Category Archives: Matthew Atkins

March 2011 Trip Report

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!

What’s New?

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.

Whew!

February 2011 – Reading Week Trip Report

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

Congratulations to the Alexanders!

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

Congratulations to two new OWSIs!

Matthew, Warren and Bernie during Assistant Instructor course, May 2010

Teaching scuba is an awesome way to spend your time. You get to participate in “a-ha” moments, watch people do things that make them nervous and help them grow as people. We take pride in the fact that many of our students are “repeaters” who have worked with us at various points in their progression as divers. Warren McKay and Bernie Cyr are two such students. Warren started with us early in 2009 when he joined us on a trip to Cozumel and completed his Advanced Open Water and several specialty courses. He then went on a trip to Utila with Matthew and completed his Rescue Diver course. Bernie had been on several trips with us to Cozumel starting with our first trip in 2007, and in summer of 2008 he and his wife Debbie completed their Rescue Diver training with Matthew. Warren and Bernie went on to complete their Divemaster training with Matthew, and then in May of 2010, their Assistant Instructor course.

All of this culminated in a trip back to Utila Dive Centre in December 2010/January 2011, where Warren and Bernie successfully completed their Instructor Development Course and the PADI Instructor Examination, becoming full-fledged Open Water Scuba Instructors. They also completed the preparation work to become Master Scuba Diver Trainers.

Congratulations to you both, and welcome to the club!

Bernie Cyr and Warren McKay

Fun dive indeed!

A friend had a friend on the island for a few days, who is leaving today. So, yesterday we decided to go diving, just a little fun trip with the three of us plus Matthew as the divemaster. We headed out shortly after lunch and as we were on our way to the first site, lo and behold, a pod of dolphins! If you read my blog, you’ll know I LOVE DOLPHINS! Awesome start! We went to Yucab Wall for a great first dive and then during our surface interval – Whoa! The dolphins again. This time Desiree and I slid into the water and snorkeled with them for a few minutes… as I entered the water there were five of them right in front of me. Amazing. Wow, Whoa and Woot!

The second dive had a long way to go to match that, but it did not disappoint. We were at Chankanaab Shallows, one of my favourites, and saw “the usual.” Several HUGE crabs and oodles of little things: spotted drums, jawfish (one of which was brooding eggs in his mouth), pike blennies, a gazillion silversides, and four sightings of the reclusive peppermint basslet (one of my favourites).

All in all, a great dive day!

-kari

DEMA Show 2010

For years we’ve been hearing about the annual DEMA Show (Diving Equipment and Marketing Association) and this year we decided to see what all the hubub was about. What an action packed weekend.

There were hundreds of seminars to choose from; the hard part was deciding where to focus. Over the three days, we attended sessions that provided information about the general state of affairs in the PADI diving community over the past few years, PADI eLearning, becoming a PADI Course Director, the Dancer Fleet in Indonesia and the Aggressor Fleet, resort sales training, pricing workshop, DAN seminars on Diving Fatalities and on Unseen Hazards in Diving, risk management for instructors, and Matthew attended the IDC Staff Instructor update. Whew. A lot of information. At the IDC Staff Update Matthew received some great information about changes that are coming to the divemaster program in 2011; you’ll hear more about that in the future, and if you have questions do not hesitate to ask!

Anna, Ned and Paul, with Kari (experiencing a highlight moment!!!)

In addition to the seminars, there was an exhibition – dive shops, manufacturers, travel, gear, everything you could think of. The highlight of the show for me was the New World Publications booth, where I met some of my fish-nerd heroes. Paul Humann and Ned and Anna DeLoach manned the booth, and if you know me, you know that I have every book those people have put out. What an honour to meet them all! While there, I picked up the new “Reef Environmental Education Foundation‘s Beginning Course on Reef Fish ID”; we’ll be using that as training materials in upcoming AWARE Fish ID classes.

While on the exhibit floor, we did a little shopping getting ourselves some new SeaCure mouthpieces (molded to an individual mouth), a new mask or two, compass, lift bag, and most exciting, we ordered a couple of “Nautilis Lifeline” devices. They’re a GPS radio for divers, by a company out of Vancouver area. Very cool.

We also did some scouting for possible locations for future dive trips; keep your eyes and ears open for updates on that.

In amongst all the seminars and shopping, we also attended the DEMA Awards Party. We had a fantastic time! We met some great people, and we rocked our chicken hats.

DEMA Awards Party 2010

We’re in Cozumel!

Congratulations to Cheri and Curtis on their Open Water Scuba Diver certification! November 2010

The migration south is complete for this year, and we’re now up and running in Cozumel, Mexico. Matthew is busy working at Blue Angel Resort as an Instructor and Divemaster, so if you’re in the area stop by to visit!

We recently had two of our students from Edmonton arrive to complete their Open Water Scuba Diver course. Here they are with some friends (who did a Discover Scuba Diving experience with Matthew) wet and happy!

We also visited the east side of the island last week to help with the turtle release. You can read about that adventure in Kari’s blog.

We hope to see you this winter in sunny Mexico!

Welcome

Hello, and welcome to Atkins SCUBA!

The heart of our team is Matthew Atkins and Kari Taylor Atkins.

Matthew Atkins is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor and Kari Taylor Atkins is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer. Both are avid divers, extremely safety conscious, and committed to ensuring you get the best training there is. Matthew and Kari became certified divers in 2001 and worked their way up through the training until they ended up each doing a divemaster internship program at Blue Angel Dive Shop in Cozumel, Mexico. Matthew became a divemaster in the spring of 2004, and Kari followed in his footsteps in spring of 2005. The following winter they both went to Utila Dive Centre in Honduras to complete their Instructor Development Course, and in February 2006 they both became PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors.

Matthew and Kari pride themselves on being organized, highly skilled, and delivering on their promises. They look forward to a long and fun-filled relationship with all their scuba contacts!