Monthly Archives: May 2016

5 Travel Tips For Your Next Dive Trip

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As scuba divers  we are able to enjoy the best of both worlds while traveling, seeing both topside and underwater sights. You can optimize your scuba vacations by planning ahead and researching top dive sites, getting your documents organized, making sure your gear is tuned up, and more. Here are 5 travel tips that should help get you prepared for your next dive trip:

  1. Email Yourself Your Travel Documents: Set aside a couple of extra minutes in your travel packing to scan some of your important documents and email them to yourself. Some travelers carry with them a physical photo copy of their driver’s license, one copy of one of their credit cards, and their passport, but by taking it one step further and emailing those scanned documents to yourself you are making it easier for future you to look up the info, re-print if necessary and or go to the embassy with copy of all your necessary details.
  1. Read Travel Reviews: Seek out opinions of other travelers via travel review sites to help you evaluate and decide on where you want to stay, eat, and even hear about top dive sites.  Some of the larger sites that offer user-reviews are Yelp and Trip Advisor. On ScubaEarth you can view ratings, photos and comments from other divers on top dive sites, the best time of the year to visit, iconic marine life, what to pack, topside activities and more.
  1. Pack Smart: Don’t let unnecessary baggage drag you down. Conserve space and avoid wrinkles by rolling, rather than folding, your clothes. In your carry-on bag keep with you an extra set of clothes as well as a bikini/boardshorts just in case your checked in luggage gets delayed or lost. This way you can still go diving while you wait for the luggage to arrive. Keep your smaller, more expensive items like your camera and dive computer with you in your carry-on luggage to prevent damage or theft. Choose a durable gear bag, preferably with wheels to make transporting equipment as easy as possible. Lightweight dive gear can be purchased – contact your PADI Dive Center to learn more.
  1. Remember Your PADI Certification Card or Digital eCard: Don’t forget to pack your certification card. You’ll need it to verify your certification with dive centers and resorts. By carrying it with your other important documents like your passport or ID, you’ll be less likely leave it at home or lose it during your travels. If you lost your card on your last adventure, you can easily order a replacement card from your dive center or online PADI.com. If you need your new certification card in a rush, opt for the PADI eCard and receive it in just minutes. Your eCard will be conveniently stored on your smartphone or mobile device so you won’t need to worry about losing it again.
  1. Upload Your Photos to an Online Database: Whether you take photos on your smartphone, a point and shoot, a professional DSLR camera, or a GoPro style camera for video and photo, everyone needs to have a backup method for saving their images. There are multiple ways one can backup photos while on a trip but sometimes you can’t always travel with your laptop or an external hard drive to do so.  This is where backing the photos up to an online database is a great alternative. There are Cloud based options, as well as free websites like Shutterfly or Flickr that will allow you to upload your photos (depending on size) throughout your travels as long as you have access to internet. Instead of waiting until the end of your trip when you return home, try and backup your photos every night (or every couple days) worse case scenarios, like your camera or phone breaking or getting stolen, all your photos are not lost.

Check out more scuba travel tips here: Scuba Diving and Travel Tips to Enhance Your Next Trip

Need help brainstorming  for your next scuba trip? The PADI Scuba Diving Vacation Spotlight section has plenty of inspiration to help you pick the perfect destination.

Dream, Believe, Achieve

 

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Are you ready to Go Pro and become a PADI Divemaster?  Just imagine the feeling of having divers look to you as their leader and mentor.  Trained as dive guides and as certified assistants to PADI Instructors during PADI courses, PADI Divemasters are both.

Becoming a PADI Divemaster is often a life changing moment. Just take a look:

As leaders and mentors, PADI Divemasters are a highly respected and indispensable part of diving operations around the world.  They are much sought after PADI Pros and often bring with them additional skills and specialist attributes, which enhance the PADI businesses they work with.

If you’re tempted, then it’s time to expand your diving knowledge and skills and become one of the most recognised diving professionals in the world.  Take a look at your path to becoming a PADI Divemaster – click here to download your Go Pro Planner:

Go Pro Planner (English)

Your Divemaster Journey – Click to Download The Planner

And while you’re here, are you a dreamer?  Let’s hope so because a world without dreamers is a world without PADI Pros. Dream of travelling?  Experiencing new cultures?  Diving in new waters?  Guiding divers and witnessing their joy as they discover the hidden treasures of the underwater world?  You can make your dreams your reality.

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Become one of the most recognised diving professionals in the world. Change your life and the lives of divers you meet. Become a PADI Divemaster.

PADI AmbassaDiver: Susan R. Eaton

Geologist, geophysicist, explorer, journalist, conservationist, “extreme” snorkeler and leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition – PADI AmbassaDiver Susan Eaton wears many hats.

In the lead up to PADI Women’s Dive Day on 16 July 2016, you’ll see the world’s most interesting and accomplished women featured in our “Women in Diving” blog series. This time, we caught up with Susan R. Eaton – scientist, explorer, journalist, conservationist and extreme snorkeler.

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Photo © www.SednaEpic.com — Jill Heinerth

Ten years ago, after a 32-year diving career, Susan suffered a scuba diving trauma that landed her in a hyperbaric chamber for three days. Today, Susan explorers the ocean in the snorkel zone – the land-sea-ice-air interface where snorkelers interact with large marine mammals. Susan is the founder and leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition, a team of women divers, scientists, explorers, movie-makers, photographers, artists and educators recently announced as PADI AmbassaDiversTM, who will conduct an epic 3,000-kilometer/1865-mile snorkel relay across Canada’s Northwest Passage in the summers of 2017 and 2018, to bring global attention to the disappearing sea ice in the Arctic.

To find out more about Susan and the Team Sedna, visit sednaepic.com (English only).

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6 Questions to Ask Before Taking Up Underwater Photography

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So you want to be an underwater photographer – now what?

If you’ve been shopping for underwater cameras and have enrolled in the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course you, like many other divers, may have been bitten by the photography bug.

All signs are pointing to the fact that underwater photography will be your next favourite hobby – but here are six questions to ask yourself before getting started:

#1 – Are you a considerate diver?

You may already know that underwater photographers need good core diving skills. But despite that, many get a reputation for bumping into and damaging the coral, provoking marine life and barging buddies out of the way in order to get their perfect picture.

Remember, the environment is more important than any shot. Period. Master your buoyancy and improve your diving skills and don’t be that photographer who ruins the reef and other divers’ enjoyment of it.

Continued Education 023, photo by Peter Driessel#2 – Is your underwater camera neutrally buoyant?

Your weighting should be the same with or without your camera. Adjusting your personal buoyancy to compensate for heavy camera equipment comes hand-in-hand with the risk of an uncontrolled ascent if you happen to drop it.

If your camera isn’t neutrally buoyant you can attach a float system that will make your camera more buoyant so it feels less like an anchor. The goal is to balance your camera in one hand so that if you drop it, it won’t sink or float.

#3 – Are you a prepared traveller?

Once you’ve bought your camera, you’ll need to take care of it – especially when travelling. Give yourself time to pack and protect it properly (including removing batteries) so that it still works when you get to your destination, saving you from a wasted trip and insurance claims.

As you accumulate gear (camera, strobes, lens, filters and float systems to name a few) you’ll need extra space and weight allowance. Underwater photographers who have a big rig expect to pay excess baggage fees in order to avoid cramming their prized possession between inevitably-exploding toiletries.

shutterstock_192015026#4 – Are you comfortable with tech?

A large part of underwater photography happens on the surface. Plan on packing a laptop so you can review what you shot at the end of your dive day. Photo-processing is now a normal part of the photography world, and there’s plenty of software to help. If that’s new to you, take a digital photo manipulation course and see your images go from ‘Blah’ to ‘Wow!’ Don’t forget you’ll want to carry external hard drives to backup images while you’re on dive trips.

#5 – Do you and your buddies mind taking things slower?

When you find a photo-worthy subject, you’ll want to take time to ‘work’ the shot. Force yourself to take at least ten shots each time. Shoot from above, below, with and without the background, change the settings and try various compositions, and you’ll start to build experience on what works well (and what doesn’t).

But, if you dive with a group of non-photographers, you’ll need to be careful that you don’t get left behind by the rest of the group while you scrutinise your subjects. Before you plan a trip, do make sure your buddies know what your plans are and that they won’t mind the slower pace.

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#6 – Can you take criticism?

You’ll never improve if you don’t ask for feedback. When you’re starting out, you won’t know what’s wrong with your picture or how to change it from an average snapshot to a prize-winning composition. Ask a professional for help and constructive advice, enter contests and keep yourself up to date with techniques to learn the characteristics of a good photograph.

If you’ve answered Yes to all six questions above, then you’re on the right track to get the most out of underwater photography. Otherwise, keep developing your skills until you feel ready: complete your PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course, book onto dive trips with your local PADI Dive Center or Resort and most importantly, keep practicing and have fun!

From the Ocean Floor to Outer Space

Abby Harrison dreams big. 140 million miles big.

That’s the average distance between Earth and Mars, a distance 18-year-old Abby (also known as Astronaut Abby) aims to one day traverse as the first astronaut to Mars. Currently attending Wellesly College and working her way toward becoming a NASA astronaut, Abby also strives to discover more of this planet, where diving has become an avenue for that earthly exploration.

We spoke to Abby after the recent completion of her Rescue Diver course, to discuss her experiences as a PADI diver and the similarities between ocean and space exploration.

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Describe your inspiration to become a PADI diver.

I originally began diving to strengthen my future application to become an astronaut. Scuba diving is often used for training for missions in space because of neutral buoyancy, which is the closest one can get to microgravity on earth. While it’s not a requirement to have experience in SCUBA to become an astronaut, it is recommended. My mother researched SCUBA certifications and discovered PADI to be a top organization to gain certification in. I started training as a PADI diver at age 16 in December of 2013 receiving my Open Water Diver certification and since then have advanced with both an Advanced Open Water Diver and Rescue Diver certification. It has been fun because my mom and I have received our certifications together. Scuba diving is an activity I see participating throughout my lifetime and I know it will be something my mom and I often do together even as I enter into my adult life.

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What do you see as the similarities between divers and astronauts?

Of course there are the obvious similarities- astronauts use diving as a way to train for microgravity. Neutral buoyancy is the closest simulation we have on Earth for microgravity! However, I think that the similarities between astronauts and divers go further. Astronauts and divers are both adventurers. They both travel into mediums that are incredibly alien to humanity with the goals of exploration and discovery.

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What does PADI mean to you?

To me, PADI can be summarized in one word: adventure. PADI diving opens up a whole new world of exploration and discovery. It’s often said that the two greatest unknowns left to be explored are the Earth’s oceans, and outer space. PADI is equipping countless people with the ability to take steps forward in both of those areas.

What words of advice and encouragement would you give to people thinking of becoming PADI divers?

The biggest piece of advice that I could give anyone looking at becoming a PADI diver is to just go for it. Take a leap of faith. Sometimes it can be scary or nerve-wrecking to start something like diving, but once you get past the anxiety or nerves, diving will help you to have some of the best adventures you can imagine. Remember that everyone who dives was once a beginner- you don’t need to worry about looking silly, not knowing what to do, or being nervous or scared in front of other divers because they were all in that same position at one point!

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Where can readers follow your adventures?

I am available primarily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and on my website www.astronautabby.com and am always happy to answer questions about space exploration. I hope that everyone reading this will join my community of space and STEM enthusiasts. I also started a nonprofit this past year called The Mars Generation. Their website is also full of great articles and information and you can join in on their Facebook group, Facebook page and Twitter to be a part of a community of people who are passionate about space exploration, science and dreaming big. Go to TheMarsGeneration.org for more information and to connect with their social media channels.

How to Get Your Friends Hooked on Diving

Sometimes the best dive buddy is someone you love. Often, we surface from a dive thinking, “I wish my sister could have seen that too!” Daily, we wish our friends understood what we were talking about. Sharing diving with friends and family can make the experience feel richer, so we’ve written this guide for those of you who long to spread your love of diving.

Inspire their inner diver

The freedom of weightlessness, the beauty of the ocean, the variety of marine life; there are countless reasons to love diving. Inspire your friends by showing them how diving has what they’re looking for. Your thrill-seeking friend might love the idea of eventually cave diving or seeing great whites. Your coworker with kids might love having a unique way to bond with their family.  Your bird-watching uncle might also love identifying fish. Whatever the reason, being excited about diving is the first step to pursuing it.

Try it out

Before taking the plunge into a PADI Open Water class, your friend might prefer to test the waters. You can start with snorkeling—but you don’t have to stay at the surface. Skin diving and freediving are fun ways to take snorkeling to the next level. After all, the longer you spend underwater, the more you can fall in love with it.

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Second, consider an introductory dive program. With Discover Scuba Diving, they will learn a few basic scuba skills and be able to experience scuba diving in confined water. After they’ve had their fun in a pool, they’ll have the option to go on an open water dive up to 40 feet (12m) deep. Since Discover Scuba happens in a few hours instead of over the course of days or weeks, it’s a great low-cost and low-commitment way for your friend to see if they want more.

Help them find a shop

If you have a friend that’s ready to become a diver, they might appreciate some help signing up for a course. Many non-divers aren’t sure what they should be looking for. You can help by finding a list of local dive shopsand working from there. What course schedules are available? Are they happy in a group course, or would they prefer to schedule private or semi-private lessons? Does this shop rent full sets of gear, or will they need to buy some pieces of their own? By helping your friend find the perfect dive operation, you’re getting them that much closer to being a certified diver.

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Give them space

Finally, remember not to pressure or crowd the people you want to dive with. Some people won’t be interested in even snorkeling, and pressing them on the issue won’t help. Others may be excited to dive, but feel uncomfortable having someone they know watching them learn. Respect whatever boundaries your loved ones might have.

Have any other tips? Let us know what inspired you to start diving!