What is in your save a dive kit?

You don’t have a save a dive kit? How many times have you been on a dive boat and someone lost a fin strap or something is missing or wrong with their gear and magically someone on the boat has that part in their save a dive kit?  All it takes is one time and you are the hero of the day.

So what is in my save a dive kit?

Tools, open ended wrenches are nice but they do add weight and take up room.  I have a multi-purpose tool with wrenches, screw save a dive kitdriver blades and allen keys

O-rings of various sizes and more than 1 of each and at least 5 or 6 tank o-rings and a pick to remove said o-ring

Zip ties for mouth pieces and mouth pieces

A couple mask straps

A fin strap and buckle or 2

Aqua Seal for any patching of a wetsuit I may need to do

Batteries for my computer and camera

I know, that is a lot and yes, the dive boat/shop will probably have all of that stuff so why have a save a dive kit?  There are times that we are not diving with a boat crew or near the shop, especially on the Island of Bonaire where shore diving is the norm.  By having all this extra stuff I don’t have to drag everything back to the shop to get a new o-ring for the tank.

Most of this stuff stays in the room or the dive locker, but it has come handy on a few trips when someone needed to change out a hose or maybe they wanted to try a different hose configuration on their regulator set up.tool kit

What is not in my save a dive kit, hoses and parts for my regulators and the tools to overhaul a regulator that is something that should be done before you get to the islands.


Happy Diving!



My journey to PADI OWSI by Jeff Morehouse

jeff PADI OWSI30 days in Vietnam? How in my scuba journey did that happen? As with most that become PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors (PADI OWSI) it began innocently enough with a Discover Scuba Diving while on a vacation in the British Virgin Islands.  That was just so much fun that I got certified to dive. From there diving started creeping into everything I wanted to do and after a few trips to Mexico, I was an Advanced Open Water Diver. But diving only 6 to 12 times a year just wasn’t enough for me, so I started adding specialty classes as a way to improve my skills, but they also got me diving more and watching others teaching scuba interested me.  So, I decided to volunteer to do things at Scuba Joe’s just so I could hang out at the dive shop.

Becoming a PADI OWSI was sort of on my radar to do, when the time was right, but then something happened that changed my life and waiting for “the right time” was over.  Do what you dream of before it is too late to do it! So, I began my Dive Master training with the goal of seeing the world and leading dives. After completing Dive Master, I soon realized that what I really wanted was to be a PADI OWSI.  After some soul searching and talking to friends I decided to go for it and started my path to PADI  OWSI. First becoming an assistant instructor and then the IDC, the most interesting and challenging week or 2 weeks that you will ever spend with some new friends.

Do you remember in the PADI Open Water diver video, the saying “meet people, go places and do things”? Well, I took that to heart and made it one of my little goals. So, after getting my PADI OWSI I started looking for opportunities in places I had never been nor even thought I would go, sending out emails from the listings on the PADI Pro site and then it happened, a response from Rainbow Divers in Vietnam. The next day everything went into storage and off I set.

Since that day, I have meet and made some new and amazing friends. Even the toughest day is still incredible. A few weeks ago I went to lunch and got lost on my way back and wound up in a residential area. You know what they do on their day off? The same thing everyone does, I could have been in Glenwood Springs that Sunday afternoon.  Kids in the street, people washing their scooters.  Similarities bring a common bond and we can all share in the fun.

jm padi owsiI have been lucky enough to go diving 12 days in a row, teaching diving as a PADI OWSI.  Turning fear into courage, opening hearts and minds to the wonders of the world and helping to change a life for the better.

I will leave you with this and as a newer PADI OWSI, I hope I never forget this dive as I recall my first dive. As we come to the surface after our first dive my student yells out “THAT WAS $%#^%$ AWESOME!” how long before we can go again? I smiled and laughed and told him it would be 45 minutes before we could as I like to think “go home again”.  Do you remember your first dive?  As a PADI OWSI you will help people make those memories special.  In the PADI Instructor manual there is a saying, “from what we get we make a living, from what we give we make a life” and as a PADI OWSI I get to see it every day.


My Scuba Adventure by Jessica Martinez-Burkey

TurtleWhat got me interested in Scuba? I really don’t like to answer that question. I am a Colorado girl born and raised. I ski and snowboard and we live nowhere near an Ocean. I am a mountain girl. The truth is – it was my husband John’s idea to get scuba certified and I really did not have much interest in it at all. I began my scuba adventure trying to do something that I knew my husband loved and I, frankly, could not have cared less about. My confession: I really only got certified to spend more time with him doing something that I knew he enjoyed.

After I got certified I spent the first several dives afraid to take my eyes off of the Divemaster who was leading our dive. My eyes were glued to the Divemaster’s fins. Imagine my surprise when I finally relaxed and looked around – what I found was a whole other world! I was still on this planet, but I felt like I had been entirely transported. When I looked around I saw the most amazing and beautiful DonnaWalllandscapes with hills and caves and swaying plant life; so many vibrant colors and entire ecosystems of fish and marine life. This, I realized, is a part of the same planet, but it is a separate world and I am a mere visitor. I felt awe and wonder at this strange and beautiful underwater environment and I could not wait to explore, but I was also a little fearful and tentative.

Once I relaxed I began to enjoy scuba so much that I always wanted to be in the water exploring. I wanted to see everything! It did not take long for me to realize I needed to work on my skills. I was a guest in this beautiful underwater world and I needed to stop being so clumsy with my fins. I also needed to improve my buoyancy so that I could more easily explore without disturbing or damaging their beautiful home. Learning more about the basics like how to conserve air so that I could have more bottom time, (relax) and ways I could continue diving if my dive computer stopped working, (dive tables) was imperative. John and I decided to start furthering our education and working on our skills so we took classes with the goal of becoming Master Scuba Divers. It was a lot of work, but well worth it when we finally reached our goal and became Master Scuba Divers! My newfound knowledge and skills completely enhanced my dive experience. Diving became so enjoyable to me that I wanted to share it with others. I did not realize how much I wanted to be a part of the journey of others until my husband and I went to a PADI Pro Night at Joe’s Scuba Shack.

We initially went to the PADI “Go Pro” Night because it was a Scuba Party where we could talk about diving with our Scuba friends. Little did we realize a light would turn on in our heads that night and we would connect the dots – John and I could do what we love and help introduce others to have this same amazing and life changing experience through Scuba! That very night we had a plan. We would immediately get to work on our Divemaster certifications. John knew that night he wanted to continue on and become an Open Water Scuba Instructor. I, however, was not sure if I wanted to move past Divemaster. I knew a Divemaster certification would enable me to lead dives with certified divers and also assist a Scuba Instructor with students. My main goal at that time was to get the additional Divemaster certification so that I could introduce people to scuba by conducting Discover Scuba sessions. I began to really enjoy helping the instructors with their students. I became an important part of something new and exciting for the students. It was a surprisingly fulfilling experience for me when I saw fear become accomplishment as students gained confidence.Crab

We had so much fun completing our Divemaster certification with Donna and Joe and working with the Assistant Instructor candidates as well as helping students to have fun and learn new skills that I decided I wanted to move on to the next stage – Assistant Instructor. It was a challenge completing our Assistant Instructor certification and I gained a whole new level of respect for PADI and their complete emphasis on safety through exemplary student training – lead by example and by not deviating from the well-designed PADI system of learning. I thought Assistant Instructor would be my final certification. Who was I kidding? Well, apparently I was only kidding myself because I am very proud to say that I am now an Assistant Instructor. It did not take me long to realize there is no way I am stopping before I become an Open Water Scuba Instructor!

My scuba journey is only just beginning and there is nothing I find more exciting and fulfilling than helping others discover their own scuba adventures.


Too Old for Master Scuba Diver?

Two times in the past 24 hours I have heard, “too old for Master Scuba Diver” or Specialty classes? I am just an old “fill in your own blank”.  But too old for Master Scuba Diver?  Too old to learn?  I keep seeing the slogan from Dive Training Magazine, “ a GOOD diver is always learning”. Or look at it this way, most of us in our “day” jobs take a training class or attend a training meeting at least once a year, we are always learning something to make our jobs easier; so why should your diving be any different?

lift bag

Maybe the Master Scuba Diver Challenge isn’t for you, but by adding on continuing educational opportunities such as Altitude Diving or drift diving, since we are going to Cozumel next month, you expand your knowledge of something that you love and enjoy doing and generally that knowledge increases or enjoyment of the sport.  Master Scuba Diver is a challenge, it includes advanced open water and rescue diver plus 5 specialties and you need to have logged 50 or more dives. By taking the Master Scuba Diver challenge you increase your knowledge and abilities in the water and greatly enhance your enjoyment of a sport you already love.

Maybe becoming a Master Scuba Diver isn’t on your radar, but as Jethro Tull sang you are never too old to learn (ok so I paraphrase a little). Dive Training Magazine’s slogan is one to take to heart, “A GOOD DIVER IS ALWAYS LEARNING”. It may not be a formal class or program such as the Master Scuba Diver, it maybe something as simple as sitting on the boat and talking about your dive with a dive master or instructor. Maybe you saw an article in the magazine or overheard something on the boat? Take the opportunity to challenge yourself and raise your skill level and your enjoyment of diving

So my friends we are never to old for Scuba


All about Drift Diving

Ah, drift diving in Cozumel.  In just a few short months we will make that little back roll and drop down and just let the current push us along, so lazy and easy.  Well, that is generally how we describe drift diving, but there is so much more to it than what we make it out to be.  While it is also, basically true that there is little if any need to kick, just adjust your buoyancy and soar along.Turtle

So, let us look at some of the challenges in drift diving.

First and possibly the most important thing in drift diving is to have awesome buoyancy control and to be streamlined in our gear set up.  By being streamlined and being able to control our buoyancy with just our lung power we can maintain a good position over the reef.

In drift diving our ascents and descents are different as the current is pushing us along.  On our descent we want to all enter the water together or as close to it as possible to help keep our group together. On our ascent again we want to try and keep the group as close together as possible as the boat has been tracking our bubbles and should hopefully be there to pick us up.

In some locations where the current is extra strong we may need a reef hook, so we can safely slow down and watch the show as the current sweeps by us.

What if we get separated from the group on our drift dive? All drift divers should carry a “safety sausage” and a whistle at the least.  I like to carry a finger spool reel with 100 feet of line just in case I get separated from the group so II can send up my marker while I am on my safety stop and the boats in the area know that there is a diver below.


Why become an Open Water Scuba Instructor

CNCC scubaYesterday, I posted to our facebook page the opening lines of the Open Water Scuba Instructors creed. I want to post it here today as a reminder to all of our instructors and to those that are thinking about becoming an open water scuba instructor



As a scuba instructor, I have the opportunity to see:

  • Fear change to courage
  • Faint-heartedness converted into accomplishment
  • Timidity transformed into confidence

As a scuba instructor, I can:

  • Open hearts and minds to the hidden beauty of nature’s creation and our obligation to protect it
  • Foster self-esteem in another person
  • Teach the value of character and integrity
  • Transform another human being and change a life for the better and forever

I have seen this many times and again I saw it this weekend with 2 of my students.  I am like a proud parent in how far they have come. Sometimes we as instructors know what fear our student has.  Sometimes, as in the case of one of our students we have no clue as to their fears since they don’t or are not comfortable sharing until that card comes in and they have it in their hand.

I recall one time when I handed a student his open water card and he had tears in his eyes.  I didn’t think much about it until we got an email, thanking us for working with him and explaining that this macho man had lost someone close to him in a recent lake drowning.

Or the group of 4 men as they watched me so intently as I worked with a Discover Scuba Diving class one evening at the local pool. This group of guys had lost 2 family members to drowning and they consider themselves to be non-swimmers.

Yes, as an Open Water Scuba Instructor I have seen fear become courage. I have seen the pride that students have when they receive that card.  I have seen parents respond to their child becoming open water divers with pride and joy and overcome their own fears and timidness.

I have seen the amazement on the faces of people when they return from their first ocean dives.

And yes, I have seen and lived the transformation as I myself have been transformed by the sport and life of scuba. You see my friends, I was once that timid and scared person and now I am an open water scuba instructor.


Translating water temp

PADI LogoStudent: If the water temp of the pool is 81 degrees why do I need a wetsuit?

Instructor: Well, if you remember from your reading and class that water takes heat from the body 20 to 25 times faster than air.

Student: Do I need to use the wetsuit?

Instructor: It is your choice, everyone is different; but why don’t I bring it to the pool just in case.

As instructors and dive shop people, we get asked all the time about what type of wetsuit for different wonderful islands that people are traveling to and fortunately we have been in a lot of different water temp and can usually help out in trying to get a suit that will work for most people. Everyone is different, on one trip to Hawaii I was diving in my 3 mil with a hooded vest and still felt a little chill. Some friends where in their 7 mil suits with hood and vest and Donna was in her 5 mil and hood and vest, then there were the young guys from San Diego that were diving in skins or just their board shorts.

Let’s take a look at water temp as it relates to air temp. As we know water will take the heat from your body 20 to 25 times faster than air.

80 degree water = 68 degree air

75 degree water = 50 degree air

70 degree water = 32 degree air

On a nice late spring day with the air temp at 80 degrees we are all probably running around in shorts and light shirts and enjoying the sun. 80 degrees is a nice day to hang out at the pool or beach.  But 68? I might be playing golf in shorts, but I will have a light weight pullover to keep me warm. 75 degree days? No worry, it is nice and beautiful, but 50 degrees is chilly and I am wearing a coat.

Instructor to Student: You cold?

Student: (shivering) not to bad

Instructor:  You are turning blue, please go put the wetsuit on

Student: Ok, I am a little cold

Instructor: (smiling)ok


      As always happy bubbles and feel free to leave a comment

A ZOO? In Grand Junction?

Hornbill Aw, a nice sunny sunday strolling through the zoo with our kids and grand kids.  Do you remember that? Do you remember the first time you saw a strange creature diving?

As divers we have the opportunity to impact our world through such positive and wonderful organizations such as Project Aware and many others.  Either through volunteering or the donation of your financial assets, we have opportunities to impact the world and others.  We can make a difference.

I want to share with you and maybe introduce to you an organization right here in our backyard, The Grand Valley Zoological Quest.  What you say a zoo on Grand Junction? But not just a zoo, an educational center built around animals and conservation.  Most of us have been to a zoo or aquarium and marveled and stare and been amazed at the animals, we have even taken our kids and grand kids to Denver to the zoo and some have even dove at the aquarium with the sharks. But we have to travel to do it.  The vision of the folks at www.gvzooquest.org is to bring that here to our valley.

Grand Valley Zoo Quest is a group of professionals devoted to creating a wildlife conservancy in the Grand Valley of Western Colorado.  Our goal is to connect students with nature to promote education, conservation, and research. Since January 2011 over 14,500 students have participated in our programs and outreach.

They are also part of Frog Watch, which is a program funded by the National Science Foundation.  Did you know that there were tree frogs here in the Grand Valley?

Janet Gardner, the founder of this wonderful group of hardworking people, shared that little tidbit with us last night as well as many others such as most of our kids have never seen a racoon or at least can recognize one.

carshowHow can you help?  Well they are hosting a Car Show on June 1 at American Furniture and they have set up the salt water aquarium here in the dive shop with a donation basket.  We are going to host an open house for them here in the dive shop on July 20.  I will detail more plans as we get closer, but the thought is to bring in some of the animals to the shop so you and the kids and grand kids can come in and see and maybe even touch and learn about the animals and also more about the mission that they are undertaking.

Can you imagine an Aquarium/Zoo/Rain Forest/ Educational Center right here in our back yard?  They can and I can and that my friends would impact our world in a positive way for many generations to come

Are you Scuba fit?

okMost of us work out to be healthier and fit.  We eat better and try to maintain a fit body to some varying degree of success.  But are we scuba fit?  What does scuba fit mean?  Let us breakdown how our body moves as we dive.

First, are we cardio fit? Does any effort exhaust us?  Having good cardio fitness is important in diving, due to the pressures we place on our body and our breathing efforts.  I think everyone can agree on this.  So to be scuba fit, we should do at least 20 minutes of cardio 4 to 5 times a week. 

How scuba fit is our core and the rest of our body? Our legs are obviously a spot that we should work on adding some strength and keeping them fit to drive our fins, but what about the rest of the body?  Think about your other activities as you plan your workouts.  Do you like to golf as I do?  Then some flexibility and core exercises would be good to add to our routines. Golf and scuba, also both require a good fit upper body to swing the club or don our gear and to help our dive buddy don their gear.

Being scuba fit does not mean you have to spend hours at the gym and being ultra thin or Mr. Muscle man. It only means being fit and prepared to make the dives we wish to make.  Is our body prepared for the effort we must put forth to enjoy this wonderful sport or are we going to be so sore and tired that we cannot enjoy the rest of what the sport offers us as we travel the world?

There is actually a wonderful web page and program called Scuba Fit.  You can get more info at www.ScubaFit.com

How Much Lead?, Buoyancy for Beginners

okMany new divers ask this question just before they pack their bags for that tropical vacation, how much lead will I need for buoyancy? There are many ways to answer that basic question, but if you have taken your PADI advanced open water class with us, then you already know that there is a basic weighting chart in your adventures in diving manual and you also know that there is a small little typo in that same chart.

Let’s take a look at the normal diver and how I might weight you for your tropical island dives.  First, what type of wetsuit are you using?  A dive skin or a 2 mil shorty or maybe a full 3 mil.  Maybe you run cold and are using a 5 mil full suit.  They all add buoyancy to us and they all have very different buoyancy issues to overcome.  For an average person in salt water let’s start with

  • Dive skin or swim suit, since neither of these have any buoyancy start with 4 to 6 pounds
  • 2 or 3 mil Shorty or full suit – 5% of your body weight plus approximately 4 pounds for the added buoyancy of the tank as it empties
  • 5 mil full suit – 10% of your body weight plus the extra for the tank

These are not hard and fast rules, but a basic starting point.  A person that carries a lower percentage of body fat, such as a weight lifter might use less weight that a person that is carrying a few extra pounds around their middle.  I have seen very thin and in shape divers that needed extra weight and very large people who needed all most no lead.  Every diver is different and every diver has different gear.  If you have been diving with a heavy jacket style BCD and you then start diving with the Zuma travel BCD you will need to adjust your weight up to counter the lighter weight of the travel BCD.  The same goes for a new wetsuit, add a few extra pounds of lead to counter the added buoyancy of the wetsuit as they are more buoyant when they are new.scuba joe