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Beginners Guide to Exploring the Ocean - Part II

Scuba Diving 101 - Part II

A Beginners Guide to Exploring the Ocean

Originally posted on Porch.com


By


Paula Hernandez


Diving Preparation Tips



Before you “dive in,” there are several important things to consider. Remember that each step in the preparation process is vital to be comfortable and safe in the water. If you’re not familiar with swimming in the ocean, take a few swimming practice lessons before you start diving.

      Take local diving lessons: Before you spend money on scuba equipment and get your certification, it’s a good idea to take a few diving lessons near you. These lessons typically take place in a standard swimming pool, so you won’t need to travel long distances or live near the ocean to get in some basic practice.

      Get your certification: It’s recommended that you take the PADI Open Water Certification training before you start scuba diving. This course takes two full days to complete, with a lesson in diving theory completed beforehand. Once you receive your certification, it is good for life and never expires, so it’s well worth the effort upfront. If you’re traveling after you get your certificate, wait at least 24 hours from your last dive before you fly to your destination so your lungs can acclimate.

      Learn marine biology: You don’t need to be an expert in marine biology, but some certifications include a brief course to help you learn more about the fish, plants, and animals that inhabit our oceans. If your training doesn’t include marine biology, feel free to buy a few books on the subject or read articles about it online to help you learn.

      Get the right equipment: Every scuba diver needs the right equipment to ensure a safe dive.

o   How to obtain equipment: You can choose to rent your equipment from a scuba dive center near your dive location at a reasonable cost. However, if you’re planning to dive more frequently, investing in your own equipment is well worth the price. Key items include goggles or a face mask, a wetsuit, fins, a scuba tank, a regulator, a snorkel, and a depth gauge.

o   Bring a camera: Cameras and video cameras are optional, but they provide an amazing opportunity to capture incredible images and videos. Make sure that your camera equipment is designed for use underwater. A snoot is a great accessory that provides light to help you capture dramatic photos underwater. You can use it to adjust the lighting underwater for spectacular macro photography, and create the best photo album!

o   How much does it cost? Your dive training should cost between around $350 and $450 or more, depending on the type of certification and location. Personal equipment like fins, goggles, and wetsuits can run between $200 and $300 on the low side. If you’re investing in professional equipment such as gauges and cameras, plan to spend several hundred dollars more on each. Budget for between $700 and $1,000 if you’re a beginner, which should include your certification and all of the basic gear you’ll need to get started.

o   Where to store your equipment at home? Proper Storage is the key to keeping your scuba equipment in good condition. Rinse used gear off with a hose before putting it away to remove salt and mineral buildup. Ensure that every item is completely dry before putting it in storage. Hang wetsuits up in a clean, dry area away from direct sunlight or high temperatures. You can keep equipment like your snorkel, fins, and facemask in a sealed plastic container or a plastic bin with a lid in between dives.

Planning Your Trip


Once you’re certified and have all of your equipment, it’s time to start planning your first official dive.

      Find the best place to scuba dive: If you’re staying within the United States, there are several fascinating places to discover. Try Monterey, California, home to a massive kelp forest filled with a fantastic range of sea life. Ginnie Springs, Florida, has crystal clear waters and is an excellent East Coast option with three dive sites within the park. Maui, Hawaii, is home to many popular scuba diving sites filled with turtles, fish, rays, and unique underwater lava tubes. Explore several options to dive near you or plan a trip to an exotic location to discover new worlds and species.

      Choose a dive shop: When looking for dive shops, make sure they are PADI certified for your safety. These dive shops are easy to find with a simple Google search or via scuba diving Facebook groups and on Twitter and other social media outlets.

Important Scuba Diving Safety Tips


Part of your diving certification training will include information about the safety precautions every diver should take. Here are some basic safety tips to always keep in mind before, during, and after a dive.

      Get a medical examination: If you’re fit and healthy, a medical exam is not required, but it can help to ensure that you’re in good health before you start diving. If you feel unwell, don’t dive until you’re feeling completely healthy. You’ll need to sign a medical statement before you dive, so it’s best to confirm that you’re in good shape before you start.

      Food: Stick to light, well-balanced meals before any scuba diving trip and wait at least two hours before getting in the water. Remember to drink plenty of water and avoid consuming any alcohol on the day of your dive.

      Sleep: Make sure that you get plenty of restful sleep the night before your dive. At least six hours is recommended, but eight is preferable.

      Ear pain: You may notice mild ear discomfort called ear barotrauma when you dive due to a pressure imbalance between the middle ear canal and the water pressure outside your ears. Use an exercise called the Valsalva maneuver to help restore the balance in your ears.

      How long before can you fly after scuba diving? Always wait at least 24 hours after your last dive before you fly. When you fly in a pressurized environment, it can cause decompression sickness if you don’t give the nitrogen in your lungs time to dissipate.

      Listen to your dive guide: Listen carefully to your dive guide, and make sure that you always keep them within view. Follow the guide’s instructions regarding where you will be going, what you should do, and what to look out for.

      Try meditative breathing: If you feel anxious while diving, slow down and take some deep, meditative breaths. Two short inhales, and one long exhale can help you feel calm and more relaxed.

      Don’t touch anything: Never touch anything while you’re diving. Coral reefs and oceans contain a variety of species that can be poisonous or even deadly. Plus, touching plants and marine life can cause harm to the living things in the ocean.

     Can scuba diving be sustainable? Scuba diving can be a sustainable sport if you follow a few basic practices. This includes never touching or taking anything from the ocean, never feeding sharks, and learning to use a flash camera correctly. Avoid using single-use plastic while on-board so that it doesn’t accidentally get into the ocean. Choose a scuba dive program that focuses on sustainability and uses good policies regarding eco-friendly equipment and methods.


Other Fun Underwater Activities: Snorkeling




Aside from scuba diving, you can also have fun underwater with snorkeling. While scuba diving involves using an underwater apparatus that allows you to go deep underwater, snorkeling lets you explore shallower waters. When you’re snorkeling, you will stay near the surface of the water and use a mask and a breathing tube called a snorkel. You’ll be able to discover beautiful panoramic underwater views from above without ever having to deep dive underwater. Snorkeling is also a great alternative to scuba diving for children, beginners, or those who simply want to enjoy a quick hour or two of exploring without complicated equipment.


The sport of scuba diving provides you with a wonderful way to reflect and do something you love. It’s also an excellent opportunity to try a new activity, get some exercise, and gain a new appreciation for the beauty of our world’s open waters. Scuba diving shows you how fragile nature is, and it opens your mind to exploring and discovering new species, environments, and much more. 

Originally posted on Porch.com


By

Paula Hernandez

Philippine Islands Open to Travel - February 10, 2022

Philippine Islands Open to Travel

February 10, 2022

Great news! The Philippines are opening to international tourism February 10, 2022 and Atlantis will be open to welcome you back to the Philippines!

Starting February 10, 2022, the Philippines will allow entry of internationally arriving Filipinos and foreign nationals who are fully vaccinated and present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from their country of origin with no quarantine.


Dive Cuba - Avalon III and Avalon IV Liveaboards

Dive Cuba 

Jardines de la Reina 

Avalon III and Avalon IV Liveaboards


Avalon III Package

Low Season: May 28th - Oct 1st. $ 2,975.
High Season: Jan 1st - May 28th / Oct 1st - Dec 31st. $ 3,950.

Prices are per person and based on double occupancy.
Program runs Saturday through the following Saturday out of Jucaro Port.

The JA3 has 4 suites with balcony and 11 standard cabins for a total of 15 cabins with a max load of 30 passengers.

PACKAGE INCLUDES

- 7 nights accommodation aboard the Jardines Avalon III (JA3)
- 3 dives/day (18 dives + 1 night dive)
- All meals and snacks while onboard
- 6 beverages per day (including alcohol, soft drinks and bottled water) 

       

Avalon IV Package

Low Season: May 28th - Oct 1st. $ 2,499.
High Season: Jan 1st - May 28th / Oct 1st - Dec 31st. $ 3,300.

Prices are per person and based on double occupancy.
Program runs Saturday through the following Saturday out of Jucaro Port.

The JA4 has 4 full suites, 4 demi-suites, and 12 standard cabins for a total of 20 cabins with a max load of 40 passengers.

PACKAGE INCLUDES

- 7 nights accommodation aboard the Jardines Avalon IV (JA4)
- 2 dives/day (12 dives + 1 night dive)
- All meals and snacks while onboard
- 6 beverages per day (including alcohol, soft drinks and bottled water) 

      

    

Flying After Diving - Divers Alert Network

Flying After Diving

Divers Alert Network (DAN)

Courtesy of DAN

In the past, guidelines for flying after diving were quite varied. For example, after a single no-stop dive, the U.S. Navy recommended a two-hour surface interval time (SIT), DAN recommended 12 hours SIT and the U.S. Air Force recommended 24 hours SIT. And in 1989, the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) recommended curtailing all diving within 24 hours of a flight and up to 48 hours following a decompression dive. 

These guidelines proved to be a serious restriction for divers and dive operators, so in 1991, DAN Researchers developed a series of experiments designed to produce the data that was desperately needed to refine these guidelines.

The objective of these studies was to estimate the relationship between the preflight surface interval and decompression illness (DCI) incidence for a few dive series representative of recreational diving. A preflight surface interval was accepted or rejected within the study based upon the number of DCI incidents and total exposures. Acceptance and rejection rules were chosen to allow mild DCI but limit more serious DCI. The Duke Institutional Review Board of Duke Medical Center approved these rules.

With the data collected from these studies, DAN was able to develop more specific guidelines that still reduce the risk of decompression sickness as a result of flying after diving. DAN’s initial “Flying After Diving Trials” laid the foundation for the current flying-after-diving guidelines for recreational divers and then prompted the U.S. Navy to update their residual nitrogen-based flying-after-diving rules.


                                                                                

The Best Diving in the Philippines

The Best Diving in the Philippines

The Philippines is an excellent destination to fit any diver’s needs. The Pacific waters have it all: dive sites fit for new and advanced divers, great sights for macro and wide-angle photographers, and anything from wreck diving to blackwater diving. Not only that, but the land is stunning with white sandy beaches and dense jungles. Here are some of the top destinations in the Philippines for divers.


Malapascua Island, Cebu

                                         

Malapascua Island is a small island located just north of Cebu’s mainland. Malapascua’s waters are unique as they are the only waters where thresher sharks roam daily. The sea is part of a marine park and divers are able to watch the sharks be cleaned by the schools of fish. The sharks lurk in the early morning to avoid direct sunlight, so divers often start their day before the sun rises. As divers travel to the Monad Shoal, they will get to watch the sunrise over the calm waters. The island is also home to plenty of macro marine life such as nudibranchs, seahorses, scorpionfish, and more that are perfect for macro photography.  Photo courtesy of Hugh Ross.

Dauin, Dumaguete

                                         

Located in the province of Negros Oriental, Dauin is ideal for photographers and lovers of macro life. Underwater creatures often seen include seahorses, pipefish, nudibranchs, blue-ring octopuses, mandarin fish, and more. Not only that, but there is a unique collection of experiences that will be sure to excite any visitor such as muck diving and pristine coral reefs. Diving in Dauin is great all year long with the dry season lasting from December to May and the wet season lasting from June to November. Dauin is famous for its often cheap, always luxurious beachfront resorts. Photo courtesy of Dumaguete.com


Puerto Galera


                                        

As a vibrant town with diverse waters, Puerto Galera is perfect for any level of diver. The diving experience can vary greatly — ranging from canyons to wrecks to muck diving and just about everything in between. The location is also perfect for macro and wide-angle photographers alike due to the coral reefs’ rich biodiversity. Some of the reefs are even considered to have the most biodiversity in all of Asia. The town is also home to plenty of dive schools that are perfect for beginnings and advanced divers looking to expand their skills. Guests have just as much to explore on land as they do in the water as there are stunning mountains and waterfalls to explore. Guests are often able to see creatures such as nudibranchs, frogfish, seahorses, cardinalfish, and more. Photo courtesy of Asia Divers.


Subic Bay, Luzon 


                                         

Nestled just about 100 kilometers away from Manila Bay is Subic Bay on Luzon Island. The bay has a history of serving as one of the largest US Naval Bases in Asia and is thus home to more than 20 interesting shipwrecks. These wrecks are unique due to the volcano Mount Pinatubo that has coated the wrecks in ash. The USS New York is perhaps one of the most well-known wrecks in Subic Bay due to its pristine condition and canons. The ship is only available to explore during select times due to its proximity to the pier. For technical divers and divers experienced in deep water diving, the F-4 Phantom wreck is a dream. At 45 meters deep, the plane is often teeming with fish in the calm waters. Diving in the bay is great all year round but is ideal during the November to May dry season for greatest visibility. Photo courtesy of Arizona Dive Shop, Philippines.


Tubbataha Reef

World Heritage Site


                                        

With the most biodiversity in Asia, divers can encounter 600 species of fish and 360 species of coral in the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Tubbataha is the largest marine park in the Philippines at 970 square kilometers. Guests can only experience the lively waters on a liveaboard during the calmer months of March to June. Diving experiences often include wall diving as well as exploration of the two atolls, Jessie Beazley Reef, lagoons, and coral cays. Perhaps the most exciting experience from exploring the park is the chance to see large marine life such as whale sharks, tiger sharks, and manta rays. Photo courtesy of Philippine Tourism USA.


Anilao, Batangas


                                         

Famous for its muck diving and blackwater diving, Anilao is an ideal destination for those looking to get up close and personal with the smallest of critters. Macro photographers will love swimming through the pinnacles, walls, and coral gardens to get the perfect shot. Some of the critters include elusive subjects such as the Ambon scorpionfish, Bobbit worms, and stargazers. The best time to dive in Anilao is from October to June, and April and May are considered to be the peak of the season. However, diving is available all year long with colder temperatures from December to March and rainier weather from July to September. The location is extremely convenient as it is just two hours away from Manila and has access to all of the dive sites from Balayan Bay, Batangas Bay, and Maricaban Island. Photo courtesy of Mike Batrick / Crystal Blue Resort.


Bohol, Central Visayas


                                        

Located in the Central Visayas region, Bohol is an island most well-known for its coral reefs and the unique Chocolate Hills. The Chocolate Hills are perfectly rounded hills that turn brown during the summer, leaving them to look like drops of chocolate amongst the dense green jungle. However, the land isn’t the only distinct quality of the island as it is also known for some of the best diving in the world. Divers can find both hard and soft coral along the stunning coral reefs or find large marine life such as the blacktip shark. Certain dive sites, such as those found off of the nearby Balicasag Island’s shore, are perfect for more advanced divers. There are strong currents with steep walls and even hammerhead sharks from December to January. Although Bohol itself is a popular tourist destination, Anda is the perfect spot for visitors who want to experience the amazing Bohol dive sites and be set away from busy tourist life. Diving in Bohol can be done all year long but is best from January to May. Photo courtesy of Dive-Bohol.com.

Six Awesome Liveaboard Destinations

Six Awesome Liveaboard Destinations

 

Liveaboards provide a one-of-a-kind experience for travelers looking to fully submerge themselves into a diving adventure. Guests are able to spend a week (or more!) filling their days with diving and their nights watching the sunset across the open water. Liveaboards can provide all of the same luxuries as a typical on land resort such as spa treatments, snorkeling, gourmet meals, and excursions. Here are our picks of some of the six best destinations for a liveaboard vacation.


1) Galápagos Islands - Ecuador


                                          


The Galapagos Islands are scattered across the equator and have warm weather year-round. While diving in the Pacific waters surrounding the islands is great all year, December to May is the warmest season with the calmest waters and highest visibility. Divers during this season most often see hammerhead sharks and manta rays. July to November is ideal for more advanced divers hoping for more intense, choppier waters. Although the ocean is generally a bit colder during this season, it is known for nutrient-rich water that attracts all kinds of sea life, specifically whale sharks. Diving in the Galapagos is done on liveaboards from tenders or Zodiacs, and guests are able to have a unique experience living out on the open waters. 


2) Socorro Island - Mexico


                                              

Socorro Island is the largest island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago and is famous for its vibrant wildlife, both on and off the shore. The volcanic island does not have an airport, making it a popular spot for liveaboards. The diving season lasts from November to May as that is when the water is at its calmest. Throughout this season, divers often get to see hammerhead sharks, manta rays, whale sharks, and humpback whales. From January to March, there are even frequent sightings of bottlenose dolphins. In addition to these, sightings of silky sharks, Galapagos sharks, whitetip reef sharks, and silvertip sharks are possible as well. Getting to the Socorros requires an open ocean crossing about 22 hours from Cabo San Lucas, Baja California.


3) Raja Ampat - Indonesia


                                      


Located off the coast of Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua, Raja Ampat is an Indonesian archipelago that is known for its extensive biodiversity. The islands form part of the Coral Triangle — an area known as a home to 76% of known coral species. In Raja Ampat’s waters, there is countless marine life and stunning coral reefs to see. The most popular sights include manta rays, reef sharks, walking sharks, turtles, nudibranchs, and so much more. Diving in Raja Ampat is ideal from October to April as it has the driest weather with calm seas that make for smooth liveaboard sailing. The clear waters consistently have a visibility of 80-100 ft all year long, which is perfect for spotting even the smallest of critters. 


4) Tubbataha Reef - Philippines


                                      

Tubbataha Reef is a protected marine park in the Philippines’ Sula Sea. It is known for being a nesting ground for green sea turtles and is made up of a northern atoll, southern atoll, and the Jessie Beazley Reef.  Visitors can only explore the clear waters from a liveaboard as it is located over 10 hours away from land. The diving season takes place from mid-March to mid-June as that is when the water is at its calmest and clearest with a visibility of up to 114 feet. The reef is known for its vast biodiversity as it is reported to have over 1,200 species — 181 of which are threatened.


5) Solomon Islands - Oceania Pacific

                                        


Diving in the Solomon Islands is perfect for visitors hoping for a more private, secluded experience with untouched reefs. There are nearly a thousand islands in the archipelago, and almost all of them are uninhabited. The water temperature is consistently in the low to high 80s, making it comfortable to dive in year-round. However, January through April is monsoon season, which brings the greatest amounts of wind and rain that could disrupt diving. What makes the Solomon Islands so unique is that their waters hold a time capsule that sends divers back to World War II with its numerous plane and shipwrecks at various depths. In addition to these one-of-a-kind wrecks, divers can also explore reefs, walls, slopes, pinnacles, and more. Visitors can choose to spend their time in the Solomon Islands on a liveaboard or from a resort on land.


6) Chuuk Lagoon - Micronesia


                                       


Chuuk Lagoon is a mountainous island that was once a former Japanese naval base during the second world war. The island’s history has been kept alive in its own waters with its array of sunken treasure, submerged ships teeming with marine life, and even human remains. Divers in the Lagoon’s Pacific waters get to explore part of this history, and often even find artifacts such as ammunition or guns. The wrecks vary in their depth, making them accessible for just about any level of diver. The temperature is consistently warm year-round; however, December to April is ideal due to the lack of rainfall and wind during this season. 

Rocio del Mar Liveaboard - Sea of Cortez 2021 Trips - Dive Adventure

Rocio del Mar Liveaboard

Sea of Cortez 2021 Trips

Awesome Dive Adventures

Saturday to Saturday
$2,845 per person, double occupancy

Liquid Diving Adventures Price $2,645 - SAVE $200

                                    

Called "The World's Aquarium" by Jacques Cousteau, the Sea of Cortez provides a world-class international dive experience with a domestic flight. Simply fly to Phoenix, Arizona, and, in just a few hours, guests are boarding the boat in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. 

The Sea of Cortez is a breathtaking destination for scuba diving, snorkeling, and exploration. Dive on untouched walls and reefs abounding in marine life. Encounter large and small whale species, snorkel with whale sharks, dive with playful sea lions, and see countless eels, octopus, fish, and jumping mobula rays. It's a macro photographer's dream with nudibranchs, colorful blennies, dancing jawfish, and sea horses. 

                                    

Between dives, guests hike and explore remote uninhabited islets and at night gaze at the Milky Way. Give the Rocio crew one week and they will create a lifetime of memories while forging new friendships aboard Rocio del Mar. Guests will dine on incredible cuisine and enjoy the friendly service that has made the crew famous.

           July 3-10, 2021 - July 10-17, 2021 - July 31-August 7, 2021 - August 7-14, 2021
                          August 28-September 4, 2021  -  September 4-11, 2021

Cayman Islands Re-Opening to Divers - Forecast to June 2021

Cayman Islands Re-Opening to Divers - Forecast to June 2021




While our entire team is eager to welcome you back to our resorts, the Cayman Islands Government announced on February 4th that the borders will not reopen to international travelers in March as previously targeted.
 
No timeline has been given for the Cayman Islands to reopen the borders to international visitors.  The Cayman Government has announced that the path to reopening is contingent on much of the Islands’ population having received a full COVID-19 vaccination regimen.  The vaccination program is off to a good start but the endpoint to allow reopening has not been defined.  Despite this uncertainty, we are working towards reopening Clearly Cayman dive resorts in June 2021.  This timing coincides with the Cayman Islands General Election in May 2021 as we believe a reopening plan is unlikely to be announced before then.   
 
We plan to reopen our resorts at the very first opportunity when it is allowed by the Cayman Government and practical for our guests to return.  We hope that the June 2021 timeline is realistic but will continue to keep you informed as we receive additional details.

Scubaspa Liveaboard - Maldives is Now Open!

The Maldives is Now Open to International Travelers

Scubaspa Ying Liveaboard

Get Our 10% Discount 


The Scubaspa ships are as much a floating resort as they are dedicated scuba diving liveaboard ships. The unique concept combines exceptional spa experiences with unforgettable scuba diving. The Scubaspa has been designed for divers who travel with non-diving partners, and guests with a desire for an exceptional spa experience. Scubaspa’s purpose-built yachts explore the picture-perfect islands and divers explore the reefs in the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean.


The liveaboard diving yachts Scubaspa Ying and Scubaspa Yang have been designed to accommodate up to 40 guests. The ships feature 10 cabins and nine suites on each yacht, and are tastefully decorated, all with panoramic sea view or port lights. The cabins are configured with queen, king or twin bed combinations. One suite and one cabin sleep up to three people. All cabins have air conditioning, en suite bathrooms with shower, personal safe, and mini-fridge.



Diving takes place from a tender. Approximately 20 meters in length, the dive boat carries all the equipment, including air compressors and state-of-the-art nitrox; purpose-built for comfort, each has adequate seating, multiple entry points, stern platform, and on-board toilet facilities. Both yachts are the only vessels in the Maldives awarded PADI 5 Star Dive Resort status. Nitrox is available but Scubaspa does not support technical diving or rebreathers. 


Contact us today to book an amazing dive and spa retreat holiday to the Maldives and get our 10% DISCOUNT. 

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