Advanced Open Water

June 11, 2010 at 9:42 am | Posted in Drift Diving, SCUBA, SCUBA Blog, SCUBA Instruction | Leave a comment

With the AOW you have to make 5 adventure dives. That means that out of a list of over 20 possibilities you pick (with the aid of an instructor) 5 of them to do. Each adventure consists of some reading, a quiz and a dive focused on that particular specialty. It’s basically set up to introduce divers into other types of diving that could lead into specialization of that field. These are the 5 that I along with my instructor picked to do: Wreck, Night, Underwater Navigation, Deep, and Drift.
Although I have done these dives before on my own, it will be good to learn some new skills to perform on these dives to make the dive more interesting, easier, and fun!

Slight Detour

June 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life is funny sometimes. There are times that everything goes exactly as planned. Then there are the times that life takes you for a little ride with twists, turns, and detours that although you do get to your destination, you just get there a little later. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances my plan on becoming a SCUBA instructor has taken a slight detour and thus has been delayed.
But fear not! Although my instruction has been delayed I assure you that my diving and writing about it is not! In fact I have decided to take my Advanced Open Water Diver certification in the meantime. It is a class that I needed to take anyways so I figured that although I cannot completely gulf myself in dive school, I can at least have a little taste.

Countdown for The Big Blue

May 28, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Beach Diving, Drift Diving, living in south florida, Lobster Diving, SCUBA, SCUBA Blog, SCUBA equipment, SCUBA Instruction, Spiny Lobster | Leave a comment

It’s kind of funny what goes on in the world around you and what you miss (or what you don’t miss for that matter) when you don’t check your personal email on a daily basis. Since I spend 8-10 hours a day in front of a computer at work, it really isn’t too much fun for me to sit at another computer at home and check my personal email. I pretty much have limited it to checking it once a week (if that) and for the most part I noticed that I really haven’t missed too much. That was all true until yesterday when I checked my email. Expecting to find my inbox consisting the usual “quality” messages consisting of ads regarding male “enhancement”, new pictures of some celebrity nude, constant facebook updates, ), I was happily surprised to find one decent email. It was advertising the Blue Wild.
What is the Blue Wild? Very good question. The Blue Wild is a SCUBA diving convention that has been held annually for the past four years, and that is being held June 5-6 2010 at the Broward Convention Center. For me, this is more than a “Dive Convention”. Throughout the course of the 2 days there will be numerous companies and vendors of types advertising their latest dive innovations, locations, and places to continue ones diving education.
As great is that is, it’s not the real highlight for me. In fact, it’s the lecturers and the topics that they will be covering which is the true highlight for me. The list of speakers includes many people that I have admired throughout the years and have also been big inspirations for me to love the sea, and see and dive as much of it as possible from their educating people on the sea and what she holds through research, interaction, film making, and conservation through education.
The list of speakers include Dr. Jose Castro and Manny Puig (who I’m a huge fan of by the way), men whose work has includes filming their interaction with sharks, and the educating of children of the misconception of sharks being “Mindless Killing Creatures”. On a side note: Manny Puig was brought to mainstream culture by such shows as MTV’s Jackass, and Wildboys.
Also presenting will be filmmaker and author Stan Waterman, who is famous for his film White Death.
Some of the other speakers are not as known to me but will be covering everything from safe boating techniques, proper fin use, new regulations being put into place, and a whole lot more.
All in all it seems really exciting and I truly I cannot wait!!!!! For more information on the convention and list of speakers and seminars please visit Blue Wild’s website at WWW.THEBLUE.WILD.COM

SCUBA diving in the living room?

May 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There really is nothing like waking up early in the morning, hearing the birds chirping, feeling the warmth of the early morning sun shining on your face, and then going for a dive through a beautiful reef amongst hundreds of multi-colored fish. It’s even neater when you can do it a few steps from your bed, while wearing your pajamas. No, I have not lost my mind. No, I am not on medication either. LOL
What I’m talking about is Endless Ocean for the Nintendo Wii. For my birthday this year my girlfriend got me the Nintendo Wii, which is an amazing system and am truly thankful for such a wonderful gift. Although a few games accompany the system, there was one game that I truly wanted to own. That game is Endless Ocean (which of course I purchased immediately).

The best way for me to describe Endless Ocean is a “SCUBA diving simulator”. It has a storyline yet you can deviate off it as much as you’d like and explore a lot of the ocean world. It has everything from reefs, wrecks, sharks, and the ruins of cities that the sea has taken back over time. Taking pictures, feeding fish, and playing with dolphins are just a small portion of things that you can do within this game. In some ways it’s like being on my very own live-aboard in my living room. Fantastic!!!!!!!!
As far as my birthday goes, it was celebrated with friends, family, and loved ones and all in all was nothing short of spectacular!!!

Under the Sea

May 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Posted in SCUBA, SCUBA Blog | Leave a comment

While driving on my way to work with my IPOD on shuffle, a song came on that I haven’t heard in quite some time that really made me stop and smile. It was a song from the Little Mermaid Soundtrack. (I know I know it’s not the typical movie I’d admit to watching, please don’t laugh!!!!) The song is sung by Sebastian, the little crab, and the song is entitled “Under the Sea” (lyrics are below). What I liked about this song besides the fun, upbeat and catchy tune is the lyrics. There are a few that really stuck out to me that really made sense, about how amazing it is underwater. The opening 2 verses really say it all:

The seaweed is always greener
In somebody else’s lake
You dream about going up there
But that is a big mistake
Just look at the world around you
Right here on the ocean floor
Such wonderful things surround you
What more is you lookin’ for?
Under the sea
Under the sea
Darling it’s better
Down where it’s wetter
Take it from me
-Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin’
Full time to floatin’
Under the sea

Whenever I have found myself going through rough times, (which I certainly have been lately), I have found one thing that truly puts me at peace and allows me to really relax. And that is diving. There truly is nothing that I have experienced in this world more peaceful, relaxing, and serene like going for a dive. When you’re swimming over a pristine reef, crawling into a shipwreck, hearing nothing but the air flowing from your regulator, seeing fish of every color, shape and size interacting with each other, there really are not enough words to describe that soothing sensation. It really is a great way to unwind, and clear your head. I truly feel blessed having such a wonderful place and such a great stress reliever as the reef, so close and so easily found.

I’M BACK!!!!!!!

March 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Drift Diving, Lobster Diving, SCUBA, SCUBA Blog, SCUBA equipment | Leave a comment

Hello to all!!! It has definitely been quite some time since I have been in the water and it has been even longer since I have updated my blog. Way too long on both accounts that’s for damn sure!!!
Its amazing how much can happen in such a short period of time, and how quickly that time can whizz right past you and before you know it, a few months passed by without you even realizing it. Even though it’s only been about 4 months since I last dove it has truly felt like an eternity.
Over the last few months I have been kept pretty busy. Between moving twice, going through 2 cars, spending the holidays with family and loved ones, and a little bit of traveling, I certainly have been busy.
As far as the traveling goes, I spent a wonderful weekend cruise aboard the Carnival Destiny to Nassau, Bahamas a few weeks ago. It was there that I finally had the opportunity to explore the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. What an amazing property!!! I was blown away at the detail into everything throughout the resort from the landscaping to the architecture. It was really a great experience. The water temperature was a little cold I must admit. After my body got used to the temperature the water was actually quite refreshing. Needless to say I took a lot of pictures and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
With as busy as I have been and then adding the fact that the weather down here in south Florida has been unusually cold this winter it has been difficult to get much diving in. Not wanting that gap in diving time to get any larger, I called Scubatyme Charters to see if there were any spots on the boat. Lucky for me there was a spot left for Sunday’s trip. The dive trip will consist of two dives. The first being a wreck dive and the second being a shallow reef. HAHA Lobster here I come!!!! I surely cannot wait. I took a great deal of time re-conditioning my gear for this weekend’s trip. As I was preparing my gear overlooking the canal that borders my back yard, I was half tempted to jump in and explore LOL. Words cannot describe the feeling, nor can I hardly contain the excitement of knowing that I will be back in the water on Sunday!!!

Something new

September 12, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Beach Diving, beaches, living in south florida, SCUBA, SCUBA Blog | Leave a comment
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I have belonged and still do to different social networking sites and being in the age of technology that we are in now, it’s such a great way to stay in touch with old friends and to meet new ones. It was just recentlly that I stumbled upon a new social networking site that has many groups and “clubs” that adheres to the likes, hobbies, and interests of almost all topics and activities. These groups have “Meetups”, which are everything from meetings, seminars, and activities planned throughout the month. I have always been one for meeting new people and experiencing new things,  so I figured that this would be pretty cool to do. I was not disappointed at all.

One of the groups that I joined slated a shore dive for Saturday morning that was to meet at El Rays, which is a dive shop in Pompano Beach across the street from the beach. Perfect. When I arrived there was already a small group of people there. I found everyone to be very friendly. After introductions were made we assembled our gear and headed towards the beach.

The waves were coming in a little rough and a few in the group were toppled over by the surf.  After fighting past the waves and we were all grouped together, we set out towards the reef. With a 30 minute swim (roughly 600 yards) we definately had to work for this dive. As we arrived at the reef the current wasn’t too bad and the visibility was pretty good. We were in about 20 feet of water throughout the whole dive which is great since you use less air and thus having more bottom time.  Throughout the reef there were alot of cracks, crevices, and ledges full of fish hiding throughout them.

All in all it was a great day of diving and meeting new people.

Beach Dive off of Vista Park

September 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Posted in Beach Diving, beaches, living in south florida, SCUBA, SCUBA Blog | Leave a comment
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One thing South Florida certainly doesn’t lack in, is the amount of beaches that we have. Along with the beaches there are alot of terrific reefs just offshore that could easily be swam out to, and either snorkel or dive those particular reefs. With having the reefs as close as they are, it’s really a great and an inexpensive way to spend some time underwater.

I have dove and snorkeled off the Commerical Pier dozens of times, but one thing that I noticed is that it seems to have alot of divers and snorkelers out there, and at times can almost become crowded. For this dive I wanted to try somthing different.

After going online and looking into different shore dive locations close to me, I read about Vista Park in Fort Lauderdale. I decided that today was as good as any day to see it for myself. After a brief swim from shore, I began to see the reef growing out of the sand below me and full of life.  The reef is only about 20 feet deep, which is great for for people wanting to snorkel. I was really taken back when I noticed that there was tons of diversity not only fish wise, but with the corals, sponges, and plant life along the reef. It’s really great to see such an abundance of sea-life so close to the shore! Not even 10 minutes into my dive I came upon a beautiful sea turtle that swam around me and towards the end of my dive the same sea turtle returned for a little while. They are really beautiful.

Vista Park is a great hidden little treasure, and I will definately be back again soon!

Spending a day with Pro Dive

August 31, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Posted in living in south florida, SCUBA, SCUBA Blog, SCUBA Instruction | Leave a comment
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Although I was a little tired from the diving the day before, it was hard to contain the excitement of the days diving ahead of me. I was going to be diving with Pro Dive in Fort Lauderdale. It’s a school that I’ve been looking into possibly going to, for my PADI instructorship credentials for quite sometime. Pro Dive was actually the very first PADI Career Development Center in the world.

When I arrived at the school it was nice to see that there was plenty of parking onsite. I entered the schools shop to check in and I was warmly greeted by the staff inside. While filling out my waivers I was introduced to Clement who was not only an instructor at the school but was also Pro Dive alumni. He was to be my dive buddy for the day, and I couldn’t wait. One thing that I have learned is that everytime I dive with someone that has more experience and credentials than I do, is that I always learn somthing new and exciting.

While I was gearing up on the Pro Diver II,  I got chance to speak to some of the alumni of Pro Dive, and got to hear about their experiences going through the program, and their thoughts after. It really began to paint a vivid picture of what the curriculum is like becoming a PADI Pro, and the journey getting to that point. All that I spoke with raved about the school and the way everything was taught. 

As the boat ventured out to sea I was astounded that the water conditions were better than the day previously. The water was as still as a lake and it looked like a sheet of glass. The first dive of the day was Tenneco Towers, an old oil drilling platform sunk off the coast of Hollywood in about 100 feet of water. I had heard alot about this particular site in the past and I was looking forward to experience it first hand. During the pre-dive briefing, Clement told me about the last time he was there he saw a goliath grouper swimming arond the wreck. I have to admit – the feeling of being a kid at Christmas time was increasing within.

We descended onto the towers and at about 40 feet down, I saw the towers pointing up towards the surface. As we got near the bottom we were able to swim under and through the first tower. I was amazed with the huge school of fish hovering inside. In no time they were all around us. As we swam through Clement pointed below us, and through an open panel I saw the tail end of the goliath. We swam in the direction that it went and as it came out from under tower I couldnt believe the size of it. Goliath Groupers truly earn their name. While at our safety stop, a school of baitfish swam all around us. As they swam all over the place I saw a barracuda checking them out. Looks like he was ready for breakfast. All in all it was a pretty incredible dive. 

Back on the boat gave us time to relax before our next dive. It was also during that time that I got chance to talk to Clement in a little more detail about the curriculum that was offered. I really enjoy talking to someone that is passionate about what they do and are eager to share that passion with others. It makes it so much more exciting when it’s a passion that I also share. So needless to say, it was a great conversation!

The second dive was Barracuda Reef. Now here is another reef in the Fort Lauderdale area that I really have to question the name. I didn’t see one barracuda the whole time. However, I did see some other amazing things. Swimming along the edge of the reef, Clement pointed out a Scorpionfish. Whenever I see them, I am quite amazed with how effective their camoflauge is. It’s easy to see how someone in the water can simply mistake them for a rock or part of the reef and step on them.   As we swam around a ledge we noticed two huge snook swimming around the ledge area for protection and maybe a little bit of shade from the hot sun. Swimming along sandline we saw a yellow stingray gliding across the sandy bottom. Magnificent! With air getting low we began to return to the boat. On the way we were delightfully distracted by a group of squid.  Being underwater truly is like being in another world, and it’s a world that I like to visit as much as possible.

After the dives my day had only just began. I was going to tour the facilities and campus of Pro Dive. Somthing that I had looked forward to doing for quite sometime.

I was greeted at the dock by Kelly, who is the Chief  Development Officer at Pro Dive. Kelly also heads up the recruitment and job placement. I had spoken to him previously before on the phone for quite sometime and it was nice be able to put a face with a voice. I was taken for a tour throughout the whole facility. I was amazed at not only how large the campus was, but also what it included. I was pretty impressed when I noticed that the whole facilty and the equipment was in immaculate shape, and everything was clean. It was almost as if items were just removed from their boxes and placed throughout the school right before my tour.  Although I have done a ton of  reseaerch into it all, it was with talking with Kelly in great length that really helped me understand in greater detail the process of becoming a PADI Pro. Especially since he has over 25 years within the field. I found Pro Dive an amazing place to attend not only by the looks of everything, but also the curriculum as well. It really seems like they have their act together and although everything is done in a professional manner, it seems like they know how to have a good time while doing so.

Pro Dive is certainly high in the running of my school of choice.

Finally got some lobster!!

August 29, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Posted in living in south florida, Lobster Diving, SCUBA, SCUBA Blog, Spiny Lobster | Leave a comment
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Today I went along with a coworker of mine, Anthony and a few of his diving friends. His friend Mike was the captain of the boat, and Mikes’ friend Victor was going to be joining us underwater.  I really looked forward to diving with Anthony for quite somtime and it was a real treat to do so. He had dove all over the world while serving in the military plus he knew all about catching lobster. That is one thing I definately needed help with, and especially after so many trials and tribulations I really could use the advice of a seasoned pro.

As we coasted out of Fort Lauderdale, I was amazed with the conditions of the water. There was hardly any current and the surface of the water was pretty smooth. I have to say that the neatest part about Mikes boat, is that it has an underwater camera attached to it so you can see the reef below you. Another marvel of modern day science!

Our first dive was wonderful. It wasn’t too long into the dive before we started to catch lobster. My adrenaline really began to kick into overdrive. Although catching lobster isn’t as easy as it looks, it becomes easier after alot of practice.

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After my tank began to run low, I swam to the surface and waited for the boat. When I got onto the boat I noticed that my legs were all scratched up from the spines of the lobsters sticking out of the bag. Lesson learned – Use a better lobster bag with less holes. While I was switching my gear to a new tank, it began to rain. Being out in the water and watching the rain droplets hitting the surface is actually a pretty neat thing to see.

The second dive of the day wasn’t as fruitful as the first but just as great. After the clouds disappeared, it was amazing to see how beautiful the reef was as the sun shined through. Towards the end of the dive Anthony motioned to me with great excitement. As I began to peer into the ledge with my light I saw what got him so excited. Under the ledge, and a few feet back sat a huge Loggerhead turtle. It was my first sighting of one in the wild and the immense size of it was astounding. 

It was a great day of diving and I loved every minute of it. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I am so thankful to have been invited to go with them this weekend and look forward to doing it all again.

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