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Chris Winter
I had been talking about taking a Scuba class for a few years, but never made the time for it until this year when my wife and daughter gave me a gift certificate for my open water training at Tri-State Diving. I was very excited to get signed up for my class room and pool training but after the first times in the water I was wondering what I was doing this for.  "Take your mask off underwater, take your regulator out of your mouth, swimming around blind. But then after this training it all started to click, Seal is just training me for the worst and these things may never happen in a lifetime of diving but if I even need to know how to do any of these things I've just learned how to deal with them. Seal and the guys at Tri-State were great at teaching and emphasizing the items that are truly important.
Since completing my open water classes I took the Spear Fishing class with Seal. By taking this class I've been able to achieve a lot more confidence in my diving skills by getting more experience and I even got one my first time out!   I can't wait to get out and do some more diving and continue learning new things and experiencing the underwater world. Thanks Seal and the Tri-State Diving crew for teaching me to be safe and effective at one of my new favorite hobbies.
Chris is working on his Advanced Diver and has completed many dives since being certified this summer.

Larry Olson


Hello, My name is Larry Olson, I started diving in April 07 at the urging of a fellow coworker, Pirate aka Karl. The class room and pool sessions were instructed by Seal, a diver that has been around; let's just say he and Jacques Cousteau were in the same intro to diving class. Seal is a meticulous teacher; he does it by the book and his experience. After the first pool session I was hooked. I was even telling myself I should have done this a year sooner. Then the hardest part was waiting for the lakes to warm up to get the shore and boat dives in. After the Open Water Sport Diver class I jumped into the advanced class. The deep dives in the mine pits were chilly and thrilling; we did 2 dives by Crosby - Ironton. During a dive this past summer I found a medallion in Pickerel Lake to win a snorkel, it is exciting to find one even though it was not the big prize. In December I was asked to take pictures of a truck recovery on Rush Lake and in February another truck recovery on Rainy Lake . Both of the recoveries were thrilling to be part of, watch the members of the Tri State Diving team go in and get the trucks out of the ice. Diving is just as fun as golf only wetter.
Larry is an Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver, and Ice Diver and is a member of our Salvage team.

Barry & Jean Puppe

Barry and I had discussed taking a diving class for some time. We vacation to a lot of cool places that would open up the door to new experiences, we thought. We had no clue about what it takes to become certified divers.
Well one weekend Barry went to the Red River Valley Sportsman show in Fargo and ran into a diving booth. Barry wanted to upgrade to a better snorkeling and fins. So Barry started talking to this guy that seemed like he knew what he was talking about when it came to diving. Little did Barry know, this guy has a lot more experience than the average Joe. Well Barry ended up signing up him and me for a diving class, basically without discussing it with his wife.
The news at home:
Barry came home from the sportsman show like he does after every show with a bag of stuff from there, that typically gets thrown away a month before next year's show. However this time Barry brought home the news of scheduling a diving class with Tri-state diving. I was reserved, but willing.
Diving class:
We are set and went through four week Friday night class that was setup and given by Gary Thompson and staff. The crew and Gary were very professional and safety conscious. What Barry and I did not know was everything that came with diving. First and foremost, know your equipment, and then you do your checks to be sure of how to make a safe dive. Get this, you have to start getting ready maybe a week before the dive, give or take a person's ability to equalize. Yea, you are shown how to do that to, from the most basic steps to the most technical you are shown and you also show that you can perform this before certification is complete. It was FUN!
Our diving since has been great, we cannot believe the difference between salt and fresh water, even though Seal, (Gary) told us about it many times in fact. But when you experience it for yourself that is when the WOW factor comes in. It has opened up our eyes to the underwater experience that we would have never experienced without taking the class.
What we do know is that we are very thankful we took Tri-States diving class instead of the “Mickey mouse” diving resort classes held at vacations spots. We both feel so much more prepared and stress free when in the water because we took the Tri-State Diving class. Seal and his team are very professional and experienced. Thankfully we have a team like that in this area.
Barry and Jean have been on a number of salt water trips since taking their open water class to different locations and enjoy diving very much.

Charlie Blixt

All my life I have enjoyed swimming and especially snorkeling.  I remember when I was a youth doing all kinds of crazy things to get myself into the underwater environment.  Everything from surface dives to extended surface snorkeling to diving with some untrained buddies who had equipment back in the 70's (not too smart).  I always wanted to get involved with scuba but was concerned I would not have the time or money to do it.  Many times on my trips to vacation in Mexico I would agonize over the desire to do some diving through the local resorts, but I just didn't trust them.
Last spring Seal made an offer to the local Boy Scout troop I work with, to provide group training to encourage a number us to get certified.  This was my chance to take the next step.  We certified five adults and five youth through our Troop.  The certification was well done, complete and time well spent.  It was a great investment of both time and money.
Last winter I took a trip to Cozumel with a group from Tri-State Diving.  I got in 13 dives in 6 days and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I highly recommend anyone who wants to jump start their diving experience take one of these trips.  You dive in a pristine environment, under the guidance of both the local dive master and Seal, with good equipment and experience a degree of diving few ever do.  I now plan on making scuba a lifetime sport I can enjoy long past middle age and will continue to make it part of my vacation destination experiences.  I feel so positive about the experiences I have had so far that I am signed up to dive the Apostle Islands in August and Fiji next winter with Tri-State Diving.  But you don't have to go to exotic locations to enjoy this sport.  You can still stay active just by taking advantage of local dives at Tri-State diving throughout the summer.
I'm glad I finally took the plunge.
Charlie is an Advanced Diver. He was on the Cozumel trip in 2011 on the Apostle Island trip this summer, Fiji trip in 2012, and Belize in 2013.

Tyler Erickson
If it wasn't for my dad and his friend, I wouldn't be scuba diving. While my dad's friend worked in Detroit Lakes, he met Gary ‘'Seal'' Thompson and got certified through Tri State Diving. My dad took the class first. After watching a few sessions at the pool, I began to get more and more interested in scuba diving. My dad completed 16 hours in the pool and did 4 checkout dives in an area lakes in the Detroit Lakes Minnesota area. My dad asked me if I would be interested in trying scuba diving. I didn't know what scuba diving was at first, until I watched my dad do his advanced diving course in Lake Cormorant. I picked up bits and pieces of scuba diving and how the equipment works. After spending the day at Lake Cormorant, I decided that I would be interested in trying a new adventure under the water, ‘'Scuba diving''. Going into the West Fargo class I was nervous and I didn't know what to expect. When the class started I had to read a beginners diving book, complete a study guide, and take a written test before my four checkout dives. The first day of class you have to fill out your personal information and listen to some stories that the instructor reads to you. Also, you learn how to put weights on your weight belt and where it goes. The second day of class you listen to some more stories, learn how to figure out your decompression limits, how to use the navy dive table. The third day you learn to set up your gear and prepare to enter the pool while always listening to the dive instructor. Once in the water, you have to perform tasks with the directions you were just given. Then the fourth day you get your gear ready and get ready to do some skills in the water. Then toward the end of the class you get to swim around and try the gear. Once you're done with the class you have to do four checkout dives with the instructor and practice some of skills you learned in the pool but in a lake. After you complete all your checkout dives, you have earned a scuba diving certification. Once you have been certified as a diver, you have the opportunity to dive anywhere in the world. We hope we will see you in the near future. And hope to sea you at the bottom.
Tyler is 15 years old and hold his Advanced Diver rating plus Ice Diver. Both his parents and brother dive. The family went on the Cozumel trip in Jan. 2011 the Apostle Island this summer, Fiji trip Jan. 2012 and Belize in 2013.

Anthony Mastin

I have always wanted to learn to scuba dive, so one day I finally just did it. I scheduled the training with Tri State Diving. I was extremely excited to start the class since I had been snorkeling for many years. During the training in August 2015 I learned multiple things like clearing my mask, removing my regulator, swimming in complete darkness, controlling your breathing, learning to relax, how to react to a variety of situations and much more. The training I received was amazing and it gave me great confidence in my abilities and equipment. Gary "Seal" Thompson has a great passion for scuba diving and his instruction showed it. Since my open water certification I have been able to obtain other certifications. I have open water sport diver, spear fishing specialty, dry suit training, full facemask training and more. I have almost completed my advanced open water certification. I have completed over 50 dives since August 2015 to include diving in Lake Superior this fall. I helped Seal do a recovery dive along with removing buoys and adjusting docks. I have also helped Seal with many of his scuba classes in the pool and on the open water dives. I enjoy my time working and diving with Gary Seal.

Christian Ehrnst

All the way from childhood I've wanted to be a scuba diver, but never took the time to make it happen. After moving to Detroit Lakes MN and hearing about Tri-State Diving, I knew this was my perfect opportunity. I love everything that our lakes have to offer, (snorkel- ing, fishing, wake boarding, boating, and swimming) and dreamed of exploring the bottom for more that a short breath hold. Class was a blast with Seal and his crew. His program is of the most professional and information and informative in the industry. I learned much more than I expected and am very grateful for that. After completing the open water checkout dives, I have become OBESSED with diving! It is truly a life changing experience. Our lakes have incredible beauty hidden below the surface and pictures simply don't do it justice. I will be getting my advanced certification as well as other training this coming season. Scuba diving is definitely becoming one of my life passions and I'm so thankful that Tri-State Diving opened me up to this new adventure.


Lake Superior 
Wreck Diving

  Lake Superior Apostile Islands have a lot of wrecks that are accessible to divers.  We have had some excellent trips diving the wrecks. Most of the wrecks are close to shore and are in the 30 to 50 foot range so it makes it easy to dive them and even easy for a beginner diver.  You don't have to worry about getting tangled up in the wrecks and you will have some of the best visibility next to ocean diving. 
We have video of the wrecks so you can stop in and see what you've been missing out on.  Tentative dates for the trip will be August 26,27, and 28.

Photo of Seal on the Madeira
The wrecks we dive on Friday are an old Model A pickup truck that is just off the Bayfield Marina. We will also dive a barge called the Finn McCool
Sat. morning we will head out too dive two different wreck and Sunday we will dive 2 more wrecks to be determined.
Price includes lodging and five fantastic guided boat dives on Lake Superior Apostle Islands. We will car pool so the cost of transportation can be divided out per vehicle.  We need to have  confirmation by June 1 in order to make sure we have lodging for the group. A $100.00 deposit will hold a spot for you on this trip. I will final cost of he trip by the middle of May.




 Photo of Diver on the Madeira





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