I have been diving for about 18 years now, in just about every corner of the world. I have some high expectations when it comes to a dive shop, and Tofo Scuba exceeds them all. The staff are friendly, helpful, and most of all...knowledgeable about the local diving spots. That being said, this review is not about hyping them, it is about giving you, the fellow diver the best information to make an informed choice.
If you have not done adventure diving, take careful note. Tofo is not a casual diving location. There is no pier, no walking onto a boat, no bobbing in the water while you get all your gear sorted. You prep all your gear on land, verify everything, then the shop loads it onto a boat and brings it to the shore line. There, everyone works to get the boat past the waves and on you go. Diving is done by group negative entry. This means everyone does a rolling back entry at the same time, no air in the BC, and down you go.
Which leads to the next important point. You can dive on plain air, but your dives will be as much as 10 minutes shorter than everyone else. Tofo is a ways from a compression chamber, or even basic medical care. That means no matter your experience level, no matter what you have done previously, all dives end when you hit 2 minutes until Deco. ALL DIVES END. So if you don't have nitrox certification, add a day to the front of your trip, and get certified at the shop. It is a classroom cert, no practice dives required. I have seen many an annoyed, and sad, diver that has to go up before everyone else and misses the megafauna whom best I can tell do this on purpose to spite air divers. There is no debate, and no variance in policy among all the Tofo providers. 2 minutes to deco, and you are going to the surface and safety stop.
So in summary, amazing dive shop and amazing dives. Just don't think it is going to be a lazy casual dive location. Oh, and Nitrox for the love of all that is diving, just do it.
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