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About Vaqueros Del Mar Dive Club

The Vaqueros Del Mar (“Cowboys of the Sea”) dive club was formed more than 50 years ago with the stated purposes

“… to encourage skin diving, spear fishing and underwater sightseeing for the love of the sport …, to establish training programs to ensure safe practice …, to promote fellowship, sociability and cooperation …, and to promote public good will towards skin diving …”
Five decades later VDM remains true to these founding principles.

Pacific Atoll The club started soon after Livermore was chosen as the site of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the early 1950’s. The Laboratory needed divers for studying the underwater effects of the nuclear explosive tests in some of the Pacific atolls. These divers returned to Livermore and formed the club. Incorporated in 1958, it is one of the oldest dive clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area. As club membership grew beyond just Lab employees, the Vaqueros Del Mar Dive Club was reconstituted independent of the Laboratory. Lab employees continue to belong to the Lab's Scuba Diving Networking Group, and the two groups jointly participate in activities.

In 1959, VDM’s 30 members applied for membership in the Central California Council of Diving Clubs (CenCal). Over the years the club has been a strong supporter of CenCal, and club members are generally also CenCal members.

One of the first activities of the club was to teach safe diving practices. Club divers developed a training program to teach new members how to dive safely. This training program was later brought under the auspices of the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI). Joe Jaklevick, who was NAUI’s Mid-Pacific Branch Manager and Northwest Regional Representative during the mid- and late 1990’s, was the first VDM Instructor to be certified as a NAUI instructor in 1968. Over the years the Vaqueros Del Mar dive club has been closely allied with the VDM School of Sport Diving, which assumed independent responsibility for training in 1989.

To help encourage new divers to continue in the sport, any newly certified diver from any recognized program is welcomed into the club, and will receive a complementary guest membership for the remainder of the year.

In 1992, to encourage and learn both still and video underwater photography, the special interest group PhotoGeeks was formed. PhotoGeeks has a monthly meeting (normally a week separated from the general club meeting). Over the years the skills of many of the Geeks have developed greatly. Quite a few members have received regional and national photographic awards. They are always interested in sharing their knowledge with new divers and other photographers.

In addition to monthly meetings, the club tries to organize a variety of events throughout the year including dives, campouts, potlucks, and boat trips. Memorial Day and Labor Day usually find the majority of club members on the north coast of California, particularly at Van Damme, Anchor Bay, or Salt Point. We skin dive for abalone and scuba dive with cameras. In the evening, we usually have a potluck dinner featuring plenty of abalone cooked in various styles.

Seafood Festival We typically have an annual Seafood Festival in the summer. The club is also a supporter of nonprofit organizations such as DAN, the Marine Mammal Center, the Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber, the Abalone and Marine Resouce Council, and Point Lobos State Park.

The Annual Awards Banquent provides an opportunity to celebrate the diving year. Typically held in November, awards are presented for photography and sport fishing, and the event generally features outstanding home-grown entertainment.

Last modified on March 29, 2007
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