Selecting the right dive shop is always important if you want to have the best dive trips possible each time you go out. There are a number of important factors that a good dive shop must have to make the overall experience not only enjoyable, but also an experience that you will learn something from. Some of the factors that I like to consider when choosing a dive shop are as follows:
- Full range of equipment
- Experienced dive instructors
- Active diving classes
- Frequent dive trips in the area
If the dive shop you’re considering as these four factors, it will generally be a good place to connect with to enhance your diving experience. So when you do your research for a dive shop in your area, always give these factors some consideration. You’ll be glad that you did!
We have used a dive shop in Daytona Beach for many years, not only because the dive experience is exceptional, but also because the owner of the shop is a real environmental enthusiast. He not only loves diving in the ocean, but he has a passion to take care of mother earth. He is very big and into green energy, solar investments, and the electric cars. Each time I see him he is talking about solar panels or solar water heaters and how much every person should have them.
He recently installed solar panels at his dive shop, and the company hired truly did a remarkable job. He also had a solar water heater installed and now he is saving a lot of money each month. He said he paid a pretty penny for all of the solar investments, but he swears by the fact that they will pay off in the end, and also make less of an environmental footprint at his shop. He also recommends them as the best solar contractors in Daytona Beach.
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Grand Cayman, in the Cayman Islands, is known as one of the top dive spots in the entire Caribbean. It has beautiful clear waters and a mild climate most of the year which makes for some great diving. One of the important factors for these Caribbean islands is how much wind it do they receive? In many of the Caribbean islands the wind blows just too hard for most of the year to make a diving very enjoyable. So when selecting a Caribbean diving spot always consider the wind for a given time of year. You can see here that it was selected #3 overall dive spot in the Caribbean
Another great thing about diving in the Cayman Islands is the beautiful and colorful array of fish. The diving there is simply amazing and part of that is the beautiful fish that you see in every direction that you look. You’ll see large fish and small fish of every family and every color. I saw a Black Grouper on my last trip that was at least 2 feet long. It was such a beautiful fish, and as Grouper usually are, he was not one bit afraid of me.
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We did some shore diving last month in Ponce Inlet near the Lighthouse Park, and it was really exceptional diving. We started just after sunrise and were diving literally the entire day. The great thing about entering the ocean from the beach is that you can generally go for very long periods of time without having to worry about how deep you are diving. This can make for some very enjoyable diving.
We set up camp at the park just as the sun was coming up. We were in an area that had just been cleared of every brush and dense trees, which was such a relief from the last time that we were there. When we were there last summer the tree overgrowth was so severe that we had a hard time organizing our guide equipment. Fortunately, the park hired a tree service company to get things cleaned up in a really good and outstanding job. The trees look beautiful still, but they don’t look completely out of control and unkempt. Tree removal can completely change the look of a yard or even an entire lot.
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Freshwater diving can be a lot of fun, and might be the only diving available to you depending on where you live. Most divers that I know always prefer diving in the ocean, whether it is wrecked dives or whether it is reef dives, from my experience this has always been the preferred diving.
However, you may live in an area where you are not close to the ocean say you don’t have many options in that regard. Therefore it is highly recommended that you keep your diving skills sharp you start to consider diving in lakes and springs. This can be very enjoyable diving and many divers have come to prefer this type of scuba diving over the ocean.
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OK, so the dive trip Nassau for my reunion did not exactly work out. Yes, the trip went ahead as planned, but I had a carpet and floor problem in my business that had to be dealt with. Our business is built on piers over a swamp, and the floor has been getting very cold and the carpet has been damp. So I had to miss the scuba diving weekend last month to deal with this, but the good thing is that I learned a lot about floor insulation and carpet. The company we used for the carpet cleaning and installation was out of Palm Coast, and they did an acceptable job. They were not the cheapest in town, but it was probably worth the additional money. I learned that carpet cleaning in Palm Coast, FL can really change the look of your home, and it smells a lot better too!
Floor insulation is a type of insulation, which is specifically designed for a floor. There are many benefits of installing floor insulation such as less energy costs, more efficient home, and it also promotes the longevity of a home. However, floor insulation is not suitable for every type of setting. It can make a big difference, if the setting is ideal. Different materials can be used in this type of insulation such as reflective foil to control the heat, fiberglass insulation for temperature exchange, and more. Once properly installed, you can install your carpet or vinyl directly over the floor, and what a difference it makes.
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The planet earth, our world, is finite, but the luxury dive destinations are almost infinite, from the Caribbean to the Pacific Rim. Luxury dive travel depends on each person, as there are many factors associated with it:
- Climate and time of year
- Travel time (travel from the US to Fiji will take several days)
- Type of diving (reefs, wrecks, etc)
The main concern with luxury dive destinations is choosing the proper destination based on your travel tastes, dive tastes, and your budget.
We took a trip last year to Sarasota that was wonderful. We flew into Lakeland Linder Airport, and were completely pampered by a limo service company from Brandon who picked us up in class and style. Now this was luxury travel at its finest. It was a super stretch black limousine with an amazing interior, and it took us to our resort in Sarasota where we did a 5-day dive trip with just our family. Memories for a lifetime!
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Over the years I’ve had so many people ask me where is the best place to get scuba certified, and what kind of course should I take. Dive shops offer nearly every different possibility for becoming certified in scuba diving. The course you choose is really a personal preference, and depends on your schedule and your other priorities in life.
Some of the options are as follows:
- Saturday and Sunday for two weekends (crash course)
- One night a week for 12 weeks
- Two nights a week for six weeks
- Resort crash course
It really depends on how busy your schedule is during the week, and on weekends. When I got certified 15 years ago I took the two weekend crash course. It was very intense and a huge time commitment, but I was done in two weekends. The schedule for this setup is a Friday afternoon class, all day Saturday, and then all day Sunday. You do this for two weekends in a row and then you’re certified.
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Well, we have some big news! My brother and I opened a dive shop in Ormond Beach, which is just north of Daytona. It has always been a dream of ours to have our own dive shop, and now it is a reality. We know it’s going to be a lot of work and it has been already, but we both know there’s nothing like owning your own business, and we will do whatever it takes to make this successful.
The building is not much to look at, but at least it is operating. We are renting a piece of land off of Nova Road, and it is highly wooded with a lot of overgrowth of vegetation. We spent the first two weeks trying to clear it ourselves, but finally had to just give up. We don’t have the equipment necessary to take care of the larger trees and overgrowth.
So a friend of mine recommended Volusia Tree Service out of Port Orange, and they have done a tremendous job. I never realized how much is involved in taking care of trees, and land clearing itself. Not only did we have to have a lot of trees removed, but we also had to have a lot of tree trimming as well as tree pruning. I never knew that tree pruning was so technical and involved!
Continue reading New Dive Shop – Come & See!
I generally try to keep my dive trips very positive, because they are usually some great and uplifting experiences. But truth be told, I have to tell you about my experience diving in the southwest part of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.
I was down there in the early 2000’s, and had never been diving in the Gulf of Mexico so thought I would give it a try. I had heard mixed reviews so I was not sure what to expect. I looked online for the best dive shop, and they all looked pretty similar so I just picked one randomly. I called and asked what the visibility had been the past few weeks? Always the sign of an experienced diver, wanting to know what the visibility was recently. Well, I clearly remember that I was told that it had been hovering around 40 feet. Not great, but good enough.
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There is no better weekend getaway than a guys’ dive weekend! For many years my friend Tim and I used to go to the Florida Keys every May for a guys’ dive weekend. Those weekends were always a complete blast, and memories for a lifetime. We used to dive Key West both morning and afternoon dives, and by the end of a four day weekend we were all exhausted.
This past summer we had all of the old gang fly into Tampa for a guys’ dive weekend in the Gulf of Mexico. I had three good buddies from college fly into Tampa International Airport, and I surprised them with a limo pick-up. It was awesome! My friend Randy knows the owner of a limousine company in Lakeland, and he comped the entire trip. See him here if you want a truly amazing limousine experience! So it was so much fun to ride in the limo from the Airport to our hotel in Tampa Bay. It was the perfect start to an awesome weekend.
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