Underwater Wonderland Photo Contest

Underwater Wonderland Photo Contest

With our Underwater Wonderland Contest in full swing, it seems like a good time to review some basic underwater photography tips. Because it’s not too late to get out there and take a winning photo!

1. Proximity is important – Get up close and personal with your subject. Of course, if your subject is a dangerous predator, you may want to reconsider your desire to take that photo (or you may want to settle for shooting from afar).

2. Flash is necessary – Your GoPro camera is designed to work under and above water, and you can change the settings based on your environment. However, when you’re shooting under water, you almost always want to keep the cam on “forced flash mode.” It gets dark down there.

3. Go Low – For the best images, try to get beneath the subject and shoot upwards. There are some exceptions, of course, but these images are typically more visually interesting than ones that have been taken from above or straight on.

4. External Strobes Help – There’s one thing you’ll notice about amateur underwater photos. Many of them have a lot of backscatter. An external strobe can help minimize this and get your photos looking professional.

5. Take Hi-Res Photos – In preparation for your dive, set your camera on its highest resolute and lowest ISO.

6. Using Natural Light – Although flash is often recommended, there are some cases where you will have enough natural light shining in that you won’t need it. To take a stellar natural light photo, stay in shallow water (20ft or less) and keep the sun at your back.

7. Adjusting Shutter Speed – Do your underwater photos always seem to come out blurry? Check your shutter speed. If you’re shooting stills, it should be 1/30th. For slow-moving objects, keep it at 1/60th, and for speedy creatures, use 1/125th.

8. Focus, focus, focus – If you don’t want to fuss with the camera’s focus, use spot focus mode to auto-adjust on your target.

9. Post-Processing – Let the beauty of your underwater photographs shine through. Don’t overdo it with filtering or other effects. You may find that your photos need a slight contrast boost, but make adjustments sparingly.

10. Use common sense – Resist the urge to take a camera on your first dive ever. You’ll have plenty else to focus on; no need to add underwater photography to the list just yet. Once you’re comfortable breathing under water, you can start shooting.

Now that you’re ready to take the underwater photograph of your life –and win our Underwater Wonderland Contest– grab your scuba gear and get out there and shoot!

Hey. You.

That’s right, I’m talking to you.

Have you entered our Underwater Wonderland Contest yet?

In case you haven’t heard, we’re giving away a $150 gift card in May to whoever uploads an underwater image that gets the most votes (see our Facebook page for the official contest rules). And in case you need help spending $150 at Prime Scuba, we decided to present a few suggestions.

Cressi Snorkeling Mask

Cressi Snorkeling Mask

Cressi Nano Crystal Mask $89.95

Freedivers and spearfishers take note. This mask was designed just for you. And at just $89.95, you’ll have more to spare on that $150 gift card. Double win. This mask makes use of an extremely low internal volume and hydrodynamic shape to reduce drag and improve efficiency.

A twin-lens frame gives the mask a strong yet lightweight structure. You’ll find the bridge has been thinned and strengthened to eliminate the discomfort that sometimes occurs where the mask fram meets the face.

Backpack Gear Bag

Backpack Gear Bag

Hollis Duffle Backpack Gear Bag $119.95

The right gear bag can make a world of difference, and many divers find this backpack style to be a perfect fit. It’s large enough to carry a full gear set and adjustable, so you can easily tote all of that around on your back. Durable, water-resistant material will help protect your valuable equipment safe for years of diving fun.

Ladies Wetsuit

Ladies Wetsuit

O’Neill Cella Long-Sleeve Hybrid Surf Suit $89.99

Who says you can’t be a master diver and a supermodel at the same time? O’Neill’s long-sleeve surf suit will keep you protected but it will also keep you looking and feeling great under water and above. With a full-zip back entry, you’ll find it easy to get in and out of, and a reflective logo will make it easier for buddies to spot you using dive lights.

Oceanic Octopus

Oceanic Octopus

Oceanic Alpha 9 Octopus $149.95

If you’ve been looking for an affordable octopus that will not disappoint, this is the one for you. The Oceanic Alpha 9 is a lightweight and compact second stage that works perfectly with any of the Oceanic primary regulators. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty. What’s better than that.

Snorkel Set

Snorkel Set

Oceanic Aeris Mask Fin Snorkel Set $119.00

If you plan to snorkel more than once in your lifetime, you’ll probably want to get a mask and snorkel set of your own. The ones you can rent may be okay for a single use, but you’ll quickly find that the fit is often, well, awful. If your mask is filling up with water, it’s not the right fit. Get one that is right for you and you’ll use it for years, regardless of how often you snorkel. This convenient set also includes a set of high-quality ergonomic fins.

Underwater Wonderland Photo Contest

Posted: 28th March 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving

 

Underwater Wonderland Contest

Underwater Wonderland Contest

How would you feel about winning a $150 gift card to Prime Scuba?

Pretty awesome, right? Of course, you would! Not to sing our own praises here, but Prime Scuba has an amazingly expansive selection of scuba gear in stock and ready to ship to you.

You can enter and win from anywhere in the continental United States.

However, if you happen to be in the Middletown, NY area, feel free to visit us and shop our vast selection in person. We’d love to meet you in person and congratulate you on your awesome photography skills!

Here’s how the contest works:

1. Take a really cool underwater photograph – We’re hoping you’ve done this already, but if not, don’t worry. There’s still time. The contest is running for an entire month, so grab your camera and Go Dive!

2. Visit our Facebook page – If you don’t already like us on Facebook, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and hit the like button, so you can enter the contest. You won’t be sorry you did. Our daily updates are pretty amazing, if we do say so ourselves.

3. Upload your image – We’ll just need some contact info, so we can award the prize, assuming you’ll win, of course. And we’ll ask you to join our newsletter. Again, it’s filled with really awesome content and deep discounts, so you won’t be sorry.

4. Vote! You can surely vote for your own image. In fact, we recommend that you do. After all, if you don’t think your underwater photo is the best out there, why should anyone else?

5. Get your friends to vote! Share the contest on your Facebook page and ask friends to vote for your photo. The photo that gets the most votes wins. Period. So, don’t be shy about asking for votes. We’ll promote the contest entries also, but it certainly doesn’t hurt for you to do it as well.

When the contest is over, we’ll notify the winner by email. You’ll have 48 hours to claim your prize. Don’t worry, though. It’s not a complicated process. Just respond to the email to let us know that you’re there and you want your $150 gift card. That’s all. We’ll be sure you get it quickly, so you can start shopping for new gear stat.

If you have any questions about our contest, please feel free to reach out to us on our Facebook page. We’re happy to help and want to ensure that you have the best possible chance to enter and win.

Just one note of caution before we leave you to your photo uploading: Please be sure to click this link to upload your entry. Entries made as posts on our Facebook page cannot be counted. 

SADS and Scuba Diving

Posted: 20th March 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving
colin

Photo credit: Irish Daily Star

Colin Callanan was a seemingly healthy, fit 29-year old scuba diver.

No one could have expected that he wouldn’t survive his April 2013 dive.

Of course, there’s always a risk for complications during any dive. And friends and family thought that’s what had happened. They assumed it was a freak scuba diving accident that took the life of their beloved Colin. But upon further investigation, the family learned that Colin had an underlying cardiac condition that was left undiagnosed. Why would it have been diagnosed when there were no symptoms?

Colin had a job that kept him physically active, and he was known to participate in many sports. Again, there was no indication that he was not healthy enough for diving.

What could have prevented such a tragedy? One answer is to have mandatory SADS (Sudden Adult/Arrhythmic Death Syndrome) screenings for all students. Colin’s mother is on a mission to make this happen in his home country of Ireland.

But what does this mean for the rest of us?

Heart attacks and irregular heart rhythms are the leading cause of scuba-related deaths in people above 40 years of age. This may be because cardiac function changes significantly during a dive – at least, according to a small Italian study published in Acta Physiologica. This study analyzed 16 males and two females whose average age was 42. All were avid divers with at least 100 dives under their dive belts. None were smokers or suffered from high blood pressure, heart or lung disease. They were screened prior to the study and received a clean bill of health.

Researchers found that blood flow through their ventricles changed during a dive, and they were all more likely to experience bradycardia (slow resting heart rate) post dive.

These changes in heart function could put stress on a healthy heart, not to mention those with underlying cardiac issues. With that said, is it really enough to have the right training and scuba gear before your first real dive? Or, does it make sense for new divers to be screened for cardiac issues, such as SADS, before taking that first plunge?

It certainly adds a step that can be costly and time consuming, but if it could save a life, it may be worthwhile. What are your thoughts? Do you think SADS screening should be a part of the new-diver certification process? 

Snorkeling vest

Snorkeling vest

We get this question a lot at the Prime Scuba shop. Mostly, it’s from beginner snorkelers who are at various swimming stages, but it’s a good question for anyone, really. Some people think the answer is cut and dry.

“If you can swim, you don’t need a snorkeling vest.”

However, that’s not exactly true. There are a few instances where even Michael Phelps might decide to wear a snorkeling vest. So, don’t avoid buying one because you think it makes you look like a beginner.

Just Floating Along – Isn’t it nice when you can just relax and enjoy the view? A snorkeling vest can help you do that. If you’re just out for the scenery and aren’t concerned about exercise, throw on a vest and just float along. It is such a relaxing experience.

Some people have buoyancy issues – We are not all created equal. Some of us float more naturally than others, and it has absolutely nothing to do with swimming ability. For those who are “sinkers” instead of “floaters,” snorkeling takes a little more work. Of course, in order to breathe in the air from your snorkel, you need to be close to the surface. A snorkeling vest can help you stay there without much effort.

Planning an entire day at sea? – If you’re the kind of person who can marvel at an underwater paradise for hours on end, you’re probably going to want a snorkeling vest to help keep you afloat. You aren’t going to want to head back to land just because your legs are tired. Even some of the best snorkeling instructors wear vests for this very reason. It’s about longevity. If you don’t want your physical ability to stand in the way of your day of snorkeling fun, wear a vest.

Prepare for anything and everything – Maybe you’ll be having so much fun that you’ll venture out farther than you had planned. If you’re wearing a vest, that’s okay. If not, well, you might find yourself in a dangerous position, too tired to make your way back. Similarly, what if you’re out there with a group and get separated? The body exerts more energy in a state of stress or panic, so it’s always best to have that vest keeping you afloat.

And, of course…

If you aren’t a strong swimmer, for all of the above reasons and then some, you should absolutely be wearing a snorkeling vest every single time you’re out snorkeling. There’s no need to put yourself in a dangerous situation. As we’ve seen, there are plenty of reasons why even strong swimmers may wear a vest, so don’t worry that it’ll make you seem inexperienced. Be safe, and have fun out there.

3 Awesome Wreck Dives for Your List

Posted: 6th March 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving
Tags: ,

Doing a wreck dive is kind of like going to an underwater amusement park. It’s interesting, thrilling, and you don’t always know what’s around the next corner. Some are more dangerous than others, and maybe that’s part of the fun. We’ve all earned our “chops” and it’s kind of cool to visit a wreck that isn’t suited for just anyone. So, let’s explore some of the best perks of being an experienced scuba diver (and no, it’s not just a closet full of awesome scuba gear).

Here are 3 awesome wreck dives that you may want to visit:

Douglas Dakota DC-3

Douglas Dakota DC-3

1. Deliberate Wreckage – The Douglas Dakota DC-3 was a transporter plane for a Turkish paratroop regiment in World War II. It made it safely back to land, but was later (2009) sunk in the waters of Cas, Turkey deliberately so divers can use it as an underwater playground. How cool is that? The plane sits 21 meters below the surface and is a haven for adventurous freedivers and home to many schools of tropical fish.

Zenobia

Zenobia

2. Zenobia – This wasn’t exactly a deliberate wreck, but it was allowed to sink (about 35 years ago) after the crew and passengers had been safely evacuated. What is unique about this wreck, though, is that the Zenobia was a ferry that housed trucks, and more than 100 of them were still shackled to the ship when it went down. Some lucky divers may even get to sit in the cabs of some of these trucks and identify the cargo they were transporting. Very interesting stuff. If you’re interested in wreck dives at all, you’ve probably heard of Zenobia, and you may already be planning your trip to Cyprus, where, incidentally, you’ll find many other wrecks to explore.

Spiegel Grove

Spiegel Grove

3. Spiegel Grove – I thought I’d include one that’s a little closer to home for those of us on the east coast of the US. After all, regardless of where you live, there’s probably a wreck worthy of diving that isn’t too far. For us, it’s the USS Spiegel Grove, one of the world’s largest purposely sunken wrecks. It is a sight to behold, to say the least. The main deck of this ship looks like it could span the length of two football fields with green star corals and whips and fans in place of astroturf. Even those who are foreign to this land can’t help but feel the pull of patriotism when they see the American flag, albeit covered in silt, swaying in the mild Atlantic current.

Exosuit

Exosuit

How often have you wished that you could stay under water longer?

“C’mon, jusst five more minutes. Pleeaase.”

Yeah. Well, instead of five minutes, how about 50 hours?

There’s a new space-age scuba suit that will allow a few lucky people to stay at depths of up to 1,000 feet with a 50-hour life support system. This 530-pound aluminum allow suit has rotary joints at the hands, elbows and knees, so mobility shouldn’t be an issue. Divers will communicate with a surface vessel via fiber optic cable – Now that’s high tech.

Unfortunately for us, this $1.2 million suit is one of a kind. Still, we may reap some rewards from its existence. Because divers will remain mobile and under water for extended periods of time, the Exosuit can be expected to be used for a great deal of research and conservation.

This summer, the Exosuit will make its oceanic debut off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, where waters plummet to 10,000 feet. During initial dives with the Exosuit, scientists hope to gather a new jellyfish species with a luminescence they’d like to reproduce for medical research. We foresee good things coming from this amazing technological advancement.

Just imagine how much we’ll learn when scientists are allowed to explore deeper waters. Although we have learned a great deal in recent years, up until now, we still know very little about the mysterious wildlife that resides in the deep sea. Take these luminescent jellyfish, for example. Before the Exosuit existed, divers would only see these creatures when they happened to wander into more shallow waters, but we know that under these conditions, their luminescence is not nearly as intense.

Now, scientists can study these creatures in their natural habitat, watching them for hours and documenting light patterns with video and high-def images.

Any diver hearing of this suit is likely to be in awe of its capabilities. The Exosuit is allowing divers to go where they have never gone before – and that’s downright exciting.

If you’d like to see the Exosuit before it is shipped off to Nantucket for its first underwater adventure, you may do so at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. And while you can’t get one of these beasts yourself, you can get a high-quality wetsuit or drysuit (depending on the conditions you’re planning) and all of the other gear that will help you stay under water as long as possible. It’s not 50 hours, but a good regulator can help you enjoy the underwater world while you dream of the day when you can own your very own Exosuit.

Cold Water Dive

Cold Water Dive

Well, the chill is still in the air and most of us are feeling about ready for some warm weather and tropical diving. But now is the chance to get in your last few cold-weather dives for the season. And if you’ve never experienced cold-water diving, it may be time.

With all that said, I thought now would be a good time to offer up some cold-water diving tips. You probably know about the basic scuba gear you’ll need (drysuit, hood, gloves, etc.), but there are a few other things that may make your dive more comfortable.

Plastic Storage Bins – Cold dives can be slushy and messy. You’ll want to do everything in your power to keep your gear protected. Bins can also help keep you organized. Who wants to spend an extra minute in freezing temperatures to look for something they should have had handy?

Mesh Bags – These come in all sizes and can be used to keep your gear organized. They’re great for keeping small items from rolling around in your gear bag, and can also keep things you’ll need at once all together.

Plastic Shoes – Crocs, really? Well, they don’t have to be, but consider getting shoes that are made of the same plastic material. Your drysuit socks may be too thick for you to put your regular shoes back on, and who wants to mess up their socks waking back to the car in slush and snow? And while we’re on the subject, go ahead and pack an extra pair of drysuit socks just in case you’ll need them. There’s nothing worse than cold, wet feet.

Hot Water and Hot Beverages – You can drink the hot water if you’d like, but that has so many other uses. You can use the hot water to thaw frozen gear or to pour on your hands and face to help the blood start circulating better. Obviously, you’ll want to drink something warm after a cold-water dive, so bring a thermos of hot cocoa or tea. It’s the little things that really make a dive so much more pleasant.

Ski Hat and Gloves – This may go without saying, but these are items you really shouldn’t forget. When you emerge from a cold-water dive, cold and soaking wet, you’re going to want to warm up fast. A dry snug-fitting hat will keep you from feeling more of the chill than is necessary. You’ll be relying on your hands to pack and unpack your gear, so keep them warm when possible. Too many divers leave these items behind on not-so-cold days and end up regretting it after the dive.

Have you heard about the ancient city that was recently found under water in China? Is it Atlantis? Well, no. But it is a sight to behold.

Lion City

Lion City

Shi Cheng, also known as Lion City is in the Zhejiang province and it became the underwater paradise that it currently is when it was flooded 53 years ago. This city happened “fell” when a new man-made lake was created. Some may say it’s a shame to have lost this ancient city to the water, but those people wouldn’t be scuba divers. This underwater tourist destination has a new lease on life, and divers are already booking flights to explore this new underwater hot spot.

Shicheng_wcth03

Lion City isn’t the only underwater marvel uncovered recently, though. There’s the underwater forest in Alabama (which is in the process of being regulated), and many wrecks just waiting for you to explore them. Here are of our best tips for planning that scuba-cation.

lostcity

Arrive Prepared – Once everything is booked, it’s time to study. Review dive maps and plan your trip accordingly. Get to know the surroundings, and connect with any guides you plan to use before you arrive.

Reserve Your Gear – If you’ve been doing this for a while, you’re probably going to want to bring your own gear. This way, you don’t have to worry about unfamiliar setups or uncomfortable, ill-fitting equipment. But there may be a thing or two that you don’t want to pack. In this case, you’ll want to make sure the dive shop has what you need when you get there. Dive operators and scuba shops will usually be prepared with weights and tanks, but if you need anything else, be sure to reserve it in advance.

Budget for Gratuities – The cost of your trip almost never includes gratuities for the divemaster or crew. These are extremely important jobs, but they aren’t exactly the highest paying gigs out there. Your dive crew will help keep you safe and comfortable (if they’re any good), so don’t forget to take care of them before you leave. This will mean taking some extra cash along with you, so plan for it.

Most of all, this trip is about having fun and remaining safe. Just remember that a little preparation goes a long way. Arrive prepared and you’re sure to have an amazing and unforgettable experience.

 

3 Awesome Underwater Proposals

Posted: 6th February 2014 by admin in Scuba Diving
An Underwater Proposal

An Underwater Proposal

Well, folks, it’s marriage proposal season again. That’s right; it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at some of the most awesome underwater proposals we’ve ever seen. For a diver, there’s no better way to pop the question, but it’s true that you have to get a little creative. It’s not like you can utter the words, “Will you marry me.” That’s why it’s so much fun to see the interesting ways people choose to propose under water. Here are three of my favorites:

An Almost Disaster

When Anthony Taylor decided to propose to Stephanie Walker, he had only the best of intentions. He wanted this moment to be special, and one they would remember for a lifetime, so he decided to propose during their first dive. Was that a good idea? Well, maybe if she had a little more underwater experience, Stephanie may not have gasped so deeply and filled her mask up with water. Maybe. We can’t say for sure. :) Fortunately, the instructor stepped in to help, and the couple lived happily ever after. At least, as far as we know.

disaster

The Best Kind of Treasure Hunt

Joseph House knew he wanted an underwater proposal, so he came up with the idea to tie the engagement ring to his bathing suit with dental floss, and spring it on girlfriend Jessica Forbes when she least expected it. The pair had been dating for over a year and were spending part of their vacation diving for hidden treasure. Of course, Forbes surfaced with one of the best treasures she could possibly imagine: A beautiful ring and a commitment to spend her life with the man she loves.

Truth or Dare

Nathan was on a deployment from the Canadian Armed Forces and he hadn’t seen his girlfriend Sarah in five months. When he was able to vacation, the couple went to Phuket to enjoy some sunshine and scuba diving. He knew he would pop the question during the dive, but he also planned ahead to keep it interesting. And it doesn’t get much more interesting than this game of underwater Truth or Dare.

Nathan held up a sign that read: “Do you want to play a game? Yes → Thumbs up, No → Thumbs down.

Fortunately, she said yes. According the game’s rules, she would only get dares and he would only give truths.

He dared her to a few silly things like spin around until she ot dizzy and flip upside down vertically and give a thumbs up. Nathan’s truths were about why he loved her, and the final truth was a question:

“Will you marry me?

Yes → Thumbs up

No → Pull my reg out”

Again, it’s a good thing she said yes.

Have you heard of any interesting or fun underwater proposals? If so, please feel free to share in the comments below!