Open house, scuba technician course underway, REEF fish Jeopardy

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 4, Number 1

Hope the second week of January 2021 is treating everyone well as we make our way to spring. It may seem a long way off and we still have a lot of winter to get through but it will be here before you know it. I can’t wait.

Last Thursday night we conducted our first ever virtual open house. We premiered our 2020 Year in Review Video, talked a little about all the different type of diving we did last year, all the new stuff we have planned for this year and what will stay the same for 2021.

Our first ever Scuba Shack Basic Scuba Technician course started this weekend. Dave began his 8-week class with an introduction to the repair shop and immersion into all the activities required to maintain our scuba equipment. This Saturday will be devoted to BCD maintenance, computer service and some more work with regulators.

Last year during the pandemic REEF introduced a new type of fishinar. They called in the Fishinar Jeopardy Game. I had the chance to attend three or four and they are a lot of fun and really test out your fish knowledge. Well they are back at it. Next Wednesday, Jan. 20 they will be conducting their Grouper Moon Jeopardy game at 8 p.m. ET. Check it out – registration is required.

Heads up everyone – we have a couple of other training options right now. Our Nitrox class is scheduled for the virtual session on Wednesday, Jan. 27 and then our virtual Project AWARE class is on the calendar for Wednesday, Feb. 10.

Thanks for tuning in everyone,

Jeff

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SECONN Frozen Fin, Staff Meeting, Ocean Policy Committee

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 4, Number 1

Wow! We are already one week into 2021 and things are really picking up here at the shop. We have a lot on the calendar over the next several weeks. We have our virtual open house tonight and then next week we will conduct the PADI Equipment Specialist course.

Matt, Bill and Zach kicked off the 2021 dive season by heading down to SECONN Frozen Fin in New London on New Year’s Day. It was different this year given the restrictions due to COVID-19 but still had about 50 people attend. By the way, Matt designed the 2021 SECONN Frozen Fin tee-shirt this year.

We also kicked off 2021 with our new year staff meeting on Tuesday night. We had a great discussion on how things went in the very strange year of 2020 and then looked ahead to our 2021 dive season. Scuba Shack is very fortunate to have a great group of dive professionals supporting our efforts and mission. Even though we had to do this virtually, it was great to connect with all of the Scuba Shack professional family.

There was a lot more to the Defense Authorization Act than meets the eye. One of the provisions in the law established a permanent Ocean Policy Committee at the White House. You can read about this critical win in a statement released by Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy. Great news.

Happy New Year everyone – hope to see you soon.
Jeff

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Virtual Open House and an Octopus punch

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 53

It is time to close out 2020. We certainly could not have guessed how different things turned out this year. As we look to turning the calendar over to the new year, we are very thankful for all of the support everyone has given us through these challenging times. Thanks.

While this year has been very different, one thing that hasn’t changed is all of our year end procedures. We have just completed a full inventory of all of our rental gear – all that stuff we use for open water and other training. Boy do we have a lot of wetsuits. We also did our annual inventory for the retail side and that includes all of our repair parts. Glad that is over with. And finally, we are just finishing up all the annual maintenance of our gear for next season.

Don’t forget about our virtual open house. We are hosting a zoom meeting on Thursday, Jan, 7 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Check out our 2020 year in review video followed by an update on all the activity we have planned in 2021. We will also be standing by to answer any questions and to just talk about diving. You can access the zoom meeting from our Facebook events page or if you’d like email us and we’ll send you the link.

Donna and I were driving to the shop the other day when a story came on the radio about a discovery they made related to octopus. Turns out they observed an octopus punching a fish. It curls up its arm and strikes a jab at a fish. You can check it out with this YouTube video.

So that wraps up the 2020 blog posts. Hope you enjoy the updates.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Coral Restoration Foundation Year-in-Review and more

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 52

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone from Scuba Shack. Peace on earth and goodwill to all.

Last week we got in our latest edition of Scuba Diver Destinations Magazine – Issue #4. It is packed some great stories. There is a great article on diving the caves in Florida. The cover features Grand Cayman – one of my favorite spots featuring Sunset House. We have limited copies at the shop. Stop by and pick one up.

Also last week I attended the Coral Restoration Foundations Year-in-Review webinar. Alex Neufeld who is the Special Projects Coordinator at CRF filled us in on all the incredible progress that was made with coral restoration in 2020 despite all the challenges with the pandemic. With 26K coral out plantings on 12 reef sites, progress is being made. Congratulations to CRF for a very successful year. We are standing by to see what is in store for 2021.

I just saw that in early December, they spotted several right whale calves swimming off Cumberland Island, Georgia and Vilano Beach, Florida. This is encouraging. Hopefully, these new calves will survive. The biggest threat today is ship strikes (remember last year) and entanglement.

Finally, I recorded the last episode of Scuba Shack Radio for 2020. Take a listen. Getting ready for more episodes in 2021. Stay tuned.

Happy Holidays everyone,
Jeff

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Bonus Video

Santa in the Florida Keys. Video shot by our old friend Frazier Nivens.

Lost lift bag and DAN Travel Insurance return

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 51

I hope you are all doing well and are as encouraged as I am about the great news on the COVIDd-19 vaccine front. Looks like this is coming none too soon as we see the devastating impacts that the virus is having across the country. We need to keep our guard up for a little while longer.

A couple of weeks ago Donna took a call from a gentleman who said he found a lift bag down in Lyme and when he cleaned it off with a power washer up popped Scuba Shack’s name. Well we sent him a shipping label to get it back. We were quite surprised to find that it was a 500 pound commercial lift bag from years past. We still haven’t been able to find out how and when it was lost. I’ll keep you posted on what we find out. What a blast from the past!

You might have seen on our Facebook events section that we are going to be holding a virtual open house at Scuba Shack in early January. The open house will happen on Zoom. We want people to gather to hear a little bit about what we have in store for 2021, answer any questions you might have and just have some great dialog about diving. We will also be premiering our 2020 year in review video before it goes up on Scuba Shack TV.

In case you missed it, DAN Travel Insurance is available again. If you go to the Divers Alert Network home page and click on Travel Insurance you will see that they have both single trip and annual insurance policies available. Scuba Shack highly recommends that you purchase trip insurance when traveling.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Just how old can a tropical reef fish be?

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 50

Well we made it through the rain and snow last Saturday. We have to remember that it is December after all and winter hasn’t officially started yet.

It is hard to believe that last year this time Donna and I were just finishing up a really great trip to the Philippines. We enjoyed it so much that we booked a Scuba Shack trip for September/October 2021. Last Thursday night we had a great information session on the trip and it was really fun to talk diving and look forward to the adventure. We will be having another update on Feb. 11 with Les Corkill from Atlantis Dive Resorts. Stay tuned.

Monty, Matt and I are currently working on servicing all of our fleet regulators for the 2021 dive season. We have 21 regulators to get rebuilt and tested. Right now we are more than halfway there. We will then shift over to getting all the tanks inspected and finish up with the buoyancy compensators. Our classes start up again in late January, so we will be ready to go.

How old can tropical reef fish get. Well according to an article on CNET that would be 81 years old. Apparently, this midnight snapper was found off the western coast of Australia. Pretty amazing that these guys can live that long. Check out the article.

Do sharks sneeze? What do you think? Here is a short article from the Ocean Conservancy blog that fills you in on this mystery.

Till next week – thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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2021 schedule available, a climate czar, and shark allies

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 49

Well that was some really wild weather on Monday. While we can use all the rain we can get these days, we could certainly do without the strong winds. The thoughts of the massive outages that Connecticut encountered this summer are always on our mind every time the wind picks up.

In case you missed it, we have published our 2021 calendar on the website. Our entire schedule from January 2021 through October 2021 is now available for you to review. Take a look at all of our open water classes, continuing education opportunities as well as our professional courses. Plan out your diving with Scuba Shack in 2021 by checking out our online calendar.

I was personally pleased to see that the incoming presidential administration has a new role – Climate Czar. Here is a short article from MIT Technical Review that talks about the role and why the president-elect chose to do this.

I came across Shark Allies from the Deeper Blue 2020 Ocean Christmas Gift Guide blog. They are a pretty cool organization dedicated to protecting sharks mainly by working on the banning of shark finning. You should check out their site. They have some pretty cool stuff for sale as well.

Stay tuned for another episode of Scuba Shack Radio this Sunday!

Jeff

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Diving Dumaguete, another PADI Master Diver, NOAA 2021 budget

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 48

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I know that this has been a really difficult year for so many of us and the holiday makes it difficult to be with family and friends. It looks like there is a way forward in 2021. Please stay safe and diligent as we battle the coronavirus. We have so much to be thankful for and look forward to crushing this virus.

We are just one week away from our virtual happy hour session on Diving in Dumaguete. This Thursday – Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. – we will be getting together via Zoom to talk about our trip to Dumaguete in the Philippines next September. It looks like we should have this crisis behind us and we are moving ahead full speed with the trip. While the trip is still a way off, we must have our list of participants together by March 2021 – that’s not that far off.

So please plan on getting together with us next week to hear more about this incredible diving value. Call us or email the shop for the details related to the zoom meeting. See you on Thursday.

Congratulations to Bill for becoming Scuba Shack’s lates PADI Master Diver. Bill was out again last weekend with Zach completing his 50th dive to go along with all the specialties he has finished up this year. Great job Bill!

There is some optimistic news coming out of the US Senate these days. Looks like the Senate has proposed a 2021 budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that restores some of the deep cuts proposed by the Trump Administration. Perhaps 2021 will be a turning point in our battle against climate change and the destruction of our environment.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Core Completed, Diving in Dumaguete Event, Seaweed & Climate Change

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 47

One week to go until Thanksgiving. We’ve had a family of wild turkeys around the neighborhood for several months now. They tend to visit our house from time-to-time. Someone needs to tell them that Thanksgiving is coming – time to go into hiding.

Last weekend, Monty conducted the Scuba Shack Core Principles class. With Mike and Lizzy and Tom’s help, Bill, George and Zack gained valuable experience and knowledge on their control, position and propulsion as well as a thorough understanding of our gear and configuration.

Our trip to the Philippines next September is still on the calendar. We are starting to zero in on flights and other logistics. This is a reminder that we will be having an information session on Diving in Dumaguete on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. This will be a virtual zoom meeting where we will go over the details of the trip and answer questions. Please call or email the shop if you’d like to attend and we will send you a zoom invite before the meeting.

Jill shared with me a link to a TED talk by Tim Flannery on how seaweed can help solve the climate change problem by drawing down carbon from the atmosphere. It is about 13 minute long and quite informative. Perhaps 2021 will bring change.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Mohawk Pond report, new Master Divers, Core & Tec40

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 46

Wow! Hope you had a chance to enjoy the great weather over the last week. Hard to believe we are in the second week of November and I am running the air conditioner in the car. I’ll take it.

Monty, Matt and Ron made the trip up to Mohawk Pond in Goshen to complete the two dives with the team to complete the PADI Altitude Diver class. There is a lot more to this class than meets the eye. They had some great weather and a lot of fun. They even salvaged an old row boat

Congratulations to Irek for completing his PADI Master Diver certification. I can remember when Irek first came to the shop right after we took over. His goal was to move up the PADI recreational ranks. He is now in the elite group of PADI Master Divers. Great job.

Also, a little late in reporting but congratulations are also in order for Tom who also completed his PADI Master Diver certification. Tom had this objective for a number of years and he was able to get all the required work done the end of September. Nice work.

This week we start Core Principles and Matt and Mike are finishing their PADI Tec40 class with Chris from Dive On It.

A lot going on, come in and see us.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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