Dutch Springs recap & Forth Wetherill this weekend

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 39

As we close in on the end of September, the weather has been really cooperating as we continue our abbreviated dive season. It has been dry and we could use some rain here in Connecticut.

We had an absolutely amazing trip to Dutch Springs last weekend. Congratulations to Chris on becoming an Advanced Open Water Diver. Cliff got to dive his brand new DUI dry suit, Matt and Scott got to do their first open water dives with Donna’s guidance and Bill, Zack and George took advantage of the great visibility. Monty and Mike scootered around the lake while I worked with Chris on his certification. We were fortunate to get to have two trips to Dutch this year and are already planning our excursions to PA next year.

We are back to Fort Wetherill this weekend for our open water certification dives. I saw that some divers spotted some tropical fish there last weekend. I think it was a butterfly fish. Don’t discount Fort Wetherill if you are looking to get in the water.

There was an interesting article in Dive News Wire from Dan Orr on the pending crisis with hyperbaric chambers and what can be done to address this problem.

Check out this story. The world’s oldest scuba diver is 100 years old. Amazing gentleman.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Coral Reef Conservation specialty, Food wrapper pollution

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 38

NFL football is back – it must be September and what a busy September it is. If you are a frequent reader of this blog you’ll know that we’ve got a lot going on.

First Monty and Mike completed another confined water class and our six prospective divers are now set for their open water certification dives later this month. Ron also conducted a virtual Nitrox class with five divers who will take advantage of enriched air.

We are off to Dutch Springs this weekend for another Advanced Open Water class, drysuit orientation and some fun Drive and Dive activities, and we kick off Project AWARE Week 2020 on Saturday.

Last week I told you about our Project AWARE Coral Reef Conservation PADI Specialty class. Well, I have confirmed that we will have a special guest from the Coral Restoration Foundation – Chris Reynolds. Chris will be joining us to talk about the work that the Coral Restoration Foundation is doing and give us insight into the progress being made. As a reminder the class is Thursday Oct. 24 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. Contact us to register and you will then get a link to the Zoom meeting. Attendance is free. The cost for the certification card is $45.

I just read on the Ocean Conservancy blog that food wrappers are now the number 1 item found during beach clean ups last year. I am always amazed at how little regard people have for just throwing things on the ground and not putting them in proper waste receptacles. I have one in the back of the Scuba Shack van to make sure we have a place to put our trash when there is no bin available. One little action by lots of people can make a difference.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Weekly update – Dutch Springs trip Sept. 18-20

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 37
We had some spectacular late summer weather this past weekend. Hope you had a chance to enjoy the holiday weekend responsibly.

For us, we were back at Fort Wetherill where we conducted the 2020 edition of the PADI Underwater Naturalist specialty – New England style. Deb did a fantastic job getting Irek, Bill, and George ready for their dive and with Steve leading the way, our two dives allowed us to find some interesting stuff that sometimes we look beyond. Great day! Congrats on the certification guys.

Monty and Tom have started another open water class. Our six perspective divers will be doing their confined water training before their certification dives at the end of the month. And, Dutch Springs weekend is a week away – join us – Sept. 18 – 20.

Project AWARE Week 2020 is coming soon. The third annual Project AWARE Week this year will run September 19 – 27. In support of AWARE week, Scuba Shack is conducting the fins-off Coral Reef Conservation Specialty. This virtual event is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 24. Check out our Facebook Events page for all the details.

Matt told me about a recent shipwreck found in Lake Champlain. Turns out they found the paddlewheel of the steamboat Phoenix that burned and sank on September 4, 1819. Wow. Here is the link to the newsflash.

Finally, NOAA has published 5 common misconceptions about the ocean on their website. Just adding to our overall knowledge.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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UW Naturalist class, DAN suspends dive travel insurance program & PADI app

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 36

Welcome to September everyone. It seems like things are starting to cool off a bit and we are getting some much needed rain. It has been dry, but we are still getting wet.

Ron and Tom recently completed another confined water class last weekend and our prospective divers – Nancy, Ed, Chris and Ryan will be heading to Jamestown later this month to complete their open water certification dives. We also have another class starting next week with six more future scuba divers.

If you are in the Fort Wetherill area this Sunday, Sept. 6, please stop by and say hello. Deb will be conducting the PADI Underwater Naturalist class – New England style. Maybe there will be some tropicals in the area. Look for the Scuba Shack van.

I ran across an update on the DAN website that indicated that they have currently suspended their dive travel insurance program. So I reached out to DAN and according to Austen Massey from DAN Member Relations, they are looking to have it back sometime in September. An exact date is not currently available – but it will be back. Stay tuned – I’ll keep you updated.

If you haven’t checked out the all new PADI mobile app – you should. It can be downloaded for both Apple and Android devices. It tracks all of your certifications as well as gives you some great information – especially if you want to learn to tie knots. Find out more online.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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New Open Water Divers, Dive Training Magazine on hiatus & water temps

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 35

We had another great weekend of training. This time we were at Fort Wetherill in Jamestown and completed our first (believe it or not) open water certification dives of 2020. It was a long road back from the shut down and subsequent start up. Congratulations to our newest Scuba Shack divers – Marissa, Amanda, Matt, Scott, Alec, Heather, and Joe. We also want to thank our professional staff – Mike, Ron, Tom and Ian for helping Monty, Matt, Donna and me to make it a safe and fun weekend.

Jamie and Bill also made their way to Jamestown and completed four dives over Saturday and Sunday. Great drysuit diving guys.

We have started another Open Water class this week and will be back in the pool with four prospective divers in training this weekend. Ron is taking point on this class with Tom’s help.

It is hard to believe that this is the last edition of Scuba Shack Weekly for August 2020. We turn the calendar over to September in a few days and look forward to a break from the record setting heat this summer. We actually broke the record for 90 degree days in a year. Think we got to about 39 days. That’s hot! This heat has produced some warm water around these parts and with the cooler days coming ahead and warm water – we should have a great end to the Northeast dive season.

For those of you who enjoy Dive Training Magazine you should know that because of Covid-19 the magazine is on hiatus. Here is an article published last month explaining their reasoning. Let’s hope they are back soon. I really enjoy their articles and discussion.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Success at Dutch, tank valve all on, cardboard deodorant tubes

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 34

Hope this week finds everyone well. We had a spectacular weekend at Dutch Springs last weekend. We certified four new PADI Advanced Open Water Divers. Congratulations to Sarah, John, Bill and George. They worked hard, gained some valuable experience and had fun. We also had a lot of fun. Along with Monty, Donna, and myself we were joined by Ron, Mike and Tom. Yet again Scuba Shack pros outnumbered the students. It’s how we do things. We’ll be back down there in September.

There is a lot of debate around whether you should turn your tank valve all the way on and leave it there or once fully opened, back it off a quarter of a turn. I recently listened to Tec Clark’s podcast the Dive Locker where he is passionate about either turning the valve fully on or fully off. I agree with him and have adopted the training philosophy that you should either turn your valve on fully or off fully. I know it is a bit controversial. You can check out the podcast.

I saw a facebook post from Stream2Sea a few days ago that pointed out that Old Spice and Secret have a new cardboard tube for their deodorant. What a great innovation from P&G. I read that if they just get 10 percent of plastic deodorant tubes switched over it would save 1.5 million pounds of plastic waste per year. Apparently this product is being distributed through Walmart. Wonder if anyone has gotten this new packaging yet.

We’re off to Jamestown this weekend to certify seven new open water divers. Weather should be great.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Dutch Springs weekend trip, classes and Shark Week

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 33

This week finds us making our final preparations for the trip to Dutch Springs. It looks like we should have some pretty decent weather over the weekend. We are looking forward to diving. Also, I hope everyone is enjoying Shark Week!

We continue to leverage our virtual capabilities. We started in March with a virtual PADI Equipment Specialist class, then partnered with DUI/OMS to do a couple of seminars. We have since conducted several staff meetings, virtual Nitrox class and incorporated a virtual session into our open water course. As we look toward the future, we are in the process of clearing out some space on our warehouse side and setting up a more workable video production studio. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

I came across an article out of Florida the other day that emphasizes the importance of a dive flag. Turns out this had a good outcome although it could have been a problem. A woman was diving for lobster from a small boat and drifted about a half mile away. The people on the boat called 911 since they didn’t know where she was. They dispatched a helicopter and search crews. Fortunately, she surfaced, okay. If she was carrying a dive flag, the boat would have known where she was. This could have been a problem.

There was an interesting article in the Hartford Courant op ed section by Heather Takle that discusses why renewable energy is not getting a fair shake in Connecticut. You might find this article interesting.

Until next week. Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Dutch Springs trip, traveling to Rhode Island & Shark Week 2020

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 32

I trust that everyone made it safely through the tropical storm Isaias. I finally figured out how to pronounce it – let’s hope we don’t see Josephine in these parts. Also, to really make things strange, we’re watching hockey in August!

We are getting all set for our first trip this year to Dutch Springs next weekend. We have four advanced open water divers set to gain their certification and we expect to see some folks come down for the drive and dive. As of right now, we don’t have any restrictions in coming back from Pennsylvania – at least not yet. If you can make it down – we’ll be there starting Friday, Aug. 14 through Sunday, Aug. 16.

We were surprised by the quarantine order for travel to Rhode Island. So at first I was concerned about our open water dives later this month. However, the quarantine is only necessary if you spend more than 24 hours in the state. For us, we are usually only there six hours, so we will be able to come back to Connecticut without any issue. Doc. Fauci says Connecticut is in a good place. Let’s keep it up.

And – who’s ready for Shark Week 2020? This year’s main event – Mike Tyson vs. Jaws. As Mike says “Shark Week is hard.” Hard to believe it has been going on since 1988. Who was your favorite host? Shaq was pretty good.

Once again, I want to thank everyone for your continued support of Scuba Shack during this very unusual year. It makes our day, when you come by or reach out to us.

Thank you from all of us,

Donna, Matt, Monty and Jeff

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Confined water success & PADI Rescue Diver

100th Edition Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 31

Scuba Shack Weekly has reached another milestone – this is the 100th edition of the weekly blog. It has been 100 consecutive weeks that I have published this weekly update. When I started way back in September 2018 I didn’t know where this would go. I hope to continue to keep you updated each week about various activities at the shop and other interesting topics that might come up.

Speaking of things going on at the shop, we completed our first confined open water training program since the pandemic lockdown. Marissa, Amanda, Matt, Scott and Alec are now ready to finish up with their certification dives in Jamestown in August. The format worked well as we followed the steps we designed to keep everyone safe. Thanks also to Ron and Lizzy for helping Monty, Matt and me with this new open water class.

Our PADI Rescue Diver class is now set up. We will be conducting the class on Oct. 1 – 4. We will be using PADI electronic learning for knowledge development, then on Thursday. Oct. 1 we will conduct a virtual class for introduction, orientation and information. On Saturday, Oct. 3 we will shift to the pool at the New Britain YMCA for a three-hour training session and then on Sunday, Oct. 4 we will go to Fort Wetherill in Jamestown, RI to conduct our open water rescue scenarios. As a reminder you must be an Advanced Open Water Diver to participate. Why not make it your goal in 2020 to become a PADI Rescue Diver?

By the way, I attended another REEF Fishinar this week. It focused on fish found on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. It was really enjoyable. You can check out the archives on the REEF website.

Thanks for tuning in,

Jeff

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Open Water Classes restart, Scuba.Digital and Manta Rays

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 30

Has it been hot enough for you yet? I think we topped out at close to 100 degrees on Sunday. Hope some of you got to go diving or found a nice cool place to relax.

This week marked a milestone for us on our way back. We started our first Open Dater Diver class since we had to shut things down in early March. Our first session was a virtual zoom meeting where we covered a lot of material including the ATA chart, the Recreational Dive Planner and the dive computer. With our three-camera set up in the Scuba Shack TV studio, it went really well. We will be completing gear familiarization on Thursday followed by our pool sessions this Saturday and Sunday. We are very fortunate here in Connecticut to have access to the pool for training. We heard from our PADI Regional Manager that there are a lot of dive shops on the East Coast that can’t get to a pool for training. Great job Connecticut.

Our next open water class starts Aug. 4 and we still have some spots open. Please pass this along.

What is Scuba.Digital? Many of the scuba trade shows have been cancelled this year. So the next best thing is Scuba.Digital. This online digital scuba show will take place Oct. 23-26, 2020. You can attend keynote addresses from the main stage, attend workshops, visit with exhibitors or have one-on-one conversations.

On this week’s episode of The Fish and Things I’ve Found Underwater, I relive one of our more memorable dives. It was about 10 years ago and we had the great fortune of diving with manta rays for almost an entire dive while out in Hawaii. They are magnificent. Check them out on our YouTube channel. Also, it is real easy to subscribe.

Thanks for tuning in,

Jeff

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