Scuba Dive Equipment

Scuba diving is one of the most exciting hobbies in the world and the only way to really enjoy it is wearing quality gear!

Walking into a scuba shop for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. There are literally hundreds of equipment options. Good gear may be pricey so you’ll want to be informed prior to making your investment.

First; ask yourself what dive conditions will you most likely be in?  Will you mostly be diving in cold or warm water?  While in colder water you’ll most likely want to purchase a thick neoprene wet suit (6mm) or possibly a dry suit.  If you’ll be diving in warmer tropical locations; you’ll need a 3mm or no suit at all (wet suit that is)! 

The newer BCD’s have the integrated weight system built in.  Weights & belts are no longer an issue.  With the integration you don’t even notice the weights are there!


Many divers buy gear on eBay or use decade old equipment..pease don’t do this!  Saving a few dollars can ruin your dive experience.  If your equipment is not properly fit, you will not enjoy yourself!

Finding the right gear is easy if you go to a reputable dive shop. They should have many styles to choose from.
A few of my favorite scuba manufactures are Scuba Pro, Tusa, and Oceanic.

I highly recommend trying your equipment on before making an online purchase.

Diving without a certification could result in serious injury or death. Please be sure to consult with a professional dive instructor before attempting to enter the water.  Knowledge & practice will keep you safe.

 

Happy Diving!

Leslie     (the scuba lady)

End Dolphin Slaughter

Follow The Journey To End Dolphin Slaughter.

Please do not buy tickets to dolphin shows or swim with dolphins in captivity; doing so promotes the killing of dolphins!

Join activists Ric and Lincoln O’Barry in The Cove, Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary of 2009, on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, shining a light on dolphin hunters’ dark and deadly secret.
Ric and Lincoln travel worldwide in their new series, Blood Dolphins, premiering Fridays at 9 pm on Animal Planet.

Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery, adding up to an unforgettable story that has inspired audiences worldwide to action.

By Team Planet Green


Desert Island

A man is stranded on a desert island, all alone for ten years. One day, he sees a speck in the horizon. He thinks to himself, “It’s not a ship.” The speck gets a little closer and he thinks, “It’s not a boat.” The speck gets even closer and he thinks, “It’s not a raft.” Then, out of the surf comes this gorgeous blonde woman, wearing a wet suit and scuba gear.

She comes up to the man and she says, “How long has it been since you’ve had a cigarette?”
“Ten years!” he says.

She reaches over, unzips this waterproof pocket on her left sleeve and pulls out a pack of fresh cigarettes. He takes one, lights it, takes a long drag and says, “Man, oh man! Is that good!”

Then she asked, “How long has it been since you had a drink of whiskey?

He replies, “Ten years!”

She reaches over, unzips the waterproof pocket on her right sleeve, pulls out a flask and gives it to him. He takes a long swig and says, “Wow, that’s fantastic!”

Then she starts unzipping the long zipper that runs down the front of her wet suit and she says to him, “And how long has it been since you had some REAL fun?”

And the man cries out, “My God! Don’t tell me you’ve got a set of golf clubs in there, too!”


Underwater Cameras

Can anyone recommend an underwater camera–either a camera that has a separate under water housing or one that is specifically for diving? Any suggestions for day time travel camera that’s lite?

David Mertens • I have a Canon Ixus 960 with vendor supplied underwater house up to 40m. It’s not suitable for professional use but works well and gives good results if you are looking for simple holiday underwater and above water pictures. Total price of camera and underwater house plus 4GB memory card and extra battery was about 850 euro 3 years ago.

Ridlon Kiphart • Hi Johanna, One of the first questions is budget? It’s great to get a Nikon or Canon DSLR and then a U/W housing. You can use the same high quality camera above and underwater and don’t have to carry two cameras. Are you even looking for a DSLR or more of a point and shoot?

Johanna B. • DSLR, but something light weight. I am open with budget, to me buying a camera is an investment, and even though I don’t necessarily think buying “top of the line” is the best– I do want something that compliments what I am looking for; but might have added benefits than to just a point & shoot. At the same time I am open to that as well. I just wanted to get others’ recommendations, so that from there I could research it and take in what others were recommending and why?

Ridlon Kiphart • I’d look at the Nikon D300s. Fantastic imagery and HD video too. It would probably be the last camera you would ever need to buy. Compact and light weight. There are also the D3000 and D5000. Make sure you check out housings before you buy the camera to make sure you can get the housing you want. In other words, this is a joint decision. Don’t buy the camera and then go searching for housing. Nexus and Nauticam make great housings for the D300s – compact and ergonomic. I’ve shot with a Nexus for the last 10 years. Hope that helps.

www.live-adventurously.com

Dennis Ng • You may take a look to Canon PowerShot G11; it has its own housing from Canon. But the video resolution is limited to 640×480. But its weight is a bit heavier than Ixus 960.

Charles Dagelinckx • The Sealife series of camera’s and flashes are very lite and suitable for taking underwater pictures.

Desmond de Haan • I have had a canon with Ikelite ext flash and recently switched to the Sealife with sealife ext flash.
I use it as a point and shoot, this slash is awesome as it almost always lights my pictures correctly due to the reflected light sensor that switches off the flash at the correct time. For a modest budget, it is the perfect camera for me.

Bob Hahn • Take a look at the Olympus cameras, they have a cameras from point and shoot to professional DSLR many with housings. http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_digital.asp.

Jonathan Teperson • I took shots 50-60 feet down with an Olympus Stylus 770SW with no case. Cant figure out how to load the picture of my depth gage.  It is rated 33 feet.  After the 60 foot dive it took a few days to snap back. I’d keep it under 40-45 and you would be fine. It’s real small, digital and has video capability.

Alison Puffer • I own a Sealife Reefmaster Pro – Bought it about 3 years ago for 700 plus extra for the strobe lights….takes great underwater pictures and video for non professional user….I use the strobes in darker waters like Catalina and the California coast, but it is not necessary for more tropical waters. I would recommend this camera to a first time buyer.

Jackie Hutchings • Hi Johanna, I use a Canon Ixus 100 IS with a Canon WP-DC31 waterproof housing and use a Inon wide angle lens for macro photography. I bought the whole lot from Cameras Underwater http://www.camerasunderwater.co.uk/ – they give great advice and really know their stuff. It does great video too.

Frank Snieders • Have that same Olympus 770sw, but did not dare taking it below 12m… at that depth it worked just fine; pretty daring if you took it to double that depth.

Ridlon Kiphart• Strobes are always important even in clear or “bright” water. Even the clearest water selectively absorbs colors starting with reds as shallow as 15 feet. All your photos will look bluewashed like the pic of the console above.

Evelyne Skorczynski • I have been using Kodak Playsport camera. Great for snorkeling.

Dennis Ng • I planned to buy a Sea&Sea strobe and a red filter for my Canon PowerShot S90. The YS-01 has a led light for focusing short distance object before the flash shoots. This should be helpful at night dives photo taking!

Leslie O’Neill –  Thanks for all your ideas!   A few weeks ago while teaching class I accidently closed a piece of the strap inside my camera housing…needless to say I flooded my camera.  I’m looking at new options as well.

A general idea what to expect for pricing.

Camera Cost Housing Housing Mfg Total
Sea & Sea DX-2G Digital UW Camera & Housing $999 N/A above & below $999
Sealife DC1200 $499 N/A above & below $499
Canon Digital IXUS 960 IS (Silver) $275 $220 $495
Nikon D300 Digital SLR Camera with Nikon AF-S DX 18-200mm lens $1,617 $1,400 $3,017
Nikon D3000 Digital SLR Camera with Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55 $599 1329 Ikelite $1,928
Canon PowerShot G11 10 MP Digital $435 $170 $605
Ixus 100 IS Digital Cameras $229 $246 $475
Olympus 770sw $585 $199.95 Olympus PT-022 $785
Panasonic TZ5
$294 $186
Panasonic DMW-MCTZ5
$480

Please add scuba diving related comments here; a great place to share information!

Leslie

Cayman Brac

If you are craving natural terrain, crystal-clear water & outdoor adventure, then Cayman Brac is where you’ll want to be!
The island gets its name from its landmark “The Bluff”- from the Gaelic word ‘brac’- which draws visitors in search of a stunning view.

There is a wide range of activities to keep everyone happy. One of the most popular is diving. the only Russian warship in the Western Hemisphere, the MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts was intentionally sunk in 1996 as an artificial reef. The Brac has 11 sites that are accessible by shore including Charlie’s Reef on the north side of the island. This site is named after a six-foot green moray and is known for the friendly schools of Spanish grunts.

Cayman Brac is a tropical paradise for both divers and non-divers alike. If diving isn’t for you; take time to explore the Museum in Stake Bay. Cayman Brac is a tropical paradise for both divers and non-divers alike.
The island offers some excellent opportunities for deep-sea fishing for marlin, tuna and Wahoo as well as fishing the flats with light tackle or fly rod for permit, tarpon and bonefish.

There is a series of caves to see, nature trails to hike, The island is also gaining a reputation as a premier rock climbing site with a number of locations along the 140-high bluffs on the eastern tip of the island..

Whether your interests are diving, snorkeling, swimming, fishing, hiking, sunbathing on the beach or by the pool, or just relaxing in a hammock, Cayman Brac offers visitors a safe, relaxed and friendly atmosphere in which to enjoy a carefree vacation!

Nudibranchs

Most people think slugs are ugly & slimy! But these sea slugs are downright beautiful!
Nudibranchs are soft, unlike snails with hard shells.

Can you believe their bright colors help protect them? Some use their colors to hide from predators. Others use their colors to warn predators that they are poisonous!

Nudibranchs are fun to watch!

Have you ever wondered what it is like to breathe under water?

There’s only one way to find out…try it! 

Class begins in 3′ of water.  If you become uncomfortable simply stand up.  You will be amazed how easy and safe scuba diving truly is.  Educating yourself on this topic will reduce all fear, getting involved and doing it will enrich your life!

We train scuba divers everywhere in the Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan areas:  Lee’s Summit, Shawnee, Lenexa, Overland Park, Kansas – anywhere North, South, East & West.  We come to your area and teach you at the nearest pool.  YMCA’s, local pools, your backyard pool, etc.

This is a great sport for anyone that enjoys water sports such as: skiing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, surfing, snorkeling, sailing & wind surfing.    And most any type of athletes that enjoy water.  I’ve actually taught many people that had extreme fear of water- if you truly want to overcome it, we can make it happen!

Could you envision yourself coming with us on a scuba trip?  Imagine riding off to your 1st dive site.  Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and the wind blowing through your hair as the boat sails through crystal clear water.  You can see white sand beaches lined with palm trees against the bright blue sky.  As we dive in, the water is bath water warm so there is no need for a wet suit.  You are surrounded by fantastic varieties of colorful corals, beautifully colored fish, dolphins and more!   Got the picture?

During your trip you have many options:  walk through a rainforest, ride a zip-line above the tree tops, rappelling of a cliff, wildlife & bird watching, jungle treks on nature trails. 

Some prefer sunning at the pool, enjoying a spa treatment, shopping for fun clothes, finding unusual décor for your home, a leisurely drive around the island or countryside, a luxurious lunch or an elegant dinner.

Or you may like to read a captivating book while swinging in a hammock as you drift off to sleep until happy hour begins at the local drinking establishment, just in time to bet on your turtle before the race begins.

In order to do all this, you will have to spend a few days completing the scuba course & a few days for certification before we leave!

It’s a two day commitment for class and two days to certify. You won’t want to waste the time or expense during your trip for this.

This is a lifetime certification. 

Organize a group of 7 people & your class will be free!  ($180 value)!

The beginning of your new adventure!

Call:  Leslie 913-522-8131

Scuba Diving Equipment

My fav fins- Tusa Liberator.  I realize it’s time to move on to split-fins.  What’s your favorite fin and why?

I still wear the same gold chronosport watch from 1984.  It works, looks new; why change now?

Guess my fav make of wetsuit…..you would be correct if you said O’Neill!

What’s your favorite dive equipment and why?

Sharks


David Shiffman loves all things sharks!  He is a graduate student in South Carolina studying the ecology and conservation of sandbar sharks, writes for the blog Southern Fried Science as “WhySharksMatter”, and even has his own book coming out in order to educate more people on why we should all be involved in protecting the world’s shark populations!

What is your favorite species of shark, and why?  What is your favorite shark quality?
A lot of people would probably think I was crazy if I claimed that sharks are beautiful animals, but no one can deny how gracefully they swim through the water.  I used to sit by the shark tank at the Pittsburgh aquarium for hours just watching them.

My favorite species of shark is the Megaladon, which is basically an extinct 60 feet long great white.  Their teeth can be five or six inches long, making them a pretty impressive predator!

Why do sharks matter, and what does the welfare of sharks mean for the welfare of the ocean?
Predators are always important to the health of food chains because they eat weak and sick prey.   Most sharks are apex predators, which means they are at the top of their food chain and are therefore vital regulators of ocean ecosystems.   Predators exert a force known as “top down control”, which helps keep food chains in check.  The loss of this top down control can lead to the destabilization of economically important food chains.

What research have you been working on concerning sandbar sharks?  What does it involve and why is it important?
My research focuses on the diet and trophic level of sandbar sharks.  Basically, I’m studying what they eat and how they fit into food chains up and down the East coast of the United States.  The old way of figuring out what sharks eat involves cutting open the stomach to see what falls out.   This is a direct approach, but it involves sacrificing lots of sharks.  I use a technique called stable isotope analysis, which involves taking a tiny muscle sample from sharks and from suspected prey species.  I then put these samples into a machine called a mass spectrometer in order to compare the isotope levels between the prey and predator samples.   This tells me how similar the samples are chemically and by interpreting this data we can determine what the sharks are eating.  This data is very important to natural resource managers who are trying to protect this important species.

Besides your research, what do you do in order to protect sharks?  What can others do?
Other than my research, I spend a lot of time educating the public about sharks.  I do this through writing.  I currently have an upcoming book called Why Sharks Matter, write for the blog Southern Fried Science, and also do many public education talks.  I believe that sharks are in trouble worldwide not because nobody cares, but because no one knows what is happening to them.

The most important thing that people can do is to learn about sharks, their importance, and the threats they face.  Once you’ve learned about them, tell a friend or family member what you’ve learned.  I also recommend eating marine stewardship council certified sustainable seafood, which has relatively low shark bycatch rates.

Tell us about your writing!  What is your book about?  What is Southern Fried Science?
My upcoming book is all about why sharks are important to ecosystems and economies, why sharks are in trouble, and how people can help them.  I honestly believe that if everyone knew these facts that the oceans would be a lot better off.

Southern Fried Science (southernfriedscience.com) was started by my good friend and former college roommate Andrew Thaler (the Southern Fried Scientist), who studies the deep sea.  We also have a third author, Amy Freitag (Bluegrass Blue Crab) who studies the sociology of blue crab fisherman in the outer banks.  I write as “WhySharksMatter”.

Our primary goal is to educate the public about science and conservation, but it also serves as a virtual meeting place for scientists, students, conservationists, and interested members of the general public to discuss important issues.  We welcome comments from all of our readers and encourage anyone reading this interview to read the blog and join in the discussion!

I write primarily about shark science and conservation issues, but anything ocean or science related is fair game.  Though many posts are designed merely to explain a new piece of shark news, I enjoy writing about controversial issues because they tend to generate interesting discussions.  I personally learn a lot by observing both sides of a debate argue it out.

It’s wonderful that there is a place where people can discuss and learn about difficult topics!  We recently read about your opinions on dolphin safe tuna.  What do you believe people should know about this subject?  How can this problem be solved?
Most people believe that eating “dolphin safe” tuna is an environmentally responsible decision.  In reality, while “dolphin safe” tuna fishing methods are much better for dolphins, they are much worse for sharks, as well as endangered sea turtles and sea birds.  The hard truth is that while no one wants to see flipper killed by a fishing net, dolphin populations were never endangered as a result of tuna bycatch.   Bycatch from “dolphin safe” tuna fishing affects many endangered species.  Many open ocean shark species, which the International Union for the Conservation of Nature says are in danger of extinction, are killed by this fishing method.

On an individual level, people can eat troll-caught tuna, which is much more expensive but doesn’t have any bycatch issues.  You can also just not eat tuna.  A global solution is much more complicated because tuna is one of the cheapest sources of protein around, which means that many of the world’s poor can’t really afford a more environmentally friendly food source.

Clearly this is a very complicated issue.  What kind of things do you feel need to be done, on both small and large scales, in terms of marine conservation?
I believe that there are too many fishermen catching too few fish.  We need a global fisheries management plan that includes lots of marine protected areas (some conservationists say 1/3 of the ocean) and tax incentives for fishermen to choose a new career.  Aquaculture and fish farming will probably be a part of the solution as well, but a lot of present day aquaculture technology has a lot of pollution issues as well.

David Shiffman is a graduate student studying marine biology at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. His research focuses on the feeding ecology and conservation of sandbar sharks. Originally from Pittsburgh, David graduated with distinction from Duke University in 2007 with a B.S. in Biology and a concentration in Marine Biology. In addition to his research, David is actively involved in educating the public about the importance of sharks and the threats they face. He writes for the marine biology blog SouthernFriedScience.com and gives shark conservation presentations.  After completing his masters degree he plans to get his PhD and continue researching shark ecology and conservation.

Dolphins

Dolphins use echolocation to navigate and hunt, bouncing high-pitched sounds off of objects, and listening for the echoes.

Fish and squid are the diet of the common dolphin, where the dolphins have been seen hunting and working together to herd the fish into tight balls.

“The greatest threat to whales, dolphins and porpoises is entanglement in fishing gear, also known as bycatch. If current trends continue unabated, several cetacean species and many populations will be lost in the next few decades.”

Since Spinner dolphins swim with yellowfin tuna, hundreds of thousands are slaughtered by tuna fisheries.  Thus the enactment of national and international laws for dolphin safe tuna.

Baby dolphins are sucked forward by the motion of their swimming mothers — giving them a needed assist — when they position themselves to the right and behind their mothers.

Dolphins sleep with one half of their brain plus one eye closed, then switching to the other side of the brain and the other eye closed during other parts of the day — slowing down everything inside their bodies and moving very little.

A dolphin swims alongside a humpback whale to say “hello”!

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