Ways to get the most out of your Scuba Diving Certification with
Adventure Sports Newmarket Inc.
Taylor Lapratt Abreu
So, you made it! You finally managed to get out there and get your scuba diving certification. You probably went on a trip and fell in love with it, or maybe you spent a weekend at your cottage showing off your skills to the rest of the family, who couldn’t quite get as deep as you in the lake. Who knows… But now what? Waiting for your next family trip? Or perhaps, waiting for summer again so you can rent gear once, or maybe even twice if your lucky? Finding it difficult to find others that share the same interest or certification? We’ve all been there.
New divers often have trouble finding opportunities to continue to engage in the sport, especially when they don’t have any family or friends who are certified as well. Here at Adventure Sports Newmarket Inc. we value your interest in scuba and provide a variety of opportunities for you to practice your dive skills, invite friends and family to ‘try it out’, meet new people, explore new places, and really just dive… as much as you want!
So, what are these opportunities we have to offer?
Monday Night Pool Dives at the Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex
We believe in the importance of keeping up-to-date with your scuba diving skills and overall understanding of diving in general. Therefore, throughout the fall/winter season, between September and April, we offer weekly opportunities for divers to come out, hang out, and practice, practice, PRACTICE!
For $25 +tax, we get you the rental gear you need and meet you at the at 8pm on Monday nights.
Invite a Friend to Try it out & Join them in the Pool
Now it’s time to try to convince your family and friends to give it a try, am I right? In addition to our Monday Night Pool Dives, we offer Discover Scuba Diving classes for those who are wishing to give the sport a try, in a safe and comfortable environment… the pool! Have them come out and buddy up with them in the pool as they practice their skills and discover the fun with one of our Divemasters or Instructors!
For $50 +tax, they would receive an hour of in-class learning, an hour of diving in the pool, and the appropriate rental gear for them to participate. All they will need is a swim suit and towel!
ASN Dive Events
Throughout the dive season, Adventure Sports arranges Scuba Diving Events geared towards acts of conservation as well as fun and interactive activities built around different holidays. Our most popular annual dive events are hosted at the beginning and end of each dive season, starting with our Dive Against Debris in the Spring and ending with our Underwater Pumpkin carving in the fall. These events are free to attend and are a great way to familiarize yourself with Adventure Sports dive locations as well as a great opportunity to meet our experienced and loyal divers.
Meet the Gang – Join the Club
The Tank Jockeys Dive Club is a year-round recreational scuba diving club based out of Newmarket, Ontario through Adventure Sports Newmarket Inc. The focus of this dive club is to promote socialization amongst local divers through monthly social events and a wide variety of different diving opportunities.
With new divers joining us each year, this club has grown immensely. From Instructors & DiveMasters to Rebreathers & Sidemount Divers … the variety is there, making it a great group to meet some new dive buddies close to home!
The group meets on the second Tuesday of every month to enjoy dinner & drinks together, while sharing stories, experiences, advice and upcoming opportunities.
Throughout May to September, Adventure Sports Newmarket Inc. offers a variety of local dive trips to locations such as: Tobermory, Brockville, Kingston, Christian Island and more! Though some of these trips are only suitable to Advanced Open Water Divers whom are certified to a maximum recreational depth of 100 feet, locations such as Tobermory and Christian Island offer divers a great opportunity for their first dive, or newer, more novice divers a chance to practice the sport of scuba diving at a new destination close to home.
Local dive trips vary between a single day or an entire weekend of diving. Each day of diving typically consists of two boats, with one headed out in the morning typically with our Advanced divers and one in the afternoon typically consisting of our Open Water divers and students. You can expect a two-tank dive and depending on the trip location and weather/water conditions, you may be able to visit two separate sites for these dives!
Joining us on our Ontario Dive Trips throughout the summer is probably the best way to really get the most of diving close to home. Exploring different dive sites across Ontario can offer incredibly clear visibility, loads of different shipwrecks to explore, new diving conditions such as drift, or even the chance to meet new divers outside of Adventure Sports Newmarket!
From January to December, we offer a wide variety of dive trips abroad, targeted towards many types of different divers. Trips range in location, accommodation type and price so that all divers can choose a trip best suitable to them. We offer both all-inclusive resort trips suitable for families or groups of divers and non-divers, as well as liveaboard trips for you aquaholics looking to dive up to 25 times in just one week! Though we do have our annual trips to specific locations, each year we do our best to add a new and exciting destination into the mix, hoping to explore more of the ocean annually with our divers (ex. Roatan 2018, Indonesia 2019, Philippines 2020)!!!
So, whether it’s to use up the rest of your vacation time, advance your skills in a new scuba course, or even just to jump in to the sport of scuba for your first time in general, these trips abroad are a great way to do so!
Continue your Education
As many of you may already know, courses never end here at Adventure Sports. From Open Water Diver to Advanced, Rescue Diver to Dive Master... Instructor… Dive Specialties… There’s always something to offer.
Do you plan on an intense dive trip of up to 5 dives a day? Maybe an Enriched Air Diver Course is something you’d like to consider. Did you get sucked in to scuba diving because of all the underwater creatures? Maybe the PADI Underwater Photography course is something you’d be interested in. Perhaps you’d like to feel more confident diving with a family member? A Rescue Diver course will do the trick!
Wherever your scuba diving goals lead you, we will take you.
Join our Facebook Group
The ASN Scuba Forum Group is your online way of interacting with other divers from our dive shop. This is the place where you can share stories you see online or pictures of creatures that caught your eye. Here is where everyone enjoys sharing all things scuba. Ask questions about something you’re unsure of or ask if anyone is up for a dive this weekend… Whatever you wish to share or ask, this is the best place to do it.
By Jill Smith
For Sealife DC2000 users, there is a new firmware update that offers some improvements on the camera; I think you will be interested!
Why I like it:
NO MORE BUFFERING TIME! Or at least not noticeable.
I want RAW capture capability in my underwater camera, which is why I moved to the Sony A6000 in the first place. When Sealife offered RAW capture in the DC2000, Jody got one for him and the shop to use. We like it very much, EXCEPT for the buffering time after taking a shot; it prevents you from taking another one for 3 or 4 seconds, which can be a very long time if you are face to face with a cool animal underwater!
There are many other improvements made to camera functions as well - click the button below to read about them in detail, and find out how to upgrade your DC2000 camera.
By Jill Smith. (Next AquaCat scuba trip NEW YEAR 2019/2020!)
May 10 1980
Two Cuban fishing vessels were discovered poaching in Bahamian waters.
The Bahama’s HMBS Flamingo attempted to make arrests, but were attacked by the Cubans in retaliation. As a result, 4 Bahamian Defence Force Marines were killed: Austin Smith, Fenrick Sturrup, David Tucker, and Edward Williams.
A 90-foot Coast Guard Cutter was decommissioned, and it was decided that it would be towed to San Salvador to be sunk as an artifical reef and scuba diving site. It never made it, however.
Due to a series of mishaps, the vessel accidentally sunk in the Exuma Cays en-route to its intended destination. The Bahamian government agreed to name this wreck in honour of one of the brave marines that died 15 years prior in the Cuban attack of 1980, and so it became the Austin Smith Wreck, and a popular scuba diving site.
The Austin Smith came to rest in an upright position in approximately 60 feet of water, on top of a coral bed in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas. For 20 years the wreck remained whole and in good condition, until Hurricane Matthew (a category 5 storm) swept through the area between September 28, and October 6, 2016. The power of this storm broke the Austin Smith into 2 pieces, however, the wreck still supports the flourishing local marine life, and remains a favourite dive site for divers. Reef sharks frequent the area and can almost always be seen swimming around the wreck.
Just the Facts
Location: Bahamas (Exuma Cays) - the Caribbean Sea
Visibility: Average-10 m//33 ft Max-30 m/100 ft
Depth: 50-60 feet in area
Weather: Average Water Temp: 83.5F - Average Air Temp: 81F Weather conditions in area: http:weather.com/weather/tenday/l/Nassau+The+Bahamas+BFXX0005
Water temps can be as low as 75F in the winter, and as high as 88F in the summer Exposure suits: Recommended even in summer to prevent injury on wreck due to scrapes, cuts, and stings due to firecoral (or jellyfish if diving at night) Diver skill level: Suitable for beginners, but loved by all skill levels
Current: Very little, but may vary with weather conditions
The little critters found on and around the wreck (reef is right there):
Equipment: Normal Recreational Scuba Gear, safety gear (SMB), knife for possible disentanglement
Optional: Photography gear an asset - this is a beautiful wreck!
Environmental Factors: As always, maintain good buoyancy and don’t touch!
Wildlife: Reef sharks, moray eels, barracuda, parrotfish, angelfish, grouper, and don’t forget the small crabs and shrimps hiding in little places!
Medical and Emergency
The DAN Dive Accident Insurance Plans are recognized worldwide and can be confirmed 24 hours a day through the DAN Emergency Hotline (+1-919-684-9111). The DAN plans provide secondary coverage of up to $500,000 and pay 100% of eligible expenses.
Bahamas Hyperbaric Center Ltd
The Bahamas Hyperbaric chamber facility/clinic is on the grounds of the Lyford Cay Hospital in Nassau. This facility also extends free educational programs to Bahamas Dive Operators, and regularly provide training/coordination of air and sea evacuations and patient transfers from site of injury.
SSS NETWORK / Nassau
Bahamas Hyperbaric Center, Ltd. P.O.Box CB-10981 Nassau, Bahamas
Phone/Fax: Tel: (242) 362 – 5765
Normal Clinic Hours are: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (U.S. Eastern Time, – 5 GMT), 7 Days a Week
Bahamas 24 Hour Emergency Lines: (242) 362 5765
Bahamas 24 Hour Emergency Mobile: (242) 422 2434
Lyford Cay Hospital:
Lyford Cay Hospital Emergency: (242) 362 40251
By Jill Smith
First of all, thank-you to the wonderful crew (Captain Ron, 1st mate Jason, Adam, Jill, Charlie, Tohru, Scott, Yari, Jesse, and Tom), who made our week extra special; it was one that we will never forget thanks to you!
For some divers who have been on the Aquacat before, you will remember Jill and Adam, and we were so happy to see them again! What a happy surprise to find out that they are a couple now (super adorable), and have some big plans for their future! Jill and Adam are investing in gear and equipment to launch their business and travel adventures! They will be travelling and taking beautiful macro, artistic, abstract underwater photography quite unlike anything else. They are also looking forward to creating some very unique travel vlogs, blogs, and books for the discerning traveller who appreciates some creativity and humour with their research efforts. They are still in the preliminary phases of this endeavour, but I will share their website and Facebook page when they get it going – Peru will be first on their travel list this winter, so I look forward to experiencing Peru through their eyes. Good luck Jill and Adam!
Favourite Dive Site – Austin Smith wreck
The first time we visited the Austin Smith in 2014, it was still intact, but on October 6th of 2015, Hurricane Matthew blasted the Bahamas, causing extensive damage to the area, and breaking the Austin Smith wreck in two. It still remains a beautiful site to dive, with sharks frequenting the area, and a lot of life thriving both on the wreck and the nearby reef.
I had the happy privilege of diving this site with my son Sam; so we entered the water and made our way to the mooring - I am doing my mapping project on the Austin Smith wreck for my divemaster program, and our plan was to start at the mooring pin so that I could count fin kicks to the stern of the wreck to estimate distance, followed by a slow and brief ascent to 25 feet over the wreck so I could get a birds-eye view photo, followed by more wreck measurements - however, we were distracted by a very friendly grouper who approached us directly, and I lifted my camera to take a portrait, but he got between my camera and my face, looking into each of my mask windows in turn - he was too close to photograph! He swam around our heads, and when Sam offered a hand, he went straight to it, and only sat still to be petted. What a fish! He clearly wanted to be stroked, and harassed divers until he got a pet! I tried to continue counting my fin kicks, but then felt strong yanking on my bikini strings at my neck – the little stinker untied the bow of my strings (when we surfaced Sam reminded me to do it back up as he did not wish to be scarred when I removed my wetsuit)! We definitely had to take some time out of our plan to interact with Fred (the friendly grouper), and he was the delightful highlight of the dive hands/fins down!
A Whale (shark) of a Surprise
At Crab Mountain dive site, about half of the divers had the great pleasure of a whale shark encounter! What a very rare and special treat! The other half of the divers were either in the swim through, or (ahem), looking too closely in the little cracks of coral for shrimps and crabs. James was the first diver to come up and tell Adam that he saw a whale shark as Adam hosed him down, and Adam called him a liar! When diver after diver came up extolling the virtues of their wonderful whale shark experience, he began to think maybe there had been a whale shark after all! Our divemaster and guide, Jill (a different and wonderful Jill), was in the swim through, and had a spectacular temper tantrum at the surface when she discovered what she missed!!! Good times. David White captured the photo featured at top for our viewing pleasure.
Full Moon, Ostracods, and Sparkling Universe
We did have a full moon on this trip, and after the night dive was over and the boat was quiet, I spent a little time at the boat railing enjoying the breeze and the view. I was admiring the very slight glow of the reef areas; the coral heads were glowing ever so slightly. As I lingered and my eyes adjusted further, I began to see blinking lights in the water – it looked like a starry night sky with the stars blinking on and off – ostracods!
Ostracods are very small crustaceans that will rise close to the surface during a full moon (and for a few days after) in the Caribbean to find mates with their bioluminescent vomit. Yes, that is correct – blobs of bioluminescent vomit emitted by the males to impress the females. Sometimes I'm glad to be human. Regardless of that little detail, it was beautiful, and I went to fetch Jody and tell the others.
What a romantic moment – instead of watching the starry sky, we watched the light show in the water, and it was perfectly appropriate for all of us who are drawn to the ocean. It’s moments like those that make me feel very small in this miraculous universe, and very fortunate to be able to witness some of its wonders.
I hope everyone has enjoyed a beautiful Christmas with loved ones, and that the new year brings you happiness, joy, and some new and wondrous surprises.
A few photo highlights of the week. Photo Credit: Jill Blanchette