Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



SgtScruffy posted:

Anyone have any experience diving anywhere in Virginia/DC area? My main options are a local quarry that the shops use for training, driving three hours to Lake Rawlings, a slightly better quarry, or driving five hours to Dutch Springs, PA, which is a slightly better quarry.

I've only dived the local one, and with visibility of about 3-4 feet and no real things to see except the occasional "wheeee sunken car!", it's only good for training and not having fun.

Have you guys been to Dutch Springs or Lake Rawlings?

Apparently there are some OK dives to be had off the coast of southern VA/northern NC (lots of wrecks, but some are deep). I'm in Virginia Beach and newly certified, we'll be going on some of the weekend day dives out of Lynnhaven Dive Center this summer to gain more experience and see what is out there. We got certified there and everyone we met has been really cool so far. http://www.ldcscuba.com Its a bit of a drive for you but if you're going to be driving for hours to dive anyway you might as well see some dolphins and rays and stuff. Apparently in the summer some tropical fish come in on the gulf stream and hang around until it gets cold.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



ZoCrowes posted:

Yeah it's a drat good one. For years it was the Scubapro Aladin Prime and was considered pretty solidly midrange. Scubapro changed the color to white, changed the name on the front and dropped the price by about $150. It's got quite a few more features than a lot of other computers at its price point.

The only complaint I have ever had about it is that it's display numbers is a little bit smaller than some of the other hockey puck sized computers.

My wife and I just got back from a dive trip and used our XP10s for the first time. They were easy to set up and use (first computers) and to switch from air to nitrox. We like to be conservative so I was stoked to be able to change the ppO2 for the MOD calculation. The only thing I would change is larger numbers as said above and an audible beep when the safety stop timer is done.
This was our first time diving alone and I freaking loved having a computer. I did the tables as an exercise while logging and we would have been severely limited by assuming a square profile.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Does anyone have any recommendations about diving on Kauai? We're going there next month and both have an impressive 18 dives under our belts, so I'm hoping we can improve our skills and level of comfort.
It looks like there are a few established operations so if anyone has any experience with any of them it would be great to hear. One of the shops says 5mm wetsuit... is it really that cold? We used our 3/2s in Bonaire down to 70 feet and didn't have any temperature issues until the end of the second dive of the day.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



QuarkJets posted:

I moved to Maui a few months ago, and I went spear fishing with borrowed gear for the first time two weeks ago, mostly new guys and two experts that we knew. It was pure badass for the entire 8 hours or so that we were out there, and now I want to buy some free diving gear

What's probably the best route for buying gear, just walk into any dive shop or are some places just better? Should I buy any gear online? Is there any gear or gear manufacturer that I should avoid?

Some websites advertise "sports skins" that are supposed to be really thin (1mm or less) wetsuits that are just for UV protection but also provide aerodynamic advantages. If I got one of those instead of a wetsuit, would I get cold during a deep dive in Hawaii?

I dove in Kauai a few months ago and was pretty cold by the end of the second dive in a 3/2. They were renting 5mm full suits which my wife used and she was cold as well but she was probably cold in the womb. You might want to check out lavacore and sharkskin suits, I have heard that they are awesome in terms of warmth with no buoyancy and you can layer them with a neoprene suit for extra warmth if you need it.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



The bay islands of Honduras (basically Roatan and Utila) are a lot different from the mainland in terms of crime. I think a lot of the murders in Honduras probably have their roots in the drug trade while the islands are kind of useless for that since they are out in the middle of the ocean. From what I hear Utila is pretty small and much less developed than Roatan, which is a huge diving destination. There are probably a lot more jobs on Roatan but probably more competition as well. I can say the diving is pretty sick, really short boat rides and tons of life with great vis. I'm going back next week and am super stoked.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



helpy posted:

There is one guy who runs a 'ferry' from Roatan but I don't recommend Capt Vern and his catamaran.

FYI, Capt. Vern was murdered last year by some "passengers" on his ferry. I wouldn't let this sway anyone from going to Utila, it just highlights the fact that stuff does go down in these less developed places even though they are very awesome in so many ways. It's always a good idea to keep your wits about you but especially so when you can't just call 911 for medical or criminal emergencies.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



grover posted:

That's a really good point; the local cert dives since they're really cheap, so there's not a lot of penalty to getting certified later. SSI's online training is free and we'll do a "try diving" pool session, so they can at least get basic training, even if not nearly as much as training as we'd get for actual certification. Gonna try to hint around to the grandparents at how awesome a christmas gift it would be to get every certified, though, lol.

I live in VA Beach, and the local diving here sucks. I'm a spoiled tropical reef diver and have no interest in diving in cold water with 12-inch visibility and zero bottom time since the only things worth seeing are wrecks 120' deep. So, chances are that we wouldn't go diving again for several years anyway.

FYI, while the diving out of Rudee Inlet is hit and miss most of the year, you can drive 3 hours or so to Moorehead City NC and be diving awesome wrecks in high 70s water with great vis in late summer. Its no Caribbean but you can drive there on a weekend so its better than most of the country I guess. Also they have ridiculous sand tigers.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Luceo posted:

Never would have thought of Cozumel, thanks!

Second Cozumel, just got back from my our first trip there a few days ago and it was awesome. It has a good mix of non-diving activities and places to stay vary from shithole to fancy resort to private villa. One of my favorite things about it was the walkability, its extremely safe and you are near town there are restaurants of all types. We dove with this guy which I can't recommend enough: http://www.living-underwater.com/
They pick up your gear the day you get there and pick you up on your dock (everywhere has a dock) each morning with your gear all set up and ready to go. Very small group and large steel tanks and you can dive your air/no-deco time. Its all drift diving so as people get low the DM shoots a sausage and you do your safety stop and surface while you float along with it and everyone else can continue the dive. We saw a seahorse so small it required a magnifying glass to really see, which Jeremy carried on every dive if that tells you anything.
The only downside is that some of the island gets crowded during the day when the cruise ships are in but they are pretty much gone by dinnertime. Not a lot of historical stuff on the island but you can take a ferry to the mainland where all the Mayan ruins and stuff are, and one of the dudes on our dive boat spent a day over there diving the cenotes which sounded awesome.

If you want something slower paced and less developed then Roatan is an awesome choice. There's less to do but sometimes that is a good thing. If you want somewhere that is super chill then this is your place: http://www.tranquilseas.com/
Super small eco-resort with a seriously loving awesome dive operation. Its so chill the bar is on the honor system when the bartender isn't there, you just grab whatever you want and write it down. Its a 3-5 minute cab ride to the West End (downtown) where all the primary bars and restaurants are so you are just far enough away but just close enough if you know what I mean. This is the only place we have been back to more than once.

If you want to dive balls, then you should go to Bonaire. All shore diving: you rent a truck and you can pick up unlimited tanks and drive around and dive whenever/wherever you want. Even less to do here but the donkey sanctuary is one of the most entertaining places I have ever been.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Gindack posted:

Here is one in your price range,

http://www.leisurepro.com/p-sbgxp10w/sub-gear-xp10-wrist-dive-computer

I have the XP-H which is the console version. I like mine quite a bit, easy to use and read in a dive not too hard to change the Nitrox settings. Only thing I don't like is that it will not shut up once I hit 500 psi and keeps on beeping, but I'm sure I can change some setting somewhere.

Don't forget to hit up your LDS and see if they will price match before you buy online.

The XP-10 is a nice computer, it's easy to read and somewhat easy to use plus it has a backlight for night dives which is pretty sweet when you need it. The wrist mount version is not small however... it might even be bigger than the zoop. You would surely look like a world class tool wearing it as a watch, although you would always know the current temperature.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



jackyl posted:

Anyone have thoughts on Honduras places and recommendations on Utila, Anthony's Key or Roatan? I'm going to do my Rescue Diver there, but we're also going to dive a bunch. My wife really wants to see whale sharks, which makes Utila attractive, but we're not sure if it's the best choice.

I have been to this place on Roatan twice, so far it is only place we have ever been back to more than once : http://www.tranquilseas.com/
It's in Sandy Bay, you can literally swim off their dock to Anthony's Key resort. It's a small place so you get a lot more personalized training and diving, and the vibe there is seriously awesome. We did our open water referral dives there and some AOW specialty dives with divemaster Kent. He is a native of the island which is pretty rare there, and besides being a great instructor has a ton of interesting knowledge about Roatan. Since then we have dived with 4-5 different outfits in various places and that is still the best experience we have had bar none. I hear Utila is good for diving but not much else unless you are a big partier. Also it's a bitch to get to vs. Roatan. One really nice thing about Roatan diving is short boat rides and surface intervals on shore, not sure how it is on Utila but it's very convenient for warming up.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Luceo posted:

We did a trip to Cozumel in April and on the advice of this thread, dove with Jeremy Anschel of Living Underwater. He's a small operation, but a very caring guide, and we had a wonderful time diving with them.

I quite liked the stay at the Hotel B, but it's on the north side of the island and Jeremy won't go that far to pick you up at the hotel dock, so we had to drive to the marina. If the guy is there selling empanadas for 10 pesos off his motorcycle, buy them, for they are delicious.

Seconding Living Underwater, we dove with Jeremy a couple of years ago and it was an awesome experience. We found some really cool animals and the dives were loooong, using 95s on a not too deep drift dive gets you a lot of time. Small groups, pickup on your hotel dock, surface intervals at a sweet beach bar (with sand, which you don't get much of there). A++ would dive again.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



pupdive posted:


When I can teach with my wife (also an instructor, and a free diver as well) my students are always confused by the fact she never seems to be moving her body and yet they can never keep up with her. Kick and glide, kick and glide.


Pupdive, I have always enjoyed your posts but this is next level. My wife and I got bitten by diving hard and we are about a year or so out from leaving the corporate world and moving somewhere where we can pursue it more seriously as a career. Every where we go we try to get information from people that are doing it, but you seem to have been doing it a long time successfully. Would you mind sharing some knowledge with us? I see you don't have pm but I would love to chat somehow about how you guys did it, why you are teaching where you are, cost of living, etc. if you are down.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



jackyl posted:

I have more pics including the ORFs of it and I know it was lucky. I'll post the ORFs for someone better at post processing than me (everyone) to play with if there is interest.


What are you shooting with? I just got a housing for my Olympus mirrorless and I can't wait to dive with it, although I imagine the first attempts won't include many keepers. That scorpionfish was awesome!

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



pupdive posted:

I was going to vomit a pile of info, but I have to avoid personal info for a number of reasons though, so general stuff. It's all negative, I guess, looking back over it.


Dude... thank you for that, it is top tier info. While it may be semi-negative sounding, it was great perspective into something that I have so far only seen from the outside in 1 week intervals on vacation!

My wife and I are pushing 40 and looking to call it quits and simplify, moving somewhere where we can dive year round with a low cost of living (this is key). We were planning on doing it anyway but we discovered diving 4 years ago and at this point we're trying to incorporate it into the plan. Income is part of it, but I really want to spread the stoke and help people discover how amazing it is down there (and maybe even instill some respect for the ocean). We are hoping that we can make enough between the 2 of us to at least cover rent and utilities and/or basic food for the first 5 years or so, using our assets to supplement as necessary.

Many people have told me what a terrible idea this is: you'll get killed by a narco gang, get sick and die since you don't have access to THE BEST HEALTHCARE SYSTEM (lol), miss having all this great stuff, blah blah etc. The reality is we have had good careers, lived below our means, didn't have kids, and don't want to play in the rat race anymore. The biggest risk for me is the risk of working too long for more $ but being struck down and never getting to use it to its full potential, which is the purchase of our future time.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



jackyl posted:

scorpion fish is not me. I have a mirrorless epl 6 with the Olympus housing and a strobe. The strobe only made a difference in the crab and fire worm pictures I posted earlier. The others (including flying gunard) I wasn't deep enough or was too far away for the strobe to matter

Oh snap, I are dumb and mentally linked those 2 pic posts. I'm really inspired by your gurnard pics now... I don't have a strobe yet and won't have one before I dive. I have a epl5 (w/ kit lens) so I'm hoping to find some good shallow stuff to practice on for the first time out.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



jackyl posted:

wearing your mask is irrelevant, you should care about pressure and like pupdive said, DAN has had a lot of questions about this

http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/faq/Diving_After_Lasik_Surgery

There is also an alternative procedure out there, PRK. These don't cut a flap in your eyeball so they don't weaken the cornea. The recovery is worse than LASIK but for me it was worth it, just in case.
Theoretically this should be safer for diving... but I'm sure there are thousands of people diving every day that had LASIK and don't experience any issues.

http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/faq/Photorefractive_Keratectomy

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Ropes4u posted:

How does everyone travel with their gear on international flights?

I plan on carrying regs and computers in carry on. The rest I hope to shove into a rolling duffle?

That's pretty much exactly what I do except I also carry on masks. Computers happen to fit really well in a mask box if you aren't wearing it, and you can pack in a few paris of underwear in there too usually... no voids go unfilled!
The rest goes into one of these: http://www.ebags.com/product/the-north-face/wayfinder-30/152207 . Fins are on edge along either side for support, booties on what is the bottom when it's standing, and BC in the middle filled up with wetsuit. This leaves a ton of space for spillover clothes, sausage, etc. When they are full they typically weigh in the low 30s so there is plenty of weight to play with before extra charges kick in.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Stinky_Pete posted:

kind of rainbow fish with shimmery scales that I stared at for as long as I could without getting separated.

In a way I'm glad I didn't hit the Blue Hole this time, because it's a reason to go back when I'm a more experienced diver, and I'll be able to get more out of it.

Rainbow parrotfish? If you haven't already, do some research on the Blue Hole dive before you put it too high on the bucket list. There are a lot of horror stories out there and a lot of what I would consider near misses occur due to unscrupulous operators taking people way beyond their skill levels on a dive where there isn't that much to see really. Maybe unscrupulous is not the right word, because when you have insistent tourists paying lots of money to do this thing someone is going to take them. When the time comes have a good buddy and be prepared to separate from the group if you feel they are diving sketchily.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



We dove our 100th dive on the Spiegel Grove today in Key Largo, it was awesome! In addition to making me feel a little like.an actual wreck diver, it made me miss not having lights when we went into the swimthroughs. It's time to get some, does anyone have recommendations for good, small lights? The main use would be daytime reef type stuff, occasional dark tunnel, and backup for night dives.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



pupdive posted:


As you see, any of those choices has a failure point. If you can live with the light having to be replaced now and then (and you should) then shop for lights, based on size and battery choice, as much as anything. A small round LED light can fight easily in a BCD pocket, be worn on a velcro 'Goodman' handle be comfortable and not too floppy.


Thanks! I ended up splitting the difference between price, size, and convenience and ended up with 2 of these:
http://www.diverightinscuba.com/lightsrecreationallights-drisdivegear-1kshortydivelight-p-3586.html

It seems to have good reviews and is cheaper than a lot of the lights I looked at. I saw some on Amazon that were REALLY cheap but also highly suspect.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Ropes4u posted:

What dive shop in Roatan is goon approved?

If you are staying in Sandy Bay, TranquilSeas is awesome especially if you stay there as well. Small Eco lodge type place, diving there is so easy and good! If you're staying in West End, Sundivers is an awesome choice. They have only been open a few years but the guy that started it, Mal, has freelanced on the island for a long time. They have been posting some ridiculous stuff on Facebook, when I dove with Mal he was a master of finding small obscure things. If you're staying in West Bay, no idea as I have always avoided it!

I would be really interested to hear about the safety situation when you go, Roatan was my top choice for checking out to a couple of years ago but it seems to have gone downhill with people coming over from the mainland and causing trouble. You'll be safe as a visitor if you aren't dumb, like most everywhere.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



lord1234 posted:

What's the best time to go to Roatan? My wife and I are thinking of going, but I am thinking it would be sometime this winter, perhaps in December.

Any thoughts?

Of the 3 times I've been there, the best weather/conditions have been in the spring (April). The other 2 times were at the end of Nov and beginning of Dec and while the diving was awesome, the weather was hit and miss. Thanksgiving week 2014 a huge storm came in and we missed the last 3 days of diving, everything was shut down and noone had power for a couple of days. It was fun in it's own way but we were there to dive you know? In Dec. 2011 a huge storm came in the day we were leaving, no flights were getting out and an incoming Delta plane basically buzzed the runway, decided it wasn't safe and diverted to Belize City. This was before the airport renovation so there were about 6 planes worth of people crammed in there for 16h. It really sucked, somehow we got on the only flight to leave that day by randomly being in line to talk to a gate agent at a different gate. They just let anyone w/ a ticket on the right airline bumrush on to the plane, it was a real shitshow.
So basically, that time of year has a potential for big storms based on these anecdotal data points. Our instructor there who has lived on the island his whole life said his favorite time diving wise is September, but its really hot and there is the occasional big storm in the form of a hurricane.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



DeadlyMuffin posted:

I have decided that I love macro photography, it's easy and so much fun :-) Also, I'm overdue for my regular message that cold water is not so bad!


These are awesome! What did you shoot them with?

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



DeadlyMuffin posted:

Thank you!

I use an Olympus E-PL6, with a 30mm macro lens and a couple of Sea&Sea YS-01 flashes. It's a nice compact setup, and I'm super happy with it. The 45mm or even 60mm macro lenses are a bit more popular, but with the 30mm I can get nice fish portraits in addition to the tiny stuff.

I shot a Canon S95 with a wet wide angle until pretty recently, and while I miss the versatility of being able to switch lenses underwater, I could not be happier with the quality of the camera.

I'm still trying to figure out what kind of wide angle setup to use with this camera. Once I do I'll post a few more pictures.

drat, that is inspiring! I just got the housing for my E-PL5 last winter but only took it diving once, now I need to get some lighting. I do love how it performs on land, for the price and size it brings a lot to the table. Anyone have an opinion on starting with a single strobe before going to 2 or just going all in? I know there would be some limitations with 1 strobe but is there any benefit to incrementally introducing complexity?

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Over the past couple of years my wife and I have been on a path of downsizing our lives and preparing to leave the corporate world, hopefully ending up somewhere warm where can work as instructors. To further that goal we sold our house along with most of our stuff and moved to Key Largo! Been here a month and loving it so far, the diving is not the best I have experienced but it's still pretty awesome considering it's now a 5 minute drive away.
And diving with no wet suit is SO NICE

We are going to do our DM training in a few months but in the mean time we are diving every chance we can get. So if any of you people find yourself in the Keys, maybe we can go diving and catch a sunset!

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



jackyl posted:


I actually think it's going to show up much better with fisheye or macro and I haven't decided which one to go with next. The lens cost doesn't really bug me, it's screwing with the housing that does.

If you have the PT-EP10 housing you should be able to use the Olympus 60mm macro with the standard port!
http://www.bluewaterphotostore.com/Olympus-EPL5-Housing

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



GORDON posted:

Could you please give me a couple sentences about what this means?

I am new to diving and underwater GoPros... what would a red filter do to my primarily monochromatic blue and green pictures?

Here's a without/with filter example hot off a Hero 3 from today. This was somewhat shallow (like 30ft) on a sunny day with good visibility, stills off the camera with no processing.

No filter:


Filter:


As you can see there was some current so the scene isn't EXACTLY the same but it gives you an idea.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



pupdive posted:

One thing to keep in mind is that any place people can live easily results in less and less 'wow factor' diving. Everything that makes living easy (population, infrastructure, economic development) is bad for the ocean.

And if you move to place that is well removed from other places like, say, Palau, you will be paid very little to work because everyone else has already made their peace with subsistence wage to be able to dive at those sorts of places for a 'living'.

None of this is to say don't go for it; just make sure and factor it all in.

Yeah, I hear that for sure! Our plan is to basically make a subsistence living for at least the first few years, without touching our assets then adjust from there in terms of withdrawing from our retirement accounts . We are still working our "real" jobs remotely here in the Keys, we came here so we could dive all the time and get our DM and potentially IDC training (plus escape winter). The diving is pretty good considering how easy it is and there is a lot of potential for advanced training (like tec stuff, sidemount, CCR, etc).

I have no idea where we will end up going when we pull the eject handle... Roatan was VERY high on the list at one point but over the past 2 years the crime has gotten a lot worse, especially against expats. We are limited somewhat by having 2 dogs that we'll need to go with us so it will probably be somewhere in Caribbean or Central America. Every trip for the past few years has been to scope out potential places... next up will probably be St. Croix! Anyone ever been there?

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



DeadlyMuffin posted:

Cave diving scares the hell out of me though. I'll take surge and current and sharks over getting lost in a dark abyss any day ;-)

Same, good on you crazy cave divers though! Went to a presentation last week about cave/tech diving from a crusty old dude that has been doing it since he was a teenager, who now teaches and is a boat captain. I didn't realize that so much of what we take for granted now was basically invented by the cave diving community back in the day. Apparently the first backplate was rigged from a stop sign!

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



lord1234 posted:

SPG's, octopus regulators, and so much more as well

Yeah I can't imagine what it was like during that time. If anyone is driving down the Keys I highly recommend stopping by the History of Diving museum, it's quite interesting.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Picnic Princess posted:

I've been an occasional lurker of this thread, but now I need to ask something. I'm hoping someone can help me find a website I saw once. It had charts where you could look at locations within countries, and it would have icons of interesting animals like dolphins, rays, seahorses etc and what months you could see them in those locations. Clicking on the animal icons would take you to a page with more information about the species and how to go about finding them. I can't seem to find it anymore. I figured someone here might know what I'm talking about.

Something like this? http://www.divereport.com/locations/central-america/honduras/roatan/
You can also do a wildlife search where you search by animal and season and it will show you info about them and where in the world they might be seen at that time. Note that this definitely not comprehensive as many of the creatures are found in a lot more places than listed.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Tree Dude posted:

I'm going to South Florida next week. What dives in the Keys would you suggest for a person with a basic cert and hasn't been diving in a while and who would you recommend I hire to take me? Diving won't be the whole focus of the trip but it's something I definitely want to get back into.

Generally the best diving is in Key Largo, but there are reefs and wrecks all the way down. Today on Molasses Reef (marine sanctuary) we saw 5-6 sharks and there has been a big hammerhead cruising around for the last few weeks! I haven't seen it yet but someone else saw it on a dive I was on 2 days ago. If the conditions are good diving in the Keys is great if you haven't been in a while since most of the reefs are pretty shallow in the 30' range.

I mentioned the conditions because it's been very windy the past few weeks which has made for variable visibility and wave action. Yesterday we had about 10' of viz on one dive and today the worst was about 50'. It's going to be a crapshoot next week but if you're going to be down in the Keys anyway you are in a good position. We dive with Rainbow Reef in Key Largo, they are one of the bigger shops but it is very well run and caters to all levels of divers and include Divemasters/guides in the price which not all shops do (you want a guide).

One thing to keep in mind is that depending on how long it has been since you've been diving you may need to do a ReActivate refresher program before your first dive, the shop will tell you if you need one when you book and you can do the course work beforehand.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Icon Of Sin posted:

I know a guy who's an instructor in St Croix, I'll see if I can get in touch with him and find out something. He works for SCUBA, St Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures

OMG, if you can get any information from this dude I would LOVE to hear it! Not just diving, but the cost of living, crime/safety, areas to target/avoid, etc. St. Croix is on our short list of places to move to after we quit our jobs and become dive instructors next summer.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



asur posted:

The key to air consumption is not making unnecessary movements and staying calm. Aside from staying calm, most beginners compensate for bad buoyancy control by moving which dramatically increases your air consumption. If you don't exercise or swim at all there is probably some benefit to be gained by doing so, but I would guess that it's minor compared just reducing your movement underwater. If you have trouble staying calm, it should help to focus on your breath and slow it down.

This 100%! From personal experience and what I see all the time the biggest factor of air consumption for most new/infrequent divers is they are way overweighted, so they subconsciously compensate with their fins/arm flailing to maintain position in the water. In Key Largo the diving is very accessible and cheap so we got a lot of people getting certified or going on their yearly dive trip from surrounding areas, which is awesome. What is not awesome is when the 140lb woman gets on the boat and asks for 18lbs of lead because "that's what they always use" and won't hear anything different, then rides the invisible unicycle all around the reef and runs out of air in 40 minutes. Any reputable dive operation will be cool with you doing a weight check before the dive so don't be afraid to ask. Once you get this dialed in you will really see your diving move to the next level.

Also like asur said, every movement effectively uses air so don't make any that you don't need to. Another thing that I see new divers doing is constant flutter kicking to propel themselves forward. We all did it at first, but what really helped me improve was to watch HOW my DMs were actually diving. What you will see (probably) is that they do one slow kick and then glide motionlessly for a bit. Once I got my weighting right this single thing probably improved my air consumption more than anything.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Red_Fred posted:

I probably should have been more clear and said I'm shooting video with a GoPro. The red filter works pretty well but overall it's still a bit washed out unless I'm really shallow or really close up.

FWIW, I have been getting some good colorful GoPro videos using both a red filter AND a video light. I'm using the 20-50 foot filter from backscatter and a single Sola 1200 light. The light as you would expect brings out the colors of the main part of the scene but I am finding that the filter really helps everything else look less washed out and makes the blue background look a lot better. If you keep the output of the light from being too dim or too bright it can make the scene look pretty natural IMO.

Here's an unedited example from a Hero 3 of a balloonfish chilling in some surge. You can see where the light hits the gorgonians and the fish, but the filter makes the ones in the background and outside of the light circle look more naturally colored.
https://vid.me/Xd1f

This article sums it all up and has some other awesome GoPro tips:
http://www.backscatter.com/learn/article/article.php?ID=176

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



DeadlyMuffin posted:

That video is awesome! Where was it taken? Caribbean somewhere?

To be honest, that's much much better color than I expected with a red filter + light.

Well thanks! This was in Key Largo, I can't remember the site exactly but definitely somewhere in the marine sanctuary.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



The Vikings posted:

Going to be in Miami for work at the end of March and I'm thinking about staying an extra day to do a couple of dives. Any recommendations on good sites and operators on the northern keys? How are the conditions that time of year (my local diving is California)?

Awesome! I would definitely recommend diving in Key Largo (first key you hit driving from anywhere) vs. going farther south. There is decent diving from Tavernier, Islamorada, etc. but Key Largo has the biggest marine protected area and most accessible wrecks as well as a LOT more choice in operators.

If you want a small boat then your best choice is probably the OG dive operator Quiescence as they take a max of 6 divers per boat: http://www.quiescence.com
Most of the other operators here use larger boats and will take 20 or so people if they can... they are all pretty good because there are so many here that a crappy one will quickly go out of business once the word gets out. One thing to watch out for is that everyone also sells snorkeling tours, so if you are with one of the smaller single boat operators it can severely limit the sites you might go to if you have snorkelers on board (you stand a good chance of going to the very boring Christ of the Abyss statue in this case)

Personally I would recommend diving with Rainbow Reef: http://www.rainbowreef.us for a few reasons:
  • They have 4-5 boats so you won't have the "bunch of snorkelers made me dive the statue" problem. If you go with Rainbow request "anywhere but the statue" when booking and they will accommodate
  • Even though the boats are big they have a limit on the number of divers per guide (6) so you won't be stuck in a huge group
  • The guides are free, some of the operators are more charter style and do charge extra for this
  • If you are spending the night here there are 2 hotels adjacent to their dock so you can just walk down to the dive center in the morning. They are also located in walking distance to many bars and restaurants which is rare for the keys
  • They are a well run shop and are quite good at leaving and getting back on schedule. In general schedules down here can be open to interpretation so if you are trying to dive in between other activities this can be a good thing.

No matter who you go with check out Rainbow's dive condition reports to see what's going on out there leading up to your trip! http://www.rainbowreef.us/key-largo-diving-weather-report/
Conditions are generally really good but are very dependent on the winds. Everyone here pretty much uses windfinder and the NOAA station on Molasses Reef to try to gauge conditions: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=MLRF1
I would guess that the water temps will be in the mid-upper 70s by then.

If you go to one of the wrecks, you can expect a pretty short dive because they are 70-100 ft. and a total square profile as they are all well away from the reef systems so there's no going shallow toward the end. Most wreck dives are followed by a (shallow) reef dive but sometimes when conditions are good and people want to you can double dip the wreck. If you do reef dives you can expect 15-40 ft. depending on the sites with most averaging 25 or so. Some people that dive here for the first time get freaked out by the short (~15 min) surface intervals on the reef dives but I have come to love them especially when the wind is blowing and it feels warmer in the water!

We dive with Rainbow every weekend when the weather is good and we don't have anyone in town, so if you are here on a weekend maybe we'll see you on the boat. If you want to know anything else just ask here or PM me, that goes for anyone that may want to come dive in Key Largo!

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



The Vikings posted:

Thanks for the info! My wife likes to go with a guide when we're in a new spot so I was thinking Rainbow Reef or Sailfish scuba based on my internet research. Do you know if Rainbow rents computers? Been diving for a few years but mostly vacation spots and haven't gotten around to getting a personal one yet (may or may not happen before this trip).

Any site recommendations we should try to get to, besides no Christ of the Abyss? We're AOW and haven't done any serious wrecks yet but would be up for an easy-ish one. Given the time constraints I'm thinking we'll try to do a morning and afternoon trip on saturday 4/1 to get the most out of our day.

Rainbow does rent computers, I believe Suunto Zoops. All of the wrecks here that they take people to are pretty easy... you need AOW due to the depth but they are not really difficult. When the viz is good its pretty cool to come down the line and see the hulking mass looming out of the blue. Most have really cool "swimthroughs" that make you feel like a badass inside a wreck

As for sites you'll probably end up going to one of the many sites on Molasses Reef or French Reef which are in the marine sanctuary. Sometimes they'll go to some of the more northern sites like Dry Rocks or Minnow Cave which can be good, it all depends on conditions. Honestly though for shallow reefs close to such a populated area they are all quite good and you could dive the same site twice and see totally different stuff! Some people come down here often and get bored of Molasses but I never understood that. Saturday we saw an octopus cruising around, a huge scorpionfish, and a rare nudibranch while the group that went the other direction got buzzed by dolphins. You just never know!

You'll probably do the wreck dive in the morning if you want to dive one, most likely the Duane or the mac daddy Spiegel Grove (its huge). Like I said these dives are short but can be very rewarding. If you are Nitrox certified it's not a bad idea although sometimes you get an air hog in the group so you don't really get the benefit of more bottom time.

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



Icon Of Sin posted:

Goddrat

Someone donated a 120' tug to be the memorial artificial reef for our lost diver The Brian Davis is going to hopefully be set near the site of the Capt Greg Mickey, which sits ~3/4 of a mile away from Frying Pan Tower (~40 miles SSE of Cape Fear, NC). Greg Mickey was another diver lost in that same area in 2005, and his friends/family did largely the same thing the current dive community is doing.

Article:
http://portcitydaily.com/2017/07/07/local-community-comes-together-to-sink-a-ship-in-memory-of-brian-davis-our-ht/

Capt Greg Mickey:
http://www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com/article.asp?aid=265&iid=43

Whoa... I didn't see his name before but I think we may have some mutual Facebook friends. :-( This is a real tragedy and I'm glad to see something good come of it at least FWIW. Was this the same ledge where that dive shop owner died a few years ago? In other news, another diver has died in the Keys this weekend: http://www.flkeysnews.com/news/local/article160393249.html
It has been a bad year here so far for diver/snorkeler deaths... although the majority of them were likely medical conditions there are some that are mysterious or just plain preventable. The worst was reading the last guy that died on the Spiegel Grove's postings on ScubaBoard about how stoked he was to dive...welp. Bottom line is diving can be hard work and strenuous on your body, it may not always be challenging but it can become so at a moments notice. If you are in bad shape it may bite you sooner rather than later underwater, an event that may have been survivable on land will get you 100% when you're in a medium you can't breathe.
Lobster mini-season is coming in a couple of weeks and statistically there will be at least one more death during that time due to a medical condition or issues stemming from OOA situation!.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

SuitcasePimp
Feb 26, 2005



let it mellow posted:

I'm gonna move to south Florida. 🌴looking forward to diving the Atlantic off of the west palm area!

Awesome! I'm really hoping to get up to the BHB sometime this summer as well as the goliath aggregation.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply