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Top 10 Reasons for Group Dive Travel

Have you ever wondered if Group Dive Travel is for you? Maybe you have some preconceived notions that prevent you from taking a trip with a bunch of “strangers”!  Just know that you aren’t alone! We know it can feel risky!  Aquaventure has a large group-travel following.  People come back year after year, trip after trip.  We wanted to know why!  So we surveyed several of our travelers and here are the top 10 reasons why they believe group travel is the way to go!!

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Aquaventure – Fiji 2019

#10 – It’s for Everyone!

  • It doesn’t matter who you are…there’s a group trip for you
  • We only need one thing in common: DIVING!
  • Introvert or Extrovert, young or old, it doesn’t matter
    • Do less OR do more
    • Meals together OR meals alone
    • It is YOUR vacation – do as YOU please

#9 – It’s Cost Effective

  • Take advantage of group rates on air, hotel, and diving – generally offering more value than traveling alone
  • Help finding a roommate to keep the price down
  • Personal Guide starting at the airport, all through the trip, and back home again
  • NO SURPRISES – you know exactly what is included and what is not included
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Aquaventure – Cayman Brac Tootsie Pop Divers 2018

#8 – Leave Your Comfort Zone

  • Groups ENCOURAGE adventure
    • Experience more dives with groups
    • Try new food
    • Tour more topside and cultural experiences
  • Groups encourage relaxation –  TRULY UNPLUG
    • Less likely to “work” or check messages
    • Less likely to let your mind wander back to the stress of life
    • Other people bring new focus for those down-times when you aren’t diving

#7 – There’s Power In Numbers

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Aquaventure – Grand Cayman 2019

  • Travelers feel safer in groups
  • Tours and extra dives are easier to coordinate
  • Boat control – YOUR group determines where the boat goes and which dive sites to dive

#6 – Unique Opportunities

  • Instructors lead these trips – take advantage of continued education certifications in clear warm waters
    • Photography Classes
    • Drift Specialty
    • Fish Identification
    • Deep Specialty
    • Etc Etc!
  • We always meet the required minimum number of people to book extra excursions
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    Aquaventure – Raja Ampat Damaii II 2018

    • Horseback riding, zip lining, topside adventures
    • Island, nature, cultural, or historical tours
    • Night, wreck, or extra dives

#5 – Diver Confidence

  • Your leader genuinely cares that your vacation is great – they have your back
  • You know the experience level of others on your boat before you get there
  • You WILL have a dive buddy
  • Dive leader will help navigate a good buddy fit
  • Dive leader can work with the boat staff to ensure you get the most out of your dives

#4 – Problem Resolution

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Aquaventure – Cozumel 2019

  • You aren’t alone!
  • A proper group leader is your flight, dive boat, & hotel liaison
  • Gear Problems are easier to fix on the spot
    • Between the leader and the other travelers, there is rarely a problem that can’t be solved
  • Unexpected emergencies are easier to handle with a leader and group to support you
  • Many sets of eyes are always looking out for each other

#3 – The Perks

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Aquaventure – Cozumel 2019

  • Trip T-Shirt included
  • Pre-trip Info Meeting to prepare you properly
  • Free pool time to practice skills and dust off gear prior to the trip
  • Welcome Cocktails (often)
  • Post-Trip Parties
  • Shared pictures and videos

#2 – Stress Free Travel

  • Stress-free vacation anticipation – Once you’re signed up, all details are taken care of so RELAX
  • We know the best time of year for each destination, the areas to avoid, the best providers to use, the safest dive shops, etc.
  • Let’s face it:  You don’t know what you don’t know
  • Trust someone else to do the research
  • Sit back and get inspired instead of stressed
  • Start relaxing IMMEDIATELY – let us do the work

#1 – Better Together

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Aquaventure – Fiji 2019

  • All these people traveling with you are witnesses to your adventure
  • There will be many versions of your memories through other people on the trip
    • You will always have people to reminisce with
    • Your memories and adventures are intertwined forever
    • Shared pictures and videos from an entire group can capture more than one person could do alone
  • Shared experiences build deeper relationships
  • Deep relationships make experiences richer
  • Life-Long Friendships are organically created when we experience the unique and exciting underwater world together

If you have any questions about group dive travel, our staff can help you! Stop in or give us a call!  If you are ready to jump into group dive travel, check out our offerings.  We have several trips planned and posted as well as many more plans underway for your next group dive travel adventure!

Tiger Sharks of Beqa Lagoon

tiger shark 1If you have been a certified diver for a while you’ve probably been on a shark dive or two. Whether you’re a fan of them or not, they are undeniebly exhilarating and exciting! There are many destinations that offer shark dive/shark feeds; however, none of them are like “The Cathedral” in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji!! The interactions here are unlike anywhere else in the world! Tiger sharks, tiger sharks, and more tiger sharks! They just might be the most beautiful fish in the ocean. The way the sunlight dances off their stripes while they slowly move through the water is simply majestic!

“The Cathedral”

“The Cathedral” (a 70′ dive) is a relatively new dive site that was developed in the past few years as Beqa Lagoon Resort’s own “shark dive” site. They previously did their shark dives just outside Pacific Harbor at “The Bistro”. The Cathedral not only offers a ton of bull sharks but also white tip, black tip, reef, grey reef, lemon, and nurse sharks! All in abundance. This is one of the fishiest dives we’ve ever encountered where you may even spot a Goliath Grouper hanging out! But the main attraction here are the tiger sharks. Aaron, Beqa Lagoon’s dive shop manager, says they have had up to 13 tigers on one dive (which ended up being a very short dive!)! Our experience brought us three tigers ranging from 10′-15′ in length which was plenty for tiger 2everyone. These tigers come face to face with everyone to say hi and have their photo taken. If you’re a fan of sharks and shark dives, this is a MUST DO!

  • What? – Tiger shark diving
  • Who can go?- Any certified diver
  • Where? – Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
  • Why should I do this? – Because it’s AMAZING!!
  • When is the best time to go? – Year round but April – November has the most tigers.

 

Black Water Diving

blanket octopus

Blanket octopus – by John Mackiewicz

Are you looking for a new kind of diving? Something unique?  Or maybe you’re a photographer who wants to photograph a new subject?  If so, black water diving may be for you!

Imagine yourself drifting through the open ocean at night while watching the upward migration of plankton and the unusual critters that feed on them: Paper Nautilus, Blanket Octopus, Pelagic Seahorse’s, 10-foot Salp Chains, jellyfish, Flying fish, Moon Jellies, and much more.  This is Black Water diving!

Aquaventure’s Ben Moore and John Mackiewicz ventured to Analao, Philippines to try this unique dive experience. They absolutely loved it!  These unusual dives took them to depths of 20′-125′ while drifting through the water near a downline marked with a glow stick every 15 feet.  The dives required a light to attract the subjects, good buoyancy to maintain their depth, and a bit of luck and patience!   The results are stunning and give voice to the great variety of rarely seen creatures in our magnificent oceans!

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Nautilus – by John Mackiewicz

What camera gear to use?

Any underwater camera system that is set up for macro photography with a spotting light will work just fine. The little Olympus TG-5 is perfect for this!

Ben was shooting a Canon 70D with a Canon 60mm macro lens in a Nauticam housing with INON Z-240 strobes. John was shooting a Nikon D850 with a 60mm macro lens in a a Nauticam housing and INON Z-240 strobes. You can see more of John’s work @johnmackiewicz on Instagram.

squid

Squid – by Ben Moore

Some of the best known black water diving destinations:

  • Anilao, Philippines
  • Singer Island, Florida
  • Palau, Micronesia
  • Kona, Hawaii
  • Lembeh Straits, Indonesia
  • Routan, Honduras

 

Secret Weapon for Macro Video!

Macro Video with Olympus TG-5 Let’s face it, watching professionally shot underwater video can capture our imagination almost as much as being there on the dive. Many of the videos we see are wide angle videos filmed with GoPro and DSLR cameras and they do a great job at this. Unfortunately due to size and other camera limitations, they do not offer the versatility and ease of use for shooting macro videos.

So what’s another option that eliminates these barriers? Well let me introduce you to our “Secret Weapon for Macro Video” – the Olympus TG-5!

Macro Video with the TG-5

The Olympus TG-5 is a small point-n-shoot cameras that excels on the macro side of things! It offers hands down the best macro in the industry with its “Microscope mode” allowing the user to photograph or video the tiniest of subjects without an additional wet mount macro lens. Its size makes it much easier to hold still while shooting macro video compared to the larger DSLR systems.

The Olympus TG-5 also offers four custom white balance banks which allows the shooter to get all the beautiful color in their videos (although most macro video looks best when shot with a small video light). The beauty of this system is its small size, inexpensive price point, and professional results that compete with systems costing thousands more!

In the short video below, all clips were shot with the following equipment:

  • Olympus TG-5 ($449)
  • Olympus PT-058 housing ($299)
  • Kraken Hydra WSR + video light ($189)