Amigos Dive Center is aptly named, as it is hard to visit the shop without becoming amigos with Wayne, Earl, or others who are there. Amigos is no ordinary dive shop as becomes apparent when one visits. Located very near Ichetucknee State Park, it is located in the heart of the springs system, close to the Ichetucknee, the Santa Fe and the Suwannee. Visitors from over 90 countries have signed the guest board.
Lavish is one word to describe Wayne’s celebration of 11 years in business. Table after table was overflowing with all kinds of food, with the emphasis on local. There were several kinds of venison, wild hog, quail, squirrel, grouper, all prepared in various fashion. We did not see any possum, but there was a pot of raccoon. Top that off with various kinds of BBQ beans, salads, casseroles, cakes and desserts, and you have much more than we could sample. Although we tried.
Earl Kinard, father of Wayne Cars lined up as far as one can see
Diving was the emphasis, with lots of equipment on display, but also, since most attendees were water lovers, OSFR and the Florida Springs Institute had tables there. Ours was manned by President Mike Roth and Cindy Noel, along with Erik Wise, who were accepting new members.
Wayne has been a great success in our neighborhood because he treats his friends and customers well, and he gives back to the community. He understands that if our rivers and springs continue their downward spiral, he and all other dive shops will be out of business. This simple fact seems to escape a great many people who definitely should know better, from the dive shop owner on up to those who think promoting business is more important than preserving our resources. With no resources here, there will be no business.
One way Amigos gives back is by hauling out tons of trash from the rivers every year. Luckily, the Santa Fe is one of those they clean, sometimes with the aid of OSFR volunteers.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-