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.

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

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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.

Happy Diving!Aquatic Realm Logo k web

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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Twenty Shades of Blue……..Dive Travel

Have you ever wondered when or why we started using colors to describe feelings, emotions or attitudes?  If we say a person is black and white it usually means rigid, non-flexible.  We associate red with anger, gray with indifference and blue with sad.  When we start adding in the “shades” of a color then we are trying to infer that different people will have varying degrees of that emotion.

And so for group dive travel we have twenty shades of blue.   The reasons divers do or don’t participate in group dive travel are as varied as the locations we travel to.  For some it just goes against their nature.  After all we are explorers of the earth’s last uncharted frontier.  That doesn’t mesh with structured group travel or does it?

By definition scuba diving is a solitary activity that we always do with someone else.  Once we step off the back of the boat and dissolve into the shades of blue tranquility of our world whether we are part of a group or not doesn’t have much impact on the dive itself.  As a person that has gone on solitary dive trips, joined other group trips and for the last twelve years organized and run group dive travel, I have experienced the pros and cons of all of them.  My opinion is there are no cons to organized group dive travel.

So here are ten shades of why Aquatic Realm group dive travel just makes sense……………

  1. The divers in our group are the family we choose.  They get us and what we love to do.  Some of us only see each other once a year but the bond runs deep and is everlasting.  Some of us aren’t even divers but that doesn’t matter around the dinner table with family.
  2. Unlimited dive buddies.  This takes the pressure off when one buddy wants to do more diving than the other, no problem with unlimited buddies.
  3. It is much more fun to share your photos, sightings and stories with people that really care about you and your adventures.
  4. As a brand new diver, joining group travel offers you the opportunity to dive with more experienced and seasoned divers.  Being good buddies is what we do so taking a new diver under our wings and guiding them is expected.
  5. As a seasoned experience diver, group travel usually has professional and seasoned advanced  divers ready to offer diving to any level you desire.
  6. Specialty training is usually part of group travel.  What a great way to experience new diving situations like deep, drift, night or even boat for the first time.  Divers introduced to a new dive activity with the proper techniques enjoy the dive more.  Training often means no stress or worry about what to expect and you will find that you will more than likely do that type of dive again.
  7. Safety in numbers.  Planes wait for you when you have the majority of the flight.  Resorts give special considerations to groups.  Having the whole dive boat means diving the sites you want and diving with people that share your attitudes about safety.  Someone is always watching out for you.
  8. For our group travel, we always include a scuba refresher.  Make sure the equipment is up to speed and if anything goes wrong on the trip you have an entire boat full of people ready to help out.  I went on a trip where my clothing luggage did not arrive.  I was supplied with clothes, bathing suits and all my needs before the sun set on that day.
  9. We always have a trip meeting.  Here you get to meet the travelers and find out all the details about the upcoming trip.  We do all the research for group travel and there are usually no surprises when you get there.  You know what to pack and what to expect.
  10. We respect each others privacy and don’t intrude on quiet time.  We celebrate milestones together even if it’s just logging your 20th dive.  We celebrate who we are and what we love to do.

2012 will see us in San Salvador to dive with the Sharks and Cozumel to drift our dives away.  2013 is our year to return to Little Cayman, the ultimate in pampered diving, and the exotic location of the Philippines for unparalleled diving. Visit our website for more information about our travels past and future.

Regardless of your thoughts about group travel remember, the world is just one big beautiful ocean with twenty shades of blue and it belongs to us.  Let’s go diving!