December 2006 Grand Cayman Trip Report

Seven of us arrived at Cobalt Coast on Saturday afternoon. We were greeted with open arms and friendly smiles, it felt like we were part of the family. All the staff at Cobalt Coast were fantastic, they would go out of their way to make you comfortable. The resort itself was first class, I would have to give it at least four stars. There was nothing to do but eat, sleep and dive and dive we did.

Our daily routine consisted of waking up and having breakfast around 7:00, then over to the dive shop, which was onsite, (literally 25 steps away) to catch the van for 7:45 that would bring us to the west side. The weather was beautiful, 80 degrees and sunny but a little too windy to dive the north side. Once at the dock we were greeted by the rest of the crew and loaded aboard. The dive sites were a mere 15-20 minute boat ride away, just enough time to gear up, it was great. After a 5-10 minute briefing the pool was open and in we went for the first dive of the day. After we were all back aboard we would weigh anchor and take another 10 minute ride to the next site where we would listen to the briefing again and jump in. After the second dive we would head back in be back at the hotel around noon or so, just in time for a great lunch. Most of us just kicked back an enjoyed the afternoon waiting for dinner, logging our dives sharing our days experiences. A few of us opted for a few afternoon dives also.

I can’t say enough about the staff at Cobalt Coast and DiveTech, all were fantastic and made the whole week a pleasure. Some of the sites we visited were, Big Tunnel, Doc Polson, Dragons Hole, Spanish Anchor, The Knife, Wreck of the Oro Verde, Round Rock, Peppermint Reef, Eagle Nest, Aquarium Reef, Caribbean Sand Chute and Killer Puffer Reef. I think one of the favorites was the wreck of the Oro Verde. The wreck itself was interesting but the sea life was absolutely incredible, I swear the fish were fighting over each other to get their pictures taken.

Respectfully Submitted,
Tim Aldieri aka “Spyder”
Scuba Shack Divemaster.


Cobalt Coast: The resort, the gang, the view.

The View: The view from the rooms every morning.

Green Moray: Taken at “Spanish Anchor”

Spotted Moray: Taken at “Aquarium Reef”

Anemone: Taken at “Aquarium Reef”

Safety Stop: After “Spanish Anchor”

Turtle: Taken at “Caribbean Sand Chute”

Rainbow” Taken on the ride out to “Aquarium Reef”

More pictures will be posted in the gallery section soon…

Scuba Shack divemasters visit Maui

Travel Report from the Cinciripino Family

Scuba Shack divemasters Donna and Jeff Cinciripino along with their son Matthew (Rescue Diver) returned to Maui January 6 – 20 for some sun, warmth, relaxation and AWESOME diving.

Maui offers some outstanding shore and boat diving. We took advantage of both. We did three days of two-tank boat diving with Ed Robinson Dive Adventures out of Kehei and one, two-tank boat dive with Lahaina Divers out of Lahaina.

Kehei is in South Maui and is about a 50 minute drive from where we stay on Kaanapali Beach in West Maui and the boat leaves early (check in time is 6:30 a.m.). The big benefit is much shorter boat rides to some very cool dive sites including Molokini Crater. We were able to do two nice drift dives starting inside the crater and ending on the outer wall.

Our first dive with Lahaina Divers was on the Catheginian, a sunken two-masted schooner. For 30+ years the Cartheginian was a tourist attraction in Lahaina. When it got too old and expensive to maintain, Atlantis Submarine Tours purchased the ship as an underwater attraction for their submarine tour. Lahaina Divers times the dive to coincide with the subs visit. It is very exciting to see the sub circling the ship and watch the passengers wave.

Although we didn’t get to see a humpback whale (many were close by and you could hear their singing), there were many endemic species, lots of green sea turtle encounters, and a number of white tip and grey reef sharks. With visability many times 100 feet or better there is so much to see and discover.

Photos from the trip – at a lower Web-friendly resolution – courtesy of Jeff Cinciripino.

Longnose Butterfly Fish – Molokini Crater

Matt and Trumpetfish – St. Anthony’s Wreck – Kehei

Turtle Encounter – Black Rock, Kaanapali Beach

Frogfish on the Catheginian

Moorish Idol – Molokini Crater

Scuptured Slipper Lobster off Kehei

More pictures can be found in the Scuba Shack Photo Gallery.

Scuba Shack Pro Appreciation Party

Scuba Shack held its 1st Annual Pro Appreciation Party on Friday, Jan 27th. We had a turnout of about 60 members of the Scuba Shack family including staff, customers and families.

The Event was hosted at Tailgates Café in East Hartford. Attendees were treated to great food, drink and company.

Special thanks go out to the staff at Tailgates for hosting a wonderful evening. We are all looking forward to doing it again next year.

More pictures from the event can be found in our gallery by clicking here.

Cayman Brac Fall 2006 Trip Report

A group of twenty-four divers (and one non-diver) recently returned from a fabulous week at the Brac Reef Beach Resort on Cayman Brac where we dove with the wonderful staff at Reef Divers. The diving was fantastic! We took over two boats. Nick Civitillo and company were on Big Sister crewed by Jason & Phil.

Big Sister

The rest of the group and I were on Little Sister crewed by Donnie and Vicki. Both crews were excellent! In addition to valet dive services, they gave thoroughly detailed and entertaining briefings and were highly skilled at pointing out really cool stuff underwater.

Little Sister

The water temp was comfortable 85 degrees. The weather for the first half of the week was absolutely outstanding! Calm winds and calm seas prevailed allowing both boats to get over to Bloody Bay Wall on Little Cayman. It’s just like you read about only better! We managed to squeeze in a night dive on Tarpon Reef as well.

Bloody Bay Wall

Sea Turtle

The wind picked up a bit mid-week with a mild chop and occasional surface current…no problem for a bunch of New England divers. Still, it was a good thing that plenty of unbelievable diving was just a short ride from the dock. Most of the deep dives like Eden Wall, Wilderness Wall, Knuckles, and Three Anchors had beautiful swim-throughs in addition to breath taking walls.

Eden Wall Swim-Through

Goliath Grouper

The shallower dives like Buccaneer Reef, Pillar Coral and Fisheries had a plethora of marine life. Over the course of the week we saw nurse sharks, barracuda, tarpon, giant rainbow parrotfish, goliath groupers, tiny juvenile spotted drums, queen triggerfish, yellow rays, southern rays, spotted eagle rays, green, spotted and golden tail morays and much more.

Beautiful Hard Corals

Lynn having some fun on the reef

Of course, no trip to the Brac would be complete with at least one trip to the wreck of Captain Keith Tibbetts. She’s in two pieces now but still an incredible dive with plenty of swim-throughs and marine life. Most of us managed to log 18 dives by the end of the week.

The food, service and accommodations at the Brac Reef Beach Resort were top notch and there were some pretty cool critters top-side as well…

Joel Toohey
Group Leader

Green Iguana

Check out more pictures from the trip in our photo gallery!!

Congratulations to Scuba Shack’s Newest Rescue Divers

Six students completed Scuba Shack’s Emergency Response Core. The course, cooperatively taught by Scuba Shack Instructors Mike Cousins, Nick Kalosky, and Monty Fitzpatrick, covered topics including CPR, First Aid, AED, Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries, and Dive Rescue techniques. Comprised of a combination of courses designed by the diving community’s premier training agencies-PADI, DAN, and EFR– the training bought the students to a whole new level in their diving careers and prepares them for the next step…Scuba Shack’s Divemaster program, set to begin in January.

The graduates: (clockwise from top-left) Gary Kalosky, Brad Swain, Denis Finnegan, Mary Beth Collins, Sheri Sawallich
Not pictured- Charles Collins

Scuba Shack Instructor Mike Cousins demonstrates bleeding management techniques to Brad as Charles looks on.

Scuba Shack Instructor Monty Fitzpatrick evaluates Mary Beth on her CPR positioning.

Denis Finnegan throws a line to a diver in distress…

Nice throw!!

Gary takes control of a panicked diver- Scuba Shack DM Mark Dobler

Sheri responds to a diver emergency

Scuba Shack Instructor Nick Kalosky demonstrates managing an unreponsive diver at the surface

Scuba Shack rescue training courses are offered numerous times throughout the year. For more information check out our training page or contact us.

A New Diver is Born?

The staff at Scuba Shack just learned that our good friend and fellow divers Martin & Uta Weber gave birth to a daughter, Anna Margarethe, at 4 p.m. on Dec. 7. Martin’s first comments to us? “and you thought diving was an adventure…”

Congrats to the happy family!


Some Pics from Grand Cayman

The Scuba Shack crew in Grand Cayman has been living it up over the past few days with the folks down at Divetech and Cobalt Coast.

The weather has been great and the diving even better, according to Scuba Shack Divemaster Tim Aldieri.

Hangin Out on a Safety Stop

Mr. Morey

Logging the dives

Look for more pictures in the coming days and a full trip report to be posted upon their return.

Photos courtesy of Spyder.

Open Pool Sessions Now Available

Open pool sessions are now available for training, practice, and fun. Scuba Shack has booked pool sessions every Monday and Thursday evening from 8:45pm to 10pm throughout the fall and winter months at Cornerstone Aquatics Center in West Hartford.

Admission is $10 per person.

Please call (860-563-0119) or email ahead for reservations (especially in cases of inclement weather).

Tanks can be rented for an additional fee and multi-session passes are available at discounted rates. Call for details.

Directions to the facility can be found here.

Open Water Students Complete Checkout Dives

Congratulations to Scuba Shack’s latest Open Water Diver class!!

8 student divers completed their checkout dives over this past beautiful weekend at the Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland, CT. The students’ skills were evaluated by Scuba Shack Instructors Monty Fitzpatrick and Gary Woods to ensure mastery. All passed with flying colors and earned certification as Open Water Divers.

Many of the graduates participated in the program through UConn’s Husky Xcursions program. Scuba Shack runs classes at the University in cooperation with the club every Fall and Spring Semester.

October 2006 OWD Class

Students preparing for a dive

Hanging out

Photos courtesy of Tim “Spyder” Aldieri (Scuba Shack DM)

Scuba Shack Facility Upgrades

Scuba Shack has been undergoing a few changes over the past few weeks. Well, maybe a few doesn’t quite explain it. Renovations have been nonstop and the changes have been swift and impossible to miss.

While much work has been completed, we’re not through yet. The evolution continues…

Some of the most notable changes to date include:

– Showroom floorspace expanded by approximately 60%
– Fill station fully reconstructed; now providing Air, EAN, Trimix, and Argon
– New classroom facilities
– New equipment repair and service centers
– New conference center and office facilities

A view from the main entrance:

From the fill station:

The new fill station:

Looking back toward the new classroom:

Looking forward from the new classroom: