Patagon Dive Center St. Thomas USVI Patagon Dive Center St. Thomas USVI Patagon Dive Center St. Thomas USVI paddi online

CAPTAIN ARNOLDO FALCOFF & HIS WIFE GRACIELA

swimming with turtles st. thomas USVI

Patagon means "Big Foot" in ancient Spanish.

That's how Fernando De Magallanes, during the first human circumnavigation around the World, named the indians of the Southernmost region of South America. That region is known today as (Big Foot's land) Patagonia.

Capt. Arnoldo Falcoff, the owner of Patagon Scuba Dive Center, started his diving career in Patagonia where he was, for many years, a salvage and commercial diver. Moving to Saint Thomas in 1976 he became a PADI SCUBA Instructor and a certified US Coast Guard Boat Captain in 1978. Involved in the local dive/boating industry since that time, Capt. Arnoldo took over the dive program for the Ritz Carlton, St Thomas when it first opened doors in 1992. More recently, Caneel Bay in St John also incorporated Patagon Dive Center to their property.

Capt. Arnoldo built a strong reputation for excellence in service and customer satisfaction.

He prides himself for the very large group of friends he made among his diving guests. Besides his main passion, the ocean, Capt. Arnoldo enjoys the reading of sciences (a "science groupy", as he refers of himself, he had the privilege to meet, at various times, many world renown scientists), the sport of tennis (a 4.5 ranked he is always available to good players among his guests divers), and the sport of breath holding diving. A former top ten in free diving competitions back in Argentina he still keeps his breath holding form and enjoying guiding snorkel tours.

Graciela grew up on the sheep ranch of her parents over the Patagonian coast of peninsula Valdes, a marine life preserve designated by the UN as one of the World's Heritage sites. Sea lions, sea elephants, penguins, and hundreds of species of sea birds populate peninsula Valdes that also is one of the best destination, worldwide, for whale watching. Graciela, a graduated psychologist, works at Antilles School in Saint Thomas.

A few of the ways that Patagon Scuba Dive Centers set ourselves apart from the others include: Mature, professional and knowledgeable staff. Uncrowded boats and uncrowded waters. Personalized service, focused and your needs and requests. Children's programs for kids as young as 5. The ability to teach in 5 languages. And no early morning departures! No wake-up calls needed here! So come and enjoy the pristine waters of the Virgin Islands, the "Patagon Way"!

Read A Shark Story (with video) by Arnoldo Falcoff

Read more about the history of the name and the Patagonian giants


DAVID TOMPKINS SCUBA INSTRUCTOR, SHOP MANAGER

David Tomkins at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands David Tomkins at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands

Dave, Scuba Instructor

Dave joins us here on the island after growing up and spending most of his life in Southern California.

After spending a number of years as a high school math, science, and PE teacher Dave decided to step away from the traditional classroom and trade it for a classroom on the beach and in the water.

Having worked his way through college as a scuba instructor and managing a dive shop, Dave made the move to St Thomas and then found his way to Patagon where he now works as an instructor, dive guide, and helps maintain the daily operations of the shop.

JUAN M POLANCO SCUBA INSTRUCTOR

Juan at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands Juan at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands Juan at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands

Juan, Scuba Instructor

Raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, Juan has always been drawn to the ocean. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he went to Hall's Diving Career Institute and attained his PADI Divemaster and NAUI Instructor ratings in 2000. He has a passion for sharing the underwater world with everyone he meets. Juan was also a competitor on season one of "The Ultimate Diver Challenge", the first reality TV show about scuba diving. He has been to many places around the world such as the Maldives, Thailand, Hawaii, Cozumel, and all over the Caribbean.

Juan also lived in the Dominican Republic, where his parents are from, for 3 years as a Military Helicopter Pilot. You’ll either see Juan underwater or in the air. If you do happen to see him on land be sure to say "hello"!

MICHELE DONIHE, SHOP STAFF

Chad Sawyer at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands Chad Sawyer at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands Chad Sawyer at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands

Rescue Diver

Stephanie was raised in Logan, Utah where she grew up enjoying the beautiful mountains and lakes that Utah has to offer. Some of her passions include Snow skiing, downhill mountain biking, wake surfing, and wake boarding. Stephanie was a snow skiing instructor at one of USA's largest ski resorts in Park City, Utah. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology from Utah Valley University.

Shortly after her graduation, she and her husband moved to St. Thomas and have fallen in love with the island. They spend as much time as they can on the beach and in the ocean. Stephanie's outdoors interests propelled her to join the Patagon staff to further her knowledge and love of the ocean, and to share this passion with others. Having completed her open water diver upon starting with Patagon, Stephanie looks forward to continuing her dive education and experience in the water, hoping to eventually work her way up to Divemaster.


STEPHANIE MEYER, SHOP STAFF

Chad Sawyer at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands Chad Sawyer at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands Chad Sawyer at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands

Open Water Diver

Michele is a rescue level SCUBA diver with additional certifications in Nitrox and AAUS. She currently has over 200 logged dives with 70 scientific dives with deepest at 140 feet. She finished my undergraduate degree at King College in 2013 and is currently obtaining her Master's degree in Marine and Environmental Science at the University of the Virgin Islands. Her thesis is on stingray movement and the affects of an invasive seagrass around St.Thomas.

Michele took a few years off after her undergraduate, traveling to South Africa where she studied great white sharks and did numerous shark dives. She then spent several months in Cairns, Australia on a live aboard dive boat (the Rum Runner) taking tourists out to the Great Barrier Reef. Michele is currently starting a non-profit organization called Zing Ocean Conservancy where she plans to be sailing across the Atlantic this upcoming summer while raising awareness for marine pollution and sustainable practices.

While working with Patagon Michele looks forward to working her way up to Divemaster very soon, so she can be in the water leading dives.

CHRIS RYAN, SCUBA INSTRUCTOR

Chris Ryan at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands Chris Ryan at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands

Chris, Scuba Instructor

Chris is a recovering attorney with a passion for diving and travel. After completing his divemaster course in Thailand he decided to leave the corporate life behind and explore the oceans of the world. He spent some time traveling in Southeast Asia and worked for a year in Vietnam before setting his sights on East Africa.

Over the next few years he taught scuba courses in Tanzania, Madagascar and Malawi. In Lake Malawi he had the opportunity to live in the rift valley and dive in the most biodiverse lake in the world. The area he worked in was featured as part of the original BBC Planet Earth series. He also became the only member of the Patagon staff to have dived with a crocodile.

After Africa, Chris spent time working on three different islands in Fiji. This included Taveuni, home of the Great White Wall, ranked by some (including Chris) as one of the best dives in the world. Next came Hawaii, where he explored the wrecks off the coast of Oahu and the lava tubes on the north shore. Now he has joined us in the Virgin Islands, to dive the Caribbean and spend some time with his family.

CAPTAIN IGOR LABZHINSKIY

Captain Igor at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands Captain Igor at scuba diving center st.thomas st. john us virgin islands

Captain Igor

Having a love for the ocean Igor was living and cruising on his sailboat for many years. He sailed to the Caribbean a couple years ago, and down here fell in love with diving. When he is not driving our boats he is in the water getting dive experience and working on his Divemaster certification.

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