Every year at the DEMA (Dive Equipment and Marketing Association) Show, which is the largest dive industry trade show, among other things, we look for one new item, thing, device, or program that will help introduce the general public to the amazing world of scuba diving. This year at the November 2018 show, we had to give two fins and a snorkel up to the Peter Diving System. At first glance the Peter Diver System resembles a hookah system where air from the surface is supplied to divers down below. In this case two to three people can simultaneously breath off of one tank of compressed air. The tank, or cylinder of air, floats on the surface in a yellow boat shaped-like harness with multiple hand hold built right in the sides, and has a dive flag mounted on top. To use the system requires students to don a mask, snorkel, wet-suit, and fins. An instructor goes over a large sized but easy to follow teaching/safety training chart before taking the students into the water just like during a discover scuba diving program, then the students can put on a very light weight belt in warm waters, place the regulator in their mouth, and go under water. The peter system will let students dive down to a max depth of 6m (20ft).
The instructor stays with the students and can look up at the tank to see how the air supply is doing by quickly checking the color of the emitted gauge light: green is full, yellow is half full, and red is the last quarter of the tank, and time to surface. It’s fun and easy to learn and try, afterwards the kids are ready to do a discover scuba dive. They already know the drill about training by chart before the dive, so they are ready to take the next step, and before you know it, they are excited and ready to sign up to become open water divers, with weight, belts, buoyancy compensator vest, and back mounted tanks.
The conversion rate is great, but this is not the end of the story, it’s just the beginning. People with physical challenges or adaptive needs, will find that it is easy to use diving underwater when the weight of a back mounted tank is removed from the equation. It’s easier for those of us with back issues too. The entire system with a carbon tank may weigh only 10kg (22lbs) and only needs to be placed in the water, not strapped to your back during the dive. This is great for hull cleaners and people doing repairs underwater too, as tanks can get heavy even when you’re neutrally buoyant or floating like a leaf.
So, you can see that there are multiple benefits from using the Peter Diving System; SSI (Scuba Schools International), a worldwide diver certification/training organization has teamed up with a diving school in Majorca Spain to get people interested in the world below. The Peter Diving System is available in at least seven other locations around the world; see the map at www.peterdiving.com. We feel that any system that can easily excite and usher in new potential divers to any scuba training organization is a positive advancement for the entire scuba dive industry, as well as a win for all future local dive communities and a lifelong family recreational activity.
A Short DEMA Show Gear Review
What’s New in Dive Gear?
A Short Review of Unique New Equipment!
Every year we can’t wait to go to the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show, the dive industry’s premier trade exhibition. Sure, it’s a time to visit with old friends, strengthen business relationships, and attend a plethora of interesting seminars, but for us, the icing on the cake has to be the unveiling of new scuba dive gear, free dive gear, and in general, the products that make playing in water just more fun, enjoyable, and/or exciting, and without doubt, this November’s DEMA Show exceeded our expectations.
First off, we were swept away by the SEABOB F5 DPV. The underwater propulsion system can go 12mph/25kh/h in water. It can last for 300 minutes on the lowest power setting and recharges in 90 minutes. The max depth and time can be preset, plus you can wear a harness that’s easy to unclip when going fast or spinning around. The DPV only weighs 64 lbs / 38kg.
For a revolutionary product that is right out of Star Wars, you have to see the SWES 600 underwater ionic light. This 600 lumen light (in salt water) does not use batteries and you can’t recharge it. You simply place it in the water, and the ionic exchange gives it power. You can literally dive, rinse, and dive again, for three hours a day for two years, giving you 2140 hours of dive light time. How cool is that?
As for trends, people have been making new fins for years, but this year TUSA is making the HyflexSwitch fin, which you can detach the blade from the foot pocket and fit it all in a travel bag, then put it all back together again in minutes, so you no longer have to purchase a smaller less powerful set of fins for your travel vacation while leaving your favorite pair of fins back home. Speaking of new fins, Indigo Industries makes the Shift XT modular fins and you can also detach the fin bade, but in this case, you can exchange a split fin blade for a zip split fin blade, plus you can change the bare foot pocket for a strap when wearing booties, which seems to be the ultimate transformer type fin to date.
Also excellent for traveling divers is the new Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD. The thermoplastic material and gel pockets dry fast and fold down to almost nothing making this BC easy to place in onboard luggage. You can add weights to the pockets, or use as a harness system with a weight belt for further reduction of travel space.
Now when it comes to details, we have to mention the new WaterProof EX2 drysuit that has built in thigh pockets on both front legs, a side arm pocket for sunglasses when on shore, a built in strap for VH1 radios, a pee zipper already installed, a zip pocket for pens, a built in blind plug that can be replaced for a air release valve, or heater battery cord intake valve. It also has velcro locations for applying your name, badge, and identity patches, plus a new type of velcro straps for dry gloves. It’s like they thought of everything that you might want, and then added some extras features just to blow your mind.
Ok, so you don’t always have to have a ton of improvements to set a product apart from the rest, take Aqualung’s EVO4 boots for example. Sure, they have a sturdy drysuit boot with a vibram sole and are made with the military in mind for slippery decks and rocks, but when you pull on the laces of the EVO4 boot, they cinch from the bottom on up, not just the top tightens like most other boots with the laces loose near the toes. EVO4’s produce a fast good tight fit all the way up, and something as simple as a good fitting boot can make or break an easy entrance into or out of the water.
Having a defogged mask can also make or break an enjoyable dive. Fog Kicker is a new biodegradable anti-fog coating that you can apply like marking with a felt pen on your mask lens and one coat is good for 10-15 dives.
As for cameras, SeaLife has the new DC2000; a 20 meg pixel camera that shoots jpg and even in raw format. This 1 inch fast sensor camera comes in a new rugged easy to use housing rated down to 200ft / 60m, but even without the outer housing, the inner camera is rated down to 60ft / 18m, making ideal to use below or above the water. Of course it wouldn’t be a SeaLife product if the DC2000 system wasn’t compatible with a fish eye lens to give an 80º wide field of view, and you can also use it with all the Sea Dragon Flash and light systems, including the new Fluoro-Dual Beam to give animals a blue background to show off their natural colors when desired. How awesome is that?
Sometimes all you need to impress us are great prices on dive gear and in this case we have to mention SEAC, pronounced “Sea-ak”. From an Italian free dive and spear gun foundation they have expanded to a worldwide made full line of scuba dive products that are comparatively low priced, which is a major priority for getting new divers such as millennials into aquatic sports. As we have seen in the past, as dive gear prices go up, the percentage of potential new divers attracted to the sport goes down. So we have to commend Seac for not only producing quality gear, but for helping price point conscious new scuba, skin, and free divers focus on the immediate fun of these aquatic sports; long term retention in these sports will then just be a matter of good times!
On the other end of the spectrum our list would not be complete if we didn’t mention The Darkwater Vision Hammerhead mask that allows technical divers to see in low light arenas. Whether you are doing night dives, deep dark dives, or murky river dives where you are trying to find Megalodon teeth on top of the sediment with the touch of your hands, now you can wear this high tech mask and see with a game-like ethereal quality what was previously too dark and occluded to see naturally. The Hammerhead mask system essentially does for divers, what night vision does for the armed forces, but it’s also excellent for underwater welders too; Dearth Vader would be jealous if he wasn’t already seeing red.
There were lots of other products that we would like to mention that were unveiled at the DEMA Show, but hopefully you’ll get a chance to see them at your local dive store early this year when many of these items should be shipping. For us, it’s time to stop writing, go get wet, and try out the aforementioned products extensively until the next DEMA Show.
North American Aquarium Diving
North American Aquarium Diving
There may be times when you find yourself in a another city either due to work, visiting relatives, or just because you wanted to get away, explore, and play. If this happens to you, and you can’t bring all your dive gear, and yet you are looking for something a little more exciting than viewing goldfish in hotel lobby aquariums then we thought you might like the following list of relatively convenient yet definitely unusual dive sites.
Sure, this list is all about aquariums, but ones so big, diver friendly, and filled with sharks and other exotic creatures that you may have to rethink how you classify the seven seas. So, starting off our list of potential dive sites in a semi-random pattern from east to west this is what we have discovered so far.
Long Island Aquarium. This must be one of the easiest dives in the world. They provide everything for you including a mask with underwater communication abilities and you don’t even have to be a certified diver. A trained shark dive instructor goes with you inside a shark cage, which is lowered, into the 120,000 gallon Lost City of Atlantis shark exhibit. Besides a 12ft long trident, pillars, and remnants of the lost city, you just might see sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, moray eels, grouper and a 300lb turtle named “Jaws”. This adventure also includes a souvenir beach towel and an emailed photograph of you diving. www.longislandaquarium.com
Baltimore’s National Aquarium. Be a guest diver in the 335,000-gallon Atlantic Coral Reef Tank. This is an authentic fabricated oval reef with some 500 plus fish, rays, and sharks. The 13ft deep dive is operated by Atlantic Edge scuba school and dive shop in Gathersburg. You must be certified and bring you own wetsuit, mask, snorkel, and fins. After the dive don’t miss the new 225,000-gallon Blacktip Reef exhibit with 793 different fish and sharks.www.aqua.org
North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island. The “Dive with the Sharks” program allows you to dive with sand tigers, sandbar, nurse sharks, and a replica of the USS Monitor ship in a 285,000-gallon “Graveyard of the Atlantic” exhibit. You can have photos and a video made of you experience. They have two dive sessions each weekday and one session on Saturday and Sunday. All gear is supplied and you must be a certified diver.www.ncaquariums.com/roanoke-island
The Georgia Aquarium. Here you can dive with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, in the largest indoor habitat that we know of. The Ocean Voyager exhibit built by Home Depot is 284ft x 126ft and 20-30ft deep and holds about 6.3 million gallons of seawater. It’s a chance to dive with up to 4 whale sharks, rays almost 9 feet wide, and 1,000 other fish. They supply all the gear, but you can bring your own mask if you want and you have to show your dive certification card. www.georgiaaquarium.org
The Epcot Dive Quest at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Caribbean Coral Reef is 5.7 millions gallons of saltwater fun and includes over 6,000 sea creatures, which is more sea life than you might see on a natural reef. For swimming with sharks and rays you need to have a C-card, but not the for the Dolphins in Depth program. Diving here is one of those “book early, book everything, and book often, adventure sites”, but would you expect anything less from a Mickey Mouse operation? https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-divequest/
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida. The Dive with the Sharks program operates in a 93,000-gallon tank called “Sharks Bay”. The dives are 3 times daily and you can basically kneel in the sand and watch the teeth glide by you. Were talking teeth attached to sand tigers, zebra sharks, nurse sharks, and black tip sharks. A paired Florida Aquarium divemaster makes sure you have a fun and safe dive. Bring a mask, towel, swimsuit, and C-card. www.flaquarium.org
SEA Life Minnesota Aquarium at Mall of America. SEA Life has two really cool exhibit dives. Atlantis is their Saltwater dive and you will swim in a tank of sand tigers, nurse sharks, huge bowmouth guitarfish, large sawfish, wobbegongs, white tips, zebra sharks, and more. You glide right over the tunnel of people peering inside the exhibit and it’s fun to pick shark teeth up right out of the sandy substrate and show the families walking through the tunnel what you found. The second dive in Sturgeon Lake is an unexpectedly fun dive, especially if they are feeding the turtle and fish. You’ll never experience outdoor lake diving with this degree of clarity nor this docile concentration of alligator gar, walleye, sturgeon, and bass. Bring all your dive gear including C-card, gloves, and a hood. SEA Life supplies tanks and weights. After the dives you get a souvenir T-shirt and you can keep all the shark teeth you find.
Great Lakes Aquarium, Duluth, Minnesota. The “Dive-N-Feed Experience”, may not be found on the website, but it’s still occasionally offered on special request with plenty of advance notice. Here is a chance to feed freshwater fish and dive in a two story, three chambered, Isle Royale exhibit with Steelhead, kamloops, brown, coaster brook, and lake trout. Also, Siscowet lake trout, burbot, Atlantic salmon, coho salmon, sturgeon, walleye, longnose suckers, and American eels. They have over 100 Great Lake species in all. Bring your C-card and dive gear to keep you warm in the 52ºF 45,000-gallon main tank. Caution, diving here may lead to you becoming an active volunteer diver too. http://glaquarium.org/
Downtown Aquarium, Denver, Colorado. There are several ways to dive this aquarium, but all are done in conjunction with A-1 Scuba and Travel. For certified divers you can dive with the fish in the “Under the Sea” exhibit, and Dive with the Sharks in the “Depths of the Pacific” exhibit. If your not scuba certified, dive students training with A-1 Scuba and Travel may complete open water dives 1 & 2 at the aquarium, so call A-1 for more information on any of their aquarium dive programs. www.divedowntown.com
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nevada. Their “Dive with the Sharks” program is available for guests staying at Mandalay Bay. Now just about any marine biologist or batfish going blind from nematode infection will tell you that Shark Reef has had several unfortunate die offs in the last unlucky seven years from eels, sea turtles, schooling fish, and sharks. Fortunately, after the main circular lobby tank sprang leaks, the fish and sharks from this exhibit were transferred to the tank where the cow rays recently died off, so it all looks good to passing tourists, but concern about alleged reports about a shark left on the loading dock over a weekend and becoming injured, to not being able to dive 48 hours in the salt water after being chemically treated for parasites, and sharks with visible signs of parasitic infection, or showing signs of abnormal behavior still seem to plague Shark Reef, but hopefully a team of marine biologists can turn all this around soon, as Mandalay Bay Resort is one of the best beach resorts in Las Vegas. www.mandalaybay.com
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, California. Daily dives into the 350,000-gallon Tropical Reef Habitat ;swim with over 1000 fish, use an underwater camera, and get a souvenir towel and memory card all combine to make this a fun dive. All equipment is provided, but you can bring your own mask and booties. Must be certified and see age restrictions. www.aquariumofpacific.org
Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport, Oregon. People come here annually to this 23-acre Pacific marine wildlife attraction. Passages of the Deep is considered the best shore dive on the Oregon coast. This was the former home of Keiko the Orca whale and the site was transformed into three ecosystems so you can dive 26ft deep at Halibut flats with skates, sturgeon, and rockfish, or sit on a 13ft ledge or dive with the big sharks like the 10ft long Broadnose Sevengill shark at the Open Sea Exhibit. Eugene Skin Divers Supply operates the underwater dives. Must be open water certified. http://aquarium.org/
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma, Washington. Their “Eye to Eye with Sharks” program just started last year, but it’s a big hit with those that have experienced it. They actually have two dives in this 240,000-gallon tank, one is a cage dive for non-certified divers, and a scuba dive for those that are certified divers. The sandbar tiger sharks, nurse sharks, and even the wobbegongs here are some of the biggest you may ever see close up and personal. Dives are available Fridays through Mondays up to four times daily. All gear is supplied for these dives, and you will wear drysuits, so you can wear street clothes on underneath and keep them dry without need of a towel except for hair, but they’ve got that covered with a souvenir towel! No personal cameras are allowed. www.pdza.org/dive
Maui Ocean Center, The Hawaiian Aquarium. The Open Ocean exhibit has 750,000-gallons of salt water, 20 sharks, stingrays, and thousands of fish. Open to divers three days a week except holidays. They supply weight belts and tanks; you bring everything else. Why dive an aquarium in paradise? Guaranteed sightings of sharks! A constant rotation of sea creatures with those in the nearby natural native waters makes every visit here unique. Reservations required and you get to keep the shark teeth that you find in the sandy substrate. www.mauioceancenter.com
Now it’s quite possible that this list is ever changing and hopefully forever expanding. Keep in mind that available days of diving and the frequency of dives may change for any location. Most locations give you a tour of their backstage areas and a glimpse of other animals not normally seen by the general public. This includes breeding pools of fish, and species specifically raised to trade with other zoos and aquariums. A briefing on the dives and in depth information on fish, sharks, and local ecosystems may also be provided. The total tour time could take 3 to 4 hours. Sharing these dives with family members will create life long memories whether they go on the dives with you or look in from the other side of the clear acrylic wall. We hope you get a chance to take part in some or all of these unique diving opportunities.
Nuclear Missile Silo Diving
Nuclear Missile Silo Diving
Are you looking for a dive that’s almost one of a kind, a dive site that relatively few divers have ever had the opportunity to explore and/or a dive site with such historical significance that it almost changed the fate of the world? Well, we have not one, but two dive sites just for you. It turns out that during the 1960’s the United States government was busy digging holes in the ground, lining them with cement, steel rebar, and epoxy resin and covering them with heavy steal blast doors at $15 million a shot. Inside each silo stood a vertical missile. In case of emergency, the previously RP-1 (Kerosene) fueled missile was last minute fueled with highly corrosive cryogenically stored liquid oxygen, then elevated to the surface where it would blast off and head towards The Soviet Union. In the meantime the Soviets would be hypothetically sending their missiles towards us.
Mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) seemed to work well in the 1960’s and it was all the rage in the early nuclear age. To make sure we had the best ICBM system for wiping out the other half of the planet we invented the Atlas F series missile system complex and as a back up measure we introduced the Titan I missile complex system just incase the first system was too complex and didn’t work as devastatingly as expected. Fortunately, to get our money’s worth, we were able to use these two types of nuclear warhead missiles for a whole two years before they became obsolete. Working with liquid oxygen was dangerous and there was more than one fatal mishap, but what really made the silo programs obsolete was that it could take 10 minutes or more to get the rockets fueled, elevated to the surface, and launched. The new minuteman missiles just like minute rice could be ready and launched in just about one minute, and they were mobile too. Add Polaris missiles to submarines, and you now had a system that could blow up the Soviet Union at anytime from anywhere land or sea in less time than it takes to boil a cup of radioactive free water in Denver.
The underground complexes were salvaged for almost all the like new parts and metal materials and then the surrounding land and hardened concrete silos were sold off in some cases for what appears to be pure copper pennies on the dollar. Unfortunately, in a couple of cases when they turned off the electricity and started the salvage process, the pumps were also turned off and water started to seep inside the silos.
This is where Mark and Linda Hannifin of Family Scuba Center in Midland Texas come into the picture. They bought 11 acres of land twenty miles southwest of Abilene, Texas that contained an Atlas F missile silo that was formerly part of the 578th Strategic Missile Squadron at Dyess AFB.The man made ballistic pool is an easy 60ft diameter cylinder and 130ft deep, but that’s where the word easy leaves the scene.
To dive here at “Dive Valhalla”, you have to take your gear and go down several flights of stairs, turn right, turn left, make another right and walk down a corridor to the former control center and living area, which is now the gearing up room. Once geared up, it’s time to head down a corridor and step down 33ft on a stairway that leads to a floating platform complete with a T-38 “pool” ladder. Instructors here teach deep diving, altitude diving (2,420ft above sea level). Night diving, rescue diver skills, and technical diving skills. The water is 60° F warm and clear and there is a small inertial guidance shack at around 60ft of depth, plus some debris at the bottom of the silo. Reservations for dive clubs and dive shop groups with instructors to train and dive here are required; visit www.familyscuba.com for information.
Up in the Pacific Northwest in Royal City, Washington exists a Titan I missile silo that also flooded once the shiny missile was removed and the power went off. The site is currently leased by UnderSea Adventures in Kennewick, WA. Way more fixtures are still visible at this dive site including multiple High Voltage boxes and signs, lighting systems and a complete eye rinsing and shower station. The dives at this site are for Advanced divers and beyond.
Access to this site is down an emergency hatch into a staging room. You can climb down with gear on or use a bucket and rope to lower your gear down. Once underground you can set up your gear on benches in “the ready room” and when ready head down a corridor that is waist deep full of water that is 38º F, but that’s what one might expect from Cold War spring fed water seepage. Wearing a drysuit is the only way to go down here. The metal plates from the flooring have been removed/salvaged in the corrugated tunnels, so you have to walk precariously on pipes to make your way towards the launch silos. There is a spot with flooring where you can put on your fins and other last minute gear before you enter into Silo #3 which is 44ft diameter, 160 ft tall; 110ft of which is filled with water. The water is clear, but you’ll need lights to see every sign, pipe, bolt, brace, beam, and at least one salamander that is reported to haunt these waters. On one dive it is possible to see Silo #3, an equipment room, and Silo #2. For technical divers, there are completely submerged passages leading to rooms filled with electrical equipment and more interesting artifacts. For advanced and technical divers, to obtain information on this Titan I nuclear missile complex visit www.underseaadventures.net
The USA built some 72 Atlas silos and 54 Titan I missile silos. After they were made obsolete as ICBM’s, Atlas rockets were used to launch satellites and Titan rockets were used to launch Gemini projects and other heavier payloads for quite some time. Diving into some of the most expensive holes ever built may not be for every Adanced diver, and for those that would like to stay dry and see an intact, but inert Titan missile in a silo, we recommend visiting Sahuarita, Arizona. This Titan II museum has blast deflection channels built right inside the silo, so when it was operational, it didn’t need to rise to the surface before lift off.
As you can clearly see, deep down that is, diving a former nuclear missile silo may not be for everyone, but with the right training, and a little historical background, you might just find that diving where nuclear missiles were stored, but never fired in the past, is now a down right blast.
DiveGlide…Exciting and Fun!
DiveGlide is the latest device to get people hooked on water sports. It basically looks like a giant egg with detachable wings and a metal bar to hold on to. Inside the partly opened shell compartment 50lbs of weight and two air cylinders are placed. By pulling on a ball shaped knob you can add up to 250lbs of positive buoyancy lift inside the shell to rise towards the surface. To descend, all you have to do is tilt the front end down and air bubbles escape out the back end opening and you are gently pulled forward and downward. It takes a little training to master how to ascend and descend and once you’ve practiced a little, you feel like you are gliding through the water like a conventional glider does in air.
Glenn Faires of Golden Rock Dive Center invented Dive Glide in St. Eustatius (Statia). He has been perfecting DiveGlide for over 7 years. The most recent version is 30% lighter than the original model and it can be shipped just about anywhere in the world as it only weighs less than 32lbs; full production models may eventually weigh as little as 25lbs without mounted weights and tanks.
Just like surfing, snowboarding, or skiing, you use your muscles to choose a course and propel yourself forward. What makes DiveGlide so great is that for some adventurers, gliding under water gives participants a chance to dive downward and get a glimpse of colorful creatures and tropical reefs. In this respect, DiveGlide used by snorkelers, can act as a gateway step towards a desire to use DiveGlide while on scuba. So a trip spent gliding underwater could lead to another certified diver. This is one of many reasons why DiveGlide could have such a powerful effect on the world of scuba. As more resorts make DiveGlide available as one of their water related rental products, it will be interesting to see how much the need for local scuba diving instruction is increased. With an increased number of vacationers becoming certified and divegliding, the number of people they tell how much fun they had will expand and therefore the number of new vacationers desiring to try DiveGlide will increase too.
Here in the Scuba dive industry we are constantly reminded about the need to bring in young new divers to our sport. The more opportunities young people have to enjoy the water and related water sports, the more these young aquatic oriented adventurers may gravitate towards scuba diving activities whether it be a discovery scuba diving course or a full open water course. With this in mind, it is just a matter of time before a diver will be able to earn an Underwater Photography DiveGlide scuba certification or a Night DiveGlide scuba patch. Perhaps these courses won’t be available right away, but that all depends on how quickly resorts and other water destinations make DiveGlide available for beach enthusiasts from all walks of life.
Now, we are not saying that DiveGlide is the only solution to bringing new people into the scuba world. We think it is just one of many activities that can go hand in hand with scuba diving sport activities. If having so many other different land locked outdoor activities to choose from helps keep some potential people from ever trying scuba diving, then it’s only natural that having as many sports as possible that funnel interest back towards the water and Scuba diving can only be a good thing for the overall scuba industry.
On the other side of the coin though, gliding underwater like a giant manta ray and playing with the buoyancy properties of bubbles might be the only activity that some divers in the future will choose to do. You don’t need to kick with your fins or paddle with your arms, all you have to do is gently adjust the position of your body and the angle of your DiveGlide and you are free to fly underwater wherever you want to go and this makes DiveGlide just too much fun not to try.
For more information and an opportunity to use the Dive Glide, email [email protected] . You can also visit the DiveGlide Facebook page, or view some of the YouTube clips and interviews on Dive Glide.
Bonne Terre Mine Treasure Hunt
Divers of all ages come every year to enjoy the Bonne Terre Mine Treasure hunt and since its start six years ago it’s turned into a grand one day festival for US and international divers alike.
The Bonne Terre Mine is home to the Billion Gallon Lake. It’s an illuminated lake with over 500,000 watts of lighting and over 24 dive trailers from mammoth archways to calcium falls.
Treasure hunters strode into the depths in search of tokens for keys to their treasure troves. Some divers even came prepared with tips n’ tricks learned from their previous attempts.
Topside divers enjoyed a trade show with equipment, travel and training oriented vendors.
Where can you get over hundreds exhibitors with the newest in scuba gear and over 9,800 dive professionals under one roof?
The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association hosts the largest trade-only event in the world catering to companies in the scuba, water sports, and adventure/dive travel industries.
So who was there?
Well, aside from us and the awesome Scuba Gear Report whose full article is featured on this post, great companies like Apollo Sports, Aqualung, Dive Dawg, McNett, Scubapro and tons more!
What we found?
Nothing short of greatness.
Photo Courtesy of Scuba Gear Reports
Bodyglove was commemorating 60 years of wetsuit design and innovation and they were celebrating with a bang! Their site now allows you to design your own wetsuit! Just choose the model and colors you want and click click your custom suit will made to your specifications – something tells us we’re going to need one in every color, to match our fins of course.
Mares was also present with a new Hybrid Pure BC as well as their latest Avanti Quattro + fin with a more flexible compound and bungee strap.
Another company celebrating 50 years in the biz was Scubapro. Their booth had an awesome display with every regulator they ever built from their first stages and on.
We’re not going to give everything away because SGR’s already got it covered here.
Dive News: Salvaging the Costa Concordia Shipwreck
[VIDEO] and full story by: CBS News
Shipwreck: Costa Concordia
Eleven months ago, the Italian luxury liner ‘Costa Concordia’ hit a huge boulder whilst sailing the shores of Giglio Island. The effect: the most expensive and daunting salvage operation and potential environmental catastrophe.
It is twice the size of the Titanic andÂ the largest passenger ship ever wrecked.
The Plan? (Which we might add has never been done before)
American wreck removal company Titan Salvage and Italian engineering firm Micoperi have teamed up to roll the 60,000-ton ship onto an underwater platform, raise it, then float it away to be scrapped.
111 Divers | 8 Countries
Much of the work is done by specially trained salvage divers who work round the clock in a race against time (and the weather) to get this ship off the marine preserve.
111 divers from around the world have come to do their part in salvaging the ship with as little damage as possible to the environment.
Geared up with communication equipment, air, back-up air, a camera and a light, they’re lowered 40 feet into the ocean in a cage. Although they’re working non-stop, each diver can only be submerged for 45 minutes at a time. They then have 5 minutes to come up, strip off their gear and step into a decompression chamber.
The salvage divers live in close quarters on floating barracks right next to the wreck and have even formed a camaraderie despite their language barriers.
It’s a pretty sweet but dangerous job. We must admit we’re a little jealous. A trip to the shores of Italy with other divers from around the world AND save the environment? Where do we sign up?!
Maduro Dive at Captain Don’s Habitat for Wounded Warriors
One week out of the year, Bonaire welcomes a group of Wounded Warriors to their beautiful paradise. From August 18-25th wounded veterans and their significant others come to Bonaire to complete their final step in obtaining their dive certifications and, of course, enjoy the natural beauty Bonaire has to offer.
Our Operations Director, Barbara Seidel, was there for a few days to give us a first hand account of what went down.
Between trying Kadushi (a sweet Bonaire drink made from cactus), cocktail hours and the Managers Rum Punch Party at Captain Don’s, Barbara was able to find time to partake in what she was really there for, work! (We kid!)
This year Barbara returned to Bonaire for this great event and came back fully impressed and full of great stories of her time hanging out with the lively bunch of veterans.
They all had great stories, each one in his own way was memorable and in great spirits, she shared.
One of the veterans she recalls of the many extraordinary men and women was John, from Buffalo, New York, who had a wonderful attitude.
John was shot and injured so badly in Iraq, he was sent to Germany for treatment. His family was flown to the hospital on site because doctors didn’t think he was going to come out of the coma. But miraculously, he did.
What I really remember about him, besides his love to joke around, was that he had a wristband that had a bullet as the clasp. I later found out that the bullet was from the gun the Iraqi had shot him with. His buddy shot the man and took his gun. He then saved the bullet for John to keep, she recalled.
“The fact that John pulled through and is now enjoying life and constantly joking around with everyone shows what wonderful spirit he has. It was an honor to have met him.”
Oceanic played a really large role this year. They dished out red, white, and blue gear for the veterans. Once they were all geared up in their patriotic fins, masks and snorkels it was time to plunge!
One of the things we love about Captain Don’s Habitat is that you have options in how you choose to dive. Captain Don’s has three different boats to take you to your dive site OR you can dive in right from the resort with their divers-only baby dock. Just one stride off the pier and you’re already surrounded by coral and colorful wrasse and gobies.
How’s that for a diver’s dream?
We just HAD to ask Barbara what her most memorable experience was on her trip.
Aside from experiencing the gorgeous green flash at sunset by the bar, she shared how impressed she was with everyone’s hard work and dedication to making these seven days the best days possible for these injured veterans.
Marie with TCB USA Jack at Captain Don’s Dan with Oceanic Dave with DEMA
All the work they did to make a week in these men’s lives unbelievable was an honor to witness, she shared.
Get more on how Bonaire honors US military veterans here.
Donate Your Old Dive Gear for a Cause
Photo Courtesy of scubagearreports.com
Been eying some new gear but get that voice telling you this stuff’s still good, don’t even think about it! We found the solution! (And just in time for the holidays) PLUS you’ll feel even better when you hush up that little voice.
Scubagearreports.com recently reported on a great charity that helps children, veterans and the disabled dive with YOUR old gear! Sounds awesome right? Read more below as seen on scubagearreports.com. Enjoy!Â
YOU KNOW THAT brand spanking new BC you’ve been aching to buy, but can’t really justify it because your current BC is still in perfect shape? Or what about that new wristwatch-style dive computer that just hit the market that would finally allow you to go air-integrated, but would also elbow your existing gauge console from your dive bag? What to do? Give up, stick with your old gear? We have a better solution, a totally win-win solution: go ahead and buy that new BC and that new dive computer, then donate your old gear to an organization that will put it to really good use.
It’s called the Diveheart Foundation, and it’s a non-profit organization based in Illinois whose mission is “to build confidence and independence in children, adults and veterans with disabilities through the activity of scuba diving.“
For the past 13 years, the Diveheart Foundation, which is essentially volunteer-driven, has worked tirelessly to use scuba diving as a tool to build self-esteem and provide physical and psychological therapy to people with disabilities. According to Founder Jim Elliott, it’s all about instilling the Can Do spirit into both children and adults who are faced with life challenges and barriers that, without confidence and a level of independence, might seem insurmountable.
Photo Courtesy of scubagearreports.com
One project the organization is currently working on with the Hines V.A. Hospital in the Chicagoland area is the creation of a new scuba therapy facility that would allow Diveheart to do research, rehabilitation, education, and training, as well as provide vocational opportunities in areas like marine biology, oceanography and underwater engineering, to those with disabilities.
The Diveheart Foundation does not discriminate when it comes to disabilities. Children, adults and veterans with any type of disability are welcome to participate in Diveheart and Diveheart Military Wounded local, regional, national and international dive trips (with supporting medical authorization). These trips are supported by incredible Diveheart volunteers who come from around the world to participate.
For more on the Diveheart Foundation, their projects and how to get involved click here for full article