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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Sea TREK Guide


Sea TREK Guide Anthony St. Lucia

Our Sea TREK Guides are world renowned for their knowledge, humor and patience. They have helped millions of people who do not have any diving experience — and some that do not even have swimming capability — experience the joy of the underwater world.

Each time a Sea TREK Guide takes a novice under the sea they relive the excitement of what it’s like to take a first breath under water. They see the bright eyes and excited smiles every day. Our Guides’ passion for the sea and its creatures is shared with thousands of people everyday around the world. Without our Guides’ patient coaxing some people may have never even experienced what they call “The best moment of my life” or “Unlike anything I have ever done.” Without our Guides’ knowledge of marine life and animal behaviors, millions of people may have missed that moment of swirling sergeant majors, or the feel of the velvety wing of a stingray. Without our Guides’ sense of humor many TREKKERS might have missed the laughter that comes with catching a glimpse of Sea TREK Guides do a choreographed underwater dance or an unbelievable underwater backflip. Sea TREK Guides are one of the most important ingredients in a successful Sea TREK experience. We would like to dedicate this blog to our hundreds of talented and passionate Sea TREK Guides! Below is a brief look into a day in the life of a SeaTREK Guide. What a life!

Sea TREK Guides wake up every day with excitement for their job. Their love of the ocean and everything beneath the surface motivates their routine, as they get ready for their day.

Each workday begins with equipment setup, startup and safety checks. This is a crucial step and one that is performed with attention to detail by each and every Guide. One look at our stellar safety record will confirm that our Guides are good at their jobs!

Sea trek safety air lines


Prior to guests arriving, the Sea TREK helmets, air lines and floating manifold– or PODs or Backpacks– are staged for operations. The air lines are calibrated to the correct air flow rate – aka ‘c.f.m’ (cubic feet per minute); and the emergency air cylinders are double checked to be full.

Guides who use scuba gear setup their BCDs, regs and mask, and stage it at the water entry point– ready to enter the water as soon as the first guest arrives!

When guests arrive at the briefing area they are either presented a video safety briefing, or a verbal safety briefing by one of the Guides. The soon-to-be TREKKERS learn how to properly equalize, communicate with hand signals, and how to walk in the underwater world. Guides answer questions, demonstrate hand signals or equalization techniques, and quell fears and anxieties. They’ve experienced nearly every nervous ‘what if’ question and expertly use humor, eloquence, and knowledge to ease guests into their upcoming adventure.



Once guests are ready to enter the water, Guides (usually in tandem with a Surface Attendant) assist guests down a vertical ladder, where the Sea TREK helmet is placed on the guest’s shoulders. In a feat of perfect timing and strength, the Surface Attendant and Guide work together to get the guest safely beneath the surface without the guest ever feeling the full weight of the 70 lb. helmet.

It is these initial steps down the rungs of the ladder that Guides truly relive their first breaths underwater. Just by looking in the guest’s eyes, the Guide can immediately tell if a guest is thrilled or terrified. If it is the latter, the Guide’s training shines through, as he or she is most likely able to keep 1st timers calm with wit and compassion, and help them descend all the way to the seafloor for the start of the tour.

Sea TREK Guide with 8 year old making hand signal for ok


After repeating the ladder process several more times, the tour is ready to begin! Guides work together to monitor, manage and entertain the guests. They make sure to keep communication open with hand signals and eye contact, and receive the ultimate satisfaction through the smiles on the faces of each TREKKER.

Sea TREK with stingrays


Throughout the tour, Sea TREK Guides facilitate interactions between TREKKERs and sea creatures, all while taking incredible underwater photos.

Happy video of Sea TREK Dancers

Many Guides also perform for our guests, removing their helmets, doing flips, dancing, and creating O-ring bubbles … all for the pleasure of seeing a guest laugh under the sea.

Sea TREK Guides make sure that each guest has a memorable experience and beautiful photographs to commemorate his or her tour.

Sea TREK guide hangs loose with hand signal


After a day of repeating these tours, it’s safe to say Sea TREK Guides spend a lot of time under the sea — smiling. Not a bad job!

Sea TREK Guide Spain


At the end of the day, we’d like to think our Sea TREK Guides smile as they fall asleep, excited for the next day and the new TREKKERS they will introduce to the sea.

Do you love the sea? Want to spend your days beneath the surface, entertaining guests and interacting with sea life? Do you want to be a Sea TREK Guide? Check out our ‘where to’ page to find all of our locations. Click on the www link image for example link and see if any of our operators are hiring.

Do you love the sea, but just want to try Sea TREK? Check out our website at www.sea-trek.com


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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Our Top Ten Picks for Interactive, Water-Related Cruise Excursions


We would like to share our top ten picks for water related shore excursions. Make sure to read all the way to the end for a bonus excursion activity!

FunCat electric catamaran boat cruise excursion


10. FunCat

You can rent a FunCat electric catamaran at many locations throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. The FunCat is a personal, electrically powered, chaise lounge catamaran with armrests and cup holders, a bimini shade and an adjustable seatback. The easy-to-use controls make this leisure watercraft an interactive dream. Even small children can drive the FunCat! Be sure to check out which ports of call offer this one-of-a-kind, relaxing rental. Feel the sea breeze move through your hair as you take a quiet, peaceful afternoon to relax on your own private part of the sea.

Snorkel with turtles cruise excursion

9. Snorkel with Sea Turtles

There are many beautiful creatures in the sea, and snorkeling is a great way to get close and see the colorful underwater world. The slow majesty of giant sea turtles, as they swim right beside you is hard to describe. Many locations boast an abundance of sea turtles, and can almost guarantee you will be snorkeling with the shelled creatures. What an experience — interacting with the wild beauties in their natural habitat! Check out your cruise’s shore excursions and book today!

Swimming with manatees cruise excursion

8. Swim with Manatees 

Manatees — also known as sea cows (because of their largesse and sea grass grazing habits) — are the mellow, gentle giants of the sea. Manatees love warm water, so in temperate ports of call you can see and interact with manatees all year round. The rotund beings seek interaction with people — out of curiosity. Their beauty and unexpected grace make a swim with the manatees a once in a lifetime experience. You will never forget the feel of their giant bodies and whiskered faces as you float in the water among them. Check to see if you can add this to your itinerary — you won’t regret it!

swimming with whale sharks cruise excursion

7. Swim with Whale Sharks

Whale sharks are the true colossuses of the sea. Reaching up to 40 feet in length (or more), and weighing possibly more than 20 tons, the whale shark is the largest living fish on the planet. The mouth of the whale shark is 3 feet wide! Imagine snorkeling next to these massive filter feeding sharks in the turquoise waters off of the coast of Mexico — one of the only destinations in the world that offers such a magnificent interaction. Many cruise lines have ports of call all throughout Mexico. Be sure to find out if your cruise offers an excursion with these gigantic animals.

Stingray interaction cruise excursion

6. Stingray Bay

Coming soon to locations throughout the Caribbean is Stingray Bay — an interactive, educational experience that informs families about these underwater flying creatures. It is the chance of a lifetime to sit in the water with trained stingrays across your lap, as you pet their velvety wings, and feed them. You will watch your loved ones’ eyes sparkle as they snorkel and swim in a beautiful lagoon among the gliding, winged stingrays. Right now the program is offered at Xcaret, but keep looking — this amazing activity will soon be available at many more ports of call.

Sharks interactive cruise excursion

5. Sharks! Interactive

Face your fears! SHARKS! Interactive is an award winning program that allows people to get in the water with trained nurse sharks. These misunderstood creatures strike fear into the hearts of many, but through this educational and interactive program thousands of participants have faced their fears, and learned to respect and appreciate the incredible shark. Imagine sitting in the warm waters of the Caribbean with your family and friends by your side, and taking a photo of a shark resting on your lap! Be sure to look up SHARKS! Interactive and see if the program is available through your cruise.

Sea TREK Cruise Excursion

4. Sea TREK 

Sea TREK is an underwater walking tour that uses patented Sea TREK helmets to allow anyone (non-divers, and even non-swimmers) ages 8 and up to experience the underwater world. With over 40 locations worldwide you can be sure that you will be able to find a place to Sea TREK on one of your shore excursions. Each location is different. Some locations offer aquarium tours, while others allow you to walk on the floor of the sea in open water. Some sites sink boats and planes to build beautiful new reefs, some sites have resident sea creatures that always photo bomb the guests, and all sites have educated, humorous and experienced Guides to make your Sea TREK adventure the best experience of your life. Be sure to check out the Sea TREK website to find a location on your cruise ship itinerary.

Sea TREK with stingrays cruise excursion

3. Sea TREK with Stingrays

You can also Sea TREK with trained stingrays. Imagine the magnificent velveteen animals flying around your head as you walk on the floor of the stingray lagoon. These friendly, social creatures let you pet their slick wings as they swarm around you. This unique interaction will nearly take your breath away! Right now there is only one place in the world that offers this incredible experience, but more locations will be offering Sea TREK with Stingrays in the near future. Check back for updates on new locations!

Shark TREK cruise excursion

2. Shark TREK

Many locations that offer Sea TREK in an aquarium can boast that there are a few sharks in the tank, but Atlantis’ tank takes the cake. With 20 species of sharks and stingrays in the large aquarium you can be sure you will be immersed in shark infested waters. The experience is thrilling; and as you watch the sharks swim directly in front of you, you can also watch as people slide through the tank in two different waterpark slides. You feel a part of the exhibit as you show off your fearlessness during this incredible Shark TREK! Book this tour today!

Dolphin TREK cruise excursion

1. Dolphin TREK

Dolphin TREK is a Sea TREK experience that offers a truly unique and memorable dolphin interaction. Because our Sea TREK helmets are so accessible — Dolphin TREK provides interactions with dolphins underneath the water (in their own environment) to anyone; including people who may not have diving experience or even know how to swim. Imagine feeling the rush of water as one of these intelligent creatures shoots past you and jumps 20 feet above your head! You can even direct the dolphins with specific hand signals to barrel roll, sing or even pose for an underwater kiss photo! There is nothing that compares to playing with a dolphin face-to-face in their underwater world. We have several Dolphin TREK locations at various ports of call, and will be offering more in the near future. Add this fantastic experience to your itinerary today!

Bonus!


Clear Lounge Cruise Excursion

Clear Lounge

Clear Lounge is the newest, most groundbreaking, water-related experience! Set to open in February 2015 at Carnival Cruise Line’s port, Puerta Maya, in Cozumel, Mexico, Clear Lounge is an achievement in innovation and engineering. Clear Lounge is the world’s 1st underwater oxygen bar and photo booth that offers guests a whole body, multi-sensory experience. Outfitted with a transparent Sea TREK helmet, participants will descend a ladder into a state-of-the-art aquarium lounge where they will breathe aromatherapy infused oxygen, play with bubble guns and underwater tablets, dance to an underwater sound system, and pose for the most unique photo booth pictures complete with props and a video wall backdrop. After guests have felt the effervescent bubbles, heard the music, and breathed the scented O2, they will have the opportunity to download their photos and reenergize with an oxygenated smoothie! If you will be travelling on a Carnival Cruise, do not miss the opportunity to visit the world’s only underwater oxygen bar– ClearLounge Cozumel!

We look forward to hearing about all your underwater adventures… Happy Cruising!

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Radar Takes Over the Blog — Part Three


Sea TREK would not be what it is today without Radar; and we love to hear, and share stories from his world travels setting up Sea TREK locations. If you have not read the previous installments of Radar Takes over the blog be sure to check out (Part One) & (Part Two).

Radar’s most recent trip took him to Wuzhizhou — a small island near Hainan in China. Located in Haitang Bay in the South China Sea, Wuzhizhou is known for its beauty. Boasting a wealth of tropical vegetation, pristine clear blue seas, white sand beaches, coral reefs, and a plethora of sea creatures, Wuzhizhou is a very popular travel destination.

The island, often referred to as “Lover’s Island,” is steeped in history and shrouded in folklore. One such legend tells of a young fisherman who was washed ashore by a storm. Being on an uninhabited island he was surprised to meet a beautiful girl. The young fisherman and the girl fell in love, and soon she moved to his home off of the island. The girl’s father was the Dragon King, and when he found out about her affair he returned her to Wuzhizhou and locked her away. Her lover found a way to the island and the girl managed to escape to meet him, but as they were leaving Wuzhizhou the Dragon King caught them. In his anger he turned the lovers into two large stones that stand on the island, silently facing each other. Ever since then Wuzhizhou has become a popular meeting place for lovers who take an oath of devotion to one another.



Due to Wuzhizhou's popularity, and its gorgeous waters with vibrant marine life, it’s the perfect location for a Sea TREK site. Sea TREK Wuzhizhou (now open) offers the first open water Sea TREK in China!

Radar travelled to Wuzhizhou in September to install the Sea TREK system and train Guides; however, as always, his trip was filled with quirky adventures. His flight to Shanghai went without hitch and he stayed in a beautiful hotel. Unfortunately, the next day his flight from Shanghai to Sanya was postponed 7 hours, and then cancelled until the following day. No one spoke English and Radar was bussed to a hotel with all of the other passengers — with no information regarding why the flight was cancelled. Eventually, he learned that there was a hurricane over Wuzhizhou, and his plane would not have been able to land. The following day he nearly missed his flight. Only after Radar noticed that all of the other passengers had left for the airport on a shuttle — did he realize (being the only English-speaking passenger) that he had not been notified of the new morning flight schedule. He had to bribe a hotel desk clerk to give him a ride to the airport. After running through security and catching the plane, he finally landed in Sanya.

From Sanya, Radar took shuttles and ferries to reach Wuzhizhou. “It was very interesting to travel through some of the old tunnels that were built when the island was a Naval and Army fort; the old systems have been incorporated for use in the tourism industry that now thrives on Wuzhizhou,” explained Radar, “The island is beautiful — with high seas and hot weather from the hurricane — and lots of greenery, it is a tropical paradise.”



Finally, Radar arrived and was able to review the designated Sea TREK platform and dive site. Yet, once he arrived he realized that the Sea TREK site was not even finished being built — he would have to build the infrastructure from the ground up. Thankfully there was plenty of help, and the crew was able to get the job done… and, not only did they get it done, but the site was built perfectly! Radar was able to finish the system installation and train all the staff before the deadline.



In every one of Radar’s stories we always hear about exotic food, and local eating customs. Each culture is different, and China is no exception. During Radar’s stay he explored a number of local restaurants on his own, but one evening he went out to eat with Mr. Yong Li (WuZhiZhou’s representative). Radar noticed that the waiter brought out tea and a small bowl. Yong proceeded to fill the bowl with tea and rinse his chopsticks, cup, and spoon in the boiling liquid. Radar asked what he was doing, and Yong said, “Do your own dishes!” Apparently Radar should have been doing this all along, but did not know until that day! Oops!

During their meal, Radar enjoyed delicious food, and also discovered some interesting ingredients in the dishes. “They do not waste anything in their culture,” explained Radar. Photos of food from his trip confirmed this– “I’m pretty sure that’s a chicken’s foot,” he says, as he points to an indiscernible object on his dinner plate.



Radar also experienced interesting company along the way – from two German women who bought him coffee during the long flight delay, to a Chinese mother and daughter who hitched a ride with him to the airport. Although he found it easy to make new friends, it wasn’t always easy communicating with them. Radar shares, “No one spoke English, and after 12 days I was starved for conversation. I found out about a local pub that was known for English speaking regulars… and fish and chips! I was able to have a few beers, some good food and exchange stories with some friendly Australians,” shared Radar.



Overall, “this trip was long, challenging, and full of surprises… but that is what I love!” says Radar.

We thank you Radar for your hard work, and crazy stories! We can’t wait to share more as you continue your worldly travels.


Next, Radar will being doing his annual site visits to our Mexican and Caribbean locations… including the new site in Curacao and the installation of the 1st Clear Lounge in Cozumel. Subscribe to be sure you get that blog post when it comes out!


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