Diving at the Punquogue Bridge

On Saturday, September 27, an intrepid group of Ski and Scuba friends and staff dove the Punquogue Bridge. The group left Command HQ (Ski and Scuba Connection store on St Roch Ave, Greenwich) promptly at 7:30. (Joe and Tina rolling up at exactly the designated time!)

The drive out to the Hamptons was roughly 2 hours, leaving about an hour for high tide at 10:49. Joe and Tina used the extra lead time to hit Starbucks, while Ruth and Gerry checked out the facilitles at the nearby beach. Andy and I took a stroll out on the bridge, where some of the local anglers were landing some keeper Porgies. Many of the anglers seemed to be donating tackle to the Bay. There was some light boat traffic going by the end of the old bridge and a Coast Guard patrol was active in enforcing NO WAKE and other regulations.

As the tide was reaching full height, we noticed the very strong current was beginning to die down, although it still seemed imposing. This dive was going to feature strong current, limited visibility, boat traffic and anglers dropping lines down around us.

Andy and I evaluated a few alternatives for entry and exit, and ended up going by “the Book” which was to suit up in the parking lot and walk in along the east side of the old bridge. There were three kayak fishermen who rode the incoming tide in to shore. We took a few minutes to admire their elaborate rigs.

We suited up at about 10:15 and started leisurely wading to the North. We were comfortably in the lee of the breakwater of the old bridge, but we knew that the current was still too strong to make much progress.

We eventually got to the exposed piers of the old bridge and dove down to the bottom, where the current was very manageable. The diversity of marine life was very impressive. There were the expected North Atlantic fish such as small Porgies, but there were also numerous Spotted Butterflies, usually only found in the tropics. I tried to catch one of these Butterflies, but couldnt keep it in the container I had brought. At the end of the dive, I met a local diver in the parking lot who had over 20 Butterflies he had netted, He planned to put them in his aquarium tank which was fully 1,000 gallons!

There were also numerous pairs of mating Horseshoe crabs, and the occasional Spider crab, which would raise its pincer claws as we cruised overhead.

After roughly 20 minuites exploring under the old Bridge, we headed West to the New Bridge. (We never found the supporting piers of the new bridge. We think we might have been between piers and unable to identify them because of the limited visability). As we got roughly 30 feet west, we saw more of the same fish, crabs and starfish we had seen earlier. At this point it became clear to us that the tide had turned and the current was now picking up.So we turned around and headed back for the old bridge. On the way back, we found a large group of spider crabs huddled together in a small depression. We could only admire them briefly as we were now being swept away by the current. As we got to the bridge, we braced against the pilings, and unfortunately, the flag Andy had been towing became entangled. After valiantly trying to rescue Don’s favorite flag, Andy finally had to give up on it, and later we all said a few words in tribute. That flag had served us well!

Meanwhile…the current was picking up. Now, current can be dangerous. However, if you know where it is taking you, and there are no obstructions posing a threat, it can be a fun ride to see where it takes you! I guess this attitude explains why I ended up farther East than the rest of the group! In truth, I had read some trip reports that said that to the East of the old bridge there was a ridge and then a drop off to about 30 feet, and that this structure would provide shelter from the current as well as the possibilty of seeing additonal wildlife. So I took a few minutes to briefly explore this sandy bottomed area. When I didnt see anything of particular interest, I headed more southerly and soon surfaced to rejoin the group.


Min water temp: 68 degrees

The surface temperature was about 71, and the air temp was close to 80 on this gloriously sunny day.

I wore a 3 mil wetsuit with a hood. I was fine for most of the dive, and very comfortable in the 15 foot range. At the end of the dive, in 20+ I started to feel a bit chilly. Andy wore his 7 mil semidry and was toasty.

Bottom time: 32 minutes

It might have been possible to extend the dive slightly by entering a bit earlier, and by exploring the deeper hole to the East, but the strong current made this unwise for the first trip here.

Max depth: 23 feet.

Vis: I could see my dive buddy…roughly 5 feet.

After the dive, some of the group went off to explore the Hamptons. Andy and I went to a local restaurant, Cowfish, where we had an excellent blackened fish sandwich and explored the local marina.

Yet another Great Day organized by Ski and Scuba Connection!

Scuba tank Care and Maintenance

The scuba tank is one of the most important pieces of scuba gear. Failure to care for your cylinder can lead to expensive and dangerous consequences. In addition, a well-maintained scuba diving tank can provide you with a minimum of 20 years of service.

When using your scuba tank

A first rule for scuba diving tanks is to never ever completely empty your scuba diving tank. Did I say never? When planning your scuba dives, it is important that you finish off your dive with some air left in your scuba diving tank. Why must you leave some air in the tank? Because when a tank is empty, water may enter by backing up though your regulator.

If for some reason, the scuba dive tank pressure should be completely exhausted, it is important to immediately close the valve to keep moisture out. When bleeding the air from your scuba tank, be sure to bleed the air slowly, as quick bleeding may cause internal condensation.

After your dive, be sure to always rinse your scuba tanks in fresh water, paying special attention to the valves to remove any dirt and salt crystals which may be hindering the operation of the valves. If your cylinder has a boot, it should be removed to ensure that no corrosion is forming beneath the boot. Inspect the cylinder for pitting, corrosion, dents, scrapes, cracks or other damage. Ensure that the tank valve is easy to turn. If there is any difficulty on turning the valve, do not try to lubricate it. Please have it serviced at our dive store.

Get your scuba diving tanks inspected

Due to the fact that most scuba diving tanks can rust and corrode, the inside has to be visually inspected by a qualified service center at least once a year. An annual visual inspection is recommended, but if a tank is used frequently in warm, humid climates, the inspections should be performed more frequently, about every three to six months.

The visual inspection is entails slowly draining the air out of the tank and removing the valves. Using a special light, the interior is inspected for any deficiencies. If the tank passes the visual inspection, it will be tagged with the test date. Please be aware that most dive facilities will not fill a tank without this tag containing the visual inspection test date.

Another test which must periodically be conducted is called a hydrostatic test. This test serves the purpose for evaluating whether there are any signs of metal fatigue and stress. When a tank passes the hydrostatic test, it means that your scuba dive tank can hold air at its rated pressure. A test date will then be stamped onto your tank. Again most dive facilities will not fill your tank if it is not stamped.


Scuba tanks are simple and reliable, but they also carry our most precious commodity for exploring the underwater world. By giving your tank the proper care, we can help ensure that it has a long life, and continues to provide us with that all-important ingredient for life — air.

Easy Shot Clip High Definition (HD) Digital Video Camera

&   Waterproof Housing Diving Kit From Concord Keystone

Weighs Just Over One Ounce And Captures HD Video and Sound at Depths Up To 100 Feet


Concord Keystone, a leading developer  of cameras and smartphone accessories, introduced Easy Shot Clip HD  Diving Kit, a remarkably small, high-definition digital video camera and  underwater housing unit that allows divers and swimmers to capture 720p HD video and sound underwater up to depths of 100 ft/30m.

The Easy Shot Clip HD Diving Kit contains a tiny digital video camera camera with a built-in rechargeable Lithium-polymer battery. The kit also includes a mini-waterproof housing with optical UV filter, a 360˚ rotating mounting clip for diving facemasks or swimming goggles, a 4GB Micro SD Card, a USB cable, and an adjustable wrist strap. The camera has an expandable Micro SD card slot that supports up to 32GB card. The camera with the housing weighs just over an ounce and measures just 2.95-inches (H) X 1.4″ (D).

The Easy Shot Clip HD video camera is inserted into the specially fitted waterproof housing and clipped to the 360-degree rotating mounting bracket. The bracket can then be attached to the head strap of diving or swimming goggles. Scuba divers and water sport enthusiasts can capture up to 40 minutes of hands-free underwater video with the included 4GB card. Easy one button operation is the signature of Easy Shot Clip video cameras. Simply press the button to power on the camera and press again to record. Press the same button once more, the recording will stop.  It is perfect for use in scuba diving, kayaking, skiing and a day in the swimming pool as the camera can also be used without the waterproof housing for any outdoor clips.

The Easy Shot Clip HD video can be uploaded to a computer by simply connecting the camera to a computer with the USB cable. The Easy Shot Clip HD is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 & Mac OS X 10.4.7 or newer.

Nautilus Lifeline- a divers lifeline

It can be a truly helpless feeling; you’re separated from your boat, a lonely diver out in the water with no help in sight. Well, now you never have to worry about your dive boat finding you again as long as you carry the Nautilus Lifeline.

The Nautilus Lifeline is a radio, GPS and emergency beacon for divers. The unit can dive as deep as you want to go (up to 435 feet) without compromising its functionality. It has a fully functioning VHF marine radio that you can use to reach a boat within an 8 mile radius.

The Lifeline is easy to use. Push the button on the right to talk to every boat around you on CH 16 – the worldwide marine hailing frequency. The button on the left side of the unit allows divers to chat with their dive boat or other divers within the radius. Advanced software prevents you from accidentally jamming the frequency and even automatically adjusts your squelch so you don’t have that annoying high pitched squeal in your ear.

The ultimate in diver safety is the DSC button. Press the button and your GPS position will be transmitted to every boat and marine VHF DSC radio within 8 miles. Their radios will switch to CH 16, alarms will sound, red lights will flash and your position will be shown on each radio display. Recharging the unit is simple too. You can recharge with the 1800 mAh lithium-ion battery or connect to your laptop or computer.

So if you are one of those divers who do a lot of diving and are concerned about safety this is a unit you don’t want to miss getting.


Product Features

  • DISTRESS BUTTON: Depress button for 3 seconds for DCS transmission of distress message. The “Nautilus LifeLine” will send GPS coordinates that will display on the other vessel’s marine radios within 8 miles. Activate optional non-emergency group call with GPS coordinates and automatic channel switch for all “LifeLines” belonging to a specific dive boat or group.
  • STROBE LIGHT: We prefer to call this the diver position indicating light. Dual strobes will flash on the “Nautilus LifeLine” when in “DISTRESS MODE” which is especially useful after sunset.
  • WATERPROOF HOUSING: Polycarbonate housing depth rated to 425 feet (130 meters). Tough enough to drive a Ford Explorer over during testing. Do not drive over your own “LifeLine”.
  • GPS: The “Nautilus LifeLine” has the latest version Jupiter 3 GPS receiver displaying latitude and longitude on the LCD display.
  • LCD DISPLAY: Displays GPS position, signal lock, channel in use, battery remaining as well as volume, squelch, channel selection and GPS polling.
  • BOAT BUTTON: Press this button to turn radio GPS on to Channel 16, the universal hail and distress channel worldwide on EVERY marine radio. Use this button to select alternate channels 09, 14 or other pre-selected channels. The “Nautilus LifeLine” has imbedded software that prevents an inexperienced user from inadvertently locking the channel up.
  • CHAT BUTTON: Pressing the Chat Button on the “Nautilus LifeLine” will turn the radio GPS on or switch to user selected marine VHF frequency. Use this button to change channels to any marine frequency. This is a fully functional marine VHF radio. Use both buttons together to adjust volume or squelch, select GPS polling or turn radio off.
  • SPEAKER/MICROPHONE: The “Nautilus LifeLine” is waterproof to IP67 standards. Submersible to 3 feet (1 meter). The cap of your “LifeLine” can be opened on the surface (only) in any sea state allowing full use of all features.
  • USB PORT: Used for recharging the battery on the “Nautilus LifeLine”, downloading GPS log of dive sites onto Google map or interface for adjusting advanced settings.
  • RECHARGABLE BATTERY: 1850 mAh lithium ion battery. The “Nautilus LifeLine” connects to any USB charger. 24 hours of battery life in “DISTRESS MODE”.
  • ANTENNA: VHF whip antenna. Waterproof to IP67 standards. Extend antenna for maximum range. Easy to stow when not in use. Range can be further extended by holding the Nautilus Lifeline above your head in the “DISTRESS MODE”.

Humpback whales, dolphins off the bow, bull sharks, sea snakes, chocolate soufflés and men who walk on fire. Who knew we would find all that and more in the soft coral capital of the world!


Sept 1 we set off from LAX for the 10.5 night flight to Fiji, known as the Soft Coral Capital of the World.

An early morning arrival as the sun was just rising over the mountains, our sleepy but excited group loaded into a bus for the 2.5 hour drive along the coast line of Viti Levu – the big island of Fiji.  A brief stop half way at a tourist gift shop hosted a morning pick me up with coffees, tea and cookies and of course a bathroom break to hold us until we reached Pacific Harbor – another hour away.  Once there we were met by the staff of Beqa Lagoon Resort and boarded the dive boat “Fire Walker” for the 50 minute ride to Beqa Lagoon.  We were offered all types of refreshments and Fiji beers and were asked to order lunch from the menu.  Food upon arrival – my kind of place! The boat moored offshore and we boarded a launch to the shore where were met by the staff and greeted with big smiles, a beautiful floral lei and a heartfelt BULA!  We have arrived in Beqa Lagoon.


After a short briefing we went to our rooms, some near the Kio ponds and some amongst the beautiful gardens and others with ocean views but we did not linger as lunch was waiting.  No hauling dive gear on this trip, just unpack it and leave it on the front porch for one of the dive guys to collect and bring to the dive shop for us.  All we needed to do was to sort out weights and change to our pre assigned blue mesh dive bag so it could all be loaded for us daily onto the dive boats.


Soon after lunch was finished it appeared to be nap time.  A short cat nap was sorely needed to be ready to join the group for happy hour at the Bula Bar and followed by a 3 course dinner expertly prepared.  The chef was trained by the original Austrian chef, Christian and his recipes are still followed today.  And as Christian was a chocolate-aholic, amazing deserts were offered nightly.  Some guests groaned because they we so rich they could not be finished, others groaned because it was all finished!


Mornings came with a soft knock on the door as there are no clocks or phones in the rooms to wake you up.  After a cooked to order breakfast which amazingly came out of the kitchen with plenty to time to make the dive boats departing from the beach at 7:45 am.  Checking our gear and away we went for our two tank morning dive to such famous Beqa sites as Seven Sisters,   Carpet Cove,  Jon’s Tunnel & Pearl Rock.  Our dive boat, Firewalker captained by Seta left promptly at 8am to the anticipated dive site for the day.  Checking for currents and best  conditions at the site, a determination was made to stay or to switch to Plan B for the best diving conditions possible.  We were not disappointed as sites were loaded with beautifully colored fish, an occasional blue ribbon eel peeking out of its hole in the reef bottom or a passing white tip foraging around the pinnacles – called bommies here.   The soft corals came to life with the pickup of the slightest amount of current and in every color imaginable.  There were shades of purple, gold, red and pink even pure white ones that looked as if they had just received a covering of an early snow fall.  As we went around the pinnacles looking into the crevices and under the overhangs we found nudibranchs of all sizes, shapes and colors.  Some were quite visible and others were a real find to spot.  You did not have to go far or fast to see what the sites  had to offer.


Each afternoon after lunch a cultural activity was offered – for free.  Most resorts charge for a village tour or waterfall hike, but not at Beqa Lagoon Resort.  Of course you could just plop yourself at the pool overlooking the ocean or book a massage at the open air spa at the water’s edge to pass the time in the afternoon.  Since Beqa is not a mainland resort and is on an island with 6 villages and 3 schools, you are always in contact with the local Fijian’s and are always welcome to visit the villages.  A certain protocol is encouraged in keeping with the local customs and to be respectful of their ways.  Ladies are asked to have their knees covered with a sulu (a wrap) and also their shoulders.  Men are not to wear a hat in the village as only the chief is allowed.  If you decide to walk off alone as one of our group members did, someone had asked  if they could walk with her.  You do not want to go into a village unannounced – would you want someone just to show up in your front yard?  But if you did just show up, a small gift, or offering, some kava or certain plant was appropriate.  Sort of like a house warming gift.


Our first outing was to the main school in the village of Raviravi, a short 15 minute walk behind the resort and along with water.  Here the entire school gathered outside and each grade performed a song and some a local dance in our honor.  After the performance, they said “now it is your turn”.  A fun group of divers from Australia proudly sang their national anthem, a bit out of tune, but loud and boldly.  We then decided to all join hands, one VERY LARGE circle which encompassed almost the entire school yard to a silly game of “Hokey Pokey”, again led by the Aussies.  Afterwards it was photo time with the biggest smiles in tattered school uniforms around each group of guests.  We took a brief tour of the school, asked questions of the head teacher and even donated, book, pencils, paper and other school supplies we each brought with us a gift to the school.  Some crayons and books on ABC’s went to the other smaller school in another village for the preschool children.  But no matter how large the pile was, it was clear it only made a very slight dent in what was really needed.  We later came to find out that there is another small school only accessible by boat on the other side of the island in dire need of ANYTHING for the school.  Even chairs were lacking, so next time I will save my supplies for the other smaller school.  And mention it to others planning a visit to Beqa.


We had travelled during the Rugby World Cup and all the kids were playing rugby, most with no shoes on a field with potholes that would certainly damage a tire on a good size truck.  But the kids that play on this field daily know the lay of the land and simply avoid the holes.  The guests of Beqa were invited to a game later in the week and enjoyed it immensely.  Sadly, there was a bit of rain during our stay (in the middle of the dry season!) so the field was wet and the trails were soggy.  The next day’s outing to a beautiful waterfall was very lightly attended but none the less enjoyable.


There were also cultural events, such as everything you wanted to know about coconuts and also what they do with the large palm fronds from the trees.  One evening was a lesson about  the kava ceremony, which most guests participated in listening to, learning about the “clans” and the role of the chief and spokesman during the ceremony.  Fijians take their kava ceremonies very seriously but most times kava is a social activity.  We all sat on the floor, watched the ceremonial mixing, and learned the proper way to clap before and after drinking from the universal kava cup – which looks like a half of a dried coconut.  Kava is a dried powder pounded from the kava plant and of course the older the vintage the better.  Once mixed in the large kava bowl with a rag, rung out like a muddy shirt, one clap before drinking, then three very hollow claps after, it leaves a peppery almost numbing feeling on your lips.  We each took turns for round one, some politely declined round two, others braved a large cup full by asking for a “high tide” versus a “low tide” – or just a small amount.  The Fijians are very open and proud of their culture and most willing to teach you about it if you ask.

One afternoon the Fire Walkers prepared a bon fire and tended the hot coals and amazed us with their ability to walk, bare foot on the fire pit.  If your father was a fire walker, you too became a fire walker.  There is a legend about an ell that was going to be killed to be given to the chief for dinner and it pleaded for its life by stating” if you let me live I will give you the power to walk on fire”.  Beqa is the only place in Fiji where you will see them and people come from all over to see this amazing ritual.



Wednesday was our day for  the highly anticipated “Shark Dive” with Aqua Trek at Shark Reef.  We met the Aqua Trek dive boat that came out from Pacific Harbor with the usual plastic trash bin filled with large fish heads and other delicacies that “chum” is comprised of.  We all made our way down to aprox 70 ft where we kneeled in a line behind a roped off area and settled in to watch the show.  Immediately the waters were filled with all sorts of fish and in every size frantically circling around hoping to get a mid morning snack.  I noticed a huge nurse shark just resting it’s head on the trash bin and it was almost as big as the can itself.  Black tips, white tips, reef sharks and yes, the big bull sharks.  There were also sand sharks and probably a lemon or two I could not see due to the murky waters of chum and fish.  Off in the distance we could see a goliath grouper – I think it was a goliath – but it was bigger than I had ever seen and certainly bigger than the brave dive guide in the middle of the chaos.  We had heard stories of a large 14 foot tiger shark that has been known to join in the feeding but as of late she has not been seen.  There are fears she may have been caught in fishing net.  In the middle of the feeding area is a small coral head housing a freakishly large green moray eel.  Normally it would be the show stopper but it only appeared to be a nuisance to the feeder as it kept getting in the way of the feeder handing out the fish heads to the bull sharks.  At one point I looked down at where I was kneeling to notice another green moray parading up and down the line in front of us hoping to find a stray piece of fish for himself.

I decided at that point I did not really need to hold the line in front on me and promptly stuffed my hands under my armpits for safe keeping.

Not wanting to risk DCS we reluctantly headed back to the boat for our own mid morning snack of cookies, freshly baked bread – like a spice bread, “breaky” juice, pinnacle juice and water.  A second shark dive was planned in a similar but shallower depth and another frenzy ensued with remoras looking for a host to attach itself to and still sharks looking for another fish head.   There was a videographer getting it all on tape, a wave from each diver and amazing footage from a closer vantage point – all packaged for sale should we want a DVD from our dive.

On a previous trip to Beqa I was fortunate to visit a far off less frequented dive site called Frigate Passage or “Frigates”.  It is known as the Fiji pipeline as a world class surfing zone.  Our boat left a bit early as it is a long way offshore and we were accompanied by dolphins and in the distance we could see the humpback whales ahead of us. Diving Frigates was so worth the ride, clear waters, beautiful walls covered with more soft corals, and an abundance of fish life and white tip sharks.  With air permitting and dive computers not companioning too much, many of us managed 70 + minute dives – we just didn’t want to leave.

But when it was time to leave, our last night at Beqa Lagoon Resort was a festive one with a feast called a lovo prepared for us and set out as a buffet.  Another Fijian tradition where the food is wrapped in leaves in cooked all day long underground in hot rocks.  Then singing, dancing, photo taking, email exchanges and kava drinking was a wonderful way to end our week at Beqa Lagoon.  In the morning after breakfast we boarded Firewalker to head back to the main land and the entire resort staff came out to sing the traditional farewell song Isa Lea to us as we motored away. We could hear the sweet singing long after we waved goodbye and watched as we got farther and farther away.  The beautiful  hibiscus flowers we were given up departure was cast into the sea and if it made its way back to the shore, then it was deemed  that we too would someday may our way back to the shores of Beqa.

Some of the group continued on for the second portion of the trip for five additional days to a resort on the northern portion of the mainland in the village of RakiRaki called Wananavu.  This part of the island is quite dry and mountainous but beautiful with sweeping views of the glass calm seas.  The sun was warm and welcoming after  a few rainy days down in Beqa.

We had lovely  rooms facing the ocean and most days the dive boat was all to ourselves.  The dive guides were a fun group and again didn’t mind our long lingering bottom times. Diving was in bright blue waters not far from shore or way out in the Bligh Passage where the soft corals and giant sea fans were spectacular.  Even a banded sea snake and octopus were out and about one morning as we entered the water.  If we ran into a strong current  we just changed direction and drifted into a lee where  we were rewarded with the soft corals in full bloom.

We were spoiled with 3 lavish meals daily, sinful desserts and enjoyed  beautiful sunsets with crimsons and yellows. Afternoons were spent either at the spa, lazily lounging around the pool and listening to the water fall.  Some of the group decided to explore the island by  scooter and they even managed to stop a rugby game in progress as they zoomed by .They were handing out candies to the children as they ran over to see the motorbikes and the men who rode them all the while yelling out Bula and waving.  These are the sights and sounds of a vacation that will remain in your mind and hearts for a long time to come. That is just the way Fiji is.


Jody Brown

September 26, 2011

Proper Maintenance of Scuba Equipment

Proper maintenance of scuba equipment is a must for all divers for several reasons. The first and most important is that your life depends on it. Remember, your dive equipment is your life support equipment. Diving gear is subject to all kind of harmful substances; Salt, heat, dirt, etc. Proper maintenance will result in your gear lasting longer. Below are some tips on how to keep your gear in tiptop shape.

When you’re finished diving for the day, soak your regulator in clean fresh warm water for at least an hour. Never depress the exhaust button on the second stage while immersed in water, as this will allow water into the hose and up into the first stage. During the soak, work any buttons, control levers or knobs back and forth to loosen any particles that may have accumulated inside. Once you are finished soaking the regulator, run fresh water over the first and second stages to remove loose debris that did not fall off during the soak.
Once you have finished cleaning the regulator, dry it and store in a cool dry place away from any dust, light & heat. Optimally, store the dry regulator in a plastic bag. Position the regulator in such a way that the hoses are not kinked.
All regulators should be serviced according to your manufacturer’s suggestion in order to remain under warranty, which is usually once a year for most brands, Atomic regulators have a two year maintenance cycle.

Scuba Tanks are heavy and should be handled with care. Never ever leave them standing up unattended as they can fall over and damage the valve or brake toes when they hit your foot.
Inspect the tank, valve and o-ring before every dive. After use, scuba cylinders should be rinsed in fresh water and wiped dry. Remember to remove the tank boot before drying the cylinder to prevent water from accumulating on the outside of the tank. The tank valve should be opened briefly to expel any moisture from the valve opening.
Ensure your tank is pressurized to at least 100 psi to prevent any moisture from entering the cylinder. Store tanks securely and upright in a cool dry place.
All compressed air cylinders should be inspected regularly, more often under extreme conditions. Before using the tank, check for any heavy wear or corrosion on the outside of the tank.
A Visual inspection is required annually by a qualified Scuba technician. Any stickers should be removed prior to a visual inspection. In addition, tanks must be hydrostatically tested once every five years to ensure the integrity of the tank walls.

Your BCD is made of cloth which soaks up salt water or the not so clean fresh water you dove in. Disconnect all hoses after finished diving. Inspect and clean all hoses including the corrugated hose for damage, cuts, slices, and splits. BCDs should be soaked and rinsed in fresh water after use. it is a good practice to also rinse the inside of the air bladder in the event water entered the BCD, especially if it was salt water. Any salt that remains inside the balder dries crystallizes and will start to degrade the material. Next to punctures, this leftover seawater has to be the leading cause for BC bladder failure. To do this, depress and hold down the oral inflator button and fill the bladder one third full with water. Allow the water to swish around inside by rotating the BCD several times. Then drain the water completely by turning the BCD upside down while pressing the oral inflator button. Partially inflate your buoyancy compensator and hang it to dry in the shade.
Store BCDs upside down and partially inflated.
Service according to manufacturer’s suggestions, usually once a year as there are all kinds of springs and o-rings in your inflator valve that can wear out and fail.

Weights should be rinsed in fresh water after use.

Weight Belts, Fins & Snorkels
These should be rinsed in fresh water after use and placed out of the sun to dry. If your fins came with inserts to maintain the shape of the pocket insert them every time you store your fins. This can prevent your fin pocket from collapsing which makes them much less comfortable.

Masks should be rinsed with fresh water and air dried out of the sun. It’s a good idea to store the mask in its original box to prevent any scratches. One your mask is scratched, it will take away some your diving delight.

Wetsuit, booties and gloves
Any neoprene or similar material should be soaked and rinsed thoroughly with fresh water after use. While soaking, flex the material with a kneading motion to remove any foreign particles from the material. Commercially available wetsuit conditioner (baby shampoo is said to work just as well) is available that will help to control odors and may prevent fading of the material. Apply a light coating of beeswax to zippers, and then work them back and forth to prevent sticking.
Allow wetsuits, booties and gloves to drip dry on appropriate (do not use the thin wire hangers as these can rust and start to degrade the neoprene in the shoulders) hangers that prevent creasing of the neoprene. Do not store your scuba diving wetsuit in direct sunlight. Also, do not use aerosol spray near your wetsuit as this can degrade the neoprene. Do not store your wetsuit in a garage unless the garage is not used for your car. Car exhaust can degrade the neoprene.

Lights & Cameras
Lights and cameras are extremely sensitive to water, sand and salt. Soak them in warm fresh water as soon as possible after use. Work all moving parts while soaking to loosen any salt and sand deposits. After soaking, allow the unit to dry completely before opening any compartments. Once dry, loosen all connectors so they do not freeze in place, then remove batteries and film. Thoroughly clean and lubricate all o-rings before next use.
Store components in a protective case to prevent any seals from exposure to dust and dirt.
Professional maintenance and pressure testing is recommended to ensure the longevity of delicate and expensive equipment. Be sure to follow any and all manufacturer’s recommendations.

Dive Computers
Dive computers and instruments are extremely sensitive to water, sand and salt just like lights and cameras. The instrument should be soaked, thoroughly rinsed with warm fresh water, and then dried with a soft towel after each dive. Work all moving parts while soaking to loosen any salt and sand deposits.
Service your dive computer as recommended by your manufacturer. Be sure to follow any and all manufacturer’s recommendations and consult the owner’s manual before attempting replacement of the batteries.
Store your dive computer in a dry place when you are not using it.

Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk Volunteer Diver Program

If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity that will allow you to hone your scuba skills, staying active as a diver and give something back , consider joining the Maritime Aquarium volunteer dive team.

The Maritime Aquarium (http://www.maritimeaquarium.org/) is located in Norwalk CT. It is an interactive learning facility that allows people of all ages to appreciate Long Island Sound and protect it for future generations. As a non-profit institution, the Maritime Aquarium relies on the support of hundreds of dedicated volunteers. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to get involved in the community and give something back, while building your own knowledge and diving skills.

Still Interested?  Please see below for the Maritime Aquarium Dive Requirements:

* At least 18 years of age

* Able to commit to at least 5 days during holiday dive program.Dates are 11/26, 11/27, 11/28, 12/4, 12/5, 12/11, 12/12, 12/18, 12/19, 12/22, 12/23, ( possible 12/24), 12/26, 12/27, 12/28, 12/29, 12/30, ( possible 12/31)

* Able to commit to a acclimation dive in the open ocean tank, dates to be determined.

* Time commitment 41/2 hrs per day assigned

* Act as a safety observer /dive assistant, not just diving in tank

* Minimum 25 logged dives

* Minimum certification: Advanced open water diver

* Signed liability waiver form

* CPR/ First Aid recommended not required.

* Must be willing to dive with large marine animals, including sharks

* Signed PADI medical release form

* Provide own equipment: mask, fins, buoyancy compensator, weights and regulator, weight belt, hood, boots, and gloves.

* Must pass a buoyancy check out dive

* Fill out a completed volunteer divers application & interview

* Background check

If you’re interested in applying to this program, give them a call (203-852-0700) to find out more information.

Atomic Cobalt Computer NOW IN STOCK!

Atomic Aquatics’ Cobalt has a high contrast, full-color OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen with brightly colored digits displayed on a black background. This screen is can be easily seen, even when the vis underwater  is not optimal.

Use of the Cobalt’s menu is very simple and can be learned in a matter of minutes. The Cobalt has four leakproof magnetic navigation  buttons that are easy to use and direct you to the assorted  menus. Great when wearing dive gloves!  These menus include setting dive parameters and customizeable user options. The Cobalt’s dive screen is divided into three sections: The top contains a graphic that changes from green to yellow to orange as you enter decompression and includes no-deco and dive-time data. The middle section contains data like depth and max depth. The bottom section contains tank pressure, gas mixture, calculated gas time remaining and the current PO2. With a combination of Air and Nitrox; three gases can be preprogrammed into the unit and the gas can be switched under water.

The Cobalt  is powered by a prismatic lithium-ion rechargeable battery and provides 40-60 hours of dive time. The Battery can be quickly recharged with the AC charger or slow charged by plugging into the USB port.

Please review the detailed stats of the dive computer at The Ski and Scuba Connection Special Page.

Welcome to The Ski and Scuba Connection Blog!

If you prefer spending your time submerged along a coral reef or checking out exotic-looking underwater creatures then you must be a scuba diver.  Stay tuned for some fantastic tips and information about scuba diving, including training classes scuba gear and dive destinations.