Paul Elliott’s Gone Shark Diving:
If like me you have always been fascinated by sharks, but don’t really know much about them and would like to learn a bit more, I have the opportunity for you. I have organised a day at the Blue Planet Aquarium, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
What’s involved ?
Well, it’s a full day at the aquarium, starting from 09.00. You will spend the morning learning all about sharks, including conservation, biology, behaviour and special techniques for diving with sharks. This is a full PADI Specialty and as such would count towards your Master Scuba Diver rating. There will be some time to tour the aquarium in between the classroom presentation and the shark dive, (I’m trying my best to get a guided tour for this!) and lunch is provided as part of the day. Then later in the day we carry out the shark dive in the 3.8 million litre Caribbean Reef tank. During this you can get up close and personal with different species of sharks such as zebra shark, leopard shark, nurse shark, lemon sharks, guitar sharks, stingrays and last but by no means least the 10 foot sand tiger shark!!!!!
If you want to bring friends and family they can watch from the aquatunnel, one of the largest in the world and take photos of you with the sharks.
The cost for the day is £235.00 and is a full PADI Specialty Certification. Friends and relatives with the group will be entitled to discount entry to the aquarium on the day. Please be aware that spaces are limited to only 12.
If you don’t have your own kit they can provide it for you (included in the price) or you can just take your own however you need to wear a full wet suit. You must be PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent and have dived in the last six months (which they are strict on and you will need to take your log book to prove it), you will have to complete the PADI Medical Form, as with any other course.
I have reserved Sunday the 13th May and need to pay by this Saturday so I will need definite numbers ASAP and the whole amount of money up front too.
Myself and Katy will be co-ordinating numbers and payments so please ask us for more details or to confirm your place. Spaces will go fast so please check your availability and let us know as soon as possible.
Do you ever wonder where your dive equipment comes from?
Do you care whether your equipment was manufactured in China or Mexico? Have you ever looked at your labels to see how far your dive gear has travelled to get to you?
In this age of environmental awareness, it’s easy for us to make purchasing decisions based on our green ethics but would you ever buy based on where the equipment was manufactured? One of our distributors has made it his mission to get more UK products on the UK market. Sounds like perfect sense doesn’t it? In fact, the brochure is labelled with all of the products manufactured here. James from Submerge is trying to support British industry by sourcing a variety of different UK businesses, some with no experience of producing for the diving sector, to produce products similar to those that come out of Chinese factories or other countries. So latex products are coming from Oxfordshire, Glues and lubricants are coming from Birmingham to name a few. He is working on finding more companies to enhance his range of products manufactured here.
Perhaps British businesses may not be as competitive as huge factories overseas with lower labour costs but freight charges and handling as well as currency exchange can make it cheaper for us to buy from the UK. While some businesses are considering closing their doors due to the current economic climate it can only benefit them to venture into new markets with their super duper technological machinery ready to mould the latest sparkly new Scuba gadget for you.
Apeks has been one of the leaders in UK dive equipment manufacturing for decades. If you own a set of Apeks regulators then they were made in the UK, with all hoses and service parts machined in the factory in Blackburn. Apeks is a UK brand to be proud of, servicing the world with outstanding innovation and performance.
A P Valves is another goliath of the UK diving industry which actually started life in a garden shed. Buying SMB’s, Buddy Jackets, Reels as well as many other products with the A P Valves logo on ensures that you have ‘brought British’.
And if you want technical equipment made within the British Isles then Custom Divers offer ‘the Best of British’ from their Surrey base. So wear that Union Jack on the Custom Divers Wing with pride, knowing that you supported a local business. Let’s face it, it had to be a UK company with a sense of humour that came up with the Hewee go and the Shewee go.
In my utopia (which includes the UK turning into a Caribbean island in the next decade) it would be nice to think that your decisions would be based on backing British industry and boosting the UK economy but this could be just a pipe dream. So does all of this actually matter? Are you really that interested in where your parts are made or where your regulators come from? Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.
Are your children desperate to do more Scuba Diving? Do you have a nephew or niece who begs you to let them go diving? If they aren’t 10 yet and therefore not old enough for the PADI Open Water Diver Course, then we’ve got just the program for them!
The PADI Seal Team is a course just for 8 and 9 year old’s who aren’t old enough to enroll for the PADI Open Water Course, or for 10 and 11 year old’s who you may not feel are ready for the course. We focus on learning diving through game play, underwater missions and repetition. By the end of the program children will have completed lots of skills towards the full certification such as regulator recovery, mask clearing, alternate air source breathing and much more.
As with all PADI courses there is homework to complete but this comes in the form of word searches, spot the difference and childrens quizzes in their workbook, backed up by a fantastic DVD especially with children in mind.
Myself and the PADI Seal Team members of 5 children’s characters will take them on a journey of adventure and excitement in the pool, also through multimedia materials and enable them to eventually join you on your underwater thrills.
PADI Seal Team will run over Saturday 3rd March and Saturday 10th March.
If you think that this would be ideal for someone you know, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week I heard the news that Mike DeGruy and Andrew Wright had been killed in a helicopter crash. If you’ve watched Pacific Abyss, Amazon Abyss or The Abyss Live then you will definitely have seen Mike, often diving in his denim shirt and shorts, enthusiasm spilling from him for whatever marine life that was being discussed! He was also involved in the making of the Blue Planet, Life in the Freezer, the Life of Mammals and many more incredible features. Andrew Wright was a writer-producer and his most recent work was the film Sanctum.
Reading the news of their death not only saddened me for the loss of such immense talent but it made me think about my heroes in scuba diving and people who inspire me. I never really had any true heroes that made me want to throw myself into the sea when I was younger. I was not raised on Jacques Cousteau; like many people who become hooked on the wonder of the aquatic realm from watching the Silent World as a child. Images of Lotte Hass did not compel me to take up diving, nor did James Bond films entice me to don scuba.
By definition a Hero is a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities, which makes it very broad for me to choose my heroes.
Firstly, I must say that I admire people like Ron & Valerie Taylor, who devote their lives to underwater photography, videography and conservation. Australian born Ron and Valerie have spent their lives in, on and under the sea. They began as fishermen but swapped their spear guns for cameras and initiated a passion for filming marine species. They are renowned for their work on the films Jaws and Jaws 2 where footage of live sharks was used. Ron Taylor is also afforded with creating the first chain mail suit used in shark tagging and feeding. In their realms as underwater photographers and artists they have also become natural patrons for the ocean and have been awarded numerous conservation accolades including the 2008 Lifetime Conservation Medal from the Australian Geographic society.
Ron and Valerie Taylor were probably the first people that I really took an interest in after I had started diving. Their work with sharks certainly affected my feelings of awe and wonder rather than terror for the creatures.
David Attenborough is one of my all time favourite presenters and although I doubt I’ve ever seen any footage of him diving, he is synonymous with underwater nature programs. His dulcet tones have described the most interesting, most exhilarating and simply most breathtaking underwater marvels you could wish to see. Not only is David Attenborough the voice of the aquatic realm but he has also spent years on expeditions and adventures all over the globe which enable him to write many of the TV series that we watch in awe. On his 80th Birthday he was filming on the Galapagos islands and whilst there filmed George the large male tortoise who is coincidentally about the same age as David. He has been accredited with numerous awards for his TV productions and his publications; he has been knighted and awarded the Order of Merit.
Carl Brashear is my final choice for now, although having done some research for this blog, I have come across many more names that are just as worthy of a mention, but maybe that’s for another time. If you didn’t immediately recognise the name, think about the film ‘Men of Honour’ with Cuba Gooding Junior and you’ll probably know the story. My admiration for Carl’s story isn’t born out of reverence for him persevering against discrimination, more for his determination to dive even after a crippling injury. As a US Navy Deep Sea Diver, Carl was involved in an unfortunate incident which resulted in his leg being amputated and an artificial limb being fitted in its place.
Despite being ordered to formally leave the Navy, Carl would sneak out of the hospital to regain his strength and fitness and secretly learn the mechanics of completing his job with an artificial leg. Carl managed to persuade the Navy to test his fitness before his final sign off and he was ordered to 1st class deep-sea diving school in Washington to put up a demonstration, where the tests were extremely heavy in order to prevent him from passing. Carl was made to walk around on the surface in a complete helium rig weighing 290 pounds as well as climb a ladder with equivalent weight of 2 scuba tanks. Yet, even against the odds, he passed and was able to continue with his Navy Service. He remained on active duty for 12 more years. Carl really showed that his passion was enough to drive him to success and that even with a disability he was as fit and able as any other Navy Diver.
These choices may seem a little odd but as I think it’s a very personal thing born out of a TV advertisement, a magazine article, a film or from other numerous sources. Of course there are other people who are heroic in their actions, the life boat crew that work tirelessly around the coasts of Britain, the Instructors that specialise in teaching people to dive with limitations and disabilities, people who dedicate themselves to conservation, scientists and doctors that research and treat diving related injuries and illnesses as well as the truly crazy mad fools that push the limits of our sport.
I wonder who your heroes are.
On Wednesday night we hosted a date in the pool for 2 local students who had been introduced to each other on the day for 3 different dates. They met in the morning for a pottery making class, spent the afternoon skiing and then joined us for a PADI Discover Scuba session in the pool. This was arranged by www.staffs.live who were filming the day for a web feature to go out on Valentines day.
Kelsey and Josh were excited, although slightly nervous about trying scuba diving for the first time and being half naked in front of their date. Scuba as a first date really works well, especially as the Divemaster or Instructor actually does most of the talking and any awkward silences are naturally caused by being underwater. Fooling around doing acrobatics underwater and showing that you have an adventurous side could not be more fun for a first date.
Kelsey and Josh were more than happy to throw themselves in. They didn’t hesitate at putting their faces underwater and getting used to the strange sensation of breathing through a regulator. There were more smiles and exhilaration than anxiety and reluctance and they made a nice buddy pair swimming around the pool together.
I don’t think that there were romantic sparks flying between Kelsey and Josh, however he was a true gent whilst she was really enthusiastic about the date and enjoying the experience together. The chemistry between them was more like they had been good friends for a long time, which I hope that they continue into the future.
The video clip will be live on the website on Valentines day so keep an eye out for my links so that you can see how they got on. As you can see from the photo it looks like Josh felt a little steamy on his date!
If you know a couple who you would like to fix up on a blind date in the pool, contact Katy@divecourses.co.uk
Please be advised that due to the ice and the slope of the car park outside Sub-Mission Dive Centre, conditions are slippy and dangerous. Please do not park on either ours or Richer Sounds car park, use the adjacent streets instead. If you have cylinders for refill please be very, very careful.
Take extra care when using the pavements and the approach to the shop.
Many Thanks, Katy
Nick at St Abbs
Everybody talks about buoyancy control being the most important skill to master but why is it so critical? For some divers, good buoyancy control does not come naturally and it can be incredibly disheartening trying to improve and not seeing much progress. Those divers are more likely to quit diving out of sheer frustration. Here are a couple of really good reasons to keep persevering and putting the time and effort into getting your buoyancy just right;
1) Your air consumption WILL get better. Good buoyancy will definitely increase your dive time as over weighting really causes you to drain your air. Not having to put air in your drysuit and BCD all the time will also have benefits on how much air you’re using. Instead of constantly inflating and deflating when changing depth, you should be using your lung volume to its full advantage.
2) Control over your ascents and descents will improve dramatically, especially helpful if you have trouble equalising your ears. That feeling of struggling to get underwater to begin with and then feeling heavy during the dive is common and eventually you’ll manage to control your breathing to allow you to descend correctly weighted. This does take practice though.
3) Controlling your position in the water has major benefits for improving your comfort and relaxation underwater. Scuba should be a way to chill out, relax and shake off the worries of the working week and so you need total control and composure in order to do this.
4) Good buoyancy control is an absolute necessity if you’re contemplating photography. Not only will you be able to keep still taking a photo but you won’t have to hold on to anything and you’ll be able to get closer to your subject matter.
5) Your fin kicks will be more efficient. Instead of kicking all the time, using loads of energy and air, you should be able to use a more efficient and powerful kick every now and again to propel you through the water.
6) You will improve your overall diving skills. Navigation will be easier, sending up a DSMB will be a breeze and if you want to progress to wreck or deep diving, your buoyancy control will not even be a consideration.
If you’re buoyancy could be better consider taking the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty Course and practice, practice, practice! Come to the pool and work on your breathing control, practice slow and steady descents in open water. Get out there and go diving. If you would be interested in more information about this training, please email Katy@divecourses.co.uk
Last night some of the Sub-Mission staff got together to refresh their rescue skills and practice a few scenario’s. Refreshing and practicing rescue skills is a must for any diver and it can’t be emphasized enough how important that this is. It’s important not only for a buddy who may have a problem but for your own confidence at rendering assistance. Would you step forward to help if you completed your PADI Rescue Diver Course 5 years ago and hadn’t done a single rescue skill since? It’s definitely something to consider.
Sub-Mission Dive Staff Refreshing Dive Rescue Techniques
Darren and I wanted to get staff thinking about their rescue techniques and their rescue demonstrations so Sub-Mission Staff were put through their paces starting with dealing with an unconscious diver at the surface. Then we slowed everything down in order to be able to demonstrate this affectively to students.
Due to the changing equipment configurations, emerging trends and new PADI programs such as PADI Rebreather Diver and PADI Sidemount Specialty we also wanted to keep staff up to date with different kit. So we took the opportunity to cover Rebreather rescue and practice rescue on Taffy in his Sidemount equipment.
It was a serious and extremely important topic but we had a good laugh at the same time and hopefully reinforced to the staff the importance of refreshing themselves too. Look out PADI Rescue Diver Students, here come refreshed Instructors!
The Farne Islands are infamous for their tern, puffin, guillemot, shag, eider duck and kittiwake colonies as well as the 4-5 thousand Grey Seals that inhabit the 30 small islands that make up the “Farnes”. Lying 2-4 miles off the coast of Northumberland, from the port of Seahouses, the islands offer fantastic scenic diving and wreck diving.
We are spending the weekend of the 29th and 30th September enjoying the best that the Farnes has to offer. This time of year is well known for the best opportunity to get close and personal to some of the islands more inquisitive inhabitants, the seals. Often the pups will swim close to get a good look at you and teasing you by pulling at your fins.
We will be staying in some lovely self catering cottages in Seahouses, close to the harbour and enjoying the coastal scenes. This trip includes 4 boat dives, 3 nights accommodation and food for the weekend. The cost is £180 for gold and silver club members and £190 for everyone else.
This is one of those experiences that really must be on everyone’s dream diving lists and you can make it a reality by signing up to go. We only have 12 spaces and a huge amount of interest. To secure your place please bring me a deposit of £100 cash as soon as possible. Contact Katy@divecourses.co.uk for more information.
This is our one of our favourite UK diving locations and an absolute must for any British diver. With awesome scenery, beautiful coastal walks and a volunteer marine reserve as well as many TV appearances, St Abbs has it all. So Sub-Mission Dive Club are going to spoil ourselves with some fantastic diving over the weekend of June 16th and 17th.
We will be diving from two local hard boats; Tiger Lily and Selkie and doing 2 dives per day from the boat with the option of getting in another couple of shore dives if possible.
All of us will be staying at the very lovely Red Gauntlet and Tower Farm House, which are fantastic self catering cottages, with sea views.
The diving in St Abbs is better known for the abundance of marine life including wrasse, anemones, NUDIBRANCHS, pollock, lobster, crabs and scorpion fish. There is also the chance to see some more unusual life such as the formidable Wolf fish, the Lump sucker and the occasional seal.
Dive sites are generally 18 metres or shallower so diving at St Abbs is particularly good for newer divers, although PADI Advanced Open Water Diver is a prerequisite. So why not join us for some easy going, interesting diving that has been featured on Britains Secret Seas and Coast? The cost of the trip is £150 each for gold and silver club members and £160 each for everyone else. This price includes 3 nights accommodation, 4 boat dives and we’ll provide the food for the self catering accommodation. Deposits of £100 are required to secure your place. Contact Katy@divecourses.co.uk for more information.