is the "Home Site of the Nikon School of Underwater Photography," a state-of-the-art full service underwater photo/video center.

Divi Resorts, the largest Caribbean-only hotel chain, operates nine resorts on six Caribbean islands including the Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino in St. Croix; Divi Little Bay Beach Resort in St. Maarten; Divi Southwinds Beach Resort and Divi Heritage Beach Resort in Barbados; Divi Tiara Beach Resort in Cayman Brac; Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino in Bonaire; and Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, Divi Village Golf and Beach Resort and Divi Dutch Village Resort in Aruba.

For more information on Divi Resorts call 1-800-367-3484, or visit

(Source: Divi Resorts)