The Cool Things our Divers are Doing

As divers, we are thrilled if a fish, frog or turtle gets up close and personal with us on a dive in a local lake.  Well, there is a way to experience being underwater and enjoy the wildlife without getting wet.

The Environmental Discovery Center (EDC) at the Indian Springs Metro Park is home to a giant dome and viewing window that brings native Michigan fish and wildlife into clear view.  Visitors regularly see a variety of fish habitats, tree stumps, logs and large rock formations underwater.  They also regularly see two Rec Divers, Dave Wurtz and Brad Sayyae, who volunteer to keep the dome and viewing windows clean.

The pond at the EDC is completely natural; the water is not filtered or chemically controlled.  Algae and sediment are normal things to be found in bodies of fresh water.  The algae and sediment collect on the windows and dome and eventually reduce visibility, like any dirty window.  Recreational Scuba Diving is not permitted in any Metro Park, but Rec Diving Instructor Dave Wurtz was approached when it became apparent that the dome would need periodic maintenance.  Ever since, Dave and his dive buddy Brad, have been washing the windows about every two weeks from early March until the ice forms.

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“Everyone appreciates our work, which really isn’t work – more like fun, ” says Wurtz.  “It’s particularly rewarding to be able to give back, while doing something we enjoy.”

A vehicle permit is the only thing required to visit Indian Springs and the EDC and there’s never a charge to watch the EDC-Rec Diving Underwater Window Washing Team!

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Advance your Diver Rating with a Scuba Specialty Course

For many, part of the experience of diving is capturing images of some of the incredible marine life and vistas we see while exploring the underwater world. Getting pictures that capture these moments however can prove to be difficult and quickly lead to frustration. To help we’ve pulled together a list of ten tips that start to give you the framework for success.

#1 Buoyancy Control
The first and most important tip to getting great shots is to get your buoyancy under control. With proper buoyancy you’ll be able to slowly approach your subject without excessive movement helping to avoid spooking them off. Another way good buoyancy will help is moving into tighter spaces without damaging marine life or impacting visibility. With proper buoyancy control you can move in slowly and using the volume of air in your lungs allow yourself to descend or ascend as needed to get in final position and to back out. Finally proper buoyancy control can help ensure your shots are in focus as remaining stationary will help eliminate changes in the distance between you and your subject during the shot.

#2 Know your tools
Learn where all of your camera controls are on land outside of the housing before you take it on a dive. As with every piece of equipment you carry into the water cameras add an additional level of task loading to the dive. The better your understanding of where the controls are on your camera the easier it will be to use the system underwater. Remember you have enough to keep track of managing critical aspects of the dive such as depth, time and gas supply, regular adjustments to settings like aperture, shutter speed and ISO should be second nature to help ensure you get your shot.

#3 Make a target list
Most dive destinations are known for a particular type of diving. By that I mean they’re known for large animal encounters, micro life, or particular species that are found in that area. Take the time to research the destination your going to in order to understand what type of life you’re likely to encounter. This will help you ensure you bring the right gear with you on the trip and into the water. As always be sure to make sure your list matches up with the region you’re diving as well or your diving ability.

#4 Make sure all your gear works before your leave
I can’t stress this one enough! Ensure you double check ALL of your gear far enough in advance that you can get repairs made prior to a trip. Given all of the different types and configurations of photo gear out there don’t count on everything being stocked in the store. We can get you anything you need but make sure you’re able to order it a few weeks in advance to avoid shipping issues.

#5 Talk to the locals
When you arrive and get settled in, take your target list down to the docks and to talk to your dive guides. Taking time at the beginning of the trip will allow you find out if the subjects you’re interested in have been seen and where as well insuring the dive guides know what it is you want to see. As in most cases they work largely based on tips they’ll do their best to ensure they choose sites that are going to maximize your chances. They may also provide you with some ideas for other interesting and unique subjects you might have not thought about before coming.

#6 Slow down
For many the feeling that we need to swim down the reef to see critters blinds us to the life around us. The slower you move across the reef the more life you’re going to see. The animal life that lives on the reef is involved in a constant circle of life with predators throughout the food chain. Only the animals at the top of the food chain will be moving around without fear of becoming dinner themselves. As the majority of the life on the reef isn’t at the top of the chain they rely on camouflage and stealth to survive. Move slowly staying close to the reef taking time to look into the cracks and crevasses for life that will use the natural structure of the reef for protection. Also look for shapes that don’t seem quite right and take a closer look when something doesn’t look right. Once you learn how to spot your first scorpion fish it will blow your mind how many you’ll start to see. They were always around you just didn’t realize the type of area they hide in and/or how to spot their shape.

#7 Night dives are different so be ready
Diver_w_lightsTo understand how photography on a night dive is different, we need to understand how cameras perform a very important task; focusing. The primary thing the camera searches for while attempting to auto focus are differences in contrast. On a night dive it’s critical that your subject be illuminated so that the cameras focusing system is able to see it as it contrasts against the dark water. Without this your cameras focus will “hunt” back and forth searching for the right level of detail in the image. Choosing a wide angle modeling light that can be mounted to the strobe arms or housing is the perfect choice.

If possible try to select a light that allows you to set variable intensities in terms of light output. This will allow you to dim the light helping to avoid scaring off subjects that seek to avoid a lot of light. Another option offered by some vendors such as Light and Motion are lights that contain both white and red LEDs. Red light is invisible to the marine life so you can hunt and focus without scaring away the more timid creatures. Try to select a mounting system that allows you to control where the light is aimed. This will give you more freedom to ensure the light is on the subject regardless of how near or far they are from the camera. Finally backscatter is much more of a problem at night because of the contrast (dark water/light particals). Turn your strobe(s) out away from the subject with just the outside of the light hitting the subject it will lessen the problem.

#8 Turn on the lights
One of the biggest criticisms I hear from people about their pictures is about how cyan everything looks. To understand this we need to step back to our open water book and review how colors are lost as they pass through water. Specifically we lose reds in the first 15 feet, then orange, yellow, green, blue and finally indigo at 150’+. This color loss can only be corrected by using a source to add additional light at the time the image is captured through the use of a strobe (flash). Many cameras have onboard strobes that can be used but often they’re very limited. Often the part of the housing the surrounds the lens will act as a shade preventing light from getting to the corner of the housing opposite the strobe. A better choice is to add an external strobe unit on a flexible arm system. This will give you more power over the camera’s onboard strobe and allow you to position the light to work around obstacles while avoiding aiming the strobes along the same path as the lens.

#9 Get closer
Diver3Even in the clear waters of the Caribbean there is a lot of particulate floating around in the water that causes two problems for us as divers, a loss of sharpness and backscatter. While your camera may not focus on this floating debris it will at some level see it. This can cause a general loss in sharpness taking an image from great to average quickly. This is unfortunately also not a condition that can be corrected in post processing. Backscatter is caused when light sent out from your strobe bounces back directly into the camera lens causing bright white spots. While these can in many cases be corrected by post processing its better to of course avoid it. To resolve both of these issues it’s imperative that you get as close as possible to your subject. By decreasing the distance you decrease the amount of particulate thus decreasing the amount of backscatter and loss of sharpness. Another reason to get close takes us back to tip #8. Even the largest strobe units are capable of throwing light through 6 to 8 feet of water before color begins to fade. You should strive to be within 6 feet of your subject if possible to help insure the best results.

#10 Focus on the eyes
When taking pictures of anything that can look back at you always choose the eyes as your focus point as it’s the first feature viewers are drawn to. Many cameras will allow you to control what point(s) in the viewfinder your camera will use to focus. If your camera allows it, I recommend you lock the focusing system to use a single point in the center of the viewfinder as your focus point. This will allow you to quickly lock that point onto the subject’s eye, focus and frame the shot.

Go Dive the World in a Go Travel BCD

Go Travel BCD – Comfortable, easy to pack and extremely lightweight at under 6lbs!

This weight-integrated BCD is loaded with the quality and style divers have come to expect from SCUBAPRO.

Perfect for the traveling diver!

Starting at just $479
Go dive the world. That’s our message with this true travel BC.
Lightweight, easy to pack and extremely comfortable, it includes an integrated weight system and other original features, as well as SCUBAPRO quality, style and spirit of adventure.

The large size weighs less than 2,7 kg / 6 lbs.

Made in light and resistant Nylon 210 denier material covered in polyurethane

  • Foldable Airnet backpack is lightweight and soft, without rigid elements
  • The entire BC can be easily folded, secured with a dedicated buckle and stored in its own travel sack
  • Integrated weight system
  • High profile, easy to access pockets are reinforced with strong mesh for long wear and quick drying
  • Double tank strap provides extremely good balance in any position and reduces pressure on your back
  • Great lightweight shoulder strap buckles, large size aluminum D-rings
  • Side grommets for SCUBAPRO knife attachment
  • Available with Balanced Power Inflator or optional AIR2 alternate air source

Don’t be caught in the dark! See more with a compact LED Dive Light.

Amazingly bright compact LED anodized aluminum lights. Compact enough to fit in your BCD pocket.

Rugged, yet streamlined and lightweight, these lights are ideal for traveling divers.

Some models powered by just three AAA cells with 3 power modes and a run time up to 420 minutes.

A dive light is one of the most valuable companions to divers, it’s how we enhance our deep-sea vision!

 

Introducing the NEW Chromis Wrist Computer

The new CHROMIS wrist computer is ready for your next adventure, in or out of the water.

Reaching a new level of clarity, the large display and Katana-sharp characters are proven to be exceptionally readable under water.

You’ll have a host of tools at your fingertips, including a full-featured dive computer, timepiece, and patented lap counter.

   A perfect holiday gift price of $499!

Technical Information

  • Easy to read larger digits
  • ZHL8 ADT MB algorithm
  • Dual time
  • Stopwatch function in SCUBA mode
  • 120m maximum operating depth
  • Larger capacity CR2430 battery
  • SCUBAPRO engraved SS316L stainless steel front ring and back
  • Patented Swimming Stroke counter: counts strokes or kicks and calculates distance
  • Colors: Black, Orange, White
  • Strap extension included
  • Nitrox settings 21% to 100%
  • Feed-through push buttons
  • APNEA and GAUGE modes
  • USB connection with cradle
  • Logs can be stored and analyzed with a PC/Mac
  • Alarm clock

How Easy does your Wetsuit go on?

Flex Wetsuits are now the rage for all diving and snorkeling adventures.  Flexible 3mm or 5mm neoprene full length suits.

These suits are durable, super stretchy, and ultra-comfortable. Most important, they go on easier than ever!

That means no more pulling, twisting, grunting and tugging to get your wetsuit on!

You pull these wetsuits on effortlessly and they mold right to your body.

What’s more, you can freely bend and move in ultra-comfortable flexible wetsuits, even before you jump in the water.

Full wetsuits available in 3mm and 5mm.

Check out our entire selection at Rec Diving!

Every diver needs a professionally fitted Mask and Snorkel

These comfortable mask and snorkel kits are specially crafted for divers and snorkelers who want a wide field of view combined with a low volume design.  Snorkels feature hyper-dry and full-dry top technology. Available in a range of styles and a rainbow of super fun colors. Specially sized for adults and children.

Make memories with the Gift of Adventure

There is no better gift than time spent with friends and family sharing an adventure. Make a memory. Get up close and personal with the beauty of the sea on a custom adventure or join one of our group getaways. We make it easy. Just show up and let the fun begin! Here are our favorites for the coming year.

If you like what you see, contact us to secure space. Every year these trips are all first-come-first-served. Sign up before they fill up! If our group date doesn’t quite work for your schedule, contact us. Our specialty is creating the perfect adventure just for you!

Sola Dive Light for the Best and the Brightest

You’re headed into the water as the sun has just slipped below the horizon to enjoy one of the most active times in the ocean. The key to seeing the action below the waves is your trusty dive light. This branch of the dive equipment field has seen some of the most significant developments in the industry over the last several years. As Xenon and Krypton bulbs gave way to HID, so has HID started to move to the side for LED technology. LED lights offer more burn time, cooler operating temperatures, and produce whiter light that penetrates even the turbid waters of the Great Lakes. At the tip of the LED spear is the Sola Dive lights by Light and Motion.

soldiv1200_1Since their release, these little powerhouses have been one of the most talked about items at Rec Diving. People love the Solas because they are lightweight and compact, but sometimes folks shy away from these beauties when they look at the price compared to other LED lights. While they might cost a little more at the register, we have seen over and over again that they actually save you in the long run.

Rec Diving instructor Frank Aloia has done a bit of number crunching, and it turns out the Solas will save you more than three times their cost in the long run.  Here’s his detailed break down:

Like so many of the advantages of the Sola series, in terms of cost savings it all comes down to the batteries. The Sola lights use a sealed lithium-ion cell that is rated for at least 500 charging cycles. To compare it to the C4 eLED from Underwater Kinetics, we’ll also need to consider the burn time for each light at a similar output level. At it’s max power, the C4 eLED is capable of producing 275 lumens of light for a burn time of 480 minutes. The Sola Dive 1200, on the other hand, is able to produce 300 lumens of light (using it’s lowest output setting) for a total of 280 minutes. It’s the recharging aspect of the Sola that really allows it to start saving you money. If we consider that the Sola is capable of running for 280 minutes and can be charged 500 times, it yields 140,000 minutes of burn time during it’s batteries lifespan. When we consider that it would take 290 sets of 4 C-cell batteries for the C4 eLED at a cost of about $10 per set, the total cost of those 140,000 minutes of burn time comes in at a staggering $2,900.00.

This might seem like enough of an advantage, but it keeps getting better. What happens when your Sola won’t take a full charge after it’s 523rd charge? Simply bring it in to Rec Diving and we’ll send it back to Light and Motion to have a fresh battery cell put in and the unit resealed. This refresh will only set you back $75 at which point you’ll be able to enjoy another 500+ charges.

solvid1200_1These lights will not only save you a substantial amount of money, but they offer a long list of other advantages as well. Here are just a few of them:

  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Factory sealed to eliminate floods
  • Variable power levels
  • Integrated battery power level indicator
  • Ability to toggle between spot and flood modes (Dive and Video models)
  • Weight of just over ½ pound

Switching to the Sola could also equal 1,160 batteries that don’t end up in the landfill. At Rec Diving, we believe that’s one of the biggest advantages at all. Come in and check out this remarkable light.

A Great Regulator is Always a Great Friend

What makes a great regulator?  The difference between a “good” regulator and a “great” regulator can make or break the enjoyment of any dive experience.  Comfort, reliability, and high performance are the most important attributes that a regulator should exhibit.  Every great regulator should make breathing effortless.  Air should be delivered easily and consistently, on demand, and in the quantities required.  And through technology and design, your regulator must be completely reliable.

At Rec Diving, we’ve got a great selection of regulators to choose from.  Whatever your dive destination, our equipment specialists at Rec Diving are happy to help you select the regulator that best suits your diving needs and desires.

What’s even better?  A great breathing regulator doesn’t have to break your bank.  Ask us about high performance in a system that is lightweight and affordable and starting at just $250.00.  Come in and check them out.

Smart Phone Underwater Camera Housing – the season’s big seller!

This is the must have for your iPhone or Droid before your next diving or snorkeling adventure. Now you can take photos and video underwater with your smart phone and then post and tweet during the boat ride back to your resort! This professional underwater housing designed by Watershot is built to live in the water and withstand rocks, reefs, salt, sand and extreme pressure. his is not a case for your smart phone.

Great for any water sport activity with depth ratings ranging from 130′ to an impressive 195′.  It’s as easy as using your smartphone.  Just download the free Watershot App from the App Store and iTunes.  Shoot photos or videos and quickly share to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Available accessories include wide angle lenses, colored filters, lights and tray sets. Also works with many of the GoPro mounting options.So if you have an iPhone 4 or 5, or a Galaxy S3 or S4, we’ve got the underwater housing for you.  Stop in and check these out.  These super sturdy, compact housings are already proving to be one of the “go-to” gifts this year at Rec Diving starting at just $99.99.  Another super fun way to share the cool stuff we see underwater!
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Why Dive with an Air-Integrated Dive Computer

Imagine yourself on a relaxing dive. Perhaps you’re photographing a particularly cooperative turtle or just pleasantly swimming alongside your favorite fish. With one easy glance at your air-integrated computer, you check your depth, time and air. You never lose sight of your critter friend and you know exactly how much bottom time you have left and how much air you have left at depth.

Those of us who dive regularly with air-integrated computers know how convenient it is when all of your critical information is accessible on one screen – depth, bottom time and even your breathing rate so you know how fast you are consuming your air.

Check out our entire selection of air-integrated dive computers at Rec Diving, from hoseless models to the newest ultra-compact XP-H.

Sub_gear_XP-H_220px220pxSUBGEAR XP-H
A brand new addition to the SUBGEAR line, XP-H is an air integrated,version of the XP10 computer with several exciting new features.

  • Nitrox settings between 21% and 100%
  • Digital Pressure gauge
  • Alarms you can set for Low air and “turn-around”
  • Gauge Mode
  • PDIS- Profile Dependent Intermediate Stops
  • Basic choice of adjustments without the need of a PC
  • Adjustable ppO2 between 1.0 and 1.6bar
  • Back light, visual and audible alarms
  • Timer for Safety Stops
Holiday Priced at just $475
 Oceanic_proplus21_220pxOceanic Pro Plus 2.1
This classic PDC features the largest display available and our patented Air Time Remaining calculations built right in. The Pro Plus 2.1 is “air-integrated”, constantly monitoring your cylinder pressure and comparing it with your personal air consumption rate and decompression status to deliver your personal Dive Time Remaining based on the most limiting factor.

  • Patented Air Time Remaining algorithm provides extremely accurate time based on current depth and your personal air consumption
  • “Turn-Around” pressure prompt
  • “Ending” pressure alarm ensures that you return to your exit point with a predetermined reserve
  • Safety stop prompt
  • Simulator incorporates your personal air consumption rate
  • Now with OceanLog Software included with Settings Upload. Optional USB Cable sold separately
  • Increased download memory from 256k to 512k – offers storage for approximately the same number of dives, however now includes cylinder pressure with every sample point.
  • Data Retention – maintains calculations indefinitely when the battery is changed

Holiday Priced at just $799

 galileo_solSCUBAPRO Galileo Series
If you’re ready for the ultimate in underwater dive computers then the Galileo series from SCUBAPRO is for you. From the casual warm water diver through the hard core technical diver there is an option for you.Both of these outstanding wrist mounted computers offer hoseless air integration for your primary tanks as well as your dive buddies. Both models offer remaining bottom time based on your air supply by dynamically calculating your breathing rate to know when you need to start heading back up.  For those looking for something for technical diving the Galileo SOL goes even further by allowing you to hoselessly monitor two more cylinders of decompression gas.

  • Hoseless gas integration.
  • Navigational system with digital compass.
  • Extra large dot-matrix screen available in 3 display modes.
  • PDIS (Profile Dependent Intermediate Stops) optimizes your dive in complete security.
  • Clear text, multi-language alarms.
  • Graphic data display.
  • Personalization.
  • Galileo’s memory chip can hold over 100 hours of dive profile data and 100 bitmap images as a wreck map the diver can use to orient himself.
  • User changeable battery & depth ratinginitely when the battery is changed

Holiday Priced at just $929 for the Luna and $1189 for the Sol