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Manta Divers July 2006 Newsletter

July 2006        

Well, July is here and we are enjoying some really mild and beautiful weather!  During July, I always feel thankful to live in this great country of ours.  Even with our troubles and faults, we still have it better than any other place on the planet!  As I was sitting at the lake front, watching the fireworks on the 4th, I was thinking about independence and how diving specialty classes, especially the Advanced Open Water Diver class, really gave me my independence as a diver.

            Of all of the skills I’ve developed as a diver, underwater navigation is the one I use the most.  I remember my first ocean dive.  Terrorized by the thought of losing the divemaster and being unable to find the boat again, I stuck to her like a remora.  I always felt clueless during dives as to where we were and I was always a bit amazed that the divemaster was able to successfully get us back to the boat.   Since learning to navigate using not only a compass, but the physical features of a dive site and natural cues, I not only have become a bit bolder and less worried if I lose the dive guide, but I enjoy self led dives with just my buddy and I.  I expect that my navigation skills will be really handy this January in Bonaire.

            The other dive required for advanced open water certification, the deep dive, served to increase my comfort and confidence while diving in places like the Caymans where deep wall dives are a part of each diving day.  I got an introduction to the hazards of deep diving, such as nitrogen narcosis, cold, and decreased light and the best way to plan to avoid these troubles.  Rather than blindly following a profile set forth for me by the dive operation, I found I was equipped to, minimally, check the suggested profile to verify its safety or make my own profile to help me better meet my personal dive objectives.

            An often overlooked adventure dive option is the peak performance buoyancy dive.  It is always surprising to me how many divers never really work to make their buoyancy perfect when that is the key to decreased air consumption, maximal environmental protection, and relaxation while diving!  I remember quite vividly the first time I dived with near perfect buoyancy.  I felt truly free!  I was free to look at the wild life, float weightlessly and forsake the inflator hose for my own lungs and breath control.

            Each adventure dive offers its own unique lessons that enable you to be more independent as a diver and better able to take care of yourself.  In addition, if you find that you really liked, for example, the drift adventure dive, your adventure dive counts as your first dive toward your drift diving specialist rating. Likewise, with the other adventure dive options, such as boat, underwater naturalist, wreck and night, that first taste of a new dive activity can count as your first step toward that specialty.  The main thing is that you must get out and dive to keep your skills sharp, so working toward your advanced open water certification gives you that push.  Set yourself free with advanced open water!

So I’ve convinced you to take Advanced Open Water.  Now what??

Many of you certified divers would consider taking advanced open water, but don’t want to be stuck in a bunch of classroom sessions, or you are too busy to fit it into your schedule. Well if this is your thought process, you need to learn a bit about the advanced open water class.

            Advanced open water class is all about the diving.  There is a text and a DVD that give you the background needed to make the most of your adventure dives, but the loin’s share of your time in the “class” will be spent underwater.  You are required to do a deep dive and a navigation dive, then you choose three other “adventure dives”.  So to become an advanced open water diver, you just need to pick up the materials, read a bit, and schedule your dives.  For example, if you joined us for a chartered dive in Lake Michigan, that could count as a boat dive, a deep dive (depending on the site), or a wreck dive.  If you went with us to Pearl Lake we could do a buoyancy, wreck and under water navigation dive.  You can easily complete your advanced open water certification in two fun days of diving. 

In Other news…

            Okay, I know it’s a beautiful summer day out there, but just imagine this.  It is day ten in a series of sunless bitterly cold days.  You finally have packed up the last of the Christmas decorations, except for the now deflated Santa that is buried under a pile of snow.  You are nearly over what a jerk your brother-in-law was at the New Year’s party.  You are back into the daily grind of work after a month and a half of manic shopping and cooking and partying, but you are smiling. Why?  You are smiling because back in July, you signed up to join the fun folks at Manta Divers for a week long trip to Bonaire for fun, sun and diving!

            That’s right, we are sponsoring a trip to the Buddy Dive resort in Bonaire Jan. 20-27.  The package includes daily breakfast, 6 boat dives and of course unlimited shore diving that Bonaire is famous for. Each two bedroom apartment has the use of a vehicle to get to the many dive spots around the island.  You can eat in or enjoy the local cuisine and atmosphere at any of the island’s restaurants.  You can do a dawn dive if you chose, a night dive if the mood strikes after dinner, deep dives, shallow dives, whatever! Talk about freedom!   If 24hr diving is a little much for you (or if you have a non-diver in your life) there are plenty of topside activities, including snorkeling, deep sea fishing, and mountain biking to name a few.  The cost is $1675 for divers and $1455 for non divers. The only added expenses you would have are the $25 marine park fee, the $20 Bonaire departure tax, and your food and drinks.  Nitrox is also available for $9 or $22 unlimited for the week.  $500 holds your spot, with final payment due November1.

New Open Water Diver 
          Austin Lee
New Advanced Open Water Divers 
          Barry Cartwright
          Brandon Cartwright

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