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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Don't Be Scared...It's Only Día de los Muertos!

In the U.S., kids are getting ready for a beloved October holiday, where they can dress up as their favorite super hero, princess, or scary ghoul. Halloween has an ancient history that started with the Celts over 2,000 years ago, and has transformed into a celebration of all things creepy, yet fun. Who would think up a holiday where one would decorate with spiders and cobwebs?

Day of the Dead Art

In Mexico and Puerto Rico, the celebration has some similarities, but also has some distinct differences. Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated throughout Mexico, particularly in the Central and Southern regions, and Puerto Rico. This multi-day holiday has a rich history, which dates all the way back to the Spanish colonization in the 16th century!


Día de los Muertos is a celebration of death as just another stage of life, and not to be feared.  Rather than mourn the dead, Día de los Muertos celebrates with joy and positivity.  Altars, or “ofrendas”, created in memory of friends and family who have passed on, are decked out with offerings, gifts, and decorations that reflect the personalities of those celebrated. Ofrendas also feature salt, water and traditional Mexican dishes to nourish the departed souls who are being welcomed back home for this holiday. Festive colors, floral wreaths and brightly colored marigolds often decorate each unique ofrenda.

La Calavera Catrina
La Calavera Catrina

Skeletons and skull figurines called “calaveras” are staples of Día de los Muertos decor, and are accented with bright colors and flowers, to demonstrate how death can be beautiful. The famous skull figure, La Calavera Catrina, is an iconic element of Día de los Muertos. Her design reflects a female skull dressed in brightly hued costume, which blends cultural traditions with the legendary artwork of artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. Today, La Calavera Catrina is an exquisite and meaningful element of the holiday's decorations and commemoration. Some celebrants even apply skull-inspired makeup to evoke the appearance of La Calavera Catrina.

In Puerto Rico, a traditional parade called “Paseo de las Animas”, or Parade of Souls, is a large part of Day of the Dead celebration. Each year, hundreds of costumed participants journey from the general cemetery to San Juan Park. Along the route, they visit 130 different altars while enjoying music, food, and theater performances. This tradition is also celebrated in Merida, Mexico and is considered a high point of travel to the area. The weeklong festival brings in tens of thousands of travelers who participate in the jubilant celebration. Visitors can walk the parade route, or enjoy traditional dishes such as pollopibil, a special seasoned chicken tamale wrapped in banana leaves and cooked underground.

dia de los muertos
Dia de los Muertos Celebrants

Have you participated in Día de Los Muertos? Share your experience below!
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Part 3, Get to Know Sub Sea Staff!

We continue our series, "Get to Know Sub Sea Staff" by introducing a new, yet perhaps familiar face! Carl Hanson is new to the Sub Sea Systems team, but he has been a member of our "family" for some time. Hailing from the waters of OdySea Aquarium, Carl has had his flipper print in Sea TREK experiences for quite awhile, and has even been mentioned in past blog posts! We asked Carl a few questions about his experience and his upbeat personality shines through his responses:

What is your job title?
My job title is Sea TREK, Director of Field Operations and Safety

What got you interested in your career choice?
I have always had a love for animals from watching The Crocodile Hunter as a child. Once I got a job caring for animals, I learned I really enjoyed working with people and bringing them into my underwater world. When Sea TREK came to Miami Seaquarium, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I was able to show people (many for the first time) how humans can interact with such magnificent creatures. 

How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
To someone I just met describing my job is so difficult, I’d pull up the sea TREK website or youtube page on my phone and say, “I teach people how to do that”. If I wanted to be fancy I would say, my job is to provide knowledge regarding safe helmet diving operations worldwide, and to provide the operators with the equipment and training necessary to fully operate a Sea TREK tour. 

What is your favorite part of the job?
It’s not work if you love what you do. My favorite part of this job is that it doesn’t feel like work. I have the opportunity to travel the world and meet people from so many places and backgrounds. On top of that, I get to go underwater and teach people how to have fun.

What do you do in your spare time, away from work?
In my spare time, I love to work out. I have been a competitive athlete my entire life, so I enjoy watching sports. Anything from American football to curling, (yes, the winter Olympic sport where they slide a rock on some ice). My friends live all over the country, so I spend time with them playing video games online.

What is the weirdest/scariest/funniest underwater encounter you’ve experienced?
Weirdest underwater encounter would be when I was asked to a high school prom while guiding a tour. It was weird because I had to figure out what she was trying to say since no one could talk underwater.

Scariest underwater encounter was when I accidentally swam with bull sharks. I was recovering a trap that some fisherman had cut loose, I was not aware it was bull shark season in the area. Around 20 meters from the exit point heading back in I saw the shark fin pop up out of the water about 1 meter in front of me. When I made it to shore I realized I never let the trap go, so everybody won!

The funniest underwater encounters happen often. It is when I am diving Sea TREKs and the guests don’t realize you can hear them while on SCUBA. They sing, scream, talk to themselves, and say some of the craziest things.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
The best advice I have ever received was, “Nothing in this life will ever be given to you, you need to earn it.” That drove me to accomplish what I have so far, and what will continue to push me going forward.

Know Any good diving jokes?
I know a few diving jokes.
-What happens when you cross a shark with a snowman? You get frostbite!
-Why do mermaids wear sea-shells? Because b-shells are to small and d-shells are to big.
-What be a pirates favorite letter? “Arghh!" (if they say R, "ye think it be R but it really be the sea!”… if they say R or C, “Aye!” Its a triple threat answer, you can never go wrong).

Beer or wine?
Beer - cheap beer, nothing fancy just give me a Miller.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

(Trick or) Treat Yourself

At Sub Sea Systems, we love to offer up tips and tricks on how to save money when traveling. From valuable points programs to dining discounts, we’ve clued you in on how to have a great vacation without bruising your wallet.

But what about those no holding back, extravagant trips that we all deserve to experience at least once in a lifetime?  If you’re ready to travel without considering the price tag, we’ve got some ideas for you! When money is no object, consider one of these outstanding options.

Privacy to The Max
Want to get away from the crowds? How about an island of your own! Private Islands, Inc. offers over 200 island rentals from Tanzania, Africa to Ontario, Canada. Sip champagne on your private beach, or take in amazing views without tripping over other travelers. Check out Gladden Island in the British Virgin Islands. For a mere $2,950 per couple per night, your all-inclusive stay will include meals prepared by a gourmet chef, fine wines, spa treatments and helicopter transfers to and from the island.

“Rich” History
For just $1,400 a night (top suites at $5,000 per night), the Villa d’Este in Como, Italy is a true luxury hotel. Steeped in history, the hotel was built by a Renaissance Cardinal, and was once the home of an English Queen! This 5-star Eden, with its incredible views of Como Lake, boasts two palaces. Each of the 152 rooms is decorated with antiques, rich velvets and luxurious marble. Visit the hotel’s sporting club for a round of electronic golf, or hang out at the unique pool that floats on the lake!

Regent Seven Seas Suite

Costly Cruising
If cruising is on your agenda, consider the luxurious ship, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer. This suites-only ship features indulgent touches, such as marble and stone bathrooms, rainfall showers, European Sleep Slumber beds and high-end linens. You’ll be in the lap of luxury in the ship's Regent Suite, which is a mind-blowing 2,917 square feet and features a 958-square-foot wraparound balcony. The master bedroom highlights a gorgeous Savoir Bed (price tag, an estimated $90,000 plus another $60,000 in linens), and the separate living area includes a $250,000 Steinway piano. Two Picasso paintings hang just outside the suite. Your personal butler will see to your every comfort. Enjoy blue lobster tail at Chartreuse, then, visit the ship’s indulgent spa for a top-dollar massage. All of your shore excursions are included, so you can explore one of the 16 ports the ship reaches, including Lima, Peru (approx. $11,000 per person); or sail in luxury from Venice to Barcelona, (approx.$15,000 per person). 

Glamping It Up
Camping can be glamorous if you’ve got a big budget! Take in a concert at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio, California, then slumber in a safari tent, thanks to Marriott Hotels. Camping takes on a whole new meaning when your tent is air conditioned, and included private showers and concierge service.  For all the comforts, you’ll pay a mere $7,995 per night!

Hugh Hefner's Sky Villa

Live it Up Like A Playboy (or Girl)
If Vegas calls, you can live like a high roller by resting your head in Hugh Hefner’s Sky Villa at the Palms Casino. Complete with a personal glass elevator, this 9,000-square-foot, two-level palace features jaw-dropping highlights such as a private balcony overlooking the Strip. When you tire of your own private, glass-enclosed pool you can hang out in the private media room, which includes three TVs, a DVD player, multi-speaker system and Creston control system. Or, relax after a night at the tables in in the $700,000 Jacuzzi, or rotating bed. At $34,000 per night, you’d better hit a lucky streak. 

Regal Abode
At $83,200 a night, the Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson in Geneva is the most expensive hotel room in the world. The suite, which is 18,000 square feet, houses four bedrooms, multiple living rooms, a library and a dining room that seats 26 people. A private chef and butler are at your service. Inside the suite you’ll find a billiards room, a Jacuzzi, a Steinway grand piano, and a $130,000, 103-inch Bang & Olufsen flatscreen TV. Host a meeting in the  “royal boardroom” or lounge on your own private 1,680 square foot terrace, which includes a telescope in case the panoramic views of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc. If your worried about security for your pocket change, you will rest easy knowing that this opulent suite is equipped with bullet-proof windows, armored doors and a human-sized safe.

What was your most extravagant travel experience? Tell us below!

Terrie Carrozzella is the Web Designer & Social Media Manager for Sub Sea Systems. Want to contact Terrie about Sea TREK helmet diving, Clear Lounge underwater oxygen bar, or FunCat electric catamarans? Email her here!

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Diving Helmet History

At Sub SeaSystems, we’re proud of the history and innovation that allows just about anyone to explore underwater. Our Sea TREK helmets are utilized in treks across the world and in the fun and funky Clear Lounges in Cozumel and Kuwait. Hundreds of thousands of people each year don a Sea TREK helmet and head into a new and exciting adventure!

But, our helmets were not the first utilized by daring thrill seekers. For centuries, many iterations of the diving helmet were used around the world!

Halley Diving Bell

Edmond Halley created the first-known diving helmet in the late 17th century. The bell-shaped helmet drew air from a larger bell, which was dropped into the ocean. Air trapped inside this larger bell was fed to the diver through a tube. However, the air supply needed to be replenished with air in barrels sent from the surface and juggled by the diver, making it difficult to remain underwater. A few other attempts to create a suitable diving helmet were made throughout the 17th century, with mixed results, including one design that utilized an airtight wooden barrel.

Brothers Charles and John Deane produced the first successful diving helmet in the 1820s. The initial purpose for the helmet was actually not for underwater use, but for firemen to utilize in smoke-filled areas. This helmet, made of copper, had an attached, flexible collar and long leather hose. The hose supplied air via bellows. A short pipe allowed breathed air to escape. The original patent for this design was sold to a British engineer, Augustus Siebe. However, the brothers did not give up on their product. In 1828, they produced another version of the helmet and remarketed it as a “diving suit” for underwater salvage workers. In 1834, Charles used his diving helmet and suit in a successful attempt to recover items from a shipwreck.

Siebe's Diving Helmet

Meanwhile, Augustus Siebe produced his own design; a helmet fitted to a full-length watertight diving suit. The unique feature to this equipment was a valve in the helmet. The closed diving suit was connected to an air pump on the surface. This version is considered to be the very first functional suit.

Fast forward to the 1900’s, where diving suits and helmets took a “futuristic” turn. Aluminum, which was quickly recognized for its superior properties, began to appear in diving suit and helmet designs. In 1911, Chester E. Macduffee created a 550lb diving suit that was successfully used at a depth of 213 feet. The suit was not watertight, however, and required a water pump to remove water from the leg sections.

The 550 lbs. Macduffee aluminum alloy suit 1911 (courtesy, Reddit)

Free-flowing Air
Production started on the Desco “air hat” in 1968 and production on this model continues today. The Desco is a metal free-flow helmet, with a simplistic design, making it popular for shallow-water operations and hazardous materials diving. The Desco is secured to the diver by means of a "jock strap" which runs between the legs, and its buoyancy can be fine-tuned by adjusting intake and exhaust valves.

DESCO Commercial Diving Helmet
The Sea TREK helmet, developed by Sub Sea Systems in 1998, was the first helmet in history to use lighter weight, modern materials such as fiberglass, acrylic and stainless steel. Like the Desco helmet, Sea TREK also uses free-flow air supply and is intended for shallow water use. Unlike previous helmets, however, the Sea TREK helmet features a look and design never before seen; it has sleek lines, a glistening white finish, acrylic lens, and overall futuristic aesthetic. It’s friendly and approachable – which was the company’s strategy as it targets the consumer tourism market, especially families, kids, non-divers and non-swimmers. 

Sea TREK helmet
Sea TREK continues to be the world leader in recreational helmet diving. The helmets are now injection molded out of a nearly indestructible material, and components such as the lens, seal, air input mechanism, and air flow calibration continue to evolve with the latest technology. The Sea TREK guided touring program is offered on 5 continents, 25+ countries, at more than 50 destinations… and holds the record for introducing the highest number of non-divers and non-swimmers to the magic of walking and breathing underwater!

Interested in discovering more about the history of diving helmets and other underwater equipment? Check out the History of Diving Museum in Islamorada, Florida.

And, check out the “Deane” diving helmet from 1828 – on display for the public for the first time in history at the DivingMuseum in Hampshire, UK. 

Want to don your own helmet and take a TREK underwater? Check out our Sea TREK locations here! Or visit a Clear Lounge and enjoy family-friendly, underwater activities!

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