Aquatic Adventures Blog

Rescue Diver

Why the PADI Rescue Diver Class is so Important

He was 30 feet down under water…he was out of air and his mask was half full of water.  He signaled to his dive buddy “out of air” as he struggled to open the valve on the pony bottle of air.  His buddy pushed the pony bottle regulator into his mouth but kept his hand over the purge button.  He had no air left in his lungs to clear the regulator and could not access the purge button.  His eyes went wide, his lungs began to burn, panic was setting in…what happens now?*

Having recently taken the PADI Rescue Diver class, Tom and Makinon Herbert were glad to share their diving class experiences with me. With Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water and Emergency First Response certifications already completed, both were ready to take their scuba training further.  Originally viewing Rescue Diver as just a class, they soon learned it was so much more.

With a full color manual of relevant information, quizzes, reviews and tests, an accident management workslate, and a pocket EFR mask, the Rescue Diver crew packet comes complete with the necessary materials.  Beginning with an evening of classroom learning, self-rescue skills were discussed,  the importance of safety was gone over and various scenarios were imagined.  Upon completion of the classroom training, Tom and Makinon then prepared for the lake on the upcoming weekend.

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Blackbird Caye Resort Beach

Ten Reasons To Go To Blackbird Caye

Aquatic Adventures will be hosting a trip to Blackbird Caye Resort in Belize from October 21-28, 2017. Having visited Blackbird Caye on four separate occasions, I put together “ten reasons” why you should consider going to Blackbird. Here they are.

1. If doing the Great Blue Hole is on your bucket list, Blackbird Caye puts you about as close as you can get at only about 80 minutes away. The boat from Blackbird leaves at the usual time (instead of at dawn from San Pedro) and puts you in the water at the Great Blue Hole just after the boats from other resorts are leaving. When my husband Jim and I went last year, we dived the Blue Hole with just four other divers and had the experience all to ourselves.

After the Blue Hole, you dive The Playground, a dive site with reef swimthroughs and home to several sharks. Many people call The Playground the best dive in Belize. For lunch at Half Moon Caye the resort prepares a barbecue. After all the chicken and hamburgers, you can walk over to the red-footed booby rookery on the Caye and checked out the nesting birds from the above-the-trees observation spot. The last dive of the day is at the Aquarium, which lives up to its name. There is no better place to do the Blue Hole but make sure you have Advanced Open Water Certification. The divemaster will not take you down the Great Blue Hole without it. There is an up-charge for this trip.

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Advanced Open Water

A few weeks ago I began my Advanced Open Water certification. Jerry, my Open Water instructor, was my instructor again for Advanced Open Water. My classmates were three guys, and my dive buddy was a guy who had only been diving in warm tropical water before. He thought seeing a wreck on Lake Michigan would be exciting, but he wasn’t thrilled about going to Pearl Lake in Illinois for some of our dives because he thought it would be boring.

The dives we were doing for our certification were Peak Performance Buoyancy, Underwater Navigator, Search and Recovery, Wreck Diving and Deep Diving. Jerry had us come to the store on a Thursday to go over the bookwork and practice using a compass and tying knots.

On Saturday we went down to Pearl Lake to do our Peak Performance Buoyancy, Underwater Navigator, and Search and Recovery dives. It took my buddy and I a while to get into the water. Since he had never been diving in cold water, he wasn’t sure what to wear under his wetsuit and he didn’t know what order to put things on in. I suggested he wear the compression shorts he had brought rather than a regular swimsuit that would bunch under the wetsuit and walked him through how to get all his gear on.

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Milwaukee Car Ferry

Explore Underwater Archaeology

Are you interested in Underwater Archaeology? I am, but I had difficulty finding a training course in the Southeast Wisconsin area. During my visit to “Our World Underwater” in Chicago last winter, I stopped at the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago booth. My goal was to determine if they would be hosting any training classes. They suggested I contact Dr. Mark Holley at Northwestern Michigan College. After accessing the college website, I discovered the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) program hosted by the school as a part of their college curriculum.

The Nautical Archaeology Society’s principal aim is to “promote the preservation of the nautical heritage for the benefit of current and future generations”. One of several ways the NAS accomplishes that is through the NAS training program which was established in 1968. The training program is made up of these four courses:

  1. NAS Part I Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology.
  2. NAS Part II Intermediate Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology.
  3. NAS Part III Advanced Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology.
  4. NAS Part IV Diploma in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology.

After contacting Dr. Holley, I determined I could take the NAS Part I course online and subsequently meet with him to learn the practical skills of underwater surveying and recording. I enrolled in April and spent the spring and early summer completing the online program. In August, Dr. Holley and I met and he demonstrated the necessary survey and recording techniques thereby completing my certification requirements for NAS Part I.

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