ExtraHyperActive: Scuba Diving
Showing posts with label Scuba Diving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scuba Diving. Show all posts

Why You Should Bring Your Own Snorkeling Gear On Your Next Tropical Vacation

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best snorkeling gear near me


Love traveling, and watersports ? Don't forget to bring your snorkeling gear to your next vacation !

Here is why :

My trip to Mexico was the second time I regretted not bringing my own snorkel gear with me. My fins are old, heavy, all-rubber ones, not really comfortable for tropical diving/snorkeling ( since tropical divers do not always need wetsuit booties, many use long, full-foot light pocket fins while diving in tropical water ). Also, I wanted to travel light, and knew that most dive schools provided all the gear for their trips.

But even if you're not a diver, in places like Mexico ( Hawaii or Florida's Keys ) there are many great places where you can go snorkeling.

Of course, you can always rent a snorkeling set ( mask, snorkel and fins ), or even buy a brand new one at a local WallMart. But having you own snorkel gear means you’ll have one less thing to do when you get to your destination. In other words, you’ll be at the beach sooner instead of searching for the rental shop.

I think that if you're a frequent visitor/lover of sunny tropical places ( and love snorkeling/diving/swimming ), investing in a quality snorkel gear set is a must.

As I've mentioned above, full-foot pocket fins are lighter, and sometimes the whole snorkel set will weight about 4 lbs. A set usually comes in a convenient carrying and storage bag, that will easily fit in any suit case.

Also, before I heard people recommend bringing your own snorkel gear because of the hygiene aspect ( Mexico doesn't have the same health & safety rules that you're likely used to at home ). I don't know about you, but for me, there is just something about having your own snorkel in your mouth :) When it comes to masks, aside from the hygiene thing, pink eye can be very nasty.

And finally, the price of the snorkeling set is ( almost ) the same as the price of one (!) "snorkeling tour". So, buying and bringing your own gear will pay off even during a short tropical vacation !!

So, what is the best snorkeling gear out there ?

best snorkeling gear amazon


Should you buy your snorkeling gear from Amazon, Walmart, Costco, or eBay ?

Personally, I always recommend to buy your outdoor gear from Amazon.
Why?

Not only will you have a larger selection of choices, prices, brands, and read the snorkel gear reviews before you buy, but, the most important, after your purchase, and use, you can recommend that gear to your friends, family, and anybody else looking to buy their own snorkeling gear, and MAKE MONEY !

Below, see some of our recommendations, and choose from amongst the choices that we have tried out or from amongst the best sellers from Amazon :




Looking for a way to support your healthy, and adventurous lifestyle ?
Learn how you can make money online promoting fitness, travel, and outdoor gear !

How To Take Great Underwater Pictures & Videos With Your iPhone

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best iphone cases for underwater photo and video

A few years ago, when I got into scuba diving, I was especially excited about "Underwater Photographer Specialty Course".  But even before I enrolled into the course, I took my cheap waterproof camera on my scuba diving trip to The Underwater Museum in Cancun, Mexico.

Sady, after my first dive ( a bit more than 30 feet deep ! ), the camera got filled with water, and stopped working. If I had taken the course, I'd have known that taking great underwater pictures, and videos requires special camera and lighting equipment, and the knowledge of how light behaves underwater.

Nowadays, underwater photography has become cheaper and more accessible to the recreational divers, more and more divers are taking up the hobby of underwater photography.

But if you're not planning to become a professional underwater photographer, and just want to capture your epic underwater adventures, it's possible to take awesome underwater pictures, and videos with nothing but... your iPhone !

Diving With Sharks At The Florida Aquarium In Tampa Bay

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Florida diving offers something for everyone, from the newbie to the most experienced divers, from coral reef diving to fresh water, wrecks, caverns, 4000 lb statue of Christ of the Abyss to ... diving at the The Florida Aquarium.

I came across this incredible adventure while looking for guided scuba diving trips around Tampa. The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay offers two great diving adventures - Swim with the Fishes and ...Dive with the Sharks !

Diving with the great white sharks near the Neptune islands of southern Australia has been on my Bucket List since I first got my PADI Open Water certificate.

But diving with sharks at The Florida Aquarium was no less thrilling.

Exploring And Hiking In Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA

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As I wrote in my previous post, Tacoma’s waterfront, from Schuster pkwy to Ruston Way is considered to be Tacoma’s version of Seattle’s Alki Beach. This place is very popular among fitness and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you enjoy jogging, biking, longboarding, scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, parasailing, boating, or just want to go on a nice sunny motorcycle ride, Tacoma waterfront is the place to go all year round!

Still Scuba Diving ... At The Age Of 91 !

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"Age is no barrier when you’re doing something you enjoy and appreciate!"

This is the case of the 91 year-old Norman Lancefield, who considered to be the oldest scuba diver in the UK.


Hitting 91 has not deterred Norman Lancefield from taking on adventures in life. Despite taking up the hobby relatively late – aged 58 in 1978 – Norman has racked up hundreds of dives. His diving career has taken him all over the world including Mexico, Malta, Turkey, and several times to the Red Sea.

Norman has been a member of his dive club for more than 30 years and still attends training sessions at the same school every week. Russ Phillips, training officer at Barry Sub-Aqua Club said: “We have children as young as eight who learn to snorkel and then go on to learn to dive with us and Norman is a terrific inspiration to them. He is a very positive person and a great character".

Scuba diving is accessible to all ages and Norman is proof that age is no barrier when you’re doing something you enjoy.

Do you think you're too old to dive ? Think again !

According to the Diver’s Alert Network (DAN), older divers are defined as those over the age of 50, and in recent decades, these older divers have constituted an increasingly large percentage of the global dive community.

Diving With Sharks At Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wa

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It's been a while since I went diving. It's been even longer since I went diving with sharks at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay, FL.

Diving with sharks is probably a must-do experience on every diver's Bucket List !

It affords a uniquely intimate interaction with one of the sea’s most beautiful, elusive and charismatic forms of wildlife. But it is also an experience fraught with potential danger.

Each year, increasing numbers of recreational divers seek out opportunities to swim in the company of sharks. For some divers, the encounter represents an exciting photo opportunity, for others, a rare chance to meet a totemic creature face-to-face. It is difficult to know what a shark makes of such encounters, but it’s probably safe to say that the animal imagines no deeply spiritual connection between itself and its human admirers. The famous Jacques Cousteau once said, "The only predictable thing about sharks is that they are unpredictable".

While there are ways to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, nowadays many aquariums around the country offer an amazing opportunity to take a dive with some of our planet's most amazing apex predators and gain a new appreciation for their important role in oceans around the world.

"Eye-To-Eye With Sharks" program at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wa  provides a unique opportunity for certified and non-certified divers to come face-to-face with live sharks!

Jean Cousteau Described PNW Diving As "Cold But Colorful"

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I don't remember how my son, just 2 year old at that time, found a bunch of old Jean-Michel Cousteau's scuba diving DVDs. Since then he's been obsessed with scuba diving.

He already has his snorkel set, and now wants a "scuba suit" just like daddy's


He loves helping me get ready for a dive and wants to be the next Cousteau...






The video below is his favorite one, and he even named his favorite pillow Octopus ( though, it's actually a dolphin )


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Diving With... Crocodiles

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Till recently," diving with sharks ", was the most exhilarating, adrenaline-filled adventure for many recreational divers and thrill seekers. But now, the bar has been raised a little bit higher...
Crocosaurus Cove park, located in Darwin, Australia — offers adventurous visitors a chance to “swim” with saltwater crocodiles inside a five-inch thick, 10ft-tall perspex box which runs along a monorail track across four crocodile enclosures.
A transparent perspex cage, called the "Cage of Death," allows park visitors to get face to face with 1,750-pound, 18-foot long crocodiles while the the 5.31-inch thick cage is immersed inside the crocs' tank.

Scuba Diving With Underwater Scooter

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A diver propulsion vehicle (DPV, also known as an underwater propulsion vehicle or underwater scooter) is a great tool ( toy ) and tons of fun to use !

DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle) is designed to provide divers with greater mobility and less air consumption, giving them more bottom time (within tables) and far greater range. They scoot you through the water without kicking which saves you a lot of energy and can lower your air consumption up to 50%.

There are primarily two types of underwater transportation systems for recreational and technical divers - DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle) and underwater scooter.

The difference between DPV and underwater scooter is simple: a DPV is a vehicle with an integral saddle that a diver physically rides. A scooter is a unit that tows the diver along by the arms. As a general rule, Scooters tend to have smaller battery capacity than DPVs .

Ski-diving in Andorra.

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Andorra is an anomaly in Europe, a small independent state of little more than thirty villages and a capital, tucked away in the Pyrenees. Winter tourism is big business for this principality. As you drive north south or east west through Andorra during the months of December, January, February, March and April it is obvious this whole country is one big ski resort with two main ski areas – Grandvalira and Vallnord.



This year, scuba diving at more than 2000 metres altitude is the latest trend in Vallnord. The activity combines skiing down to a frozen lake or pool then scuba diving under the ice.

There are two options: a "baptism" for beginners and technical diving for qualified divers. Once the dive has finished, the descent continues through the mountains of Arcalis.



The diving baptisms are a 12-metre dive in La Canaleta pool (2060m) which is complete with an artificial dam to produce snow and ice. This dive is aimed at beginners over the age of 14 and lasts for 15 to 20 minutes and costs €75 per person.

This beginners' dive consists of a descent via a blue slope, wearing the special equipment provided by the organisation, and a submersion under the waters with the supervision of an instructor.




So, next time you are in southwestern Europe ( that's where the Principality of Andorra ( the official name) is located (bordered by Spain and France )), stop by for a quick deep under the ice, followed by skiing in one of Europe's most picturesque places.

Scuba Diving, Swimming And Rappelling Into Mexico's Cenotes

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Mexico's cenotes forever stole my heart ! Scuba diving into Chac Mool cenote last year has become one of my greatest lifetime experiences !

 A diver explores a cenote near the Maya ruins of Tulum.


There is something magical and mystic about  cenotes. Mexican cenotes are one of the most spectacular attractions and without a doubt, one of the most interesting natural phenomenons that you can find in the Riviera Maya. 

It is estimated that more than 3000 cenotes are distributed over the Yucatan peninsula. Of those, 1400 have been discovered and mapped, the most popular being the ones found in Chichen Itzá, Valladolid, X’keken and Xcaret.

If you ever visit Mexico, visiting a cenote must be on your Bucket List ! Doesn't matter if you're a certified diver or not, there is a way to explore this one of many Nature's Wonders !

Archaeologist Guillermo de Anda descends into the Holtún cenote in Mexico’s Yucatán minutes before the moment on July 19 when the sun is directly overhead. When that occurs, twice a year, light falls vertically into the water.



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Not Your Usual Dream Job: Sewer Diver

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When was the last time you said, "I love my job! " ?
Many scuba diving professionals, especially those that work on some exotic island or beautiful beachfront location, get to say it all the time. There is nothing better than being a scuba diver, a career that affords you beautiful weather around the year, adventures of a lifetime, and a chance to share the excitement with others.

Unless, you are a sewer diver...


We all balk at the thought of being dropped into water containing raw sewage, because the mere idea of it disgusts us. How could anybody be expected to freely enter such a world of filth and contamination?  This is a job that simply has to be done,  and a few brave souls are willing to do it.

Meet a man with perhaps the world's most disgusting job ... and he loves it.



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Visit The Dry Tortugas In Florida

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Those few months I lived in Florida have become one of my most memorable experiences of my life ! I got a taste of life after retirement in Florida :)

That was my third time visiting Florida.

The first time I had a road trip of  the lifetime, driving from Miami to Key West on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway.


Though I spent a couple days in Key West, unfortunately I didn't have time to visit Dry Tortugas National Park which was on my Bucket List of places "to visit before I die" :).

Located just 70 miles west of Key West, the park is a beautiful historical landmark and a wildlife refuge like no other. The Tortugas Islands also offer some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the entire United States with the coral reef just feet from the white sandy shores of the islands.



This is one of the few places I'm definitely coming back to !

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Why You Should Scuba Dive

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There's plenty of adventure to be had underwater. There is a whole other world out/down there and it is so close. So close that you do not even have to go deep to find a whole lot of different life. It is incredible to believe what you can see underwater.


So, why should you scuba dive ?

  • Adventure - Every dive holds surprises. 
  • Freedom - You really do leave the surface world behind.When you are diving you enjoy being able to move freely in 3 dimensions. 
  • Nature - The aquatic world if full of fascinating plant and animal life as a diver you get to enjoy all of these attractions from the smallest visible life forms to the largest. 
  • Photography/Videography - It's a great way to relive the adventures you’ve had. Plus capture images to share with your friends and family. 
 Underwater videos are a great way to share the sounds, motion and dynamics of the underwater world:



Interested in learning more about scuba in Washington state ? Check out our great deals on XHyperActive Adventures !

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Diving Titlow Beach, Tacoma Wa

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Titlow Beach is located along Puget Sound near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. On a nice sunny day the park offers an amazing view of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The scenery is breathtaking ! Puget Sound has many excellent beginner dive training sites, and Titlow Beach ranks as one of the best.


It was my first time "diving" at Titlow Beach.

From what I heard, the main attraction here is a chance to meet face to face with the infamous Giant Pacific Octopus. Some lucky divers report sighting specimens with an arm span of more than 10 feet/3 meters. That translates into a whopping 100 pounds/45 kg or more! During the day, these naturally shy creatures can be found sleeping in narrow crevices under rocky ledges. At night, they venture out from their lairs to hunt.

Another attraction is the spectacular piling breakwater that has been over grown by plumose anemones and a host of other sea life. This breakwater has been nicknamed the Cathedral by divers in the area. Though shallow (30-40ft), the view is beautiful and there is a large variety of fish and invertebrates at this site.



If you want to learn about different species of life under the sea, this is a great place to go and learn. Here quillback rockfish, lingcod, greenling fish abound, along with wolf eels, sea stars and nudibranchs.

Due to current potential this site is more suitable for advanced divers. Some divers enjoy this dive in the current as a chance to drift dive but be advised, it can really move here and caution should be taken when planning the dive.

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Dive Minnow Caves, Key Largo, FL

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True what they say : "There is a whole new world down there ! " I beat myself up every day for not being able to go scuba diving while in Florida :(

Well, that's what my Bucket List is for...

If you are a recreational diver or just thinking about trying our scuba diving, I recommend adding "Scuba diving in Florida" to your Bucket List !



Minnow Cave is one of the best-known coral caves in the Florida Keys, and is home to many of the namesake species. The cave is part of the Northern Dry Rocks, which is a shallow reef with depths up to fifteen feet. The reef is smaller than the Key Largo Dry Rocks but offers everything except for the well-known Christ of the Deep statue. However, divers may prefer this site if they are not particularly interested in the statue and are looking for a less populated location.

 The filtered sunlight and shallow depth also makes this a great spot for snorkeling. Divers at this site will be amazed by the slick movements of the glass minnows that hover around the opening to the cave. Groupers and great barracuda are also commonly seen here. Divers who choose to explore crevices will find Florida's spiny lobster hiding away. This is a great dive for those looking to avoid heavy traffic but still experience a beautiful location.

The reef is marked off by three mooring buoys with the letter "N" inscribed upon them. This area contains a .05 square nautical mile Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) which is marked by yellow buoys.

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Scuba Diving: Dos Ojos Cenote The Yucatan Peninsula

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... Chac-Mool cenote diving during my trip to Cancun, Mexico was THE MOST EXCITING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE !

Though before that, I had done 2 more tropical dives ( Underwater Museum and a one tank reef dive near Playa del Carmen ), cenote diving was the experience to remember for the rest of my life !
It's one of those things when "you've got to be there" :)

 If you're a certified diver, definitely put Cenote Diving on your Bucket List !

Meanwhile, here is a short video to give you a general idea of what to expect...( but trust me, even the best edited video will not substitute the real life experience )

Photo/Video credit Expert Vagbond


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Cenote Diving In The Yucatan Peninsula

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A cenote is a natural phenomenon, a sinkhole in the Earth’s surface. Nearly everyone who visits the Yucatan Peninsula soon learns of this rather unique feature of the local landscape.

National Geographic listed "Dive Caves in the Yucatan" a must-do trip of their Ultimate Adventure Bucket List 2012


After my Cancun's Underwater Museum dive, cavern/cenote diving was next on my Bucket List.

NOTE:

Cave diving and cavern ( cenote ) diving are two different things. In short, you need the proper training and equipment for cave diving.
But for cenote diving all you need is an open water certificate.

The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has an estimated 7,000 cenotes, but only a dozen of them are open to recreational divers. There are a few companies and several dive stores that offer exciting excursions to some of the most beautiful cenotes close to Cancun and Playa del Carmen. My choice was The Reef Marina Dive Shop


One of the more popular in the area (due to proximity to Playa del Carmen), Chac Mool cenote has something for everyone from speolotherms galore and airdomes on the cavern tour to long penetration cave dives in both directions. But most important, it's a perfect beginner dive site !

I'm not even going to try to describe all the beauty and excitement of cenote diving ! You have to experience it for yourself. So far, this has been my ultimate diving experience ! Such a novelty can only be experienced; pictures and descriptions don't do it justice. Cenote diving is a mind blowing adventure, and I guarantee you, you'll come up to the surface speechless !



NOTE:

CENOTE DIVING IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR DIVERS WITH CLAUSTROPHOBIA

Though, in a cavern, you are always within sight of natural daylight, there are certain areas where you feel your mind playing tricks on you. Sometimes the closed in cave-like atmosphere can give those with claustrophobia real problems and the overhead restrictions of cavern diving demand good buoyancy control.

Also,Chac-Mool is one of the caverns which has a Halocline - his is where salt and fresh water come together creating "fascinating" visual effects. It gets blurry, so don't freak out, you're not loosing your mind :)

But all in all, diving in a cenote is very different from ocean diving and must truly be experienced to be fully appreciated. Divers who have floated through this amazing world will remember it forever !


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Scuba Diving The Underwater Museum in Cancun

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Since the first time I heard about Cancun's Underwater Museum, I knew I absolutely had to do that ! So, I made "Scuba Diving The Underwater Museum in Cancun" my Bucket List goal. And if you know me, you know that if I set a goal, sooner or later I always achieve it !

That was my very first dive in the Yucatan Peninsula, and though, I heard and read some negative feedback about the museum dive, for me it was an awesome dive.


Unlike in Washington, diving in the crystal-clear Caribbean waters was warm enough even without a wet suit. Visibility was amazing ! The museum is a short boat ride from Cancun and near of Isla Mujeres ( another local landmark and a popular tourist destination ).

The sculptures sit on the seafloor in water that’s only 28-feet deep. Though the museum is ideal for divers and snorkelers alike ( there is a shallow portion just for snorkelers ), I doubt the experience would be the same.

Depending on which operator you go with, prices for certified divers average between $45 and $65 USD for one-tank dives ( all gear and the boat ride included; you might have to ask for a wet suit if you think you might get cold ).

PLEASE NOTE: The sculptures were designed to become artificial reefs and were constructed from special materials which promote marine life and create areas for corals to flourish and marine creatures to breed and take refuge. The appearance of the sculptures have changed over time as the coral had grown and marine life had colonized the structures.

So don't be disappointed if you can't clearly see every single detail of every single structure.




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Freediving With Great White Sharks

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A small number of freedivers have recently begun to plunge in with the world's most notorious predators, hoping to dispel misconceptions that they're ruthless killers.
Of course it's just a misconception that absolutely needs to be dispelled. NOT !




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