Open Water Update, Adopt a Shark, and My Ocean podcast

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 10

The calendar has flipped to March and spring is not that far off. We will be heading to Boston Sea Rovers this weekend for all of the activities. The shop will be closed on Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9 as Monty, Donna, Matt and I head up to Danvers.

Our second weekend open water class finished up last week with Monty and Ron. Congratulations to Caitlin, Aparna, Jeff and Tom. Good luck to Caitlin and Aparna as they head out to Maui for their certification dives in a couple of weeks. We know they will do great and have a lot of fun diving in Hawaii. I know we always had great dives. Jeff and Tom, we will see you in Jamestown in May. Just wanted to also let everyone know that there are only a few spots left for Little Cayman in October.

Did you know that you can adopt a shark? I came across this item while doing some research. There is a website where you can actually adopt a shark. The sharks are resident to Fiji and are consistent visitors to the Shark Reef Marine Reserve (SRMR). There are about 200 individually named sharks. You can adopt one with a name, personality and behavior. The revenue from the adoption is used to support conservation measures and fund research.

I did want to share some new podcast news. I recently started listening to My Ocean. My Ocean: A weekly podcast that “takes listeners on an adventure into the minds of some of the world’s true ocean champions.” There is some great stuff here and interesting information. Here is an interview with Brian Skerry who we will be meeting at Boston Sea Rovers this week.

The dive season is almost here. We are excited as we are only a month away from Key Largo.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Project AWARE update

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 9

This week I am dedicating Scuba Shack Weekly to our first and extremely successful Project AWARE specialty course. We held the course at Scuba Shack on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The weather report was somewhat ominous with snow, sleet and freezing rain forecasted. We forged ahead however and our turn out of nine ocean enthusiasts reinforced our commitment to ocean conservation.

The new Project AWARE course, released in September 2018 is a highly engaging session that takes everyone through 10 tips to protect the ocean planet. Scuba Shack PADI Assistant Instructor Deb Dauphinais led our group through the discussion with some great perspective and personal experience. Her passion and commitment are very apparent. Deb’s enthusiasm can’t help but rub off.

In addition to our local enthusiasts, we were extremely fortunate to have a family come all the way from Rochester, N.Y. (yes it is five hours from Scuba Shack) to participate and it was all because of Kaytlin, a young woman who lives in Rochester with a deep passion for ocean conservation. She has taken on plastic straws at her school and inspired a number of her classmates to switch to reusable straws. (Her father warned anyone going out to dinner with Kaytlin to avoid a plastic straw at all cost). Kaytlin also organized a fund raiser for Project AWARE and met her goals.

Kaytlin’s proud father wanted to do something special for Kaytlin. Here wish was to attend our Project AWARE specialty course. Wow! What dedication by Kaytlin, her father Jeremy and her brother Chase to come all the way from upstate New York to be a part of our class. Kaytlin will be joining her father and brother as a scuba diver later this year. Inspiring.

Thanks also goes out to Dave, Dirk, Adrian, Irek, Tami, and Dave for coming out, sharing and helping us make the changes needed.

When Deb and I started planning this class we were uncertain about how it would go. There is always a little apprehension when trying new things. All of that apprehension and uncertainty is gone. People are committed to the environment and in protecting our planet. We are proud to have sponsored this event. Proud to be 100% AWARE and we are looking forward to doing it again, hopefully with some better weather.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Cozumel, Key West sunscreen & Florida’s Nasty Nine

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 8

Welcome to the latest edition of Scuba Shack Weekly. Hoping that you are finding this weekly update interesting and informative. If you have any suggestions please let me know.

It was certainly busy here at the shop this past weekend. We are thrilled that so many people are interested in scuba diving. The gang is also busy in the service shop getting everyone’s gear checked out for the upcoming dive season. Joel and 16 Scuba Shack divers will be heading to Cozumel on Saturday. We hear that our friends from Dive On It in Rhode Island left our team a little present at Blue Angel. Thanks Chris and Allison.

In December I wrote a little piece about sunscreen. Most sunscreens have ingredients that are extremely harmful to coral. Last year Hawaii banned certain types of sunscreen and I have read about more places as well. The latest location is Key West, home to a large barrier reef system. Ignorance is no excuse for continuing to use sunscreen with oxybenzone and octinoxate. Here is a link to an article about the Key West ban from Sport Diver.

While I am speaking about Florida, I recently came across a report published by the Ocean Conservancy about the “Nasty Nine” biggest threats to Florida’s coasts. Click here to read the post.

The newsroom article is a quick summary of the report. There is also a link to view the entire report. There is some great information about Florida in the report. Glad to have read it before we head to Key Largo in April.

We are expecting a big turn-out for our Project Aware specialty course. Next week, I will dedicate most of Scuba Shack Weekly to fill you in on how it went.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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A lot of training, traditional fins, and risk

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 7

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. A day for flowers, chocolates, cards and dinner but we will be at the shop if you’re thinking of some non-traditional Valentine’s gift.

This past week we worked on our full 2019 schedule for training, diving and travel. We have put four trips to Dutch Springs on the calendar where we will be teaching Advanced Open Water, Dry Suit and Deep specialties and running a doubles class. We will be conducting a Rescue Diver class in October. In addition to the two upcoming Open Water classes, we added 12 more that takes us through September along with five Open Water certification weekends at Fort Wetherill.

Finally, we also have added 12 open pool sessions for refreshers, discover scuba, and practice. There is at least one pool session each month through October. We will be busy – and that is how we like it.

The latest edition of Undercurrent is out and there is a short article titled “Traditional” Fins Are Making a Comeback. The article discusses how the industry moved away from the hard rubber fins to the lightweight technopolymers. Then how they went into the split fin design. The article also discusses the effectiveness of these lightweight fins compared to the “old” style like our RK3. Not quite sure I agree with some of the dialog around the main reason being that they are heavier and tech divers need them because they wear dry suits. For me, the RK3 fins are essential for propulsion. It is great to see however, that our “Traditional” fins are being recognized.

As with a lot of things in life, scuba diving involves risk. We also do a lot to mitigate as much of that risk as we can. Our equipment helps to reduce risk but also there is risk associated with equipment failure. That is where redundancy comes in. We like to dive with two computers – one on each wrist. Even if we have an air integrated computer, we still have our brass and glass submersible pressure gauge. Risk and redundancy are discussed in an Alert Diver article from Fall 2018.

Finally, if you are thinking about some early season diving, you might consider our Nassau trip in May. Below is a video from our trip in 2016.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Wrecks, more pirates and UW Naturalist

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 6

Super Bowl LIII is over. Congratulations to the New England Patriots. We know a lot of our Scuba Shack family are Patriots fans.

I guess everybody was encouraged by Punxutawney Phil and Connecticut’s Chuckles prediction of an early spring as the shop was quite busy on Saturday, or maybe it was the 3rd anniversary party at Still Hill that had folks coming in. It was fun to talk about diving with everyone who came in. Also, on Saturday night Donna and I attended the SECONN Dive Club Winter Banquet at Mystic Aquarium. It was a great evening dining with the fishes – not quite as good as diving but definitely getting me ready for Key Largo in April. SECONN is doing some great stuff.

Speaking of SECONN, did you know that they are putting on a Wreck Diving Symposium? It will be held on Feb. 16 at UCONN Avery Point Campus. There will be presentations by some incredible wreck divers including Richie Kohler, Captain Bill Palmer, Mark Munro, Bob Foster and John Stanford.

In my last update, I introduced a book by Eric Dolan about American pirates. Turns out that Eric will be doing a presentation at Boston Sea Rovers on Sunday March 10 at 9:30 a.m. Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates. If you are at Sea Rovers this will be an interesting seminar. I am planning to attend and hear from Eric.

Since we’ve turned the calendar over to February, I wanted to share a little more about some new diving opportunities with Scuba Shack. I have been working with Deb Dauphanais on putting together a PADI Underwater Naturalist (New England Style) course. We’ve got it all set. The course will be held in June 2019. We will do one classroom session followed by two dives at Fort Wetherill. This should be a lot of fun. I know Deb is super excited about this. More information is available right here.

Just a reminder our free Project Aware class is less than two weeks away. Please call us or email to register.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Balanced Regulators, Pirates and Undercurrent

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 5

We are about to turn the calendar over to February. The days are getting longer and our dive season is picking up.

We finished up our first Open Water course for 2019 on Sunday. Phil and Ron did a great job conducting all confined water dives. Congratulations to our two future divers for finishing up their confined water course and good luck as they head to some warm water for their certification dives. We are very pleased with our new format and we are seeing a great deal of interest in the weekend class. The format also gives us a lot of flexibility in working with very busy schedules.

We often talk about a balanced regulator. We recommend both a balanced first stage as well as a balanced second stage. Balanced regulators translate into easier breathing at all depths and throughout the entire dive regardless of the amount of gas you have left in your scuba tank. Here is a short article that describes a balanced regulator.

Thomas Tew, William Kidd, Samuel Bellamy, Paulsgrave Williams, Edward Teach, Stede Bonnet, Charles Vane, Edward Low. All notorious pirate captains who terrorized America and the Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy. Scuba divers are often intrigued by pirates. Perhaps it is because we like going to the places where they flourished, like Nassau and the Cayman Islands. I just finished a book by Eric Jay Dolin titled “Black Flags, Blue Water – The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates.” The book is well written, engaging and an easy read that provides some interesting information.

We are always on the lookout for information related to scuba diving. One of the sources that has been around for a long time (since 1975) is Undercurrent. What use to be a mailed newsletter every month is now totally online but following the same format that gives a great deal of information related to dive resorts, dive operators and what is going on in the world of scuba. Scuba Shack now has a pro subscription which means we can print out articles to give to our customers. We cannot put them in our newsletter or widely distribute, but we can give you specific information if it is available. Check out their website.

Until next week, thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Scuba trips, Boston Sea Rovers and the Goliath Grouper

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 4

The weather got a little interesting this past week here in New England. Our satellite dish was frozen over for several days with no live TV. It is winter after all, but we must remember that we are only nine days away from Ground Hog Day. What will Chuckles predict?

Last Thursday night we had our trip meeting for Cozumel. Joel gave a great presentation and our divers are excited about getting to some warm weather diving. We even had three more folks sign up for Little
Cayman in October. The resort is now full and we were able to secure a couple of more rooms. If you want to come with us to Little Cayman, sign up soon. Don’t get locked out. Also, we started our first open water class of the year and have a large contingent for our monthly Thursday night pool session. A lot going on at Scuba Shack. Our next open water class starts February 21 and we have one spot open.

Donna and I had a chance to attend the Boston Sea Rovers holiday party last Saturday night. Yes, we ventured to Burlington, Mass. in the storm. We had dinner with last year’s BSR intern and his family and got to hear a little about his adventures. Also, the chairman of Boston Sea Rovers gave a nice presentation on the history of the club. It is really amazing how deep a history they have with the great leaders in scuba. We are looking forward to the 65th clinic in March.

I recently came across an article on DiveNewsWire discussing some research, education and conservation going on in Little Cayman. The Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) is celebrating a 20-year anniversary.  Let’s win this battle.

Florida has a great deal of fish diversity however there was the possibility that one species could have been lost. Action however was taken in the 1990s to protect the Atlantic Goliath Grouper. They are making a comeback which is great news. Some people feel like it is time to end the protection. I don’t think that would be wise. They are impressive and interesting and fun to photograph. I am hoping to get to see this grouper in April when we are down in the Key Largo. Here is a recent article with some great shots of the groupers.

Thanks for tuning in,
Jeff

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Wrecks, Dive Training Magazine and more

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 3

Well the Eagles came up a little short in New Orleans and the Patriots came up really big in Foxborough. By this time next week, the Super Bowl match-up will be settled.

Scuba Shack has started our latest IDC. Two more of our Divemasters have started their journey towards becoming PADI Instructors and will be completing the instructor examination in May at Dutch Springs. We
are back in the pool on Thursday night Jan. 24 at New Britain YMCA. If you want to get in the water and practice or are interested in a refresher course, please call the shop to register.

I know that a lot of our divers like wrecks. All kinds of wrecks both the artificial wrecks sunk for our enjoyment or what we call real wrecks caused by weather, war or some other cause. The Chester Poling off of Cape Ann, Mass. is one of our favorites. I recently read this article on eight different wrecks around the globe. I have done two – the Kittiwake in Grand Cayman and the Carthaginian in Hawaii. How many have you done?

While I am on the subject of wrecks, here is a short video on a new wreck found in the English Channel. Strange story. (The original story is at the KTVB website.)

The latest edition of Dive Training Magazine has arrived at the shop. As usual it is filled with all kinds of great information. If you’d like a copy to take home and enjoy please stop by the shop. We also have some back issues available.

Also, I have a little more detail on our Fish Identification course. Here are the details. I am really looking forward to working with REEF. Call and let us know if you are interested in coming down to Key Largo and doing something a little different.

Boston Sea Rovers is less than two months away. Come up to Danvers, Mass. and you won’t be disappointed.

We have a lot of new things in the pipeline for 2019. Stay tuned.

Jeff

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NFL Playoffs, diving Lake Champlain, and diving is therapeutic

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 2

Well you know it is January when the NFL playoffs start. My Philadelphia Eagles made it in and made it out of Chicago. Now St. Nick will be taking on the Saints this Sunday in New Orleans.

Our training has started for the year. We’ve already gotten in our first pool session with a Scuba Review this week and we are only a couple of weeks away from our first weekend open water class. We will also be conducting a Nitrox class on January 19. There is still time to sign up and get this critical certification under your belt. Our training calendar is up-to-date, check it out. The service department is very busy with regulators, full-face masks and quite a few tanks.

Last week I introduced the Project Aware Specialty course in February. For anyone who is interested in just what Project Aware accomplished in 2018, here is a link to a short video. We can make a difference!

The latest edition of Alert Diver Magazine has an article written by Ethan Gordon about diving in Lake Champlain. Ethan is the current president of the Boston Sea Rovers. Hopefully you’ll run into Ethan when you are at the show in March. At the end of the article is a video that complements Ethan’s information.

We all know how good we feel to get in the water and dive. Anticipating the giant stride and descent to a beautiful coral reef or an amazing wreck. Everything slows down. We relax and take in everything the ocean provides us. Back on the boat, we enjoy the sunlight and have great discussions about the dive and what is next. Diving is therapeutic. Here is an article for Dive Training Magazine confirming what we know.

Let’s get out and dive. You’ll feel better.

Until next week. Thanks for tuning in,

Jeff

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Frozen Fin, training update, and Project Aware course

Scuba Shack Weekly – Volume 2, Number 1

Happy New Year. Believe it or not it is 2019. Another great year of diving is a head. Stay tuned for all the latest updates as we hit 2019 hard.

SECONN’s Frozen Fin event was a rousing success. The entire Scuba Shack team provided support and encouragement as 54 divers registered for the event with about 30 or so hitting the water. The weather was spectacular with water temperature at 47 degrees. A far cry from last year’s brutally cold day. Monty and I got in the water for about 30 minutes or so. I encourage you to check out SECONN as they are a very active dive club.

We’ve had a bit of a change to our training schedule. We will not be conducting the Loomis class this winter. Scheduling was difficult and we are looking at other options for Loomis later. We did add an additional weekend open water class starting Jan. 24 and ending Jan. 27. These classes are proving to be popular and filling up quickly. Space is limited, so we encourage anyone interested to give us a call and reserve your spot.

New for 2019, we will be hosting a Project Aware Specialty course at Scuba Shack on Wednesday, Feb. 20. Project Aware connects the passion for ocean adventure with the purpose of marine conservation. The class will be taught by Deb Dauphanais who has a love of the ocean, New England diving and conservation.

This class is not just for divers – everyone is welcome. All we ask is that you give us a call and sign up. Scuba Shack also has this passion and purpose and as a way of giving back we are making this class complementary. For a nominal fee you can obtain you PADI Project Aware certification card. The PADI Project Aware certification does count toward PADI Master Diver rating. Scuba Shack is Connecticut’s 100% Aware partner meaning we donate to Project Aware for every PADI certification we issue.

So, as we start 2019, I hope one of your new year’s resolutions is to dive more. We will be here to help you keep that resolution.
Thanks for tuning in,

Jeff

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