My name is Steve, and the question that I get asked the most is, “How on earth did you decide to start a dive shop and come up with the name Tres Pelicanos?” Well, the answer is simply complicated—an oxymoron my mother used to use. So to answer, let’s start at the beginning.
I grew up in a small community in upstate NY. Mickey Mantle was my idol, as were all the Yankees. Life was simple, swimming at the pool all day long and playing baseball. Those endless summers morphed into colorful autumns, school, to college and eventually on to a construction career as a carpenter. Construction is the only career where your goal is to start a job and get it completed, then finding yourself out of work searching again.
In 1975, that search took me to Fairbanks, Alaska, where the Alaska Pipeline was in progress. It was an entirely new world. The sun never set, the bars were open 24-7, and there were 1000 hookers on the streets. I thought I was in heaven. Before long, my ability and work ethic took me to a small construction firm where I stayed for the next 10 years. Alaska had become home.
It was a winter vacation to Maui where I discovered Scuba. I got my certification at the Maui Dive Shop in 1984 and followed with my Dive Master cert in 1987. The economy in Alaska had taken a plunge, so I moved to Hawaii and spent four years working different projects on both Maui and Oahu and diving every weekend. However Alaska beckoned, so I returned in 1991.
In 2007, I discovered Cozumel. Returning year after year, I had made lots of friends and fell in love with the culture. As my construction career was winding down, I needed another challenge. My wife asked me why I didn’t consider starting a scuba dive shop. At first I disregarded that idea. Me a business owner—NOT.
Then, two events changed my mind. First was the market crash of 2008, where we watched our 401’s go out the window. I had some cash on hand and thought it might be better to invest in something tangible where I could at least sell if things did not work. Second, the shop that I was diving with was trending downwards, as were a couple of other dive shops on the Island. I felt that it would be a good time to start a dive shop and dive the way I wanted and felt other divers would like to dive. So in 2012, Tres Pelicanos came to life.
So how does a carpenter start a dive shop? Exactly what I asked myself, so I just considered it a new construction project. I always knew that I was never the smartest pencil in the package, but what I was confident in was my organizational skills. I applied what had worked for me in the construction field to this new adventure—I found people who knew the business and just let them do what they do best. Jeanie and Pony were the two who guided me into this venture. Servando became our dive master/instructor. They not only ran the business but taught me in the process. I became the orchestra leader directing those three in the direction I wanted the shop to go. They are the real 3 pelicans and are the reason for our success.
As for the name TRES PELICANOS? Well one sunny morning watching the surf blow in on a beach in Delray, Florida, I looked up and watched three big flocks of Brown Pelicans flying in the breeze. Completely in formation; I was fascinated. They were so very cool while flying and so awkward when on land, but also very accurate when crash diving from 30 feet above the water, catching a fish every time. They reminded me of myself diving. Sometimes very cool on land but mostly very awkward. When I back rolled into the water it was like Mr. Pelican diving for a fish. An uncontrolled splash. However, when under the water, we divers are like the pelicans in flight. Very cool in this wonderful water world, aloof from all the distractions of surface life.
I wanted a Spanish name that had nothing to do with Scuba, water, diving or other similar names for shops. Why not TRES PELICANOS?