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  • Destinations | ATA/BAR Divers

    Reviews: Dive Destinations We love to dive and our goal is to share information about dive destinations and operators. The opinions expressed on this website are solely those of us at and do not reflect the opinion of dive operators we may be affiliated with. ATA/BAR DIVERS G&G's Cleawater Paradise Resort Guanaja, Bay Islands, Honduras clearwaterparadise.com Bottom Line G & G’s Clearwater Paradise Resort is a full-service dive operation that offers exceptional dining, comfortable accommodations, and unique underwater topographies for experienced divers on the island of Guanaja, Honduras. ​ The Longer Story Good friends own a boat and take you diving with them. Great friends live on an island, cook gourmet meals, own a boat and a secluded home with eight guest rooms, and take you diving with them. You need to meet these great friends you didn’t know you had on the island of Guanaja. [...more...] CoCo View Resort Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras cocoviewresort.com Bottom Line CoCo View Resort is a well-oiled, all-inclusive dive center where nothing is left to chance. The grounds: beautifully manicured. Rooms: spacious and comfortable. Buffets: ample, tasty food at every meal. Shore dives, dive spots, boats, and staff are all exceptional. This place has a loyal following, and for good reason. ​ The Longer Story During the Fall of 2016, a group of eight California divers made their first trip to the revered CoCo View Resort on Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras. A shuttle van transported us about 20 minutes from the Roatan Airport to a small... [...more...] Beyond Diving Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico beyonddivingscuba.com Bottom Line Every accomplished diver should put on their underwater destination bucket list, and offers exceptional service and support to make your diving-centric stay on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula an enjoyable one. cenotes diving Beyond Diving Dive Center ​ The Longer Story In April 2015, a foursome of couldn’t resist a last-minute trip Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We stayed at the and transport from the Cancun Airport was handled by . That was the easy part... ATA/BAR DIVERS St. Martin Boutique Hotel Cancun Transfers USA [...more...] Horizon Divers Key Largo, Florida horizondivers.com Bottom Line Located on US-1 (Overseas Highway) in Key Largo, Horizon Divers is a PADI 5-star IDC offering top-notch training from Open Water Diver to technical diving specialties like PADI Tec 40-50, trimix, rebreather, and advanced wreck. Horizon Divers is a rare find for tec divers in the Keys as its regular boat trips to wrecks offer single location, 2-hour+ gates that allow for plenty of bottom and deco time. ​ Whether you are a recreational diver searching for the next great challenge or a diving professional looking to deepen your skills and course offerings, Horizon Divers has curricula to meet your specific needs. Certified training agency affiliations include SDI, TDI, IANTD, and PADI. ​ Horizon has three boats and offers multi-trip discounts, trimix gas refills, and supports the needs of CCR divers.

  • ATA/BAR Divers | PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course

    PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course — — As a courtesy to local diving enthusiasts and potential scuba students, we offer this list of scuba class courses and schedules. These links reflect the latest information available from the noted PADI training facility on each class page. does not make or accept training class reservations. Please call or visit the respective PADI training facility to sign-up for classes. Prices subject to change ATA/BAR Divers and classes subject to cancellation without notice.

  • ATA/BAR Diver | PADI Enriched Air Diver Specialty Course

    PADI Enriched Air Diver Specialty Course — — As a courtesy to local diving enthusiasts and potential scuba students, we offer this list of scuba class courses and schedules. These links reflect the latest information available from the noted PADI training facility on each class page. does not make or accept training class reservations. Please call or visit the respective PADI training facility to sign-up for classes. Prices subject to change ATA/BAR Divers and classes subject to cancellation without notice.

  • ATA/BAR Divers | PADI Dry Suit Specialty Diver Courses

    PADI Dry Suit Specialty Diver Course — — As a courtesy to local diving enthusiasts and potential scuba students, we offer this list of scuba class courses and schedules. These links reflect the latest information available from the noted PADI training facility on each class page. does not make or accept training class reservations. Please call or visit the respective PADI training facility to sign-up for classes. Prices subject to change ATA/BAR Divers and classes subject to cancellation without notice.

  • Why Keep a Dive Log? | ATA/BAR Divers

    Why Keep a Dive Log? While maintaining a dive log is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. What you log and why you log it is a personal decision, much like what you put in a diary. The benefits of maintaining an accurate logbook can help you in many ways. Find out how a log can benefit you. Bottom Line : “What do I write down?” is usually the question Open Water students ask when confronted with a blank dive log page for the first time. Think of your dive log as a personal diary—no one is required to one but many people do. The same holds true with dive logs—you are not required to keep one, but it is strongly suggested. Why? The biggest reason to keep a log is to record important aspects of your dive, including: Location Date |In the water/out of water Time |Dive type (shore/boat/night), bottom time, depth, surface interval, pressure groups, safety stop details Dive Profile |Weather, visibility, water, temperatures Conditions |Configuration, proper weighting Equipment |Observations, challenges, buddies, accomplishments Experiences |Type, tank size/type, start/stop pressures, consumption rate, supplemental systems Gas |Total dive time to date, dive number to date Cumulative Information ​ Most logs have space for a verification signature from a dive buddy, instructor or Divemaster. Some even have space for a boat or dive shop stamp or sticker. Many divers have turned their logbooks into an impressive collection of ornate dive shop stamps and stickers from around the world for fellow divers to envy. Incorporating these into your logbook gives an added level of credibility to your underwater feats. ​ If you travel to dive, think about packing your dive log. Some dive operators will ask to see your dive log to confirm you have the experience you claim and it’s also an easy way to log dives as you go. ​ When it comes to continuing education, certain levels of PADI advanced certification (like and ) require a specific number of dives and dive types. Divemaster Open Water Scuba Instructor ​ Preprinted dive logs, like the ones provided with your PADI Open Water class materials (Figure 1), are designed to hold specific information but, in reality, the log can be nothing more than a blank page with whatever information you find relevant to record. ​ There are many options available to put your dive logs online, from free solutions like PADI’s (Figure 2) to many subscription-based, non-proprietary digital logbooks like (Figure 3). ScubaEarth divelogs.de ​ Many dive computers integrate into dive logging software that is often available for free. One example is the software (Figure 4) that integrates with the Suunto , among other Suunto computer products. Suunto DM5 Eon Steel ​ Whether you decide to log in hard copy or digitally, the biggest benefit to maintaining a dive logbook is recalling past experiences. Reliving your special moments in the water will surely bring back pleasant memories for years to come. Let’s go diving! Figure 1. preprinted dive log. PADI Figure 2. PADI logbook readout. ScubaEarth’s Figure 3. Example digital logbook readout. divelogs.de Figure 4. digital dive log. Suunto DM5

  • Review: Scurfa Watches | ATA/BAR Divers

    Scurfa Watches: Made for Deep Divers with Shallow Pockets Every once in a while we run across a product that we want to tell everyone about. So is the case with Scurfa Watches and its Diver One watch: Traditional, sturdy, beefy, dense, easy to read, and well priced. Bottom Line : We were recently in the market for a dive watch—something traditional, sturdy, beefy, dense, easy to read, and not too expensive. Consumer market research began and we happened upon some outstanding reviews of . Yes, . We were particularly intrigued by the watch’s reasonable price and the . Scurfa Watches Scurfa company’s story We whittled down the competition to two timepieces: (1) The incomparable , and (2) The . We decided to go with the relative newbie to the watch market and we couldn’t be happier. Citizen Promaster Diver Scurfa Diver One Among its many outstanding features, the Diver One is rated to 1,000 feet and has a domed sapphire crystal that makes reading time underwater a breeze. The second-hand is prominent—particularly helpful for dive instructors when conducting timed scuba training exercises. It’s solid, attractive, and classic design gets lots of compliments on dive boats. (It even looks good on a female diver’s wrist.) The watch’s rubber band is sufficiently large enough to work with a 7mm wetsuit. The Scurfa line of dive watches continues to expand with its latest offering, the striking , with a rated depth of 1,640 feet. It’s price point is higher than the Diver One, but its unique look deserves your look. Bell Diver 1 If you are in the market for a classic dive watch but have pockets that aren’t as deep as you dive, we suggest you give Scurfa some serious consideration. ​ This product review is solely the opinion of ATA/BAR DIVERS as a product consumer and is provided without compensation, affiliation or consideration of any kind. Figure 1. The Scurfa Diver One. Figure 2. Caseback of the Scurfa Diver One. Figure 3. Profile of the Scurfa Diver One.

  • Be a Visible Diver | ATA/BAR Divers

    Be a Standout Diver: Wear an SMB on Your Head! Being conspicuous while scuba diving is rarely a bad thing, yet the majority of exposure gear is black, dark gray or midnight blue—colors that all-but disappear into the ocean’s background. Without help from color or light, keeping track of divers is already a difficult task. When it comes to differentiating divers, without some sort of visible queue, everyone in your dive group looks far too similar to discern who’s who at a glance. If you dive active waters and you wander too far from your diver down marker, that standard black dive hood or beanie is nearly impossible to see at the surface. Think about solving these visibility problems by “wearing” a surface marker buoy (SMB) on your head! ​ Several companies market high-visibility dive hoods and beanies in different styles that will serve you well in nearly any water temperature. With hi-viz colors like yellow, orange and lime green, with some designs that include SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) reflective material, you will definitely be a standout diver while on or under the water. ​ PROMATE Ardent 3mm Beanie ​ BEAVER 7mm Glow-Flex Semi-Dry Hi-Viz Hood ​ SEAREQ (7mm and 3mm) Little Red Diving Hood ​ WATERPROOF H1 5/10 H.V. Hood ​ LOMO 5mm Hi Vis Yellow Hood ​ HENDERSON SAR Swimmer Fire Fleece Hood ​

  • Image Editing with GIMP | ATA/BAR Divers

    Free & Easy Underwater Image Editing with GIMP Looking for a cheap and easy software fix for your imperfect digital underwater images? Give Bottom Line : GIMP a try. GIMP, the Gnu Image Manipulation Program Those of us at ATA/BAR DIVERS have been called many things of the years, but none of us have ever been accused of being underwater photographers. Sure, we love our little ® cameras and underwater lights, but our rigs—and general photographic knowledge—pale in comparison to some of the set-ups regularly seen on dive outings. GoPro While we may know our place in the true underwater photographers’ world, it does not keep us from trying to find that perfect shot, in spite of our underpowered equipment. Recently on a dive at , a , with its unusual and almost human-like lips, took a fancy to us and our GoPro® camera and lights. The water conditions were good but not perfect, and to add additional injury to this photo was the floating string that attaches the Polar Pro® macro lens to the camera housing, which enabled the close-up photo of this golden fish with its funky lips. Anacapa Island Garibaldi Underwater Kinetics Switchblade 2.0 The photo seemed salvageable but I needed help from an image editing program to deal with the lens twine and the so-called , which is basically the illumination of particulate (floating bits of junk) in the water by camera or natural lighting. Off to the internet we went, looking for a solution that didn’t have a deep learning curve. backscatter One diver blogged about , the . The price was right (free but gladly accepted) and it did exactly what was needed to correct backscatter, errant twine and other image imperfections. GIMP Gnu Image Manipulation Program donations GIMP is an open source project that has been around since 1996. It is as easy—or as challenging—a program as you want to make it. We quickly found that the Healing Tool was magical and a favorite in dealing with imperfections, followed by the Clone Tool. Beyond managing image imperfections, the available tools are seemingly endless, but one you might want to examine closely is Color Management. If you find your red lens overpowers ambient light underwater, you can quickly try to tweak colors by using the multiple tools found under the Colors dropdown menu. The list of available tools could go on, but it won’t. If you are an avid (but uneducated) underwater photographer who is not willing to spend gobs of money or months of time learning a top-end image editing program, but want some great results for no investment, download a free copy of today. You should have visible results within minutes! GIMP

  • Computerless Diving: Should it be done? | ATA/BAR Divers

    Computer vs. Computerless Diving Bottom Line : If you don’t use a dive computer, you must calculate your dives the good old fashioned way[ ] to avoid the danger of decompression sickness (DCS). Besides crunching numbers, dive computers offer many other benefits during and after a dive. 1 Figure 4. SPG indicates 46 feet as the maximum depth of previous dive. At the end of Open Water training, your instructor might have suggested a dive computer as one of your first scuba equipment purchases. If you’ve already purchased one, that’s great! But if you don’t own one yet for whatever reason (like cost or anticipated diving frequency), this—admittedly confusing—article might help explain the value of diving with a computer and why you might want to reconsider your equipment purchasing priorities. ​ Before we go , a quick review as to why we calculate dives in the first place: too deep ​ As recreational divers, we are trained to make only NO STOP DIVES, meaning we can ascend directly to the surface any time during a dive without suffering an unusually high risk of decompression sickness.[ ] 2 ​ Conducting no stop diving is no accident—it requires planning and vigilance to ensure depths, dive times, and surface intervals (SI) are within recognized limits. If you don’t dive with a computer, you must equip yourself with other tools to help ensure you do not violate your no stop limits, also known as NO DECOMPRESSION LIMITS (NDLs). These tools include: ​ A means to record information on each dive (such as a pencil and underwater slate) A dive timer (a dive watch with a rotating bezel or a submersible timepiece with stopwatch function, Figure 3), and A depth gauge; one with a maximum depth needle to indicate your dive’s deepest depth can be helpful.[ ] 3 ​ In Figure 4, the red-tip needle shows current depth as 0 (sea level) and the black “maximum depth needle” shows the previous dive depth as 45 feet. After each dive, the max depth needle can be rotated back to 0 with the twist of a fingernail in the center slot so the next dive’s max depth can be measured. Many new depth gauges do not have this secondary needle because of the overwhelming popularity of dive computers among recreational divers. ​ COMPARING DIVE CALCULATORS ™ ™ We will walk through a two-dive day using a computer, the RECREATIONAL DIVE PLANNER (RDP, Figure 1) and the ELECTRONIC MULTILEVEL RECREATIONAL DIVE PLANNER TOUCH (eRPDml, Figure 2). Our goal is to use the same profile on each device. COMPUTER USE Using a dive computer is kind of like taking your mom with you on a dive. Computers watch and record your every move. If you get out of line, it will let you know, just like your mom did (or still does!). Not only do computers offer warnings during a dive, they keep an eye on you after the dive by timing your surface intervals and calculating “no fly times” by automatically calculating the elimination of theoretical levels of residual nitrogen from your body. With the RDP and eRPDml there is no underwater hand-holding—these devices are used before a dive to help plan depths and times, thereby reducing the likelihood of NDL violations. Figure 5 shows a typical dive summary using Suunto’s and the dive computer (Figure 8). The green graph depicts the diver’s depths throughout the dive. The dive progresses in time from left to right. Here are the dive details as captured by the computer: DM5 software Eon Steel Dive #1 maximum depth: 81 feet (average depth: 45 feet). Dive time: 62 minutes The dive ended because of air limitations, not because an NDL was reached. Safety Stop: 3 minutes was recommended. SI: 61 minutes. Dive #2 maximum depth: 42 feet (average depth: 28 feet) Dive time: 70 minutes Again, this dive ended because of air supply, not because of an NDL. ​ RDP USE Just the thought of using dive tables might send shivers down your wetsuit, but let's try using the RDP on this same dive... But here is our first problem: Meandering dives with limited times at various depths cannot be accurately calculated with the RDP. [ ] Because of this, we are forced to calculate the dive to the deepest depth reached (see Figure 6): 4 ​ Dive #1 must be calculated to 90 feet (we must round up from 81). NDL time: 25 minutes. Ending pressure group: Q. Safety Stop: 3-minute required.[ ] 3 SI: 61 minutes. New pressure group: F. Dive #2 maximum depth: 42 feet. NDL: 80 minutes. Residual Nitrogen Time (RNT): 24 minutes. Adjusted NDL: 56 minutes. Ending pressure group: X. Safety Stop: 3-minute required.[ ] 6 ​ What’s the Difference? Because the RDP can only calculate “square dive profiles” (when a diver descends directly to a predetermined depth and safely ascends to the surface from that depth), the dive can only last for 25 minutes (the NDL for 90 feet), in comparison to the 62-minute computer dive. The second dive is limited to 56 minutes due to the adjusted NDL. In comparison, the second computer dive was 70 minutes. Diving to the NDLs of consecutive dives is anything but conservative and is recommended. Pushing the limits can result in a case of DCS. not Certified enriched air divers must calculate dives using the PADI EANx32 or EANx36 Recreational Dive Planner™. ​ eRPDml USE Unlike the RDP, the eRPDml can calculate multilevel dives, but our dive was not really not one because the diver did not maintain distinct dive levels. Additionally, the eRPDml can only calculate three dive levels that fall within the parameters explained on p. 82 of the eRPDml Use and Study Guide.[ ] Despite these limitations, let’s calculate Dive #1 with the eRPDml as follows (see Figure 7): 2 ​ 1. Multilevel dive profile: Level 1: 81 feet Actual Bottom Time (ABT): 5 minutes Ending Pressure Group: B NDL: 27 minutes Level 2: 60 feet ABT: 29 minutes Ending Pressue Group: Q Multilevel Limit (ML): 35 minutes Level 3: 40 feet ABT: 28 minutes Ending Pressure Group: V ML: 53 minutes 2. Safety Stop: 3-minute required [ ] 5 3. SI: 66 minutes. New pressure group: G. 4. Dive #2 maximum depth: 42 feet ABT: 70 minutes Ending pressure group: Z Safety Stop: 3-minute safety required[ ] 3 What’s the Difference? Besides being horribly complicated, sucking all the fun out of diving, and not being an accurate representation of our dive, this multilevel eRPDml dive profile is pretty close to the computer dive, sans the required 66-minute SI to complete Dive #2. The second dive ends in the highest pressure group (Z). Pushing NDLs is recommended. never ​ Oh, but did you want to dive with enriched air? Sorry! The eRPDml can’t help you, but most dive computers handle EANx without a problem. DIVE COMPUTERS: MORE THAN JUST AUTOMATED TABLES The RDP—and, in later years, the eRPDml—have successfully guided divers for decades, but not without some effort. The good news is that dive computers can do all this number-crunching for you and more! Some common dive computer capabilities include: ​ ENRICHED AIR (nitrox) compatibility LOGBOOK of dive profiles that can be downloaded to a PC HISTORICAL information for all dives in the logbook SAFETY STOP signal and timer DEEP STOP signal and alarm RAPID ASCENT indicator and alarm PO2 indicator and alarm CNS TOXICITY status and alarm PENDING NO STOP DIVING VIOLATION indicator and alarm NO STOP DIVING VIOLATION indicator and alarm EMERGENCY DECOMPRESSION STOP indicator, alarm, depths and times of decompression stages MISSED EMERGENCY DECOMPRESSION STOP indicator and alarm TOTAL ASCENT TIME during a deco dive NO FLY timer ​ Dive computers really earn their keep by guiding divers through safe ascents and abnormal situations, i.e. when NDLs are inadvertently violated. And just like mom, computers can put you in a time-out when you've been really, really bad: The computer will lock you out (i.e. render the computer useless) for 24-48 hours if you violate certain safe diving rules. ​ BUYING VERSUS RENTING Nearly all reputable dive centers have dive computers available for rent, but will you have adequate knowledge on how a rental computer works? Computers can be confusing without adequate preparation. You don’t have to break the bank to outfit yourself with one. About $200 will get you started with a nice, wrist-mount “puck style” computer—and that’s a lot cheaper (and much safer) than a $10,000/day trip to the recompression chamber! ​ Many dive centers use the (Figure 9) in training. It is a solid selection and comes in wrist mount (shown) or multi-gauge console configurations. Suunto Zoop ​ STILL CONFUSED? Calculating dive tables and using a dive computer can be equally difficult, especially if you don’t dive regularly. There is really no simple way around it. A dive computer can certainly simplify things, but they require a solid understanding on how to operate and what the computer is trying to tell you with its different displays and beeps. Haven’t purchased a dive computer but want to learn more? Or maybe you have purchased a dive computer, have thoroughly reviewed the user’s manual and still aren’t sure about all its functions. Either way, there is still hope for you! ADDITIONAL TRAINING A company called DiveNav, Inc. hosts a website called ®. You might want to check out these free and inexpensive courses (Figure 10) that work on multiple platforms (PC, smartphone and tablet): DiveComputerTraining.com (FREE) How to Choose a Dive Computer ​ ($3.99) Introduction to Dive Computers ​ Once you’re done with learning the basics, search the site for a course on your . We have found the instruction to be beneficial, especially when illustrating unusual situations that can’t be easily replicated on your own, such as violating an NDL. Classes cost $0.99 to $14.99. specific dive computer ​ If you haven’t done so already, when will you be purchasing your first dive computer? Let’s go diving! ​ Footnotes [1] Calculating dive profiles by using the Recreational Dive Planner™ (RDP, Figure 1), the RDP’s electronic counterpart, the Multilevel Recreational Dive Planner (eRDPml™, Figure 2), or an equivalent device. [2] PADI Open Water Diver Manual [English], version 3.0, p. 197. [3] PADI eRPDml™ Instructions for Use and Study Guide (2008), retrieved online at http://elearning.padi.com/company0/tools/eRDPML_InsforUse.pdf [4] PADI Recreational Dive Planner Instructions for Use (2004, Dive Table Definitions, p. 32), retrieved online at http://elearning.padi.com/company0/tools/RDP%20InsforUseImp.pdf [5] PADI Recreational Dive Planner Instructions for Use (2004, Rule 12, p. 7). [6] PADI Recreational Dive Planner Instructions for Use (2004, Rule 12, p. 7). [7] Rule 2 of General Rules for using the eRPDml can be found on the inside cover. ​ This page is provided for informational purposes only. It is solely the opinion of ATA/BAR DIVERS and is provided without compensation, affiliation or consideration of any kind. Figure 1. Recreational Dive Planner. Figure 2. The eRPDml Touch. Figure 3. Dive timers include watches with a rotating bezel or a stopwatch function. Figure 5. Dive #1 profile: 62 minutes. (Dive #2 profile not shown.) Figure 6. Recreational Dive Planner (RDP) dive profile. Figure 7. Multilevel dive profile for Dive #1 calculated using the eRPDml. Figure 8. Suunto Eon Steel. Figure 9. Suunto Zoop. Figure 10. Dive Computer Training's online Zoop class.

  • ATA/BAR Divers | Divemaster Courses

    PADI Divemaster Course — — As a courtesy to local diving enthusiasts and potential scuba students, we offer this list of scuba class courses and schedules. These links reflect the latest information available from the noted PADI training facility on each class page. does not make or accept training class reservations. Please call or visit the respective PADI training facility to sign-up for classes. Prices subject to change ATA/BAR Divers and classes subject to cancellation without notice.