How to find the BEST gift for a diver

How to find the BEST gift for a diver

Here’s the best tip for buying a gift for ANYONE. Don’t wait until the last minute. That’s why we’re posting this today instead of waiting until the gift giving season. Another reason is because there’s never a bad time to give a gift. Whether it’s for your mom on mother’s day or for your honey just to let him know you care… people love to give and receive.

You might think it would be easy to buy a great gift for a diver – you know, with all the gear we need – but it can be a challenge. That’s probably why so many people end up getting gift certificates. And don’t get me wrong. Gift certificates are great. But if that’s what you always get for the diver in your life, it can get a little boring. So, here are some of our best tips for buying an awesome gift for the scuba diver in your life.

1. Go diving with him or her!

If you want to know what he needs, there is no better way than to go on a dive together. This way, you don’t have to try to bring things up in conversation naturally. Your dive buddy will probably voluntarily tell you what she needs. Not because she wants you to buy it, but because that is when she is recognizing that her gear needs to be replaced. Nod politely and make a mental note. This is your super gift!

2. Play it safe

Maybe diving with your buddy isn’t an option. That’s okay. There are a few things that most divers could use, regardless of what they already have. Consider buying a redundant air system (backup air supply) to keep your diver safe at all times. Not only does this gift show that you care about his hobby, but it shows you care about his life in general. Dive gloves are almost always welcome. Even if she has a few pairs, these are likely to get torn eventually. If you want to get fancy, try gifting a set of webbed gloves. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, consider a backup regulator. This may be something he or she has, so proceed with caution. Wetsuit cleaners and underwater photography accessories also work well for most divers.

3. Get creative

If you aren’t comfortable buying gear for the diver in your life, play it safe and look for something a little more creative. Funny, sweet or kitschy gifts are usually welcomed by most divers. Consider getting scuba diving themed jewelry, mugs or t-shirts. These are also great add ons for a bigger gift.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Great Whites

Posted: 30th April 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
You don't really know me...

You don’t really know me…

Great whites are probably the most feared type of shark, but that probably has a lot to do with misinformation and cinematography. Jaws did a grave disservice to these majestic giants. Sure, they are capable of massive destruction, but they aren’t the ruthless beasts most people fear them to be. We aren’t even on their menu. That’s why, when great whites do attack humans, the attacks are often not fatal. Like dogs, they feel with their mouths. Once they realize they have bitten something that isn’t food, they will usually release.

1. The Great White Shark isn’t the biggest shark

The largest great white shark ever recorded was caught off the coast of Cojimar, Cuba. It measured 21 feet and weighed about 7k pounds. Most great whites are between 15 and 20 feet and weigh about 5k pounds. But they still aren’t the largest shark in the ocean. Whale sharks are even larger.

2. He’s a versatile swimmer

Great white sharks can swim all the way up to the surface, but they can also dive down to 820 feet. They prefer warm, salty coastal seas, so you’ll usually find them along the coasts of Australia, South Africa and California. But great whites can be found in virtually any ocean – the polar seas are an exception.

3. Great white babies are weird

One man’s weird is another shark’s normal, right? While they are in their mother’s womb, great white shark babies (called pups) swallow their own teeth. I guess we do some weird things in the womb too. Experts speculate that they do this to reuse calcium and other minerals. And once they are born, they are on their own. They receive no parental care and are left to fend for themselves.

4. They have a sixth sense!

Instead of the typical five that we’re used to, sharks have six senses. They are capable of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing, but they also are capable of electro-reception. This is something they have in common with dolphins. It’s what helps them feel the electric fields around them.

5. Great whites are incredibly sarcastic

Do you have a friend who rolls her eyes at everything. Well, she has a lot in common with the great white. But great whites do it for a different reason. Since they don’t have eyelids, they roll their eyes back to protect them. Okay, so it’s not sarcasm, but itsn’t funny to think of it that way.

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Scuba Jerk

Posted: 23rd April 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving

annoyingdiverDo you remember that guy on your last dive? You know, the one that won’t let you forget him! Sometimes it’s good to be memorable. Other times, it’s better to fall in line. I guess it depends on what you are being remembered for. It’s great to be remembered for your kindness or ability, but you don’t want to be remembered for being the obnoxious jerk on the boat.

Here’s how you can avoid being a scuba jerk:

1. Don’t brag about your certifications

For the most part, we all have them. Education is great and extremely helpful in the right situations, but there are some people who collect certifications as if they are badges of honor. A Dry Suit Diver certification isn’t going to do much for you if you never dive in cold water. Just sayin. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t become certified, if that’s what you want. But don’t do it for brownie points with other divers. Bragging about your certifications can come off as extremely obnoxious. Bragging in itself can be a little annoying, but don’t be afraid to swap stories with fellow divers. The key is to spend about as much time listening as you do talking. Their stories matter too!

2. Get organized

We’ve all encountered the disorganized diver who spews all of his gear all over the boat in order to get himself ready. Hellooo! You aren’t the only one here. Actually, this reeks of inexperience. Get yourself together and other divers will be more likely to respect you.

3. Don’t forget to shower!

You’ve been guilty of this one before, haven’t you? When you’re on vacation and planning to spend the entire next day in water, it’s easy to justify skipping a shower. Sometimes, this works out just fine. It depends on the person and what you have planned for the previous day. If you go on a five mile hike the day before, go ahead and take that shower. Dive boats tend to get crowded and you don’t want to offend the people that are crammed up against you on either side.

4. Don’t dilly dally

Everyone should be able to move at their own pace. You shouldn’t have to feel rushed to keep up with the crowd before a dive. But if you happen to know that you need a little extra time, start the process a little earlier. No one really wants to rush you, but I can guarantee that your fellow divers don’t want to be bobbing around in the ocean as you are still gearing up. It’s a good way to make enemies.

5. Use fresh water sparingly

You aren’t the only one on the boat. And even though you are surrounded by water, no one will be drinking from the ocean. Be sure not to be a water hog!

3 Ways to Save Money on Scuba Gear

Posted: 16th April 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
How to save on scuba gear

How to save on scuba gear

Avid divers know that diving is not a cheap hobby. Heck, we could be runners or tennis players – but no. We’ve chosen our passion… and it involves a lot of gear! But that doesn’t mean you have to buy everything all at once. And it doesn’t mean you have to buy at full price either.

A note about renting – If you’re a new diver and unsure about how often your gear will get play, renting may be the best option for you. At least for now. You may want to buy your own wetsuit (people pee in those things) and a few other pieces of gear, but you can get away with renting other stuff as needed. This will not work out to be cheaper if you dive often, but if you dive once a year, it may make sense. This way, you also don’t have to worry about maintaining your gear all year.

1. Buy off season

If you live in a tropical area, there may not really be an off season. You can maybe look for sales in the rainy or hurricane season, but try not to complain too hard about not being able to take advantage of off-season sales. You get to dive all the time! Consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, start looking for discounts in fall and early winter. By the middle of winter, most scuba shops will have unloaded any excess inventory and will only be keeping stock for people who are planning scuba vacations. You aren’t as likely to find a deal in February as you are in November.

2. Buy in bulk

Some scuba shops, including our own, offer discounts for making larger purchases. If you are in a position to buy a lot of gear at once, ask for a quote on the package. We’re so willing to do this that we even make it easy for you to create a bulk order and get a quote online. Not everyone does this, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.

3. Make your current gear last

The absolute best way to save money on new gear is to take care of your old stuff. Scuba gear needs regular maintenance to ensure it’s in good working order. Poorly maintained gear can burn out faster and cost you more money, but the larger danger is that it could malfunction while you’re under water. We offer a maintenance and repair service at our shop, and so do most scuba shops. Feel free to come to us if you’re in the Middletown, NY, area. If you live elsewhere, just check with your local scuba store.

3 Awesomely Artificial Wreck Dives

Posted: 10th April 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
Bond, James Bond

Bond, James Bond

If you’re anything like me, you’re not a fan of artificial. You want the real deal… every time. And especially when it comes to wreck dives. Part of the fun of wreck diving is in the story. Every real wreck has a story, and although you usually know it before exploring, you still uncover bits and pieces as you make your way through the dive. It’s part of the experience.

But even after having said all that, there are a few artificial wrecks that are worth exploring. After all, these are still authentic sunken ships… just minus all the tragedy. As artificial as they are, they are also a little less macabre – for what that’s worth.

USS Oriskany – Pensacola, Florida

Of course this is number one on the list. It is one of the largest artificial wreck dives in the world. You’ll find the USS Oriskany off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, teeming with tropical fish, dolphins, sharks and other interesting residents. The USS Oriskany does have a history, though it doesn’t involve an accidental submersion. This ship endured both the Korean and Vietnam wars and collected 12 battle stars in the process. It is quite an honor to be in the presence of this artificially sunken treasure.

James Bond Wrecks – Nassau, Bahamas

If you’re going to go artificial, why not keep it as Hollywood as possible. Did you know that you can explore the wrecks involved in the James Bond Movies, Never Say Die and Thunderball? It’s akin to visiting the set of your favorite movie in Los Angeles – except you have to don scuba gear to catch a glimpse of these relics. You can actually explore the interior of the wreck called Tears of Allah, but will have to admire the older Vulcan Bomber from more of a distance. Still, after having been submerged for more than 30 years, this wreck comes alive with coral sponges, seafans and fish. You’ll find both wrecks off the coast of the Bahamas.

HMCS Yukon – Mission Beach, California

Want to bask in some culture during your next dive? Visit the HMCS Yukon and take a look at the world’s first underwater art gallery. This Canadian Mackenzie Class destroyer was sunk just 15 years ago off the cost of Mission Beach, California. It is a great dive for those who are new to wreck diving, and it also contains some more challenging areas in its 366-foot long physique.

 

 

5 Best Scuba Diving Movies of All Time

Posted: 2nd April 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
Scuba movies rock!

Scuba movies rock!

Everyone has their list of favorite movies, and I am no exception. Of course, there are many more scuba diving movies than the ones on this list, but in my opinion, these are the best. I’ll even tell you why. If your list is different than mine, please share! Maybe I’ve missed some of your favorite movies. And maybe, just maybe, they will bump out one these to become my favorites (but they have to be pretty darn special to do that!).

1. Sphere

What do you get when you take an all-star cast, put them in wetsuits and drop them into water (to hunt aliens!)? Pure awesomeness. This one is a bit of a cult classic, and it’s not for everyone, but I thought it was rather funny, if sometimes unintentionally. Of course, it would have been better if Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson and Liev Schreiber actually filmed scenes in the ocean instead of in a water tank, but we can’t win them all.

2. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

If we can’t laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at? This side-splitting scuba comedy stars the hilarious Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum. And here’s a fun fact about the movie that we can all be happy about. Bill Murray, taking his role very seriously, became a certified diver before production began.

3. Thunderball

Most James Bond movies have at least one diving scene, so but Thunderball is a cut above the rest. First, it’s Sean Connery as Bond, so there’s that. But then he takes it to the next level by diving with sharks. Although I was dying to be impressed with Connery’s bravery and skill, I found out soon after watching the movie that he was diving through clear plastic tubes that separated him from the sharks. Sigh. And sometimes, it wasn’t even him in the water. It was his stunt double. Still, the movie does get points for underwater coolness.

4. The Frogmen

I guess I’m a sucker for nostalgia. As a scuba diver, I’ve always loved looking through the history of diving gear and practices. We’ve come a long way in a short time. The Frogmen is a movie about the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams that were deployed during World War II. And even back then, it was authentic. The film was produced with the support and direction of the U.S. Navy.

5. Men of Honor

Robert DeNiro and Cuba Gooding Jr star in this fictional story inspired by the life of Carl Brashear, the first African American Master Diver to serve in the U.S. Navy. It is a dramatic and touching story of Brashear’s drive to overcome the racism of the 40s and achieve his goal of becoming an operational diver in the Navy.

Hey, if birdwatching is a sport, what’s wrong with a little fishwatching. There are some amazing species out there that are just begging to be seen and photographed. And although they are not all technically fish, if you ask me, they are much more interesting than any bird. So, go ahead and start your bucket list of fish to view in the wild (no pet shops or aquariums, please). Here are five really interesting species to get you started. There are so many more out there, so don’t feel the need to stop with just five.

 

Harlequin Shrimp

Harlequin Shrimp

1. Harlequin Shrimp

This little showman is quite the picky eater. Harlequin shrimp will only dine on echinoderms, with their favorites being starfish and some urchins. You’ll find this species of saltwater shrimp hanging around the coral reefs of the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans.

Flamboyant Cuttlefish

Flamboyant Cuttlefish

2. Flamboyant Cuttlefish

This cuttlefish’s name makes it sound jolly, but don’t let that fool you! The flamboyant cuttlefish is highly toxic. You’ll find this species in the Indo-Pacific waters off the coast of northern Australia, southern New Guinea, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Peackock mantis shrimp

Peackock mantis shrimp

3. Peacock Mantis Shrimp

When you think of shrimp, you probably think of dinner. But the two on these list will have you reconsidering. The peacock mantis shrimp, looking like something out of Alice in Wonderland, is truly a sight to behold. Like its close cousin, the Harlequin Shrimp, the Peacock Mantis is native to the Indo-Pacific.

Brain Coral

Brain Coral

4. Brain Coral

It’s obvious where this coral gets its name. It looks like a brain. Sometimes, it’s even round and brain-shaped. Go ahead and take some flash photography, but don’t get too close. It is coral, after all. You’re most likely to find Brain Coral in the Red Sea.

Giant Clam

Giant Clam

5. Giant Clam

Although it is beautiful, this one may be the most difficult to check off of your list. It is one of the most endangered clam species. The Giant Clam is native to the shallow coral reefs of the South Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The Hagfish's Alter Ego

The Hagfish’s Alter Ego

We all have our own unique defense mechanisms, and marine animals are no exception. But while yours may be to curl up into a ball and wait for danger to pass, most marine mammals have a more interesting response.

Take Slimer for example. Okay, so its name isn’t really Slimer, but you’ll understand why I have given that nickname to this organism when you hear how it reacts to being scared. Yup, it’s a lot like the ectoplasm-filled creature from the Ghostbuster movies in that it oozes a slimy substance at predators. When this slime mixes with water, as it will inevitably do, it expands to up to 5 gallons! The slime doesn’t hurt, sting or poison, but it certainly does distract from the Hagfish (Slimer’s real name). And it can get caught up in a fish’s gills and choke them.

So, although it sounds like it might be an experience of a lifetime, you may not want to mess with the hagfish. Here are three more marine animals to avoid angering.

Let me at 'em... I'll splat 'em!

Let me at ‘em… I’ll splat ‘em!

Boxer Crab

This cute little guy kind of reminds me of the chicken hawk from Foghorn Leghorn. He’s small and cute, but this little guy has some real moxy! When a threat is near, the Boxer Crab waves sea anemones around from its claws. They look sweet and fluffy, but they have a strong sting. It’s a win-win situation for both organisms because the Boxer Crab gains an impressive defensive move and the sea anemones get gain some mobility that they wouldn’t have otherwise had, which helps them find more food.

takes "playing dead" to a whole new level!

takes “playing dead” to a whole new level!

Sea Cucumber

Much like other marine animals, the sea cucumber releases a poisonous toxin when it is threatened. But SOME Sea Cucumbers up the ante buy secreting some of their internal organs out of their butts. It’s not going to hurt you or the predator, but it tricks most into thinking that the cuke is dead. After the danger passes, the Sea Cucumber regenerates its organs and goes about its business.

It's electric... boogie woogie woogie!

It’s electric… boogie woogie woogie!

Electric Rays

As you probably guessed, electric rays produce powerful electric shocks that can be used to stun prey or attack predators. The voltage isn’t enough to kill a human, but depending on how well-rested and “charged” the ray is, it may pack a serious punch. Depending on the Electric Ray and the situation, anywhere from 50 to 220 volts can be emitted.

3 Scrumptious Lionfish Dinner Recipes

Posted: 12th February 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
Lionfishdinner

Winner, Winner, Lionfish Dinner ;)

It isn’t exactly Chilean Sea Bass, but many people like the taste of Lionfish, and there is also a sense of satisfaction that comes along with digesting this horribly invasive species. It’s for the greater good of the ocean, yah know?

Lionfish is a delicate whitefish that readily accepts the flavors it is cooked alongside. It is flaky and firmer than halibut. Some foodies place it somewhere between grouper and mahi mahi. So, now that you know what to expect from this fiesty predator, let’s explore some of the best ways to prepare lionfish.

1. Tempura Lionfish

Ingredients:

Lionfish meat

Salt

Ginger

Rice vinegar

Garlic

Favorite tempura batter

Mirin

Preparation:

Prepare the fish by lightly washing and patting dry. Prepare the marinade which includes a mixture of fresh ginger, garlic, mirin, salt and rice vinegar. Marinate as per your time allowance but up to 1 day. Make tempura batter (as per your favorite recipe)

Cooking:

Heat oil. Dredge fillet in flour and dip in batter. Fry until lightly golden.

Serve with your favorite oriental sauce.

Source: http://www.lionfishhunters.org/Recipes.html

 

2. Castaway’s Wreck Diver-style Lionfish

Ingredients:

42 ounces lionfish fillets, patted dry

flour (for coating)

5 cloves garlic, diced

2½ cups chopped tomatoes

5 tsp. capers

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 T. chopped fresh basil

parsley or kale for garnish

lemon wedge for garnish

Preparation:

Dredge fillets in flour to lightly dust. Place in sauté pan with small amount of hot butter over medium heat. Cook first side, careful not to burn.

Turn over fish when golden, and reduce heat while adding garlic, tomatoes, capers, white wine and lemon juice. Cover to hold steam in and cook until fish is fork-tender. Add basil and serve immediately. Garnish with sprig of parsley or kale and lemon wedge.

Source: National Geographic: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/07/10/lionfish-gotta-eat-em-to-beat-em/

 

3. Blackened Lionfish

Ingredients:

4 fillets lionfish

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 tablespoons butter, cubed

Preparation:

Preheat a grill or grill pan . Place 2 lionfish fillets each into the center of two 10-by-10-inch aluminum foil squares. Combine the garlic salt, oregano , paprika , cayenne and black pepper in a small bowl, and then coat both sides of the fillets with the spice mix. Top the fillets with the butter cubes, and then tightly wrap the foil squares to form 2 pockets. Place the pockets on the grill and cook until the fish is tender and flakey, about 6 minutes.

Source: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/blackened-lionfish-with-creamy-potato-salad.html

3 Gross Things Every SCUBA Does

Posted: 5th February 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
You spit in your mask, don't you?

You spit in your mask, don’t you?

When you first started diving, you probably thought about all of the shiny new gear and vast open water. But did you think of all of the disgusting things you would be doing? Probably not. And by now, they probably come as second nature, so you don’t even realize how gross they are – until you start discussing them with a non-diver. Well, don’t worry. We won’t be the ones to tell your friends that you do each and every thing on this list. But if they are reading this –trust us– the cat is out of the bag. :)

1. Spit in your mask

We know you slather saliva in the same mask that you put on your face. Just inches from your eyes is a layer of drying saliva. You’re disgusting. But then again, so are we. The truth is that spitting in your mask keeps it clear, and it is one of the most important things you can do before you submerge. Spitting in your mask is an issue of safety and overall enjoyment (things can get hairy under the water when your visibility is impaired). Here’s why spitting in your mask works: The pocket of air between your face and the mask’s lens gets very humid and causes condensation to form. You could purchase an anti-fog solution to keep the condensation at bay, or you could just spit in your mask.

2. Pee in your wetsuit

Were you expecting an underwater port-a-potty? Diving is an adventure that does not stop for bathroom breaks. Many dive boats do not even have restrooms, so by the time you are geared up and ready to rock, you may already have to pee. The good news is that peeing in your wetsuit can also help keep you warm in chilly temperatures. If you are still grossed out by the notion of urinating on yourself (this one does take some getting used to), be sure to clean and thoroughly dry your wetsuit between dives.

3. Become a mucus monster

This is one disgusting side effect of diving that simply cannot be avoided. When you dive, your mucus production increases. Do not be surprised by the slime that oozes out of your nose and mouth when you submerge. A dive may not be the best way to make a good impression on a first date, but this phenomenon is perfectly normal. Just rinse out in the water before you get back on the boat and you should be fine.