Sub Sea Systems — Our World is a blog dedicated to the unique experiences of Sub Sea Systems — Immerse yourself in our incredible adventures, company culture, and innovative programs and products.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

7 Wonders of the Underwater World


This week we are sharing seven amazing wonders of our underwater world!



Deep Sea Vents — An entirely new way of surviving


Most creatures of the earth survive by gaining energy from the sun through plant’s process of photosynthesis. Plants transform the sun’s energy into organic material that animals eat. Carnivores get the energy second hand, but all energy ultimately comes from the sun… or so we thought.

Deep in the ocean scientists have discovered another source of energy that provides nutrients to an otherworldly eco system. Deep Sea vents — similar to the geysers we are familiar with on land — are rich in dissolved minerals and bacteria. This bacteria is able to consume and produce organic material through the utilization of certain sulfur compounds in a process called chemosynthesis. The bacteria becomes a food source for some animals, such as clams and limpets, and then these animals are consumed by carnivores such as octopuses. The creatures that live in these deep areas have to withstand the intense pressure of the deep sea, and could not survive in conditions other than at the vents. Wow!




Undersea Lakes


There are lakes that exist within the sea. The lakes consist of denser water with a much higher saline content. The shores of these lakes are populated with many different sea creatures, but only certain creatures can live below the surface of the undersea lake. When deep-sea explorers discovered the lake, their submarine bounced on the surface and caused ripples, and the lake reflected the lights of the submarine. Incredible!



The Great Belize Barrier Reef


The Great Belize Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the western hemisphere, and the second largest in the world. 90% of the reef has not been researched, which leads to an estimate that only 10% of the species that live on the reef have been discovered. The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the most diverse eco-systems in the world, and the reef makes Belize a popular vacation destination. Tourists can explore the abundant splendor of the reef in a variety of ways: including Sea TREK in Belize at Discovery Expeditions. Sea TREK requires no certification or even swimming ability. If you can walk and breathe, you can Sea TREK. This allows for anyone, ages 8 and up, to experience the beauty and diversity that is The Great Belize Barrier Reef. Fantastic!





The Sand Falls Cabo San Lucas, Mexico


Jacques Cousteau discovered the sand falls in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico around 40 years ago. The sand falls are exactly what they sound like, falls of sand — similar to waterfalls. They cascade from a slope into a deep submarine canyon. The falls are home to many different species of fish, octopus, and rays. Because the falls are pretty deep we do not offer Sea TREK in this location, but one of our operators, and an experienced diver did Sea TREK at the top of the falls. Marvelous!



Check out this video of the falls in action!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtM6sfNWvt0







Giant Kelp Forests


Giant kelp forests only grow in rocky locations where the sunlight can still reach the ocean floor. Kelp is one of the fastest growing plants, and giant kelp — under optimum conditions — can grow as much as 2 feet a day reaching heights between 100 and 175 feet! As kelp grows it floats toward the surface and eventually creates a canopy by intertwining with other kelp plants. The kelp forest is home to many amazing creatures including sea otters. Sea otters love kelp forests because their favorite foods live there, and when they sleep they wrap the kelp around themselves to keep from drifting away. You can Sea TREK amidst the giant kelp forest in Catalina and experience the beauty for yourself. Wonderful!





Champagne Bay


Off the island of Dominica in the Bahamas there is a popular diving site called Champagne Bay. It gets its name from the tiny bubbles that escape from a fumarole – a volcanic vent that seeps gases and mineral rich heated water. The warm water and bubbles make for a beautiful, unique diving experience. From a school of squid to colonies of sponges the area is teeming with life, because of the nutrient rich water, although only the heartiest species can survive close to the actual vent. Fabulous!







Cenotes at Xel-Ha


Cenotes are fresh-water, partially submerged caverns that are interconnected by underground rivers, which eventually connect to the sea. The cenotes at Xel-Ha are some of the most beautiful in the world. Many people kayak, float, swim, and explore the cavernous water features, and dive in the underwater caves. Cenotes were sacred in Mayan culture, providing a source of fresh water, and a place of communion with the gods. The cenotes take thousands of years to form and because of this they are considered a national treasure in Cancún and the Riviera Maya. Amazing!



These 7 wonders offer a small glimpse into the mystery and beauty of our world’s waters. With less than 5% of the ocean explored, and even some lakes remaining largely unsearched, earth’s waters offer a lot to wonder about. If you ever have the chance to explore some of these wonders we recommend you do, after all Sea TREK was invented to bring the beauty of the sea to anyone who can walk and breathe!

Resources:

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/exploration.html

http://www.xenotes.com/origin-of-cenotes.php

http://www.seadominica.com/scuba/champagne.html

http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/plants-and-algae/giant-kelp

http://www.bajainsider.com/baja-california-travel/baja-adventures/diving/divingcabosanlucas.htm

http://www.chaacreek.com/belize-barrier-reef/

http://www.marine-conservation.org.uk/thermalventlife.html

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/undersea-brine-lake

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014's Reef Alliance Day is Saturday, September 20th



Reef Alliance is an ocean conservancy program founded by Sub Sea Systems. Reef Alliance promotes education and conservation efforts by incorporating the message of sustainable diving into Sea TREK guided tours. The health of our business relies on the health of our oceans; we require that every Sea TREK operator and Sea TREK Guide take the Reef Alliance pledge.

The Reef Alliance Pledge says:


  •  Reef Alliance members will be committed to educating others, sharing their knowledge of eco systems and the importance of reef conservation

  • Reef Alliance members will protect the reef and its creatures from harm

  • Reef Alliance members will be aware of all equipment being used to explore the underwater world, making certain that no physical contact between nature and apparatus can cause any harm

  • Reef Alliance members will recover trash from the sea and recycle whenever possible

  • Reef Alliance members will use proper measures to maintain a healthy reef

  • Reef Alliance members will educate every guest about endangered species, reef conservation, and responsible diving practices

And finally Reef Alliance members pledge:


“It is my responsibility to respect and share the privilege of exploring our ocean realm with each and every guest. I pledge to take only photos and leave only bubbles. I am committed to behavior that assures the least amount of impact on our ecosystem.” 


 In addition to pledging our commitment to the health of the oceans, Reef Alliance members also proactively participate in cleanup programs and educational events around the world.



In 2009 Reef Alliance began hosting and taking part in an annual cleanup and awareness event. Originally, Reef Alliance would stage the event on Earth Day, which falls in April, however in 2011 we began to host our annual cleanup on Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day, which falls in September. Our Sea TREK operators recover trash and debris from their local beach and reefs, while Sub Sea Systems’ corporate headquarters (located in Northern California – hours away from the beach) takes part in cleaning up local parks, rivers and waterways — preventing some trash from ever reaching the sea. We have even hosted an educational project for 5th graders and implemented a conservancy poster design contest.


Being a part of the International Coastal Cleanup has given Reef Alliance a measurable idea of the efforts our members make annually. The trash that is cleaned up is recorded onto data cards by each volunteer, and then collected by Ocean Conservancy. Each year Ocean Conservancy uses the data to create an annual report on the trash in our marine environments. This information is used to educate the public about the problems with waste, and the ways we can prevent trash from entering the sea.

This Saturday, September 20th, marks the 29th annual International Coastal Cleanup. Sea TREK operators worldwide will be participating in local beach and reef cleanup projects. As a thank you to our volunteers, Reef Alliance recognizes the operator who puts forth the best cleanup effort and honors them with the Reef Alliance Award. The criteria for the award includes: the efforts to promote the project, how many people attended, the amount of trash collected and the dedication of the operator and Guides. The last 2 years the award has gone to St. Lucia’s Sea Adventures for outstanding care and effort. Last year, 21 Sea Adventures staff members, friends and volunteers worked from 5am until 6pm collecting more than 1,000 lbs of trash, including: 4 car alternators, 250 oil bottles, and 627 plastic beverage containers. We look forward to seeing this year’s efforts and selecting the 2014 Reef Alliance Award winner.

If you have not signed up for the International Coastal Cleanup — please do. It is happening this Saturday, September 20th. You can find clean up locations here. Or create your own clean up here. Be sure to collect your data and send it into Ocean Conservancy! (Download the form here). If you wish to join Sub Sea Systems' corporate office team in our clean up efforts please email hannah@subseasystems.com ASAP, or meet us at Marshall Gold Discovery State  Park in Coloma at 9am this Saturday.

Send in your project stories and photos to reefalliance@subseasystems.com for a chance to be nominated for this year’s Reef Alliance Award. Watch for the results of the cleanup in an upcoming blog post!
To learn more about Sub Sea Systems and our product divisions please visit www.subseasystems.com


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Friday, September 12, 2014

Radar Takes Over the Blog — Part Two


Recently Radar, the Sea TREK guru, took over our blog and talked about his experiences in Sea TREK training, set up and his travels throughout the last 15 years — ending with his trip to Grand Cayman to set up Dolphin Discovery’s new Dolphin TREK program. If you missed it, read the post here.

Radar is our resident comedian, and we miss his office antics when he’s traveling abroad— but we love to hear his stories when he returns, and now we are sharing them with you!

Most recently Radar set up Dolphin TREK at Geoje Sea World on Geoje Island, South Korea. He shares…

“After I arrived in Busan, South Korea I was taken by car to my hotel. I accidentally dozed off in the car because I had been flying for 24hrs and it was 10 o’clock at night. I woke up to laughter and my driver joking that ‘Nicolas Cage’ fell asleep… My nickname was ‘Nicolas Cage’ the rest of the trip.”      
Radar is on the left


“Busan, South Korea looks very western — the roads and the buildings — but the landscape is more extreme. Cliffs, tunnels, bridges and mountains are more dramatic. Geoje Island used to be a small village, and retained that feel even with Geoje Sea World.”



“The craziest thing about the cultural differences was that I could not get any beef! If I wanted beef I would have to travel very far and pay a LOT! Even the nearest McDonalds was 45 minutes away, and I do not know if they even serve beef!”

“We mostly ate rice, vegetables, and fish, and when we ate we took our shoes off, and sat on the floor.”

“The trainees were very successful, motivated, well-traveled, young people. In Korea they count ages differently, adding on a year — counting the time before they were born— and another year when the ‘New Year’ starts. The trainees were telling me they were between 21 and 23 years old, but in relation to the way we think in the U.S. they are between 19 and 21.”

“Geoje Sea World is a unique location for Sea TREK because it is not in an aquarium. The Dolphin TREK is an experience offered in addition to the shows and encounters. The dolphins and trainers are very relaxed. The pace is different.”



“The biggest challenge was the language barrier. We used a lot of hand signals, drawings, and it took time and patience to make sure that everyone understood exactly what they were meant to do.”

“My favorite part of the trip to Geoje was the belugas. I would walk over to their enclosure and they always came up to say ‘Hi’ to me. I eventually figured out that they didn’t really like me they just thought I had food for them, but they were really cool!”



“On the last day, as my driver was taking me back to the airport, we almost ran out of fuel. We stopped to fill up, and realized the car took propane. We had to drive way out of the way to find a station that had propane, and I was going to miss my flight... Somehow that driver took some tricky back roads, and I was 20 minutes early to the airport!”

“The trip was really quick; I usually get to spend more time with the trainees, but I got sick. I look forward to getting to spend more time next time I visit Korea.”

I hope you enjoyed reading about Radar’s adventures as much as we love hearing about them. Look for the next in the series as Radar sets up Sea TREK in Sanya, China at WuZhiZhou.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Story Behind FunCat® Electric Catamaran


What is a FunCat?

FunCats are chaise-lounge style, electric catamaran boats.  They are designed for side-by-side seating, additional space for small children and an overall capacity of up to 500 pounds. The unique hull design and simple-to-use push button controls allow for expert maneuvering within only a few minutes of use. Dry storage compartments, armrests with cup holders and 3 seat-back positions offer the finest in cruising comfort. FunCat is the ultimate leisure watercraft.  The open view of the horizon past your feet — as you sit next to your loved ones and cruise over rolling waves — is a view you will never forget.  For more information please visit www.funcats.com or call (530) 626-0100.



The History of FunCat

The original design of the FunCat went by the name of “SunCat” and was manufactured by Rave Sports, who primarily produces inflatable water toys. The concept of SunCat was very popular, unfortunately Rave Sports lacked the expertise to build the product for marine environments.  Rental operations loved the product, and it was well received by customers, but ongoing motor and wiring problems resulted in a reputation of unreliability – the SunCats were more known for breaking down.

In 1999 Sub Sea Systems purchased the SunCat product line from Rave Sports and began to redesign the product using the company's extensive knowledge of marine vessel construction. The design was entirely revamped, and the name was changed to “FunCat.” The product was a perfect fit for Sub Sea Systems due to the company’s reach into the aquatic resort market. Not long after acquiring the product line, FunCats began to gradually sell to private owners and rental locations around the world. Although the boats were popular with private customers and commercial rental operators, FunCats remained a very small part of Sub Sea Systems’ business. Remaining in the shadow of semi-submersibles, submersibles, Sea TREK and SNUBA business.



In 2013, Sub Sea Systems embarked on a focused effort to re-design, re-engineer and re-tool FunCat production to meet the market potential. FunCats are proudly manufactured in the USA. The boat’s look, reliability and overall quality continue to be fine tuned with new wiring and control systems, custom-made Mercury Marine motors, grained aluminum frames, a new hull design, a new logo, a number of aesthetic finishes, and a full line of accessories.  Sub Sea Systems’ marketing efforts, which began in 2013 include: a redesigned website, expanded social media presence, direct mailing campaigns, print ads, a new line of promotional materials and a Joint Venture revenue share program. This has resulted in the dramatic expansion of FunCat rental locations, and overall sales. 2014 is already a record-performing year.



FunCats are a unique and innovative product, and 2014 has strengthened the relevance of these boats in the market. As FunCats continue to expand, we’ve broadened our target markets, representatives and distribution network. Below are examples of some of the newer FunCat markets.

The Real Estate Connection 

FunCat has partnered with real estate agents and agencies to promote home sales on the water. FunCat’s are a perfect selling tool for waterfront homes. The FunCat allows interested homebuyers to drive themselves around the water— on the living, social side of the community— giving the potential homeowner the feeling of what it would be like to live in a waterfront neighborhood. The FunCat can also incentivize home sales by being included with the purchase of a new home. Contact Sub Sea Systems if you are a real estate agent interested in FunCats as a selling tool.



Business Opportunities — Joint Ventures & Dealers

FunCat business opportunities are just a phone call away. We offer opportunities for businesses to conduct FunCat rentals under a low-cost joint venture with Sub Sea Systems— for more details click here. We are also looking for FunCat resellers (click here for details), and we are open to FunCat sales representatives in select areas and communities. Please contact Sub Sea Systems if you are interested in these opportunities at info@funcats.com or (530) 626-0100.



You can expect to see FunCats at commercial operations, resorts, and homes worldwide.

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