Monday, June 23, 2014

Wanted :: Adventurers and Explorers for Shipwreck School

Shipwreck School Graduates its First Class

World renowned side scan sonar expert, Garry Kozak recently completed the first “Side Scan Sonar Operators Course” this past May for Shipwreck School. The Five participants received 3 days of comprehensive training on the school’s new EdgeTech model 4125 Dual Frequency Side Scan Sonar System. The course consisted of 8 hours of classroom and 8 hours of hands on sea time over a 3 day weekend. Shipwreck Schools offers professional training courses anywhere in the world on various side scan sonar systems, marine magnetometers, ROV’s and more?

Have you ever watched the Jacque Cousteau TV Specials or any number of shipwreck TV documentaries about searching for shipwrecks on the Discovery or the History Channel? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a part of one and actually get to experience one of the last greatest adventures on earth?

Welcome to Shipwreck School!

The idea for this venture was born out of a desire to offer an opportunity where one could learn about shipwrecks, including exploration methodology, hands-on training, historical significance, current political climate surrounding shipwreck exploration, and the list goes on. Furthermore, the vision for the school has always been to be a place open and of interest to both scuba divers and non-divers alike. Finally, the ultimate goal of the school is to promote and foster private exploration of shipwrecks. To date, it seems there is no other institution in the world specializing in shipwreck education.

Shipwreck School has been designed to offer information and instruction to people anywhere in the world. It offers a unique opportunity in the form of a diverse selection of courses and seminars designed to train, educate and inform. Given that the topic of shipwreck exploration is so broad and diverse and can be both complicated and controversial, Shipwreck School offers a balanced and well-rounded approach. It achieves this by offering training from a variety of perspectives, including that of marine archaeologists, seasoned explorers, and exploration technology gurus. What’s more, instructors at “Shipwreck School” are well-equipped to provide training based on experience versus opinion or policy. In fact, each one is a respected professional in their respective fields and has a minimum of a thousand hours or more of actual “field experience”.

Shipwreck School is pioneering new and unique, yet convenient and ultra flexible Seminars and Courses ranging from a basic entry level “Shipwreck Hunting” seminar to a 3 day hands on “Side Scan Sonar Operator” course.

Terry Dwyer

An adventurer, entrepreneur, wreck diver and explorer who has been studying shipwrecks for the past 35 years. He published his first book; Wreck Hunter – The Quest for Lost Shipwrecks in 2005. That book went to a second printing in 2008 and he is currently working on volume two, Wreck Hunter 2– The Adventure Continues, which is due out this Fall. Terry has authored and published numerous articles on scuba tourism, shipwrecks, shipwreck diving and exploration in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on shipwrecks in Eastern Canada. His fascinating presentations include information about scuba diving, scuba tourism, shipwreck hunting, and shipwreck projects that he has worked on in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland over the past 35 years. Terry is the primary host and coordinator for Shipwreck School and will organize, schedule and coordinate the courses, seminars and expeditions. To learn more about Terry, please visit his website:

Kathy Dowsett

Friday, June 20, 2014

Recognition is Essential

Reprinted from AlertDiverOnline

The Diver

The diver was an experienced 48-year-old female with more than 300 lifetime dives. Her medical history included hypertension that was well controlled with a single medication. She also took a prescription drug to manage her cholesterol. Her general health and fitness were otherwise good.

The Dives

The diver was on a trip at a popular Caribbean island. The first four days of diving consisted of two morning dives each day. None of these dives was deeper than 80 feet, and all bottom times were within her computer's no-decompression limits. Her second dive each day was to 60 feet or shallower, and she breathed air on all the dives. On the fifth day, her first dive was a multilevel one to a maximum depth of 85 feet for a total time of 40 minutes. The dive was uneventful, and she exited the water at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Within five minutes of surfacing, the diver began to feel slightly short of breath while she was removing her equipment. This was followed by soreness in her middle and upper back. As she was moving her equipment she noticed reduced strength in her right arm. Almost simultaneously both of her feet began to tingle, and the sensation progressed up both legs to her waist. Fatigue accompanied all these symptoms.

She reported the situation to the dive boat crew. They did not act alarmed and suggested that oxygen was not necessary because the reported weakness in her right arm resolved on its own within 15 minutes. The diver chose not to participate in a second dive. The other divers were in the water for an hour. During that time her symptoms seemed to resolve, except for the tingling in her feet.


Kathy Dowsett

Picture is From Stephen Frink

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mixing sun, sand, sailing, scuba helps travel agent serve divers

As a travel agent and a diver with about 10,000 dives under his belt, Bryan Cunningham knows the scuba travel business well. But he also knows it is an industry that is changing all the time.

Dive shops change. The condition of their dive boats can change. So do dive sites. That's why Bryan will leave his desk at Travelpath in Burlington, Ontario and relocate to the Caribbean. "I already know quite a few -- probably 40 different dive operators in the Caribbean," he says. "But things change all the time. You have to keep up to date."

In late June he will leave Hamilton, Ontario, in his Grampian 30 sailboat and begin his relocation trip to the Caribbean and its rich assortment of quality dive sites. He plans to settle in Antigua (in the Eastern Caribbean), where his ex wife and daughter live.

"I will island hop around the Caribbean and visit dive shops, which increases my knowledge (of good options for his scuba travel customers). Most the islands are no more than 60 miles apart."

He will continue to book the dive trips through Travelpath, but his "office" will be his sailboat.

His decision to buy the sailboat was based on both frugality and safety. The cost of diesel fuel to power a boat to Antigua is prohibitive. He can save a lot of money by sailing in the open seas, while using the engine to get in and out of ports. Rough seas can come up quickly in the Caribbean and the sailboat handles it better than power boats. The fact that the Grampian has a four-foot keel and a three-foot centre board that can protrude below the keel, also helps.
"It's a nice lifestyle. Your expenses are minimal.," Bryan says of life on a boat in the Caribbean.

But the bottom line is the opportunity to better serve his customers, not only from his knowledge of dive boats and dive sites but also of the quality of hotels where they will stay. He says most dive operators offer a commission to him as travel agent but he will pass that on to his customers as a discount, giving them a cheaper diving option if they book their hotels and flights through Travelpath.

"We will put them in the right hotels for diving," he says, adding that in booking through an Ontario company such as Travelpath, customers are protected by the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).

Geographically, the area he envisions serving runs from the Bahamas down the eastern Caribbean to the ABC Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. The advantage of this trio of islands is that they are below the hurricane belt. The last major hurricane to directly hit Aruba was in 1877. He also offers trips to other destinations worldwide.

NB:::::Bryan will keep kirkscubagear updated on his travels when he can. Watch for further articles on his trip.

Kathy Dowsett