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.

Subscribe to our Blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Independence Day Across the Globe

In the U.S., when we think of Independence Day, we think of fireworks, barbeques, and celebrating our history as an independent country. But what many may not realize is that other forms of Independence Day are celebrated across the globe. In fact, over 100 countries and territories have some sort of commemoration honoring their independence or statehood! Most countries observe their respective independence days as national holidays, with unique events and activities that embrace culture and tradition.

El Grito

Mexico, September 15 &16
Mexicans honor the first proclamation of independence in 1810, at the onset of Mexico's (then New Spain's) 10-year war with Spain. The celebration begins at 11 p.m. on Sept. 15 when the president rings the historic liberty bell. Crowds gather and shout, "El Grito," or "Mexicanos, Viva Mexico!" and sing the National Anthem. This commemorates the call for freedom made by the Catholic priest Hidalgo, who was one of the nation’s leaders during the War of Independence in Mexico. The day is highlighted with rodeos, bullfights, parades, and traditional Mexican dances.

Peru, July 27 & 28
Like the Mexicans, Peruvians begin their celebration on the night before their Independence Day. July 28th commemorates the liberation of Peru from Spain by José de San Martin, the most famous liberator of Latin America aside from the Liberator himself, Simón Bolívar. The following day, July 29th, recognizes the establishment of the Republic of Perú. Together these two days are called Las Fiestas Patrias, and are by far the most important national holidays in Peru. Streets are filled with music and small parties, and the flag of Peru flies from nearly every building. In Lima, the official celebration takes place in Parque de la Muralla, where a huge variety of Peruvian music and dances take place. Official fireworks begin at midnight, and there is an amazing 3-D light show at the Fantasia Fountain in Centro De Lima.

Australia Day

Australia, January 26
Australia Day started as a day of recognition for emancipated convicts and has evolved into what is now a celebration that reflects the nation's diverse people. Extremely popular, this day is observed by more than half of the population. Records of celebration date back to as early as 1808. In Sydney, popular events include a ferry race, a surfing race, and a tall ships race. Fireworks launched from skyscrapers are also common.

kite flying in india

India, August 15
In India, Aug. 15 represents the end of British colonial rule in 1947. The prime minister's speech represents the peak of festivities. Flag-hoisting ceremonies occur in state capitals, schools, and individual homes. Throughout the country, a popular tradition of flying kites has emerged and is actually quite competitive. Children and adults try to make each others’ kites fall to the ground by cutting the strings.

 Kikoys - vibrantly-colored, handwoven cloth

Kenya, December 12
Jamhuri Day is the Kenyan day of Independence, celebrated on the 12th of December each year. Jamhuri is Swahili for ‘republic’, and the day represents two momentous occasions: the day Kenya became a republic and the day the country became free from the United Kingdom.

Many festivals are held which celebrate Kenya’s unique cultural identity. Kenyans dress in traditional outfits that include Kikoys – vibrantly-colored, handwoven cloth that can be wrapped around the waist or the neck, and Kitenges, which are East-African fabrics that women wear as beautiful dresses or headscarves. Kenyans pull out all the stops and fill this day with many traditional foods, songs, and dances that create a resplendent event that definitely honors their country in the best way possible.

Norway, May 17
Norwegian National Day, better known as Syttende mai, marks the signing of Norway’s Constitution. Colorful processions of children march with flags and school banners in festive parades. In the capital city of Oslo, the children pass the Royal Palace, where the royal family will wave to the pint-sized parade participants from the balcony. Another special characteristic that contributes to making Constitution Day unique is all of the beautiful "Bunads" (the traditional Norwegian costumes) worn by local residents. The day is essentially an “eat whatever you want” day. So ice cream, waffles, cakes, hot dogs and other fast foods are consumed.

Costa Rica, September 14 & 15
Costa Rica’s Independence Day commemorates the independence of Central America from Spain, which took place in 1821. The news of the country’s independence reached the nation’s people about a month after the declaration of independence that occurred in Guatemala. This day is celebrated with much joy and cheerfulness.

Even though September 15th is Costa Rica’s official Independence Day, festivities begin on the 14th, with the reenactment of the notification of Costa Rica’s liberation. At exactly 6:00 p.m., national TV and radio stations broadcast Costa Rica’s National Anthem, as the entire country sings along in a burst of patriotism. Following the Anthem, the popular ‘faroles’ parade of homemade lanterns symbolizing the original freedom torch, begins. Children in traditional costumes perform dances as fireworks commence. Typical Costa Rican foods, such as arroz con pollo, tamales, fried yucca, and fried plantains, are available for sale in stands along the roads.

panjat pinang

Indonesia, August 17th
Indonesians recognize their independence from the Dutch and Japanese by decorating their houses and streets with red and white ornaments which represent the colors of Indonesian flags. After the flag ceremonies, the more informal celebrations begin with all kind of competitions taking place, including panjat pinang, a game that requires a tall nut tree, buckets of prizes, and a lot of oil. The trees are positioned vertically with prizes at the top, and are oiled up. Then everyone works together, using each other’s bodies as step stools, to clamber to the top and grab one of the goodies. Climbing the tree symbolizes the effort it took to gain independence.

Other traditions include a multitude of cultural performances, parades, athletic events, and eating Indonesian crackers (known as 'krupuk').

What makes your Independence Day special? Share your traditions with us below!
Continue Reading...

Friday, June 22, 2018

A Day in The Life of ...

OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, Arizona is not just an awesome place to gawk at sea life, learn about conservation efforts, and explore the underwater world, it's also an amazing place to Sea TREK! At OdySea, guests can don Sea TREK helmets, enter a huge tank, and follow a lively, underwater trail. They visit with resident fish and enjoy a whole new subaqueous experience!

Shannon Aldridge makes this underwater opportunity a reality for eager guests. Said Carl Hanson, former Manager and current Director of Sea TREK Water Operations and Safety,"Hiring Shannon was the best decision I've ever made as a manager. She is easily the most efficient and hardest worker I have ever had the opportunity to train. Even after I "abandoned her in the desert", she continues to excel above and beyond her duties as a Sea TREK Manager at Odysea Aquarium."

odysea shannon and carl

We interviewed Shannon and talked with her about a day in the life of a Sea TREK Dream Maker!

Q: What is your job title?

S: I am the SeaTREK Manager at OdySea Aquarium.

Sea Trek Manager Shannon

Q: What got you interested in this kind of work?

S: I grew up in a small town in the middle of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid NY, so naturally I loved the outdoors, but I did not have much exposure to the ocean, so I was always fascinated by it. Going to school, I quickly realized I loved math and science, so in 5th grade, I decided I wanted to become a Marine Biologist. I attended Nova Southeastern University for Marine Biology, with a minor in Marine Ecology, and I began my SCUBA diving career through the academic diving program. About a year after graduation, I was presented with the opportunity to apply for the SeaTREK Supervisor position here at OdySea, and I figured, why not?! The job description had a good combination of working with marine life, as well as dive safety and conservation  perfect!

Shannon at Odysea

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

S: I honestly can say there is no “typical day” for me! The amount that I have learned from this job just in the last two years is incredible! I did not expect to know half of what I know now, and it’s all because I do not have a typical work day. One day, I might be working with SeaTREK guests all day, the next I could be doing maintenance dives for hours, followed by a day full of animal procedures or learning new Life Support System techniques. Some days, I spend my entire day working on my computer!

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

S: The entire OdySea Aquarium family! I work with such amazing, talented and driven individuals, it is truly inspiring. The knowledge that comes from all areas of operation, whether it be aquarists, mammal staff, educators, guest relations... I could go on and on. What's shared between us makes every one of us better, both personally and professionally. One team, one dream!

Penguin dive at OdySea Aquarium

Q: How much time do you get to spend with the animals?

S: A lot of time, which I love! Protecting the amazing organisms that inhabit our world oceans is my goal, so the fact that I get to spend quality time with those very animals is amazing, plus I get to educate others on their importance. Many people believe fishes do not have personalities or feelings for that matter, but they do, and they can be sassy sometimes! Most of them are just aquatic puppy dogs that want love.

Q: How much time do you spend with Sea TREK guests?

Definitely a significant amount of time! As my boss says, I’m a “wet manager” and he means I spend most of my time underwater, instead of at my desk like many other managers. But I prefer it! One of my favorite aspects of being a SCUBA Instructor is taking new divers on their first open water ocean dive and seeing their expressions! I get that same feeling of happiness by seeing SeaTREK guests turn away from the ladder and see our exhibit for the first time!

Odysea Aquarium Skeleton

 Q: What do you do in your spare time?

S: What spare time?! Just kidding! I do work a lot, but with my spare time, I’m typically traveling. Since I grew up in New York, went to university in Florida, and then moved to Arizona, most of my friends are scattered all over the place and I really miss them, so I like to see them whenever I can. If I’m not traveling, I’ll either just relax and watch Netflix, or read, lay by the pool, go to the gym or for a hike, etc.

Q: Anything else you would like to share about your job, or OdySea?

S: OdySea really is an incredible facility full of amazing people, who are ready to make a difference. So, definitely keep an eye out for some additional awesomeness in the future!

Want to visit Shannon and the amazing OdySea Aquarium? Check out

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Celebrating Our Dads!

This Sunday, we’re celebrating our fathers with special memories and recognition of a difficult job well done! Some of the staff members at Sub Sea Systems have shared thoughts on their dads, from setting stellar examples to fun times shared!

But first, a brief history lesson! According to Wikipedia, Father's Day began as the celebration of fatherhood in Catholic Europe, and is known to date back to at least the Middle Ages, It is also recognized as The Feast Day of Saint Joseph, who is referred to as the fatherly Nutritor Domini ("Nourisher of the Lord") in Catholicism and "the putative father of Jesus" in southern European tradition. Father’s Day was introduced to the Americas by the Spanish and Portuguese, and was not celebrated in the US, outside of Catholic traditions, until the 20th century!

SSS employees were eager to talk about their Dads. Here’s what they had to say about their closest male mentors:

Keenan, FunCat Product Director
“My Pop is the most talented, hardest-working man I know. One of the most stubborn, but the best father, friend and role model a son could ever possibly ask for. One of the most important things my pop has ever taught me is there is no such thing as the word “CAN’T.”

"A man is only as good as his word” would be another often-used Jim Mayfield quote.

Keenan and Jim Mayfield
Keenan and Jim
Christina, Graphic Design Dept. Manager
Christina’s Dad obviously has a very unique spirit! “My Dad is a hard-working man with all kinds of jokes to tell, followed with a very distinct laugh.  He’s from Chicago and would often sing a song to me about his hometown. It goes a little like this…

Chicken on the track
And the train wouldn’t go.
That’s why they called it Chi-Ca-Go!”

Christina and Richard
Terrie, Web and Social Media Manager
Terrie’s Dad could really fish…and cure the common cold! She revealed, “My fondest memories of my Dad revolve around fishing! We would go deep- sea fishing on my uncle’s massive boat. We’d catch flounder and once, a giant lobster! He never made me bait my own hook.

Another great memory of my Dad was when I was a child and had a bad cold. He made a disgusting concoction of lemon juice, garlic, and sugar, and made me eat a big spoonful. It was horrible! But, my cold magically disappeared!

Hannah, Vice President Marketing
To quote Hannah, "In my mind, my Dad is a superhero, with powers that never cease to amaze and inspire me. Strong willed, compassionate, motivated, clever, worldly.. and the list goes on! We’re the best of friends, successful business collaborators, travel partners in crime, and best of all, father and daughter.”
Hannah and Jim
Hannah and Jim
Carl, Director of Water Operations and Safety
Carl told us that his dad was “a very hard-working man! He was up at 5 am every day, and set a great example for me.”  We agree, since Carl is one of the hardest workers here at Sea TREK. We thank Carl’s dad for instilling such a high work ethic!

Kyle, Vice President of Production
Kyle said, “I feel extremely fortunate for the relationship that I have with my father. Our unique family dynamic gives us this wonderful opportunity to work closely together, creating amazing products and exploring equally amazing places around the world. I am grateful for the fond memories we continue to make and thankful for the life skills that I continue to learn.”

Kyle and Jim
Kyle and Jim
Melissa, CFO
Melissa shared, “My father taught me how to thread a worm onto a fish hook, drop it in the still water, sit back and patiently wait for the fish to bite. Maybe that’s a metaphor for life! My father was, in my eyes, a perfect man. He was hardworking, kind, generous, loving, gentle and most importantly, dedicated to his family. “

Do you have fond memories of your Dad, or a favorite Father’s Day tradition? Share them below!

Continue Reading...

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Celebrating World Oceans Day!

World Oceans Day, a global day of collaboration for a better future, is being recognized on June 8th. Coordinated by The Ocean Project, which links individuals and groups from around the world, World Oceans Day celebrates the ocean and promotes steps to protect it. With our waterways facing more threats than ever, this important endeavor works to save our treasured marine environment.

Plastics are a major part of the pollution problems that our waterways face. The Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit that organizes an annual coastal cleanup event in more than 150 countries worldwide, reports that plastic debris makes up around 85 percent of all the trash collected from beaches, waterways and oceans. Plastics harm sea life, and they release potentially toxic chemicals such as bisphenol-A, styrene and phthalates, which can then enter the food chain. A clear example of the impact was recorded in 2008, when researchers with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation found that fish are ingesting plastic fragments and debris. Of the 672 fish caught during a single voyage, 35% had ingested plastic pieces. Researchers at the Foundation documented an increase in plastic debris in the Central Pacific Gyre five-fold between 1997 and 2007, where the baseline in 1997 showed plastic pieces outnumbered plankton on the ocean surface.

Partnering with the Youth Advisory Council, The Ocean Project supports conservation and ocean protection endeavors by providing a wide variety of guides, videos and support services for sea lovers who want to hold their own Ocean Day events. (link) The resources available on the World Ocean Day website include thought-provoking posters and downloadable graphics such as “Marine Litter in Numbers” and “Skip a Straw, Save a Sea Turtle”, which offer bright and eye-catching imagery and straightforward messaging.

“This year we are seeing young people step up in huge ways to help lead the charge for positive change,” said Bill Mott, Executive Director of The Ocean Project, which has coordinated World Oceans Day internationally since 2002. “We all need a healthy ocean to survive and young people are increasingly taking action now to conserve and restore this vital resource. With nearly half of the world’s population under age 25, it is imperative to empower young people to step up as leaders at an early age, and engage them in a solutions-oriented approach to ocean conservation.”

You can help keep our oceans free of plastic waste! Here are some things that you can do, that can really make a difference!

Pick up the habit of toting your own to-go container, coffee cup, and shopping bag.

Skip a straw
Americans use 500 million straws daily, which is the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash for every foot of coastline. And although straws amount to a tiny fraction of ocean plastic, their size makes them one of the most insidious polluters because they entangle marine animals and are consumed by fish. So, invest in reusable straws, or skip them altogether.

Stop buying water
Each year, close to 20 billion plastic bottles are tossed in the trash. Carry a reusable bottle in your bag. If you’re nervous about the quality of your local tap water, look for a bottle model with a built-in filter.

Buy in bulk
Single-serving yogurts, travel-size toiletries, tiny packages of nuts—consider the product-to-packaging ratio of items you tend to buy often and select the bigger container, instead of buying several smaller ones over time.

Bring your own garment bag to the dry cleaner
Invest in a zippered fabric bag and request that your cleaned items be returned in it instead of sheathed in plastic.

Wean yourself off disposable plastics
Ninety percent of the plastic items in our daily lives are used once and then chucked: grocery bags, plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, coffee cup lids. Take note of how often you rely on these products and replace them with reusable versions. It only takes a few times of bringing your own bags to the store, silverware to the office, or travel mug to Starbucks before it becomes habit.

Keep our beaches pristine
When you visit the beach, pack out all of your trash and pick up any trash you see during your visit. Better yet, join beach cleanups to help remove trash from our waterways and coasts. Each year, Sub Sea Systems participates in the International Coastal Cleanup via Reef Alliance. You can participate in a local cleanup, or start a cleanup of your own. Learn about opportunities here.

And don’t forget to check out the materials posted on the World Oceans Day website. Share them with family members and friends!

What are you doing to ensure our oceans and waterways stay clear of plastics and pollutants? Tell us below!

Continue Reading...