Category: DIVING

The First Trip I Want To Take After Covid // Scuba Diving at Wikkid Resort // Roatan, Honduras

After five months of going no where except a no-contact trip to the grocery every eight weeks to have food dumped into the bed of my truck, and four weeks back to work in person; I’m ready to start planning our first Post-Covid scuba diving trip. It might not happen for over a year, but usually we plan about six major trips a year. The place I’m yearning to spend some time in the most is Roatan, Honduras, specifically, Wikkid Resort!

Counterfeit Tourniquet Are More Dangerous Than Improvised // I Confiscated Another One

I “confiscated” another counterfeit tourniquet. It upset me so badly that I put off writing about it for months. Strangely, I seem to have a nose for sniffing them out and identifying them for certain. However, the infuriating part is that I realized that people don’t understand how counterfeit tourniquets are actually more dangerous than improvised versions. So, I’m going to tell you a few more times.

Visiting Cuba // The Island of Doors // Beyond the Tourists

Just the word almost gives me chills – an island, the one island where I could not go. I have flown over it, sailed past it, cruised near it but never set foot on it. I was never free to openly visit. It seemed that door was closed, legally to me, until 2016. Actually, there were other doorways that could have led me to that door; flying through the Bahamas or Panama, but I chose to wait until it was legal. When I finally arrived, I sobbed.

The Summer I Got Poisoned by Chemical Sunscreen // Captain Kim Walther // Toxic Ingredients

I got poisoned by sunscreen; I know, it’s just bizarre, right? The very potion designed to protect me poisoned me brutally. Rudely. Summer before last, I was teaching sailing class. I was on the last day of a seven-day stint teaching in small open boats, and it had been hot, humid, and very bright. There is no shade on our keelboats. So, I wear a hat or visor, and sometimes, a long sleeved shirt.

Stream2Sea Love Letter & Haul // Physical Barrier for Ecoconscious Sun Protection // Neck Gaiters // Dive Buffs

Last week I was cruising one of my favorite websites, the Stream2Sea website just in case… just in case they had anything new in production. Well! Shocker! Neck gaiters, also called dive buffs, pocket sprayer of hand sanitizer, and gel hand sanitizer had snuck into the product line without my knowledge. I love that Stream2Sea promotes not only reef-safe sunscreen, but also some alternatives for supplementing sun exposure coverage and prevention.

Diving Blue Grotto // PADI Nitrox Class // Williston Florida

For a weekend PADI Nitrox class, we headed over to Willliston, Florida to dive at Blue Grotto where we could practice everything from gear checks to navigation to dive tables. With depths down to 100 feet, and a steady 72° degrees Fahrenheit all year long, it’s a popular spot. Divers need an Open Water certification to dive there, and dive instructors are invited to use the platforms at various depths for dive training exercises. Blue Grotto’s website says they are the largest clear water cavern located in the heart of freshwater spring country in Williston, Florida.

Our NOLS Wilderness Medicine First Aid Class Experience Thru REI Co-op

With all of our diving, cycling, sailing, and being far from medical assistance, it seems prudent to take a NOLS Wilderness Medicine First Aid class. So, we did! The class was unbelievably useful. Unbelievably. I cannot tell you how comprehensive it is, how in depth it is. I feel confident that I can walk up to a patient, assist them, and administer far more than first aid on the spot.

Scuba Diving With Stuart Cove’s // Second Time Around // Lessons Learned // Dive Operator Review

A NAS Jax Skin and Scuba Dive Club member friend of ours says he won’t dive with Stuart Cove’s anymore. He said boat dive trip experiences are like eating at a restaurant. We might go to the same restaurant, we might even get the same waiter. The waiter might spill water on me, but not you. And so, he says dives with the same operator may be a completely different experience. Well, we’ve dove with Stuart Cove’s twice, and both times had the same experience times four with empty tanks, half-filled tanks, and O-ring failures. A lot of the dive experience centers around those simple items.

Schedule for Scuba Diving for Eight Days in Cuba

If you’ve wondered what the itinerary for a Scuba Diving trip to Cuba would include, here’s a sample schedule. Our trip this year is postponed, however, last year’s trip was an incredible experience of a lifetime. We can’t wait to go back and see all our new lifelong friends. Into each 18-hour day, we packed at least five miles of walking, 1,000 photos, at least three glorious meals, a brilliant sunrise, a colorful sunset, and best of all; such positive interactions with Cubans everywhere we went. Oh – yeah – and some of the best scuba diving on Earth. Pristine water, fully-developed reefs, tons of tropical fish. This is a quick day-by-day guide.

Week-Long Dive Trip in Key West // Scuba Itinerary

After six weeks home, I’m finally ready to start some planning for future dive trips. We cancelled our Spring Break week to Key West. Until now, I hadn’t wanted to even think about what we missed. It just seemed too selfish to even contemplate pining for a trip that didn’t happen. We’re pretty good about being realistic. When we made the decision to cancel the afternoon we were supposed to leave, and we never looked back. No regrets, no self-pity. It was a far better choice to not jeopardize the lives of health care workers by traveling. Instead, we concentrated on bettering ourselves; reading more, working out more, and taking online Scuba safety classes. Now I’m ready to think about planning a week-long trip for Scuba diving in the Florida Keys! Here’s our plan!

BEST DIVE TOWEL // LIGHT, COMPACT, FAST-DRYING PACK TOWL // Deep Water Happy

On a trip last weekend to the Bahamas, we realized we really needed compact, efficient towels.

We thought of the courtesy towels by Shark that we used in Cozumel with Blue XtSea Diving, could not find those offered on Amazon, so Bill found what Kara and Nate recommended.

Pack Towl is the brand, and we ordered the beach towel size. They come in four sizes; face, hand, bath and beach. We wanted to be able to use these in a variety of situations, so we ordered the largest; beach.

They come in a variety of sizes and patterns; different colors are different prices! https://amzn.to/2WiBmiX

Biodegradable Spray Hand Sanitizer // No Microplastics // Green Hygiene for Covid 19

Until I ordered some Stream2Sea Spray Hand Sanitizer, I did not know that the reason many hand sanitizers are thick and viscous is because they contain microplastics. Plastics! I decided to do some research on unsafe ingredients found in our newest must-have item for protecting ourselves from sickness and viruses; hand sanitizers, aka antiseptic rubs.

ECOCONSCIOUS BIODEGRADABLE HAND SANITIZER // STREAM2SEA // EUCALYPTUS AND CAMPHOR // DeepWaterHappy

Our favorite reef safe sunscreen company saves the day and their employees by introducing hand sanitizer to their product line. Stream2Sea is a small Florida-based, woman-owned company. When orders for reef safe shampoo and conditioners for the cruise ship industry plummeted, the owner, Autumn Blum, realized she could ensure her employee’s jobs while meeting a dire need for hand sanitizer. The result is a hand sanitizer of completely safe, biodegradable ingredients; no synthetic fragrances or preservatives.

Why You Should Join a Dive Club // Dive Club Benefits // Safety in Numbers

Why people would want to join a dive club came up in conversation over dinner with our NAS JAX Skin and Scuba Dive Club president this weekend. Our dive club welcomes new members enthusiastically, and we need their fresh perspective, enthusiasm for diving, and . We think the dive club is great, so I decided to examine just all the ways a dive club is beneficial to its members. We pondered if Gen X, Y, and Z don’t join service or even social clubs, and why an in-person, live event is more valuable than an online social group.

How To Ruin A Scuba Dive // Subtly Stacking The Deck Against a Fun Dive // Analysis

This past weekend, we dove in the Bahamas on a “cruise ship dive trip.” We set out from the port with a fairly healthy new dive partner, and by the end of the day, her dive was ruined. There were no accidents. But slowly, subtly, the deck became stacked against her enjoying a clean dive. Here’s my version of “20/20 Hindsight” on how she got to the point of not having any fun at all.

Mini Review of Mariner of the Seas // Royal Caribbean Cruise Line // Three Night Bahamas Cruise

Several times a year, we plan dive cruises – that is, we cruise, and wherever we go, we scuba dive! This time, we cruised on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas on a three night cruise to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, Florida. We’ve been cruising on the smaller ships like Rhapsody, Enchantment, and Jewel, and we like the layouts and smaller passenger to crew ratios. We stepped on Mariner, and within an hour or two, we were in love with the layout, the organization, and the many small private areas scattered around the ship.

SCUBA Diving in Cuba // Spectacular Shore Diving

First of all, diving in Cuba is accessible right from the shore, and the wall is stuffed full of incredible fish, eels, sponges, fans and every type of coral drops from 160 to 500 feet. We saw absolutely staggering staghorn coral growths that would make divers in the Florida Keys cry in their masks. Gatherings of huge conch mesmerized me with their size and abundance.

Dive Trip From Havana // Diving the Reefs of Cuba’s North Shore

My article SCUBA Diving in Cuba // Pristine Reefs on the North Shore didn’t have enough room to show you much of the diving. So, here’s to more Cuba Diving! In the previous article, I told the whole story of the dive experience, from leaving the Malecon in Havana to our return and view of our point of origin from the fort across the historic harbor in that article. Now I want to show more of the sea life we encountered while scuba diving in Cuba.

SCUBA Diving in Cuba // Pristine Reefs on the North Shore

We weren’t really sure what to expect with Scuba diving in Cuba, except for probably pristine waters and lots of tropical fish, but we quickly caught on – no trash, no crowds, and absolute rivers of blue fish streaming past. For our first diving in Cuba, we took the elevator down five flights from our casa particulare flat with a view of the Prada, the Malecon, and two enormous Spanish Forts. We jumped into a big VW van with our dive gear.

Diving Roatan Honduras // Dive Cruise // Wikkid Divers – Ecologic Adventures

First dive of the new year; this was the was the most-anticipated dive of a four-day-straight dive cruise. New Year’s Day dive from a catamaran; with just the six of us on board. None of us had dove Roatan, and we were absolutely amped with excitement to dive in this legendary location. We were not disappointed; Roatan and Wicked Divers exceeded even our very high expectations!

Diving Mahahual Costa Maya Mexico // Dive Cruise // Alux Divers

Upon arrival at Mahahual, we hoped to see maybe the winds would lay down and the seas diminish a bit. The waves had been pounding into the stern of our cruise ship at the pier, shaking the whole ship. That was a bit nerve-wracking, but most likely just a coincidence of wave direction and stern architecture. We ended up deciding to scrub the dive. But we had fun anyway!

Diving Cozumel Mexico // Dive Cruise // Blue XtSea Diving

Blue XtSea Diving – Martin and Emmy
Our ship docked at the Langosto pier in Cozumel; the more northern of the cruise ship piers. The day before, eight ships were in port. There were “only” seven in port on our day there. We took a $20 taxi bus from Puerto Langosto to Marina Fonatur. The dock was bustling with dozens of boats, hundreds of tanks. We later found out where they all were headed! Martin and the captain were great; gave us a slow talk about conditions, methods, almost a full refresher course before the first dive. We had said we were two slightly experienced and four fairly new divers, and he took note of that and accommodated us as well as proceeding slowly and methodically in his dive brief.

Western Caribbean Dive Sampler by Cruise Ship // Diving Four Countries in Four Days

Western Caribbean dive sampler via cruise ship turned out to be a great way to experience several different dive locations. Even if weather shut us out from one country; there always was another country to dive the next day. The ability to have a quick experience in each, then choose our favorite dive spots for future exploration is certainly worthwhile.

How to Use a Dry Bag for Scuba Diving // Heavy vs. Light Dry Bags

Somehow, when I began diving, I had it completely backwards of what was the purpose for a dry bag when you are traveling, so I wonder who else has it all wrong too. I thought that the dry bag was to keep your wet gear from dripping onto your dry clothes. Bwahahahaha! (I was wrong!) Turns out it is exactly the opposite; you put your dry clothes into the dry bag, and let your wet gear inhabit the rest of the bag! Who knew? You probably did!

Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice Florida

What We Learned About Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice Florida

We learned a lot while shore diving from Venice, Florida in the search for shark teeth. Here’s our experience and what we discovered through our experiences! Using the shore dive from Service Club Park north of Sharky’s, we encountered a local shark tooth diver who gave us a couple pointers and suggestions. He suggested we walk a bit north before swimming out, about a quarter mile.

Planning a Budget Three Night Cruise Ship Dive Trip // Budget Dive Trips and Tips

The easiest of Cruise Ship Dive Trips is to plan is a three-nighter due to the limited number of dives and dive connections to be made. It’s a great cruise to “practice” on getting your cruise ship dive trip methods figured out and your routine practiced on a shorter route. Here are the main planning points: travel to the port, parking and hotel or Airbnb at the port, choosing the cruise, booking the dives, travel to the dives, return details. In order to plan a truly budget-mindful trip, it is going to take some planning to get the best deals.

Packing a Seven-Night Cruise Into Three-Nights // Cruise Ship Dive Trip

The three night cruise ship dive trip is a quick, easy, affordable and satisfying Dive Cruise. Consider the three-nighter to Nassau and CocoCay on Royal Caribbean. We get to cruise, we get to dive, and we feel like we’ve cheated by logging three dives on a three-day weekend! It feels like a seven-night vacation. Royal Caribbean offers a three-nighter out of Port Canaveral nearly every weekend of the year. It’s a perfect trip for a fast taste of diving in the beautiful Bahamas!

17 Aquariums for Scuba Diving in the US // The Most Comprehensive List of Aquarium Dives

Aquariums have plenty of benefits and attraction – here’s the list of every aquarium across the US that allows scuba diving in their tanks and exhibits. The opportunity to be guaranteed visibility, sea life sightings, no current, and a bit of practice can be fun! For much of the information, I contacted the aquariums directly. So, not only is the information even more extensive than what is on their sites, it’s up-to-date. International Aquarium Diving options will be covered fully in another article.

How to Carry Your Scuba Dive Mask When Traveling // Should You Keep Your Dive Mask in the Original Box

Should you keep your scuba dive mask in the original hard case for travel, or should you remove the mask and pack it inside your bcd? This probably is as widely disputed as whether the bathroom tissue should lead from the top or bottom. While we are on dive boats, at dive shops, and even on shore dives, I tend to watch to observe how other people deal with the piles of gear that scuba diving requires. Always, I’m looking to streamline our systems and learn the best tips from “the pro’s.”

22 REASONS TO SCUBA DIVE AN AQUARIUM // Deep Water Happy

Why on earth someone would want to go for a scuba dive in an aquarium, I’ve always wondered. Currently, I’m trying to get into the Tampa Aquarium for – an aquarium dive! We’re headed on a dive cruise, and want to fit in just one more dive before we go. We’re already in town, already committed to a hotel for the overnight before, so why not dive in an aquarium?

We will be guaranteed to see some sharks, it will be a different experience, and all we have to bring is our mask – our dive gear can stay packed and dry until the cruise begins the next day.

Why Dive an Aquarium?
There are more reasons to dive an aquarium than not. I’ve outlined the ones that come to mind first. If you can think of any additional reasons, please comment below! I’d love love to add your reasons too!

Scuba Diving in Aquariums // 24 Reasons to Dive an Aquarium

Why on earth someone would want to go for a scuba dive in an aquarium, I’ve always wondered. Currently, I’m trying to get into the Tampa Aquarium for – an aquarium dive! We’re headed on a dive cruise, and want to fit in just one more dive before we go. We’re already in town, already committed to a hotel for the overnight before, so why not dive in an aquarium? We will be guaranteed to see some sharks, it will be a different experience, and all we have to bring is our mask – our dive gear can stay packed and dry until the cruise begins the next day.

Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice Florida

With all local boats fully booked in advance, we decided to try our luck at shore diving for shark teeth off the beach in Venice, Florida and we were rewarded for our efforts. Not only did we learn a lot about shore diving on the West Coast, we also scouted out some good dive sites, added to our diving experience, and enjoyed the local flavor – food, flavors, architecture and new friends.

Review of Kraken Sports NR-1200 Lumens LED Dive Light // Diving Torch Performance // Perfect Travel Dive Light

After much research, many dives, and a lot of wear-and-tear, we decided to upgrade our respective dive lights to the Kraken Sports NR-1200 Lumens Dive Lights. I’m going to go thorough our “oooh’s” and “ahhhh’s” in the order of most functional and convenient. So far, I’ve used this light several times in Florida as well as in Cuba, in low-light conditions, bright conditions, and depths to 107 feet. It feels great in the hand, is compact and sturdy, charges quickly, and I love it!

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