Dive Centers, iPhone apps and More

April 17, 2011 · Posted in news, personal, projects · Comment 

For those of you who follow, you always want to know what I’m up to.

Some might think I’ve spent all this time opening a dive center here in the New River Valley. In fact, I think I’ve only spent about 10% of my time doing that.

iPhone Apps

We have two that are completed and awaiting final testing. This is usually the longest part of creating any application. We haven’t had any of our live apps crash yet, and I prefer to keep it that way. So, we do a lot of testing. And when we think we’re done, we test some more.

Lab Work

One must think I’m getting my PhD in Environmental Engineering. I do have a degree from the College of Engineering (Computer Science), but Environmental? I would never have thought. But Ana is finishing up and I’m helping out. That means preparing batch reactors, measuring gas production and writing a thesis. Luckily I’m only helping in small quantities and the lab work is completely done. Now it’s just data analysis and finishing off that thesis. I guess it’s science, and we use a computer, so it’s kind of what I went to school for.

Businesses

As I mentioned, we opened a dive center in Blacksburg. But we also created a state of the art website for it that’ll allow the company to grow into something much more than a dive center. We had the awesome team from HellowYellow design us the site, and they did an amazing job. We’re working on a ton of new features to the site like class registration, videos, etc. How hard can all that be? Well it’s part of a much larger picture, so a little harder than you think.

Part of that larger picture is this: It’s not about opening a dive center and sharing our passion for scuba. It’s about taking a business, any business, and making it the best at what it does. Most dive center websites look like theirs were created in 1996, by a dude with 10 minutes of html experience while sitting on a beach, drinking coronas.

So we started something. That something has grown to include several businesses, several partnerships, several clients and a lot of change. That change will upset a lot of people, namely those on the other side. How many, will be our measure of success.

Isla Fuerte, Colombia

February 5, 2010 · Posted in personal, photos, scuba, travel · 1 Comment 

On Christmas day, we woke up early, packed the car and drove 9 hours to the coast of Colombia. Colombia is the only country in South America that has a coast line on both the Pacific ocean and the Caribbean sea. Next time, we’ll try to make it to the Pacific coast for some diving.

When we got there, we had to park our car in a poor little town with muddy dirt roads and garbage all over the place. It wasn’t my car, so I wasn’t worried, but we also parked in a fenced off area where other divers had parked theirs, so we weren’t too worried.

We then took a 30 minute boat ride to get to the island in a tiny little boat that would later become our dive boat. No one spoke English so I pretty much was on my own to figure out what was going on, which is a really good way to learn a language, but not a good way when it comes to important things like how not to die on the ride over.

When we got to the island, our cabin had no hot water and no electricity; the water they did have was undrinkable, but they put a 2 gallon bottle of drinking water in our room. Electricity ran from a generator from 6PM to 6AM so that you could use the lights, charge any devices, but most importantly to have the fans on in the room.

Every meal was something that was locally grown or caught, so we ate a ton of fruit (new fruit I’ve never even seen before but terrifically delicious), fish and vegetables. It was an amazing experience and a real eye opener to how you can have really delicious food, electricity and water and still be sustainable on a tiny island like that.

Luckily for us, it only rained a little bit and was well after our scuba dives. Otherwise the temperature was perfect, as it is year round. Enjoy the photos below!

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Florida Scuba: Captain Tom’s Ledge (06/28/09)

October 23, 2009 · Posted in personal, photos, scuba · Comment 

In the afternoon, we did our third dive of the day on a place called Captain Tom’s Ledge. This was a bit of a deeper dive at 59 feet max, so the top of the surface was a beautiful 86 degrees, while the bottom was a relatively frigid 70 degrees. There is actually a layer of water that you pass through where you can immediately feel the difference in temperature. This is called a thermocline. After coming up from below the thermocline, the water feels like hot tub water. It’s really refreshing since you can start to get chilled wearing such thin layers. The total bottom time was 52 minutes.

Scott worked to get Juanca finished up on his scuba certification while Ana, Laszlo and I explored the ledge. The reef stands along a ledge that drops of to several hundred feet into the abyss. On the other side is a flat sandy surface nearly devoid of life. We stopped to get a photo shoot of ourselves as you can see from the photos below.

Laszlo had to surface due to constant condensation in his mask. But when we got back down, we were treated to a lot of Caribean lobster, moray eels and fish all over the place. We didn’t quite make it to the ledge because the reef was so wide. No bother though, not much to see but black ocean below you.

Captain Tom’s Ledge

Ana and me in front of the reef near the sandy bottom of the ocean.

Ana and me in front of the reef near the sandy bottom of the ocean.

 

Ana sees something interesting

Ana sees something interesting

Maybe it was this Caribbean lobster

Maybe it was this Caribbean lobster

 

 

 

An eel poking his head out to see what was going on

An eel poking his head out to see what was going on

Lobsters were everywhere on this reef. Wish they were in season!

Lobsters were everywhere on this reef. Wish they were in season!

Looks like this was taken in a fish tank.

Looks like this was taken in a fish tank.

 

 

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

Florida Scuba: Pleasure Reef (06/28/09)

October 22, 2009 · Posted in goals, personal, photos, scuba · Comment 

On our fourth dive of the day, Laszlo and I performed our underwater navigation tests for our Advanced Open Water Certification (AOW). This was Juanca’s first dive as a certified diver, so he, Elena and Ana went off with my camera and took some pictures of themselves. We met back up after the test so some of the latter photos are mine as well.

If you are curious, it takes me 18 kick cycles to travel 50 feet underwater. We stayed under water for 45 minutes and even though we were only 24 feet deep at the max, we used a lot of our air performing the AOW tests, down from 3000 PSI to 850 PSI in the end.

Check out the photos below:

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Life Goal Complete – US Coast Guard Bibb: Wreck Dive

August 19, 2009 · Posted in goals, photos, scuba, videos · 7 Comments 

After learning to scuba dive, I put diving the Bibb on my list of things to do in my life. The U.S.C.G.C. Bibb was the ship my grandfather served on in the Pacific theater during World War 2. I was very young when I learned that the Bibb was sunk off the coast of Florida as an artificial reef. It never occurred to me that I would ever get to see it in person. I had heard a number of stories about the Bibb and was told that during its service in WWII, it was the ship that carried the Admiral of the fleet since the Bibb, being a Coast Guard ship, was one of the smallest of the U.S. Navy fleet.

I brought one of my camera so I got some photos and video of the experience.

A Little Visual History

The United States Coast Guard has a page on the history of the Bibb with a bunch of photos of its early history, so be sure to check that out. Below are some photos my aunt sent me.

Bibb-April-1943
Bibb1944

The picture above actually has my grandfather in it. He’s standing on the deck of the ship looking at the camera, to the left of another sailor in white, just to the left of the deck gun that’s in the center of the photograph. It’s hard to see in the photo of this size, but it’s him.

Bibb-January-1945

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