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Dive into the Cayman Islands this October with Legends and Lions: a weeklong celebration of Cayman diving

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Long recognized as the birthplace of recreational diving and renowned for its exceptional and diverse diving, the Cayman Islands’ dive industry is inviting all divers to join them in a weeklong celebration of the sport called Legends and Lions.

Taking place from the 4th – 11th October 2014, the inaugural dive festival will showcase Cayman’s superb dive product, honor dive legends being inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, give attendees the chance to join the fight against invasive Lionfish and feature incredible savings in dive packages offered by Cayman’s top dive operators Red Sail Sports, Divetech, Ocean Frontiers and Sunset House.

“It is only logical that one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations should have an annual festival celebrating the sport and highlighting Cayman’s fantastic marine world,” said Red Sail Sports Operations Manager Rod McDowall.

Teaming up with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the dive industry leaders are bringing together several existing scuba promotions during this traditionally slow time of year to take advantage of excellent off-season rates for this scuba week. Legends and Lions will feature plenty of excellent diving and a number of special topside events. Conservation-minded divers can join the frontline in the battle against the invasive Lionfish – threatening all Caribbean reefs – with a Lionfish culling certification and then removing the pesky predators from local reefs. But that’s not all – the day’s fresh Lionfish catch will be cooked up and enjoyed during a street party hosted by local artist and environmentalist Guy Harvey.

To cap off this scuba week celebration, participants will attend the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, where some of the biggest names in the dive industry will be honored. Cayman is host to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame and all Legends and Lions participants will be invited to attend. These year’s inductees are Alese and Mort Pechter, Bill Acker, Chuck Nicklin, Dan Orr and Neal Watson.

“Divers from around the world will have the opportunity to dive with a dive legend who helped create the sport we all love, and diving with a legend is something you cannot do anywhere,” said Sunset House General Manager Keith Sahm. “Here in the Cayman Islands each attendee will not only be able to dive with them, but they’ll also get a chance to mingle with these dive pioneers when they attend the Awards Night dinner as part of their Legends and Lions package.”

Also invited to attend the festival on a familiarization trip are the top performers from dive shops and booking agents who have participated in Cayman’s Tanks A Lot Rewards Program.

Taking advantage of shoulder season rates, Legends and Lions dive packages offer an excellent price for a 7-day stay. The packages include six daily 2-tank dives to the island’s top dive sites, a dive on the ex-USS Kittiwake wreck, a Lionfish certification with Lionfish Hunt Dive Competition, Lionfish Dinner with Underwater Photo Competition, International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and assorted on-island discounts.

Cayman’s leading dive operators are pulling out all the stops to ensure everyone enjoys an unforgettable dive vacation. Red Sail Sports is adding a free Sunset Sail aboard a luxury Catamaran and a 20% discount on beach toys at all its beach locations. Divetech’s package offers a full meal plan, unlimited shore diving, a dive on the underwater sculpture ‘Guardian of the Reef’, and a pool rebreather test and demonstration. Sunset House’s perks include a Stingray City dive, an afternoon dive on the USS Kittiwake, unlimited shore diving, DAN insurance for an additional $40, plus a welcome drink and gift. Ocean Frontiers’ package added-value offerings include a car rental for the entire stay, shore diving, a catamaran sail and a bottle of wine.

Leading dive operators hope to grow Legends and Lions into the destination’s signature annual dive event promoting its best natural resources – Cayman’s spectacular underwater world, presented by the best dive operators in the business, topped off with exceptional Caymanian hospitality.

“It should soon be on every divers calendar – fantastic diving and accommodations, great air connections, the chance to meet industry celebrities and greats, help the environment by culling and eating the dreaded Lionfish, party and have fun in the Caribbean – what more would you want?” asked Rod McDowall.

To book a Legends and Lions package visit www.divecayman.ky/scubaweek.

Dive Training Blogs

How Scuba Diving can help you overcome physical and mental challenges

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This International Disabilities Day (December 3 2022) PADI is reminding the world of the healing aspects that the ocean (or any body of water) can provide us all and how important of a modality it is for helping those with physical or mental challenges improve their wellbeing. From simply being within close proximity of it or diving beneath the salty surface for an underwater adventure, the ocean is also healing.

Regardless of your age, ability, or even limitations, the ocean can benefit us physically, emotionally and even spiritually. This is why PADI is on a mission to make those benefits accessible to all, launching their Adaptive Techniques Diving Course in the hopes that all of humanity can experience the full transformational power the ocean offers us.

While many are more familiar with traditional therapies, whether it be diving, mermaiding or freediving, people around the world have been forever changed by connecting with the water – conquering mental or physical perceived limitations.

There are an estimated one billion people on the planet that have a physical and/or mental disability – imagine the power that diving and immersion can have on this population if awarded the opportunity.

PADI’s history is replete with people whose lives have been transformed by connecting with the water because they were able to experience and explore the underwater world through PADI programme and certifications. PADI’s approach to diver education has always been inclusive and is a key pillar to their Pillars of Change.  Everyone who meets prerequisites is welcome to join the global community of 29 million+ certified PADI Divers.

PADI created two courses that focus on increasing awareness of varying diver abilities and exploring adaptive teaching techniques to apply when training and diving with physically and mentally challenged divers: the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty and the PADI Adaptive Support Diver course.

These courses further expand Instructors’ and Divemasters’ abilities to be student-centered and prescriptive in approach when adapting techniques to meet diver needs. Here are the various ways PADI helps those with disabilities overcome all their challenges by connecting them with water:

1. Improved Muscular Movement, Light Sensitivity and PTSD Symptoms

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found, “veterans with spinal cord injuries who underwent a four-day scuba diving certification saw significant improvement in muscle movement, increased sensitivity to light touch and pinprick on the legs, and large reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.”

2. Lifts Your Mental State and Mood

Did you know that the ocean air can literally lift your mood?  “The sound and vision of the ocean lift our mood,” says consultant psychiatrist Dr Arghya Sarkhel. “The touch of sand and the smell of a seaside breeze leads to relaxation. On a biological level, this audio-visual stimulus incites our parasympathetic nervous system—that activates ‘rest and digest’, as opposed to ‘fight or flight’,” he says. Now scientists are quantifying the positive cognitive and physical effects of water and the improved sense of physical health and well-being.

Equally diving into the therapeutic benefits that diving can provide is Jeffery Puncher, Director for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottowa. He is currently developing a virtual reality diving programme to help his patients find relief from stress and anxiety–using calming scenes of coral reefs and the swaying seas along with the soothing sounds of bubbles beneath the surface. This programme is currently being used with medical students, residents and faculty, with the goal of growing it to be adopted nationwide to help also support the psychological health of first responders.

3. Provides You with a Sense of Peace

Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, has done extensive research on the ocean’s unique ability to induce a state of what he calls the “Blue Mind” in human beings. Blue Mind is a mildly meditative state characterized by calmness, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. Nichols states that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and heal us on a deep level.

4. Enhanced Physical Movement

Being in the water allows you the opportunity to experience a feeling of flexibility and freedom that those with disabilities would rarely get to experience on land. This is because on land the muscles become restricted by the force of gravity. But in the water, that sensation drifts away and is replaced by the freedom to feel the freedom of movement.

5. Confidence and Control

The freedom of enhanced physical movement in the water also provides a sense of increased confidence and control. They can explore beneath the surface just like able-bodied people can do, which equally increases their own self-belief and feelings of empowerment.

6. Anxiety Relief

Those with disabilities who equally suffer from anxiety can find tranquility beneath the surface. By having to focus on your breath and being in the moment, all of the mental stress that can come with having a disability is no longer top of mind and instead allows for an escape in which you can truly enjoy the moment.

Find out more at www.padi.com

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Gear News

Scubapro Winter Promo: free gift!

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Buy an EVERDRY 4.0 dry suit and receive a K2 Light undersuit set for free!

Divers can look forward to the cold-water season this winter, as SCUBAPRO is offering a free K2 Light undersuit set (top & pants) to all scuba enthusiasts who purchase an EVERDRY 4.0 neoprene dry suit by 15 January.

The EVERDRY 4.0 is a high-quality dry suit made from compressed neoprene. It combines the slim fit, comfort and flexibility of a wetsuit with the warmth and tightness of a dry suit.

The K2 Light Set is the ideal undergarment for neoprene dry suits. Its light grid plush material reliably holds the warmth where you need it in cold waters. The Everdry’s elastic wrist loops and heel strap suspenders keep sleeves and pants in place under the suit. Available in men’s and women’s sizes.

A combination that turns your cold-water lake into a hotspot!

For more information visit the Scubapro website.

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Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. Great value for money and perfect for small groups of buddies. Price NOW from just £1195 per person based on sharing a twin cabin/room including: Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage 7 nights in shared cabin 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees Free Nitrox Booking deadline: Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price. Alternative departure airports available at a supplement. Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk. More Less

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