THIS IS OUR STORY
Fintastic Diving Adventures is for those who want to learn how to scuba dive, those who are scuba divers, and those wanting a much needed vacation! Used to be known as Aqua Camp, Fintastic Diving continues the tradition of teaching kids and families the love for the underwater world.
Saffron Owens Algozzini–Owner and Instructor Trainer Evaluator
Saffron Owens Algozzini is the owner of Fintastic Diving Adventures. All of our trips run smoothly and are a blast due to Saffron. Saffron has been diving since 1992. When she started, she never knew that the underwater world would become her life. She became a scuba diving instructor in 1999 and has worked her way up to become an IDEA Instructor Trainer Evaluator. Saffron started off working for a scuba diving school called Aqua Camp Diving Academy. Aqua Camp turned Saffron into what she is today. Working for Aqua Camp for 14 years, she has had lots of experience with diving as well as travel. And that is how Fintastic Diving Adventures was started.
Saffron has a B.S. in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston with an emphasis in Ichthyology, which is the study of fish. During college, she worked for the SC aquarium, the Dolphin Research team of the East coast, Aqua Camp, and National Geographic. After graduating college, she moved to Florida where she continued to teach scuba diving for Aqua Camp and also work at IDEA’s headquarters. Having over 9,000 dives, she is a fish in the water. She believes she should have been born a fish! She has dived all over the world. South America, Central America, Mexico, Caribbean, the Keys, all over North America, Fiji, Philippines, and Australia are where most of her life has been spent in the water. Her love for the water and the organisms in it makes her an exceptional Instructor. No dive is boring to her as she will always find new creatures to point out. She was made to teach scuba and to teach people how wonderful the underwater world can be!
Fernando Velez, an Atlanta native and Woodward Academy graduate, is part of one of Fintastic’s dive twin duo. Fernando started SCUBA when he was 12 with his twin sister, Paloma. At the age of 16, he was already helping with the classes and is now one of Fintastic’s primary instructors. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Fernando is an avid traveler. Fernando has been all over the world looking for his next adventure. As an Eagle Scout, he is passionate in the safety and success of all his students. Fintastic would not be where it is today without Fernando as he is a head instructor!
Donnie McGuire has been working professionally in the SCUBA world since 1995. Before becoming an IDEA certified Instructor, Donnie was the lead Divemaster as well as the team’s equipment chief. From the coastal shores of South Carolina to the volcanic sands of Costa Rica, Donnie has amassed over 2,000 dives. He hopes to one day dive the kelp beds of California and see the sights off the Great Barrier Reef. Donnie has helped many adults and children become familiar with the underwater world. All of his SCUBA training experience has translated into a career as a trainer for an Atlanta software company. Collectively, Donnie’s positive attitude and extensive knowledge make him a valuable member to the Fintastic team.
Phil Hickox is one of our Instructors. Former teacher of 5th grade science, he is now the admissions counselor and the football and lacrosse coach at Woodward Academy. He has been part of our team for over ten years. Phil is the father of three Woodward Academy students. Between his coaching, his teaching, and all of his kids, he has the patience and the expertise to train anyone how to SCUBA dive. Phil is also an avid outdoorsmen. As long as he is outside, with his family, or underwater, he is the happiest. Phil is comedic and fun to be around.
Don received his open water certification in 1998 at the Woodward Pool and his open water instructor certification in 2002. He has over 250 logged dives. His favorite dive sites are The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Fiji and Bonaire. His favorite type of diving is shark diving. He was a Scuba instructor for Aqua Camp before joining Fintastic Diving Adventures. Don is always up for adventure and brings comedic relief in all of his classes. Having two children of his own, he makes a fantastic teacher to the kids.
Mike has been a SCUBA Instructor since 2002. He has taught students of various ages including Boy Scouts who were looking forward to their experience at Sea Base in the Florida Keys. Mike is interested in helping people appreciate God’s Creation including the beauty of the underwater world. Early in life, Mike learned to appreciate the environment as an Eagle Scout. As a retired United Methodist Clergy, he emphasizes that we are all entrusted with the wellbeing of Creation and that we are not to exploit it. In other words, leave it better than you found it and in the underwater world, leave nothing but your bubbles. Mike enjoys diving in the Florida Keys, as well as diving in the Cayman Islands and shark diving in the Bahamas. Recently added to the list of favorite diving destinations is diving in the Philippines. In addition to teaching, he has an interest in Public Safety Diving and Underwater Criminal Investigation. Also, he is called upon from time to time to remove and replace boat propellers underwater for boat owners who have experienced unexpected damage. Teaching people SCUBA has been a great journey for Mike. It has been a privilege to help others experience the beauty of the underwater world. Teaching students to dive safely and responsibly is Mike’s goal.