We met Ross Lockwood in early 2010 when he visited Cozumel with the U of A Scuba Club. Ross completed his Advanced Open Water during that trip, and he hasn’t looked back. I asked Ross to share some thoughts on his experiences; here’s what he had to say…
I’ve had the great fortune of sharing the last year with Kari and Matthew Atkins. After completing my Advanced Open Water course in February 2010, it was a no-brainer for me to continue my training with them. Throughout the summer I worked on improving my dive skills with them in the pool and in Alberta Lakes. Over the summer I completed my Rescue Diver, Enriched Air Diver and Emergency Oxygen Provider courses and began my Divemaster course. Now that my Cozumel trip for 2011 is over, I’m happy to share that I’ve completed my Divemaster program, along with seven specialties: AWARE – Fish Identification; Digital Underwater Photographer; Night Diver; Peak Performance Buoyancy; Underwater Naturalist; Deep Diver and Search and Recovery Diver. I’ve also received my Master Scuba Diver rating.
It’s no small feat to complete that much training in so little time, especially when both student and instructor have full-time jobs! It’s a testament to AtkinsScuba that so much could be completed so efficiently. Add on top of that my personal feelings that I received the highest quality training available, and it’s not hard to see why I chose to train with them, and why I will continue to dive with them in the future. It’s difficult to articulate how thankful I am for Kari and Matthew – they’ve definitely made one of my life goals a reality. THANK YOU!
Ross Lockwood: Divemaster (self-portrait!)
We’ve obviously spent a lot of time together! And we continue to do so. Ross is now a regular contributor to AtkinsScuba, and is currently assisting with a Rescue Diver program as well as an Open Water course. Thanks, Ross! Congratulations!
If you’re a diver, you probably have heard of “enriched air” and may even use it yourself, or have questions about what it is and perhaps what it isn’t. Four divers in the Edmonton area had all their questions answered at this event last week. Congratulations to four newly certified PADI Enriched Air Divers: Mylan Worthington, Bryan Hayward, and brother/sister buddy team Nicole Bremault and Marc Bremault; way to go people!
Marc Bremault and Nicole Bremault
Date for the next Enriched Air Diver course will be announced soon!
A guest post from Amy Walczak: Amy participated on the trip to Cozumel in January 2011. She completed her Open Water Diver training while she was with us, and went on to do her Advanced Open Water course as well. Here is what Amy had to say about her experience…
When I signed up for the Ocean Sports trip to Cozumel in January 2011 it was with reservation. I wasn’t even an open water diver yet and had never travelled alone before. I worried about getting there safely, not knowing anybody else, whether I’d remember the skills I’d practiced in the pool… you name it and I worried about it. Turns out all that worrying was a waste of my time! Most of the divers were repeaters and have known each other for years, but they couldn’t have been more welcoming to those of us new to the trip and to diving. I’ve never felt quite as included as I did at the Blue Angel with Kari & Matthew and the rest of the group. And not only did I get to hang out with a bunch of awesome people for a week, I also got to bring those new friendships back to Edmonton with me!
Kari & Matthew took excellent care of me, a newly certified and wide-eyed diver. Their professionalism and knowledge impressed me while their obvious love of teaching and diving inspired me. I did most of my training with Kari and dive master candidate Debbie and those girls really had my back – I always felt safe. And, just as importantly, they were great role models. Even when they weren’t actively teaching me skills just watching them dive – how they moved, how they interacted with each other and the environment – was a lesson in itself. Learning to dive has enriched my life in ways I was totally unprepared for. It’s given me an entirely new and fresh outlook on life and created so many exciting opportunities for travel, adventure, and personal growth. It didn’t hurt that in addition to fantastic diving and new friends, the food at Blue Angel was incredible. And the drinks… and the staff… and the view… you see a theme here right?? I can’t imagine a better place to have gone than Cozumel, or a better group of people to have gone with. There’s good reason they all keep going back and I can’t wait to be among the ‘repeaters’ next year!
Amy at the beginning of the week...
Amy at the end of the week!
Thank you to Amy for recounting her experience, and Congratulations on completing Open Water and Advanced Open Water training! We were so happy to be involved in supporting her first efforts as a diver, and look forward to a continuing relationship!
lionfish at columbia shallows
We just completed the final visit of this winter to Cozumel, Mexico, with yet another wonderful group of our Ocean Sports family. This group was unique in that they came from all over: two from Ontario, two from Fort McMurray, one from Cold Lake, and “international flavour” added by two ladies from Minnesota! We also had Leduc and Fort Saskatchewan represented, along with several actual Edmontonians. Great group of people!
Wonderful weather and five great days of diving to some amazing spots: we visited Tormentos, Paradise, Palancar Gardens, Cedral Wall and also Cedral Pass, Columbia Deep and Columbia Shallows, Chankanaab Bolones (where we encountered the Atlantis Submarine!), Punta Tunich and Chankanaab Shallows. Will we ever run out of dive sites here? Unlikely! We also did several shore dives at Villa Blanca including introducing five relatively new divers to the joys of night diving.
As a group we visited several of my favourite restaurants also, including Sorrisi, Casa Denis, Blue Angel Resort, Wet Wendy’s Margarita Bar and this year at El Pique not one but TWO of our hearty participants ate the sopa especial, which is made with cabeza de res, which is, of course, the head of the cow.
hawksbill turtle at columbia shallows
That’s it for trips for this winter; we posted a few more photos at the AtkinsScuba.com page on Facebook. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who participated in the trips this year; you all rock! We had a wonderful time with each and every one of you!
We have three planned for the 2011-2012 winter season, and lots of training in the Edmonton area this summer!
I've got my eye on you, too.
Keeping an eye on our goings-on? Wondering what is new?
We have been busy making plans for spring and summer in Alberta, and for next winter back in Cozumel.
We are teaching two Open Water (pool and classroom sessions) through Ocean Sports in May (weekend program May 13-15) and June (six-week program on Wednesday nights beginning June 15). You can read more about those here.
We are teaching an Enriched Air Nitrox course on May 1 and an Emergency Oxygen Provider course on June 2.
We will be running a Rescue Diver program in May and June; one day for pool sessions and knowledge development and one day for rescue scenarios in open water. Read more about the program here.
We just released dates for three trips to Cozumel, Mexico in winter 2011-2012.
And, we added a photo of two handsome, newly minted instructors receiving their PADI OWSI paperwork to this post.
swim-through at Santa Rosa Wall
Reading week is a big deal when you’re in university, and for the past two years we’ve been honoured to have members of the University of Alberta Scuba Appreciation Club spend their break with us. What a fantastic group we had this year; 16 shining happy faces! We visited several of my favourite sites on the island (of course, I’ve been accused of having them ALL be my favourite): Cedral Shallows and Paso del Cedral, Chankanaab Shallows, Palancar Gardens and Palancar Caves, La Francesa (where some of us did a beautiful dive on the wall there), San Clemente, Paradise (we saw SIX seahorses there), and on our final day, Santa Rosa Wall, which is one of my favourite spots on the planet, and then finished up with a ripping drift dive at Punta Tunich. In between, there were lots (and lots) of shore dives as well as four night dives.
We once again had a wonderful Friday night barbeque next to the pool at Blue Angel and it’s safe to say a great time was had by all! By all reports, next year’s Reading Week trip will be at least half-filled with people who attended this year, and may also include a couple of young Texans who were befriended by the Club!
U of A Scuba Club, February 2011
We posted a few more photos at AtkinsScuba.com’s facebook page.
Next up: Ocean Sports visits Cozumel one more time, in March!
Sailfin Blenny at Paradise Reef
We recently heard from two of our former students that they had gone on to become fully-fledged PADI Open Water Divers! Congratulations to Scott and Karla Alexander; and welcome to the underwater world!
The message from Karla: “Our instructor ‘G’ said that our very first open water dive was the best first open water dive she has ever had… we saw a turtle eating a jelly fish, angel fish, blue ringed sting ray, pink clown fish and so much more!! It was absolutely amazing!! It was one of the best things we have ever done, and we had an awesome time!! :-)”
Again, congratulations, and we look forward to seeing these two underwater sometime soon.
Instructor "G," Scott and Karla