Friday, April 20, 2012


BadDiverBill was born in Jersey, grew up a “Vegas rat” in America’s gambling capital and now lives in Southern California, where he pursues his passion for scuba diving.

So how did a guy who spent his formative years in the dessert get into scuba and launch a group for people who like fun with their diving? Bill Hill says his founding of BadDivers ( “was one of these things that happened on its own.” Hill, who prefers to be called “BadDiverBill,” earned his certification as a diver in California and “decided to dive naked somewhere else.”

He took a “red-eye flight” to Florida and as midnight marked the beginning of his birthday, “I went on a nice shallow dive around a pier in Florida in my birthday suit, with my shorts in my hand and waving them over my head.” Later, he and some friends had birthday drinks. A surprise soon followed when Bill was taken to the Florida Keys for an open-water dive. He enjoyed it but was struck by how serious the dive boat people were.

Next was a dive from Fort Lauderdale on a boat where safety was taken seriously but post-dive fun was part of the experience. “I went from what I call a military operation to a boat whose captain wore a shirt that announced ‘rehab is for quitters.’ ” After the dive they opened a cooler and “we had a great time.”

The stark contrast between the two approaches prompted Bill to tag the first dive experience as one for “good divers,” while the second was for “bad divers.” BadDivers was launched. Fun does not trump safety with BadDivers. “One of our slogans is we’re safe but not so serious.” For BadDivers, there is also a lifestyle component in diving. They encapsulate that into the post-dive experience. “When the dive flag goes down, the BadDivers flag goes up.” BadDivers is not a club in that it doesn’t sign up members. “It’s that feeling, you’re a BadDiver,” says Bill, who likens it to the lifestyle promoted by Jimmy Buffett. The popular singer, songwriter, pilot and businessman glorified escapism to exotic islands and explored that lifestyle island hopping in the Caribbean in his amphibian aircraft. Bill says a lot of people get into diving but all they do is the dive. “It’s a lot of work to be underwater for a half hour . . . They get burned out fast.” He believes in making it a complete experience that also includes travel and sharing a post-dive drink. Also important is interacting with “the people we meet along the way.” He promotes his BadDivers concept through BadDiversTV (, which involves short segments on the internet that he hopes someday will evolve for television. They usually cover some of his favourite dive locations, scuba talk and instructions on preparing various cocktails. He calls them “adult beverages.” “I’m a bar man. I tend bar. I’m either in the ocean or swinging drinks,” says BadDiverBill. “My passions are scuba diving and cocktailing. It’s lots of fun, a never-ending learning process.”

His favourite dive trips include Roatan, Utila and Cayos Cochinos, all Honduran Bay islands. Diving there after dark gives scuba enthusiasts the chance to see ostracods, small aquatic crustaceans whose bioluminescence (the ability to produce and emit light) creates a spectacular show. In mating season they light up to attract a mate, forming what looks like a string of pearls under water. Bill remembers a woman with 2,000 dives to her credit telling him before they descended that if they saw two or three groups together in a string they would be lucky. They were pleasantly surprised. “We floated off the reef and all of a sudden, as far as I could see there was a string of pearls. We were down about 70 feet. If we had enough air we would have stayed down there until the sun came back up.” BadDiverBill was certified as a rescue diver and plans to eventually become a dive master, but has no interest in teaching the sport. “I know instructors who got burned out and I don’t want to do that. I think I’ve found my niche. “We’re not trying to be that serious. We’re hoping to make people laugh. My quest now is to find the most interesting dive spots, dive people and dive bars. And I’d like to dive the fountain at the Bellagio (a Las Vegas hotel).” On a more serious note, Bill says he also wants to do something to protect the ocean. As he puts it, “BadDivers always do something good.”

Kathy Dowsett

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shark Finning – How Municipal Laws in Canada are Saving Sharks & Setting an International Example

Mbour (Senegal)Mbour (Senegal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Ryan Venables


Arguably, for the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve, one of the world’s experts on biodiversity has warned. Additionally, conservation experts have already signaled that the world is in the grip of the ‘sixth great extinction’ of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.

As time passes and we continue to march into the future, it is easy to see that unless more is done to protect vulnerable species, the list of near threatened, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild, and extinct species will continue to grow. Considering Earth’s oceans span approximately 361,419,000 square kilometers or just under 71% of the global surface, I would suggest particular importance should to be given to ensure this resource is protected for the benefit of all who utilize its resources I would further suggest, at the top of the list for protection are the various species of sharks.

Globally, sharks have been under attack for approximately the last 20 years for the value of their fins. Estimates reveal that between 70 and 100 million sharks are killed annually for their fins, which can be valued at up to $300 USD per pound. However, despite the systematic targeting of sharks for their fins, all is not lost. Awareness is being raised, and a global cause to save the sharks, and to protect their fins is growing.

As a result, the focus of this paper will examine many new municipal laws that have recently been enacted which are not only protecting the sharks, but also leading to an outright ban on shark fin products. I would suggest these municipalities are leading a global crusade and are setting an international example on the importance of sharks, and how Earth’s oceans are dependent on sharks as apex predators. I would further suggest Canadian federal laws follow suit and adopt laws which not only outlaw the finning of sharks, but place a wholesale ban on the importation on shark fins. For the purposes of this paper, I will focus on the following issues surrounding shark finning.


Kathy Dowsett
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Zale Perry

Zale Parry is an American pioneer scuba diver, underwater photographer and actress. She lives in Tillamook, Oregon.

Zale started diving in the 1940s as a young girl. She was raised on a Wisconsin lake and learned to swim and love the water at an early age. As a young woman, she became involved in pioneering diving and scientific work. In 1953 she became a tester of underwater equipment for Scientific Underwater Research Enterprises. Later, she and her partner designed, built, and marketed the first civilian hyperbaric chamber for divers. They were evangelists for the purchase of hyperbaric around the world to provide lifesaving facilities for divers suffering from "the bends".

In 1954, Zale set a women's depth record to 209 feet. She is said to have stopped at 209 feet when she reached the bottom. That year, she became the third female instructor to graduate from the L.A. County UICC program.

It was a good year for Zale when later in 1954 Zale made her screen debut in "Kingdom of the Sea", a Jack Douglas Production, which was shown in 70 countries and had a successful run of several years. Because of her work in Kingdom of the Sea, Zale was tapped by the producers of the new show, Sea Hunt. Parry calls Sea Hunt an "underwater western". The good guy, played by Lloyd Bridges, was introduced to an undersea problem or villain at the start of the show. By the end of the half hour, he had resolved the problem. Zale's beauty and her knowledge of the sea and diving made her a natural to join the Sea Hunt show. She was cast without a single screen test. Her role in the series was primarily as a female underwater stunt double, but she did appear as an actress in a few episodes. She also assisted in teaching Mr. Bridges how to use scuba gear prior to the series going into production.

Zale’s acting continued on other shows, including GE Theatre, Wagon Train, Peter Gunn, The Magic Circus, and more. Zale continued as an actor for a number of years including many commercials and as a stunt woman on a wide variety of shows involving underwater scenes.

Most recently, she was in the film Tillamook Treasure in which she played Sam, the owner of a hardware store.

Zale's experience goes beyond diving and acting. She is an accomplished photographer and writer. She has used her organizational skills to bring the beauty of underwater photography to the public. In 1957, Zale co-founded the International Underwater Film Festival that ran for 17 years. In 1960, she became the first elected woman president of the U/W Photographic Society.

She wrote and published a book with the late Albert Tillman, Scuba America Vol. I, the Human History of Sport Diving in America. The book is now also available as an eBook.

She was on the cover of the May 23, 1955 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

Zale received the NOGI Award for Distinguished Service, DEMAs Reaching Out Award, the Women's Scuba Association Scuba Diver of the Year Award, and the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Education Award. In 2001, Zale was made a "Lifetime Ambassador at Large", by The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences. In 2002, she was inducted into the Cayman Island International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and received the Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year Award. Zale has been an ardent supporter of The Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF) since its inception in 1999.

Thanks to Wikipedia

Kathy Dowsett

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't Take Quickie Scuba Dive Courses!

Oxygen toxicity occurs when the lungs take in ...Oxygen toxicity occurs when the lungs take in a higher than normal O 2 partial pressure, which can occur in deep scuba diving. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good Advice Dave Albright::::

There are so many dive shops offering abbreviated Scuba Courses. Don't Do IT. Think about it for just a second.... Does it make sense to try to cram a little knowledge in a short time just so you can get certified to take part in a potentially dangerous sport? The cost is almost the same for a full length course and look at what you get. The attention of a qualified Scuba Instructor for days instead of a few hours. Time in the pool to practice what you are taught and to become proficient in the skills.

This is going to sound funny but time to forget how to do the skill and then reacquire the skill knowledge. Anyone, including a monkey can mimic a skill a few minutes after it is taught. If you have some time in between learning and demonstrating, you will find you actually retain it better.

You will not only have a book to read and take quizzes, you will also have a CD to review the material and most importantly you can ask the instructor questions about anything that is fuzzy. Also, others will ask questions that only make your learning better.

Also, ask yourself 'do you really feel qualified to dive in the ocean with kelp, waves, surf & critters if you only do lake dives in a local lake to become certified? I have heard of divers who become so-called advanced divers who never have been diving anywhere but a local lake. That is not an advanced diver and you have been done a disservice being called one. It does a couple of things

1. Gives you a false confidence.
2. Gives others a false sense of your skills
3. Puts you in danger because you can be exposed to diving above your skill levels.

I have been teaching Scuba Classes since 1984 and they have never been quickie courses but rather the 4 week variety (twice a week sessions) with a full complement of dives at the ocean. The divers I have taught are regularly recognized by dive masters both in Northern & Southern California Dive Boats as superior divers, having skills higher that the 'Advanced Divers' that have only had quickie courses. Also, dive masters at resorts in warm diving areas have often commented on the skill level of my former students. This is not because I am some wonderful instructor, but because the students assemble and dis-assemble gear several times, practice skills until they become second nature and have time to make mistakes and get them corrected in the pool before becoming certified!

It takes time and some effort to become proficient in Scuba. It is not safe to jump in 'over your head' to try and do skills you haven't been properly trained for. Remember, you are only qualified to dive in areas and skill levels similar to your training.

Don't put yourself in life-threatening situations by not being properly trained - take only full length and featured Scuba Classes.

Article Source:

Kathy Dowsett

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Children are smart and they usually figure out long before us parents do that they don't like soccer, basketball or even baseball. Maybe they don't like it because they have figured out they aren't good at it or they physically aren't built for it. If a child doesn't like football, baseball or soccer it will be difficult for them to stay interested in the sport. That's where scuba diving comes in to play.

Scuba diving levels the playing field literally and physically. When scuba diving the diver is horizontal, making us all the same height, leveling the playing field dramatically. Some of the physical attributes that are advantages on solid ground are not necessarily advantages underwater. For example a tall person doesn't have an advantage over a short person. In fact, in many cases the smaller scuba divers air supply lasts longer, therefore giving the smaller diver the advantage of staying underwater longer known as bottom time. A longer bottom time is the desire of all scuba divers. But it can work both ways. I heard a famous retired NFL defensive lineman say that at an early age it was obvious that his daughter was going to be too tall to be a gymnast so they got her into swimming sports. It isn't scuba diving but it's an example of how underwater adventures can level the playing field.

Imagine the confidence scuba diving could have in your children's life, the pride they could have in saying "I am a scuba diver". The fact that they are doing something the other kids in class aren't doing. More importantly think of the bonding experience you and your children will have scuba diving together compared to dad and mom standing on the side line watching. There is nothing wrong with watching your children playing sports, but why watch when you could be having the time of your life while building your children's confidence. The confidence children build in themselves will serve them well later in life when difficult situations arise. They will have the confidence to face the situation with assurance that they will succeed. People who scuba dive together refer to each other as dive buddies. The term dive buddies is given through earned trust. For parents and children to refer to each other as dive buddies means there is a trust between them, a trust that children will remember when they have difficult decisions to make in the future.

Start building your children's confidence and enjoy underwater adventures together now. More importantly start your bonding experience with them and making memories that will last forever. Sharing underwater adventures opens a line of communication with children that will last a lifetime.

Article Source:

Kathy Dowsett

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nitrox Scuba Diving: Extending Bottom Time With Scuba

Scuba diving in Elba island, ItalyScuba diving in Elba island, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You jump on a plane with your scuba diving buddies and head out of the country. Though hopping onto a rocking boat isn't what you came here for, the boat will get you to the dive spot. Finally, you make the plunge into the deep blue and you start to think "this is what makes it all worth it". Aggressively you swim from the top of the coral reef to the bottom and back to the top just trying to see in every nick and cranny. Then all of a sudden you realize your dive is done with plenty of air in your tank!

How can that be? This is because of the no decompression limits. It happens to all of us scuba divers. This is the interval that a diver may theoretically spend at a given depth without having to perform decompression stops. The no decompression limits helps divers plan dives so that they can stay at a given depth and ascend without stopping while avoiding significant risk of decompression sickness.

In 1985, Dick Rutkowski, started to introduce enriched air nitrox to the recreational diving community. This was a major movement that did not see any impact in the industry until the late 1990's. Even then training organizations, instructors and other divers in the community fought nitrox from becoming mainstream.

Nitrox reduces the proportions of nitrogen by increasing the proportion of oxygen, reducing the risk of decompression sickness for the same dive profile, or allows extended dive times without increasing the need for decompression stops for the same risk. In turn, nitrox allows us to stay longer and decreases our minimum surfaces.

Note: nitrox is not necessarily safer than air, although it can extend our bottom time and decrease surface intervals. Nitrox also has a risk of oxygen toxicity and if used incorrectly underwater you can increase the risk of convulsions due to the higher proportion of oxygen. This is why it is important to seek professional training and certification.

It's just like driving a car. Once you know the risk, and how do it properly, it can be very safe. Nitrox diving is the same. Once you learn and understand the risks you become a safer diver.

As a reward for becoming a safer diver, you can have the ability to stay longer underwater scuba diving and spend less time out of the water during a surface interval. Now go dive with nitrox!

Butch Zemar "Scuba Butch" is a scuba instructor that has been diving for over 15 years with well over 2,000 dives. He teaches entry level divers as well as instructors at a heated pool in Chicago. Trainers from around the nation come to train in Chicago, so why not train with the best? "Scuba is a romance and entertainment business. We increase communication and relationships through the enjoyment of recreational activities. Visit

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Article Source:

Kathy Dowsett

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