Turks & Caicos, Cousteau and our annual Nassau trip

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 1, Number 8

Another week has gone by and our weather has turned from summer to late fall really fast. New England can be tricky this time of year. We will try to get as much diving in as we can.

The Scuba Shack trip to Turks and Caicos is well underway. There has been some great weather down there and mother nature is making for some fantastic diving – trip report to follow. Over the past weekend we certified seven new open water divers. Great job to all our students. Chris and Matt completed several advanced open water dives for the public safety team from Massachusetts. The final touches have been worked out for an open water weekend class in early November. It is great to be busy and more importantly keeping our traditions alive.

I recently listened to an interview by Fabien Cousteau on the podcast Unphiltered (embedded below). Fabien talked about the things that are threatening our oceans, some things that we can do about it, and some of the things his foundation is doing. The interview is about 35 minutes and hopefully will give you a little inspiration towards making a difference in the health of the oceans.

As we continue to plan out our travel schedule for 2019, we are working with Stuart Cove for our Nassau to have the same options as last year which included the afternoon 2-tank SeaDoo (DPV) option. Feedback from last year was that this was an extremely popular added feature. The details will be finalized in November when we meet with Stuart while at DEMA (Dive Equipment Manufacturing Association) Show in Las Vegas. Peter cannot wait and has already made his plane reservations at a very good price. This Memorial Day trip is our most popular trip.

So, in closing out this week, just remember – there are only two months to Christmas. Scuba gear makes a great gift.

As always, thanks for tuning in,

Jeff

 

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Surface signaling devices, Plastic Bank & Pennsylvania trip

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 1, Number 7

Donna and I are back from a quick trip to Pennsylvania to celebrate my Mom’s birthday and catch up with our family. We also met my great-nephew, Lucca for the first time. He is now 10 months old – a little too soon to be diving.

The final confined water pool session is this week and the team will be heading to Fort Wetherill this Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 20 & 21) for their open water certification dives. Rescue diver is finishing up their pool scenarios and getting ready for their open water scenarios in early November. The dry suit class is also finishing up their pool work this week.

Our Cozumel trip in February is filling up – already have half the rooms booked – so give us a call and sign up now if you want to reserve your spot.

Several weeks back I wrote about the video A Plastic Ocean. In that video, they spotlighted an organization called Plastic Bank. I did a little more investigation of this organization. Their story is pretty compelling and from what I can see, they are really trying to make a difference with Social Plastic. One of the founders, David Katz did a really interesting TED talk. You can also find a lot more on their website.

Last week we had our trip meeting for Turks and Caicos. One item of discussion was the need for each diver to carry their own surface marker buoy. In fact, the only time that we had to deploy a surface marker buoy (safety sausage) was on a trip with Dive Provo in Turks and Caicos. We missed the up line due to a very strong current. Knowing that we had missed our target, we deployed the surface marker buoy while on our safety stop. Once we surfaced, about 200 yards from the boat, we could very clearly see that the boat had spotted us and was on their way for a safe recovery.

In addition to having my surface marker buoy and whistle, you can bet I will also be carrying my Nautilus personal locator beacon. Safety is always paramount.

Finally, I am in the very early stages of planning a trip to Key Largo around April 10 to 13. It will be a great way to get some early season diving in, complete certifications or other training. Let me know if you think this is a good idea.

Thanks for tuning in,

Jeff

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Back in the USA, XS Scuba Dive Light & Kodiak Queen

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 1, Number 6

I returned from my trip to India early Saturday morning after a 14-hour flight from New Delhi. It is good to be home. I thought there would be more fall color after being gone for a week, but it is still pretty green and warm.

Training continues to go strong in October. The Open Water class is in its fifth week while our public safety open water has moved to the dry suit phase. Chris and Matt initiated public safety training for a team in Massachusetts. Rescue class has started their pool phase and we’re not stopping there. We are putting the final touches on a new open water weekend class. It is being developed to provide an intense training weekend that fits busy lifestyles where our traditional six-week class proves difficult to accommodate work and family commitments. Keep an eye out for more details on the web site.

One of the key pieces of equipment we have in our gear bag is a dive light. There are a lot of them on the market and it is always a difficult choice. One of our choices is the XS Scuba LT100 dive light. It is compact, light-weight, bright and runs on 3 AAA batteries. Retail price is $60. Check it out.

I came across a very interesting documentary about the Kodiak Queen. You may have heard about the ship sunk in the British Virgin Islands with the sculpture of a Kraken on it. The ship was a former US Navy vessel that survived Pearl Harbor and then went on to Alaska before ending up in BVI. This documentary is a Rob Sorrenti film narrated by Kate Winslet. Give it a view.

Donna and I will be headed to Pennsylvania this Saturday to spend some time with my Mom for her 85th birthday and then it is on to Turks and Caicos for the dive trip.

Thanks for tuning in,

Jeff

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Diving India, Training and another scuba-related podcast

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 1, Number 5

I am writing this week from India. Business has taken me half-way-around the world and scuba diving is alive and well here. Dive India is actually pretty close to where I am working.

Even though I am out of town technology allows me to stay very connected to all that is going on at Scuba Shack. Facetime, email, text, and Facebook keep me up to date and connected. October is proving to be a very busy month for us. Matt and Marla just completed an Advance and Navigation course at Dutch Springs. Our Open Water class is half way through and now it is on to Rescue class. Monty and Chris are in full swing with the Public Safety Division with ongoing training for three dive teams in Connecticut and Massachusetts. We are also finalizing some plans for a November Open Water course that will be a little different. Keep checking us out or give a call.

Last week Monty and I attended the Boston Sea Rovers monthly meeting. Scuba Shack will be doing a lot at the 65th Annual Show in March 2019. Get the dive season off right and plan on attending or helping us out.

In my quest to find scuba diving podcasts, I came across another one that proves to be quite entertaining (at least I find it that way). It is called The Great Dive Podcast – TGDP as they like to call themselves. The podcast is hosted by James Mott, a Unified Team Diving International instructor, and Brandon Schwartz whose background includes being a DAN instructor as well as a former GUE instructor. They are passionate and as I said entertaining – maybe even a little irreverent. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Our 2019 travel schedule is rounding out. Cozumel in February, Nassau in May, and Little Cayman in October. Cozumel is on the website and we are finalizing all the details for Nassau and Little Cayman and should have those available soon.

As a former mayor of NYC used to say “How my doing?” Let me know.

Thanks for tuning in,

Jeff

The Great Dive Podcast

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Spectrum full face mask, scuba training, and the “gear replacement” discussion

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 1, Number 4

My travel schedule is going to be picking up quite a bit from now until the end of the year but my goal is to continue to provide a weekly update (wish me luck). I am off to India again this weekend – not for diving however.

Our first pool session last week was fantastic and everyone is excited about breathing underwater. We have an incredibly dedicated staff who make training fun, safe, and meaningful. Just to recap, we had nine open water students in the pool being trained by one PADI Course Director, one PADI Master Instructor, two PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainers, one PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, and two PADI Divemasters. Seven professionals for nine students. That allowed me to go have some fun in the cold pool.

Matt and Marla are off this weekend to Dutch Springs for another Advanced Open Water and a Navigation course.

I was able to take my new OTS Spectrum full face mask to the pool for a check out. I have never used a full face mask before and was pleasantly surprised. It fit very well, was comfortable and provided good vision. The Spectrum is designed to use your own regulator which keeps the cost down. It is made of silicone with a double seal which is important if you plan to use a communication unit. You can also get an ambient breathing valve for the mask. We have a fully configured Spectrum on display at the shop. Come by and check it out.

Our new Scuba Shack Dive Team T-shirts are now on sale. Check them out – we tried to keep this one affordable at $15.95. We went for simplicity.

As we all know, investing in quality scuba gear can be expensive and we want to use it as long as we can. That being said, equipment does wear out, gets old, or may no longer be safe. It is difficult to have the dialog about the need to replace older gear. In the latest addition of Divers Alert from DAN there is a short article on replacing dive computers and BCDs. Some good information to consider.

As always, please let me know what you think.

Thanks for tuning in,

Jeff

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Oktoberfest, public safety diving, and Loksak

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 1, Number 3

Welcome to Fall in New England. Although summer is behind us (and it was a hot one), we still have plenty of dive season ahead as the water will be warm and visibility should improve. Don’t stop diving just because football has started. After diving, and stopping by the shop, celebrate the fresh Autumn weather by visiting our good neighbors over at Still Hill Brewery for an Oktoberfest brew. 

We are back in the pool this week with our latest open water class. The first night on scuba is always an exciting time for both the students and the staff. We love this stuff. Last week we got a welcomed surprise visit from a southern New Hampshire fire department. As it turns out they have been searching New England for a full-service dive shop with the right Public Safety credentials. After five hours of gear check out, questions, and consultation they left with the knowledge that we fit their bill. Scuba Shack is very excited about working with another Public Safety client.

Scuba Shack is also now a retail dealer – only one in Connecticut – for Loksak water tight plastic pouches. They are depth rated to 200 feet, and during testing stayed nice and dry at 90 feet at Dutch Springs. Great for cell phones and tablets. They offer full use of the touch screen. You can keep your stuff dry when camping, diving, swimming, out in the snow or many other places. Check out our variety 4 pack at the shop. 

I had a chance to watch Mission Blue on Netflix while we were traveling to Ireland. It is essentially a documentary following the life of Dr. Silvia Earle. I did not realize just how much she has done in her lifetime and all the things she is doing to protect our oceans. A fascinating life with so many accomplishments. Her passion and commitment are something else. If you have the chance, it’s well worth watching! 

Remember to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – you never know what we’ll come up with.

Finally, we want to make it easy to provide feedback. Just click on the form and let me know what you think.

Thanks for tuning in!

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Hebron Harvest Fair, A Plastic Ocean and DiverSync

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 1, Number 2

We had an incredible four days at the Hebron Harvest Fair. Who can forget the pig races, Dock Dogs, Axe Women of Maine and most importantly the FOOD (Lions Club fresh donuts – UMMM). It was fantastic to speak with so many people about scuba diving. We hope that a little bit of our enthusiasm rubbed off and we see some of our new friends underwater soon. Also, I want to thank our volunteers for manning the booth and for creating the buzz.

Our latest PADI Open Water class starts on Sept. 13. Matt and Marla will be teaming up to teach this class. The final exams for this class will be in Jamestown on Oct. 20 and 21 and promises some great late season diving in New England. We also just got back a number of used tanks from hydrostatic testing and are getting them ready for sale – give us a call to and get a good deal on a used tank.

Scuba Shack has made its first donation to 100% Aware. We issued 21 certifications in August from Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Divemaster and Instructor – a check we are proud to write. Finally, around the shop, Scuba Shack is now certified as a Connecticut Small Business Enterprise with the designation as a Veteran-owned Micro Business. Go Navy, Monty.

If you stream Netflix you might want to check out A Plastic Ocean. If you aren’t concerned about the amount of plastic we dump into the ocean maybe you should be. The footage is incredible and depressing. I’ve been trying to think about what I can do to help but it seems too overwhelming. It seems like everything I touch is plastic. We are pretty diligent in how we recycle but I can’t help but think it’s too little too late. I wonder how I can make a difference. If you have any thoughts please share!

Have you been searching for a good scuba diving podcast? I have. So, I was talking to Ray at the fair on Thursday night and he told me about a DiverSync.com. I checked it out and liked it. The discussion from the August 31 podcast was about gas management. The podcast is done by Rich Synowiec who owns Divers Inc. out of Michigan. Give it a try.

As always, I appreciate your taking time to read and welcome you feedback.

DiverSync Podcast

A recent episode discussed health for scuba divers as well as doing a better job of gas planning.

A Plastic Ocean

This Week’s Photos

Introducing Scuba Shack Weekly

Volume 1, Number 1

There is no doubt that we live very busy lives and we use information we get online to help us sort things out. Sometimes we are looking for specific data, or a recommendation, or just perhaps a little bit of an escape from the realities of our busy life. As scuba divers we aren’t any different (well we are a little different) and very often look online for specific information, reviews, or just to fantasize about our next dive adventure. So, by introducing Scuba Shack Weekly I hope that I can fill a part of that thirst for information about diving, the places we go and the environment we dive in. 

First up is what is going on at the shop. This week we will be at the Hebron Harvest Fair. We will be out talking to people about the incredible experiences of scuba diving and offering special opportunities to try our Discover Scuba Diving this fall. If you are going to the fair be sure to stop by and say hello. We love talking diving. Nitrox class with Marla is happening on Saturday, Sept. 8, and our next Open Water class with Matt and Marla starts Sept. 13.

The latest edition of Alert Diver from Divers Alert Network arrived this week. This magazine is outstanding and is packed with so much great information. The publication alone is worth the price of your membership. Want to learn about Kona, Hawaii, basking sharks, commercial mixed-gas diving and so much more – check out Alert Diver – The Magazine for Divers Alert Network. A cover-to-cover must read. 

There is an interesting article in the July/August Dive Training on lionfish. I was always under the impression that the lionfish hunts had very little effect on controlling the devastation caused by this invasive species in the Caribbean and Atlantic but it turns out there may be some benefit. While I’ve never actually been on a lionfish hunt, it might be something to consider given it may be helping. Roatan is having its first Roatan International Lionfish Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 13 if you happen to be down that way.

Finally, feedback is a gift. I would love to hear from you. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or want to know a little more about Scuba Shack please contact us by email.