Sharks vs Man, who is the real predator?

Nurse SharkWhen asked what I do for a living and replying that I teach people to Scuba Dive, invariably the first questions I get are “Have you ever seen a shark or aren’t you afraid of sharks?”  The quick answers are Yes, if I am lucky and No, I am not afraid.

Our obsession and fear of sharks has now lasted for over 40 years.  Ever since the release of the movie Jaws.  The sound track makes generations of people think a shark is going to eat them in the water and the movie almost destroyed a fledgling industry known as recreational scuba diving.  By the late 1960’s the dive industry was in it’s infant stages and in mid 1970 the movie planted a seed of fear that is still going strong today.  The population of Great White sharks was almost killed to extinction after the movie launch until governments from many countries stepped in and protected them in 1991.  Their numbers are still dangerously low.

Think about this, when you sit down tonight to eat dinner or watch your favorite TV show, around 11,500 sharks will be killed in that time.  Humans kill over 100 million sharks a year by over fishing, by-catch and shark finning.  Shark finning is the cruelest practice man could ever do to another living animal.  Cutting off the sharks fins and throwing the live body over board to suffocate and drown because without its fins it can’t swim to breathe.   Sold at over $800 a pound so someone can brag about being wealthy enough to order shark fin soup at $150.00 a bowl.

Why should you care about sharks?  First, they are not mindless killing machines that hunt man to eat them.  80% of all shark species aren’t capable of hurting man or are never seen. Second, they have been on earth since before the dinosaurs were here. And third, we need them!  About 12 humans a year will die from a shark attack but usually we are in the wrong place at the wrong time and acting in the wrong way.  Looking and sounding like their food or attempting to fish where they feed.  Sharks have such a critical role in keeping our oceans healthy, by eating the diseased fish and keeping the right balance of carnivores and herbivores, that without them the reefs and all the life that lives on them will become diseased and eventually die.  Our coral reefs protect our coastlines, provide medical and scientific research and are home to hundreds of species of life.  Sharks keep this fragile balance of life in check.

I encourage you to visit Project Aware to learn more about sharks and what you can do to help our planet.  As a diver, educate as many people as possible in the value and importance of sharks.  Don’t eat shark, eat only sustainable seafood and support any and all legislation that protects sharks. And finally, please don’t believe everything you see in the movies!

Every great movement started with just one step, we can make a difference.

Happy diving from Aquatic Realm……………………

 

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The Big Little Island in Diving……………

BonaireBonaire, if you are a diver you certainly know where it is but to the rest of the world it is unknown.  When asked “Where is your favorite place to dive?” I usually answer with Bonaire.   Which more often than not is followed with “Where is that?”.  By mentioning Aruba or Curacao they usually figure out quickly where Bonaire is, part of the ABC islands in the Dutch Caribbean.  It was just voted for the 10th year in a row as the best dive location in the world.  This tiny little island 50 miles north of Venezuela that is only 24 miles long and 3-5 miles wide reigns supreme in the dive community.  It is a right of passage for a diver to dive in Bonaire.  Dry and arid it could be said that it is not a very pretty island with cactus and scrub brush, but those of us that flock to the island know that the beauty of Bonaire is underwater.  The entire island is one big dive site to explore to our hearts content 24 hours a day.  Squid, turtles, stingrays, and even a manta ray will greet you as you play in the aqua blue waters off Bonaire.  As the dive center heads off to Bonaire the first week of March, I truly don’t know how many times I have been there but I do know it will never be enough.  The call of the little yellow rocks that line the road with the name of the dive site printed by hand on them is so strong that I have to go.  It’s like going home again.  Look for our photos on the website mid-March and share our experience with us.  Better yet go to Bonaire yourself and experience what diving freedom is all about.

We invite you to visit our travel website and join us on our upcoming dive trips.  We have travel for divers and snorkelers booked through 2017.

Happy Diving…………..from all of us at Aquatic Realm

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I Dive because there isn’t………

Curacao_Mar06_2488With all the chaos in the world right now I realized why Scuba Diving is so important to me.

I dive because there isn’t:

  1. Cell phones demanding attention
  2. Presidential candidates talking
  3. Senseless violence and death
  4. Constant Deadlines
  5. Unending Stress

I dive because there is:

  1. Peace of a world in balance
  2. Serenity of a weightless world
  3. Quiet only mother nature can offer
  4. Beauty of majestic proportions
  5. Relaxation of the mind, body and soul

The only demands on me while diving are the limit of my tank of air and the nitrogen in my body.

It is an opportunity to realize just how small we are in the grand scheme of things.  When mankind is removed from the scenario, nature seems to handle things just fine.

I dive because I can and I am thankful every day of my life that I do.  It is my reality check in a world going terribly wrong.

 

Spring is a time for new beginnings…………

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Here in the Midwest we await the arrival of Spring with the same patience as a 6 year old waiting for Santa Claus.  We plan all of the things we are going to do once the weather warms up and things are new and alive again.  Our human spirit yearns for new beginnings.   At the dive shop we are busy getting ready for our local diving and all the season will bring.

PADI Divemaster
 

For a special few divers, they have spent the winter months deciding to take their love of diving to the next level.  Their new beginnings will be to go professional.  The call of sharing their knowledge and helping other people come to know and love this awesome activity is finally too strong for them to ignore.  And so they have enrolled in the PADI Divemaster course and will start their path to the most rewarding challenge in diving.  We will chronicle two of the divers here in our blog over the next few months and share their journey with you. These two gentlemen will become staff members of Aquatic Realm Scuba Center and we are excited to start their training.  Visit our Facebook page and website for the journey in pictures and videos. Class one is now under their belt and they have done their 400  and 800 yd. swims, the float, and rescue tows.  In 2 weeks they start learning how to transform their good skills into demonstration quality ones.

We hope you will follow their progress with us and perhaps decide the professional path is for you too!  Happy Diving!

 

Earth Day…..Our Green is Blue

Earth Image 1Earth Day….Go Green and save the planet. When the average person looks at this photo of the earth they more than likely see land masses or green but when we look at it we see blue and all of the water in the world that is just waiting for us to dive.

Earth Day is a perfect opportunity for us to remind and remember that all water on earth is connected.  From what we drink to what we dive in it is all vulnerable to damage at the hands of mankind.  In some parts of the world water is more valuable than gold.  We here in the USA are very fortunate to have unlimited supplies of fresh water available to us.  In fact we are so accustom to the seemingly never ending source that we don’t think much about dumping household chemicals into the storm sewers or flushing caustic solvents down the toilet. But we should……

Today is a good day to resolve to treat the water we have as the precious commodity it truly is.  We need fresh water to sustain life and only 1/3 of 1% of all of the water on this planet is fresh.  So let’s think twice about taking it for granted and accept stewardship of it, not just today but everyday.

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DIY: User Changeable Dive Computer Batteries

clockfaceSpring Forward…….here in the Midwest I don’t think you could find a larger mass of people so ready to welcome Spring.  It has been a long hard winter for most of us.  When we change our clocks by moving them forward we also change our smoke detector batteries and this got me thinking about the fact that most all of the dive computers today have user changeable batteries.  This is a great feature since we don’t have to send them back to the manufacturer any longer and wait weeks for their return.  Let’s face it most of us ignored the little battery symbol that told us it was weak or put off checking it until the day before the dive, so score one for the procrastinator with the advent of the user changeable battery.

We did some checking with our manufacturers about what we needed to know in order to make this process easy and successful and here are some of the tips that they passed on to us.

1.  Make sure you have clean hands before starting and try to be indoors in a climate controlled environment.

2.  Use a lint free cloth to avoid trapping fibers in the housing or O-rings.

3.  Most computers come with a special tool designed to remove the back safely.  Use that tool to avoid damaging the back or case.

4.  Always purchase a battery kit.  They come with the battery, grease and a new o-ring.  Don’t make the mistake of just changing the battery and lubricating the old o-ring and here’s why:  When you lubricate an o-ring it will absorb some of the grease, causing it to swell and fill the space thus helping to create a waterproof seal.  This process only works once so if you open the case to replace the battery you can’t re-lubricate the same o-ring. The o-ring is an integral part of the process so don’t try to cut corners and just pick up a new battery.  Every time you replace your battery, replace the o-ring.

5.  Carry a spare battery kit with you when you travel and if you have a wireless computer don’t forget the battery kit for the transmitter.  It is a small price to pay to save a dive whether you are half way around the world or just out at the quarry.

So come on Spring, we are ready our clocks are set and batteries are changed……..Let’s Go Diving!

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Livin’ the Dream….More than a Slogan

Divemasters LeadAround town or around the globe when we meet another dive professional and ask the “How’s it going” question, the answer will more than likely be “I’m livin’ the dream man, livin’ the dream.”  But this just isn’t a cutesy saying, for those of us than are lucky enough to have this job it is a dream come true.

Diving changed my life. It isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am. It’s so much more than a job it really is a lifestyle. It is actually my third career.  I was a banker and then a general contractor and developer and those were great jobs but while I like to think I helped people in those career fields I can honestly say I never felt like I truly made a lasting difference in another persons life.  When I realized that I had the passion and talent to fulfill someone’s lifelong dream, start a child on the path in Marine Biology or help someone overcome what they perceived as a road block in becoming a diver, I knew this was what I wanted to do.  I don’t just help people dive I change their lives and it is the most rewarding feeling you will ever have.   It’s absolutely awesome to see that smile that goes ear to ear underwater and know it was put there by you.

Diving has made me immortal.  Don’t get me wrong, I know I am going to die some day but I am guaranteed that my passion and love of diving will live on forever firmly planted in the hearts of all the divers I have trained over the years.  So in my mind I will dive forever……………….and I can’t think of any better legacy to leave behind.

Each and every one of the staff shares the same passion and commitment to this sport and it’s never too late to start. We encourage you to stop by the dive center and chat with us about where diving can take you.

Aquatic Realm Logo k webIsn’t it time you were “Livin’ the Dream, too?”

 

Save-A-Dive Kit: DAN Courses

danlogoWe wouldn’t think about leaving on a dive trip without the standard back-up equipment and trusty save-a-dive kit, but does your dive planning include unique skill training in specialized areas?

As divers and snorkelers we choose to play in an environment that offers its own unique challenges in the field of first aid.  Primarily we have to deal with two main areas of concern: We face injury from animals that are unlike any land based animal injury or we have a sudden onset of a neurological condition. In most cases, we must deal with both of these in remote locations.  Sometimes the difference in the outcome is how quickly the proper first aid is given.

Winter and Spring months find us focusing on specialty classes that can be completed in a few hours, don’t require any diving and have minimal homework for the class.  There are many PADI and DAN classes that meet these requirements let’s focus on two DAN classes that are well worth adding to your preparedness kit.  Each of the Courses are $89.00 and include an eBook download.  Divers, snorkelers and non-divers can attend.

dan-hmli_2012This DAN First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries course teaches divers how to identify and avoid potentially harmful marine life. It also provides first aid skills to minimize these injuries and reduce discomfort.
You will learn about:

  •   Vertebrate and invertebrate sources of envenomations
  •   Traumatic injuries
  •   Life-threatening complications
  •   Seafood poisonings
  •   Avoidance of marine life injuries

 

dan-neuro_2012The DAN Neurological Assessment course focuses on how to obtain essential information about an individual involved in a dive emergency or suspected of having a stroke and what information to relay to EMS.
You will learn about:

  • Nervous system overview
  • Stroke
  • Decompression illness
  • Neurological assessments

 

For more information about these courses visit our website or call 937-428-9836 to register today for the next course.

Make sure your save-a-dive kit planning includes knowledge and training……………….Happy and Safe Diving.

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Adventure for Valentines Day

Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts will converge on Dayton, Ohio: The Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest for a weekend of outdoor skill, culadventure_summit_logoture and experience. Join them, and see what the excitement is all about!  Five Rivers Metro Park and Wright State University will once again bring us this fantastic opportunity to get out and move!  With activities, exhibits, free lectures and non-stop pool and indoor challenges, there will be something for everyone.  Aquatic Realm Scuba Center will once again be part of the event and as always, we will be offering a Try Scuba session in the Wright State Pool.   This is a great event and we are proud to be part of it.

Stop by and visit us at the booth.

Friday, Feb. 14th 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm & Saturday, Feb. 15th 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

For more information: http://theadventuresummit.com/

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Do you know where that snorkel has been?

As I write this blog today, more snow has faSt. Luciallen in the Ohio Valley and I get it…………….We are all tired of it and want to find someplace warm, sunny and surrounded by water to play in.  This time of year many of us are headed off to cruises, all inclusive resorts or any place warm.  Recently in the news there has been a lot of press about viruses and people getting sick on cruise ships and most of us can relate to getting a cold on the flight from or to our destination. So we would like to offer a little professional advice to help you stay healthy while you are playing in the oceans this winter.

In the dive center we are busy teaching snorkeling and doing scuba refreshers for people planning a escape from the winter weather right now.  We are repeatedly told that they don’t need to own or plan on taking their own mask, snorkel, regulators or even fins.  The reason being the cruise ships, resorts, etc. supply them and they don’t want to pack them or spend the money.  But our advice…………………….own them and pack them!

The pathway for any virus is the mouth, nose and eyes and in our recreational sport that is where we put our gear.  Masks enclose our nose and eyes and snorkels and regulators go directly into our mouths. Do you know where your rental snorkel or regulator was before you put it into your mouth?  While I would like to think that all places rinse and disinfect their rental equipment as completely as we do, we know that they don’t.  Sometimes they don’t have the time or don’t think about the personal contact involved in the gear. I would no more use a rental mask, snorkel or regulator on a cruise ship or resort than I would use a stranger’s toothbrush.

A mask and snorkel can be purchased for under $50 and for what you paid for the vacation it is a small price to pay to protect yourself.   So when you are running down the list of need and what if items for your long awaited get away and if there are snorkeling or diving activites in the plan, we highly recommend you consider taking your own gear.  It just makes good sense…………and Have a Great Time!

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