Relaxing but not Dull

This past weekend we were able to get in some good diving despite a typhoon earlier in the week.  We went to the east coast early on Saturday morning (compared to our normal Friday night late night trip to the coast) and were lucky to hit zero traffic.

Namae037We arrived fairly early and were met once again by the friendly staff of Namae Dive Resort and some fellow Korean divers.  This weekend would prove to be an exciting one for sure.  We would be testing some minor tweaks to our Hollis SMS75 sidemount BCD (the addition of the SMS100/SMS75 back weight system).

The back mounted weight pockets (6 pockets in a semi rigid cloth plate) made trim absolutely perfect for the SMS75.  These 2 items should be purchased together by anyone who plans to dive the SMS75 with aluminum tanks or in the ocean.  Hands down perfect trim and extremely comfortable.

We Love Diving!Despite not speaking Korean there is always a common bond that is shared between everyone as the preparations for the dive are underway.  Getting tanks, analyzing gasses, going over equipment checks and pre-dive buddy checks…no matter what language or what training organization they are all very similar processes.  This means that we can easily communicate with having to speak.

Once on the boat we were all ready to get into the water, for some this would be their first dive in South Korea, definitely an exciting time.  As we descend and tweak our equipment we are once again reminded why we love this hobby so much; for me it is the self awareness and relative quiet that this sport offers.

Namae002After 3 fun dives on Saturday (ending the day with a great sunset dive) we were ready to clean gear and BBQ some burgers and roast some potatoes.  Once our bellies were full we headed off to bed for an early morning dive (these are always the best dives of the day on the East Coast).

Sunday morning came early and we started the day off with a nice sunrise and a side of Bacon, Eggs, cheese and English Muffin.  Now that we had some fuel for the day we were able prepare our gear for our dive and get in the water.  One of the best dives at Namae (at recreational depths) are the steel structures (Dive site Red #1).  There are 3 large steel structures underwater that are connected via thick line so divers can easily navigate from one to the other.  What a great way to end the dive weekend.  The only thing that made the trip better was not hitting any traffic on the way
home.

New PADI Divers

38th Parallel Divers at NamaeIt was an early start for all of us on Saturday morning and all met up at Gangneung bus terminal from where we departed to Namae Dive resort. It was a hectic busy day with more scuba divers in Namae than locals. Things were very busy and chaotic and before long Krystal and Peter were off to their first open water dive. Between all the chaos and busy bees we could not have had a better time with model students Krystal and Peter.  We ran through all the skills like they were scuba diving for years. They rarely made any mistakes and had no problem with any of the skills. Water conditions were fantastic with an average visibility on Saturday of 12m and water temperature of 23 degrees Celsius.

We rocked out 3 dives on Saturday and then headed for our accommodation at Program Motel and to drop our bags and then headed straight to Gangneung for dinner. We feasted on some Pork BBQ with a variety of delicious side dishes then headed for a Mango Bingsoo at Mango six just to round off the whole night and make it complete. After returning back to Program motel both students only needed to do the final test which went very well and all passed out. Sunday morning greeted us with a delicious breakfast that Sora made for us followed by the final dive of the students which went excellent as ought to be. It was a great weekend spent with some really nice people at a really nice place. Hope to dive with you guys again and welcome to the PADI scuba diver community.

New Students

preparing for mask clearing

preparing for mask clearing

Yesterday we had the privilege of working with two new divers and helping to refresh another diver’s skills.  Carel worked late into the night making sure the divers had all their knowledge reviews and quizzes completed the night prior.  Saturday morning we all met that the Suwon World Cup Pool, I had the pleasure of meeting Ian, Crystal and Peter.  Since we were early we all took the time to introduce ourselves and get to know each other.  We went over what the students could expect from the day as well as what would happen at the ocean during training.

As we were checking in with the pool staff we met a friend of ours (the pool manager) who recently finished his PRISM2 training!  We were ecstatic to hear that there we new PRISM2 divers in the area because up until now there was hardly any PRISM2 divers in the area.  He was kind enough to open up their shop and show us all the new PRISM2’s!!  It was great to see the new electronics, new Petrel and new HUD on the unit.

Although the day was long everyone had a great time and really learned a lot.  Each diver drastically improved from their first descent.  At the end of the day we were able to have some fun and play underwater basketball and swim through some hoops.  Being at the Suwon pool sure makes for some fun diving due to 5m depths and a large area to swim around.  Thanks again Ian, Crystal and Peter, we look forward to seeing you at the ocean and welcome you to our diving club!!

2014 Labor Day Weekend Dive Trip

This weekend we took advantage of the 3 day weekend that most of us had and we headed to the East Coast for some fun diving and training.  Our newest instructors (George, Larry and Mike) had multiple students and certifications to conduct.  We had Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Deep Diver Specialty, Peak Performance Specialty and the AWARE Specialty.  This was definitely a great way to kick off our first weekend training event post-IDC.  We also linked up with some fun divers and students from Aquatic Frontier’s group who got some of our swag.  Thanks guys!  It was great diving with all of you as well.

Mike cooking the bacon for the egg, cheese, bacon sandwichesWe started Saturday morning off by cooking our divers breakfast making sure to feed the grumbling stomachs and fuel the divers for a busy day.  We broke out our cast iron skillet and our Korean portable stove and went to town on some thick cut bacon and eggs… and even some turkey bacon for those health focused people out there.  With bellies fed we started into our dive shop orientation and dive briefings for the skills.Sunrise on the Korean East Coast

Saturday we had excellent warmth and visibility.  Saturday finished up Michael’s Peak Performance Buoyancy and half of Mandy’s Advanced Open Water (AOW) and JuJu’s Open Water (OW) courses respectively.  Our students had such a great day we were honored with requests to add additional specialties to their trip.  Sunday finished up Mandy’s AOW, JuJu’s OW and all but one dive of Michael’s Deep Diver specialty.

Sunday evening after diving we headed into Sacheon beach for some great Pat Bing Su (Red Bean Shaved Ice with fruit and ice cream) and coffee’s.  After that nice treat we headed back to the dive shop to start the grill to grill up some cheese burgers and some adult beverages. We finished up an AWARE Specialty at dinner time too.  After we were fed and ready to head to bed we met up with some new instructors form the recent (finished that day) graduates of the Korea IDC/IE.  We went over to congratulate them and they invited us to have some food and drinks with them.  It was a great night to sit around the table with people from all over the world and share this love of diving.  Congrats new instructors and thank-you for sharing!

Mike and Larry before the Deep DiveMonday morning came early…we had one last dive to conduct for our Deep Diver Specialty, a 30M dive!  We woke up around 7am to fire up the stove and get some food on the skillet (eggs, bacon and hashbrowns). Now that we were fed it was time to gear up to dive briefings and pre-dive checks.  Once again we had some great visibility and warm waters this time we had a strong current.  For this dive we had all the new instructors, the shop owners, most of the shop workers and even the Course Director go with us.  We had a great dive, it was awesome getting a chance to dive with everyone that always makes sure we have great trips…the crew at Namae Dive Shop is amazing!  With that dive complete our final student of the weekend finished his Deep Diver Specialty…congrats Michael!  You did some great diving this weekend, it is great to see the improvement you have made since our first Scuba Tune-up session, stay wet.Seorak Mountain View

Since we were traveling back on a Monday versus a Sunday we decided to take the scenic route back.  We drove through Seorak Mountains and were able to take our time and enjoy the beautiful weather.  What an amazing weekend.  Thanks again to all of our students that we had as well as the new friends we met from Aquatic Frontier’s group.  Hope to see everyone in the water soon!

Most people think that Labor day (beginning of September) signifies the end of the summer…for us (38th Parallel Divers) this marks the beginning of the best diving in Korea.  From now thru November-December the water is warmer than any other time of the year.  The ocean is generally more clear and better weather.  So come join us…check out our Facebook Event page for more details.  We have an Open Water course starting shortly (confined water 13-14 Sept / Ocean 20-21 Sept) AND an Advanced Open Water / Specialty Diving weekend 27-28 September.

Video for Aquatic Frontier


Diving was cancelled on the east coast due to “poor weather” so we came back last night. We decided to help out our friends over at Aquatic Frontier and make use of some down time. We linked up with them at the Camp Hovey Pool in Area 1. They were conducting Confined Water training for some new scuba divers and they also had skills demonstrations for Divemaster Candidates.

Aquatic Frontier has come a long way since we took our first course with them a few years ago; since then they have expanded services from Recreational only to now offering Technical Diving (PADI DSAT TecRec 40, 45 and 50) as well as Assistant Instructor courses and setting up Instructor Courses (IDCs) and arranging for Instructor Exams (IEs). They also recently acquired the Busan Aquarium Shark Diving from Scuba in Korea.

We were glad to help them out and showcase them in action.