Archive for scuba diving 潜水

Tennis & diving

It’s a glorious day for tennis.

Better yet, I won all my three sets with three guys. We played at vl.

… perhaps because I wear my dive shop’s t shirt – how do I look? -:)


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62′ dive @ Blue Grotto – my record

Setting record on my dive isn’t really my goal but it just happened: I went down to 61.9′ with Chris, an instructor @ Blue Grotto Williston, FL. It’s a few minutes north from Devil’s Den, on the other side of the road.

.. more pix n videos on Google Maps

The entrance fee is $55. It’s the first time that I pay for my cylinders, at $12.50 each – they were covered during the training period. Blue Grotto rents out at $11.50 (air & Nitrox). But EAN32Fill is $15.50.

Woods & Water’s t shirt is pretty nice, I wear it everywhere. To manage the weight, I bought a wagon to transport my gears. It’s neat in the bag in the morning, and messy after the dives.

There are many creatures in the water. The most famous are two turtles, Virgil and Turbo. I saw both but only caught one on my video – the sealed case didn’t work well, water got in … fortunately I  saw it and stopped the bleeding – the phone still works.


… and the compound

… and my newest handbag: Sherwood ST1000 flash light -:) finely made, that includes the package box.

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Utility wagon

After a few dives, I realized that I need a wagon to carry the heavy load of my diving gears, especially after the dives – they become extra heavy due to wetness.

Coincidentally, the day I received my wagon from Amazon, I also got IndiGogo email promoting  the next new thing – Lithely: Electric Utility Wagon with Power Bank. It’s with six purchasing options:

  1. $255 (52% off)
  2. $199 (52% off)
  3. $219 (47% off)
  4. $275 (48% off)
  5. $389 (53% off)
  6. $429 (48% off)

Pretty costly (compares to mine) but only loads up to 132 lb. It looks almost identical to the $52 that loads up to 200 lb. When it folds, it doesn’t look compact to me, looks bulkier than mine.

The new new thing has always been in the eyes of beholders.

Charlie Munger says a lot of venture capitalists screw their investors, per Fortune magazine.

It was 2012, I ‘invested’ $250 on a projector that you could use your laptop to display, bypass a conventional projector. It was by a Beijing team. … of course I didn’t receive anything, and never heard from them again. I understand my risk and could be park with $250. I made no noise, till now -:) Vulture capitalists, as one reader wrote.

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Speciality diving course: flash lights

Section 6 of Advanced Adventurer is Nigh & Limited Visibility Diving, my second specialty course. Home read would be enough but SSI makes you to go to the hone hour long class and pay.

The content can’t really fill the hour, so we talked about other things.


I saw this ad for a small cruise going to Galapagos, when the diver only has a snorkeler.

“It’s a free dive,” the master said. Then he looked closer, and said, “I would fail her: wearing snorkeler is fine but it shouldn’t be in the mouth …”

Ha, one of the misleading advertisements.

Galápagos Islands is part of Ecuador, population 33,000 (2020), in the eastern Pacific Ocean, around the equator. It’s about 5 hour fly from Miami. The normal cruises that offer diving, is during the port time, using the land diving operators.

Diving from the boat, is liveaboard that offered overnight stay, can get in 5 dives a day (of course you can do less …)

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Speciality course: navigation

After Open Water Diver, comes SSI’s continuing education: Advanced Adventurer. They call it specialty course. The reading material for this bundle is 160 pages. It has 12 sections, with overview and quiz but no exam, at the end.

Section 5 Navigation, done in two hours, review and practice of how to use compass. We went outside to practice, counting out steps. A little silly tho… who’d count their kicks in the water?

The shop sells writing pad too – the slates. One of the slates is Saekodive, made by a Taiwan company. Wondering is it as good as Sherwood and Genesis brands?

Not sure how useful a slate can be. I’ve no desire to buy one at the moment.

There was another lesson going on prior to ours. It has only one student. On the table, are many gadgets and the tv screen says Communication

Underwater communication devices
Surface communication devices

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The graduate

So came the graduation. We all passed, just with varying degrees: one got snorkeling only, I got the scuba diver, Ralph got his instructor’s certificate after 200 dives under his belt – congratulations.

It’s a dive social, coincides with the halloween party. Some mates baked a cake and cookies, pizza ordered, I brought two bottles red wine – no one touched it except me lol. … no one drinks wine in a dive bar … ha ha ha.

Meeting other divers from previous classes is great – you need a buddy to dive after all. If you’ve no one to dive with, you’ll have to hire a dive master. Unless you’re on a private boat.

As door prizes, I won the very good looking t shirt for wearing my face mask.


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2nd checkout dive @ Devil’s Den

The scuba dive: the second checkout dive is at Devil’s Den, which concludes our training sessions.

The venue: Devil’s Den is overhyped.

Under ‘no camera’ rule, & 1st time use the dive phone case. 

The cave is tiny.

Now is the off season and I found it to be crowded at time. The dive master said during the season, it was much more crowded.
The iconic photo is all there is – which I saw long before the diving. So when I knew our checkout dive would be there, I was excited.

… more pix at Yelp, Google Maps

Through two sections of stairs (one is very narrow), that leads you down to the cave, you see the iconic photo.

The cave is privately owned. It was formed by a karst window. The human and animal bones found in the cave were of about the same age, 13,000 years ago. The spring water is 72° year around. On a cold day, the  white moist rises through the opening on the ground, hence the name.

The place is popular as a training site for divers. The snorkelers are mostly tourists for photo ops – the language I heard were distinctively foreign.

The diving experience: The terrain is rocky which makes it interesting but with too many divers, it feels uncomfortable. I bruised my legs from the rockers. What I’m looking for in open water diving is wide opened space, leisurely pace, and colorful creatures. Hopefully I’ll accomplish them on my own dive.

We met up at the shop at 7:30am, arrived at Devil’s Den at 10am. The next 50 minutes is spent on paperworks, signatures, orientation, waiting for the last mate to arrive … There are a lot of papers to be signed – so do leave enough time … “why not done this online?” They replied, online could not do all …

Before the dive, we spent considerable time in the pool – because we didn’t get the last pool time on Thursday.

One of our mates is bit of timid who always needed extra TLC. Didn’t get out of the pool till 2:15. A little snack break, then heading to the Den at 3:10. Done two dives by 5 and went to the first meal of the day at 5:40. It’s a long day.

The two dives 2:58 in the water

  1. 3:34pm, 32′
  2. 4:33pm, 34′,

这个巢穴由喀斯特窗口形成.发现的人类和动物骨头的年龄大致相同, 约有13,000年的历史.

大妈一意孤行 偷偷照了两张 – 小师傅耐心等了一下 不好意思再多照. 可惜了 好景
”小哥 俺就是想轻轻松松 游游泳 看看景 照照相 没想变职业…”
小哥当成耳边风 [大哭]

我们五人中 父子兵的爸爸最难教, 我们总是要等… 18岁的儿子学的最好 笔试💯… 考笔试时俺忘记坐在他旁边了 [呲牙]
俺开小差也是乘着他忙着教爸爸. 二把手也耐心 二个人轮流教爸爸 [强]



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Oh boy … I finally passed

The final of the owd was administered after reviewing Section 6 by Ralph. Ed was taking notes on Ralph and grading him: I like how Ed runs his business, and SSI, so far.

On test: little old Irene failed because she should have reviewed but didn’t, and scored only 78% out of 50 questions, and SSI requires 80%. I get it. It’s your life on the line, dive or die -:)

We then went over the test. Should have practiced in the pool afterward, but it was too late, we  left early and will practice at the pool at Devil’s Den on Sunday.

P.S. So, the old little Irene studied overnight and went back to take it again the following day – it’s Test B – and passed with 92% – should be 96% because two questions she didn’t read closely … oh well … I embezzled the green pen. Ed went over the 4 mistakes I made – really appreciated it.

… I might have passed the first time, IF I didn’t point out that the grader left one mistake unaccounted, which made it 80%. Oh well … it’s me, old habit is hard to change.

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Back to the water

The last day before the final. I switched duel gauge to threesome with a compass 鸟枪换炮, which I think is a practical combo; and got a pair of gloves.

The assistant coach Ralph taught tonight. Ed was the ‘assistant’ tonight.

The pool water was 72º, which is cold if you don’t move a lot, which we didn’t. Ed’s father came out to say hello at the end.

I recorded my classmates’ back into the water skill – all passed -:)


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Training days 4: checkout dive

After three training days, which the last two have spent times in the pool, we’re diving our first OWD at Lake Denton, a popular spot for beginners.

Lake Denton is 66 acre spring fed lake. The deepest part is 51 feet. It’s 65 miles south of Disney World in Orlando.

学物理 ⚛️ 好有用

We did two dives. Although the water is a little muddy, but we saw plenty fish – mostly bass and perch, a turtle and a snake. Each of us get two tank of gas, for the two dives.

My step by step to an open water dive:

  1. get excited for the dive
  2. pack your bag
  3. carry your heavy bag to the car and drive to the meet up place
  4. unload and load the bag
  5. load the cylinders
  6. drive to the water …
  7. unload bags and cylinders
  8. putting on the warrior’s suit and all + cylinder
  9. walk to the water
  10. dive … heaven
  11. gas runs out and dive is over
  12. walk back to the car w/ the cylinder on your back
  13.  … we did the 2nd dive, repeat partial 8 (get a new cylinder) to step 12
  14. unclothed
  15. pack the cylinders and bags
  16. drive back
  17. clean the warrior suit
  18. drive home

Are you ready for this?

What if we’re going out on a boat? The master diver / coach Ed says, well, you still have to bring your bag to the boat … Ed said, in the summer, he has a college kid at his shop do the washing. …Well, you can always pay someone to carry the bag and do the washing for you …

We stopped at Raceway gas station in Avon Park for a quick stop: bathroom and breakfast, etc. Lake Denton is only a five minutes away.

Why SSI? Both Padi and SSI are American organization that have gone globe. Professional Association of Diving Instructors was founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson, headquarters in CA. It has 128k pros and 6,600 dive centers/resorts. SSI Scuba Schools International was founded in 1970.

Per Ed, his father started this outdoor shop, gearing toward boycott, camping and diving, etc. in 1984. Then one year in 1994, one of his customer got solicited ad from Padi directly … His father wanting an apology from the organization but Padi said they’re their customers. His father then switched to SSI in 1996. We don’t hear so much about SSI is because SSI gears toward the dive shops.

Reportedly, SSI is huge in China, especially mermaid program.

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