Summer 2005 Scuba News Letter
What 's In This Newsletter?
An Update from UBS Dive Center
1st Anual BVI Wreck Week
Introducing Picnic Lunches
The BVI Dive Club
Congratulations To You!
What’s Happening at UBS?
Since I sent you all a note that Reef Chief had arrived in December, we have had some great and memorable moments here at UBS. We have had the pleasure this year of expanding the personnel side of the business through the addition of James Sanderson to our team. As Tony likes to point out, "another boat needs another dive instructor".
James hales from the United Kingdom and comes to us with a vast amount of diving and instruction experience under his weight belt. He received his original certification in Egypt, and then continued his dive training in the south-west UK. For professional training he decided to head over to Florida (better weather) and started to work professionally in Grand Cayman. After Cayman, he made his way to Cyprus where he became the Discover Scuba Diving King, which is where we found him before scooping him up and bringing him to the BVI. James has learned the area quickly and is a great addition to our team of instructors.
James and his long-time girlfriend Marie were engaged on Christmas day 2004; we are waiting for the wedding date to be announced. It looks like it will be the end of 2006 but I will keep you posted.
Kathryn and Tony are the same as always. Having James on the team this year has been a big help and we both can now take off more time from work than ever before. Don’t worry though one of us is always here, nevertheless, we are both managing to get off-island this year. Tony had a great time skiing with his dad, brothers and male friends at Mammoth Mountain in February and I am off to the UK to attend a cousins wedding in June and a long over-due visit to my brother.
We have great news and of very special event happening in the near future. Jai is taking the plunge into married life! Last summer Jai met a wonderful woman from Connecticut who was vacationing in the BVI and it was love at first sight! She moved to the BVI in February and they are planning the wedding for October 29th 2005. Tamara has made Jai a very happy man and we are all so very happy for them both. There is one downfall though: Jai’s singing is just as bad as always, but now he seems to be singing a lot more! Congratulations to Jai and Tamara; we wish you a long and wonderful life together.
In January, all of us here at UBS Dive Center went back to school. We all took the STCW94 class which is a three-day coast guard course that covers first aid emergencies (this was a bit pointless as we are all Medic First Responder Instructors), ship evacuation techniques, jumping in, out and turning a life raft.. (Very fun to play in the swimming pool with a great big life raft on a workday - oh isn’t that what we do every day?) Then on day three, the real fun started! We made great big fires from diesel and paint thinner and got to shoot off loads of different fire extinguishers! This was brilliant as none of us has ever been around a fire that was out of control and had to find a way to put it out. The power of the fire was immense. The fire extinguisher part was fun too! The main lesson learned from the course was: If there is ever a fire on a boat, jump off!!!!
This spring we have also put our boats through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) inspections for passenger carrying vessels. All three boats have passed and are now licensed to operate as commercial passenger vessels any where in the world where the IMO is the governing body. Don’t worry though - we are planning to stay in the BVI.
We are honored to still have Scott on our team, he has now been with us since 2001. All of you that dive with him regularly, will be very happy to know that next season he is going to be offering all the specialty diver courses from NAUI, at no extra charge. Even if you are a PADI certified diver, you can still complete the NAUI programs without a crossover exam. Scott has been busy being one of the founding BVI Wreck Week planners and coordinators. He is also responsible for the news releases and media coverage. Here is one of his news releases about the 1st annual BVI Wreck Week.
1st Annual BVI Wreck Week
British Virgin Islands 2005 Wreck Week Celebration - British Virgin Islands wreckognize their maritime heritage
October 22nd to 29th 2005
A ship is anchored at a beautiful Caribbean Island in 1867. Her crew prepares an early Sunday brunch on the canopied stern. Passengers stroll the main deck, ladies in long flowing dresses shelter from the hot sun under parasols. Little do they know that they have less than twelve hours to live. The brutal and impersonal devastation of a tropical hurricane in about to be visited upon them.
That is the story of the RMS Rhone that sank at Salt Island. But do you know that we have many other wrecks? There is the Chikuzen near Anegada, the Beata, Marie L. Pat and the Inganess Bay. The wreck of the Fearless is at Peter Island. And we also have the remains of an airplane at Great Dog Island.
The British Virgin Islands Scuba Organization (BVISO) and the BVI Tourist Board are cooperating this year to present the first annual Wreck Week Celebration. During the week the BVISO will be showcasing the diversity of wrecks and reefs in the BVI s.
I was honored to be asked to propose and plan this event for the BVISO, along with an employee of Sail Caribbean. The planning was met with enthusiasm by the membership of the BVISO and the Tourist Board. Some of the events that will be offered will be an underwater pumpkin carving contest, historical tour of Salt Island, movie night, and a finale night for all the participants.
UBS Dive Center will be hosting the Underwater Treasure Hunt at Norman Island. Prizes will be available to win. This hunt will be open to all ages, whether you are a diver or not.
-UBS is going to be hosting one of the events of Wreck Week and we will be present at all the events and happenings with our divers. If you want some more info just drop me a line. I have some special prices and packages call or email the The Tamarind Club and say you are comming for wreck week with UBS Dive Center The tamarind cl;ub is hosting all of the UBS Divers and you must book in now to reserve you space - Kate
:CLICK HERE: http://www.tamarindclub.com
These photos were taken by The Hillegas Family over Chrisatmas this year. Most of them were taken on night dives. As you can see not only do the critters come out at night but the colours of the reef show up better with an artificial light source, either a plash light or a strobe. Although the whole family is bieing mentioned and is reciecving the prize, I believe that Brandon deserves the most credit. The next time you are down in the BVI, I will through in a full underwater photograghy specialty course for the whole family as a prize for this years best shots.
I have had to put into the newsletter these pictures below taken by Brent Barkway. I think that he deserves special credit for the clarity of his shots!
Thanks to all of you that sent your photos of both above and below the water. If you go to the gallery on our web site I have a special album of all your puictures with your credits too. Keep them comming! http://www.scubabvi.com/html/gallery.html
As you can see from the top of this newsletter, we have a brand new logo! We have now been in business ten years and felt that it was time for an upgrade. We kept our famous diver but changed the colour, put in some sea swirls and added one of our other web addresses to it. Look carefully and you will find the http://www.exclusivelyprivatediving.com
It is now an option on our day trips for UBS to provide a picnic lunch. We can still visit the other islands and you can always choose to get a cheeseburger in paradise if you want. However, we have found that a picnic lunch is not only fun on the beach or boat but it gives us more time to be in the water. As we all know, lunch in the BVI can take some time, and going to one of the island restaurants to eat can take ages. This means that most of the time it is a push to get a snorkel in after two dives in the morning and lunch. Having the picnic has extended our time on the water as we can always get in an afternoon swim. The food comes from Harbour View Restaurant and is always spectacular. We do not get to order specific lunches so this keeps your cost down to only $12.50 each. So far, we have had wraps with turkey, ham or steak, curried chicken salads, pasta salads and regular salads. There is always a piece of fruit, some chips and best of all - home made desserts! Try it next time you are out for the full day trip. You need to let us know a day before and inform us about any food allergies or if you are a vegetarian.
BVI Dive Club
This spring we started diving regularly with a great group of friends from the Trellis Bay which is located at the far end of Beef Island for those of you who don’t know the area too well. It all started with the enthusiastic pleading of Emily, who at 11 years old wanted as much bottom time as she could get. Knowing the UBS policy of not mixing groups on board our dive boats, she would spend all week persuading her neighbors and parents friends that they all had to come out diving to share the boat cost. This worked out great for everyone. Divers who live in the BVI but have no regular buddies could come out and dive the group buddy system that we use at UBS. Novice divers who still feel the need for supervised dives were really happy to be diving with friends. What we are trying to accomplish with the dive club is to gather the local community of divers on a monthly basis to plan special days of diving. Once a member of the club, you qualify for joining the clubs' monthly "day out with UBS Dive Center" at a reduced rate. If in the future the BVI Dive Club finds they want to dive more often we can always schedule more dive days each month. Once a month the club will meet to swap pictures, talk diving and plan their next day out. The choices of the dive days and sites will be set by the group at the meeting and can include wrecks, pinnacles, deep ledges, shallow protected coves as well as special photographic opportunities. UBS Dive Center will offer all instruction for any dive course from Basic Certification to Diver Master free of charge, so even if you are not yet a diver and want to give it a go you are more than welcome to join. For membership of the BVI Dive Club, you must be a resident of the British Virgin Islands.
Occasionally we get a serious letter asking for help with a scuba diving related issue. As we mention to everyone that completes a dive course with us, if you ever have any questions or queries please just drop us a line or give us a call and we will try to help in whichever way we can. Here is a question and our answer from one of our certified divers. We thought it may be of help and interest to others so we have put it in this newsletter. Remember there is no such thing as a stupid question!
“I always seem to be the first one in my family to run low on air. After just 30 minutes diving on the wreck of the Rhone this spring break, everyone else seemed to still have half a tank left. How come I only had 500 psi?”
That’s a good question, one to which the answer will greatly improve your diving. Firstly, remember that you use air more quickly the deeper you go, so shallow dives will use less air and you cannot exceed your NDL no matter how much air you have! There are also some basic skills that you may want to try to improve to help in air consumption rates, here are a couple of things to think about.
· Buoyancy control: This might seem like a topic for novices, but the buoyancy control of many experienced divers is less than perfect, generally through over weighting. Maintaining neutral buoyancy throughout a dive avoids unnecessary kicking effort.
· Fining: Poor fining technique wastes effort and increases your breathing. Efficient fining uses strong, gentle strokes of the whole leg, taking each kick through to completion. Combined with good buoyancy you should be able to ‘kick and glide’.
· Equipment: Think about the gear you carry and how it is adjusted. For example, a dangling SPG will create more drag in the water. You can buy clips and holders that fit on any BCD from a dive store. You can even use them on rented equipment.
· Fitness: We had to mention it! Diving can be a strenuous sport that you will enjoy more and get longer dives if you have a reasonable level of cardiovascular fitness. Try adding a few minutes a day walking or swimming into your pre holiday preparations.
Whatever you do, don't try to save air by breath holding or deliberately breathing shallowly. At best, you will surface with a headache, but you could end up with a more serious injury. Addressing these four areas will get you diving like a pro! Remember UBS Dive Center, offers the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Adventure dive and Specialty Certification at no extra charge!
PS: Tony's answer is a little more simplistic, "Breath Slower!"
Book Review by James
Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a liquid world by Tim Ecott
I have enjoyed many books on the subject of diving, both fiction and non-fiction and with Neutral Buoyancy, I really think Tim Ecott has gotten to the bottom (no pun intended) of what it feels like to dive. He explores what it is that keeps beckoning him back to the blue. Tim is a BBC journalist and his skill as a professional writer shows with a book that is an immensely readable part memoir, part travelogue and part history. If you have a non-diving spouse, leave it around for them to pick up. You may find a new dive buddy!
As always, we are proud to list all of you that have successfully completed a couse with us since my last newsletter. Congratulations! Remember a good diver is always learning, keep your skills honed and continue your dive training with specialty and advanced courses.
Junior Scuba Diver
Junior Open Water Diver
Open Water Diver
Advanced Open Water Diver
Medic First Responder
The Staff at Guana Island Resort:
Virgin Islands Search and Rescue:
Once again, our utmost respect and thanks go out to all the volunteers of Virgin Islands Search and Rescue. We are continually keeping their certifications for the Medic First Responder certification current as part of UBS Dive Center's donation to the VISAR organization. These are only some of the new or re-certifications of the VISAR squad that we have done this year. Many other members are not listed above, as they were current in their certifications.
It is always special when we get an email from you when you have returned home from your vacation. It means so much to us that not only have we done a good job and that you were grateful of our efforts, but also that you have remembered us and taken the time to write a note and thank us when you have returned to your busy lives back in the “real world”. I normally put a few at the end of the newsletter but as I started to look through and choose some, I was spoiled for choice. So as a show of appreciation I have added a page to the web site with all of the notes and letters you have sent us over the years http://www.scubabvi.com/html/friends.html
Heartfelt Thanks from the whole team at UBS Dive Center; we are so lucky to meet new guests every morning and every afternoon have new friends!
Well that is all for this year, I hope I have filled you in on whats been happening at UBS Dive Center and some of our plans for next season. As always keep in touch and we hope to blow some bubbles with you in the BVI soon.
Kathryn, Tony, Scott, Jai and James.