5 of the Wackiest Scuba Diving Records

Posted: 24th July 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving

 

Underwater Ironing

Underwater Ironing

Have you ever browsed through the pages of a Guinness Book? Sure, there are some outstanding achievements to be seen, but there are also some pretty wacky ones. Records that leave you wondering why anyone would even do such things, never mind record them for the world to see.

But some people just want to make their mark in whatever way possible. Scuba diving is no exception, and the world of scuba certainly has some head-turning records. And hey, if you’re not fit or motivated enough to train for any of the more serious records, you may want to consider going for something off the wall. Maybe you can buck one of the current record holders, or maybe these will just give you the inspiration you need to start your own!

So without any further ado, let’s take a look at 5 of the silliest records in scuba diving!

1. Underwater Ironing – Why let that pile of shirts waiting to be ironed keep you from diving when you can just bring them and iron under water. If you wan to break this record, you’ll need at least 72 of your closest dive buddies to come along and iron with you. If that sounds ridiculous, imagine floating up to the scene!

2. Live Under Water – An Australian marine biologist once spent 13 days living under water in a 6-foot capsule. His bicycle riding produced electricity and he urinated on algae to provide air. Does that sound appealing to you? It’ll take a lot of planning and an enormous amount of discipline, but it’s only 14 days of your life, right?

3. Start a Business Under the Sea – Port Vila in Vanuatu is the world’s first and only underwater post office. It’s only open for an hour or two each day, and its primary purpose is to mail waterproof postcards from tourists back home to their friends and family. This record would be the most difficult to break, but if you get the urge, you can always just visit.

4. Underwater Cosmetology? – If you want to break the record for cutting hair under water (yes, there is one), you’ll have to cut 34 people’s hair in one hour. It was a stylist who shattered this record, so be forewarned. The previous record was 11 haircuts in 60 minutes.

5. Underwater Dining – This one sounds easy, right? Well, to beat this record, you’ll have to gather 500 of your closest friends to dine along with you. During this record-breaking dive, guests were served a three-course meal while they were weighted with an 18lb belt. Right now you’re probably wondering how people even eat under water. Well, they all had to take lessons beforehand. It’s not as easy as it looks.

Are Lionfish Just Misunderstood?

Posted: 17th July 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving
Shark vs. Lionfish

Shark vs. Lionfish

Most divers know that lionfish are an invasive species. In the Western Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, they are also trespassers. They aren’t native to these areas, but they have come and they are taking over. They are voracious predators and have been known to reduce populations of small fish, lobsters and shrimp by about 80% after establishing their territory.

So, suffice it to say that there are reasons why lionfish hunting competitions exist.

But there may be some things you don’t know about these pesky predators that may help give you a new understanding. We’re not saying to let them take over our oceans, but even in a battle, it helps to know your enemy.

1. Lionfish aren’t poisonous.

They are venomous, and yes, there’s a difference. Venom must be injected into the target in order to cause damage, while poison simply needs to be released and absorbed or ingested. If you are stung by a lionfish, you WILL feel it. The venom causes a great deal of localized pain, but it isn’t deadly to an otherwise healthy person. On the other hand, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to lionfish venom, and this can cause a series of potentially deadly reactions. So, do be careful out there.

Lionfish aren’t poisonous to eat either.

2. Lionfish aren’t terribly aggressive.

If you’re diving and happen to see someone swim for cover when a lionfish approaches, it’s probably because he or she had an unfortunate encounter and felt the pain of a lionfish’s venom. It’s not a likely scenario, though, so there’s no need to be overly cautious. Most stings usually occur when the hunter is removing the lionfish from its spear. As you could imagine, the lionfish puts up quite a fight to get free. For the most part, they just mosey along and don’t seem to notice the humans in the water. Maybe they are too focused on their shrimp and lobster dinner.

3. Other predators WILL eat lionfish

…But usually only when they’re alread dead. Because of its spiny, venomous spikes, most predators will steer clear of lionfish, but that doesn’t mean they are completely off limits. Other predators will always eat dead lionfish. A word of caution on this note, though. Some well-intentioned divers have been known to feed other predatory fish from their spears. They are likely doing it to give other predators “the taste” for lionfish. Or, maybe they’re just doing it for fun. Either way, it’s a bad idea. This type of behavior teaches larger predators, such as sharks and barracudas, that it’s feeding time when they see a diver with a spear. And no diver wants to be at the other end of a 3ft spear facing a hungry shark or barracuda looking for food. It’s dangerous for everyone involved.

Seahorses

Seahorses

Everyone has their own favorite animal. It may be a turtle, a porpoise or a lionfish (wait… scratch that last one), but there’s one that stands out above the rest in its pure uniqueness. The seahorse is unlike anything else you’ve ever known. Let’s get to know this interesting creature a little better.

What seahorses lack in size, they make up for in appetite.

The seahorse is incredibly tiny, but it eats constantly. We know a few people like that too! They don’t have teeth or stomachs, so food passes through them very quickly. What does this mean for their diet? Instead of the standard three square meals a day, they need 30! That’s about 3,000 brine shrimp every day.

Seahorses aren’t strong swimmers.

Yeah, they live under water, but they simply can’t swim well. As you can see, they have an unusual shape to their bodies that isn’t very hydrodynamic, and they are forced to use a small fin on their backs to propel themselves in a forward motion. When it’s time to change direction, they use a small fin on the back of their heads. Now their awkward movements are probably making a little more sense to you.

Seahorses have eyes in the back of their heads.

Okay, not literally, but they can look backwards and forwards at the same time. Unlike us, their eyes work independently of one another, so they can look backwards with one eye and forward with the other at the same time. It’s quite helpful and it’s one of their only defenses. While they are constantly eating, they can also be on the lookout for predators.

It’s true what they say about seahorse men.

They give birth. The female transfers her eggs to the male while breeding and he fertilizes them in his pouch. Germination takes about 4 weeks, and then the little seahorse babies are born. But don’t think this is easy business. “Labor” can take up to 12 hours, depending on the species, and seahorses lay between one hundred and fifteen hundred eggs.

It’s all about love with seahorses.

Well, we have no evidence that they feel love, but we do know that they mate for life. They go on dates too! Every day, a couple will engage in a courtship display that can last up to an hour. They swim, frolic and change colors together to solidify their bond. Now isn’t that sweet? 

Entering the Scuba Island Contest

Posted: 13th June 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving
Enter the scuba island contest!

Enter the scuba island contest!

Well, folks, it’s that time again!

Time for you to enter for your chance to win a $150 Prime Scuba gift card. :)

Although our prices are among the best out there, we know that buying scuba gear can really add up. That’s why we occasionally run contests to our favorite people – our customers and Facebook audience!

So, here’s how this contest thing works:

1. Visit our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/likeprimescuba

If you’re on your computer at home or at work, scroll down and look for the “WIN $150 Gift Card” icon on the left-hand side.

OR – If you’re on mobile or want to skip all that navigating, head straight to the contest page: http://a.pgtb.me/HGvTDr

2. If you haven’t liked our page yet (what are you waiting for?), go ahead and do that now.

3. Look for the “Click here to share your answer” button and click it.

4. Fill out the short form and enter your answer.

5. Share the contest and get an additional 5 entries!

The winner will be chosen at random, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate your creative answers.

We’ve enjoyed seeing some funny and imaginative answers roll through here. Here are some good ones for inspiration!

Question: You’re stranded on a deserted island, we know you’d have your scuba life support, what other gear would you want to bring?

I would take a year supply of corona..fishing poles.waterproof flashlights.BC..snorkel..fins..mask..air tanks and spare air..knife..cooler with ice for corona..radio..suntan lotion..tablet..flares..bottle opener for the corona..CB radio..towels..shampoo.conditioner.deodorant tooth brush and paste..lime for the corona and salt for the lime that goes into the corona!” – Deb P.

Sunscreen, Flippers, goggles, dive knife, spear gun, and a big floppy hat. BCD would be good too. :) ” Molly D.

my beautiful woman, our snorkel/dive gear. I can make everything else.” – Greg S.

So, the only question that is left is: How would you spend your $150 Prime Scuba gift card?
Let us know in the comments, if you want. Comments aren’t part of the entry, so it’s completely up to you. 

Tips for Avoiding a Shark Attack

Posted: 29th May 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving
Keep everyone happy :)

Keep everyone happy :)

Truthfully, sharks are wild animals, and the only way to be certain that you’ll avoid an attack is to stay out of their homes. But most of us scuba divers revel at the chance of seeing one of these majestic creatures up close and personal. We know there’s a chance of attack, but we’re willing to take the risk. Just be sure it’s a calculated one.

We aren’t on a shark’s list of favorite foods, so it should be easy enough to keep them at bay, but the problem usually comes when the shark feels a sense of wonder or confusion.

Here are some tips to keep you safe in the presence of a shark:

1. Don’t panic – This rule applies as much with sharks as it does with dogs. They say that when you panic, an animal can sense your fear. This may or may not be true, but you are more likely to act erratically when you’re in that state. This can cause confusion, which can lead to an attack.

2. Avoid lingering at the water’s surface if possible – Sharks often hunt near the water’s surface, and if you’re flailing about there, the shark is likely to mistake you for its prey. If you must surface, swim with purpose and try not to make too many sudden movements. If possible, swim to the reef or to the ocean floor, assuming it’s within reach.

3. Don’t feed the sharks – This one may sound obvious, but would you gut a deer in a lion’s den? Of course not. Similarly, you shouldn’t spear fish in an area that is known to have sharks. The blood is too tempting for a shark to resist, and you don’t want to get in the way of a shark and its prey.

4. Don’t be flashy – Metal and other shiny objects reflect light, and this can catch a shark’s attention and pique its curiosity. When a shark is curious about something, it may just investigate with its mouth. If you think about it, it’s the best tool a shark has, but it’s probably not going to work out in your favor. After a quick nibble, the shark will probably realize you’re not food and move on, but it could do a lot of damage in that one bite.

5. Know your shark species – Although sharks will avoid human contact in most circumstances, some types are known to be more aggressive than others. Know what they are and what they look like before you get into the water. It’s more than just the Great White that you should be familiar with. Tiger Sharks, Whitetips, Mako and Bull Sharks have more recorded attacks than other species. If you’re worried about an encounter with a shark, avoid areas where these species are known to live.

This last one is pure gold. Wait for it…

6. Avoid sharks! – Too many divers pursue sharks in the hopes of getting a perfect photograph or interesting video. It’s tempting, but it’s dangerous. Would you do the same if you saw a bear? The shark may feel threatened by your presence, and again, that’s probably not going to work out in your favor. Use common sense, respect this beautiful animal and have fun out there!

Saba Island

Saba Island

If you’re not a fan of fighting crowds, you may enjoy this post. You may also enjoy this post if you like the idea of getting stranded on a deserted island with some scuba gear for an indefinite period of time. These islands aren’t deserted, not by any stretch, but they do often have that “almost” private island kind of feel.

Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe

Ah, Guadeloupe. Some say this set of islands contains the heart of France set in a tropical paradise. Its two main islands are connected by a forest of mangroves, but that’s not where you’ll go if you’re looking for some solitude. Instead, head to the Iles des Saintes where the Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas island will surely surprise you; each of these small islands has a culture of its own. Locals are often blue-eyed French descendants who speak French in a dialect that is similar to what you’ll hear in North America. Colorful streets and brightly painted wooden houses line Terre-de-Bas’s center while sandy coves sprawl out along its shores. And you’ll find that Terre-de-Haut is a perfect place to unwind with your snorkeling gear and swim goggles.

Dominica, Lesser Antilles

Land lovers who visit Dominica can’t stop raving about the breathtaking views and serene shorelines. But scuba divers will tell you that there’s just as much to see beneath the waves that break along this peaceful island. Here, you’ll find species that are rarely found in the Caribbean. Look out for flying gurnards, frog fish and seahorses. If you really want to get away from it all, check out Jungle Bay Lodge, a treehouse on the Atlantic side where they offer tours to Emerald Pool. Don’t forget to ask your guide about what it was like when they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean here.

Mabouya, Grenada

When we first start diving, we’re happy just learning to breathe under water. But after we log some time and take some more advanced diving courses, many of us seek a little adventure. We’re always on the quest for our own personal underwater paradise. Well, for many, that search ends in Mabouya. The Carriacou islands offer some amazing dives, but many of them can only be experienced by more advanced divers. Mabouya, on the other hand, offers calmer waters that make it easier for anyone in your group to don their scuba gear and see some amazing underwater wildlife.

Water Island, U.S. Virgin Islands

Are there three Virgin Islands or four? Water Island is an unofficial fourth island that is just a 10-minute ferry ride from Charlotte Amalie, but it may as well be another planet. Unlike the ever-popular island of St. Thomas that sits just a half mile to the north, Water Island is all about adventuring… in peace. Oh, yeah. And scuba diving. But when you’re not exploring Supermarket Reef, you may want to head to solid ground to explore the underground tunnels of Fort Segarra.

Saba, Lesser Antilles

This rugged little Caribbean island is the most secluded of the list, and after just a day spent here, you may start feeling like Robinson Crusoe, but in a good way. The island itself rises sharply from the sea and is known for its attractive terrain. The volcano on this island is even called Mt. Scenery. Dive Saba Marine Park and you’ll enter a marine space that has been protected since 1987, an almost untouched paradise.

Box Jellyfish

Box Jellyfish

We all know the rules above water, right? We respect the boundaries of others and we give wild animals their space. Okay, so maybe not everyone does that, but it seems more likely to occur above sea level than below.

Maybe it’s because we’re more likely to be in close proximity to wildlife under water than above ground. We’ve all seen videos of seals, whales and dolphins who get up close and personal with humans. Maybe you’ve even had a close encounter of your own!

But even though these instances can be amazing, they can also be dangerous for the human or for the animal.

Imagine going on a hike through the woods and encountering a grizzly bear. Would you try to antagonize the bear, so you could see it respond? We’d certainly hope that no one out there is dumb enough to do that. But it is so disheartening to see stories of people antagonizing manta rays, sharks and manatees.

Well, there isn’t much we can do about those meanies out there (aside from pushing for stricter punishment). We’re also confident that none of our readers would do such things, but this may be a good time to discuss safety and respect. So, here are some tips for dealing with ocean life to help keep everyone safe:

1. Admire from a distance – Let’s face it. As a species, we’re pretty intimidating to other creatures. And for good reason. Humans have done far more damage to ocean life than the other way around. Even if you mean no harm, it’s best to respect the animal’s space and keep a safe distance.

2. Know the risks – Even if you aren’t concerned about the animal’s feelings, you should be concerned with your own safety. Know which animals are more dangerous to you than others. And don’t be fooled into being so focused on the shark population that you miss out on other dangers. For example, if you’re swimming or diving in Australia, you may encounter one of the deadliest creatures on earth, and no, it’s not a shark. The box jellyfish has a deadly venom, and this jelly seems to have a mean streak. The species has been responsible for nearly six thousand deaths since 1954.

3. Arrive prepared – Wetsuits and drysuits aren’t just for temperature control. Sure, they aren’t exactly armor, but they will protect you from things like jellyfish stings (and also sunburn). 

10 Signs You’re Addicted to Scuba Diving

Posted: 8th May 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving
Are you a scuba diving addict?

Are you addicted to scuba?

Do you feel naked without your regulator? Are you counting down the minutes to your next dive? If so, you may be addicted to scuba diving. There is no cure for scubadiction, so you’re just going to have to deal with it – oh, yeah, and DIVE.

Here are 10 signs that just may indicate that you’re a scuba diving addict.

1. You refer to your coffee breaks as surface intervals.

Hey, you’re “coming up for air” in that stodgy work environment. It counts, right?

2. You spend more money on breathing gas than gas for your car.

This is especially true for those lucky divers who live close to the beach.

3. You use the “OK” hand signal so much on land that it’s no longer “OK.”

Non-divers find this hand signal dated and “uncool,” but what do they know?

4. You spent more on your drysuit than you did on your last car purchase.

Hey, the car only needs to get you from point A to the ocean.

5. You would rather hang out with fish than people.

Imagine if your office was under water and your coworkers all had gills…

6. The smell of wet neoprene gets your heart pumping.

True diving addicts know that there’s nothing in the world like the smell of neoprene after a dive.

7. You see an awesome boat and think about what a great wreck it would make.

It’s not macabre. It’s a love for all things scuba (at least, that’s what we tell ourselves)….

8. You spend half of your time under water and the other thinking about what scuba gear you’ll need for your next dive.

We all have those unwritten lists of things we’ll buy with the next paycheck. There’s no shame in this game. :)

9. The IT guy at work asks you what kind of computer you use, and you answer, “Oceanic.”

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly the answer he was looking for, but it is correct nonetheless.

10. You spit on your bifocals before you put them on.

Oops! If you have ever been guilty of this one, you are definitely a scuba diving addict. There is no hope for your recovery, so you may as well just spend the rest of your life under water.

3 More Quick Tips for Buoyancy Control

Posted: 1st May 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving

Controlling buoyancy 2

Controlling buoyancy 2

In last week’s post, we discussed three tips that can help you maintain neutral buoyancy. But we kind of left you floating out there (sorry for that). There are three additional tips that can keep you from having to fiddle with your ballast weights constantly. The good news is that once you master buoyancy control, you’ll be free to enjoy the underwater paradise. Take pictures, video, or just sit back and bask in the serene beauty.

Know Your Wetsuit

The same thing that helps a neoprene wetsuit keep you warm is exactly what makes it float. Air gets trapped in thousands of tiny bubbles. Of course, not all wetsuits are the same, but it’s safe to say that newer suits have more buoyancy. Here’s a good guideline. A men’s wetsuit has two to three pounds of buoyancy for each millimeter of thickness.

Think long and hard before you forgo the wetsuit, though. This gear is critical for many dives because they can keep you warm, which will ward off fatigue and make you less likely to suffer from decompression sickness.

And although the wetsuit’s buoyancy will change over time, the good news is that it won’t change during a dive as long as you’re at the same depth, so as long as you know how to account for your wetsuit’s buoyancy, you don’t have to worry much about it during the dive.

Account for Changes in Depth

As you dive deeper, your wetsuit will get thinner. The pressure will flatten out the gas bubbles that were in place to keep you warm. At about 33 feet, you’ll have lost half of your surface buoyancy. In the next 33, you can expect to lose another third. If you’re diving deeper than that, you’ll only have 1/6 of the original buoyancy in your wetsuit and BC.

Expect this change to take place as drastically in both directions. When you’re on your way back up, the buoyancy will return at about the same levels in your wetsuit and BC.

Control Your Breathing

If you were to strip yourself of all gear, your lungs would be the only major buoyancy compensator you have left. Your lungs have about 10 pounds of buoyant lift. Breathe in a normal breath and you’ll expand by about one pint, and the act of breathing in and out fluctuates your buoyancy by about a pound either way. Try to keep yourself neutral at a half breath, and then use your breaths to rise or fall at will. It’s much easier than fiddling with gear.  

Three Quick Tips for Buoyancy Control

Posted: 24th April 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving
Controlling Buoyancy

Controlling Buoyancy

Some of us are naturally more buoyant than others. It’s a major benefit for snorkeling, swimming or taking a leisurely float in calm waters. But it’s not always ideal for scuba diving.

Fortunately, there are ways you can help control your own buoyancy, regardless of your starting point, so you can gracefully move around the underwater world without barreling into the reef or floating to far away. Finding the right balance is key.

The basics: When you’re first starting out, the concept of buoyancy control seems simple. You must balance the downward force of your weights against the upward force of your inflation. Once you achieve the right balance, your buoyancy will be neutral and you’ll be able to over in the water.

Easy, peasy… right?

Well, there’s a little more to it than that. There are six things you’ll need to get right in order to maintain proper buoyancy.

Controlling Ballast Weight

If you’re overweighted, which many divers are, buoyancy control will be more difficult. In order to adjust for an extra pound of weight, you’ll have to displace a pound of water, which means you’ll need about a pint of air bubble in your BC. But unfortunately, air bubbles expand and contract with changes in depth, so it’s a constant struggle to keep your buoyancy neutral. Too often, this results in constant fiddling with your BC – no fun.

Here’s how to work around it. If you seem to be carrying extra weight, try removing two pounds before your next dive. If you’re having trouble submerging, have a little patience, and allow your wetsuit to take on water. Relax and exhale. Moving at this point will generate upward motion, which will make you seem lighter. And don’t forget to breath. At this point, many new divers are nervously holding their breath. Holding extra air will keep you afloat.

Trim Your Body Horizontally

The vertical position that seems natural to you will have you kicking your way to the surface and needing to adjust buoyancy again and again. Once you are in that optimal neutral position. Stretch your legs behind you and hold completely still. If your legs start sinking, move a weight from your waist to a higher point.

Adjust for Tank Weight

Naturally, as you use the air in your tank, your cylinder will get lighter. You will have to adjust for this buoyancy shift by venting five pounds of buoyancy from your BC, which is why you have to start the dive five pounds heavy.

It is a very gradual change, though, so it won’t take you by surprise. In fact, you probably won’t notice anything until the dive is almost halfway over. Do keep in mind that this changes in deeper water as you’ll use up air faster.

The tank you choose will affect your buoyancy also. Steel tanks are typically less buoyant than aluminum, but this doesn’t mean that you can escape the buoyancy gain from using a steel tank. You’re still lightening the tank by removing air.