Technical diving in Spain with L’Escala Diving Center
No one can tell better about diving business than its owner. We interviewed Deniss Kozlovs, the CEO of International Diving Center L’Escala, located at Costa Brava, about current tendencies, perspectives and must dive spots in Spain. So now you know whom to call when you’re there :)
Dear Deniss, tell us about your career in diving. How and where did everything start, what was the way of your professional development and what do you do now?
I started to dive by chance. My first dive happened in Egypt 8 years ago and after that I realized that I just couldn’t stop and had to continue my education. So I went all the way from Open Water Diver to Full Cave and Rebreather Instructor. Today I’m the co-owner of the largest technical and cave diving center in Spain, International Diving Center L’Escala, and also I am technical and cave diving supervisor, technical, cave and rebreather instructor TDI. The main focus of our diving center now is technical and cave diving programs and courses.
How did L'Escala diving center appear? What facilities does it have, what kind of diving does it offer? What courses do your instructors teach today?
International Diving Center L’Escala was founded more than 40 years ago. I’ve been its co-owner for the last two years, and during this period I have completely transformed it into the main technical and cave diving base on Costa Brava coast. At this moment we can offer you all kinds of diving equipment you can imagine, from the simple scuba to the sidemounts and rebreathers, dry suits and scooters. We offer all types of recreational, technical and cave diving courses. So we can guide you from the beginner level to the overhead environment protocols and sidemount rebreather )))
Tell us about scuba diving in Spain – what is it famous for, where are the most interesting diving sites there? And what places are in “must dive list” of Costa Brava?
Spain is very rich for diving spots of different types. I am sure that all divers can find here what their hearts desire. Here you’ll see beautiful national parks, amazing caves and mysterious wrecks. The place I personally consider the best for diving in Spain and in Costa Brava is the cave with the beautiful name Font Estarmar, “Source of Sea Star”. Another “must dive” spot is the wreck Saint Prosper, a true legend which has been hiding its secrets for more than 70 years.
Spain is a beautiful country with lots of amazing places. Do you offer any mixture of diving and sightseeing program to groups of divers? What places would you advise your guests to see not far from Costa Brava?
It is very easy to organize a sightseeing program for our guests, as Costa Brava has a lot of famous sightseeing spots. For example, the golden triangle of places known for the famous surrealist artist Salvador Dali – it is definitely worth seeing. You can visit his theater-museum in Figueres, house-museum in Cadaques and castle of his wife and muse Gala Dali in Pubol. In San Pedre de Rodes there is a beautiful monastery and the largest fortification structure in Europe – fortress of San Fernando en Figueres. And of course there are lots of beautiful small fishermen villages at the coast. You will enjoy visiting this part of the country!
Deniss, do you dive only in Spain or go with your dive buddies to other countries? If so, what are the most interesting places for you in Europe and in other parts of the world?
I specialize on the best technical and cave diving spots in the Spain and in Europe, so I have a chance to offer my clients the most interesting cave programs in Spain and France, and wrecks routes in Spain, France, Italy, Latvia and Estonia.
There are lots of amazing places there, so at present our technical diving trips are all conducted within Europe.
There are two Russian-speaking instructors in L'Escala diving center. Does it mean you are more oriented on Russian market?
Yes, it’s true, me and another co-owner of L'Escala, Victor, we’re Russians, and we actually are these two Russian-speaking instructors. However, our diving center is completely international, and our staff perfectly speaks English, French, German and Spanish. We’re equally focused on all our clients irrespective of a nationality or the country of residence.
What are the current general tendencies at European diving market, in recreational and technical diving?
The recreational diving in the Europe is completely dead. The reason for that is that there is no possibility to raise the basic prices for this type of diving, and we see declining demand because of crisis at the local markets. Recreational diving center is absolutely not profitable business in the Spain now. In order to survive, you must work hard in all directions and sectors of diving market. For your information, the last year observed 80% decline in recreational diving market in Spain. However, technical diving and especially cave diving are still popular and demand here is still increasing.
What trips and courses have you scheduled for 2015?
Ooooh, that’s a good question :)… OK, so we will have cave programs which will take place in several provinces of Spain – Murcia, Catalonia, Burgos and Mallorca. In France we’ll visit Lot province. We also plan to make wreck programs at the south coast of Spain including Cartagena, Almeria y Tarifa, and north coast of Spain from San Sebastian and Pais Vasco to Vigo in Galicia. I have scheduled wrecks programs in Latvia and Estonia and possibly Malta. I’m looking forward to my international partners to prepare cave diving program in Ordinskaya cave in Russia and tec program in Blue Lake in Kabardino-Balkaria.
Diving is always full of positive emotions :) Deniss, can you tell us about some funny episodes or interesting stories which happened to you or your dive buddies while diving?
Technical divers are very serious and concentrated people, usually we don’t have that much fun))) But I’m always happy when the diving program is over and all the member of the group have performed everything in a professional manner without any incidents and mistakes. First of all, we go underwater to increase our personal limits and boundaries, to make researches and create history. Diving just for diving, without purpose – it is not interesting neither to me, nor to my clients. For us diving is a challenge, so everything we do must be safe and of high standards.
CEO / Technical & Cave diving Instructor at International Diving Center L’Escala, Spain
TDI facility number 1003892, TDI Instructor number 16818 Mob. +34 622772673, Tel./Fax. +34 872201520 email@example.com
Photos by Deniss Kozlovs, Leon Yankelev, Sergej Shulga, Divesport. Wreck diving in Latvia