These Atlantans are improving their lives through scuba diving

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Before Beverly and Wyatt Foster got married — before they even met — they were already in love with the sea. For 27 years, the couple has run Alpharetta's SeaVentures as way to share their love affair with scuba diving with others.

Wyatt Foster virtually grew up in the scuba business, operating his parents’ Sandy Springs Divers for several years before he decided to travel the globe and charter boats to take divers on aquatic adventures.

He met Beverly on a charter trip to the Bahamas. She had learned about the trip at the last minute when another diver canceled. “We met in 1986 on a 65-foot sailboat, and one thing led to another,” Wyatt says. “We got married and started SeaVentures. We were both scuba instructors by then.”

The Fosters launched SeaVentures in 1990, first using the pool at Pace Academy for lessons before opening a location on Holcomb Bridge Road in 1995.

Offering swimming as well as scuba lessons, SeaVentures provides recreational scuba diving certification and hosts trips to places such as Cozumel, Belize and Palau in the South Pacific.

Cheri Luther of Brookhaven has traveled much of the world and considers open water a beautiful part of it. But until recently, claustrophobia inhibited her explorations. In 2015, she completed a scuba diving academic course but couldn’t go through with her final test in open water. And when she subsequently traveled with friends to Belize and then Guadalupe Island, Mexico, to dive near great white sharks, Luther had to be content with snorkeling in the shallows on her own instead.

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

“This is a big challenge to myself,” she says. “Getting certified in fresh water means taking off the mask. You do all of the things that could possibly go wrong and try to troubleshoot. You need to know how to maneuver. All the pool work [at SeaVentures] you have to do in open water. The worst part for me was taking the mask off and putting it back on.”

Luther and a SeaVentures instructor spent a day going through the maneuvers until she could do them with ease. In 2015, she received her open water certification on a SeaVentures trip to Florida.

“Oh my gosh, I can’t even put into words how great the feeling was,” she says. “I did all of the tasks for open water on the first try. The pool work helped make me to desensitize.”

SeaVentures offers scuba classes in groups or private lessons with flexible times to accommodate each student's schedule. (Intown venues for scuba lessons include S&S UnderSea Adventures on Briarcliff Road and Divers@Sea in Buckhead.)

Costs for lessons, equipment and certification range from $1,300-$1,400, which covers an all-inclusive trip to the Florida Keys for the open water certification. Students who have their own travel and ocean certification plans pay about $620 for the SeaVentures lessons, which includes 10 pieces of scuba gear.

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

“One of the reasons there are so many divers in Atlanta is because it’s an international gateway and you can go almost anywhere,” Beverly says. “I think that has affected our travel program very well.”

According to Wyatt, the pool’s 90 degree temperature helps students to stay focused and comfortable. “Having an on-site pool allows them to come back and play and practice as much as they want,” he says. “And there’s no extra charge for that.”

Rob Aitkens of Alpharetta gave his daughter Sydney a private class with dive instructor Mike Mercer to celebrate her 16th birthday. He plans to take her scuba diving in Maldives, South Asia, for her high school graduation.

“Diving is one of those things where it really doesn’t matter if you’re male or female,” he says. “Anybody can enjoy it. The exploration is especially great for kids. She now has a skill that she can use for the rest of her life to explore the world.”

SeaVentures. 2880 Holcomb Bridge Road, Alpharetta. 770-992-3772.

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Insider tip

SeaVentures offers trips to such destinations as West Palm Beach, Fla., on a customized coach bus. “We took out the original seats and put in a booth,” Wyatt says. “We have bunks and a kitchen. We drive down usually on a Thursday. Arrive Friday, check into the hotel, dive for three days and jump in the bus and come back to Atlanta.”