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Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo now an SSI Dive Center!

 

Scuba Schools International
Scuba Schools International
Scuba  Instruction in Key largo

Better Instruction Results in Better, More Committed Scuba Divers!

Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo has always taken pride in our Scuba Instruction, and we’ve always tried to offer more for our students. Most of you already know that we offer 6 Open Water dives with our basic Open Water Course, and this has made the course very popular for obvious reasons. But most importantly, we feel that we’re producing better scuba divers. From the feedback we’ve gotten from our students it seems that most agree! 

 

SSI & Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo… Offering More!

Scuba Schools International believes that the well-trained scuba diver is the “committed” scuba diver, and we couldn’t agree more. And we’re not only going to continue to offer more for our students, but we’re “upping the ante” so to speak. Extended time and experiences in the pool and open water environment will benefit everyone. Key Largo diving has never been better, and we’re proud to offer SSI Instruction to our customers and fellow scuba divers! 

 

Thanks and best to all from your Sea Dwellers Staff!

 Scuba Schools International

Your favorite Key Largo Dive Center, (yes, that’s Sea Dwellers, right?)…just spent part of last week completing our SSI Instructor Training Course. This means that we are now not only PADI Instructors but also SSI Instructors. Scuba Schools International, already one of the largest scuba diving Instructional agencies in Europe, is also expanding rapidly in the USA and now we’re happy to say that we’re a part of that!. 

Our staff had a great time!  SSI Instructor Trainer Michael Steidley ran the training and we can’t say enough about him. Michael has just a bit of experience in scuba diving….diving since 1968 with every certification you could possibly imagine…and then some. As most of you know our Instructors here at Sea Dwellers Dive Center are pretty darn experienced, but every one of us, (even Scott), got a lot out of our training with Michael.

Shark Diving in Key Largo

Diving in Key Largo

Your friends at Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo have had a great winter scuba season this year.  Why?  Well I think it’s pretty simple…the diving in Key Largo has been amazing!  The water is only about 75 degrees, which is pretty warm for Jan/Feb…but more importantly the marine life has been kicking!  Here is a video by Sea Dwellers Instructor Dave Jefferiss during a couple scuba dives off the Sea Dweller III last week on Molasses Reef to prove the point.  Note all the sharks!  As we have been pointing out in some previous blog postings they have become common sightings on our reefs for the last couple years now, and days like the one on the video where you can see multiple Caribbean Reef Sharks circling around scuba divers on the reef are not uncommon either!  Good news for the reefs according to the experts by the way, and great news for the diving in Key Largo we think!

Thanks to Dave for the wonderful video…and we hope to see everyone down here to dive with Sea Dwellers Dive Center soon! Enjoy!
Rob Haff
Contact Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo for great diving today!

 

Sea Dwellers a Blue Star Dive Center!

downloadSea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo is proud to announce that we are an official “Blue Star Operator”!  What does this mean?  Well let me explain…

According to NOAA, “The Florida Keys are home to the third-largest barrier coral reef in the world and beckon millions of visitors each year. The reef’s close proximity to land and an abundance of boat operators in the Keys make this diverse underwater world easily accessible for the novice snorkeler and the seasoned diver alike” (see NOAA Blue Star).

For this reason, NOAA has implemented the Blue Star Program here in the Keys for Dive Centers and Dive Operators.   Again according to NOAA, “Blue Star is a programOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA established by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to reduce the impact of divers and snorkelers on the coral reef ecosystem of the Florida Keys.  It is a voluntary recognition program saluting charter boat operators who promote responsible and sustainable diving and snorkeling practices, helping keep the reef healthy for generations to come.”

So there you have it.  A worthy cause I’d say for me, Sea Dwellers Dive Center, and anyone else working here who loves the unique marine ecosystem we have here. Key Largo is considered by many to be the “Dive Capital of the World” for many reasons including the amazing diversity and abundance of marine life found here. At Sea Dwellers we frequently hear our repeat divers tell us just how amazing the marine life is here, especially compared to many of the most popular dive destinations in the Caribbean. Simply put, there are few places left in the Caribbean that can boast the abundance and diversity of marine life we have in the Florida Keys.  While we do not celebrate the sad fact that many islands in the Caribbean are seeing greatly diminished fish populations, we are proud that we have been able to buck this trend. This is not by chance, and the reason you can come down here and dive and see things like large groupers, snappers, permit, snook and goliath groupers, just to name a few, is due to the rigorous conservationist efforts found here.   (BTW These fish I am mentioning are known to be good “eating” fish, (ie they taste good), and are just generally not found in any great numbers in the Caribbean anymore, but they are found in the Keys.)

Key Largo scuba divingBlue Star stresses conservationist education and awareness for the community of Dive Operators in the Keys. Coral reefs are under increased pressures globally. Through practicing responsible diving and snorkeling, you can help to lessen local stress on the reef while still partaking of its beauty. Book with a Blue Star recognized operator today, (like Sea Dwellers Dive center of Key Largo), and learn more about the wonders of the sanctuary and the coral reef ecosystem of the Florida Keys!

Thanks,
Rob & Staff

Why Do We Travel?

Travel is good, especially dive travel, this we know. But why? Let’s discuss the reasons we all love to travel and scuba dive.  As some of you may know, now is our slow season in Key Largo; (Always a shame really because our summer is going to last at least another couple months…but that’s another story for another time.)

This is the time that we, the staff at Sea Dwellers, take our vacations. And this year we certainly are doing just that, as everyone of us is either just coming off a trip or are currently on a trip.  Most of you, scuba divers who dive with Sea Dwellers in Key Largo as well as other dive destinations, know about the joy of travel also.

So, why do we travel?

Having just returned from a trip, I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it was to get away.  I feel rejuvenated from the experience, and the experiences last a lifetime.

As Sea Dweller customer Jon Smith tells us about travel….

” When I was 16 I hitch hiked across the lower 48 and Have been traveling ever since . I joined the navy and saw the world . I enjoy discovering new things . I also enjoy repeat visits to comfortable surroundings.”

Long-time Sea Dweller diver Mike Merrill tells us…

“To experience different cultures and cuisines. To validate my theory that almost everyone is seeking the same thing, happiness, but we define it differently and mainly to relax and leave work behind.”

For Jon and Mike, traveling has obviously affected their “life journey” if you will, to this day. Both of these guys have been around the world probably more than once, and I love their take on this, great stuff.

Dive Travel

Some of the best memories in my life are the Dive trips with my family.  I come from a family of divers…my Mom and Dad both big-time divers. Obviously, diving Key Largo was a constant, almost every weekend in the summer months and all summer vacation…and we didn’t have to travel far.   I still remember driving down US1 over the first bridge into Key Largo; man I used to love that feeling, and still do. But we also organized group trips of friends and family to Cozumel and the Bahamas to go diving.  After college my father and I went on dive trips to more exotic places like the Red Sea, Truk Lagoon, Bonaire and Roatan. Real father-son bonding, and some of the best memories of my life.

sd_blog_003My father and I in Honduras

I’ve come to the conclusion that, at least for me, life is about experiences. When I’m on my death bed I don’t think I’ll be thinking about some shiny car I bought but about some of those amazing dives I was able to make with my father in a far-off exotic destination.  That’s what life is really all about, isn’t it?  (Thanks dad.)

You see, in my mind, experience is better than a tangible object like a car and is just as much of a “possession”. My folks don’t dive anymore, are retired and have moved  up to the mountains.  But we have these memories, they will always be there.  Key Largo, Cozumel, the Red Sea.  You can have the shiny car, I have something better, and you never have to trade it in.

As Sea Dweller customer Debbie Foley tells us…

” I travel to leave my everyday problems behind and truly enjoy my family.”

Well put Debbie.  These days my wife and I travel every year.  This year we went to Sardenia and Sicily, places we always wanted to go to. In Sardinia, we went snorkeling almost every day, enjoying the clear blue Mediterranean waters and exploring caves and swim-thrus, just the 2 of us.  Sublime.  Is there anything better for a relationship? We are lucky that our jobs allow us to take longer trips, and I find that it takes at least several days to clear my mind of all the clutter I have from the usual pace of life.  Usually by day 5 or so of our getaway, I find myself in a different state of mind, totally relaxed and free from the stress and worries of our daily lives. A weekend getaway doesn’t do this for me, I need a little longer to get to that…place, that travel can take us to.

Experience

Sea Dweller friend and diver Craig Black sent us this quote by Mark Twain in response to our request for input on traveling, and I think this speaks volumes on the benefits of travel;

 “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it solely on these accounts.”
–Mark Twain

Craig has been a US Naval Attache living abroad for many years in several different countries
during his career.  What  fantastic insight from someone who knows travel!

Traveling opens our minds to other cultures and ways of living, and this can also help us to appreciate what we have
in the good ‘ol US of A.   I’m not rich by American standards, but seeing how other people live in places like Honduras, Mexico, Egypt, and even Italy certainly has brought home to me how lucky we are living here in America.  I realize that “plenty is enough”, and if I don’t have that new large-screen TV that my neighbor just bought that’s OK.   We have our problems, but we still have it good.  I wish all Americans would travel, I’m pretty sure it would be good for the health of our country.

No Place Like Home

We have return customers that have been diving with us for years.  They return to Key Largo for the great diving, but
also they return to the same place each year because they feel comfortable here. Like a “second home”.  Traveling to Key Largo still takes them away from their normal everyday existance, while still letting them…”escape”, for awhile.  They have a sense of comfort returning to the same place.   Some call it “deep travel”…getting to really know a place.  To experience it “like a native”.

Interestingly enough, when I travel I find that returning home has it’s joys, also.  I find that the old saying, “there’s no place like home”, certainly applies in my case. When I finally open the front door to my home after a long trip it’s a wonderful feeling.

Paying the price?

Sometimes there are discomforts involved in travel, I consider this the “Price We Pay” for the good times.  As most of us know, flying now is not as easy as it used to be.  Jet lag, the occasional upset stomach from that great meal we’re not used to eating and other little things can cause discomfort for some.   The good news is, like surgery, we usually forget the uncomfortable parts afterwards.  I know people who don’t travel just for these reasons, and that’s fine.  But personally, I expect these little things and when they happen, consciously accept them and remember that “nothing good comes easy”.  For me these wonderful experiences are well worth the minor inconveniences.

Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo

travel7As you can tell, most of your staff here at Sea Dwellers Dive Center likes to travel…and it appears that most of our customers like to also. We get divers from many places around the globe;  Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, France, Italy, the UK, Germany, Turkey, Greece, South Africa, Australia, India, Israel, Jordan, Egypt….most states in the USA…and many more  I can’t think of now. These are some of the places off the top of my head I’ve seen on our releases when I check customers in.  We feel lucky to have the customers we have, many of which we consider friends and that travel back to Key Largo year after year!

And we all have that one thing in common…or, should I say 2 things…Scuba Diving & Travel.  So here’s to the next great travel experience for all of us!

 Blog!!!

 Thanks to everyone who contributed their thoughts and experiences!

Rob Haff – Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo

 

 

 

 

…the diving has been really good in Key Largo…

Divers love reef sharks!Man, has the diving been good here lately.  I mean, we’ve been seeing Goliath Groupers, reef sharks, bait balls…and yes, even a Great White Shark! These are things we’ve always seen…at times, but never with this frequency.  After a slow spring, with more bad weather than anyone can remember…for the last 6 weeks things have just been incredible on the reef.

We’re happy about this of course, and we’re also happy to see a lot of divers here also.  It’s been a little slow here  the last few years, but it seems like suddenly divers are taking vacations again…a good sign for businesses here, but also a sign that America is doing better maybe?

nick1

And the health of the reefs has been getting better, we think, at least in the short term as shown by all these critters we’ve been seeing so much of.  This is good for businesses, divers, vacationers…and us, because we simply love the Keys and especially the reef here, the only living coral barrier reef in North America.

So we think this is something to celebrate, and we’ll keep you updated on the critters!

Happy 4th of July!

One of my staff was diving Molasses Reef the other day, enjoying the bait ball we’ve had there for over a week now, and he said the obvious hit him suddenly…the marine life here is really awesome!    As a matter of fact, the marine life today in the Florida Keys is more abundant and diverse than it was 10 to 15 years ago, in our humble opinion.  Now to those of you who dive key largo and already knew that, it does seem obvious.

But in this world we live in now this should really be applauded.  Today we find many of our natural resources under attack from things like pollution, climate change, and lack of government funding for protection due to deficits, etc.   It’s very easy to talk about the negatives here on the only barrier coral reef in North America, of which there are still plenty.  And yet despite this, the marine ecosystem here in the Florida Keys has seen some positives over recent history, as shown most dramatically in the abundance of marine life we’re seeing these days.  Dive Key Largo

In 1990, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was established, along with many rules and regulations that some were concerned about.  But with this also came government  funding, for the protection of our waters and the ecosystem here.  I believe we have seen the benefits of this at this point, and while there are still many problems we face here, there are tangible improvements that we all can see today on our reefs…that we all can enjoy!

We at Sea Dwellers think this is something to celebrate…Happy 4th of July America!

Bait Ball on Molasses Reef !

Well for the last few days, a big bait ball has been living, or trying to live…on Molasses reef.  It’s been exciting…several caribbean reef sharks have been circling it, feeding on it as the small fish struggle to make it past the next deadly pass.

Sorry to say, while it’s been fun to watch, it won’t last long…as the ball is getting smaller and smaller and smaller….

 

 

Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo 99850 Overseas Highway Key Largo, FL 33037 1-305-451-3640
Sea Dwellers Dive Center of Key Largo 99850 Overseas Highway Key Largo, FL 33037 1-800-451-3640