When you hear “two stories with a spiral staircase,” an English manor might be the first thing to come to mind. But Austin’s Boat Tours has a different idea—the double-decker party barge, a spacious boat whose spiral staircase leads to the top of a water slide. During its party cruises, passengers can ride the slide into the sparkling waters of Lake Travis or stay onboard to cook steaks at the grill and have a drink (the barge is BYOB).
The boating company offers alternative ways for exploring the lake, too, including lake tours aboard their Baja speedboats. These tours showcase Devil’s Cove, the Oasis, and the luxurious houses that dot the lakeside cliffs. Watch the sun fall on one of the company’s sunset cruises, or explore the lake’s depths on scuba adventures. And for the truly adventurous, consider the company’s new FlyBoard jet pack, which allows a person to hover above the water like a superhero or a David Blaine impersonator.
In the early 1960s in the Navy, Don Dibble embarked upon what would become a decades-long career in scuba diving. After 10 years in the service, he founded the Texas State University scuba program, to which he still devotes many hours. In 1972, Don opened The Dive Shop to spread his passion and scuba know-how to the uninitiated and those scared by all the sand in the movie Jaws.
At the shop, two experienced instructors head up classes in an outdoor pool. The sessions cover everything from snorkeling to securing an NAUI certification with structured dips in the pool and local lakes. The shelves in the pro shop brim with gear for training and recreational dives from brands such as ScubaPro, Bare, and Trident.:m]]
The instructors at Deep Blue Scuba teach aquatic proficiency through the rigorous and comprehensive ANDI certification system. ANDI certification imparts pupils with the skills necessary to dive self-sufficiently or with companions, and trains students via pool sessions and open-water dives set in the crystalline Lake Travis. After mastering descent and ascent techniques, students can expand their knowledge base through a slew of specialty courses including underwater navigation, night diving, and wreck diving. Scuba instructors map out the best local dive locations and host periodic Discover Scuba outings where divers sample new gear and reacquaint themselves with watery skills. The diving enterprise also hosts expeditions to far-away waters, piloting trips that explore Australia and Mexico, and confront the notorious gangs of clownfish that lay claim to the Florida Keys.
The crew of PADI-certified divers and master instructors at Canyon Lake Divers love exploring waters all over the world, whether it's plunging into the 8,240 acres of their namesake lake or arranging excursions to go spearfishing the Gulf of Mexico. They like to take people with them on their adventures, too, teaching PADI dive courses to get fellow adventurers trained and certified. On long trips or minor outings, they take care of all the details, from helping their patrons in and out of the water, to transporting and rinsing down tanks and other cumbersome equipment. They sell all the essential gear for any trip out of their brick and mortar location, carrying such brands as Genesis, Akona, and Sherwood.