Formula H2O – Quest for Atocha Gold

Nov 1
Posted by Sarah Filed in H2O

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 wreckracingleague.com 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 natalie@wreckracingleague.com.

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Formula H2O race Key Largo

Sep 27
Posted by Sarah Filed in H2O

 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 wreckracingleague.com 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 wreckracingleague.com for contest rules including, formatting, uploading, and voting.

Please visit the race website at wreckracingleague.com 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 natalie@wreckracingleague.com.

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Video from the Formula H20 Race

Aug 26
Posted by Sarah Filed in David Ulloa, destinations, H2O

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….

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Headed to Ft. Lauderdale

Aug 18
Posted by sarah Filed in David Ulloa, destinations, H2O

I’m headed to the Formula H2O Gold Coast Underwater Grand Prix

formulaH2OI am so excited. Yesterday after blogging, David and I were talking, and he asked why I didn’t just come down to Ft. Lauderdale for the weekend and film the event?

So, I got to thinking. I haven’t done any diving this year and I was starting to get pouty about it. This was my big opportunity to do some diving, do some filming and have a great weekend hanging out with David. Who I am sure is going to win this weekend!

So, I went home and talked to Matt, my other half, and he said I should go. So, by then end of the night, I had plane tickets, hotel and diving booked!2010 racing

I am so looking forward to this weekend. I’m hopping a flight down on Friday morning, then I’m staying at the official host hotel, The Ocean Point Beach Resort, which is right on Pompano Beach. They hooked up the Wreck Racing League with super sweet discount rates. I can’t wait to wake up in the mornings looking out at the ocean!

The race will be taking place on The Tracey. South Florida Diving is the official dive shop for the event, and diving both days, including getting to demo the scooters is only $110. The first dive we’ll get to watch the practice and do demo’s, even get to try the course if we want. The second dive is a drift dive. On Sunday, we’ll get to watch the race from the Tracey, and then explore the wreck. The second dive is a drift dive on a nearby reef.

Sunday afternoon they’ll have the awards ceremony. I’ll get one more sleep in paradise before heading back to work on Monday….

There’s still time to book your trip to the event. The Ocean Point Beach Resort still has rooms available and I’m pretty sure you can still make it out to see the race. It might be last minute, but life is more fun when you add a little spontaneity!

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David is racing to help sharks

Aug 17
Posted by sarah Filed in conservation, David Ulloa

Formula H2O Racing

david_whisperer David Ulloa will be competing as Team Shark Whisperer in the 2010 Gold Coast Underwater Grand Prix on August 20th – 22nd. Formula H2O racing is an action packed sport which combines underwater scooters and scuba diving racing on artificial reefs. David’s big passion in life is saving sharks. Check out David’s FB fan page, where he says: I’ll be racing in as many races worldwide as I can to promote shark conservation and raise awareness to the issues that the sharks are currently facing and posting pics from those races in this album. As team Shark Whisperer, I will be racing for and working with Shark Savers and the JR Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami. http://www.sharksavers.org/ http://www.rjd.miami.edu/ I’m very proud to say that our team sponsors are Submerge Scooters, Gates Housings and Triton’s Lens. I’m super excited for David and I hope he kicks ass. It sounds like awesome fun and a great cause. What better way to combine your passion for scuba diving and shark conservation. Go David!

Check out the Wreck Racing League for more info on underwater racing or to get involved.

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Bay Area Dive Show

Apr 26
Posted by Sarah Filed in Dive Show, Diver Education
<div class=\"postavatar\">Bay Area Dive Show</div>

This weekend for all of you in California is the Bay Area Dive Show.

I wish we could make it out to California. The Bay Area Dive Show is run by the same folks who run the Texas Dive Show. It should be a great weekend. We saw some fantastic vendors in Dallas. The Bay Area Dive Show is in Santa Clara, and should be awesome. My favourite artist, Pascal Lecocq is going to to be there with his art work. My other San Antonio local friends and fellow expats, About Australia Diving will also be there. Make sure you stop by and say G’day for me.

The Bay Area Dive Show is a great way to go out and meet some other dive industry professionals face to face, learn about some dive resorts that you might want to visit, and check out some of the new scuba equipment on the market.

If you’re near Santa Clara this weekend, head on over and check out the Bay Area Dive Show. It should be a blast.

April 30 & May 1, 2010
Santa Clara Convention Center
Exhibit Hours: Friday from 5 PM til 8 PM Saturday from 9 AM til 5 PM

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Earth Day

Apr 22
Posted by Sarah Filed in Diver Education, Forum
<div class=\"postavatar\">Earth Day</div>

It’s Earth Day today! While it’s rainy in San Antonio, I wish I could be out enjoying Earth Day by doing some diving somewhere pretty, enjoying all that Mother Nature has to offer us.

Make sure you think about the Earth today. Go recylce something, pick up some trash, or educate a friend about the largest part of Earth, the Oceans. If we mess them up, we mess up the whole planet.

Don’t forget to use the forums and discuss what you’re doing today for Earth Day.

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Underwater Advisor

Feb 23
Posted by Sarah Filed in Uncategorized

One of the interesting people we met at the Texas Dive Show was UnderwaterAdvisor.com They are an online Scuba Directory where you can go to find out all about different dive shops, resorts, equipment and almost anything you can think of Scuba related.

underwateradvisor

While there are sites out there like Travelocity which give reviews on resorts, they don’t go into the specific Scuba detail that Underwater Advisor does. They’ll let you know what kind of air they provide, what size tanks, if breakfast is served early enough to eat before heading out to the boat and if there’s a deco chamber nearby.

People can post reviews on their local dive shop, letting you know if the staff is smart and helpful or just trying to get a bigger commission. They also list local instructors, manufacturers and the list is going.

I think it’s a great idea and a useful tool. I know I’ll be using them from now on!

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Texas Dive Show

Jan 26
Posted by Sarah Filed in Uncategorized
<div class=\"postavatar\">Texas Dive Show</div>

The Texas Dive Show is only a couple of weeks away now. This year they’re having the event up in Dallas.

So far over 600 divers have already registered to attend. There’s a bunch of interesting people exhibiting this year. Everything from my friends and fellow expats at About Australia who will be showcasing all the great Scuba Diving  in Australia to Cochran Computers and Single Divers. There should be everything from Individual Dive Shops, Scuba Gear and Scuba Resorts represented.

I can’t wait to go up to the Texas Dive Show. It’s on Valentine’s weekend, so it’s a good excuse to get out of town. If you’re anywhere within a few hours drive, come on over. We’ll be driving up from San Antonio.  Maybe I’ll see you there!

The Texas Dive Show is being held at the

Embassy Suites Dallas – Frisco
February Friday the 12th & Saturday the 13th
Show Hours Friday 5 PM til 8 PM
Saturday from 9 AM til 5 PM

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Diver Down or Signal Flag Alpha?

Jan 16
Posted by Sarah Filed in destinations, Diver Education
<div class=\"postavatar\">Diver Down or Signal Flag Alpha?</div>

Since I’m headed to Australia soon, I was thinking about the differences in Diving between the US and Australia. The biggest difference, is probably in the Flags used by divers. I always thought most people recognized the Red and White Diver Down flag. However, after doing a shore dive off Magnetic Island on one of my trips home, where some British Backpackers tried to kill me with their jetski by doing doughnuts around our dive flag, I worked out that perhaps it wasn’t as universal as I thought.

Alpha Dive Flag

Signal Flag Alpha

Diver Down Flag

Diver Down Flag

Turns out in countries like Australia, the Signal Flag Alpha is the more recognized flag. At least out in the open water. It’s a Universal Maritime flag that means that a vessel has limited maneuverability due to a diver in the water.  Of course, this probably doesn’t help a couple of British backpackers who have rented a jetski for the day. They probably wouldn’t have recognized either flag, since all one needs to rent a jetski is a land drivers license. Maybe when operators rent Jetskis, they  should be required to inform renters of Dive flags, to avoid potential accidents. Next time you go diving, check out which flags are being used locally. Even in Australia, it seems Dive Operators that cater to International Tourists use the Diver Down flag. It’s on their shop window, on their T-shirts, painted on their boats. But they may still fly the Signal Flag Alpha while out diving. In the US, most people only use the Diver Down flag.

There’s nothing that says you can’t use both. So next time you’re out diving, feel free to use both flags. Then, whether you’re dealing with locals or tourists, hopefully they’ll recognize one of them, and steer clear of you.

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