History of Diving Museum

We really enjoyed our stop on the way down the Florida Keys the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada, Florida.

These metal suits were used to protect the diver from the high levels of pressure at depths near a thousand feet, greatly reducing the decompression times. They look more like robots to me.

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Helmets were used way into the 1960s!

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There is an impressive collection of real diving helmets from every country in the world that has made them.

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We’ve always just driven past this amazing sculpture of a spiny lobster.

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This time, we just had to share this cool photo opportunity!

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Scuba in the Maldives – Post 5

Batfish Inside the Atoll

One of the nice things about diving on the inside was swimming with the Bat Fish. They are curiously social and love to swim next to divers to get a closer look, while many other species of fish tend to swim away and hide.

By the start of the second week of diving three times each day, some of the people aboard were not diving every time. For Lindsay and I the underlying drive to not miss anything was stronger than the desire to rest! I did, however, end up skipping one out of the 36 dives, so I could sleep in. Lindsay made every trip!

This video is from all three dives on the same day, which were are on the inside of an atoll, which means the conditions are calmer and the fish and creatures tend to be a bit smaller than when diving on the ocean side of a reef. Every time we dove this day, there were Bat Fish.

 

Scuba in the Maldives – Post 4

MORE Mantis Shrimp!

Enjoy this scuba in the Maldives music video including appearances by a Leaf Fish, exposed coral polyps, a Mantis Shrimp, and a school of Sweetlips. 

Scuba in the Maldives – Post 2

Mantis Shrimp Encounter

On day 7, we went diving on several “Thilas”, pronounced “Til’ us”. According to Wikipedia, Thila is a village in west-Central Yemen. In the Maldives, it is slang for the very tall and cylindrical steep-walled underwater coral formations with flat tops a few meters underwater. Just think of the Roadrunner cartoon landscape but with bright corals attached to the sides and tops of the skinny plateaus, surrounded by deep blue water. This video is a combination clips taken of the many corals, fish and creatures we saw during the day’s diving on these formations. The star of the show is the Mantis Shrimp!

Did you know that Mantis Shrimps smash the shells of their prey with club-shaped arms? Reportedly they strike with the force of a bullet! The swing is so fast that water actually cavitates, which means small air bubbles form behind the moving club. Even if they don’t hit their intended target, the bubbles collapse, forming a mind-blowing shock wave that can kill or stun the poor crustacean that was unable to escape!

I have just been getting started editing videos using iMovie, so please excuse the amateur quality!

 

Want more? Here is a cool video by Nat Geo on the Mantis Shrimp.

 

Scuba in the Maldives – Post 1

Two weeks living aboard MV Stingray, diving three times a day!

After almost two years of planning and promoting, on April 20th 2015 we set sail on the MV Stingray for a 14 night dive safari around some of the most famous dive sites of  the Maldives.

World map of Maldives

Nestled in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 miles south of the tip of India, the 4,000 tiny islands of the Republic offer some of the most spectacular diving on our planet.

Atoll in Maldives

In addition to Lindsay and I, more than half of the divers on this trip were taking pictures and recording videos. As they all return home and share the media with us, we will pick some of the best images and post short stories about the trip.

Here is one of the short videos I made on day three, when we were diving to depths up to 100 feet in a channel between the Indian Ocean and an atoll. It is a teaser of what the dive sites at the Maldives have to offer, because based on the tidal currents this day, it was less populated than most of the other sites.

 

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Off to become Dive Instructors now

While we were traveling around Guatemala, Tadd & I were reminded, by a random poster in a random backpackers hostel, that we had considered becoming PADI scuba instructors when we had finished our Divemaster in 2009…

So fate or whatever kicked in, and we found out that we had just enough time to whizz off to the island of Utila off the north coast of Honduras, and do just that.

We grabbed up our backpack and all our diver gear and jumped in the first collectivo headed the right direction…
I took this while we still had room to take pictures
After crossing the border to Honduras, without much formality, we avoided the enticement of the taxi drivers and packed onto another ex-school bus headed to Puerto Cortez
We jumped off that bus, ran across the road and onto the next bus for San Pedro Sula
And after yet another bus, we made it to La Ceiba… but sadly not it time for the 4pm ferry to Utila… so we had a night to enjoy the “delights” of this coastal town.
Utila’s a great island, just 18 miles north of La Ceiba… full of backpackers and divers
With some interesting buildings
We spent most of the next two weeks either in the classroom, pool or shallow open water learning the ins and outs of safely teaching people to dive… and then we were ready for the two days of evaluations…
By this stage we were almost done and all very confident that we were going to pass…. Yay!
Tadd with our instructor Matt Awty
And me with our other instructor Rich Astley
We graduated amidst a great bunch of people at BICD… all-in-all a great bunch of people and fabulous instructors!!
There was quite a celebration with all our new instructor colleagues!
But before we knew it, it was time to make the slog back to Guatemala… our first mode of transport of the day…
and Tadd’s first Tuc-Tuc ride
It’s amazing what comes aboard the ferry with you sometimes!
We thought we were pros on the overland travel thing… until we discovered that heavy rains had washed out one of the bridges just on the Guatemalan side of the border… so the resourceful locals had set up lancha trips for a small fee
All part of the adventure!!
So we made it safely back to Rio Dulce, Guatemala and to our boat… just in time to pack up and head north.

Gleb gleb gleb

Elkhorn Coral

It was a little strange being in San Pedro without Dave and Corinne (happy travels!) but we found something to help fill the void.

Tadd and I had talked about continuing our PADI training in hopes of having some fun and also making ourselves even more employable, so having talked to a bunch of dive shops on the island, I set out to get my Rescue diver cert with Crazee Eddie.

Crazy Eddie

The whole thing only took a couple of days and Tadd was able to come along for a free dive one morning so not too shabby. Eddie was fun, but being slow season here, he didn’t have many students lined up, so we decided to go with Ecologic Divers (next door) for our Divemaster certifications as they had a steady stream of people through their doors.

It may not have been the cheapest place in the world to divemaster, but we were already here… with a free place to live.. and had begun to get to know the island a little and where to get cheap food and shopping. And as we were going to spend 3 weeks training we reckoned the number of dives we would get to do would outweigh a cheaper location that would just push us quickly through the course.

Ecologic Dock

So we began our life as, “lower than whale sperm,”  according to Steve Lee (one of our instructors at Ecologic).

The diving was great and we got lots of dives in! We spent just under 4 weeks hanging and training with Steve, Junior, Shelley, Juanita, Charlie, Marcos… and all the other quirky characters at the dive shop.

We got to go to lots of the different sites outside the reef with the long finger canyons of coral reef that reach out east from the Meso-American Mayan Reef (2nd biggest in the world) that stretches south from the Mexico to Belize and beyond) and dive with up to 14 nurse sharks at once, spotted eagle rays, turtles, moray eels, giant grouper and dozens of other multicolored species of fish, corals and sponges. We even got to go dive the wall at the Elbow of Turneffe Cay, as well as exploring the Hol Chan channel by night (Tadd’s first night dive!).

Ecologic tanks

But one of the most memorable dives was the day I spotted a poor yellow-tailed snapper with a hook in it’s mouth… I pointed it out to Tadd who gestured to indicate that it was done for… and so he grabbed the end of the fishing line dangling from the hook (hoping to trail the fish back to boat and for our dinner!) … but the snapper was having nothing to do with that plan and began to swim around like a crazy fish… Charlie the divemaster reckoned he could get the hook out and took over… at which point a big, black grouper came close by… and then out of nowhere the black grouper whizzed up from somewhere beneath us and inhaled the snapper, the hook, the fishing line and almost Charlie’s hand in one huge, and amazingly audible gulp… and it was all over!!

www.richard-seaman.com

The challenges of underwater fishing I guess!