And so we bring to conclusion another fun and successful trip! Today we did two dives to round out the week of diving, and believe it or not these were some of the best dives of the week. We headed out to the west end of Roatan where the water was calmer, and did the first dive where we saw two turtles, lots of lobsters and some very healthy coral reef formations.
Today was a huge day for things underwater….including at least one free swimming green moay eel on every dive, three turtles on the second morning dive, lots of lobsters on the night dive, and the highlight of the day/night was a huge toadfish sighting! Plus we go to dive the wreck of the Odyssey, a frieghter in about 100 feet of water.
What a day of fun and great dives! During each of the two morning dives, we again spotted large green moray eels freely swimming over the reef. Other sightings included a scorpionfish, a few lionfish (more on that later) and tons of healthy barrel, tube and vase sponges. Our new divers are really “getting their feet wet” with all the gear assemblies, diving and disassemblies….heck, they're starting to look like old pros!
Today found our group somewhat splintered…at least for the first morning dive. Part of our group decided to take part in the shark dive that is done on the south side of the island at a dive site called Cara y Cara, or Face to Face. This dive is an optional one that many of the dive operators on Roatan utilize not only to bring some additional excitement to each week, but also to prove to those who think that sharks are some man hunting animals that they are wrong, and dharks are some of the nost beautiful animal in the sea. Everyone who went on the shark dive today came back very excited, and many were anxious to see what video and still shots they had captured. Read more
Forgive me for not getting started on this trip report sooner…..but we've been having too much fun and great dives to stop and jot down a few thoughts!
So, let's get started. We left Milwaukee on Saturday, the 1st, with bitter cold and snow left behind. After a one hour delay for aircraft computer problems and plane de-icing, we finally left and made our way to Houston. Upon arrival in Houston, we found out the flight from Houston to Roatan was also delayed, due to a maintenance issue. So, we left Houston about 90 minutes late and arrived in Roatan well after our scheduled time. No matter, since we were on holiday and we certainly welcomed the 80 plus degree temperature difference between Milwaukee and Roatan!
After checking in and completing all our documents for the resort, we all headed to our rooms to unpack and freshen up a bit before heading to the bar and dinner. Needless to say we all went to bed rather early.
Sunday morning started with picking up our weights and getting a briefing on how to use the resort's nitrox analyzer, as well as getting briefed on boat procedures. After that we were all required to jump off the back of the boat while moored to the dock in full gear to check weights and do a couple of basic skills for the divemaster, just to ensure we were comfortable. Once everyone was set for weights and skills, we headed out for the first dives of the week. Water temperature was in the upper 70's, with visibility around 50 feet.
Since we had a group of 19 divers, we were assigned one of the 48 foot boats, with lots of room for gear and divers, plus these boats are very stable in the water. The crew consisted of one captain and two divemasters. All were very helpful in getting divers into and out of the water, with lots of good natured banter between us and them.
The dive schedule is normally three per day: 8:30am, 11am, and 2:15pm departures, with two night dies per week, generally on Tuesday and Thursday. After each dive the boat comes back to the resort, so you can skip a dive and not lose out on subsequent ones. Today we were scheduled for a morning boat dive on the El Aguila wreck, followed by the second dive on the south side of the island then a buffet lunch at the resort's other facility on the south side called Maya Key, then a third dive on the way back to the resort.
The second dive today was at Roatan's signature dive site called “Mary's Place” which is a labrynth of swim throughs and passages through the coral wall that would make any diver giddy. Healthy reef tops, and schools of fish complete the experience at this dive site.
Today's third dive was done on the way back to the resort at a site called “West End Wall”. During this dive we had a huge green moray eel swim with us for a bit, and some of the photographers captured some stunning images and video clips.
So, there's a recap of today's dives…more to follow, so be sure to watch this space! Also be sure to subscribe to our blog so you won't mss any updates!
Anyone who owns their own regulator knows that it is important to bring their gear in for regular service, but do you know what the difference is between an inspection and an overhaul or annual service? This is a question we ask when divers bring their regulators in for service at one of our three locations. Hopefully this discussion will clear up any confusion when it comes time to have your life support equipment serviced and more importantly keep your warranty in effect for the life of your regulator.
Well, we are here in Orlando for our annual trade show, the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, better known as DEMA. During the four day run of the show, there are representatives from almost every imaginable aspect of the scuba industry: certification agencies, equipment manufacturers, resort destinations, and dive travel agents. In fact, there are even small companies whose sole niche in the industry is to sell zippers!
Anyway, today was the start of the show, and from all appearances it should be successful. Before the show opened at 10 am, there were huge crowds of attendees waiting to get into the show floor, to see the latest gear. Meet with reps and network with old and new friends.
Some of the big highlights included the revised Open Warer Diver course at the PADI booth, along with some new gear we are planning on getting into the stores as soon as available. For example, Oceanic has revisited the Omega regulator and those who have been around a while remember this regulator as a side exhaust model that was known as an extremely easy breather and one that had a very lightweight second stage. We've got some of these on order and they should be in store by the early part of 2014.
Light and Motion, makers of the famous Sola line of dive and photo lights unveiled their new GoBe line of lights…rechargeable handles with interchangeable light heads that can be used for almost any type of diving, including standard lighting, fluorescence diving, or even video and still photography.
Probably the most exciting thing we saw today was the new video light and strobe from Sealife. The new strobe and video light are about half the size of the old models, but still packing the same light output! Plus they have developed a new arm system that can be expanded and is made of a newer materials that doesn't squeak when trying to reposition the light or strobe.
The photo on the left shows just how small the new strobe and video light real are. We were amazed at how light, compact and easy to expand the system was, and how this will be a big selling point for traveling divers who need a strobe or video light, but don't want a lot of bulk. To go along with the new lighting systems, Sealife has also developed a new travel case for the camera and strobe combo…again, much smaller than previous models.
These new strobe and light systems will be shipping in early December, and we will have some in stock for Christmas.
Of course, no DEMA show would be compete without seminars put on by manufacturers or certifying agencies or Divers Alert Network. We attended a couple of seminars DAN pressnted today, and they were very informative. In one, the DAN medic discussed how divers sometimes don't apply critical thinking when there is the possibility of a diving accident or fall victim to “Internet induced decompression sickness” a term that describes someone who thinks they may be bent based on what they have read online without checking for accuracy or medical opinion.
The second DAN seminar we attended today dealt with the pathophysiology of immersion….in other words what happens to our bodies when we are submerged, and what some of the little known risk factors we subject ourselves to when diving.
So, lots to see and do at the show, lots of educational opportunities and still more to come in the next three days, so stay tuned for more updates!
Having a hard time telling your friends and family exactly what you’d like for the holidays? Are your friends and family non-divers and do they look at you with a glazed look when you describe that super cool canister light or hoseless dive computer or backplate and wing you’ve been drooling over? Well, we’ve come to your rescue….we’ve made it easy for you to let your friends and relative know exactly what you’d like in your stocking by activating our Scuba Diving Gift Registry.
All you need to do is fill out the Scuba Diving Gift Registry form, click submit, and we’ll send a copy to all three stores. Then, just let your family and friends know they should shop for you at any of our three locations. We’ll retrieve your form with all your wishes on it, and then assist them in selecting the perfect gift for you!
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Henderson Wetsuits has just announced a new 10 year warranty on all new wetsuits! From a recent e-mail sent to all authorized dealers: Read more