You might not think it, but the landlocked Newton County area actually has a thriving scuba diving culture - enough to support a five-star dive shop in Conyers.
Ultimate Adventure Dive and Travel, a 15-year-old business located on Iris Drive, is certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the world's most widely recognized recreational diving and dive training organization.
Owner and Master Scuba Diver Trainer Michael Talley described the area's dive culture as "growing in leaps and bounds."
Talley encourages people to try scuba diving because, "It's your chance to walk on the moon. You are weightless. It's quiet. What you lose in hearing, you gain in sight and surroundings."
Ultimate Adventure offers scuba diving instruction classes for all levels. The shop also boasts an in-ground heated swimming pool for scuba classes. Class times vary according to the student's schedule Talley said.
"They call and we can do it around their schedule," he said, adding that much of the class work for a certification can be done at home on a computer.
Open water diver certification is $248 at Ultimate Adventure and includes eight hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of pool instruction.
The classroom instruction for advanced open water diver certification is free at Ultimate Adventure. Five open water dives of the student's choosing must be scheduled.
Talley said he recommends advanced certification for recreational divers because it gives them more options in diving including night dives, deep dives and wreck dives.
A Bubblemaker course for children ages 8 and up is offered for $199. The course comes with nine hours of instruction. A free introductory pool session is offered for people unsure if they want to take the full plunge. Scuba review sessions are also available.
Scuba equipment rental is available at Ultimate Adventure, which is a full service dive shop. Financing is also available. The shop carries Tusa and Mares scuba product lines.
Ultimate Adventure is currently organizing a Thanksgiving dive trip to the Galapagos Islands, known for some of the world's best diving sites, in Belize. In the Galapagos, Talley said there would be dives near known whale shark and hammerhead shark locations.
Other scheduled dive trips in the next few months include trips to Dive Haven in White and Crystal River in Florida where the group plans to observe manatees.
Ultimate Adventure also hosts a monthly dive club meeting on the third Tuesday of every month.
"It's like a big family here," said Bill Cox, a dive master with Ultimate Adventure.