Just Back from Palau

Rec Diving Founders Linda and Mike Kohut, current Rec Diving Instructor Barb Diefenbaker, and former Rec Diving Instructors Russel Probst and Garth Louis were all diving together in Palau the first week of February aboard the Rock Island Aggressor. They were joined by friends, old and new, for a week of diving the beautiful waters of Palau.

 

 

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Classes

From a one night Try Scuba or Beginning Scuba Class to Advanced Training and Specialty Classes. What a wonderful way to share our underwater world. 

Equipment

No matter what your budget is we can show you equipment that any snorkeler or diver would love to have in their gear bag. 

Travel

“Best Gift Ever”, that’s what they’ll say (and maybe you’ll get to enjoy it too?). We can help you plan an amazing dive adventure above and below the water. 

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Cuba is a MUST

Nowhere in the Caribbean has WOWED us like the Gardens of the Queen. In this super-protected area off the coast of Cuba, we were treated to one of the healthiest coral reefs we have seen in years. Vibrant hard and soft corals, endless sea fans, and giant pillar coral made for a spectacular backdrop, as huge reef sharks and grouper of all kinds and sizes, followed us around like puppies.

We encountered giant loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles, plenty of moray eels, and hundreds and hundreds of tarpon. We came upon never-ending parades of yellow tails, school masters, chromis, and tangs, and we swam through schools of silversides so dense that we couldn’t see through them. WOW!

If that wasn’t enough, we all had the chance to swim with juvenile saltwater crocodiles (or take photos and video from above water). We learned to salsa dance from our Cuban dive crew. We enjoyed the awesome sights and sounds of colorful Havana and tasted some of the best mojitos ever! Yes, we are going back!

Check out the pics and video from our inaugural trips below and learn how you too can enjoy this very special place!  2017 Dates

Check out video of the incredible diving !  Check out video of the incredible touring topside !

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Tubbataha

When it comes to dive trips, does it pay to plan ahead?  We think so.  Especially if you want to dive a super protected reef like Tubbataha.  After a year of anticipation, we were blown away.  This place has it all – a reef that is so dense in diverse marine life and topside some of the most beautiful island beaches we have ever seen.   Check out a short video here.

Special thanks to photographers Kim Tomala, Bill Nyitray, Randy Judd, Russ Propst and Chris Konyn for sharing some trip pics below.  Stay tuned…more to come 🙂
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It was a great group of divers and snorkelers who enjoyed all kinds of  big and little critters and day after day of beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Congratulations to Coni, Dee Dee and Michelle!  Each of these divers logged dive #400 in Tubbataha. We also celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and Cathy and Pat’s birthdays on the trip.

We had some “firsts” to cheer as well.  For the divers who encountered their first whaleshark, first hammerhead shark and first manta rays, this trip was extra special!

We can’t wait to go back and we are already working on trips to Tubbataha for clients for next year.  If we can help you create your own dream trip to this dream dive destination, let us know.

There is a limited diving season in Tubbataha and a limited number of operators.  As we said, this one is worth planning for!

 

 

Ringing in the New Year in Roatan

We can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year than on a dive trip.  It’s become a Rec Diving tradition and it never disappoints!  We had a week of exploring a super healthy reef with critters galore, and special encounters with sharks and dolphins.  It was a week of lots of laughs and adventures with two boat loads of awesome divers and snorkelers.  We had the pleasure of being part of so much fun and success as our dive buddies improved buoyancy control, advanced diver ratings and celebrated individual diving “firsts”.  Woohoo!  Check out a few of the trip pics below.  And don’t be left out next year when we head to Cayman Brac to dive and celebrate again!

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Diane and Jim, our fearless Rec Diving group leaders

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Betsy (right) celebrates dive #100 with Greg, Meghan and Erin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 generations of divers in 1 family, the Gregory’s

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Father and daughter dive team, John and Elli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Robert and Anna with their dive buddy dad, John

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Jordan rockin’ his new Sharkskin Dive Shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Katherine survives her first shark dive

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Dave enjoys the best birthday present ever…his trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Katie and dive buddy mom, Traci, our “birthday” girl

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Roatan’s healthy and colorful reef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sarah with dive buddy mom, Jan

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New Year’s beach party dance off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Indigo Blue Hamlets were everywhere

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As were turtles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fewer sightings (thankfully) of the lion fish

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And lots and lots of eels

Bonaire Better than Ever!

As far as Caribbean diving and snorkeling goes, it doesn’t get much better than Bonaire.  Dive, dive, snorkel, dive, dive…ahhhh…what a GREAT way to spend Thanksgiving week.  Here are some of this year’s highlights underwater and topside!

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Walt, Pat and Lori spied this octopus on our night dive AND got up close and personal with this  puffer fish. So much life right off our “house” reef!  The photo ops were incredible.  Thanks for sharing these great shots, Pat!

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Congratulations to wife and husband buddy team Pat Herrel and Walt Ohrbom who logged their 400th dive together on the trip.  Rec Diving instructor Barb Diefenbaker celebrated her 600th dive and  brought the “turkey” on Thanksgiving!

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John Schinella celebrated 500 dives in Bonaire AND became an honorary Ambassador to the island for his 14 trips with Rec Diving!  John has enjoyed some of the best diving in the world with us, but Bonaire remains one of his favorites.

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Thanks to everyone who made this trip extra special.  Stay tuned for more amazing underwater images and video from Bonaire, here on the blog and on social media.  And if you missed it, there’s always next year.  We’re taking reservations for Thanksgiving 2016 and we’d love to have you join us!

Congratulations Julia! Winner of our Bonaire Trip Giveaway

2Bonaire500And the winner of our 40th anniversary celebration grand prize is….Julia Despres!

Julia won our Bonaire Trip Giveaway for two to beautiful Bonaire. We’re so happy to be sending her to diver’s paradise!

The drawing for the Bonaire Trip was held during our Customer Appreciation event held in October. We also gave away other great prizes (and some of our favorite gear) like a Scubapro Chromis Dive Computer, Shark Skin Suit, Stahlsac Mesh Gear Bag , Tusa Mask & Snorkel, and more.

We had a great time visiting with everyone who stopped by like long time friends Karl (a 40 year Rec Diver) and Juanita who have traveled all over the world with us. Newlyweds John and Jen (holding up a copy of the Rec Diving Times) who met on a Rec Dive trip in 1999 and prove that the couple that dives together stays together. And of course, Donna the Shark!

A special Thanks to the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort &  Casino for providing this great trip, and our friend (and sales rep) Mike Comsa who donated the Sharkskin Suit and Stahlsac Mesh Bag, Scubapro for donating a Chromis Dive Computer, and Tusa for the Mask & Snorkel. 

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Congratulations Julia! Can’t wait to hear all about your trip.

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CJ was the lucky winner of a Sharkskin technical watersports suit which we know she’ll love.

Mike walked away with Mask and Snorkel from Tusa

Lucky Mike walked away with Mask and Snorkel from Tusa

Karl is one of Rec Divings very first customers. He and Juanita met while diving with us.

Karl is one of Rec Divings first customers. He and Juanita met while diving with us.

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Jon and Jen also met on a Rec Diving trip and recently traveled to the Maldives with us.

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Donna showing up in this shark costume was an awesome suprise – thanks for making our day.

What’s black & white and lives in the ocean? Calypso

That’s the name you picked for this very special whale shark.

The spring Rec Diving group trip to the Maldives introduced us to this gentle giant and one of our favorite Rec Divers, John Koh, captured images of this whale shark with his GoPro on the Maldives trip.   He shared them on social media and the folks from whalesharks.org contacted him with the big news that this particular whale shark had not been identified!

Did you know each whale shark has its own “bodyprint”?  Scientists use software pattern recognition algorithms to identify an animal within a catalog of thousands of spot patterning images using a whale shark’s unique “bodyprint” as an identifier.

John was offered the opportunity to name this shark and he shared that opportunity with all of you. As one of our summer contests, you were invited to cast your vote for one of the names submitted or to suggest one of your own. “Calypso” was the winner.

Now all you Rec Divers, keep an eye out for Calypso on your next dive and tell her we all send our best if you see her. And, a huge Thank You to John for sharing this special opportunity with all of us.

Video of the Week: An Encounter Like No Other

Nature Up Close. An Encounter Like No Other

Witnessing a moray eel hunting is a treat on any night dive. But how about in broad daylight, when the prey is a fellow eel? Incredible!

More About the Moray Eel

Moray eels may look very snake-like but they are in fact fish. Keeping their mouths open allows constant circulation over their gills allowing them to breath like other fish but sometimes gives them a menacing look.

There are around 200 species that range in size from four inches to up to six and a half feet in length with some weighing in around 30 lbs. and an average lifespan of 10 to 30 years.

They have large eyes but do not see very well relying on their good sense of smell to help locate prey for their carnivorous diet. A slimy mucus covering their body allows them to quickly slither around without getting scratched up.

Moray eels have two sets of teeth with one located in the jaw and one in the throat. This helps them hold on to slippery prey and break up the food for digesting.

Our Top Pick for Your First Livaboard Experience

We help divers plan dive trips all the time, often making recommendations based on our awesome experiences. We know if you really want to maximize your dive time, then liveaboard dive boats offer some of the best dive vacations you’ll ever enjoy.

Our pick for your first liveaboard is the Belize Aggressor III.  Why?  For ease of diving and diverse marine life, we don’t think it can be beat.  Unpack your gear one time and for the rest of the week your floating home takes you to the best dive sites with no crowds on the reef.  What’s not to love?

Take a giant stride off the back of the boat and you’ll be diving incredible walls and reefs covered with amazing coral formations, giant sponges and teeming with colorful fish and critters. The famous explorer Jacques Cousteau brought his ship, the Calypso here to dive the world’s largest Blue Hole. How cool to follow in his footsteps!

When you’re not diving, you can relax on this roomy 110’ yacht with a shade and sun deck complete with a hot tub, lounge and deck chairs, stereo and CD player, wet bar and grill, a complete photo center with a digital video and still photo editing computer.

You will never feel like you are on a crowded dive boat. The crew of six are there to cater to only 18 guests in nine deluxe staterooms (each with their own marine head and shower).

You never have to worry about picking out a restaurant or making reservations as all your meals and snacks are included, along with beer and wine and soft drinks. Dress is super casual.  You can even live in your bathing suit and go barefoot all week if you want!

We are excited to have the Belize Aggressor III on our list of upcoming Group Trips for 2016. Rec Diving instructor Barb Diefenbaker is leading this trip from February 6-13, 2016.  Let us know if you’d like to join us on this trip or if these dates don’t work for you, we can book a trip on your schedule.

We know it’s always fun to check out the topside fun before or after your dive liveaboard trip.  We’ve enjoyed everything from jungle spa stays to tree top canopy tours to cave tubing on our past trips to Belize.  We can help you make the most of a few days on land as well.

Let our experience work for you, contact us to plan your dream dive vacation.  We think you’ll really love it!  Check out our already planned escorted group trips here.  https://www.recdiving.com/adventure-travel/belize-2/