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Blue Ocean Business Summit Highlights

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The Blue Ocean Business Summit, a first-ever online industry gathering, took place June 2-6, 2014.  The new business event invited all stakeholders to the table to discuss the future of the dive industry and the imperative to bring the ocean into their businesses as a full partner.

During the online conference, Summit Host Laurie Wilson took attendees on a 5-day adventure along the path towards sustainability, introducing them to an eclectic cross section of the industry including dive retailers, travel pros, group leaders, resort and live-aboard operators, scientists, academics, community activists, photo-journalists, media representatives, and non-profit organizers. The event also attracted opening keynote Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, author of “Blue Mind”, and closing keynote, Dr. Carl Safina, PBS TV Host of “Saving the Oceans.”

These trailblazers generously shared their challenges, lessons learned and best practices to successfully ride the big waves of change already happening in the industry. They provided a sense of support and community for those experiencing a rocky business environment, characterized by feelings of uncertainty, worry, overwhelm and lack of clear direction.

Big Ocean, Big Picture – The first day, entitled Big Ocean, Big Picture gave participants a powerful grounding in the new business imperative – the sustainable business model that incorporates a triple bottom line approach, recognizes all stakeholders and overcomes competitive conflicts through common ground collaboration.

Lightning Strikes – It was an ‘aha’ moment for some attendees, when the realization hit that the dive industry is actually a member of the marine tourism industry (and not vice versa) since most people learn to dive and buy gear to prepare for travel to dive destinations. One of the world’s largest industries, Tourism is under intense pressure to become sustainable because of the negative impacts it has on the environment and local communities.

Redefining the Dive Resort – The second day delved deep into the resort experience, to find out if tourists even know or care about sustainable tourism, and what successful resorts are doing to redefine themselves in light of the new blue business reality revealing itself right now.

Honest Talk About Marine Conservation – Ocean issues finally got their say, when day 3 dived into the heart of the matter that will make or break the dive industry. Participants learned exactly what is going on in the underwater world and how people, considered ‘lower tier’ stakeholders in the dive industry, are already on board as a powerful part of the solution.

Traveling Towards Sustainability – In Day 4, the discussion turned to underwater experiences, and where the dive industry sits in terms of eco-sensitive education and environmentally-friendly travel. The big key question was: What must we do to protect our businesses and grow the industry?  It became clear that the traditional dive business model is grossly inadequate to prepare us for the new business reality. And those who continue to follow it will pay a price.

Change Comes Through Action – Throughout the Summit, there was much talk about what business owners could do. On day 5, Summit participants learned from men and women of true action that talk is not enough. In fact, too much talk is stalling the process, by giving people a false sense of security that talking is actually doing something – when it’s clearly not. We are being called to action, but the good news is, action starts with baby steps. Many baby step options were provided throughout the Summit.

Community of Change-makers – Summit Host Laurie Wilson commented, “With this Summit we are creating a community of change-makers, who are tired and dissatisfied with the traditional ways that aren’t working. They love the underwater world, and they want to make a difference while making a good living. For them, it can no longer be business as usual.”

Wilson explained that successful dive business owners are deeply connected to “Why” they went into business in the first place, and are inspired by the positive impact they can bring to the world by running a financially profitable business. Says Wilson, “These are the makings of a sustainable business model that’s now finding its way into all forward-thinking industries.

“As H.G. Wells so famously said, ‘We must adapt or perish.’ It’s clear from Summit comments, that our online participants understand that sustainability is not an option, nor is eco-lipservice; and having that mindset has them riding on the leading edge in the new business reality.”

About the Summit – The Blue Ocean Business Summit 2014 brought together 21 thought leaders, trailblazers and action-oriented business people from seven countries who generously shared their in-the-trenches stories and hard-won knowledge with attendees during the free 5-day online gathering. Two hundred and sixty-four people participated in the password-protected Summit, while 1425 people followed the daily highlights on the Summit’s FaceBook page. After the Summit, on World Oceans Day June 8, Summit access was opened up all day for attendees to listen to all replays again for free.

Summit-To-Go – For those who missed the event or want to take a deeper dive, the Summit offers a downloadable Summit Resource Guide that contains valuable tools, checklists, background and reference material that can be referred to again and again. Access to audio replays of all 21 speakers is included in the purchase of the Summit Resource Guide, along with written highlights of each of the 20 sessions.  A portion of Resource Guide sales will support Mission Blue, Dr. Sylvia Earle’s TED Prize project to create a system of marine protected areas around the world. The Blue Ocean Business Summit Resource Guide and audio replays will be available for US$79.99 at BlueOceanBusinessSummit.com.

First-Ever for the Industry – Creator of the Summit, Laurie Wilson commented, “There’s a reason why this was the first-ever online event for the dive industry. It was a huge undertaking with many moving parts, a smorgasbord of technological requirements, time zone considerations, internet issues and the ability to track down and engage an assortment of brilliant and busy people, many of whom are often on boats. And then we had to bring everyone up the online learning curve since very few people were familiar with the workings of an online Summit.

Wilson admits, “It turned into a bit of an octopus. There was intense research, multiple team collaborations, bringing on techno whizzes, changing platforms, long days, late nights, a large financial investment, a lot of faith, a lot of skype calls – and even more coffee. But now that we know how to do this, we’ll do it again. Perhaps via video, or maybe even a live in-person event. We’re looking at all the options. This is clearly an idea whose time has come. People are ready.”

For Summit details and downloadable Resource Guide visit BlueOceanBusinessSummit.com.

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Solo Travelling and Scuba Diving

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solo scuba diving

Solo traveling elicits strong reactions, with some relishing the freedom it brings, while others shy away from the idea. The dichotomy lies between the autonomy of solo journeys and the comfort of companionship. Scuba diving group trips for solo travellers emerge as the perfect synthesis, offering a unique blend of freedom and camaraderie.

Embarking on a solo scuba diving adventure is a thrilling journey into unparalleled freedom, new discovery and self-discovery beneath the waves. However, solo travellers should be mindful of considerations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, especially those diving abroad, taking precautions before leaving their home country is crucial for a safe and enjoyable journey.

solo scuba diver

“I started travelling solo by chance”- my wife recalls- “I joined a group from the diving club planning to travel to Tobago, people pulled out at the last minute and I decided to go ahead alone. I did enjoy the freedom: I could travel at the times I wanted, to the destinations I wanted, no need to negotiate when and where to eat and the air conditioning temperature. Diving is a social sport anyway, and the divers one meets are by definition like-minded people. It’s an opportunity to make new friends, often from different nationalities. I’ve gained so much in self confidence and interpersonal skills, way more than on corporate training courses J. However, as a woman solo traveller, I’ve always had to be mindful of personal safety in circumstances where one simply doesn’t know what to expect. I remember the apprehension I felt on the boat ride alone from Batanga to Puerto Galera in the evening. Also the same feeling whilst waiting in Dubai for someone to pick me up and drive me 2 hours to Musandam. This someone is now a dearest friend. The best thing for me is always to book through someone that has made the same journey, lived the experience directly and has close personal links at destinations.”

In essence, scuba diving trips for solo travellers offer a harmonious blend of autonomy and companionship. These journeys transcend traditional group travel challenges by uniting solo adventurers with a common passion.

The first question and one of the most important, as the answer usually determines your location is Liveaboard or Shore based, and there are Pros and Cons to both:

Liveaboard

solo scuba diver

Pros

Immersive Dive Experience: Liveaboards provide uninterrupted access to dive sites, maximizing your time beneath the waves.

Varied Destinations: Journey to remote and pristine locations, exploring a range of dive spots during a single trip. Usually these site are only accessible by Liveaboard

Community Experience: Forge close bonds with fellow divers on board, fostering a sense of camaraderie.

Cons

Limited Amenities: Space constraints on liveaboards might limit facilities compared to resorts.

Community Experience: Liveaboards forge a close-knit community of divers and individuals, which may not be conducive to everyone’s character, particularly for people who enjoy some time alone to charge the batteries, or those not keen on negotiating group dynamics in a somewhat confined environment.

Shore based

solo scuba diving solo scuba diving

Pros

Comfort and Amenities: Resorts offer a comfortable stay with various amenities, including spas, swimming pools and restaurants.

Flexibility: Choose daily dives or explore at your pace, enjoying the freedom to create a personalized itinerary.

Onshore Exploration: Besides diving, resorts often provide opportunities to explore local culture and attractions.

Cons

Fixed Locations: While convenient, resorts limit you to specific dive sites accessible from shore.

Time Constraints: Day trips or tight schedules may impose time restrictions on your underwater adventures.

Flexibility: Unless you are certified as a solo diver then you have to dive with a buddy or with a private guide, which could be a costly option.

Considerations

Personal Preferences: Evaluate your preferences for accommodation, community engagement, and the overall pace of your dive experience.

Destination Exploration: Assess whether you seek the thrill of exploring multiple dive destinations on a liveaboard or prefer the convenience of a single resort location.

Choosing between liveaboard trips and dive resorts hinges on your desired balance of adventure, comfort, and community. Whether you opt for the dynamic exploration of liveaboards or the leisurely pace of resorts, each option promises a unique and unforgettable underwater journey.

solo scuba diving

Dive Destination – Research and Planning

Conducting thorough research on dive destinations is crucial. Understand its culture, local customs, and any travel advisories. Always check government advice, BUT also consider joining Facebook or similar groups and get some real-world advice from like-minded divers.

It’s essential to opt for reputable dive operators with a strong safety record. Sea to Sky, a trusted name in the industry, places a high priority on guest safety, offering comprehensive services, advice, and recommendations.

Ensure you are aware of any health risks or vaccinations required for your destination. Carry a basic first aid kit, if weight allows and any necessary medications. We would advise not to take any over the counter medications aboard, as most are readily available and in a lot of cases cheaper. If you are prescribed medications, please ensure that your country of entry allows your medication, and in all cases please take a doctor’s letter/prescription.

Solo divers should be mindful of diving in secluded or challenging dive locations.  Opting for familiar, well-monitored locations where assistance is readily available if needed. Sea to Sky takes a personalized approach, considering guests’ experience and certification levels to suggest optimal dive locations within their limits.

Being cautious about equipment is paramount for solo divers. Rigorous gear checks to ensure everything is in optimal condition are essential. For those renting equipment, Sea to Sky ensures that the dive centre or liveaboard operator’s gear is regularly serviced and up to date. Please self-check all equipment, we are happy to advise on what to and how to check any equipment.

Safety and Security

Invest in comprehensive travel insurance and Dive Insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and potential diving-related incidents. Keep a digital and physical copy of your insurance details. Secure important documents like your passport, travel insurance, and diving certifications in a waterproof pouch. Consider making digital copies that you can access online.  Share your itinerary and emergency contact information with a trusted friend or family member. Keep them informed about your whereabouts and any changes to your plans. We personally use Nord Locker to store all relevant information, including copies of passport, accessible via the cloud (No affiliation, it’s just what we use).

solo scuba diving

Financial Preparedness

Inform your bank about your travel dates to avoid any issues with your credit/debit cards. Carry a mix of local currency and cards. We can advise country by country what cash to take, as in some destinations Euros or Dollars are the better option.  Be cautious when using ATMs and choose secure locations (inside banks for example). Keep a small amount of emergency cash separate from your main funds. This can be invaluable in situations where card payments may not be accepted.

Communication and Connectivity

Consider getting a local SIM card to stay connected. Check the network coverage in your destination and inform your loved ones about your contact number. We also use an ESim called Airolo (Again no affiliation) but some of the charges can be quite high especially in Egypt, but for peace of mind it’s great.  Carry a portable charger for your electronic devices, including your phone and any underwater cameras. Also check with the country you are travelling to ascertain what plug is compatible.

solo scuba diving

Cultural Sensitivity

Familiarise yourself with the local culture and customs to show respect. This includes appropriate clothing, gestures, and behaviour, both on land and underwater.

What sets Sea to Sky apart is the personal relationships developed with its suppliers and its commitment to providing 24-hour telephone contact for guests, offering reassurance and assistance around the clock. Solo travellers can dive with confidence, knowing that expert guidance and support are just a call away.

In essence, while solo scuba diving opens doors to incredible underwater experiences, travellers must exercise caution, conduct diligent research, choose reputable operators, and prioritise safety.

For any information or assistance you require please feel free to contact the team at hello@myseatosky.co.uk.

Join Sea to Sky and embark on new diving adventures! Visit www.myseatosky.co.uk for more information.

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The BiG Scuba Podcast Episode 172: Dr. Joseph Dituri

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Joseph Dituri

Gemma and Ian chat to Dr. Joseph Dituri. Dr. Jospeh Dituri lived undersea for 100 Days in a mission combining education, ocean conservation research, and the study of the physiological and psychological effects of compression on the human body.  

Dituri enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1985. He served continuously on active service upon various ships and shore stations where he was involved in every aspect of diving and special operations work from saturation diving and deep submergence to submersible design and clearance diving. Now that he is retired from 28 years of active service to the United States, he is the president of the International Board of Undersea Medicine. He also volunteers his time as the CEO of the Association for Marine Exploration. He is an invited speaker on motivational, sea and space related topics.

Fuelled by his passion for exploration, discovery, adventure, and making the greatest possible positive contribution to the world, he is fighting for change in a big way and with great enthusiasm.

You can listen to Episode 172 of the BiG Scuba Podcast here.

www.drdeepsea.com

We hope you have enjoyed this episode of The BiG Scuba Podcast.  Please give us ★★★★★, leave a review, and tell your friends about us as each share and like makes a difference.   Contact Gemma and Ian with your messages, ideas and feedback via The BiG Scuba Bat Phone    +44 7810 005924   or use our social media platforms.   To keep up to date with the latest news, follow us:

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Visit   https://www.patreon.com/thebigscubapodcast and subscribe – Super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.

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