Open Water, Rescue Diver and DAN courses scheduled

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 29

It was really great to get back into the water over the weekend at Fort Wetherill. The weather was quite warm and the water felt really good. We had a very good turnout (13 divers in the water) and enjoyed Jamestown. Our season has started.

We have locked in our class schedule for the next couple of months. You can check out our course calendar for the specific dates. Our Open Water class next week is full and our early August class is filling up fast. Classes are limited to six students. If you know someone who is interested in becoming a scuba diver – now is the time to enroll.

With our trips to Dutch Springs in August and September, we hope that people interested in Advanced Open Water make the trek down to complete this important step in your diving education. Then you will be ready for our Rescue Diver class in the early part of October. You can close out this very challenging year by becoming a PADI Rescue Diver. Details on this class will be out soon. Keep it on your radar.

I recently have gone through several electronic learning courses with Divers Alert Network. They have a pretty neat course for entry-level divers, those wanting a refresher or individuals who want to learn more about the fundamentals of diving limits. The course covers air consumption, impacts on your ears, buoyancy control, ascents and your personal responsibility. If you are interested in taking this class, please send me your email address by using the “Contact Jeff” area below. Best of all – IT’S FREE!

Don’t forget about our tank order. If you are in the market for a new scuba tank, please get in on our semi-annual purchase by July 22. Tell us what you want, put 50% down and pay the balance when you pick up your ready to dive scuba tank.

Thanks for tuning in,


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Pool training, diving Jamestown this weekend & Dutch Springs in August

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 28

Hope everyone had a nice 4th of July holiday. Donna, Matt and I were in Pennsylvania to visit with my Mom and the rest of the family. We had a nice small family picnic at my brothers.

Breaking News – It looks like we will be able to begin our open water class pool sessions after July 20 at the New Britain YMCA. We are looking to lock in dates very soon. Details will be provided on our website shortly. The class will consist of four sessions (Tuesday night virtual zoom session, Thursday night at the shop for gear familiarization and Saturday/Sunday afternoon at the pool). We hope to get several classes scheduled with a maximum of six students per class.

We do need to get back in the water, so we are going to be doing a Drive and Dive this Sunday, July 12 to Fort Wetherill in Jamestown, Rhode Island. The plan is to meet there around 8 a.m. and look to do a couple of dives. If you are thinking about joining us, please let us know and we will be on the lookout. Hoping the weather and visibility cooperates on what will be a late start to our diving.

We are also planning to go to Dutch Springs in August. We had to make a slight adjustment from our original calendar. The trip to Dutch will be Aug. 14-16 (Friday through Sunday). Please check out the Dutch Springs website for details on getting your tickets, the protocols in place, and the waivers. Also, remember there is no camping this year, so you will need to make hotel reservations. We will be running the Advanced Open Water Class this weekend and can also fit in other training. Please contact us at the shop to let us know if you plan to make the trip and want to get in some training.

Thanks for tuning in,


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Dutch Springs opens next week – Do you need a new tank?

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 27

Happy Fourth of July everyone. That kind of snuck up on us. It looks like we will be having terrific weather this weekend, so please enjoy responsibly.

Last Sunday Mike and I were at Plymouth Reservoir working with the Region Five Dive Team. We completed dry suit certification dives for several divers on the team. The water was quite warm and not too deep. Visibility wasn’t good (well it was pretty bad). It did however feel really good to get back in the water.

Dutch Springs now has an official opening date of July 9. The details are provided on their website. We will be evaluating our schedule, plus discuss our comfort with the travel down there. There is a lot to consider when you think about having to stay in a hotel and then go to restaurants for meals. As soon as we decide what we are doing we will be letting everyone know.

We are also in the planning stage for our semi-annual tank purchase. We are hoping to get an order in by the second part of July. So if you are thinking about some new tanks, please give us a call and we will get you on the list. We try to bulk buy to save on the shipping costs.

Stay tuned to Scuba Shack Radio tomorrow (July 3) for a very special broadcast. I had a chance to connect with Amy Lee from REEF and chat. Amy is REEF’s Engagement and Communications Manager, 2019 DEMA Wavemaker award winner, and taught Scuba Shack all we know about conducting fish surveys when we were in Key Largo last year.

Finally, this week’s fish on The Fish and Things I’ve Found Underwater is the Indigo Hamlet.

Enjoy the 4th,



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Trip Report – Ambergris Caye, Belize Feb. 2020

A group of 12 divers and one non-diver from Scuba Shack flew to San Pedro Belize on February 22 for a week of diving on Ambergris Caye. We stayed at Sun Breeze which was conveniently located near the airport in San Pedro and on the beach. The village of San Pedro, full of restaurants and shops was just steps away. The hotel staff and service were excellent. We sampled several local restaurants. The onsite Blue Water Grill was one of the better eateries on the island. 

The on-site dive shop, Ambergris Divers took great care of us all week aboard the Baby Catherine. All of the dive sites are located on the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef stretching from The Yucatan Peninsula to Honduras.  The dive sites we visited included San Pedro Canyons, Tres Cocos, Mermaids Lair, Sandy Point, Esme Garden, Mayan Princess, Tackle Box, Cypress Garden, Bottom Time, Esmeralda and a Monday night dive at the Hol Chan.  Rather than provide a description of each site, I will let the accompanying video tell the story.

We had a fun group including a few folks new to diving with Scuba Shack. We also had a number of milestones on the trip. George Keech completed his Open Water and Nitrox certifications on Monday morning. A few hours later he was on his first night dive at Hol Chan, a nature preserve in a natural cut in the barrier reef.  What a great first night dive!  We saw lobster, eels, basket Stars, octopus, stingrays and Spotted Eagle Rays!  The next morning was our deep dive. I managed to get a picture of George and most of the rest of the folks in the group coming thru a swim through at 100 feet on Esme Garden. On Wednesday, Joe White went on a real adventure.  He took a 3 hour bout ride each way to Lighthouse Reef and the Great Blue Hole. That’s definitely a “bucket list” dive. The squeezed in a couple more dives on the reef after the Blue Hole where they say more reef sharks.

We managed to see lots of animals big and small. I don’t recall every seeing so many nurse sharks.  We also saw a couple of reef sharks.  There was a mother dolphin with a calf on the first day.  

Unfortunately, I was too far from them to get a decent shot with the camera.  The weather cooperated for the most part.  There were a couple of choppy days but not enough to interfere with our diving.

Ambergris Caye, Sun Breeze Hotel and Ambergris Divers were wonderful hosts for the week.  I would not hesitate to visit them again in the future. 

Trip Video

SECONN swap meet, Belize video, and the Maldives

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 26

With Father’s Day in the rear view mirror we are now officially into Summer 2020. Connecticut is making outstanding progress in battling the coronavirus and it seems like we are on track for phase 3 re-opening. I feel like CT has really stepped up.

Matt and I made the trek down to Pawcatuck, CT for the SECONN annual swap meet. The event was at the Cottrail Brewing Company. The weather was spectacular, we met quite a few people and sold a few items to some lucky divers at great prices. This was my first time at the swap meet and enjoyed the day. Great job, Ryan and the rest of the SECONN crew.

Also heard from a couple of our divers – Ivan and Maggie that they did make a trip to Fort Wetherill on Saturday and that it really wasn’t that crowded – maybe all the divers were at the swap meet – probably not.

The other day, I posted a short video on our YouTube channel from the Scuba Shack Belize trip in late February/early March right before the lockdown. That was just the appetizer. Here is the main course. (See below.) Joel has put together a great trip video that highlights all the activity. It really looks like everyone had a great time and the diving looked to be spectacular. Sit down and take a look at this really cool review on Scuba Shack TV. The video is below.

And don’t forget to subscribe to Scuba Shack TV.

I also published another episode of Scuba Shack Radio this past weekend. It was a special edition dedicated to Your Next Dive where I sit down with Peter Katz to talk about his adventure to the Maldives. Peter also got that one in just before the shutdown back in March. It sounded like a fantastic trip. It was fun to hear all about his trip aboard the Emperor Explorer.

Hard to believe that next week it will be July!

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Belize 2020 Trip Video Report

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Planning our training, Dutch Springs to open in July, the lionfish purr

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 25

First off this week I want to wish all the Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day. Enjoy the great weather this weekend and have a great day.

It has now been just about a month since we were able to reopen the shop. I want to thank everyone who has stopped by and given us support and encouragement as we start to bounce back from the lockdown. I know this has been difficult on a lot of people.

On Saturday we welcomed all our dive professionals to the shop for a discussion on what we think it might be like to teach given the current situation with coronavirus. The weather was spectacular and we set up the tents in our parking lot. There was some great discussion and everyone is committed to getting back in the water and teaching – just as soon as we can get to a pool for basic training. We’ve got a good set of protocols to ensure we stay safe and still have fun. We are also hoping to get some of the advanced training organized where we don’t need a pool.

We did see that Dutch Springs is planning to open again in July although there is no date just yet. They will only be doing scuba this year and will be limiting the number of people. We will be looking to schedule a trip once we have a hard date on their reopening. You can get all the scoop on their website.

Last night I attended the REEF fishinar update on invasive lionfish. Did you know that lionfish purr? Well, they talked about some interesting work they did trying to see if lionfish respond to a call. Also, there was some great information on how they travel. Really – they have been tagging lionfish, and they believe there are now some predators – like nurse sharks going after the lionfish. I enjoyed the update.

Finally, this week’s episode of the Fish and Things I’ve Found Underwater features the stoplight parrotfish.

Thanks for tuning in,


Fish & Things #11

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Virtual Nitrox, the Hawaiian Dascyllus & we’re looking for a pool!

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 24

We continue to forge ahead with the phase 1 opening here in Connecticut and look forward to the subsequent phases. They can’t come too soon. I did see also that the governor has given the okay for high schools to hold graduations with restrictions of course. I am pretty sure there are a lot of happy seniors out there. Congratulations!

Last weekend we did conduct another virtual Nitrox class. Ron conducted the class from our newly constructed Scuba Shack TV studio in what was our classroom. Monty and Mike were quite busy during the lock down in building out the room. You can peak into our production floor when you stop by the shop. You really can’t miss it.

Monty and I also recorded a segment for Scuba Shack Radio on save-a-dive kits. You can check out our discussion on Scuba Shack Radio – Episode 34.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, we are not sure if and when we are going to get access to a pool for training. Right now the New Britain YMCA has indicated that they are not sure when they will be renting out their pool again. We also have heard that many pools may not even open the rest of the summer. So if anyone knows of a pool that would accommodate scuba diving training and would be willing to rent to us – please, please, please let us know. We have quite a few folks who really want to take our open water class.

Don’t forget about the REEF Invasive Lionfish presentation on Tuesday June 16.

Ever heard of the Hawaiian Dascyllus? Ever seen a Hawaiian Dascyllus? Check out episode 10 of the Fish and Things I’ve Found Underwater where you can learn more and get a glimpse.

Thanks for tuning in,


Fish & Things #10

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Dry suit seminar success, the robins have flown the coop, Historical Diving Society

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 23

Welcome to June 2020 everyone. Now that the barbershops and hair salons are reopened I just may have to get a haircut. It’s been a while. I feel like I am back in the 70’s. Someone told me the other day that it was a very hairy decade.

Last Thursday night, Monty hosted a seminar with DUI and OMS about everything you wanted to know about dry suits. The interest and turnout was fantastic with over 80 participants from around the world joining us. Pete and Tor from DUI/OMS did a fantastic job in discussing all the different options for diving dry. We have placed a recording of the seminar on Scuba Shack TV. You know with travel to warm weather destinations being a little tricky, becoming a dry suit diver will open up a lot more of the New England dive season and locations.

Also on Thursday, our three baby robins left the nest and are gone. We saw one of them on the curb by the van and he quickly flew up into the tree. When Matt went to check out the nest they were all gone. They grow up so fast, seems like only yesterday they were newborns. Well it was just over two weeks ago.

If you have a deep passion for diving history, I encourage you to take a look at The Historical Diving Society. If you become a member, you’ll get the Journal of Diving History four times each year. This journal is packed with really interesting material. You can check out the giants of the industry who are part of this organization.

Finally, here is the latest episode of The Fish and Things I’ve Found Underwater – the banded butterfly fish.

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Dry Suit Seminar

Fish & Things #9

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Local diving, Lionfish, Scuba Shack TV subscriber challenge

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 22

Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day. What a great weather weekend. New England’s waters should be warming up with the sunshine and we are ready to get wet.

Last week we opened up the shop again and kicked things off with a virtual staff meeting to connect and talk about what this year’s dive season might bring. The gang is going to hit the road to scout out local dive sites so we can plan out some drive and dives. We think there are going to be some interesting options. Let’s see what they come up with. If you know of a local dive site that you’d like us to continue please give me the feedback. It’s easy, just use the Contact Jeff option below. When we get something scheduled we’ll get it posted here and on Facebook.

Interested in learning more about invasive lionfish? Well, REEF is putting on another fishinar on June 16. The presentation will be by Dr. Alli Candelmo from the REEF staff. The fishinar starts at 8 p.m. ET. It’s easy to register and also become a REEF member. Membership is free and they are an outstanding resource for learning all about the interesting fish we encounter.

Scuba Shack TV currently has 50 subscribers. We have added 10 subscribers in the last 3 months and 12 so far this year. Our first challenge is to double that number. I invite you to subscribe, provide feedback, and help us bring content that is both fun and informative. Help us in our push to 100. It’s easy just click here.

And here is the latest from Scuba Shack TV – the Christmas Tree Worm

Thanks for tuning in and see you soon.


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Retail store open, plastic bottles made from plants

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 3, Number 21

We have now officially reopened the retail side of the business along with our continued ability to service equipment. We have implemented all the requirements that have been outlined by the state with respect to safeguards against the spread of COVID-19. Things may look a little different at the shop as we are limiting the amount of stuff on display and trying to make social distancing practical. The new hours are also posted on the website.

It is hard to fathom that this weekend is Memorial Day Weekend – the start of summer. We normally would have already been to Key Largo, Dutch Springs, conducted our first open water certification dives and Peter and his gang would be in Nassau with Stuart Cove. March, April and May 2020 have certainly been a year unlike any other.

Our Cuba trip in January 20201 has been cancelled. We needed to make an early call on this one given the need to lock in our space in June.

I got an email the other day from 4Ocean that talked about plastic bottles that are made from plants that degrade in one year. This is fantastic. I dug into this a little bit and found a short interesting article that talks about it. Let’s hope this catches on. Looks like Coca-Cola might get on board.

The newest video on Scuba Shack TV out there. If you like these videos and other interesting things from Scuba Shack TV, please subscribe to our channel. There is some interesting stuff regarding equipment, maintenance and Nitrox out there as well as trip videos and more. Join us at Scuba Shack TV. We continue to add content.

Thanks for tuning in and see you soon.


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