Tag Archives: scuba diving

Wednesday Night and Local Diving Schedule for 2017

Wednesday Night and Local Diving Schedule for 2017

The Wednesday Night and Local Diving Schedule for 2017 is well underway.  Get involved and get diving some of the best dive sites in the area this summer. 

All of our trips are full for the season now, so spend less time driving and more time diving shipwreck sites that are even better than most of the Tobermory shipwrecks by sticking around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario this summer.

We have some phenomenal end of season dives too which are shore based and some amazing DPV dives too, so lets get diving.

Charters and weekend dives require advanced sign up.  There is a charter form that will need to be filled out. Please book well ahead, many dives are already full or filling up.

dds-divengers

Divengers Age of Ultra Diving Wednesday Night Dive Schedule 2017

May 31st Ontario Rd. Bridge (Welland)

June 7th International Train Bridge (Ft. Erie)

June 14th Navy Hall (Lower Niagara River)

June 21st The Barge (Upper Niagara River)

June 28th Netherby Rd. (Upper River)

July 5th Swing Bridge (Welland)

July 12th Kings Bridge Park to Boat Launch
(Chippawa Creek)

July 19th Boat Launch to Stanley Ave. (Chippawa)

July 26th Peace Bridge/Thompsons Hole *

August 2nd International Train Bridge

August 9th Frenchman’s Creek

August 16th Ontario Rd. Bridge

August 23rd Barge (Upper Niagara River)

August 30th Netherby Rd. Drift

September 6th Swing Bridge (Welland)

September 13th Kings Bridge Park to Boat Launch

September 20th Boat Launch to Stanley Ave.

September 27th Navy Hall

October 4th Thompsons Hole *

October 11th International Train Bridge

October 18th Swing Bridge

October 25th Frenchman’s Creek

November 1st Navy Hall

Wednesdays require you to be on site by 6:30pm, gear up and dive in by 7pm, most dives are an hour in duration followed by a “Debriefing” at a local establishment.

A * Denotes Advanced Dive.  A ** Denotes Technical Dive. Charters have a Charter fee.

Gratuities for staff and boat personnel greatly appreciated.

DDS Weekend Charter Dives, Trips, Events 

Sunday May 28th DDS DEMO DAY & BBQ @Welland Scuba Park $15/person. 

June 11th Tiller Wreck Charter AM & PM * (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

June 18th Father’s Day Tiller Wreck Charters * (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

Thursday Night June 29th Lyman Davis/Sligo Charter off of Humber Bay, Toronto *

July 2nd Lake Erie Carlingford/Benson *
July 3rd Lake Erie Crystal/Tradewind *
July 7-9 Tobermory Dive Extravaganza 2017 * (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

Thursday Night July 13th Tiller Wreck 2 Dives *

July 22-29 Newfoundland Trip Wrecks, Whales, Mines and More!

July 23rd Lake Erie Acme/Stone Wreck *

August 6th Tiller Wreck Charter AM & PM *

Civic Monday August 7th Lake Erie Finnie/Niagara 

August 11-13 Rockport Thousand Islands Dive Weekend (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)
August 20th St. James/Arches Technical Charter or Picton Wrecks **

August 24th Oakville Wrecks Birmingham/Barge *

September 1-4 Northwind Expedition 2017 (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

September 17th Tiller Wreck Charter AM & PM *

September 22-24 Tobermory Dive Extravaganza 2 *

October 15th Tiller Wreck Charter AM & PM *

October 19-21 Brockville Dive Exposé *

October 28-November 3rd Blackbeards Bahamas Liveboard Dive Vacation (Sold Out Waiting List in Effect)

October 29th Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest 2017

Friday November 3rd DDS RENTAL GEAR SALE

November 5th Rockport Wall Shore Dive

November 12th Waome Dive Carter Gravenhurst*

November 19th Bon Echo Park Scooter Dive (DPV’s available for rent with DPV Cert)

November 25th– December 2nd Mexico Cave Trip

December 3rd Brockville Daryaw *
December 8th DDS Christmas Party

December 29-January 6th New Years Mexico Cave Trip **

February 11-17 Florida Springs Trip (Intro to Tech, Cavern, DPV Training) *
February 18-24 Florida Springs Trip (Cave 1 Training) *
February 25-March 3rd Florida Springs Trip (Cave 2 Training) **

Dive Sites subject to availability. Locations subject to change. Please register in advance for all charters and weekend dives.

 

 

Canada Day Cleanup 2016 Another Great Day For The Environment

Canada Day Cleanup 2016 & September 18th Cleanup

There was a light drizzle and dark skies flew overhead of the dive site, DDS divers had a happy Canada Day this year.   Eventually though, the dark overcast clouds made way to bright and beautiful weather for the great group of scuba divers who participated in the annual DDS Canada Cleanup Dive Against Debris, which was hosted by Dan’s Dive Shop of St. Catharines, ON.

This year the team decided to clean up the underwater section of the Welland Swing Bridge, as well as topside along the canal bank.  and a beaver dam that was interwoven with bleach bottles, construction foam, socks, plastic bottles and cans all throughout the wooden home of this local area resident.

Scuba diving is a beloved leisure activity that is conducted virtually anywhere it is safe to dive and explore, and divers are often times very protective of the earth and its resources, animals and countryside, which is why it was so great to see another amazing group of volunteers show their support for the environment on their day off.

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Surface support retrieving mesh bags full of garbage for the sorting and documentation process
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An inhabited beaver dam made of sticks and garbage

For those curious about what was removed from the dive site, the divers removed a pair of smart phones, lawn chairs, an entire garbage bag of random clothing items including shirts, hats, boxer shorts, sweaters, underwear, jackets and more.  An entire garbage bag was filled of items just from the beaver dam, with other bags being filled of just plastic bottles and plastic cups, another of soft drink and alcohol cans, glass wine bottles, beer bottles, fishing lures, electronic equipment, bicycle handle bars, antique bottles, an entire garbage bag of old plastic bags, strings of Christmas lights, bits of an artificial Christmas tree, plumbing supplies, toilet seats, aerosol cans, a wall safe and many other odds and ends.

 “It’s bittersweet conducting a cleanup because you feel good about yourself, but also frustrated with the naivety or outright selfish
nature of some people who carelessly or intentionally dump their trash where so many people splash.” – Matt Mandziuk owner of Dan’s Dive Shop, Inc.

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Matt assisting divers with gear and entry down to the water

Mandziuk also concedes that “On any given day in the summer you see children swimming, dogs playing, people wading in the Old Canal and if they only knew how much trash was tossed into their playground, they’d likely feel uneasy swimming in an underwater garbage dump.”

The scuba divers hoisted out hundreds of pounds of garbage and this is just from an isolated spot in the Old Welland Canal, where they then had to separate, document and then weigh the different types of garbage found.Divers participate in the Canada Day Cleanup yearly and have cleaned up locations between Lincoln Street Bridge to the Swing Bridge, as well as Sherkston Quarry and continue to make their way around the area doing their part for the environment, but when you see bags and bags of trash being hauled out of these small isolated areas, it makes you wonder what lies throughout the rest of the lakes and oceans.

Dan’s Dive Shop hosts this event yearly, with otherIMG_2473 cleanup initiatives offered on other dates as well, as the Dive Against Debris title is one coined by a not for profit 
environmental agency called Project AWARE, which is backed by the worlds largest scuba diving training agency, PADI, the Professional Association of DivingInstructors, for whom Dan’s is the oldest training facility in Canada and about the 3rd oldest now worldwide

This year dive patron Barbara B. took the initiative to have a meeting with Walker Industries, who happily agreed to accept our garbage and recycling free of charge as a debt of gratitude for the dive communities hard work and environmental awareness.

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DDS Divers doing their part to clean up the place we love to be the most….Underwater

As Canadians we are very fortunate to have such a beautiful country, with so much open space, fresh water, clean air, however, if we continue to take for granted that these resources will always be there for us and we don’t change our environmental habits, continue to litter,  over consume, over pollute, overuse our natural resources as so many people do, it can ruin this beautiful country just like so many other countries populations have done to their own lands.  

As a country everyone should be reminded that fresh water only stays fresh by keeping it clean, that the air only stays fresh by making sure we reduce the amount of combustable chemicals we put in atmosphere and that we replenish the trees and oxygen giving plants that we cut down to make way for new shopping malls and communities.

Do your part to keep your country beautiful.

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On September 18th, DDS Divers and the Welland 9th Regiment Scouts participated in another clean up dive in Welland where another truck bed full of garbage was removed from the Welland Recreational Waterway.

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The Welland Swing Bridge is one of the prettiest and most enjoyable shore dives in the area, with visibility often best in and around the dock pilings but its a haven for garbage as people throw everything off the bridge from guns to safes to shopping carts and bikes and everything in between
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DDS Divers cleaning up the shoreline and entering the water to retrieve more garbage.
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A great gathering of good hearted people.

 

 

Truk Lagoon DDS Divers In A Wreck Diving Paradise

Truk Lagoon DDS Divers In A Wreck Diving Paradise

A little over three years ago DDS Divers booked a trip of  a lifetime to Truk Lagoon in Micronesia, a pre-war Japanese territory which housed their air base, naval station and in the aftermath became a wreck diving haven of some amazing World War II shipwrecks and victorious systematic attacks throughout the islands by US Naval and Airforce teams, in what was a retaliation effort by the United States for the attack on Pearl Harbour.

Operation Hailstone
Operation Hailstone began February 16/17, 1944

The US launched operation Hailstone which began on February 16 and 17th most notably, but also sparked a long term battle which lasted months after, as the US forces maintained pressure on the Japanese throughout this time and kept kicking them harder and harder when they were down, eventually starving out many of the Japanese officers who were unable to receive supplies from merchant ships and instead had to resort to cannibalism of local islanders, Korean comfort girls (they estimate 10’000 women were taken from their homes and forced to perform as companions to the soldiers) and some of their own wounded or dead troops.

The stories of the war on this side of the world was fascinating and there are many books, documentaries and videos available if you’re interested in finding out more.  In the meantime, lets discuss the planning, the journey, the local area, how plans can change, shipwrecks, diving operations, diving itself, the experience and of course the very sad journey back home to reality.

The Journey

Have you ever heard the age old adage that if it was easy, everyone would do it?  We think that rule would apply here, you see, Truk (Chuuk)Lagoon is an area in the state of Chuuk in the Central Pacific region of Micronesia, among a series of beautiful islands that are located between Guam, Honolulu and the Marshall Islands (which are of interest to us, home to the worlds largest Shark Preservation Sanctuary covering over 200’000 square kilometres or 772’000 miles os protected ocean, as well as being home to another future dive destination….Bikini Atoll).

We departed Toronto in the wee hours of the morning with sand still in our bloodshot eyes as we marched like cattle off to an untimely fate….customs and baggage inspection stations.

White-Arrow-Explorer-Rebreather-Carry-on
White Arrow Rebreather is compact, streamlined, versatile, fits in carry-on!

I carried on my White Arrow Rebreather and the majority of my sensitive equipment, which I knew was going to be a unique experience for all involved, as we usually have quite the ordeal when it comes to getting regulators and a canister light through inspection points. I was searched or had to demonstrate application of the unit everywhere I travelled. 

Air Canada was the carrier that took us to LAX, where it is highly likely they will want to weigh your carry-on bags.  It’s about $400 if you had to check an additional bag all the way through round trip, so its worth chancing it or packing as lightly as possible.  My checked bag had a weight allowance of up to 50lbs and was mostly clothes, fins, wetsuit, boots, trimix analyzer in a heavy duty pelican case and my shaving kit.  I think the comment was made that divers should bring 1/2 as many clothes as they think they’ll need and twice as much money.

My carry-on backpack housed my regulators, backplate and harness, some books (I didn’t even have time to read), liquids, gels, pills, and I was able to stow my jacket and sweater in there.

My carry-on bag had the rebreather, wing, counterlung, breathing loop, tank bands, isolation manifold, canister light, backup lights, spool, primary reel and 2 Shearwater computers.

Once you switch airlines to United there is a much less of a chance that the carrier will weigh your carry-on bags.

Once we arrived at LAX we disembarked and had to change terminals, which involved walking 1/2 way across the entire airport and going through baggage check and customs yet again, this is where I got hassled and detained for the better part of 45 minutes because they kept insisting the rebreather canister was a scuba tank and that I was going to have to check the baggage, until finally after the 4th person tried to tell me this, they located a scuba diver on their inspection staff who verified that it indeed was not a scuba tank and they decided to X-Ray it one more time before letting me go to board my plane which was only minutes away from boarding by this point.

From LAX we flew to the beautiful Central Pacific Island of Honolulu, where we overnighted, got a great meal and a wonderful Teppenyaki experience at Benihana restaurant in Waikiki, where they chef did a fun choreographed show as he prepared our meals right at the table.

Flight Route to Truk Lagoon
Our Route to Chuuk included 5 island hops from Honolulu to Chuuk. Total distance from YYZ, LAX, HNL, TKK was 13220km’s over 32 hours

With our bellies full and anticipation high, we returned to the hotel, got a few hours of sleep and readied ourselves for the final leg of the trip, which would prove to be the longest as well, as we participated in the island hopping to 5 islands including our final stop in Chuuk.  

 

After a total distance (approximate) of 13220km’s and about 32 hours (over 22 hours were spent in the air) we arrived to our final destination. 

The Local Area

Chuck state was so beautiful, very reminiscent of when I was a child and my parents would take me on vacation to Caribbean islands that now are modernized and built up, but back then were very authentic, often poverty ridden and full of local culture that is unspoiled by foreigners.

The airport was located on the island of Weno, where we saw first hand a very simple and modest single story airport that had only 1 lane, a large single un-airconditioned waiting room with a giant fan at the snack bar fanning the patrons, while all the rest were trying to fan themselves as the a/c units were either not turned on or broken.

The runway was a single landing strip where the plane fly’s in and takes off from the same landing strip and they can only host 1 single plane at a time or they’d run out of room.

Chris lets out a bit "Yes!  We Made it"!
Chris lets out a bit “Yes! We Made it”!

Like all of the landing strips we saw on the way into Chuuk, they were all on a picturesque and beautiful ocean backdrop, often times coasting into a narrow passage on the atoll that in this case developed into a beautiful island with lush greenery, while others were not much more than a sand island with a few palm trees and buildings and others were lush with mountains, their own microclimate and some lovely fishing bays and villages.

After a short distance but very long drive on an uneven road with potholes the size of a small crater, we made our way down past the shipping port and marina where the petroleum shipments, sea containers and any imports and exports take place in a bus playing some local authentic Chuukese folk music that was reminiscent of Bob Dylan or Yoko Ono, but yet strangely intriguing and hypnotic, but then again it could’ve been the jet lag starting to set in too.

12039539_10156748944395037_7629883196897363183_nWe travelled at a snails pace of approximately 10-15km/hour and arrived a mere 3km’s later 25-30 minutes into the future at the Blue Lagoon Resort having driving through a very simple, poor and absolutely beautiful countryside with large mountains, palm trees as far as the 1917441_1178647278814533_3342327891376429440_neye can see, bunches of bananas in trees, local children playing ball, chopping coconuts with machete’s, girls dressed up in their best school clothing, giggling and waving as we passed by them, while we also noticed many buildings that were old wartime barracks converted to Churches, school houses, homes and more.

We were told that many of the roads and buildings are still the original constructed ones from over 70 years ago when Japan was ruling this territory.

Even The Best Laid Plans………

12144665_1178647065481221_6526104153967548143_nWe booked this trip 3 years ago, with its intention to dive in style and enjoy a brand new 5 star dive experience aboard a boat that hadn’t yet been built, but last March that boat, newly minted and not even a full year of age (designed not for the rigorous winds, constant waves) built for a peaceful serene environment like Thailand, was caught in some unpredictable weather when a full out hurricane blowing winds of 100 miles an hour or more blew the ship around like a paper, sending it on a trip around the lagoon before its final fate of being beached on the reef, where it was later stripped by the crew of its valuables and burned to the waterline and then blamed on the locals who now truly resent their returned presence and would love to see the next boat sink after making such slanderous comments.

When such a tragedy befall upon our trip plans, many of our original guests were crushed morally and since time was of the essence, we had to quickly look for other alternatives to keep the forward momentum of the trip going.

We turned to “Plan B” which was a combination land and sea package with 4 days on resort at the Blue Lagoon Resort and Dive Shop, which are both located at the end of the islands west/southwest point.

We hadnt the faintest idea what to expect with a number of the reviews being so mixed about the resort, which was the now known as the first leg now of what had turned into 2 part trip with the  second leg of “Plan B” to take part on a live aboard dive vessel that also had good and bad reviews.

The Blue Lagoon Resort was a blessing and having the opportunity to stay on land, it gave us time to reset our internal clocks, slowly get used to the time change and soak up the sun and scenery as much as we wanted, with dives in the morning and afternoon if we wanted them.

Truk Lagoon Ocean View
The view from the boat as it departs the marina looking back on the hotel
Truk from the Air
The view of the atoll all the way around as we prepare our descent into Weno

Flying to Chuuk put us ahead in the future 15 hours as we are normally in Eastern Standard Time, so we took the time to adjust to the changes, enjoying some well needed sleep, some awesome local cuisine and our first series of 2 tank dives, which turned into a late morning early afternoon start by the time all of our gear was setup, tanks obtained and rigged, rebreathers (for those diving CCR) setup, calibrated, tested, doubles (for those diving twins) assembled and checked and then aboard the dive boats we went.

The photos online didn’t do it justice, but we figured regardless, the diving would be fabulous, we were surprised how much fun we had!

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Looking down the island towards the direction of town as the sun begins to set in the sky

The resort staff were kind, food was great at the restaurant, the dive staff spoke english very well and the boats were efficient, although nothing special.

We are already planning our trip back here because it was such a great experience and a great value.

If you want glamour and glitz, you’re in the wrong sport, this rating of 5 star is for divers. 

The Sun Kissing the daylight sky goodnight as it sets and another night begins its shift
The Sun Kissing the daylight sky goodnight as it sets and another night begins its shift

Bare in mind we are visiting and diving in a Third Worldcountry, if you want to be pampered find a different hobby or rent a luxury yacht for a week and try it yourself.

Additional Costs:

Be prepared to pay a lot for tank rentals and such at BLDS, unless you can pre-arrange a dive package, that was the only negative , as all of our divers had a $200-$300 tab at the end of the week, despite pre-paying for the lodging/dive charters ahead of time.  If you’re diving single tanks its not an issue.

For rebreather divers, Sofnolime was available by the keg for purchase, while helium is stocked, so you don’t have to pre-pay for an entire bottle which ships over from Guam on a boat, which is what we had to do on the 2nd leg of the trip.  Divers could request whatever mixes they wanted and the state of the art blending system made mixing quick and easy, so we were quite happy overall.

Helium is expensive as in around $5.75/ft3 in US Dollars, so blending for best mix or lightening up your END (equivalent narcotic depth) may be an option.  Don’t expect to be blending 18/45 every day, unless you brought $1150usd cash with you (credit card add 3-3.5% most places) and want to burn through several K cylinders, which are rated at 217 cubic feet of gas per cylinder at 2015psi.

Next trip we’ll be looking into tank/gas packages with BLDS, as we got spoiled on the Thorfinn.

“Plan B” Leg II SS Thorfinn

As the week progressed we neared the final tenure at our Blue Lagoon Resort time and began to look ahead to the second leg of the trip aboard the Steamship Thorfinn or SS Thorfinn as its know as.

1688380_1178646948814566_728906357114400059_nAt first glance online the Thorfinn looked older, had a few less amenities than our fantasy boat that was becoming an artificial reef with each passing day, and the reviews were not all that promising, nor was the massive black cloud of of coal smoke that was spouting out sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, soot, and ash as it slowly chugged towards us for pickup on the resort.

For a brief moment we stared eyes wide, mouths open, asking ourselves if we could just spend the rest of the week on the resort where we had land and clean air, but then we met the staff who came to collect us and our bags with 2 of the nicest laid out rigid hull aluminum chambered dive boats we’ve ever seen and they were nice and friendly and helpful, so we took the leap of faith off the dock and proceeded forward on to the next chapter of our journey.

The SS Thorfinn was massive, which makes sense as they’re known as the Largest Liveaboard dive vessel in the world at 170′.  

Chilling between dives
Chilling between dives

The SS Thorfinn was originally a Norwegian whaling ship in its former life, prior to being sold.  It was known as the “luckiest ship in the fleet” because it often got closer to its prey catching the most game because the hull was made out of military grade type 201 steel, which was non-magnetized, therefore masking its signal and having the animals swim along side the ship rather than avoiding it.  That benefit cost the company a little bit of extra money, as sailors are a superstitious bunch, so it costs more to purchase the “luckiest ship in the fleet”.

 After a little bit of a backstory of the ship, we were even more excited now and began to suspect that this part of the trip was going to be amazing.  

As I wandered around the ship, I was suffering from sensory overload as there was so much area to explore.  The ship was reminiscent of one of my favourite liveaboards, the  Nautilus Explorer (whom we are a travel agent for), which was a similar looking ship with a similar layout, however, we weren’t expecting the SS Thorfinn to be as well equipped or stable.

The common room was where we could be found most days between dives, it was spacious, offered a wide array of movies, had wifi (10 mb per day is your daily allowance) so we could check emails and sparsely use the internet.  There was small bar that the hospitality staff kept open from morning until 11pm for divers wanting cold water or non-alcoholic punches during the dive days, coffee or tea to warm up and a few drinks for those feeling so inclined after the day of diving had ended.

The decor inside the ship was cozy, clean and the hospitality staff were so efficient at picking up after us when we dropped a food item or left crumbs on a table, which was very impressive.  Cleanliness is a huge thing aboard the Thorfinn which is what you want, as liveaboards in remote areas have to content with insects and rodents that are in abundance in an island paradise.

Our briefing and orientation was conducted by the captain himself, Lance Higgs, who at first glance instantly reminded me of Lloyd Bridges.  He had a deep voice, reminiscent of a radio announcer, narrator, or a movie star, which made sense as to how Captain Lance was so natural at keeping the audience of excited scuba divers engaged for the duration of the speech.  

At 78 years of age, Captain Lance has over 1/2  century of experience sailing around the world, until his journey took him to Chuuk where he has run diving excursions throughout this area for many decades.  We hope he continues for many more.

The Rooms on the SS Thorfinn were very clean and comfortable, with the bathroom facilities impressing me the most, as they were spotless.  The beds were made daily and they were comfortable to sleep in.  The air-conditioning could’ve been a little more powerful but the oscillating fans did their job and most nights we had good sleeps overall.

The Food on the ship was great, although a little more North Americanized in comparison to Blue Lagoon, so we were treated to eggs, toast, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, spam, bacon, ham.  Lunches were very good and varied but usually had a soup or salad, meat and veggie entree with a side and dessert, oh so many desserts, one for lunch and one for dinner on this ship.  

Dan Celebrated his 71st bday on the trip.  He was renamed Young Tan
Dan Celebrated his 71st bday on the trip. He was renamed Young Tan

Our dinners were great with the kitchen staff working hard to keep us well fed.  They even made Diver Dan a very special birthday cake as he turned 71 on the trip!  The last night we were on the boat they even had a massive barbecue for us as a thank you.

The Staff on the ship were quieter than on Blue Lagoon, as some were more shy or less fluent with the english language, but we had 2 dive guides (Katsashi and Erik) who were both very quality oriented and very kind, caring individuals, especially Erik, who was the recreational boats guide.  Its so nice when you can feel the positive energy that the staff project, especially having been on some not-so-good trips on ships where the staff are infighting and don’t want to be there.  Some of the staff care about the ship, the success and know the value of having happy divers, because they know they’ll try their best to come back if they had fun.

The SS Thorfinn is essentially a floating hotel and from this floating hotel divers depart aboard the ribs (rigid hull inflatable boats) that take the groups to different dive sites.

The Boats on the SS Thorfinn tries to vary where groups go daily, encouraging divers to mix it up and get a sampling of as many different sites as they can hit.  Each boat goes to a different location unless otherwise agreed upon to facilitate the needs of advanced/technical divers, as well as less experienced/recreational divers, which is what we had, a mixed group of both rec and tech divers.

600434_10156720473035512_5606804602022712273_nThe dive boats were aluminum hulled air ribs that were perfectly laid out for recreational and technical divers.  Divers had a bench seat that opened up and had more than enough room for all but the largest camera systems to keep the deck free and clear.  The ladder could’ve been 1-2 rungs longer and on more of an angle, but the surface staff handled the logistics of getting the divers back on the boat very efficiently in rougher surface conditions.  

The Diving (The Part You’ve All Been Waiting For)

Simply put, it was awesome!

1558564_1178647778814483_5052794766133479853_nAnytime you put giant steel battleships in the water to dive around and through and there are guns, tanks, airplanes, trucks, cars, torpedoes, ammunitions, mines, portholes, artifacts, gas masks, human remains, great visibility, sharks, beautiful sea creatures, some varied coral formations and nice clean interiors free of coral to see the ship as it once was, you’re going to have a phenomenal experience.

1610075_10156720481255512_6496198950869951096_nMost of the sites were within recreational limits with some wrecks being in 65fsw/20msw, most being in the 100′ range, while a few more were in the 100-150′ range, a couple in the 160-180′ and the deepest dive, the San Francisco Maru at 210′.

Many of the ships were upright, with a couple of them laying on their sides.

Our dive logs looked something like this:

Yamagiri – Maru a stunning ship laying on its port side.  The Yamagiri was hit by bombs or a torpedo on the starboard side.  It features some fabulous swim-through’s with access to the entire ship.  As you swim through this wreck you notice cases upon cases of Saki and empty bottles throughout this wreck and the many wrecks.  Maximum depth was 100′ and we saw a cool black and white Lionfish on this dive.

Skull Lodged into the ceiling
Skull Lodged into the ceiling

The most notable feature of this wreck is in the engine room there is a skull wedged into the ceiling from a soldier being blown to pieces and the rest of his bones below and strewn around.  There was possibly a second skull where it looked like only the back of the cranium was embedded into the wall and a large number of bones atop the machinery down a catwalk. 

This was a phenomenal dive!

Momokawa – Maru lays in 90-130′ and features some stern bomb damage, while boasting a beautiful bridge area and torpedo casings throughout the holds.  

10600582_1178647098814551_155630827414111913_nS.S. Nippo – Maru was one of our personal favourites because we had the ability to dive a beautiful upright ship that had guns on the bow, truck frames inside the bow hold, direct access to the engine room via the hatches atop the ship or by going down onto the seafloor, you can swim in through the torpedo hole.  As you make your way through the twisted metal, you see the damage explosives can do until the metal reforms back into a recognizable ship again after entering about 20′ in and up and through the hull.  As you make your way towards the bridge the ship boasts a beautiful telegraph and a pair of Howitzer guns after of the bridge.

The Nippo featured some beautiful hallways to explore with access forward or aft.  This was one we dove a few times.

Rio De Janeiro – Maru was one of the last wrecks we dove.  It lays in a maximum depth of 100′, starboard side down and features helmets, guns, a phenomenal engineroom, a large aft gun, plenty of cargo holds full of goodies, including cases of saki stacked floor to ceiling up the walls.  

San Francisco – Maru was our most favourite of the dives, not because it was the deepest, but because it was the best.  

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Matt hovering in awe over the tanks on the deck

This wreck starts at 140′ to the bridge, 160′ to the deck and had a little bit of everything from torpedoes and shells in the holds, 2 tanks on the starboard side bow, 1 on the port side, trucks and truck bodies in the bow hold, a large bow gun in 150′, a pretty windlass on the bow, sharks, skulls, turtles, fish, it was our favourite dive for a reason.  

We did 3 dives here, including 2 in the same day.

Maximum depth was 210′ and most of us dove this wreck as a technical dive on CCR or Open Circuit Trimix.

Shinkoku – Maru gave the diver the bonus of diving a beautiful coral encrusted ship from the mid ship point to the stern in a reasonable depth range of 30′-125′.  The wreck sits upright and featured great fish life and a fun wreck with lots to see.

10421303_1178646878814573_5215844947796027395_nShotan – Maru was a more technical dive in terms of depths with the average depth ranging from 140-180′.  The ship was a lovely upright wreck featuring a gorgeous windlass, crane trucks in the cargo holds one off the port side mid-ship.   An anti-aircraft gun was one of the highlights on the mid stern of the ship, with a stern gun as well.

Aikoku – Maru  was one ship we were the least enthused to dive, yet, it was one of the most impressive wrecks and one of the most fun.

Skulls and Bones on the Aikoku Maru
Skulls and Bones on the Aikoku Maru

The wreck was involved in a freak explosion when the side gun on the stern shot down a US plane that crashed into the first cargo hold where the ammunition was stored.  The explosion apparently was a massive mushroom cloud reminiscent of an Atomic bomb, as there was so much in the way of explosive mines, shells and torpedoes that everything instantly blew up, taking the front 1/2 of the ship off.

The bridge section of the wreck was ripped off by the liveaboard vessel the Odyssey, which was very unfortunate, as we would’ve liked to have explored that more, but it was ripped and lifted and twisted like a can of sardines.

535316_10156720450900512_7335541029952717658_nThe Aikoku was double the size of the San Francisco Maru making it the largest ship in the Lagoon.

A commemorative plaque is placed before the destruction of the forward section and there are lots of human remains around.

What made this wreck so interesting was the layers of what looked like melted, shifted and randomly laid out sheets of metal on the bow area.  As the ship ceased looking like a ship suddenly, it became a scrap metal pile that dipped down deeper and deeper sagging down towards the seafloor at 205′.

We’re looking forward to exploring this wreck again on a return trip.

Fujikawa – Maru is a very fun dive in 80-120′.  It has everything from planes in the holds, to scenic swim-through’s, to pretty deck corals, ammo all over the ship inside and out and it sits upright very prim and proper like she’s on display for all to see her and her former glory.

Betty Bomber is a Mitsubishi G4M bomber that now rests in 50′ of water.  The motors are a long swim from the sandy resting place of the planes nose and port wing over a bit of coral and about 300-400 feet away.  

This is a great spot for the last dive of the day or for the beginner recreational diver. 

1044267_10156720360415512_4968170594060194871_n
Can you find the diver?

Gosei – Maru is a great intermediate to advanced open water dive with loads of great penetration and lots to see.  You start the dive on the bow in 15′ and make your way down the starboard side going towards the structures, holds and other sections.  The wreck is 270′ x 40′ and max depth is 110′.  You can see a torpedo hole on the starboard side midship.

I-169 
is a submarine and one of our more fun dives.  It was not a remarkable wreck as far as penetration, but it was fun because it offered great wildlife with lots of manta rays and other critters.  It also posed a fun challenge when we were told the Japanese soldiers who served on this wreck were only 4 feet 6 inches tall typically, so we wouldn’t be able to get inside the wreck…….Challengewas accepted and the fun began from there, as a couple of our divers were able to enter at midship and make their way forward, until part of the wreckage collapsed on us and we turned the dive at that point because the wreck was very unstable.

Depth range 70-90′

Kansho – Maru This wreck suffered some stern damage above the waterline, so there were some questions as to how it sank.  The ship featured yet another stellar engine room, where boiler gauges were still in great shape, dials and even a clock still were in place.  Like many of the engine rooms, there were switches and levers galore, and a beautiful propeller and rudder.  Depth range to the stack was 40′ and the deck 65-100′.

Back To Reality

This Trip was one that had so many positives and it was thanks in part to the dive sites, the dive operators, the travel providers, but at the end of the day it was the guests who participated in the trip that made it all worth the distance.

We had such a magical group of people who shared in the experience, the unity, the inside jokes that random people will never understand (Turdle), but I can honestly say that this trip felt like family, and we’ve all become closer as a result of it.

We travelled together, watched each others backs, made sure that everyone was always accounted for, all the while trusting each other above and below the surface.

Truk was a trip that I think has stayed in all the guests minds and memories of late, with random texts being received, messages being shared and people reliving the moments that mattered on a regular basis.

We are very lucky as a shop to have such great divers, customers and friends whom we can share in these adventures with and for that I am truly grateful.

Here are a few random pics from the trip, we hope you enjoy them and we’ll see you on our next trip to Truk hopefully.

DDS and Diver Edge Hailstone Explorers
DDS and Divers Edge Operation Hailstone Explorers 2016

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 12376328_10156720475540512_8097174299207725872_n10609623_10156720482405512_2832622785675553857_n10408734_10156720449985512_5990753267401911733_n12512220_10156720476915512_7871921944820413972_n 12140686_10156720512555512_5844307561345765935_n1930418_1178647272147867_2116367414096140079_n
10309646_10156720498530512_7638916031124415553_n3085_10156720399385512_445179574817341993_n

Additional Videos and Information:

 

 

Justin’s Green Ranger Blog 

Do Backplates Tip You Face Down on the Surface?

Backplates Tip You Face Down on the Surface?
by
Matthew Mandziuk

There is a common misconception in the world of scuba diving that backplates  and wings can push a diver facedown on the surface.  Those people are wrong.

In this blog we will outline with video evidence how a properly setup and weighted backplate does not push you facedown, but in actuality can be the most comfortable, efficient, most streamlined and safest buoyancy system available.

Misconceptions

Halcyon_infinity_bcd_for_sale_online_dans_dive_shop
Backplates keep things simple and streamlined above and below the water.

The false mindset that backplates tip you forward on the surface  has ultimately come from divers who were using an improperly balanced back floatation bc with a horseshoe wing shaped bladder that was wider/thicker on the bottom of the wing and narrower/thinner in shape closer to the top. Other causes could be that there are high capacity integrated weight pockets located horizontally across the waist area of the bcd causing the force of gravity to shift.  This is why we opt for a vertical pocket that sits back towards the hip area. Or they just plain have never tried it.

A back floatation bcd with an improperly shaped wing design as described above coupled with front loading weight pockets that put the weight pocket closer to the front of the body laying the pockets from the middle of the body to front of the body rather than how they should be oriented, which is from the back of the hip moving from the middle of the body to the back of the body towards the backplate can create a very troublesome scenario with respect to body orientation and tipping.  As a matter of fact, some jacket bcd’s will even push you facedown.

Halcyon Active Control Ballast positions weight from the hips backwards towards the plate, which helps sit the diver vertical on the surface
Halcyon Active Control Ballast positions weight from the hips back towards the plate, which helps sit the diver vertically on the surface

A backplate doesn’t generally have this problem because it is a more balanced rig offering a wing that generally allows for even air distribution around the bladder like a circle or a doughnut that allows the air to move unrestricted and doesn’t trap air. Some units even offer a weighted single tank adapter with up to 6lbs/2.2kg of lead placed inside the STA with little to no weight needed with even the thickest wetsuit in salt water.

Divers may experience a tipping sensation on the surface from any bcd due to the action of over inflating the wing or a jacket bcd, however on a backplate and wing style system like a Halcyon Infinity MC System you don’t generally have this issue as shown in the video below.

Join the Zero Weight Club

There's nothing more freeing than enjoying your backplate on a DDS dive trip to Mexico
There’s nothing more freeing than enjoying your backplate on a DDS dive trip to Mexico

Ideally You’ll want to get to a point where you aren’t wearing much/any weight with a wetsuit and have a balanced enough setup that you can simply just swim your gear up without having to kick hard to get there.  The more weight you have on the surface, could pull you facedown if the weight pockets are in the front of your harness and the wing is overinflated.

Explore shipwrecks with the right gear and comfort
Your Backplate can grow with you from singles to doubles, wet to drysuit, recreational or technical and rebreather diving. 1 bcd for everything.

If you’re using a drysuit you may need a little more weight, but a steel tank is also a suitable option or a set of doubles.  They balance you out even better and for diving locally offer redundancy in the event of a regulator failure.

How do you tell you’re overweighted?  Go up to 10 feet/3 meters with a 1000psi in your tank and see how much air is in your wing.  If you reach back and can feel a substantial amount air try venting the air out while laying horizontally and lifting your rear up, orienting your head slightly downwards to get the air to the highest point and use the back dump to vent the gas.  If you start going down quickly you’re overweighted, but this is another conversation to discuss in another blog post.  You should basically have no air in the wing and be able to hold a stop at 1000psi in an aluminum 80 at 10-15′.

To This
Hovering horizontally motionless underwater enjoying total diving freedom. No bulk, No clutter, No discomfort

The Unsung Hero

Backplates are the most streamlined, balanced, and versatile diving system for recreational divers, cave divers, technical divers and rebreather divers, offering you ONE uniformed diving system that grows with you throughout your diving career, making it the best option for a new scuba diver who doesn’t know where their diving will take them because they won’t outgrow their unit.  It can be dived with any exposure or tank configuration, in any environment, while offering the most streamlined swimming profile and neat and tidy equipment configuration when rigged properly for modern and progressive scuba diving activities.

Backplates allow for better buoyancy distribution and promote body position
Backplates allow for better buoyancy distribution and promote body position

A backplate can allow you to minimize bulk and clutter if you keep the harness clean, also streamlining your body if you are utilizing proper trim and posture, which should allow for you as a  scuba diver to maintain horizontal orientation in the water when swimming and when just sitting there hovering horizontally, even on ascent and descent, rather than being pushed or pulled vertical, which is the position a jacket or a bcd with the weights in the front of the harness generally do by pulling your body knees and fins down towards the bottom.

Backplates allow for motionless hovering keeping the diver within 10% midline of horizontal underwater but allowing you to lay perfectly flat and comfortable with head out of the water on the surface.

Simple and Streamlined

Backplates are more robust than a more traditional bcd, which are often ladened with excessive fabric, padding, straps, d-rings and breakable plastic buckles, whereas a Backplate simply has 1 release buckle if rigged properly, which is located just off to the right side of the waist and is right handed release like a weight belt buckle uses.  

Backplates and Wings are available in all different shapes and sizes including regular, short and even tall plate lengths
Backplates and Wings are available in all different shapes and sizes including regular, short and even tall plate lengths

Clips and Buckles on a jacket bcd can increase task loading and may prolong rescuer response in comparison to a  backplate, as you’ve got a minimum at least 3-4 clips and a cummerbund to free the diver from their gear in a jacket compared to a simple right hand release buckle on the waist followed by pushing the harness free of the divers body.

Since more clips create a delay in freeing the diver in an emergency divers may want to avoid a jacket style bcd with fancy clips, gadgets and clutter in favour of diving more simple and streamlined.

Some backplates offer adjustable cinch harnesses to allow for easier donning and doffing, while not compromising the structural integrity of the harness with breakable plastic clips. To operate the cinch you simply pull the waist straps to tighten shoulders or lift the shoulders up to loosen the harness. There is no sternum strap to compress your chest and inhibit breathing, so you aren’t starved for air on the surface, the backplate thanks to a crotch strap and a proper fit prevents the bcd from riding up on the surface, and there is no chance that the backplate can crush your stomach and ribs like a jacket bcd with a wraparound aircell can when fully inflated.

Progressive Dive Training

Many of our divers are mindblown when they begin their journey into scuba diving and they see the poor job that the vast majority of dive stores and instructors are doing with scuba diving certifications.

Training with a more progressive dive store is a great way to get solid diver training, however, they are few and far between.  

10309646_10156720498530512_7638916031124415553_n
Good Trim, Knees Up, Fins away from the reef. This is a great example of Progressive Diving.

At the time of this article Dan’s Dive Shop is the first and only dive store in Canada to be offering entry level training in a backplate system and a long hose/short hose regulator configuration at the Open Water Diver level.

Buoyancy and Trim and the most important skills a diver will learn and as such, those skills, along with air sharing, proper horizontal ascents and horizontal descents are things that need to be perfected.

Perfect Example of what not to do.
Perfect Example of what not to do.

Progressive Diving means to have the right skills, abilities, diver and team awareness, safe diving practices and understanding that they need to maintain their skills through practice and repetition on a regular basis.

In some circles this philosophy is known as Hogarthian, DIR, Doing it Right, NTEC and more. In all cases these methods have made diving safer, better and more enjoyable.

Buy it Once

If someone told you you could have 1 BCD to take you from singles to doubles, wet to dry, down south dives and on warm reefs and walls to the most beautiful cold water shipwrecks, cold water reef and walls or ice diving, would you listen?

Take a look on Kijiji or any of those used gear websites and you’ll see something that often states Jacket Bcd used only 6 times or 12 times.  When you talk to the owners a lot of the time you find out they upgraded to a backplate, or they bought a drysuit or a 7mm wetsuit and their original jacket doesn’t fit.

Not only is a backplate the most stable diving system, but it is also built to be the first and last bcd you ever need.  

The Proof is in the Pudding

If you have been told that backplates tip you face down please take the time to share this video with the source of this misinformation.  Not all back flotation bcd’s are innocent, some will push you facedown, but a properly shaped wing and proper weight distribution and pocket design will not.

New Dan’s Dive Shop Website Launched!

Well here we are, 2014!  40 years of Dan’s Dive Shop adventures in scuba diving equipment and education!

amobile-laptop-tabletWe couldn’t think of a better way to finish off the last quarter of the dive season than by reworking our website to make a more user friendly interface that is easier reading, more friendly for scrolling, totally responsive for mobile and tablet applications, while also increasing the efficiency of our online store, newsletter signups, social media plug-in’s and of course making something fresh, clean and new!

The old site was great and still stands up above the many great dive store websites out there, but us being the innovators and leaders in the industry that we are, we decided it was time to up our game yet again.

A website for us should be a reflection of the dive store and we’re making some major changes at Dan’s each week. We’re making many visually pleasing improvements internally as the store undergoes some minor renovations. We’re getting prepped for some major overhauls over the fall and winter months.

It’s nice having such a great customer base to share in the fun and excitement with as well, so please feel free to give us any feedback you have with the changes, with our staff and instructors and just anything at all dive trip, store, gear or course related, we alway love hearing form our divers.

Some key features about the website you should know and use:

Social Media Links: 

We’re going social! Stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And help us find you by showing us your best dive pics with the hashtag #dansdiveshop.

Get Diving Directions:

We now have maps to all the dive sites we visit on Wednesday dives, as well as many of our favourite local dive sites. Check out our dive sites page where we have Google map links to show you how to get to them, instead of having to call the store and ask for directions, with 1 click your dive direction problems are solved! 

Interactive Calendar: 

You can integrate our courses and events section into your Google + account, Apple Calendar, Outlook, Timely Calendar, just scroll down the calendar page and hit the subscribe button.

Blog:

If you found this blog, you’ll notice we have a more professional blog site that is dedicated to you and easily updated, archived and searchable for keywords or topics. Check back frequently as we add in more content regularly on all of our diving knowledge and experiences.

Enhanced Mobile and Tablet Applications

You’ll notice that our site has a responsive screen for mobile and tablets to make viewing on small screens as pleasurable and as easy to expand and reduce as possible.  This was one of our favourite features.

Improved Shopping Experience

We have always wanted a shopping cart e-commerce site that was easy to use both at the customer and admin level and we think with the new store you’ll find answers to your questions.  We have a new fully integrated shopping cart that lists stock availability (which isn’t interfaced with our actual POS store inventory, but should be closer to giving you real stock status), specials, a couple of different shipping providers, easier reviews to write and the ability to share products with the world of social media. Start shopping! 

eLearning

We have integrated more of our PADI eLearn links throughout the site to make signing up for your next PADI scuba diving course easier than ever. 

Photos and Video Galleries

Something that everyone loves is looking through photos and watching our videos, so we’re going to make every attempt for you to keep these areas fresh and up to date.

Thanks for growing with us and we hope you enjoy the new site experience.

Yours in diving,
Team DDS.

PADI Scuba Courses – Learn to Scuba Dive

Our Cancellation Policy: You may reschedule your class within a 2 week time period. No shows or last minute cancellations will be subject to rescheduling fee. If you can’t do the class, you may transfer your class fees to someone else who can.

Dive Course Calendar

Jan
10
Wed
2018
PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course Brock University January 2018 @ Brock University
Jan 10 @ 7:00 pm – Feb 14 @ 10:00 pm
PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course Brock University January 2018 @ Brock University | Thorold | Ontario | Canada

PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course Brock University January 2018

Get ready for the Winter Dive Season with your PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Course at Brock University and enjoy the fun with Dan’s Dive Shop, Canada’s Oldest, Most Respected Scuba Diving School, and get your PADI Open Water at Brock University every Wednesday Night starting January 10th, 2018 from 7:00-10pm over 6 weeks with your PADI Open Water Certification Checkout Dives to follow. 

Learn to scuba dive with one of North America’s most respected, most experienced, most progressive and visionary dive shops.  At Dan’s we teach you the right way to dive from day one.

Learn how to Scuba Dive.  Why not make this year awesome and learn to dive? Spend your life exploring exotic locations as well as diving around  Ontario and the rest of this amazing world underwater.  There are tons of great dive sites both locally and away, as well as exciting wrecks and beautiful aquatic life.

At Dan’s we offer you a more thorough and modern approach to your scuba diving education. We believe in teaching you how to maximize your potential and see where the tides take you.

We pride ourselves on offering you a higher level of training aimed at taking you further through the life long adventure sport of scuba diving. 

DDS Divers are the most skilled and respected recreational and technical divers  in the water because they are taught to be more comfortable, utilize precision buoyancy, possess higher skill and techniques underwater, with more academic and team awareness.

Prerequisites?

Minimum age is 10 years by PADI standards, however we strongly recommend 12-14 years (Unless accompanied by a parent).

How can you enroll?

You complete the Open Water Diver Course classroom component on eLearn . We will have you complete all academic portions of the PADI Open Water Diver Course and videos at your own pace and will meet up for Classroom with your Instructor as we fill in many of the gaps left in traditional dive training with a more informative and beneficial dive training experience.

Upon successful completion of classroom and pool sessions, students will need to complete an Open Water Diving component usually held over a weekend.

Training Agency:

PADI

Additional Details:

Open Water Dives are required for Open Water certification and are included in your full course price and completed locally.

Scuba courses are available 12 months of the year.

Costs:

PADI Open Water Class/Pool Only $350+HST
Full PADI Open Water Certification Course Cost is only $500+HST ALL INCLUSIVE for the standard course with eLearning activation code and PADI Deluxe Multimedia Crewpak (digital dive tables, virtual log book with PADI Scuba Earth and more!). Includes class, pool, open water dives, full scuba equipment rental (no snorkeling gear), certification fees and more.

What gear will you need?

All students will need to purchase their own Mask, Strap Fins, Snorkel, Boots, however many of our students prefer to purchase the rest of their kit too. You’ll want to buy the right gear, so please have a read through our DDS Student Diver PDF and learn more about the specific gear requirements and training differences we offer, as well as some incentives.
You don’t need to purchase a weight belt and weights, at DDS we don’t believe in over-weighting our students. Weight belts are an outdated piece of gear that has not been used by us in training since the late 1990’s.Our divers are taught to use little to no weight.

Financing is available: Finance your course, snorkeling gear and even your scuba equipment package at a very reasonable rate. Ask staff for details and learn diving in the best equipment you can…..your own personal dive gear, or ours.
DDS will include all scuba equipment for the course, however, you will enjoy your diving experience much more in your own personal dive equipment.

 

Our Cancellation Policy: You may reschedule your class within a 2 week time period. No shows or last minute cancellations will be subject to rescheduling fee. If you can’t do the class, you may transfer your class fees to someone else who can.

Jan
20
Sat
2018
PADI Open Water Weekend Course January 2018 @ Dan's Dive Shop, Inc.
Jan 20 @ 9:00 am – Jan 21 @ 12:00 pm
PADI Open Water Weekend Course January 2018 @ Dan's Dive Shop, Inc. | St. Catharines | Ontario | Canada

PADI Open Water Certification Weekend Scuba Course January 2018

Your New Years Resolution for 2018 should be to get your PADI Open Water Certification with DDS! Our Award Winning 5 PADI Star Scuba Diving program will be running Saturday January 20-21, 2018 which will cover your class and pool sessions.  Open Water Dives will can be completed away on a winter trip or locally this coming spring, or you can even take a referral and certify on your own trip if traveling abroad this winter.

Dan’s is one of North America’s most respected, experienced, progressive and visionary dive shops.  We pride ourselves on offering you a higher level of training designed to take you further into the life long adventure of scuba diving. 

Prerequisites?

Minimum age is 10 years by PADI standards, however we strongly recommend 12-14 years (Unless accompanied by a parent).

How can you enroll?

You complete the Open Water Diver Course classroom component on eLearn . We will have you complete all academic portions of the PADI Open Water Diver Course and videos at your own pace and will meet up for Classroom with your Instructor as we fill in many of the gaps left in traditional dive training with a more informative and beneficial dive training experience.

Upon successful completion of classroom and pool sessions, students will need to complete an Open Water Diving component usually held over a weekend.

Training Agency:

PADI

Additional Details:

Open Water Dives are required for Open Water certification and are included in your full course price and completed locally.

Scuba courses are available 12 months of the year.

Costs:

PADI Open Water Class/Pool Only $350+HST
Full PADI Open Water Certification Course Cost is only $500+HST ALL INCLUSIVE for the standard course with eLearning activation code and PADI Deluxe Multimedia Crewpak (digital dive tables, virtual log book with PADI Scuba Earth and more!). Includes class, pool, open water dives, full scuba equipment rental (no snorkeling gear), certification fees and more.

What gear will you need?

All students will need to purchase their own Mask, Strap Fins, Snorkel, Boots, however many of our students prefer to purchase the rest of their kit too. You’ll want to buy the right gear, so please have a read through our DDS Student Diver PDF and learn more about the specific gear requirements and training differences we offer, as well as some incentives.

You don’t need to purchase a weight belt and weights, at DDS we don’t believe in over-weighting our students. Weight belts are an outdated piece of gear that has not been used by us in training since the late 1990’s.Our divers are taught to use little to no weight.

Financing is available: Finance your course, snorkeling gear and even your scuba equipment package at a very reasonable rate. Ask staff for details and learn diving in the best equipment you can…..your own personal dive gear, or ours.
DDS will include all scuba equipment for the course, however, you will enjoy your diving experience much more in your own personal dive equipment.

Feb
4
Sun
2018
Florida Springs Trip 2018 @ Luraville
Feb 4 @ 6:00 pm – Feb 10 @ 10:30 am

Florida Springs Trip 2018

Florida Springs Trip 2018 Week 1 is an intensive training week offering expert level training in DPV, Intro to Tech and Cavern Training with Cave & Technical Diving Instructor/Explorer Matt Mandziuk.  If you want to be the best diver possible, this trip is life changing and will improve every aspect of your diving.

Don’t miss out on our SIGNATURE TRAINING TRIP in Florida’s beautiful aquifer in the heart of cave country. Spend an exciting week with us earning your Intro to Tech, DPV and Cavern certifications. It’s an intense but incredibly rewarding week filled with lots of diving in some of the most spectacular and unique dive spots in the world. 

Read  testimonials from past graduates in our Testimonials page and see just how monumental this trip is!

Participate in our NAUI Intro to Tech Class and see that this course is not just for tech divers – it is a foundational skills refinement  course that will dial up your control, problem solving and finesse as you dive in any situation. Our DPV course covers the use of one of the most fun and useful exploratory tools – the diver propulsion vehicle, while our Cavern course will build on your Intro to tech skills dovetailing seamlessly into one another, while exposing you to a magic that few divers experience – the cavern zone of beautiful caves. 

And if you’re looking for greater challenges, CHECK OUT OUR CAVE 1 AND CAVE 2 courses the following weeks. Call or email the shop for more details and make training with us in Florida next February the best decision of your diving adventures!

Lodging and food is only $550 US (based on a group of 6) Course package is only $650 for Intro to Tech, DPV and Cavern Diver Combination Courses.  Sign up today for the most progressive, high skills training experience of your dive career and challenge yourself today. 

For more course information check out our Cave & Technical diving courses section.

To book your accommodations please contact our travel partner:
Kristen Mandziuk-Hardy, Travel Consultant
FCA.logo
kristen.hardy@fcatravel.ca
phone: 905-328-7851, fax: 905-984-2167
http://www.flightcentreassociates.com/KristenHardy
Flight Centre Associates
Head Office: 1 Dundas St W, Suite 200, Rm M, Toronto, ON M5G 1Z3
1-416-368-4221 TICO#50016384

Feb
17
Sat
2018
PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course February 2018 @ Dan's Dive Shop
Feb 17 @ 9:00 am – Feb 18 @ 2:00 pm
PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course February 2018 @ Dan's Dive Shop | Saint Catharines | Ontario | Canada

PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course February 2018

Learn to scuba dive this fall in our October PADI Open Water  Weekend Scuba Course.  Get your PADI certification completed so you can start enjoying the greatest sport in the world.  Students will complete all class and pool sessions for the PADI Open Water Weekend Scuba Course  Saturday the 17th 9-9 and Sunday 18th, 9-2pm.

Your PADI Open Water certification dives can be conducted away on a trip if you’re traveling to warmer climates, or you can join us on one of our winter getaways.  There is a weekend of open water certification dives required for full certification, these will be conducted in the spring time or early summer.

Learn to scuba dive with one of North America’s most respected, most experienced, most progressive and visionary dive shops.  At Dan’s we teach you the right way to dive from day one.

At Dan’s we offer you a more thorough and modern approach to your scuba diving education. We believe in teaching you how to maximize your potential and see where the tides take you.

We pride ourselves on offering you a higher level of training aimed at taking you further through the life long adventure sport of scuba diving. 

DDS Divers are the most skilled and respected recreational and technical divers  in the water because they are taught to be more comfortable, utilize precision buoyancy, possess higher skill and techniques underwater, with more academic and team awareness.

Prerequisites?

Minimum age is 10 years by PADI standards, however we strongly recommend 12-14 years (Unless accompanied by a parent).

How can you enroll?

You complete the Open Water Diver Course classroom component on eLearn . We will have you complete all academic portions of the PADI Open Water Diver Course and videos at your own pace and will meet up for Classroom with your Instructor as we fill in many of the gaps left in traditional dive training with a more informative and beneficial dive training experience.

Upon successful completion of classroom and pool sessions, students will need to complete an Open Water Diving component usually held over a weekend.

Training Agency:

PADI

Additional Details:

Open Water Dives are required for Open Water certification and are included in your full course price and completed locally.

Scuba courses are available 12 months of the year.

Costs:

PADI Open Water Class/Pool Only $350+HST
Full PADI Open Water Certification Course Cost is only $500+HST ALL INCLUSIVE for the standard course with eLearning activation code and PADI Deluxe Multimedia Crewpak (digital dive tables, virtual log book with PADI Scuba Earth and more!). Includes class, pool, open water dives, full scuba equipment rental (no snorkeling gear), certification fees and more.

What gear will you need?

All students will need to purchase their own Mask, Strap Fins, Snorkel, Boots, however many of our students prefer to purchase the rest of their kit too. You’ll want to buy the right gear, so please have a read through our DDS Student Diver PDF and learn more about the specific gear requirements and training differences we offer, as well as some incentives.
You don’t need to purchase a weight belt and weights, at DDS we don’t believe in over-weighting our students. Weight belts are an outdated piece of gear that has not been used by us in training since the late 1990’s.Our divers are taught to use little to no weight.

Financing is available: Finance your course, snorkeling gear and even your scuba equipment package at a very reasonable rate. Ask staff for details and learn diving in the best equipment you can…..your own personal dive gear, or ours.
DDS will include all scuba equipment for the course, however, you will enjoy your diving experience much more in your own personal dive equipment.

 

 

Our Cancellation Policy: You may reschedule your class within a 2 week time period. No shows or last minute cancellations will be subject to rescheduling fee. If you can’t do the class, you may transfer your class fees to someone else who can.

PADI Weekend Scuba Diving Course February 2018 @ Dan's Dive Shop
Feb 17 @ 9:00 am – Feb 18 @ 2:00 pm
PADI Weekend Scuba Diving Course February 2018 @ Dan's Dive Shop | Saint Catharines | Ontario | Canada

PADI Open Water Certification Weekend Scuba Course February 2018

Your New Years Resolution for 2018 should be to get your PADI Open Water Certification with DDS! Our Award Winning 5 PADI Star Scuba Diving program will be running Saturday February 17-18th, 2018 which will cover your class and pool sessions.  Open Water Dives will can be completed away on a winter trip or locally this coming spring, or you can even take a referral and certify on your own trip if traveling abroad this winter.

Dan’s is one of North America’s most respected, experienced, progressive and visionary dive shops.  We pride ourselves on offering you a higher level of training designed to take you further into the life long adventure of scuba diving. 

Prerequisites?

Minimum age is 10 years by PADI standards, however we strongly recommend 12-14 years (Unless accompanied by a parent).

How can you enroll?

You complete the Open Water Diver Course classroom component on eLearn . We will have you complete all academic portions of the PADI Open Water Diver Course and videos at your own pace and will meet up for Classroom with your Instructor as we fill in many of the gaps left in traditional dive training with a more informative and beneficial dive training experience.

Upon successful completion of classroom and pool sessions, students will need to complete an Open Water Diving component usually held over a weekend.

Training Agency:

PADI

Additional Details:

Open Water Dives are required for Open Water certification and are included in your full course price and completed locally.

Scuba courses are available 12 months of the year.

Costs:

PADI Open Water Class/Pool Only $350+HST
Full PADI Open Water Certification Course Cost is only $500+HST ALL INCLUSIVE for the standard course with eLearning activation code and PADI Deluxe Multimedia Crewpak (digital dive tables, virtual log book with PADI Scuba Earth and more!). Includes class, pool, open water dives, full scuba equipment rental (no snorkeling gear), certification fees and more.

What gear will you need?

All students will need to purchase their own Mask, Strap Fins, Snorkel, Boots, however many of our students prefer to purchase the rest of their kit too. You’ll want to buy the right gear, so please have a read through our DDS Student Diver PDF and learn more about the specific gear requirements and training differences we offer, as well as some incentives.

You don’t need to purchase a weight belt and weights, at DDS we don’t believe in over-weighting our students. Weight belts are an outdated piece of gear that has not been used by us in training since the late 1990’s.Our divers are taught to use little to no weight.

Financing is available: Finance your course, snorkeling gear and even your scuba equipment package at a very reasonable rate. Ask staff for details and learn diving in the best equipment you can…..your own personal dive gear, or ours.
DDS will include all scuba equipment for the course, however, you will enjoy your diving experience much more in your own personal dive equipment.

Want Some New Challenges?

transition into technical and cave diving courses
Transition into technical or cave diving courses for new and rewarding challenges in your diving

For divers wanting more of a challenge DDS specializes in Cave and Technical Diving Courses offering the most in depth technical diving programs in the country from rudimentary elements of diving courses like Intro to Tech,  Decompression Procedures, Helitrox, Trimix, Cavern and Cave Diving courses, Wreck External Survey, Wreck Penetration, Ice Diving, Technical Wreck Penetration, Rebreather Courses, Deep Diving, Technical DPV Courses, and many more, we keep the adventure of scuba diving thriving.

We also offer a full range of Recreational Diving Specialty Courses, Professional Level Leadership Courses as well as First Aid, CPR Courses and Oxygen Provider Courses.

Staff & Instructors

The Dan’s Dive Shop store Staff along with our instructional team of Recreational and Technical scuba diving Instructors,  Divemasters and Assistant Instructors are the most dedicated, experienced team of professional level scuba divers in the diving industry.

Our scuba diving instructional team offer the most comprehensive learning of recreational scuba courses, Cave Diving and Technical Diving courses, Enriched Air Nitrox and Sidemount diving courses, while utilizing the most progressive diving methods, equipment, technology and by teaching our students the most comprehensive scuba diving courses on the market.

DDS Staff @ Sherkston

Our staff are all active diving enthusiasts who love scuba diving and all that the diving life style has to offer!  

They’re progressive divers who are learning and advancing their personal diving careers on a regular basis through continuing education courses and training, while also preparing mentally and physically for more demanding advanced dives.

Our staff are often required to test dive new dive equipment, trying different styles of diving, which gives them a perspective on the amazingly fun styles of diving that we specialize in like single tank diving, diving double tanks, sidemount, drysuits, diver propulsion vehicles, rebreathers and so much more.   The bottom line is that our staff are expected to be leaders in the local scuba diving community, they help shape our divers into the most informed divers in the water and mentor a lot of our newer divers as well.

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We have a lot of fun at DDS. Join the family.

You can trust that our staff have a good amount of diving experience and good overall knowledge, while many of them are still learning, so if you have questions on gear or training that exceeds their level of knowledge, please be patient as they defer more technical questions to Matt, Dan, Chris, Fawn,  or another qualified staff member who can get them the answers in a timely fashion.

One of the best things about our staff is the fact that we get out and dive on a regular basis for fun with our clients, who often times become regular dive buddies.  Very few dive stores have staff that dive, let alone their owners, whereas DDS staff and owners are out diving frequently interacting with or engaging their clients and having fun doing it.

Please be advised that only 2 of our staff are experts at custom wetsuits (Matt & Dan), while Matt, Fawn and Dan are DUI Factory Trained drysuit and drysuit undergarment fit specialists at measuring for DUI, while Matt and Dan are able to measure for Santi and Bare, so please call ahead of time prior to your anticipated trip to book an appointment with us.

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Dan’s Dive Shop pioneer of Progressive Scuba Diving Courses and Equipment Sales

Vintage Diver Dan 1970’s

Established in 1974 by Dan Mandziuk, Dan’s Dive Shop has shared the adventure of scuba diving in Niagara, Ontario for over forty years.  We are Canada’s innovator of higher level progressive scuba diving education in Recreational, Cave & Technical Scuba Diving instruction and a purveyor of the highest quality scuba diving equipment in recreational, cave and technical diving. 

At DDS we are known for offering the highest level of scuba diving education at every single level of training we offer.

We teach many of our scuba diving courses locally in Niagara, however, we also teach abroad anywhere our students want us to be, which includes other cities, provinces, states and even countries.

Matt Mandziuk carry’s on the legacy of DDS with Progressive Gear & Courses

Not Just Niagara….Dan’s is totally mobile and we are able to teach scuba courses anywhere we can drive to or fly into.  We’ve taught students from all over the world who have sought out the best scuba diving education and we have delivered time and time again.

We’ve taught students from every province in Canada, a number of the US States and other countries.  

We attract a large number of students from the greater Hamilton area, as well as Burlington, Oakville, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo,  Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.  Northern Ontario is a popular destination for us to teach in as well as we can cover Sudbury, Espanola, Little Current, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and much more with the utilization of eLearning, Skype, FaceTime or Podcasts, with watermanship sessions held in the most convenient locations possible, especially for our students in Northern Ontario.

Unmatched Retail Shopping

Shop with us Online

We are proud to offer Canada’s Largest Inventory and selection of scuba diving equipment from the top brands in the industry.  

We carry the largest selection of scuba and snorkeling equipment offering the highest quality snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, as well as swimwear and metal detectors.

Our pricing is the  most competitive and we offer you the best pricing and service guaranteed on all the scuba gear we sell.   We will not be undersold.

Customers from all over North American and abroad shop our online dive store regularly for the best deals on scuba and snorkeling equipment, as well as expert drysuit sales and service.

Why pay more buying gear from your local dive shop or buying it out of the U.S. when we guarantee you better pricing, equipment choices and service?

We take away the hassle of crossing the border, paying duty or brokerage fees, or expensive shipping.  Let us do the work for you and get the best gear at the best price.  Email or call us for a gear quote.

Fun and memorable dive trips

We love diving locally around the Great Lakes and surrounding areas.

We honestly believe that we have the best diving in the world right here in Ontario and some of the other coastal provinces (Quebec, BC., Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to name a few), so we are pleased to offer both local and down south scuba diving trips and excursions to cater to divers who like diving in any environment warm or cold.

Experience a fun day charter, a fun filled weekend trip out of town diving  the great local Canadian sites, U.S. sites, or join us for a week or more doing some further more exotic scuba diving destinations on one of our dive travel trips around the world. 

We run amazing trips South as well!  We routinely run trips to Micronesia, Mexico, Honduras, Florida, Bahamas and many other warm water destinations too.

Count on our team

Get to know our great team of staff and instructors who are all active and constantly learning divers. We love what we do and are always looking for like minded people to join our dive team.

The majority of our dive team are local Niagara area Divers, with some of our team covering the Toronto and Burlington regions. If you want to learn to dive using a different philosophy that focuses on diver comfort, development of foundation skills, team diving with the ability to go anywhere you could possibly imagine in scuba, the possibilities are endless here at DDS.

E-Learning at your pace

Whether you’re just starting out or are already certified –  PADI’s eLearning is a flexible and convenient way to take more dive courses online at your pace. Sign up and get started right away with the instructional videos and interactive learning modules. Register Dan’s Dive Shop as your local PADI Dive Centre when you sign up and you can come in any time to ask us questions about what you’re learning. 

Active in our local community

We’re involved with many charities and events such as: Project Aware Foundation, We Are Water Project, Dive For A Cure, United Way, Terry Fox Foundation, Race Against Autism, Old Timers Hockey, St. Catharines and Welland Rotary Clubs, Grimsby Auxiliary Marine Rescue Unit, as well as local hospitals, police departments, fire departments,  schools and many other organizations.

Experience the difference

Come in and see the difference we can make in your diving career. It’s fun, challenging and you’ll get a lot more out of this sport with the right store backing you in the right gear with the right skill and techniques.

Let us help you become the best diver you can be – join Dan’s Dive Shop and Divers Edge training. 

See you in the water!