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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Spring is a time for new beginnings…………

Aquatic Realm Scuba Center

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.

Happy Diving!Aquatic Realm Logo k web

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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The bucket list sport

The Way the World Learns to Dive

Those of us in the Scuba Industry hear the words “it’s on my bucket list” quite frequently when talking to prospective divers.  It’s either a dream they have always had or a new found passion about living.  As dive professionals we need to remember that the majority of the world doesn’t do what we do and what is common place for us is a lifelong goal to some people.

The New Year always brings renew commitment to make life changes and check things off that bucket list.  Winter is the perfect time to take a class, play in the pool and then head off to some tropical location or local dive spot (that would be in May for those of us here at Aquatic Realm).  There has never been a better time to become a diver and see the world with a different prospective.

At Aquatic Realm we specialize in diving as a family activity.  We offer evening, weekend and even a 4 week Sunday afternoon class.  You can choose online or classroom academics and our pool is right off the classroom and always a warm 90 degrees.

We all know someone that has talked about diving and their “bucket list”.  This is the year to encourage them to take the plunge.  Stop by our dive center or call us at 937-428-9836.  Our staff is ready and passionate about making dive dreams come true.

For more information visit our website at

In Support of the Warriors in Pink

Breast Cancer Awarness RibbonEvery year October brings the call to action to support and find the cure for Breast Cancer.  Most of us have loved ones, friends, and co-workers that have been affected by this awful disease and we know the awareness for us is every month. Sadly, my family is no exception.  Breast Cancer declares war on women of all ages and races and once that war is declared these brave women become fierce warriors in the battle for their lives.  They call women the weaker sex but for those of us who have witnessed the strength and courage these warriors display you would know they are anything but. The staff of Aquatic Realm Scuba Center is dedicated to helping find the cure in whatever small way we can.

During October 2012 we are committed to help by donating 10% off all of the courses purchased to Breast Cancer Research.  Buy Discover Scuba Experiences for your friends and family or celebrate life and take that dive class you have been promising yourself to take someday.  All courses qualify including some courses for non-divers too.

Please visit our website for more information about our “Take a Course for a Cause Campaign”.

However you choose to support the cause, we thank you………………………

From Blue to Green can be a rewarding transistion

Queen TriggerLiving in the Midwest, I have often wondered about the divide between divers who hold steadfast to being only blue water divers and those that dive in anything remotely wet be it  blue, green or somewhere in between.

Perhaps for those of us that were introduced to this awesome activity while on a beautiful tropical vacation it is possible that we relate our diving to the way we felt when we were on a vacation.  We were relaxed, stress free and far removed from the day to day grind at home.  So blue water diving returns us to that same environment time after time and there we have stayed.  I will go on record that I was introduced to this activity in the Cayman Islands and it doesn’t get much bluer than that and for a long time I considered myself a die hard blue water diver and didn’t get the local diving (green water) that people did here in Ohio.  But I soon discovered that I enjoyed diving too much to just wait for the annual or biannual vacation and so I dove into quarry diving………..literally.  Along the way I discovered that green water diving (quarries, lakes and rivers) have a lot to offer divers and it is in our back yards.  Oh, I still love to dive in beautiful blue ocean waters but I love to dive green too.

For those of you that have never dove in fresh water I would suggest you try it.  You will see many diQuarry Diversfferent varieties of fish, invertebrates and even freshwater jellyfish grace our Ohio waters.  We have artifacts that are placed in the water by both man and nature.  The great lakes offer some of the coolest wreck diving to be found anywhere.  The next time you drive on interstate 75 through Ohio think about the fact that the limestone that built that highway came from the same quarries we dive in now.  Once mined out they filled with spring water and mother nature reclaimed the quarry. And one more thing, quarry diving is not dark water with zero visibility.  We can have 50 feet plus viz on any given day at many of our quarries.

Ready to try diving in green water? Here are a few suggestions to make the transition easier.

1.  Consider yourself a good navigator in the ocean?  Taking the PADI Underwater Navigator specialty in a quarry is an excellent way to take your navigation skills to a whole different level.  Low visibility sharpens and enhances your other dive and compass skills.  I can honestly say that some of the best navigators I have dove with have been quarry divers.  The specialty offers more than just compass use, it also teaches natural navigation techniques.

2.  Have you mastered your buoyancy in the ocean and think there is nothing more to learn?  Taking the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course in a quarry prepares you to dive in any body of water.  There is more to buoyancy that hovering.  How you use your fins and hands determines how close you can get and what activities you can dive in.  When I was in the Indo-Pacific for the first time I was introduced to muck diving (very silty bottom composition) and I thanked my lucky stars that I was a quarry diver because all of the techniques that I used at home to stay off the bottom made my muck diving experience awesome. And we received cudos on our skills from the locals.

3.  You have to dress for success.  You need to layer your thermal protection and with the newer materials on the market today they are flexible and not bulky.  You need to cover your head.  If you don’t want a full hood then wear a dive beanie or look at a hooded vest or a wetsuit with the hood attached.  You can add a vest or thermal top under the suit (Aqualung makes a great one) and stay nice and toasty.  You need gloves and good soled boots.  Now before you complain about having to buy something to dive locally in and never use any other time, let me say that the thermal rash guard and beanie go on every dive trip.  They add just that added comfort for the end of the dive week chills or night diving.  And I have taken my 7 mil suit on many of my pacific diving locations and been grateful for it.  And the heavy soled dive boots, I just have one word on that subject:  Bonaire.

4.  Finally, find a seasoned local diver to introduce you to their back yard diving.  They have invaluable information to share to make the experience fun and enjoyable.  They would love to show you their favorite quarries, lakes and rivers.

For more information about diving with us in the local waters visit our website

And what ever color your water is just get out and go Diving!