programs blog

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  • March 26, 2020 2:59 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Stay at Home

    In order to help keep members safe from the COVID-19 virus, all April Club events have been canceled. As I write this on March 26, 2020, all non-essential businesses, including dive charters and dive stores have been shut down by government decree. It is possible that these conditions may extend into May, or even longer. We will let you know if this affects future Club events.

  • February 26, 2020 5:40 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    The Solomon Islands

    By Daniela Tombion

    First, the night's guest speaker, Daniela Tombion, will tell us about the Solomon Islands, its people, its culture, and the diving - especially the Diving from Bilikiki where she was a captain for four years. This should be of interest even if you are not considering signing up for the Solomon Islands trip. Later in the evening, Nils Jacobsen will give us the practical details of the planned trip to the Solomon Islands and the Bilikiki liveaboard.

    Daniela was born in Caracas Venezuela. From the early days, she developed a passion for the underwater world from being able to snorkel from a young age in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. This same passion made her travel to Egypt to keep exploring and developing her scuba diving skills. That's when she made the decision to dedicate the next years of her life to teach, explore and serve as many divers as possible. She became a Dive Instructor in the Red Sea area. Daniela and her husband signed up as dive crew for Emperor Divers – a well renowned fleet in the Red Sea. Daniela recognized liveaboards as the best way to see most of the marine life and dive as much as possible. The couple became part of the Emperor Divers Fleet and guided 800 divers or more per year for the next four years. Covering most part of the Egyptian Red Sea including the fantastic wrecks, colorful reefs, and the adventures of the Brothers Islands.

    From the Red Sea, the couple took a jump to the South Pacific and she and her husband became the Onboard Managers of the great Bilikiki Cruises located in the Solomon Islands. They ran that operation for four years in one of the most beautiful places they have been.  “The waters, marine life and the people of the Solomon Islands is one of those experiences that will stay in our hearts forever. It is one of those kinds of things you can't explain with words; it takes an experience to be able to express the quality of the dives and operation.”

  • January 27, 2020 3:42 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    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.

  • December 18, 2019 5:50 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    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)


  • October 30, 2019 11:34 AM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    My Most Memorable Dives Around the World

    By Bill Watts

    Long time USA Dive Club member Bill Watts will be presenting a program talking about his most memorable dives around the world. Bill has been diving for 60 years. He came to Pompano Beach Florida in 1959 at age 12 and purchased his first set of dive equipment by age 13. Bill estimates he has made over 3000 dives around the world. From the shores of Florida to places like Cocos Island off Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador or the Lembeh Straights of Indonesia, Bill has seen it all. He will be talking about some of his most memorable dives and why they were so memorable. Should be an action packed fun adventure with photos and memories.


  • September 15, 2019 4:10 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Our speaker is Susana Ramirez, Founder of Save The Sharks

    Susana Ramirez (Navajas) grew up around the water, and always had a deep passion for the ocean and its' inhabitants. While doing her undergraduate studies, Susana helped graduate students with shark research in the everglades. It was during that time that she fell in love with sharks, and she vowed to do all that she could to help the animals out. She has since volunteered for many non-profit organizations and has gained valuable knowledge about grassroots campaigning. In 2014, she officially ran Save The Sharks full time, and has had a great deal of success. Susana has been a part of CITES implementations, she has led local and international rallies, school presentations, she has written for magazines and much more. Her hope is that Save The Sharks can inspire anyone to do something; because together, we can make a difference. [http://www.savethesharksorg.com/]


  • August 23, 2019 11:02 AM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Importance of Coral-Algal Symbiosis to the Reef Community

    By Rivah Winter, PhD

    Dr. Rivah Winter runs the Inventors in Residence Coral Reef Restoration Rivah WinterResearch Laboratory at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami, FL, where she is also a Curator of Marine Science. In partnership with Dr. Andrew Baker at the University of Miami, she works to improve the heat resistance of threatened corals used for reef restoration. She earned her PhD from UM in 2017 and her B.S. from UCSD in 2010, where she studied Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. Rivah fell in love with the sea when she first visited an aquarium at seven years old, and she is excited to be able to work with the stellar team at Frost Science to advance the Museum's conservation program.

  • July 25, 2019 6:31 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Bylaws and Pictures

    A two-part program

    1. Bylaws Changes - We have Bylaws changes to discuss and, hopefully, approve by a vote of the members present. The reasons for making the changes are outlined briefly in the President's Waves. Members can help speed up discussions by reading the proposed changes here.
    2. Pictures - Nils Jacobsen is putting together a presentation of photos from past trips. He is working on the presentation while I write this, so I am not sure what the final result will be. It will probably include his pictures from our recent Little Cayman trip. It may include pictures from Fiji, especially if we can get another Fiji trip scheduled for 2020. If we are lucky and he can find the time, we may get to see pictures from Cuba. And he has pictures from his African safari that may also make it into the presentation.
  • May 29, 2019 1:10 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Making Friends With Sharks Without Feeding Them
    By Jim Abernethy

    Jim Abernethy, an award-winning underwater photographer, author, filmmaker and conservationist. He is a pioneer in large predatory cageless shark encounters with some of the world's most notorious sharks. Scuba diving since his youth inspired his life's mission to spread the word about the importance of worldwide ocean conservation.

    For decades, Abernethy has been running photography/video expeditions to guide encounters with the world's largest predatory sharks. He pioneered shark encounters without a cage (day and night) with tiger sharks, great hammerheads, oceanic white tips, bulls, and lemon sharks. Jim’s tireless efforts to help save sharks around the world were part of the reason why the Bahamian waters were recognized as a shark sanctuary, in July 2011. This was a huge victory for sharks around the world.

    His award-winning marine life images are represented in galleries, nature & photography magazines, as well as his stock agent, National Geographic. Raising awareness about the need for conservation remains Abernethy’s primary focus when aiming his camera at wildlife subjects. Additionally, he has launched two separate series of books, in collaboration with award-winning author Jennifer R. Nolan, that seek to educate and empower others to join in key conservation efforts.

    Abernethy has hosted and been featured in many of the world's top nature filmmakers shows, such as Imax, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel. His images are available at National Geographic Image Library. He owns the "Marine Life Art Gallery" in West Palm Beach, FL, where his captivating images and unique and educational books are available as well. When he's not below sea level, Jim is often seen piloting his flying inflatable boat (ultra-light), "Oversear," in order to capture nature at sea with his lens from an aerial perspective.

    While Abernethy is well known as a world-class photographer and passionate conservationist, it's his unique ability to bring divers up close to some of the largest predatory sharks safely, in turn inspiring them to become vocal and passionate ambassadors to save the sharks, that separates him from the rest.

    Abernethy is best known for the relentless pursuit of his life's mission: to save the planet's ocean creatures, starting with sharks, through his photography, books, films, and presentations. His colleagues have recognized Abernethy with four lifetime achievement awards for his relentless dedication to ocean conservation and the protection of sharks. He was the recipient of the Eleanor Fletcher Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award at the Go Blue Event in 2011, the Crest Award from Gumbo Limbo in 2013 and was honored with The Wyland Icon award in 2011. Last year he received the Shark-Con 2018 Conservation award for his relentless efforts saving sharks!

    Jim is the founder of three ocean conservation-based non-profits Operation Blue Pride, WildlifeVOICE and Project Seahorse for Kids. Operation Blue Pride helps veterans learn to scuba dive, while forming an army of advocates to take on ocean issues. WildlifeVOICE works with many entities, giving a voice for those who cannot speak. Presently, WildlifeVOICE is working to protect wildlife in the state of Florida from the Red Tide issues. WildlifeVOICE was the driving force in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWCC) April 2018 decision to continue protecting the critically endangered goliath grouper.

    Believing that science is critical to saving our wildlife, Jim works with a number of scientists by providing them with the resources necessary for the collection of marine science data. To date, the fields of research to which Jim’s company has been able to assist include formal and informal studies of: sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, cephalopods, reef ecosystems and coral reefs just to name a few.

    Jim lives primarily at sea, in the Bahamas, running shark expeditions and wild dolphin encounters year-round on his boat, "Shear Water." He can also be found in Mexico running eco-tourism expeditions for whale sharks and manta rays. His dive business, Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures Inc., is based in West Palm Beach, FL. For more information you are invited to visit: www.scuba-adventures.com.

  • April 26, 2019 5:34 PM | Roger Cooper (Administrator)

    Dive into History with Lisa Mongelia, Executive Director at the History of Diving Museum, as she presents on the strong south Florida connection to recreational diving, marine biology, underwater photography and salvage diving long before scuba was invented!

    Lisa has been an active diver and instructor for over 40 years, enjoying all that Florida and the Caribbean has to offer, as well as exploring Lake Superior and Bonne Terre Mines. She became an instructor in 1978 and moved to Miami to work for Underwater Unlimited as their first female dive instructor. Over the course of the next several decades she taught part time while raising two sons and working as a Billing Coordinator and Records Supervisor in the law firm industry. In her spare time, Lisa wrote for DiveNewswire which later introduced her to the History of Diving Museum to cover an event. After years of volunteering, Lisa left the corporate world to come on board as the History of Diving Museum director. She leads a fantastic team that has developed new exciting community outreach events, specialized presentations, fun scavenger hunts and guided tours. The Museum also offers Museum in Motion educational outreach programs to locals schools and universities.

    Find out more about the History of Diving Museum on the website or when you dive in on your next visit to the Florida Keys, its a great way to spend a surface interval. Check the calendar and join other participants for special events. (become a member to get special discounts and help support the 501 (c)(3) non-profit)

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