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January 2020 Newsletter

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Vol. 48 No.01

Upcoming Overseas Dive Trips
by Nils Jacobsen

Please come to the meeting to get details about the trips being advertised for signups in 2020. You will be able to signup at this meeting.

  • Little Cayman Beach Resort, June 27 - July 4, 2020
  • Belize Aggressor, August 15 - 22, 2020

At the time of this writing, there is still a single male spot available for Fiji on the Nai'a liveaboard, March 14 - 21, 2020.

Keep these future trips in your mind and your calendar for planning purposes. Nils expects the Solomons trip to be opened for signups in March of 2020. He expects the Cayman Aggressor trip to be opened for signups in August of 2020.

  • Solomons: Bilikiki liveaboard, May 22 - June 1
  • Cayman Aggressor, July 10 - 17
  • Raja Ampat/Triton Bay: Damai liveaboard, approx. March 13 - 24, 2023 (exact date to be determined later)

Presidents Waves

We have moved the next meeting to the 2nd Thursday in January (the 9th) to give more people a chance to learn about the upcoming dive trips for 2020. Nils will give us more details about our Little Cayman Beach Resort and Belize Aggressor trips. These trips will be open for signups at the January meeting.

Little Cayman Beach Resort is a popular dive destination for our club. The iconic Bloody Bay Wall Marine Park, year-round warm tropical waters, and lush coral reefs teeming with marine life make for a beautiful underwater experience. Their dive boats provide personalized valet services that take the work out of diving. Their spacious, well equipped rooms and excellent meals provide a pleasant experience out of the water as well.

In mid-August, we will be on the Belize Aggressor IV. Their website says "Belize is a wall diver's paradise. Sheer walls like Painted Wall, Half Moon Caye Wall and Quebrada are adorned with huge crimson gorgonians and giant orange elephant ear sponges. Moray eels, spiny lobsters and tiny arrow crabs hide in every crack, crevice, cave and tunnels of these beautiful coral formations."

Belize Aggressor 4 picture

Don't forget to keep checking our Facebook page for the interesting articles Howard is posting. https://www.facebook.com/usadiveclub

Happy diving,

Roger Cooper
President

Overseas Dive Trips

Local Diving

  • No upcoming local dives

Mini-Trips

Social events

Hospitality Hut

Clare Florio Anthon

Happy 2020 From The Hospitality Hut!

I hope all my fellow members had a great New Year,  I certainly did!

As we begin the New Year, it is time to start planning our next dive vacations. Please be sure to attend the January meeting and learn all about the upcoming trips.

I encourage you to visit our home page www.usadiveclub.org.  Please click on the calendar and keep up to date on all the diving and non-diving scheduled activities. You may also take a look at the photo gallery and take a peek at past events.I wish you all Happy Diving,

Clare Anthon

Hospitality Coordinator

Membership

Welcome to 2020!  Where did last year go?  We had fabulous trips last year from February to November.  We traveled as far as Yap and Palau in Micronesia,  Cayman and Cuba and as close as our own local reefs.  We are off and running in February with 2 weeks in Fiji.  Tell your friends, invite them to come to our educational general meetings.  We welcome guests.  

Please do not forget that most members club dues are due this month.  Hope your Holiday was warm and rewarding. 

Happy New Year!

Best wishes, Eunice Hamblen & Stephanie Voris,
USA Dive Club Membership


Come join the fun. 

Eunice Hamblen                                Stephanie Voris
Membership Coordinators


Upcoming events

    • February 06, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

    Program:

    Gear Safety & How does the scuba biz really work?
    By Geoffrey May

    Geoffrey May has been scuba diving since the age of 11 years old when he was certified by Norine Rouse in West Palm Beach in 1982. An experienced cave and technical diver, Geoffrey is a dynamic, top-performing, ethical and disciplined professional. He is a Gainesville, Florida native that graduated from the University of Florida. His work and adventure has led him to over 40 countries on 6 continents. Geoffrey has created tremendous success in the global watersports industry over the past 20 years designing, sourcing and selling products. From 2011 until 2019 he spearheaded and managed an industry leading online retail fulfillment center based in Pompano Beach. This high volume activity allowed him to acquire an extensive network of manufacturers in Asia, Europe and the USA and establish himself as a premier international buyer. Combining his decades of knowledge with his multi-national team, Geoffrey founded May Lion Group (a specialty product procurement and consulting company) in January 2020. (mayliongroup.com)

    His presentation will give us a brief review of annual gear safety and service as the dive season kicks in gear soon. But he will also give a "Behind the scenes" look into the world of scuba gear and manufacturers. Come ready to ask the questions you always wanted to know about the scuba business but could never get the answer.

    • Why is one regulator 3 times the cost of the other?
    • Why does my BC not sell replacement parts?
    • What does lifetime warranty REALLY mean?
    • Do I need the expensive dive computer to be safe?

    Geoffrey Tells it like it is and holds no punches.

    • February 08, 2020
    • February 09, 2020
    • Best Western Hotel in Crystal River
    Register

    There will be a Mini-Trip to Crystal River to swim with the Manatees on Saturday, Feb 8. to Feb. 9, 2020. If you have never interacted with the adorable manatees you are in for a great encounter. They are docile, affectionate creatures that may just cuddle right up to you.

    We will be staying at the Best Western Hotel in Crystal River. Official Check in is 4:00 pm, however, if you are early you can pre-check in until rooms are ready. They may be ready earlier depending on the room turnover. Group rate costs for the rooms are $119 per room (not including tax). Just mention you are with the USA Dive Club group and provide them with your credit card details to reserve your room. Call the Best Western at Crystal River at (352)795-3171.

    The next morning on Feb. 9, we will be taking the 6:00 am tour. This tour is the best time to see the maximum number of manatees and their pups. We will snorkeling out to the springs with Bird's Underwater Dive Center. They provide snorkel, masks, and wet suits for the manatee encounter. You may want to bring your own snorkel and mask, however, if you don't want to deal with dripping wet wet suits, you may want to use the centers wet suits at no additional charge. Changing rooms, hot water for coffee, tea, and hot chocolate is also provided on their pontoon boats out to the manatees.

    Please let me know how many people and the names of those doing the manatee tour so we can provide an accurate number to Bird's Underwater Dive Center. This trip is available to all ages from the grandkids to the great grandparents as long as you can swim or stay buoyant in water with a flotation device. Cost for the manatee tour is $65 per person. The approximate cost per person including hotel and manatee tour is $131. Hotel rooms paid to Best Western directly and the manatee tour price of $65 paid to the USA Dive Club.

    Any questions, feel free to email, call or text me back,

    Alan Feuerman

    (561)674-4300


    • February 15, 2020
    • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Register

    Bonnet House - Main House & Golf Cart Tour

    Price – $17 per person (Group of 15), 9:50 am on February 15th

    Following a guided tour of the Main House and the surrounding grounds, a Nature Trail Driver will take you on a 15 minute ride around the trail. The Driver will share information about the plants, animals and ecosystems of this 35-acre coastal wilderness.  The Bonnet house is a beautiful area and a slice of history that has been preserved intact, hidden away in Fort Lauderdale.  Come tour the Bonnet house with us and see all the beautiful gardens, artwork, and the house itself.  Check out their website if you want to know more!  https://www.bonnethouse.org/

    Tour Length – 2.0 hours


    • February 19, 2020
    • 9:00 AM
    • February 22, 2020
    • 9:00 PM
    • Bimini
    Register

    Bimini!  Hammerheads!  And regular diving too!  

    Here's what we're looking at: 

        Leaving Feb 19th (Wendesday) via the Ferry from Fort Lauderdale at 9 a.m.

        Staying at the Bimini Big Game Club for 3 nights (19th, 20th, 21st)

        Diving with Neal Watson's boat, 20th  - HammerHead Safari!

                                                            21st  - Morning 2 Tanks Diving

                                                            22nd - Morning 2 Tanks Diving

        Leaving the 22nd (Saturday) at 7:30 pm on the Ferry back to Fort Lauderdale

        Take Sunday off to recover!  :-)


    Price is $1200 - This covers the hotel, diving, ferry, and taxi to and from the hotel

    Not covered - Parking Fees, Boat Tips, Meals & any Incidentals


    Hope you can join us!  Room for 10 people (Couples and people sharing a room get priority).  



    • March 05, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

    • March 12, 2020
    • March 28, 2020
    • Fiji - Nai'a live aboard and Volivoli

    FIJI

    Nai’a Live aboard – Mar 14-21, 2020; Volivoli 21-28(+), 2020

    We start from Home on Thursday 3/12 from FLL to Los Angeles (LAX) and continue later the same day to Nadi, Fiji. Airfare LAX-NAD is included at group rates. Business upgrade is available – but expensive. We spend the morning in Raffles airport hotel. We get picked up by Nai’a by van at 1 pm and board the boat mid afternoon. After a week of live aboard diving – Saturday 3/21 - we will go by van to Volivoli. That resort is completely rebuilt. We have all ground rooms – no hikes up the hill to get to your room. Next Saturday 3/28 – we will stay at the resort until it is time to take a van to the airport for our flight home; back in US early afternoon Saturday 3/28. When all transfers are by van there is no domestic luggage surcharge. We are traveling a little earlier in the season to get warmer waters than the last two times (2008 and 2015).

    Details – Nai’a
    Same boat as in 2008 – Nai'a is the oldest and most experienced live aboard in Fiji with the most experienced sailors.

    • Seven nights on the boat
    • Six full days of diving – night dives when conditions allow
    • House wine with dinner

    Details – Volivoli
    Resort on the north shore of main Island Viti Levu – recently remodeled

    • Premium Ocean View Villas – beachside
    • Welcome drink on arrival
    • Full meal plan – three meals daily with juice, milk, rain water, coffee, and tea at breakfast
    • Beach BBQ (Tuesdays)
    • Three days of two-tank boat diving & two days of three-tank boat diving
    • Unlimited shore diving (reserve tanks 24 hours prior)
    • Traditional Meke performance (Thursdays)
    • Free use of kayaks and participation in a variety of complimentary resort activities

    Other Details - Both

    • Double occupancy
    • All taxes and tip included
    • Raffles day room included – 2-4 per room
    • All ground transfers

    Not Included:

    • Nitrox
    • Fuel surcharge Nai’a (none at the moments)
    • Airfare between FLL and LAX

    Signup Window - The primary signup period ended 8/31. If you signed up by that date the club will cover any potential “single supplement” – and we are extending that offer until we sell four more boat spots or until we can no longer add Fiji Airways seats. Note: unsold spots on Naia will be cancelled by Sept 10 - though we may get a "hurricane extension" from the boat. So if you are interested please act fast. We are holding 12 seats from LAX to Fiji – also only until 9/10.

    As always, when you sign up for a trip, please consider trip insurance, especially since we do a boat payment on Sept 10 – that becomes non-refundable after that.

    Links:

    Questions? Contact VP of Overseas Diving, Nils, by e-mail at overseasdiving@usadiveclub.com. You can ask about – Business class, Single Supplement, xtension at Volivoli, etc.

    Click here to download the signup form.
    If you are looking at this as an email, the signup form is attached.

    Click here to see the trip announcement PDF file.


    • April 02, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

    • May 07, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

    • June 04, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

    • June 27, 2020
    • July 04, 2020
    • Little Cayman Beach Resort

    IT’s Back! It’s Bigger! It’s Better!

    June 27 – July 4!

    DEMA special = free Nitrox

    Price is based on a $100 repeat customer discount

    Spend a relaxing week at the premier, deluxe, full service resort on Little Cayman Island. We have been there multiple years running, and we’re going back again – because it’s just that good! Rated as the number one destination in the Caribbean for wall diving, number two for favorite reef diving, the sea life and underwater photography, the dive sites, water temps and visibility are outstanding, never to be forgotten by those who have experienced them. For those of you who have not experienced the diving at Little Cayman, it’s everything you can dream about, dramatic vistas, amazing photo opportunities/views, wildlife that must be seen to be believed - like the friendly groupers that follow you like a puppy everywhere!

    Divers don’t have to lug gear every day from their rooms or even onto the boat. Your gear will be collected once you arrive and stored at the shop next to the dock. You set up your gear the first day on the boat and after that, the Reef Diver crew set up your gear and change your tanks for you. You need only to stroll down the dock, jump on a boat - large, comfortable, covered boats! - And go diving. The four boats are 42 to 46 ft long and 16 ft. wide and have freshwater showers and restrooms. Rinse tanks and a drying room are on the dock for mask, fins and wet suits.

    Ronnie will be your trip leader. The trip starts at Miami airport, then to Little Cayman. Little Cayman Airways is instituting a $25 fee for luggage. Here is the link to the Cayman Airways new baggage fee structure as well, so as always, pack light, but the good news is that they have reduced their extra baggage fees:

    https://www.caymanairways.com/NewBaggageFeeStructure

    Interested in cutting down on your luggage fees – Ronnie does have a price list for rental gear …

    Once there, we dive, eat, relax, and just generally have a fantastic time for the whole week! There is a pool, Wi-Fi, beach chairs and hammocks, and you can rent kayaks, sailboats, and paddleboards as well. All diving and dining will be done at the Little Cayman Resort. Nitrox is included! And you can also purchase extra afternoon dives either as a package or as individual add-ons. Doing 2-3 afternoon dives: it is a bargain to book from home.

    It’s always wise to purchase travel insurance for any trip. Here are a few links you can use if interested:

    To see some photos from prior trips – go to:

    Trip Prices / payment schedule:

    Click here for the signup form.

    Airfare is estimated high – there is an 80-90% chance that airfare will be dropped by $45. Your passport must be valid until at least 1/4/2021.

    If you attended the 2019 – and lost one/two dives due to weather – you are entitled to a discount $25/$50: Please check w/ Ronnie/Nils – it will be added to you final refund post-trip.

    Trip Lead: Ronnie: treasurer@usadiveclub.org

    • July 02, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

    • August 06, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

    • August 15, 2020
    • August 22, 2020
    • Belize Aggressor IV

    DEMA Special

    August 15 - 22, 2020

    Must sign up by February 10

    Belize Aggressor 4 picture

    $2850 without air

    Includes:

    • Accommodations aboard the yacht
    • Diving - up to 5 dives a day – 5.5 days
    • Tanks, weights, belts
    • Airport and/or Hotel transfers on day of charter
    • All meals and snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, local beer and wine
    • Tips

    Does not include:

    • Nitrox $100
    • Port Fee $110
    • Airfare: FLL-BZE - Please book your own flights when they become available
      • Southwest (#629 [10:55] / #1027) when available for Aug. 15 - 22
      • Starting mid-January, check Southwest site daily to book ticket early
      • Flights in early August were recently selling for $308
    • Friday Night Dinner - We are on our own in town.

    We can board on arrival at the dock, after 3 pm.

    Your passport must be valid until at least 2/22/2021.

    This is a trip that the club has done several times – but not as often as we would have liked due to high airfare cost. Now with Southwest as the second carrier the prices for air have dropped 60% or more. Together with the DEMA special pricing ($600 rebate) we are able to offer this trip at a very attractive price point. We are likely to be greeted by a known face - Captain Dennis Gautreau – who was our captain in Bahamas in 2014.

    Belize mapMost of the diving will be off Lighthouse Reef, but we will occasionally also do Turnefe. Expect to see both large and small animals: Tarpon, Grouper, Eagle Rays, Squid, Octopi, Seahorses, Frogfish, etc.

    Boat-site: https://www.aggressor.com/belize-iv.php

    It’s always wise to purchase travel insurance for any trip. Here are a few links you can use if interested:

    To see some photos from prior trips - BZE AGG III - 2015
    https://usadiveclub.org/Photos - and check out 2015

    Trip Prices / payment schedule:

    Click here for the signup form.

    Trip Lead: Nils: overseasdiving@usadiveclub.org

    • September 03, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

    • October 01, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

    • November 05, 2020
    • 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North

    Courtyard Marriott North Ft Lauderdale
    2440 W. Cypress Creek Road

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309-1829

    Feel free to join us for dinner @ 6:00 PM in The Bistro, food and beverage service provided, located in the Courtyard By Marriott North Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek.  Social Time begins around 7:00 PM in the Florida Room.  The general meeting starts at 7:30 PM with current events, announcements of local dives, mini-trips, status of overseas trips, announcements of social activities, and the Lobster Pot! Then our monthly guest speaker takes center stage for an informative, often educational, definitely entertaining presentation on a dive subject, exotic dive destination, or perhaps new equipment.  Please come to one of our meetings the first Thursday of each month.  Visitors and guests are welcome.

Past events

January 16, 2020 Board of Directors meeting
January 09, 2020 January General Meeting
December 14, 2019 December Board of Directors Holiday Party
December 07, 2019 Christmas Party
November 21, 2019 November Board of Directors meeting
November 10, 2019 Potluck Picnic/BBQ
November 07, 2019 November General Meeting
October 26, 2019 Sat Oct 26th - Blue Heron Bridge 6:33 PM to 8:33 PM
October 17, 2019 October Board of Directors meeting
October 06, 2019 Oct 6th w/ Scuba Tyme
October 03, 2019 October General Meeting
September 28, 2019 Flagler Museum Tour and Lunch - New Date and Time
September 27, 2019 September 28-29th In Islamorada
September 15, 2019 Sept 8th - GOLIATH GROUPERS! with Jim Abernanthy!
September 14, 2019 Sept 14th - Loggerhead
September 12, 2019 September Board of Directors meeting - Canceled
September 05, 2019 September General Meeting - Canceled
August 24, 2019 August 24-25th With Sea Dwellers in Key Largo
August 17, 2019 August 17th w/ Starfish
August 14, 2019 August Board of Directors meeting
August 11, 2019 August 11th w/ Parrot Island - LOBSTER!
August 01, 2019 August General Meeting
July 21, 2019 Scuba Tyme, July 21st
July 20, 2019 Scuba Tyme, July 20th
July 17, 2019 July Board of Directors meeting
July 13, 2019 Loggerhead, July 13th
July 06, 2019 Cuba – Garden of Queens – July 6-13
June 30, 2019 June 30th, Odyssey Divers
June 22, 2019 June 22nd, Parrot Island
June 19, 2019 June Board of Directors meeting
June 09, 2019 June 9th, ScubaTyme
June 06, 2019 June General Meeting
May 25, 2019 Little Cayman, May 25 - June 1st
May 19, 2019 Silverball Museum followed by Lunch at Bru's Room
May 18, 2019 May 18th, Dive Boat Diversity
May 09, 2019 May Board of Directors meeting
May 04, 2019 May 4th with Loggerhead
May 02, 2019 May General Meeting
April 27, 2019 Water Taxi Tour & Lunch in Fort Lauderdale
April 20, 2019 April 20th with Splashdown, 7:30 A.M.
April 11, 2019 April Board of Directors meeting
April 06, 2019 April 6th with Scuba Tyme, 7:30 A.M.
April 04, 2019 April General Meeting
March 29, 2019 Bowling for Turtles with Force-E
March 14, 2019 March Board of Directors meeting
March 09, 2019 Potluck Dinner & House/Pool Party at Kathi's
March 07, 2019 March General Meeting
February 07, 2019 February General Meeting
January 31, 2019 Yap - Palau, Feb. 2019
January 27, 2019 Lunch at Shooters followed by Intercoastal Boat Tour
January 10, 2019 Board of Directors meeting
January 03, 2019 January General Meeting
December 16, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
December 08, 2018 USA Dive Club Holiday Party
December 06, 2018 December General Meeting and Elections
November 10, 2018 Lion Country Safari
November 08, 2018 November Board of Directors meeting
November 01, 2018 November General Meeting
October 18, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
October 14, 2018 Oct 14th with Diversity
October 13, 2018 October 13th with Scuba Tyme
October 07, 2018 Coral Reef Day at Museum of Discovery & Science
October 06, 2018 October 6th with Parrot Island
October 04, 2018 October General Meeting
September 29, 2018 Key Dives in Islamorada
September 23, 2018 September 23rd with Scuba Tyme
September 22, 2018 Funky Buddha Brewery
September 15, 2018 September 15th with Diversity
September 13, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
September 06, 2018 September General Meeting
August 19, 2018 August 19th with Scuba Tyme
August 11, 2018 Bonaire - Divi Flamingo Resort - August 11-18, 2018
August 09, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
August 05, 2018 August 5th with Loggerhead
August 02, 2018 August General Meeting
July 28, 2018 Tour of Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse & Lunch at Two Georges at the Cove
July 21, 2018 July 21st with Diversity
July 12, 2018 July Board of Directors meeting
July 08, 2018 July 8th with South Florida
July 05, 2018 July General Meeting
July 01, 2018 Wine tasting and Dinner at CoopersHawk Restaurant
June 30, 2018 June 30th with Odyssey Divers
June 24, 2018 June 24th with Scuba Tyme
June 16, 2018 Cozumel - Iberostar June 16 - 23, 2018
June 14, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
June 09, 2018 June 9th with Loggerhead Divers
June 07, 2018 June General Meeting
June 02, 2018 COBALT COAST DIVE RESORT, GRAND CAYMAN
May 26, 2018 May 26th with Odyssey Divers
May 16, 2018 Mini-Trip to Bimini
May 12, 2018 Kayaking event - Winton Manners Loop
May 10, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
May 05, 2018 CANCELLED - May 5th with Parrot Island Scuba
May 03, 2018 May General Meeting
April 29, 2018 iFly Experience and Lunch
April 23, 2018 April 22nd with Logerhead
April 14, 2018 BAHAMAS AGGRESSOR - April 14-21, 2018
April 10, 2018 Board of Directors Meeting
April 07, 2018 April 7th with Diversity
April 05, 2018 April General Meeting
March 31, 2018 Kayaking in the Keys!
March 17, 2018 March 17th with Scuba Tyme
March 10, 2018 Potluck Dinner with Fireworks
March 08, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
March 01, 2018 March General Meeting
February 03, 2018 Manatee Festival 2018 at Manatee Lagoon
February 01, 2018 February General Meeting
January 27, 2018 Kayaking - Jonathan Dickinson State Park
January 21, 2018 Monster Miniature Golf & Lunch at Casa Tequila
January 17, 2018 Tommy Younger - Celebration of Life
January 11, 2018 Board of Directors meeting
January 04, 2018 January General Meeting
December 07, 2017 2017 Holiday Party
November 09, 2017 Board of Directors meeting
November 02, 2017 November General Meeting
October 22, 2017 Eat, Drink and Play
October 14, 2017 Diving with Starfish
October 07, 2017 Diving with Diversity
October 05, 2017 October General Meeting
September 29, 2017 Black Fin Resort in Marathon ** CANCELED **
September 23, 2017 Diving with Scuba Tyme
September 17, 2017 Diving with Dixie Divers
September 10, 2017 Diving with Kyalami ** CANCELED **
September 07, 2017 September General Meeting ** CANCELED **
August 26, 2017 Diving with Odyssey
August 12, 2017 Diving with Loggerhead
August 12, 2017 Cozumel - August 12-19, 2017
August 05, 2017 Diving with Starfish
August 03, 2017 August General Meeting
July 22, 2017 Mini-Trip to Islamorada
July 11, 2017 South Florida Underwater Photography Society meeting
July 08, 2017 Diving with Parrot Island Scuba
July 06, 2017 July General Meeting

                                                   SAFETY BLOG

Our thanks to Diver Training Magazine

https://dtmag.com

The Doctor Will See You Now: Diving Fitness and Medical Examinations

                                                                                          By Alex Brylske

I'm sure that there are places where I’m more ill at ease than in a doctor’s office, but I can’t really think of one. This isn’t to say that I don’t take my health care seriously. My doc is an affable and competent person whom, like it or not, I visit on a fairly regular basis. Over the past several years I’ve been poked, probed, palpated, stuck, irradiated and imaged in every way imaginable, and some that aren’t so. Heck, I even get my teeth cleaned twice a year. However, I’m not one who runs out to the doctor for a hangnail or at the first sign of a cold. In fact, as testament to my abhorrence to anything medical, there have only been two occasions in my entire adult life when I visited a doctor for something other than preventive care.

My fear and loathing of medicos goes back to my childhood. I had had two operations by the time I was 6 years old, and that much hospital experience for one so young definitely has an effect. Even as a teenager, as much as I dreamed of becoming a diver, I was initially reluctant to get certified when I learned that it would require a medical examination.

Of course, knowing one’s level of fitness is essential to safe diving because, regardless of how easy it has become, surviving underwater subjects our bodies to some pretty stressful and unforgiving situations. But what exactly constitutes “fitness to dive,” and how can we assess that? Does determining our fitness always require the insight of a trained medical professional? These questions have been debated since the beginning of recreational diving and, as in most fields, opinions and practices have changed over the years. Even today, polices on prequalification medical exams and diving fitness are not universal.

The What and Why of ‘Fitness’

In scuba diving, when it comes to assessing fitness, times have certainly changed. Years ago, many were reluctant to even consider diving because they thought it was deep, dark and dangerous. Today, it’s just the opposite. Many are lulled into diving because they view it as simple, safe and easy. Indeed, diving takes place in a relatively weightless environment, which may make it seem effortless, but it does require a degree of both health and stamina.

In determining what fitness means to you, understand that there’s no single answer; it means different things to different people. The first issue to consider in evaluating your fitness level is where and what type of diving you plan to do. Obviously, enjoying a shallow reef in the Florida Keys on a still summer morning is far less demanding than braving 8-foot seas to dive the wrecks off the New Jersey coast. Although this may seem obvious, it’s amazing how many folks will assume that their Florida Keys fitness is all they need when they one day decide to dive New Jersey or California. Your well-being demands that you be honest about what you want from the diving experience, and make sure that you don’t exceed the conditions on which you’ve based your fitness decision.

Still, even if you do decide that you’re only interested in relatively “easy” conditions and environments, things don’t always go as planned. Even the best conditions can change rapidly, and it’s these unforeseen circumstances that cause a lot of accidents. So, whatever you expect, assume that once in a while, at least, conditions will be worse; perhaps much worse. This means that you must possess not only the level of fitness required for what you normally encounter, but a “reserve,” just in case. Granted, assessing, acquiring and maintaining an appropriate level of fitness may not be easy, but never forget that Murphy’s Law is always right around the corner ready to bite you on the backside when you least expect it.

Whether you expect it or not, on any dive you may encounter long surface swimming, have to contend with strong, changing currents or just deal with being at the surface in conditions akin to a washing machine during the rinse cycle. All require more fitness than walking from your easy chair to the fridge. Unanticipated and strenuous physical tasks are part of the diving experience in any environment; therefore you must not have any health conditions, or take any medications, that may impede your performance.

Assessing your fitness also isn’t a one-time event. When I started diving as a young teenager, there were few physical tasks a diver might encounter that I couldn’t handle. But to assume that’s still the case more than three decades later is a recipe for disaster. So, the next time you’re filling out your logbook, take a few minutes to ask yourself a few simple questions: Did I encounter conditions that were close to or beyond my physical capabilities? How likely is it that these conditions may occur again? Do I need to reconsider my “comfort envelope” or try to improve my fitness? The answers require a great deal of self-honesty, but the exercise may be the best thing you’ll ever do for your health and well-being.

Finding a clear method to assess and quantify your level of fitness isn’t always easy, but there are some basics you can keep in mind. First, if you can’t walk around the block without a rest, or if you’ve never even tried, diving at any level probably isn’t something you should try (or continue). At least, not until you’ve improved your conditioning. A very minimal guideline for fitness is the ability to walk a mile (1.6 km) within 12 minutes. If you can’t do this, you should plan to exercise for at least 20 minutes four or five time per week, but only after you’ve gotten the approval of your doctor. And if possible, add swimming with fins to your routine. A useful measure that I’ve always given my own students, based on years of teaching experience, is this: No one should consider themselves prepared for a certification course who cannot swim at their own pace, using a mask and fins, at least 200 yards (182 m) without stopping and/or becoming exhausted.

Restrictions and Red Flags

Aside from physical fitness, divers and would-be divers must also consider how any existing medical conditions can affect their health and safety. Surviving in an environment that’s 800 times denser than the atmosphere can present problems that might never arise while sitting in your living room, or even engaging in moderate physical activity on terra firma.

First, let’s consider temporary conditions such as colds, flu, injury or even pregnancy. All should be considered reasons to curtail diving until the effects have passed. Colds, flu or allergy attacks cause swelling or blockage in the sinuses and eustachian tubes, which means pressure equalization will be difficult or impossible. Injuries can leave you with restricted strength, stamina or mobility, and can even put you at a greater risk of decompression sickness due to alterations or restrictions in blood flow. Furthermore, when diving with an injury, the accompanying pain could mask symptoms of decompression sickness. So it’s best to postpone diving until you’re fully healed. Lastly, diving while you are or could be pregnant is considered a no-no for one simple reason: We just don’t know enough about its effect on the developing fetus, so why take the chance? Can any hour spent underwater be worth the risk to a child’s life or quality of life?

It should be obvious that you must take into account the effect of any medications. This goes for both prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) meds. Frankly, most medications have no effect on diving, but some definitely do. They may cause drowsiness or fatigue, which may make you more susceptible to nitrogen narcosis, or impede your thinking at just the time thinking is most critical. Other medications, as well as illicit drugs, can affect heart rate even in those without heart problems. Clearly, if you plan to dive, it’s especially important to read the warning labels before using any drugs. And it’s just downright stupid to dive while taking any recreational drugs.

Another concern that’s foreign to any landlubber taking meds is whether and how the increased pressure at depth can affect any drug. There is always a possibility of such an unexpected reaction to medications, and some drugs are noted particularly for pressure-induced side effects. But the problem is that these reactions can vary from diver to diver, and even from day to day. So, the first step in preventing a dangerous situation is knowing well in advance what side effects any medication has on you before using it while diving. It isn’t smart to pop a pill for the first time just as you’re about to enter the water. This is true even of common OTC drugs like cold and allergy or seasickness medications.

The effect of diving on prescription medication can be a very complex issue, and requires a knowledgeable doctor’s advice. Regardless, always remind your doctor that you’re a diver when he or she prescribes a med. And, if your doc isn’t up on how diving can affect your condition or medications, you should be prepared to provide some resources. (See the sidebar “Educating Your Doctor” on Page 34.)

Some medical conditions aren’t temporary, and these can have major consequences for divers. Two of the more common concerns are asthma and diabetes. Both are becoming epidemic in many regions of the world, including North America, the Caribbean, and the islands of the South Pacific; and many believe that this is the result of lifestyle and the degrading quality of our environment. This is a serious problem for all segments of society, but it poses additional problems for the diving community. For decades there has been much debate about whether to allow those with either condition to dive; and at one time the answer was quite simple: no. But many have questioned such a ban on diving, and today, after careful medication evaluation, some asthmatics are permitted to dive.

Diabetes, as well, is a chronic condition that’s been recently reconsidered by diving medical experts. Today, rather than a blanket disqualification, divers and diving candidates with diabetes are evaluated on a case-by-case basis with an appropriate medical specialist. A similar situation exists for one of the most common disorders in almost every developed society: cardiovascular disease. (For more information, see “The Heart of the Matter,” Dive Training, April 2006.) Research and debate continue regarding both asthma and diabetes, and it’s likely more issues and findings will appear.

This Will Only Hurt a Little

Whether you’re a diver or not, the cornerstone of good health is a regular physical exam. Opinions on how often this should happen seem to vary; and to be perfectly honest, after graduating from college I didn’t set foot in a doctor’s office for almost 20 years. But that all changed when I hit the big 4-0, a milestone no one should ignore. Since then I’ve had regular annual checkups, along with the associated diagnostic, age-appropriate tests involving treadmills, CAT scans, endoscopes, rubber gloves and assorted other accouterments of medical technology.

The issue of physical examinations for divers has undergone quite an evolution. Even today, policy varies from country to country. As I mentioned, when I got certified, everyone was required to first secure medical approval from a physician before being accepted into a class. But in North America, that hasn’t been the case for a long time. As many of you no doubt know from your experience, some of you had to have physical exams, while others didn’t.

North American-based diver training organizations require that all candidates for instruction complete the Recreational Scuba Training Council’s “Medical History Statement and Questionnaire.” (A copy of the form can be downloaded from many sources; just type in the search term “RSTC medical form.”) As the form explains, its purpose is to find out if a perspective diving student should be examined by a doctor before participating in training. A “yes” response to any question doesn’t necessarily disqualify someone from diving, but it does indicate that there could be a pre-existing condition that may affect safety. Therefore, the candidate must seek the advice of a physician before engaging in diving activities.

Some believe that this approach is inadequate, contending that everyone new to diving should first have medical clearance from a physician. In fact, some countries such as Australia require this. But is this additional expense and inconvenience really warranted? Some who have studied the matter don’t think so. For instance, the UK Sport Diving Medical Committee found that examination by a physician was largely unhelpful in identifying divers with significant medical conditions, and concluded that a health questionnaire, like the current medical history form, is perfectly sufficient. A similar result came from a study six years ago published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

However, this selective nature of medical exams does not apply to some divers. All commercial divers, including professionals such as divemasters, dive control specialists, assistant instructors and instructors, are required to have full medical clearance before they’re accepted into training. Scientific divers, including most divers in university programs and those working under the guidelines of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS), also require full medical evaluation before training, and while active in such programs.

For recreational divers, the current medical standard has been in effect for almost two decades. The questionnaire was developed by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) and Divers Alert Network (DAN). (More information about the form is contained in “Assessing Your Medical Fitness to Dive” on Page 36.)

In the end, however, the final arbiter of who can enter a diving course, for medical reasons or otherwise, is that of the instructor. In fact, based solely on his or her judgment, an instructor may require anyone to secure medical approval from a physician, even if the candidate has indicated no affirmative answers on the questionnaire.

We all like to think the best of ourselves. And often our image doesn’t reflect reality. Usually, this has little potential to do harm to anything but our ego. But fitness for diving is a different matter. When it comes to fitness, lying to yourself or others can put both you and your buddy at serious risk. Remember, no diver ever thought that they weren’t coming back from their dive.

Educating Your Doctor

As we all know doctors are very busy people. Their medical school training is intense, and with continuing advances in medical research, they have to know more and more. So, it’s no surprise that a subject like diving medicine doesn’t receive much, if any attention, in either medical school or afterward. In fact, if a doctor doesn’t take up diving personally, he may know less about diving medicine than a knowledgeable scuba instructor. This isn’t intended as a slam. It’s just that, in the scheme of things, scuba diving isn’t a very common activity. So, most doctors only rarely deal with divers and would-be divers. As a result, when it comes time for a diving medical exam, you may find yourself in the delicate situation of having to educate your doctor.

But the situation isn’t as daunting as it may sound. The RSTC “Diving Medical Statement and Questionnaire” contains a section designed just for this purpose: “Guidelines for Recreational Scuba Diver’s Physical Examination.” It includes three pages of detailed instructions with 16 medical references. So, when you show up to your doc’s office, be sure that you take a copy of the entire six-page form, not just the part he or she has to sign.

The guidelines discuss areas of concern for divers, and what to look for in a medical assessment. Temporary, relative and severe risk conditions are listed for the neurological, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, orthopedic, hematological, metabolic/endocrinological and otolaryngological systems. There’s also a segment on behavioral health. At a minimum, the examination should include these points. The list of conditions is not all-inclusive, but contains the most commonly encountered medical problems.

The guidelines define “temporary risks” as those that are responsive to treatment, allowing the student to dive safely after they have been resolved. “Relative risks” refer to conditions that exist but, in the judgment of the physician, are not contraindicated for diving. Finally, “severe risk” implies that an individual is believed to be at substantially elevated risk of decompression sickness, pulmonary or otic (ear) barotrauma or altered consciousness with subsequent drowning, compared with the general population. In these cases, as the guidelines state, “The consultants involved in drafting this document would generally discourage a student with such medical problems from diving.”

The guidelines conclude by informing physicians that medical professionals of the Divers Alert Network (DAN) associated with Duke University Health System are available for consultation. If you find that your doc would like even more insights, here are some additional references:

“Medical Examination of Sport Scuba Divers,” 3rd Edition, A.A. Bove, M.D., Ph.D (ed.), Best Publishing Company, P.O. Box 30100, Flagstaff, AZ 86003-0100.

“The Physician’s Guide to Diving Medicine,” C.W. Shilling, C.B. Carlston and R.A. Mathias, Plenum Press, New York, New York (Available through the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Association, Bethesda, Maryland)

Assessing Your Medical Fitness to Dive

The “Diving Medical Statement and Questionnaire” has been produced under the auspices of the Recreational Scuba Training Council and endorsed by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), Divers Alert Network (DAN) and more than two dozen of North America’s top diving medical specialists. To assess whether an individual should have medical clearance to enroll in a scuba course, here are the areas it addresses:

First, the questionnaire addresses those over 45 years of age. For this group, a positive response to smoking, high cholesterol, family history of heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes (even if controlled by diet alone), or if you are receiving medical care means a trip to the doctor’s office.

It then goes on to ask all applicants if they have or have ever had any of several medical conditions, listed below; and if they take any prescribed medications for anything other than malaria prophylaxis or birth control. Female diving candidates are asked whether they are, could be or are attempting to become pregnant.

Again, an affirmative response to any of these questions or conditions, and a doctor’s approval is required for continuing with your wishes to become a certified diver.

  • Asthma, or wheezing with breathing, or wheezing with exercise.
  • Frequent or severe attacks of hay fever or allergy.
  • Frequent colds, sinusitis or bronchitis.
  • Any form of lung disease.
  • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung).
  • Other chest disease or chest surgery.
  • Behavioral health, mental or psychological problems (panic attack, fear of closed or open spaces).
  • Epilepsy, seizures, convulsions or take medications to prevent them.
  • Recurring complicated migraine headaches or take medications to prevent them.
  • Blackouts or fainting (full/partial loss of consciousness).
  • Dysentery or dehydration requiring medical intervention.
  • Any dive accidents or decompression sickness.
  • Inability to perform moderate exercise (i.e., walk 1 mile [1.6 km] within 12 minutes).
  • Head injury with loss of consciousness in the past five years.
  • Recurrent back problems.
  • Back or spinal surgery.
  • Diabetes.
  • Back, arm or leg problems following surgery, injury or fracture.
  • High blood pressure or take medicine to control blood pressure.
  • Heart disease.
  • Heart attack.
  • Angina, heart surgery or blood vessel surgery.
  • Sinus surgery.
  • Ear disease or surgery, hearing loss or problems with balance.
  • Recurrent ear problems.
  • Bleeding or other blood disorders.
  • Hernia.
  • Ulcers or ulcer surgery.
  • A colostomy or ileostomy.
  • Recreational drug use or treatment for, or alcoholism in the past five years.

 A Note from DAN

As of 1/1/20 the Guardian policy is no longer offered to divers age 70 and older.

Preferred and master plans are still available.

LOBSTER POT

USA's Lobster Pot drawings Include CASH prizes, and a variety of PRIZES donated by South Florida Dive Shops,
other Sponsors or Club Members.

Funds from ticket donations help to support our many club activities. Congratulations to all our Lobster Pot participants. Be sure to visit our Local dive shops who support us and say 'Thanks'.



















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ITEMS FOR SALE OR RENT OR FREE

For SALE:

Dell 2400mp projector.  Includes manual, remote, power cord, new spare lamp.  $100. Contact avguy@usadiveclub.com.

WANTED: A console that will hold an Oceanic computer and already has a pressure gauge in it.

Gary Sharp

561-860-2426

gsharp@mindbase.com

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