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Why QiGong On Bonaire?

Why QiGong On Bonaire?

How do you define wellness? How is it beneficial to all we do? Do you practice it?

We support all efforts to help divers enhance their skills and enjoy every underwater experience. But in our opinion, the most important factor is being healthy as this alone allows you to continue diving. So to assist your diving longevity and capability, we want to acquaint you with a skill that is twenty centuries old and tell you why it can benefit you today.

QiGong is a fundamental component of Traditional Chinese Medicine taught by Taoist masters for over 2000 years. It consists of integrating physical postures and graceful movements with coordinated breathing. The name of this system to aid in wellness is comprised of two Mandarin Chinese words: “qi” which means energy flow and “gong” which means skill or achievement.

QiGong (pronounced Chee Gong) has been practiced for many years throughout Asia to promote health, relieve pain, prevent disease, and prolong life. It is intended to cultivate body, mind and breathing by the relief of physical and mental tension, increase balance, stability, strength and improve circulation of body fluids through the gentle contraction and stretching of muscles in coordination with full breath cycles.

Just about anyone can practice QiGong and it’s especially beneficial for divers . It is applicable for a broad range of fitness levels, given its foundation on meditative posture, gentle movement, and breath which empowers you to play an active role in you own health, wellness and longevity. Studies in the United States, Korea and Australia have shown it reduces stress, alleviates depression and improves movement and strength.

The gentle exercises help facilitate energy flow, breathing and balance while calming and centering your emotions to navigate stress. It combines stretching, breathing, toning and strengthening for anyone at nearly any age and fitness level. Related to, but older than Tai Chi, QiGong is simpler to learn because the movement sequences are shorter, more repetitious and not as complicated.

What are the benefits of practicing QiGong for Divers?

  • As you develop more experience and skills, the calmer you are underwater. Calmness can help during changing diving situations, to regulate breathing and deal more effectively with unexpected developments that were stressful before.
  • QiGong’s benefits topside can easily transfer to enhance our well being underwater. Dealing with what causes stress in life is the same as in scuba – just in two different environments – a feeling of being isolated, forgetting our strengths and focusing on what we fear.
  • Mindfulness of QiGong can turn stress into a feeling of oneness, so, as we become more peaceful, we gain a feeling of being at one with the ocean enviroment.
  • Increased focus enhances our interaction with, or seeing amazing marine creatures, especially our favorites, such as turtles, sharks, nudis, etc.When we are happy, learning and experienced, we move more unhurridely and observe more.
  • Our breathing slows and deepens. As we learn to slow our breathing rate down to conserve air, we can enjoy the tranquil underwater world longer. Deep steady breathing also reduces the risk of a lung expansion injury.
  • Improves and maintains general fitness and stamina levels.Muscle tone and stength are also improved. The emotional benefits of diving are enhanced.
  • The soothing effects of the buoyancy of water mimic the Eastern techniques of QiGong meditation. Time spent underwater captivated by the sights of fascinating marine life, with only the sound of our own breathing, is a form of meditation.
  • Appreciation of color has profound affect on moods and emotions. Improved awareness of bright, intense colors, like those of the reef and its life, generally have a cheerful and soothing effect.

Suuz Martines has combined her love of the ocean with QiGong. She is a certified instructor who has studied, practiced and taught QiGong for 15 years. Her company is ScubaDoRag and to many divers and non divers she is known as CoCo Cheznaynay, secret agent of truth and style.

During the week of December 7-14, 2013, Suuz will be diving and leading QiGong wellness sessions at the Home of Diving Freedom, Captain Don’s Habitat, on the #1 rated dive destination in the Caribbean, Bonaire. There is no cost for participating and sessions will be held at times that don’t conflict with any boat dives.

A week of fun and wellness on Bonaire sounds good to us, but there are also special packages available for divers and non divers will be offered a free introduction to scuba. For more information click on the QiGong and Captain Don’s Habitat link.


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Curacao. Can We Say Choices?

Curacao. Can We Say Choices?

If you are trying to choose your next dive destination, you may want to look no further than Curacao. Who would have thought that an Island just over 444km² (171sq miles) would constantly be named one of the top dive destinations in the Caribbean so many years in a row by so many divers and so many dive related publications?

The word Curacao is thought to drive from the Portuguese word for heart, but we believe that it stands for “choices”.

As divers we like the fact that Curacao has 17 main shore dive beaches with some beaches having multiple dive sites adding up to some 40 dive areas; you can almost double this number when you include boat dives around Curacao and it’s little deserted companion island of Klein Curacao. Some of the top voted dive sites include: Alice in Wonderland an easy shore dive at Westpunt. Here expect to see lots of colorful fish, small invertebrates, and a resident turtle.

Almost all of the dive sites offered by Go West Diving are short boat rides with average underwater visibility of 100ft and provide unlimited opportunities for every photographer.

At a dive site named Mushroom Forest, many of the coral formations resemble snow covered dwarf pine trees, but since snow is unheard of on an Island that averages 28.9°C (84°F), we’ll just call these unique displays of multi-colored coral growth mushrooms too. Keep your eyes peeled here for eels, lobster, and octopus.

At Rediho expect to see slipper lobsters and seahorses near the coral heads, and southern stingrays half hidden in the soft light colored sand. Watamula, on the most western point is virtually unspoiled and teaming with life down its slopes and a great place for macro-photography. Also, the fuselage and remaining parts of a small plane rest between Watamula and Playa Kalki.

If you want to dive through something with more legroom, then dive the Airplane Wreck at Santa Martha. For more fin room there is extra cargo space on the 200ft long ship Superior Producer near the mouth of Williamstad Harbour. The cargo ship suddenly sank and was caught with her pants down at 100ft. On that last voyage, she carried a cargo of soon to be exclusively coral washed Levi’s jeans as well as valuable yoyo’s. For those on the island that benefited from the rescued jeans, the expression “wear your salty clothes” came to mean “casual attire.”

We haven’t had a chance to mention the double reef system at Porto Marie also known as The Valley, or the drift diving at Klein Curacao where you may spot Shark Cave, or the other fringing reefs that descend quickly from shore down to depths giving you a wide view of all the coral gardens and the local inhabitants, or mention that pilot whales and dolphins have recently been seen on the island in greater numbers, but we have to take you topside for a moment if we are even going to mention a fraction of all the cool attractions and activities you can do above water.

First, do you feel the need for speed?

We thought you might.

Curacao is home to the annual Amstel Curacao Race on bicycles and the Heineken Regatta Curacao with streamlined sailing vessels. You can also go ATV riding across the dunes and cliffs, or take a guided horseback riding tour; island style in the scrublands and along the shoreline or in the shallow waves.

If you’re more comfortable traveling by foot, perhaps you’d like a hike at Cristofel Park where you’ll find white tailed deer, orchids, and the Palabrua native barn owl. If you like really big birds, then you’re in luck, because the biggest ostrich farm outside of Africa, is right here on the island. You can hold emus and ostrich eggs, touch less than week old chicks, feed juveniles, and take photos of adults. There is a Zambezi restaurant where they serve African style ostrich cuisine and this is also where you just might see a slightly smaller sized humming bird fly by while you have lunch.

For another interesting hike, walk, or tour, you can visit the Hato Caves, which have limestone formations, a waterfall, pools, a famous Madonna statue, and a colony of long nose fruit bats who would rather ignore the tourists and keep to themselves. The Indian Caves in Westpunt is another cave and grotto area with fresh spring water and is thought to be an early shelter site of the early native Arawak-Taino islanders. For a walk through a botanical garden filled with exotic life, take a walk through the Curacao Zoo & Nature Reserve.

Of course you can always walk around the historical Dutch forts built from 1634 to 1828. The Riffort has currently been turned into fortified stores, shops and restaurants complete with cannons too big to bring home as souvenirs. A hotel was built right on top of Fort Waterfort which guarded Sint Anna Bay, the entrance to the harbour between the Punda and Otrabanda quarters of the capital city of Willemstad.

Visiting the Curacao Sea Aquarium and Dolphin Academy is a must for all divers and non-divers alike. Besides visiting aquarium tanks, touch tanks filled with stingrays and/or nurse sharks, you can feed sharks, dolphins, flamingos, and turtles, watch a sea lion or dolphin show, train dolphins, visit the Shell museum, or view the undersea in an air conditioned theatre.

Without a complete history lesson which you can choose to read later while sitting on a beach, it’s important to tell you that Curacao has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean and it’s GDP is ranked 46th in the world. The population is comprised of a majority of Afro-Caribbean descendants with sizable minorities of Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French, East Asian, South Asians, and others. This makes the food served in restaurants internationally wide in variety with plenty of choices. You might like to try something delightfully unique like Pincho a Brazilian style sliced grilled beef with Caribbean pasta salad and potatoes.

Now all the aforementioned cultural infusion has also given rise to a class of local cuisine simply known as Krioyo which you can order at one of many authentic local restaurants complete with a scenic view, or you can try a wide variety of local seasoned Krioyo items at the Old Market Food Court where you order straight from individual vendors/cooks.

Well, we ran out of time, but not choices. The Curacao Liqueur Factory has a tour and five choices of liqueur you can choose to purchase. You can visit the  Kura Hulanda Museum and visit 15 buildings, which house cultural art, historical relics, and the chronicle of the Origin of Man, or you can choose to just relax on the beach and watch an iguana contemplate the Origin of Species.

No matter what you choose to do, we think you’ll like your choice of Curacao as your next dive, dine, and discover destination.


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