random stuff

Underwater photo shoot

Free Diving models underwater

I came across this on my FB feed, and wanted to share it. It’s not just an amazing underwater photo shoot, but the photographer has some important life lessons as well. Watch the short video at the bottom of the page.

The shots are amazing. Congratulations to all involved.

Check out Benjamin Von Wong’s shoot here.


Rigs to Reefs

Oil rigs aren’t all bad.

Unfortunately, when most of us think of oil rigs in the ocean, we think of the BP oil spill. That was a tragedy, but oil rigs aren’t all bad.

There’s a half hour video on a website for the Gulf of Mexico foundation showing some of the good things that come from the oil rigs. This video was made possible with a grant from Shell, but they’re up front about it. There’s lots of diving offshore in Texas thanks to the Flower Gardens, the Texas Clipper and all the oil rigs.

Above the water

Below the surface
Diver Education random stuff

Careful what you pick up while diving

Millions of unexploded bombs lie in waters off US coast.

Just found an interesting article on Fox News about millions of unexploded bombs off the US Coast. Apparently Texas has the most close to shore, then Louisiana. Considering there’s quite a few places to go diving off Texas, including the Flower Gardens and the oil rigs, it’s good to know that there is some strange and potentially dangerous stuff out there.

So next time you’re out diving and see something interesting on the sea floor, be careful before you pick it up as a souvenir. It may be a bomb….

Here’s the article:

David Ulloa H2O Uncategorized

Underwater Art Exhibit

Underwater Art Exhibit on the Vandenburg

I walked outside this morning and it looked like rain, which is rare for Texas right now, so I went inside to check and I saw on their homepage a scuba video!

It was an underwater art exhibit on the Vandenburg, which was the ship that David had helped to sink as part of an artificial reef in the Florida Keys a couple years ago. Sorry, you’ll have to sit through their commercial first…

It’s great to see the artificial reef getting so much use. Besides these art exhibits, the Wreck Racing League uses the Vandenburg as one of its ships to race on with Formula H2O.

David Ulloa destinations H2O

2011 Race Schedule for Formula H2O

Formula H2O 2011 Schedule.

Here’s a great B’day present to me from David, the 2011 Formula H2O racing schedule.

I was just thinking it’s getting nice and warm and it’s time to do some diving… This year, the races won’t just include wrecks in Florida. There’s a race in Rome, Italy. I wonder if I have enough FF points to attend that one?

So, start putting the dates in your calendar and see if you can come to one of the races.

  • May 20th, 21st, 22nd – Vandenberg Underwater Grand Prix – Key West, FL
  • June 4th, 5th – Rome, Italy
  • June 24th, 25th, 26th – Fort Myers, FL
  • July 22nd, 23rd, 24th – Gold Coast Underwater Grand Prix – Pompano Beach- Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • August 19th, 20th, 21th – Wes Skiles Memorial Shoot Out – Key Largo, FL
  • October 14th, 15th, 16th- Quest for Atocha Gold – Key West, FL

Formula H2O – Quest for Atocha Gold

Formula H2O comes back to Key West. 

 The Wreck Racing League and the new action-packed sport of Formula H2O racing is coming back to Key West, FL November 12th-14th 2010, this time adding a historical twist. Racers will compete in the Florida Keys Community College Lagoon racing around the remains of one of the world’s most famous shipwrecks, the Nuestra Senora de Atocha.  This race, dubbed the Quest for Atocha Gold, will be the final event of the 2010 Formula H2O Racing circuit. Visit for more information.

 The timbers of the doomed Spanish treasure galleon Atocha were raised from the sea bottom after 364 years under water and placed in the lagoon of the Florida Keys Community College. The ship sank in a hurricane in September 1622 and was discovered by Mel Fisher and his crew in 1985. Over $550 million dollars in treasure has been rescued from the ocean by the Mel Fisher crew. In 1986 the timbers were donated by Fisher`s Treasure Salvors Inc. to the Florida Keys Community College for a marine archaeology program.

Working with sponsors Mel Fisher’s Treasures, the Florida Keys Community College, The Hidden Treasure, and Indian Valley Scuba, the Wreck Racing League will kick off this three day event with the Racer’s meeting Friday, November 12th at 7:00 PM at the Ibis Bay Resort. On Saturday, November 13th, in addition to demo and practice day, the Wreck Racing League will be holding a DPV certification class in the FKCC Lagoon. Indian Valley Scuba will offer this $200 certification to all certified divers for $30. Beginning with this race, The Wreck Racing League will mandate DPV certification for all racers. Certification will take one hour followed by race practice and manufacturer demos.  

The Quest for Atocha Gold is gearing up to be the largest, most publicized Formula H2O event of the season. Come join the Wreck Racing League and their sponsors for a season close out that will leave racers anticipating the start of the 2011 circuit. Worldwide race dates are already being scheduled.

The official Wreck Racing League headquarters for the Quest for Atocha Gold race is the Ibis Bay Resort in Key West. Reference the “Wreck Racing League” when making reservations for a special rate.

All interested DPV manufacturers or distributors, as well as anyone interested in competing or participating in this event, should contact Director of Marketing, Natalie Oriente at (239) 464-5932 or


Formula H2O race Key Largo

 On October 1-3, 2010 scuba divers will compete in underwater races around the Benwood artificial reef in Key Largo, FL. The Wes Skiles Memorial Shootout will be the 3rd stop on the 2010 Formula H2O racing circuit and will honor diving innovator and underwater photographer Wes Skiles. Brought to you by the Wreck Racing League, Formula H2O racing is the new action packed, underwater sport featuring divers racing around the superstructure of artificial reefs using Diver Propulsion Vehicles (DPV), or scooters. Visit the Wreck Racing League website for registration.

This three day event kicks off at Shipwrecks in Key Largo, FL on Friday October 1st with the Racer’s meeting at 7:00 PM. Join the Wreck Racing League to learn about the race including rules and regulations, race course, and photo contest. The Marina Del Mar hotel will serve as the Wreck Racing League’s headquarters for the Wes Skiles Memorial Shootout and is offering special discounts for race participants until September 28th, 2010. Visit for booking information.

On Saturday, October 2nd at 9:00 AM racers and the general public will have the opportunity to attend a scooter and DPV demo event at the Marina Del Mar. Following the demo, boats will depart from Atlantis Dive Center in Key Largo for race practice and scooter test drives. Contact Spencer Slate at Atlantis Dive Center for charter information.

On Sunday, October 3rd, Formula H2O racers will compete in the Wes Skiles Memorial Shootout at the Benwood wreck site. Award ceremony to follow, location TBA. Race participation and test drives are open to anyone over the age of 18. Spectators of all ages are welcome at all events to cheer on the racers.

To honor Wes Skiles and his passion for underwater photography the Wreck Racing League and Formula H2O presents a photo and video contest to challenge and inspire underwater photographers. See for contest rules including, formatting, uploading, and voting.

Please visit the race website at for registration and more information. All interested DPV manufacturers or distributors, as well as anyone interested in competing or participating in this event, should contact Natalie Oriente at (239) 464-5932 or

David Ulloa destinations H2O

Video from the Formula H20 Race

More video from Ft Lauderdale and the Underwater Grand Prix

I’ve finally editing together Day 1, the practice day for the Formula H20 Underwater Grand Prix in Ft Lauderdale, Fl.

We got up really early and headed out to the boat. The great thing about the Tracy is it’s only a short ride out and you can get a beautiful view of the Florida coastline from the boat.

Everyone hit the water, so they could get acquainted with the wreck, check out the course and of course, to have some fun.  I haven’t been diving in over a year, so I’m going down just to get used to the water again…

After the initial dive in 70ft of water, we headed off to do a shallow dive on the wreck of the Copenhagen. Here, everyone just played around, checking out the fish, playing with the scooters and got some great fun underwater photography in. At this point I was so relaxed, I thought if I saw a shark, I might be ok with it. Just then, a see something grey and graceful in the distance…. Then, I realize it’s one of the freedivers. They are so beautiful to watch in the water. They just glide along, no scuba gear to weigh them down. I was amazed at how they just played underwater, almost like seals.

After the race, everyone headed back to the hotel, where they had a meeting to discuss the logistics of the actual race. Everyone gave their thoughts and experiences of the practice race and how it could be improved for the following day.

There was going to be a lot of people in the water. About 20 racers, plus a plethora of camera people. There was also going to be a bunch of spectators and there was a big concern about diver safety and making sure nobody got hurt.

After everyone was done, Dean Vitale and David Ulloa played it up to the cameras for a Discovery Channel Canada film crew who were doing a piece on the race. Everyone was pretty exhausted by this stage, so most people headed off to relax.

I had never been to Ft Lauderdale before and I wanted to see what was out there, so I recruited Natalie Weatherby, who’s with the Wreck Racing League and David Valaika, who’s the President of the International Association of Handicapped Divers to head out to dinner. As we headed south on A1A, it started pouring down rain. There was non stop lightning and the roads were covered in water. But hey, we’re divers, we’re used to water. So we hit up Shooters, which had a nice outdoor patio and we enjoyed some down time. We couldn’t stay out too late though, we had to be up and at the boat by 7am….

David Ulloa destinations H2O

David explaining Formula H2O

Just in case you’re still wondering what underwater racing is…

David Ulloa and I had just surfaced from the practice race around the wreck of the Tracy, off the coast of Ft Lauderdale, Florida. I got him to explain what Formula H2O is, and why he’s participating.

David Ulloa destinations H2O

David Ulloa won the 2010 Gold Coast Underwater Grand Prix

Congratulations David!david_belt

I came down to Ft Lauderdale to do some scuba diving and watch the second race in the Wreck Racing League, the 2010 Gold Coast Underwater Grand Prix in Pompano Beach, Florida.
David Ulloa, also know as the Shark Whisperer won first place in the expedition class.

I’m headed back to Texas tomorrow and I’ll start uploading video!