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Toni-Ann from Lodi NJ | Scuba Diver


I’ve always been afraid of the ocean and the things that can eat me! My husband and the Sand Dollar dive shop representative, Manuel, at Wyndham Cozumel Resort & Spa finally talked me into trying Discover Scuba on our vacation in April 2009. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

My husband and I completed our PADI Open Water Certification with Blue Water Divers in Rochelle Park, NJ. We did our four open water dives at Dutch Springs on 6/13 & 6/14.

I am currently struggling with controlling my buoyancy with my breathing. I have a hard time, even on land, to take deep slow breaths. While on dive #3 on my certification weekend at Dutch Springs, I had 2lbs less than my previous 2 dives and I was able to maintain a neutral buoyancy while completing my underwater navigation skill, but when swimming into shallower water near the fire truck attraction, i was unable to control my buoyancy because i did not have enough weight on and I had air trapped in my BC and i accidentally ascended. My group did not notice right away so I ended up getting separated from them for at least fifteen minutes and then reunited on the surface after a long surface swim. I guess I’ll have to practice adjusting my neutral buoyancy with my breathing more than with adjusting my weights.

While completing my mask removal skill, i accidentally breathed in through my nose and started choking. I was unable to recover by coughing so I ascended in a panic from just under 30 feet. After calming down, I tried again. The second attempt involved a lot of nose holding, but I finally got in on the third try.

Had a great day at Dutch Springs today (7/17/09) with my husband and his co-worker, Marcin. We did three dives and finally had some fun not having to worry about performing skills. We went down as deep as 50 feet and worked on our buoyancy even experimenting with different weight amounts and moved weights around between our ankles, pockets, and trim pockets between dives. Overall it was a great day with lots of learning, experience, and fun!

Had another great day at Dutch Springs today (8/8/09) with my husband. We took our time setting up and getting ready. Our first dive we tested our new regulators, computers, lights, and compass. We went out to the fire truck and followed the line to the school bus. We also worked on descending and ascending without a line. Our second dive was focusing on our buoyancy, but we also visited the van, diamond reef system, and boat at about 52’ near the platforms. It doesn’t have a line to it so it can be hard to find. We also visited the shallow platform at 10’ to work more on our buoyancy and test our trim. After ascending from there, I practiced descending without a line again to the 10’ platform and did great! Overall, it was a great day with great weather.

Another great day at Dutch Springs (8/15/09). Got an early start and did two dives. Headed to the 60’ platform on the way to the tanker truck, but it ended up being only 52’. We hovered over the platform, but I did have some buoyancy issues during the swim to and from the platform. On our second dive, we followed the line from the firetruck to the school bus and then navigated to the big helicopter by compass alone. It was scary, but we found it. And then we took a recipricol heading back to the bus and followed the line back to the firetruck and platforms. Got a lot of great practice in, but I still need help with proper weighting and buoyancy.

We completed our PADI Advanced Open Water (AOW) with Blue Water Divers at Dutch Springs on August 22 & 23. We did Peak Performance Buoyancy, Underwater Navigation, Night, Deep, and Wreck dives. It was a great weekend and we learned so much from our instructor, our fellow class mates, and the other divers at Dutch. My buoyancy skills, free descents, and mid-water safety stops are improving. My ears hurt a little during these dives, but I don’t see it becoming a recurring issue.

Just got back from an 8 day cruise to the Bahamas. Did 2 boat dives with Stuart Coves in Nassau at the Tunnel Wall and the Willaurie Wreck and 1 shore dive at Royal Caribbean’s private island, Cococay. The first dive with Stuart Cove was my deepest dive yet at 73 feet and the shore dive was my longest dive yet at 46 minutes. Had some issues with my ears on the last dive, but I felt better right after the dive.

We have another cruise in March 2010 and I am actually looking forward to the dives after being so nervous in the past.

Just got back from an 11 day cruise to the Caribbean and Central America onboard Celebrity’s Equinox. We booked three diving excursions, but our last day of diving planned in Cozumel, Mexico was cancelled due to bad weather.

Our first dive excursion was on 3/10/10 in George Town, Grand Cayman onboard the Hawk with Captain Matt, Heather, John, Jolinne, and videographer Christine. Our first dive was at Eagle’s Nest with an 80 foot maximum depth, my deepest yet! I could not descend with my usual 16lbs, so they added 4 more pounds. I felt heavy at depth and since it had been a while since my last dive, I was hesitant to add air to my BC at depth and therefore was negatively buoyant at depth for the beginning of the dive. We swam through an overhead at about 70 feet, which was really cool. Our second dive was at Oro Verde/Peter’s Reef to a maximum depth of 49 feet. I had trouble with my mask for the beginning of the dive. My hair was stuck under it causing water to trickle in and get into my eye. This burned so much! Finally this stopped about half way through. We saw a turtle eating.

Our second dive excursion was on 3/16/10 in Roatan, Honduras with Anthony’s Key Resort with dive master, Marvin. Our first dive was to Over Heat Reef to a maximum depth of 72 feet. I tried again to descend with 16lbs, but was unsucessful. He added 7 more pounds, which felt great. The weights were all unmarked so I think he thought he was adding less than 7! Saw a giant crab, lobsters, and green morey eels. There was a strong current, which was hard to swim against in the beginning of the dive. We swam through some skinny channels to ascend from our maximum depth of 72 feet to our shallower depths. Sometimes I felt like I was getting reverse block and my vision felt funny after ascending, but felt better after a minute or two of being out of the water. Our second dive was to Deep Eel Garden at a maximum depth of 66 feet. My tank valve connection was leaking, but my husband and divemaster, Marvin, fixed this at about 10-15 feet right after I descended. We swam with huge grouper that our dive master was feeding. Had some more ear pain during this dive. Saw lobster and more green morey eels. Upon ascending, the water was very choppy and I hit my shin on the boat ladder, still have the bruise a week later!

Overall, we had a great time!

My gear: Cressi Travel Light Weight Integrated BCD; Aeris AT400 1st Stage with Dry Valve Technology (DVT), ION 2nd Stage, and A1 Octo; Oceanic Veo 100 NX Wrist Computer; Aeris X1 Clip Mount Compass; Henderson Insta Dry 5mm Full Wet Suit; Neo Sport by Henderson Farmer Jane 7mm Wet Suit; Henderson Hyperstretch 7/5mm Hood; Henderson Titanium Hyperstretch 3mm Hood; Thermocline Velcro Cinch 5mm Gloves; Tusa Warm Water "New Style" Gloves; Cressi Focus Mask, ScubaPro Twin Jet Max Fins, Aqualung Impulse III Snorkel, Deep Sea Safe Sole 5mm Boots; Princeton Tec Shockwave LED 337 Lumens Primary Light; Princeton Tec Attitude LED 12 Lumens Backup Light; Princeton Tec Eco Flare; Blue Reef 5" Deluxe Stainless Steel Blunt Tip Knife; Sheers; 2lb shot bag Sea Pearl weights; 1.5lb ankle weights.

Gear I’m thinking of buying: Aeris T3 hoseless computer

Any input on equipment is appreciated..