Sunday, March 8, 2015

Videos of the 2015 Connecticut Special Olympics Penguin Plunge at Hammonasset State park, Madison Ct.

 The 2015 Special Olympics Penguin Plunge at Hammonasset state park in Madison, Ct.  was a great success yesterday!  Some of the staff from Diver's Cove dive shop in Essex were there as safety personnel to help make sure everyone had a great time freezing! The air temperature was about 27 degrees, with a nasty wind. and the water was actually below freezing at 31 degrees. We were in the water for about 25 minutes, and the longest plungers were in the water for 30 seconds! Im certain we were warmer than they were in our drysuits.

I will be uploading a bunch of videos of the plunge from the perspective of the safety divers in the water. Be sure to find yourself in the video's and  comment on and share them with your friends! the more the word gets out the bigger the event will be next year!!
Check them all out, there are a couple different camera angles, so you may be in more than 1. Feel free to share them as well , and if you like them, please give them a thumbs up! it helps.

Come visit us at Diver's Cove to learn about the Scuba classes we offer on the Connecticut shoreline!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Connecticut College Spring 2015 Basic Scuba Class

We had a great first class on scuba this week. Everyone learned to clear their mask, recover their regulator second stage and use their buoyancy compensator.  Its a great class and everyone did well. this is going to be a great class!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

GoPro Cameras, and Great accessories to use for travel, diving, and exploring the world.

    Anyone who leads an active life knows that it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. I love being an explorer, whether it is diving with hammerhead sharks in Egypt, exploring underwater caves in Belize, or searching for megladon shark teeth in the alligator infested waters of South Carolina rivers. One piece of equipment I always include with my gear is my go-pro. The small size makes it perfect for mounting on a helmet, the Go-Scope extreme pole, or just throw it in a pocket and roll.
Go-pro, hero, gopro4, gopro3+, gopro3, gopro silver, scuba diving mexico, cave, cliff, jumping
Notice the Go-Pro in hand for the Leap!
    "Intro to the Go-Pro" is my favorite class to teach at the dive shop, Divers Cove, because the camera is so easy to use I can show someone how to work the camera in 15 minutes and then get right to the fun stuff like tips on how to use it! It's so simple to use once its set up and you have a little practice you will be filming professional looking videos right away. It's so simple that I often wear it on a head strap when I scuba dive, I have to run it, change settings and film with out being able to see the camera at all. And it's a piece of cake! It only has 3 buttons, and makes a series of beeps that are easy to use to navigate the settings and use of the camera The best thing is that it's on my head so it sees every thing that I see and leaves my hands free to do things like grab a lobster! 

Check out this little video of a large lobster I came across while diving (no lobsters were harmed in the filming of this video) 

    It's nearly indestructible, I have used my go-pros on countless dives, and know hundreds of people who use them in all sorts of different applications. I have never seen one destroyed or flooded in normal use. I have been present at thousands of hours of filming underwater, sometimes as many as 18-20 cameras in the water, and never have seen or even heard of one flooding. About the best testament I have seen is a video from a go-pro strapped to a sky diver who lost it as he left the plane. It fell about 10,000 feet while still filming, and landed on the drop zone intact. and was found by random chance by a skydiver who walked over it a few minutes later. STILL RECORDING. it is an awesome video clip.

gopro hero, inexpensive gopro
Goscope, Go-pro

GoPro 4 Black

Micro SD card

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A New Year Dive! (almost)

    Today we are heading to Essex Connecticut to get in the water. Its a bit on the chilly side, Air temp is about 30 degrees and the water is a couple degrees warmer. Essex is a very old town on the Connecticut river and there has been activity here since the 1600's. It was a major shipbuilding hub early on and there are not many properties on the river that haven't been host to the construction of a sailing vessel. The British raided the town in April of 1814 Burning and sinking nearly 30 ships at a devastating cost. The dive site we are going to be checking out is right  downtown, so who knows what will be found!

 The diving in the river is at best murky, and normally 1-2 feet of visibility. so we will be using touch to see what can be found. And there not be any videos posted. Chocolate milk looking water does not make for a good video.  We will all be wearing drysuits to stay warm, and keep us protected.  I am also wearing my new Ocean Reef full face mask to help keep my face warmer as well.

Update! Im back from the river, and from the lead photo you can tell it was bitter cold. we spent about a half hour underwater, and came up with some cool bottles. my favorite is this bowling pin bottle from the early1900's very cool!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Underwater Metal Detecting turns up a gold ring!

I have been metal detecting for many years above the water and below. This year  I decided to buy a new underwater detector. A Minelab Excalibur, arguably one of the best underwater detectors out there. My biggest problem, I bought it in September just as the diving season here in Connecticut starts to wind down. There's nothing worse than having a new toy and a limited amount of time to put it to use.  We have a favorite local dive site here where we do much of our "everyday diving"   It has a typical New England bottom, muddy flats with a few rocks and tires to break up the monotony. It turns up several old bottles a year but  being in a local harbor there's no telling what might turn up. I decided to try out the metal detector and see what popped up. I was thinking a brass cleat from a boat, maybe an old coin lost by a fisherman, or maybe an old bronze prop from a boat! but having detected for years, I knew the far more likely scenario was that I would find a bunch of bottle caps and pop tops, Bringing them to shore to be deposited in the trash. 

After quite a long swim, I turned on the detector and began my hunt. Five minutes of fiddling around brought me to my first good target. Sounds good I thought, so I began to dig... and the mud billowed up, completely obscuring my view. By touch I located my target, holding on and waiting for the mud to settle, my first target  was a ring! But wait, was it a brass ring or gold? I couldn't tell. I was so excited I couldn't believe that my first find was what looked like a ring! I put it in my finds bag and continued on for about ten more minutes until I found my next target.  looking in the bag, I couldn't see the ring. It must have fallen out as I made my snail trail across the bottom! I can't believe this I thought,  I can't surface and tell my friends that I found a gold ring, then lost it right away! The abuse I would take for that would be legendary. "sure you found a gold ring... Did the leprechaun come and steal it back for his pot of gold?" ugh.
I decided to try and follow my trail back, hoping to find it laying on the muddy bottom. Not having any idea where I had been, I started the search. thirty minutes later, I found the ring with the detector again. Needless to say, the ring came back to shore gripped tightly in my hand. 
After cleaning it up, the pitting and wear show that it was obviously on the bottom a very long time.  One of my favorite finds ever, it makes me wonder who lost it?  A fisherman tending lobster traps? I'll never know.. 

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia

One site thats on just about everyones bucket list! Clear water, Huge amounts of sea life,  and all around great diving. I recommend that you spend your time here on a live-aboard dive charter like The Spirit of Freedom. Its the best way to fully experience this UNESCO world heritage area.  

Potato Cod up close and personal
Cod Hole is a great site to get up close and personal with large potato cod. They are very friendly when you have food for them. Its fun when you can get inches away from a 5' long fish!

Mantas are a common site on the reef. there were times when we had 3-6 of them in site at once. 16' wingspans are not uncommon either!

Caverns full of interesting sea life In this particular cavern,a return at night led us to a huge school of small fish each with a round luminescent spot that glowed brightly in the dark. It was like Watching the stars swirl overhead.

6' Olive sea snakes were quite friendly at times too! A bit too friendly if you ask me. Knowing that they have a bite that's one of the most poisonous in the world, and trying to capture them on film while they slithered over and around me, made the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

Minke whales are a fantastic sight. we heard them often during our dives, but were only able to see them on the surface. Only two divers got to see them, George and I, and only because on the last dive of the week, we stayed in the water after everyone got out. Hanging on the anchor line at the bow of the boat, we were able to observe two whales and a shark circling us for twenty minutes! It pays to be the last out of the water.

Product Review: XSscuba's Dry 5 Dry gloves

As a New England diver, one of the most difficult dilemmas we face is staying warm when we dive. The water can be quite chilly with water temps range from mid 30's- mid 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A good pair of gloves can make a big difference in a day of diving. I have recently been diving with XSScuba's Dry 5 Gloves A semi dry glove that keeps my hands warm during the coldest dives.

The gloves are reasonably priced, $63.99 at my local dive shop. they are made with neoprene rubber with a double cuff system that tucks under its self to limit the exchange of water inside the glove. If you look in the first photo above, you can see that the first cuff is tucked under itself, creating a semi waterproof seal. Once that is tucked you can roll the top cuff over it to keep it sealed. During the dive my hands stay nice and warm, and even as i get out of the water I notice that my hands are still warm, a pretty unusual  thing for New England diving.

The only downside with the gloves that I see is that being able to tuck the second gloves cuff under itself can be difficult. When one hand is wearing a glove it is a bit of a challenge to tuck the second cuff under with a gloved hand.  Not a huge problem when you have a buddy who can help, but it can be a bit frustrating when you are trying to do it yourself.

I like to recommend these gloves to people because I know it will make for longer and more enjoyable dives. Its very nice to get out of the water after a chilly dive and realize that your hands are the warmest part of your body. I think this keeps you feeling warmer all over and will increase the length of your dive season!