Fun Friday Scuba Flicks 1/17/13

This week’s scuba flicks share a common theme: Divers With Disabilities. Scuba diving is a sport accessible to virtually everyone, the young and the old, men and women, and yes, the disabled. Imagine the frustrations on being confined to a wheelchair suddenly lifted in the weightless environment of the underwater world. Consider the veteran who returned from the battlefield to navigate life with missing limbs or with the added burden of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The following videos celebrate how people have used scuba diving as a means of grabbing life by the horns in the face of physical and emotional challenges. Enjoy!

First up: A French quadruple amputee sets a new diving world record.

Next, Sue Austin has such an incredible perspective regarding her life in a wheelchair. Her 3-minute-long talk before she shares her dive video is inspiring and eye-opening. This video in total is nearly 10 minutes long, but her shared experiences are well worth the time.

This last video shows disabled vets doing their OW check-out dive. The viz is horrendous, makes me think of Lake Joccassee on a sunny day! But the sense of pride and success on these divers’ faces brought a tear to my eye.

Thanks for watching! Have a fantastic weekend. Happy diving!

Scuba Diving in Contact Lenses

The underwater world teems with life, and seeing the vibrant corals, brightly patterned fishes and hazy blue-green water at the ocean floor gives you an experience only about 5% of the world’s population has shared. If you’re interested in seeing it for yourself but are worried you can’t because you wear contact lenses, this article will put your mind at ease.

Contact lenses wearers who want to learn to  scuba dive should know they can dive safely in their lenses, as long as they keep a few simple things in mind.

1. Soft contact lenses are recommended for scuba diving. Hard and gas permeable lenses are rigid and can be susceptible to painful suction to the eye as the pressure increases in deeper water. Also, gas permeable lenses allow gases to pass through to the eye. During an ascent, nitrogen bubbles can form between the lens and the eye, causing blurry vision.

2. Keep your eyes closed when performing underwater skills such as mask flooding and mask removal. Just as swimming underwater with your eyes open risks one or both lenses floating off the eye(s), the same thing could happen when clearing or retrieving your mask.

3. Tell your dive buddy you are wearing contact lenses. If the unlikely situation should arise, your buddy will know to retrieve your lost mask for you.

4. Use lubricating drops in your eyes before and after each dive. Also, blink more than usual during the dive, to keep your lenses moist and ward off irritation.

5. You may find rinsing your lenses during surface intervals washes away any residual salt water that could lead to dry, irritated eyes.

Some other things to consider:

  • Disposable lenses are a good choice for dive trips, so that they can be changed out at the end of the diving day.
  • Prescription lenses are available for your scuba mask, should you decide diving with contacts is too uncomfortable. Dolphin Dive Center would be happy to help you order prescription lenses.
  • And for divers who find it increasingly difficult to see close up, Dolphin Dive Center sells Dive Optx, which are inexpensive, reusable adhesives that stick to the bottom corner of your mask and magnifies to more easily read your submersible pressure gauge, dive computer or compass.


For more information about how to become a scuba diver, please call Dolphin Dive Center at (706) 548-3483. 

Fun Friday Scuba Flicks!

Enjoy these fabulous videos from scuba divers around the world!

This first one features the sweetest sea turtle ever! (Well, it bites. But don’t we all, sometimes?) Enjoy!

The next flick is an underwater marriage proposal that’ll make you smile, for sure!

Last month, a group of divers set a world record by taking a Christmas tree down 123 feet. Great message behind this feat — check it out!

Thanks for watching! If you haven’t checked out our new Dolphin Dive Club page, why not click over to see what we’re up to? (Click HERE)

Have a fantastic weekend and happy diving!

Everything Diving by SSI

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Jay Kloepfer first told me about Everything Diving, an app for smartphones by Scuba Schools International. Jay explained that the app is free to use and allows you to carry copies of your c-cards on your phone. This could be more convenient, he said, than pulling out the actual cards when you need proof of certification when, for example, renting scuba gear or refilling tanks on vacation. And, come on. It’s just plain cool.

Though the app is available to both Android and iPhone users, at the time Jay was telling me about it I was closing in on two years with a Samsung phone running on the Android operating system. Most apps took ages to load and frequently provoked forced closures. It wasn’t until I recently upgraded to the iPhone that I remembered the Everything Diving by SSI app. This weekend, I downloaded it.

They called it Everything Diving for a good reason. The app covers 7 topics interesting to divers of all levels. In addition to displaying your c-cards (more on that below), the main menu offers these options:

  • SSI Dive Center Locator
  • Hand Signals
  • Checklists
  • Tables
  • SSI Information
  • News
  • Settings

Dolphin Dive Athens GAThis is a screenshot from my phone. There’s DDC!!

SSI Dive Center Locator – Uses your GPS location to compile a list of SSI dealers, up to 125 miles away. Addresses, website links, phone numbers, email addresses and maps are included.

Dolphin Dive Athens GA

Hand Signals – 25 of the most common diver’s hand signals are displayed. This is good review for the first dive of the season!

Tables – Most of us plan our dives using our dive computers, but it’s nice to have the old dive tables along for the ride. In addition to the SSI Air & EAN Tables we all grew to love during Open Water Certification, these other tables come with the Everything Diving app: EAD Equivalent Air Depths; CNS Clock Table; Diving Accident Management Flowchart; 5-Minute Neuro Exam (for Stress and Rescue); SSI Diver Diamond; Diver Career Path; Dive Professional Career Path.

Dolphin Dive Athens GAChecklists – Although I don’t envision myself pulling out my phone on a dive boat and actually ticking off the boxes, these comprehensive lists are great tools for review when you’re packing for a dive vacation or diving for the first time of the season. The 6 lists on the submenu are: Checklist – Equipment; Checklist – Buddy Check; Hints – Dive Planning; Hints – Dive Computer; Hints – Nitrogen Management; Hints – First Aid for Divers.

SSI Information and News – These are basically advertisements for SSI. 🙂

Settings — Allows users to switch from Imperial to Metric – very useful when diving abroad and renting gear that displays in Bar! Also, users can choose to display from a list of over a dozen languages…if, you know, you’re French or something.

To display all your c-cards on the Everything Diving app, follow these easy steps:

  1. Download the app for free to your iPhone or Android smartphone.
  2. Log in to Scuba Schools International website at If you have never done this before, just enter your email address for a username and the site will send you a temporary password to use. (It only took about 10 seconds for me to receive the email.) You’ll see on your profile page that the SSI website already has all your certification information. Isn’t technology great? You can also create your own, unique password from there.
  3. Now, open the Everything Diving app on your phone and log in when prompted, using your login username and password. The app will sync with your account info and your c-cards will now display, front and back, on your phone. Each time you take a specialty class and earn another card, it will automatically update on the app. Cool!

Do you use other scuba diving related apps on your smartphone? What are they and what do they do?

Thanks for reading and happy diving!

Holiday Gifts for Scuba Divers

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The holiday gift giving season is here, and whether scuba divers on your list have been diving for years or are newly certified, you’ll find fun gifts for them at Dolphin Dive Center.

Of course, there are the big ticket items that will blow your diver’s fins off: buoyancy compensators, regulators, and wetsuits, oh my! But not every budget allows such a splurge. So here are some ideas for affordable holiday gifts any diver will love:

Dolphin Dive Athens GA

Underwater Camera — Give the gift of underwater photography! Your diver’s scuba experience will go to the next level when you offer him or her one of the many cameras offered at Dolphin Dive.

Dolphin Dive Athens GA

Dive Knife — Though not intended as a weapon, the well-equipped diver carries at least one knife as part of his or her life supporting equipment. Cutting free from a tangle of discarded fishing line is just one of the scenarios necessitating a sharp knife.

Dolphin Dive Athens GA

Clothing — A rash guard worn under the wetsuit can keep a diver warmer and prevent chafing. Other clothing items to consider are jackets or hoodies to warm the diver during surface intervals, or t-shirts and shorts to sport between dives.

DSCN3691_largeDiver’s Gift Basket — Here’s your chance to get creative! Load up a basket (or mesh/beach bag) with small items: an underwater flashlight; mask defog; safety sausage; glow sticks; knife; dive reel; underwater dry erase board; whistle; emergency repair kits; spare o-rings; extra fin and mask straps. Throw in a subscription to a dive magazine or a towel, and you have created a fun, personalized holiday dive gift!

Shopping for your diver is about to get SO much BETTER! Come by Dolphin Dive Center on Saturday, December 15th for our Scuba Extravaganza 2012. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., we’re showing our appreciation to our customers with sale prices, free food, and raffles!

We’re selling new and used equipment at greatly reduced prices. Gift ideas galore! We’ll be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, so come hungry. And, did I mention the raffles? Yeah, look what people will win:

  • Sea Life DC1200 Pro Set (camera, flash, etc.), a $1000 value!
  • Sea Life Mini II Camera, a $200 value!
  • Education Package (Advanced Open Water class, Nitrox class, plus both c-cards), a $400+ value!
  • Three DDC Dive Club Memberships, a $50 value each!

Anyone purchasing 20 raffle tickets will receive a free DDC hooded sweatshirt. <–You could put it in the diver’s gift basket! 🙂

Happy holiday shopping to all.

See you at Dolphin Dive Center on the 15th!

Diving Cousteau’s Favorite Site: The Chimney

Photo Source

Don’t ask me to tell you which was my favorite dive site in the British Virgin Islands; I couldn’t choose. But Jacques Cousteau reportedly touted The Chimney as his favorite dive site, anywhere. So over the Thanksgiving holiday, we dropped down to see why the father of scuba loved diving this place so much.

The site is located in the north BVI, off the west shore of Great Dog island. The Dogs are a group of rocky islands to the west of Virgin Gorda. The moorings are within a protected cove and the site is shallow, only 45 feet at its deepest, making it an excellent site for all levels of dive experience. The north swells were up a bit the day we were there, introducing us to the joys and challenges of surge.

Dive BVI

Our guides for The Chimney dive were Jeff Nichols and a lovely Turkish woman, whose name escapes me. They were with Dive BVI, an SSI (and PADI) partner with a top-notch operation.

Pre-dive Paperwork

Before boarding Dive BVI’s boat, there were the prerequisite waivers and proof of certification papers to sign. Necessary, but hard to sit through when all you want to do is go diving!

On our way!

Finally, we were on our way from our location in the Bitter End Yacht Club Marina at Virgin Gorda. It was a short 20-minute ride to the Dog Islands.

Great Dog Island, BVI

Here’s The Chimney dive site, from the boat. The sea was pretty calm, but there was some surface current.

Dive Briefing

Jeff gave us a comprehensive dive and safety briefing, complete with diagrams  on a drop-down dry erase board hidden in the ceiling. Impressive 🙂

The Chimney is named for its resemblance to the technical rock climbing slot of the same  name. We used the mooring line for a controlled descent 40 feet down to The Fishbowl, an open area with several massive coral heads rising from a sand and rock strewn bottom. The fish here are spectacular, and we saw blue tangs, sergeant majors, yellow tail snapper, parrotfishes, angel fishes, and so many more.

We headed north, exploring the canyons and ridges that run parallel with the shore. At a depth of 45 feet, we worked our way around the point to a beautiful archway encrusted with cup corals and brightly colored coral polyps. Jeff was leading the way, and suddenly he spun to face us with a stiff hand against his forehead. “Shark!”

Resting on the bottom, right at the arch entrance, was a 5-foot long nurse shark. Cool! After gawking at it for a minute or two, we glided several feet above it and under the arch.

Once through the archway, we were inside a narrow, steep-walled corridor where the colorful corals and sponges blew us away. It was other-worldly. We didn’t need flashlights to see the bright oranges, purples, reds and yellows of the animal life that cling to the canyon walls. Breathtaking!

The walls grew ever closer together as we swam until we arrived at two enormous boulders that form a slot, which is the canyon exit. This is The Chimney. It looked too narrow to swim through, but we all glided through with no problem.

We continued on, exploring the base of the cliff where small boulders cover the sea floor. They look like giant river rocks, their surfaces rubbed smooth from years of rushing surge. Eventually we circled back around and explored the Fishbowl until our air supplies ran low.

I understand now why Cousteau favored this site. The colorful sea life that populates The Chimney is spectacular, even for non-marine biologists! And if you haven’t had the chance to experience this dive firsthand, here’s footage I found on YouTube. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite dive site in the BVI? In the world?

Post Author: Nicole Ducleroir, Advanced Open Water diver and Dolphin Dive Club member.
Note: If you are a diver and would like to share a dive experience, email Nicole at nicoleducleroir(at)gmail(dot)com!

The Scuba World is Geared Up at DEMA Show 2012

Dolphin-Dive-at-DEMAIt’s that time of year again: DEMA Show 2012 is underway in Las Vegas, Nevada! Our own Tim Bridgham, along with several DDC instructors, is in the midst of the action at the only international trade-only event for the diving, action water sports and travel industries. The DDC crew joins thousands of dive industry professionals who have gathered for the three day event. They’ll peruse hundreds of exhibits featuring the leading dive equipment manufacturers, travel destinations, and water sports apparel, and have the opportunity to attend DEMA Sponsored Seminars on state of the diving industry and current economic topics. And they’ll be present at the DEMA Awards Party, the premier industry networking event of the year, where our own Ron Aiello will be awarded the prestigious Platinum Pro 5000 Diver card. What a week!

Switchblade Fins

One of the highlights of DEMA Show is always the unveiling of new products driving innovation in the dive, travel and action water sports industries. The list is long of featured products that range from newly designed regulators and buoyancy compensators, to switchblade fins, to new underwater lights and improved underwater housing for camera and video equipment. The future of scuba diving is already here!

Scuba diving as we know it today is possible thanks to dive pioneer Jacques Cousteau. DEMA Show celebrates his legacy in many ways, including a guest appearance by Jean-Michel Cousteau at the Body Glove booth on November 14 where he promoted his book “My Father, the Captain.” Body Glove, incidentally, is celebrating a milestone anniversary. Every day at 4pm, Body Glove invites all DEMA attendees to have a beer with them, toasting their 60 years of innovation. I wonder if Tim and the guys will stop in…?

Simone Cousteau

Another member of the Cousteau family is being recognized for her diving achievements. Simone Cousteau (January 19, 1919 – December 1, 1990), pioneer diver and Aquanaut, was the wife of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. For her long list of contributions to the development of scuba diving, she is among 13 new inductees who will be welcomed into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in March 2013.

The DDC guys will be back home in Athens, GA this weekend, ready to share all they learned and observed at DEMA Show 2012. We’ll bring all that info to you right here, in a future blog post!

For more information:
Featured Products at DEMA Show
Body Glove Celebrates 60 Years of Innovation
The Women Divers Hall of Fame to welcome 7 New Members in 2013

A Glimpse at the Maldives

Here’s a little eye candy for those of you booked on the Maldives trip in January. And for the rest of us…well, I guess watching is nothing short of sweet torture. Either way, enjoy!

Our New Site!

Welcome to Dolphin Dive Center’s new website! Please excuse our dust as we get this place up and running, with all the great content you’re used to enjoying. The transition should be complete in just a few days, so check back often to see our progress.

Thanks for your patience!