Showing posts from 2007

Scuba Gifts - winter Holiday Edition (Christmas) Part1

Sometimes it is hard to buy for people. I know that I find it hard to buy for some people. So I have decided to come up with a list of items you can get for you scuba friends. (p.s. if you want to buy something for me let me know and I will provide you with my scuba list)
The traditional knife I used to love dive knives. Unfortunately, most of the ones I like are no longer made (I don't know why). But realistcally, you don't need a big knife as you will never use it. A small one will do just fine. That being said, I don't like most of the small knives on the market. The Oceanic Spinner looks interesting, I will have to see if I can find it to review it. Until then, my favorite knife right now is the Z Knife.

I currently use the Z knife in red. The only problem with it is that it rusts. I think I am going to try the OMS one because it is titanium so it won't rust. This is what I would give as a gift for someone who does not have a knife.

Store Front

Students have often asked me if they could be a T-shirt or some other item with the NovaDiving logo on it. It was really expensive for me to go the printer and get them to order a shirt at a time. I found some place that will do it much cheaper and students don't have to go through me. They can now go to I am still adding things to the site. If you do have an idea for something you want I will happily put it up there, just let me know.

Movie - Sharkwater

So a student told me that there was a new movie coming out about sharks. He sent me some info and I am just now getting around to finding out more about it. It looks to be an environmentally conscious film about preservation of sharks. Below is the synopsis and the preview of the movie (fast forward about 30 seconds).

Sharkwater synopsis (from

For filmmaker Rob Stewart, exploring sharks began as an underwater adventure. What it turned into was a beautiful and dangerous life journey into the balance of life on earth.

Driven by passion fed from a lifelong fascination with sharks, Stewart debunks historical stereotypes and media depictions of sharks as bloodthirsty, man-eating monsters and reveals the reality of sharks as pillars in the evolution of the seas.

Filmed in visually stunning, high definition video, Sharkwater takes you into the most shark rich waters of the world, exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world's shark populations in the …

Oct Pumpkin Carving

Recently my students went out to get certified and also to participate in the Pumpkin Carving contest. Below is the video slideshow of the event. Enjoy

The 400 year old Clam

The quahog clam (insert Family Guy joke here) is suspected to be the longest living animal in existence. The clam is was found off of the coast of Iceland and is suspected to be between 405 and 410 years old. It now enters the Guinness book of world records beating out a 220 year old clam.

Link from Science Daily

Gadgets - DPV's

For those of you who don't know, a DPV is a Dive Propulsion Vehicle. More commonly known as a scooter. I really want one. But the one that I want is out of my price range for now. That, and I don't really know what I would do with it once I got it.

Anyways, this is a video of what diving with a scooter should look like.

This is a video of some guy trying to develop a new scooter. Its a little sad.

Somethings just shouldn't be done II

I ran across this story a couple of years ago. When I first saw it I thought it was a bad idea. Now that a couple of years have gone by I don't think it is going to happen at all.

A person has decided to create a new club in England called Club Narked. It is an alcohol and drug free club that will get people narked. They are going to convert a bank vault into a pressure chamber. Then, while people are dancing and partying, they are going to increase the pressure like you are diving. After being narked for a while, they will bring you up for a safety stop and then the night is over.

Here is why it is a bad idea. Lots of forms to fill out (waviers). You are stuck there the whole ride, you can't leave early without risking the bends. Possible chance for the bends. And last but not least, no alcohol. I need to drink to be able to dance.

The picture on top is club logo. I think it is very appropriate as it shows that people doing this are crazy.

Website - Club Narked

Game - Treasure of Cutlass Reef

Once in a while I will get board and will find some online game to play. Normally I get tired of them pretty quickly but for some reason I like this game (plus it has a pirate theme). Enjoy

_Treasure of Cutlass Reef_

Website Problems

Sorry if you haven't been seeing updates for almost a week. My website host decided to change hosting requirements and never told me about it. I have a couple of topics I hope to post this week so you will have some fresh content soon.

Seabob ????

I have always wanted an underwater scooter. They go fast. Well, it looks like Seabob (no I have never heard of them before, has or is soon, going to release a new scooter. The Cayago Magnum which is a limited edition scooter will be able to operate up to "extreme depths" and run for up to 4 hours will start at around 14,000. To sweeten the deal it also comes with a "comprehensive navigation and location technology system." I take that to mean is has an underwater compass built in.

There are no other specs for this model but the other models while they can go deep, are limited to an hour run time and about 120 feet. I do like the face that there is no propeller for things to get caught in but I don't know if its worth my $14,000 just yet.

You can check out their website here.

There is also a video of there lesser models here. They actually go deep about 2 minutes into the video.

Somethings just shouldn't be done

Somethings just should be done. In this case, it is the scuba diving cat and dog. The owner of the cat wanted to combine his love of his animal with his love of scuba diving. To do this he put together a helmet, small tank, and regs for this to happen.

My favorite part of this video is when the owner says, "She just hangs there and expects me to do the driving." Thats because the cat is freaked out of its mind and doesn't want to be there. It is almost frozen stiff.

Well, judge for yourselves.


Are you ready to go on a trip for free? How about win some great prizes? Do you have a camera? If you have answered yes to these questions then you are ready for the "Our World Underwater: 2008" competition.This years competition is being sponsored by and There are categories for both still photography and video. If you are interested in participating head over to and check out the rules. Deadline is January 13, 2008
Categories for the compeition are below. A) Still imagesMacro TraditionalMacro UnrestrictedSuperMacro TraditionalWide Angle TraditionalWide Angle UnrestrictedCompact CameraEnvironment and Conservation
B) Video:
Underwater Video (General)Underwater Video (Conservation)

Dive Sites - Bonne Terre Mine

I think I have found my next (first) reason to travel to St. Louis. So I can get to the Bonne Terre Mine. The Bonne Terre Mine is an old mine that has flooded and can now be dove. It is open year round with the air temperature in the mine being 62 degrees and the water temp 58.

The Mines have lots of various "trails" to swim along with lots of things to see from natural cave formations to equipment left behind in the mine. And if you don't have a cavern certification, they will help you get that also. Well worth checking out.

Review - Open Water the Movie

When the movie open water was announced, I thought it might have potential. When I found out all of the details of the movie I had lost all interest in seeing the movie. One night shortly before going on a dive trip my wife said she wanted to watch the movie so we rented it. I figured it was only and hour and a half and I could get through it. And I did.

The movie opens up with an introduction of a couple and a little of their relationship. This is the highlight of the movie. Shortly after this they get on a boat and they get left behind. The last hour of the movie is speculation on what happened but it is basically them drifting in water until they get eaten by sharks. The end.

Please save you self the time and money and do not see this movie.

New Issue of UW Photography Magazine

Underwater Photography Magazine has their newest issue out. Its 64 pages of photos, news, reviews, and more. All you have to do to get it is go here, enter you email address (which they use to notify you of new issues, and then download it for free.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

September 19th of every year is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. What does that mean to you? It means you should talk like a pirate on that day. If you don't know how you can watch the video below for a short lesson. If you just feel silly, do it anyways. If you think you might get fired, then just pass this post on to someone who might be a real pirate as you are not.

More info here.

Diving Trails - New York State

When I was younger I used to hike a lot. As I have gotten older I have not lost my love of hiking but it is just now day trips. One of the places I loved to hike was (is) the Appalachian trail. As scuba divers, we cannot swim a dozen or so miles a day. At least I can't. But we can go boating on state water trails.

NY has a state water trail and how now established dive sites on this trail that divers can scuba dive on. The first two of these sites are the wreck of the David S Mills and the Eagle Wings. The other three are still under development and will be posted on the NY Seagrant Homepage.

I don't know if I am up to diving in the cold water of New York. It might take an invitation to get me up there. But I am glad to see states and local dive societies provide new experiences for divers as well as possible entice others to start diving.

Sites - Underwater Photography

Taking pictures underwater is very different then taking pictures above. The lighting is different. You have to worry about getting you camera wet. And your subjects can and often are afraid of you (especially is you move fast or a lot). I will hopefully provide some tips every so often that I have learned that might help you but I am not an expert. I consider myself just above beginner.

Until I get started let me send you to two websites that I find fun and helpful. The first is Underwater Photography Magazine. is a FREE web based magazine that has great pictures, reviews of digital equipment and tips. Well worth a trip every other month to see whats going on.

The second website is Wetpixel. Wetpixel is a site dedicated to underwater digital photography and videography. On their site they have reviews, tips, pictures, as well as a forum. I think the forum feature is great as it allows you to share photos with other divers as well as ask questions and…

Skills - Exiting the Water

Leaving the water can sometimes be a lot harder the getting in. The easiest entry is always the safest and easiest to do based on the situation. The exit can be limited based on the conditions that are presented. Make sure that before you enter the water you know how you are going to get out.

I stumbled upon this video and think that it provides a good example of 1) and exit I never want to have to do, and 2) a guy who might not realize how to get out of the water. I would have recommended he take off his fins.

Advice - Accidents

"Accidents happen"

Accidents are something that happen that are not intentional. In the world of scuba diving, this can lead to people getting hurt by the bends or dropping and tank on their foot and breaking some bones. No matter what we do, accidents will happen in the scuba industry.

Stupidity happens also. Every year people die or have near misses not because they were venturing a little beyond their limits, or standards, or just good practices, but because they were going way beyond them. Check this story out. A scuba diver decides to go into a wreck. Looses visibility due to stirring up silt inside and gets lost. Thanks to his buddy and another dive boat. They manage to get him out after an hour. If you have never been wreck diving, take a course they teach you how to prepare for that or at least, what you shouldn't be doing.

Basically, when scuba diving, use a little common sense and if you aren't sure, don't do it.

Below is a video of an accident.

Jelly Fish - Aquariums

First let me start by saying that jellyfish are pretty neat creatures. Whenever I go the the aquarium or the zoo, I love to spend a couple of minutes looking at them because they are fairly graceful when the move through the water. Also, many of the places you see them have them lit up so they look even neater.

On the flip side, I hate diving with jellyfish. When I dive off of the outer banks in North Carolina, I almost always get stung by a jellyfish. And when you are at 50 feet and just starting your dive, all you go do is think "OOWWwww" (and maybe cry a little from the pain).

All that being said, there is a new aquarium out so that you can view jellyfish at your home or office. Aquapict LED Jellyfish houses fake jellyfish (although they look kind of real in the pictures) that float around. You can change the LED colors and patterns to enhance the viewing. I don't know if it is worth the $137.00 they are charging but it would still be neat to see. If anyone buys…

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

When I was younger a favorite book (and a good movie) was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I am sure that many of you have already seen the movie or read to book but for those who haven't, you should. One of my favorite parts of the book is how Capt. Nemo and his crew lived off of the sea. They went underwater to hunt fish and to cultivate plants for their survival on the boat. They even buried people at sea.

Well, it seems some Italians are now trying to prove that what Nemo did is possible. They plan to live underwater at a depth 15 meters (49 feet) for two weeks. During this time they will try to live off the ocean without disrupting the ecosystem. I will be interested to see how this experiment comes out.

link -

Spider Scuba Diver

I am by no means a fan of spiders. The scare me more then just a little bit. Even when I see pictures of them I usually turn the page. When I was a kid, watching the movie Arachnophobia was about the worst horror movie that you could show me.

All that being said, this article I stumbled upon today was pretty neat. Its about how water spiders use their silk to trap air and use it as a scuba tank. I guess we are still man imitating nature under the water. Its a short article so check it out.

Endless Ocean - Scuba Diving Game

I, and several of my fans love to play video games, especially on the Wii. The Wii lets you experience a game unlike any other console that I have played. That being said, there are just some games that I don't think will work for the Wii. In this case it is a scuba diving game called "Endless Ocean" (in japan it is called Forever Blue)

I love the idea of of a scuba diving game that does not promote violence (shooting sharks) or exaggerate what the scuba diver does. Instead this game focus's on the idea of locating different types of coral or fish, or taking a scuba diver on a guided diver. All in all the game is about swimming around in a giant ocean (which you can also do with your friends via the internet) and seeing what there is to see. You can even take pictures underwater. I hope that this game leads to more people wanting to learn to scuba dive but ....

The game is limited in plot. Other then seeing the ocean I don't think people will be really int…

North Carolina Wreck Diving

This has been a summer where I have had a lot of stuff going on and haven't had a lot of time to scuba dive. This past weekend I had the chance to go down to Hatteras, North Carolina and do some wreck diving. I would have to say wreck diving is one of my favorite things to do. Not only do you get to see lots of fish life but you also get to see man made structures that have been sunk. Its interesting to see what the ocean does to a ship even after a couple of months under water.

On this past trip I had the opportunity to do some underwater video work for a couple of minutes. I have to say, after my brief experience I am not a fan of it. I think its neat that you can share your experience underwater with other people but its too much effort for me. I think I will stick with still photography.

Below is a video of me on the wreck of the Dixie Arrow. Behind me is a school of Atlantic spade fish (Chaetodipterus faber).Supposedly a good fish to eat but I have never tried. Enjoy t…

WWI U-Boat Ready to Sink More Ships?

A World War I U-boat sunk in the English Channel is being disturbed by boat traffic passing overhead. This U-boat, which is still loaded with torpedo's could become dislodged from the sea bed and float back to the surface. If it collides with another ship, this could create an explosion sinking another ship. Authorities are researching what to do regarding this U-boat.

Link TheDailyMail


My wife and I have frequently thought about having an aquarium in our house. The biggest reason that I would like an aquarium is the feeling of relaxation it brings to me. I know I don't want a fresh water aquarium. I think it has to be salt. I like a lot of the coral life that I can grow in a salt water aquarium. I also think many of the salt water fish I can put in there are prettier.

One day when this happens I will journal that on this blog, until then I will talk a little bit about other aquariums that impress me (not that I have seen them in person). Today's aquarium is the aquarium housed in the Berlin Radisson. It is 25 meters tall and houses over 2,500 tropical fish. You can see a picture of it too the left. It is not something you would just go and shove in you house. It looks like it should be something that people have to pay to see (other then the cost of a hotel room). If anyone goes there please take pictures and let me know what it is like.

Scuba Certification - How to choose a Dive Shop

Choosing a dive shop and / or dive instructor can have a significant impact on how motivated your are to scuba dive once your are certified. That being said, I hope that what follows will help you choose your dive shop / instructor when the time is right for you.

The first thing you need to understand is the primary goal for the dive shop and some instructors is that they are in it to make money. Without money a scuba shop cannot pay it's bills and thus cannot keep its doors open. So expect at some point the dive shop to ask you to purchase training, equipment, and other services as needed. That being said, you should not walk it the door and be asked, "What are you buying today?."

So, what should you look for in a dive shop.
1. Atmosphere and Attitude
I put these together because they are both important to me. Every dive shop, regardless of what brands they stock, carry a certain atmosphere and attitude to them. Find one that meets your expectations or lifestyle. Th…

Virginia Scuba Sites

As a frequent scuba diving and instructor I try to look around the web to see what other dive shops in the area are doing. Maybe someone has a good promotion that I can "borrow" or a class that I would like to take that my dive shop does not offer. To do this I had created a list of links / bookmarks that I browse once in a while. Mine are mostly dive shops and dive spots in and around Virginia.

Recently I stumbled upon a website which does directory listings for scuba shops. This website, is a user created and edited directory listing that is then used by AOL, Google, and The Internet Archive, etc. After seeing how useful it was I decided to become the editor for Virginia scuba diving section of the directory. Feel free to browse my links and if you want to suggest your own, just click on the top where is says suggest URL.

Certification Agencies

Several times a year I get asked if I should stay with -blank- certification agency or is -blank- better. I am sure that some people feel very passionate about their certification agencies and I have to say that I like the onces I have dealt with. These include PADI, NAUI, SSI, TDI, NACD, etc.

In my opinion, there is no single better agency for general scuba training then another. Even when you get the more advanced skills many of the agencies teach a lot, if not all, of the same concepts. It really all boils down to the instructor teaching the class. If you like your instructor, you are probably going to have a good class. If you don't like your instructor, you probably are not going to continue further into the sport.

That being said, there are always exceptions.

Look and Feel

For those of you who don't know me, I am not a beginner at webdesign. I have designed several website for people as well as for myself. Having done that, I am not an expert nor do I claim to be. That being said, programming for a blog site is just painful. I have decided to go with a default template that I can change colors on because after spending 4 hours trying to make it fit into my current website, I just gave up.

Please bear with me for the next month or so while I work on getting these colors changed / improved up. If you would like to comment on what the colors should be, let me know and I will give it a try.

First Post

I never really thought I would be a blogger. I read blogs all the time. Some of them from people I know, some are run by companies for profit. I have debated whether to start a blog for a year or so now. My first concern would be that I would never have time to post (many of the ones I read are updated daily or several times a day), or that I wouldn't have any interesting content.

So here is what I have decided, the frequency of update will be whenever I feel like it. Hopefully at least once a week though. The topic will be related to scuba diving but the title is Ramblings so who knows. I may just ramble on. Feel free to leave comments if you like, I will try to read them as I get them.