Tag Archives: padi
December 20, 2010

PVX: Diving in San Cristóbal, Galapagos

View the same video in high-definition (720p) on Youtube.

After we finished up with our Galapagos excursion, Jeff, Oksana, and I found ourselves with a few days to kill in San Cristóbal. Our original plan was to go to Santa Cruz and look for diving excursions out of Puerto Ayora, but being on hotel lockdown for a day (during the Ecuadorian 2010 Census) left us a little short on time. We decided the best thing to do with our remaining days would be to simply dive out of Puerto Bazquerizo Moreno again.

We asked around at a few shops and figured out which dives were in the area. Kicker Rock has to be the hands-down best, but we’d already done that a couple days before. We opted to save a little money (and time) by doing two dives closer to town. We found the Dive and Surf Club who offered us a 2-tank dive for $85.

The next day, we discovered there would be one more person accompanying us. Tim, a fellow traveler who was just 6 dives or so away from his Divemaster license, was coming along, too. In fact, it was Tim who sent me an email about a week after we returned to the mainland, asking if any of our underwater footage came out…

This video is for you, Tim!

September 13, 2010

PV011: Сезон Лангустов (Russian version of Lobster Season)

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Поскольку Оксанин брат был своего рода центром истории этого подкаста, и потому что он только говорит по русски, и не понимает не слова  о том, что мы сказали в этом эпизоде, мы решили добавить субтитры к этой версии нашего видео специально для него. Я не нашел (простой способ), как  поместить субтитры в плеере Flash, так что я решил вернутся к Quicktime .MOVs.  Если видео не играет, убедитесь, что бесплатная версия QuickTime Player установленна на вашем компьютере.

(Since Oksana’s brother was sort of the story behind our last podcast, and since, because he only speaks Russian, he can’t understand a word of what we said, we decided to make a subtitled version of the video for him.  I couldn’t figure out (an easy way) to make the subtitles show up in the Flash player, so I went back to straight-up Quicktime .MOVs.  If you can’t play the video, make sure you download the free Quicktime player.)


August 30, 2010

PV011: Lobster Season

About three weeks ago, Oksana and I took her brother and sister-in-law, Andrey and Natasha, down to Key West. They were visiting from Russia and we took it upon ourselves to show them a good time. Andrey received his PADI open water certification course in Katmchatka this spring — in the COLD! — just so he could dive with us here in the States.

On our last trip through Key West, Oksana and I stumbled upon a little dive shop called Dive Key West. We had a wonderful experience with them, so we knew right where to take Andrey. What we didn’t realize, however, was that we would be there for the opening day of lobster season…

Technical notes: I had a little problem with… ahem, I mean I was fortune enough to have a learning experience with the audio on this podcast. I don’t know why our Zoom H2 picked up interference from our iPhones — they were both clear across the room and it’s never happened before — but our “clean” audio track was riddled with cell phone noise. The (slightly) lesser of two evils was to use the crappy audio record by the Canon 5D’s on-board mic. I have no idea where the clicking sounds throughout that track came from (because we were careful to turn off the AC and check for other noises in our hotel room.)  At any rate, I did the best I could with a little noise reduction and music.  Anyway, next time: phones powered all the way off.


August 1, 2008

Australia: Diving the Great Barrier Reef

Note the heavy grain, the terrible exposure.  We're in disposible camera country now.

You know what they say about a picture’s worth, right? Well, sadly, we have hardly any decent photos to show from our diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef, so I compensated by writing about our experiences instead. Here comes about 9 pictures’ worth of memories.
I’m kicking myself for not renting a digital camera for our dives ($150 for 4 days.) We bought a few disposable cameras instead, and boy, what a disappointment! Whole rolls of film went inexplicably unexposed. Others were trashed either in the development process or by the camera’s winding mechanism, resulting in double or even triple exposures. Consequently, some of the best moments of our dives live on only in these words or, at best, in severely grainy ISO800.

These dives occurred in November 2007. It didn’t take me nine months to write all this; rather it took that long to psych myself up for the task. Don’t worry, Oksana and I resolved to buy a proper underwater camera before our next dive.Okay, where were we? Oh, yeah:

I shuffled up to the side of the boat and fixed my mask into place. Left hand securing my weight belt and dive gages, the right pressing my mask and regulator to my face. I inhaled deeply, took a giant stride forward, stepped out into space. Here comes the Great Barrier Reef.

Wait a minute, back up. Before I took the plunge into the Great Barrier Reef, I was stopped at the edge of the boat by tug on my back. One of the divemasters on board had a hold of my tank’s valve. “Who’s your dive buddy?” he asked. “Uh, my wife. Why?” “Because your air is almost all the way off,” he said while twisting the valve all the way open. “Better talk to her about that.” Oksana was already in the water; she didn’t hear the exchange. “Thanks. I’ll make sure to mention it.” We were packed pretty tightly at the rail, and the boat was rocking side-to-side in the swells. With the divemaster cranking away at my tank valve, I almost lost my balance. I took a clumsy, half-step back before I caught myself, but the underwater photographer was right behind me. The bottom edge of my tank must have bumped into the huge glass port of her camera enclosure. Behind me, I heard her say, “Shit! Shitshitshit!” When I turned to look, she was pushing her way through the crowd and rubbing the glass with her finger. I felt guilty, and tried to apologize, but she was already gone. Dive 1 – Norman Reef: Plate Top. 32min at 12m I turned to step into the water. After plunging in, I bobbed to the surface, switched to my snorkel, and put some air into my BCD. The water was surprisingly warm, only 1 or 2 degrees colder than the air, but the wind was whipping the surface into a froth. Once we dipped below the surface, however, everything was calm. (more…)

July 22, 2008

Australia: Advanced Open Water Certification

Oksana and Arlo, masks too tight

I’ve gone snorkeling hundreds of times, but it wasn’t until Oksana and I were in Australia that I finally got certified to dive. I’ve been surrounded by PADI certified diver-friends since at least high school; I don’t really know why it’s taken this long. Although money was always a consideration, I think I could have overcome that obstacle if I really wanted to. In retrospect, I think the reasons for putting off diving were four-fold:

  • Not wanting to enroll in a course by myself
  • The additional cost the hobby would incur (i.e., buying or renting gear)
  • Thinking that snorkeling is essentially the same thing
  • And, don’t tell anyone, but maybe just a little fear about submerging myself in an environment so hostile to human life

In the last couple of years, Oksana and I have toyed with the idea of getting certified in Juneau. We’ve had friends watching out for classes, reminding us when they start, vouching for different dive shops. For whatever reason, the stars never seemed to align, but when we bought our airline tickets to Australia, I realized that a huge opportunity – exploring the Great Barrier Reef – might be missed.

Oksana didn’t have time to attend a class in Juneau before we left, so I looked into what it would take to get us certified in Australia. I had reservations about spending so much of our precious vacation time in “school,” but I couldn’t fathom skipping the Great Barrier Reef, either. The prices on the websites I found were comparable to Juneau; about $350 was the minimum for a 3-day, Open Water certification class. We could swing the cost, could we swing the time?

We made it a priority.