Recreational Diving is All About Having Fun!

Sunday, June 26, 2011 10:35 | Filled in Dive Training, Dive Travel, NC diving
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Alan, Brad and Glenn Happy to Be Diving!

Alan, Brad and Glenn Happy to Be Diving!

I dive because I enjoy many different aspects of the sport. The ability to swim and breathe underwater is a thrill for many people and the first time someone does it often changes their life. I enjoy looking for different life under the waves and taking their picture. This ranges from the big sharks and turtles to the small nudibranchs and arrow crabs. Occasionally, I get the opportunity to bring back an artifact from a shipwreck or a fossil from one of the limestone ledges. Ultimately, the goal is to enjoy yourself when you are diving.  That, of course, is the purpose of a recreational sport.

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Making Oneself a Better Diver by Instructing

Thursday, June 23, 2011 22:00 | Filled in Dive Safety, Dive Training
Diver Training Underwater

Diver Training Underwater

I was thinking about my dive training evolution the other day. I was in the water with some students and guiding them around. As I was swimming around, trying to find different points of interest and making sure they were okay, it dawned upon me that I was becoming a safer and better diver as well. By being so concerned for my students, I was taking proper care to ensure that my equipment was working properly, my air supply was beyond my standard limits before ending the dive and I was paying more attention to my surroundings to make sure I was not getting lost. In general, I was paying attention to details that I may have glossed over earlier.

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Diving the Markham/Hyde, June 14, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011 0:20 | Filled in Dive Training, NC diving
Johanna Swimming Through the Hyde

Johanna Swimming Through the Hyde

Anthony and I wake up early, again, to go out diving. This time we are joined by Johanna, Anthony’s wife.  I am teaching her for her Advanced Open Water certification.  We are headed to the John D. Gill Markham/Hyde. The marine forecast is not kind to us and there are 3-5 foot swells as we head out on the 30 foot Aquatic Safaris II. The 48 foot Aquatic Safaris I is headed to the Hyde taking a large group of divers from the Charlotte, NC area. Our captain, Roy Taylor, puts us in the wake of the Aquatic Safaris I to make our ride a little more pleasant, but it is still quite a bumpy and slow ride.

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Diving the Hyde and Markham June 12, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 23:47 | Filled in NC diving
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Anthony Holding a Furcate Spider Crab

Anthony Holding a Furcate Spider Crab

This has been a busy week of diving for me and it is only half over! My son, Anthony flew into town Saturday night straight from deployment on the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) aircraft carrier where he currently works in the Navy. He is the one who got me back into diving and was my dive buddy for a couple years. Of course, the first thing I did was wake him up early the next morning and take him diving. We were on the Aquatic Safaris charter to the Hyde/Markham wrecks which are right next to each other. Both are artificial reef wrecks just several hundred yards apart from each other.  While the Hyde is upright, the Markham is lying on its port side.  Being so close, the animal life is similar, but the wreck profiles are completely different.
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Boy Scouts Discover Scuba Diving

Friday, June 10, 2011 1:10 | Filled in Boy Scouts, Dive Training, NC diving
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Boy Scouts Learning About Scuba Diving

Boy Scouts Learning About Scuba Diving

On Saturday, I hosted a Discover Scuba Diving session for the Boy Scouts at the YMCA. We had 6 Scouts and 2 parents sign up for the event.  It was a lot of fun to show everyone why I like scuba diving so much and what the North Carolina coast has to offer. Doing these events with the Boy Scouts is a way for me to encourage people to enjoy scuba diving early in their life and to let people see what is available to them in their own backyard.

 

I enjoyed seeing the expressions on everyone’s faces as I showed them pictures of wrecks, Sand Tiger sharks, Hawksbill Sea turtles and Green Moray eels.  It was especially fun to pass around a few of the shark’s teeth that I have collected including a decent size Megalodon tooth.  Seeing what the North Carolina waters have to offer helps encourage folks to want to go scuba diving even that much more.  Between the creatures, artifacts, wrecks and history, why wouldn’t anyone want to dive here?

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Diving the Hyde June 5, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 10:23 | Filled in NC diving
Bow of the Hyde

Bow of the Hyde

After we finished our cool dive on the John D. Gill on Sunday, we motored inshore a few miles to stop at the USACOE Hyde.  I have mentioned this great wreck in a previous post as being one of my favorite dives.  As usual, the Hyde did not disappoint me. The life on and around the wreck continues to show me why I keep coming back.  This single wreck almost epitomizes why I love diving the North Carolina coast so much.

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Diving the John D. Gill

Monday, June 6, 2011 22:09 | Filled in NC diving
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A Window to Another World

A Window to Another World

Sunday, I joined the charter to the John D. Gill and Hyde. They day started perfect for us. The sun was out, the temperature moderate and the boat was full of fun divers. We were going out on the Aquatic Safaris I, the 48′ Island Hopper which makes for a very comfortable ride in the ocean.

 

Our first stop was the John D. Gill.   This was a freighter that was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-158 on March 13, 1942. After sinking, it has gone through quite a bit and not much of the ship is intact.  There is the bow section and stern, which are separated by a debris field.  It is approximately 25 miles offshore, so we had about 90 minutes to ride out and get acquainted with each other.

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Critter Identification off the North Carolina Coast

Thursday, June 2, 2011 10:42 | Filled in Biology
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A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore

A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore

When I was growing up, I looked at, picked up and generally harassed anything moving on the beach or in the water. I was inquisitive, trying to understand as much as I could about the creatures. The poor crustaceans, molluscs and small fish who were not quick enough to avoid my grasp were subjected to my careful inspection for what seemed like hours before I returned them to their home.  I spent a lot of my time by the jetties and the mud flats during low tide.  I did not have access to the Internet back then.  I relied on books to classify and identify what I was looking at.  One of the first guide books I owned was A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore by Kenneth Gosner.  I carried this book everywhere and it seems like I read it cover to cover, even though it was definitely not made for casual reading.  Did I mention I was a hardcore geek when I was growing up?

 

One of the main reasons people scuba dive is to see all the cool critters.  It is too often that I am diving with a bunch of people and when we get back topside, someone asks, ‘Wow, did you see that fish/shark/critter?  What was it?’  Unfortunately, the most common response is, ‘I have no idea, but it sure was cool!’    I am the kind of person that likes to know what it was.  I like it even better when I learn what the creature is so that the next time I see one underwater, I know what it is.  Then, when someone asks that inevitable question, I can answer, ‘That was a Bearded Fireworm.  Aren’t they neat?’

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Boy Scouts and Scuba Diving

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 16:16 | Filled in Boy Scouts, Dive Training
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Boy Scouts Learning to Dive.  Credit: PADI

Boy Scouts Learning to Dive. Credit: PADI

After getting my instructor’s certification, I decided to apply my skills and knowledge to attract the youth in the area to the great scuba diving around the North Carolina coast.  As I have said in many posts, the North Carolina coast has a lot to offer to scuba divers and others who enjoy being around the water.  Getting someone excited about a sport at an early age can foster a lifelong passion for it.  Scuba diving is a life changing sport that teaches people a lot of extremely useful skills and lessons.

 

The Boy Scouts of America worked with the various diving organizations, such as PADI, to create the Scuba Diving Merit Badge in 2009.  This took some effort to make sure that the program met the expectations of both the Boy Scouts and the diving organizations.  The end result is well worth the effort.  The Scuba Diving Merit Badge was one of the most requested merit badges for many years.

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Dive Technologies of the Future

Monday, May 30, 2011 14:34 | Filled in Dive Equipment, Dive Training
Relaxing after Another Day of Diving

Relaxing after Another Day of Diving

Divers, are social creatures even though there is a solitary experience when you are under water.   The seas envelop you and for the most part, your attention is focused on everything but your fellow divers.  The coral, the wrecks, the small critters, the big critters, they all work to overwhelm your senses.  All the while, you are floating in the blue water, weightless and free.  You cannot talk through your regulator with any recognizable phrases and your brain misguides you with the direction of sounds that you hear.

 

We make up for the solitude when we are together on the surface.  We chatter about everything from sports, to what we ate last night, to what our favorite dive is, to what we are going to eat tonight.  One topic that we often drift to, as we sit on the boat in between dives, is the history and future of diving.  Scuba diving is a relatively young sport and continues to evolve as technology and standards improve.

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