Apr 262012
 

It seems like more and more webcams are popping up each day.  Sure, you can bookmark all of them, but then you end up with a long, cumbersome lineup of bookmarks that make it difficult to find anything.  So, we’ve come up with a solution for the webcam lovers of the world.  Now you can bookmark only one page, and it’s here at Reeftraveler.

arubacam Tropical Webcams Around the World

Bucuti Beach Webcam, Aruba

We’ve compiled a list of the most amazing tropical webcams from around the world.  From Fiji, to the Caribbean, to Costa Rica to Kenya – our favorites are here on one page.

cam2 Tropical Webcams Around the World

Webcam View of Peter Bay, St. John from www.villavacations.net

And here’s a little tip for webcam newbies, if you click on the link and all you see is black, it is dark in that area of the world.  Check back in a few hours.

bora Tropical Webcams Around the World

Bora Bora Lagoon Webcam

Do you know of any tropical webcams to add to our page?  If so, Email us at reeftraveleronline@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post.

Apr 032012
 

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many amazing dive and snorkel destinations.  From the Indian Ocean, to the South Pacific to the turquoise Caribbean, each tropical island has its own unique vibes, sights, scents and sounds.  But there’s one place that lures me back time and again.  Once I exit the plane and descend the staircase into the shining sun, I know I am “home”.  I’m referring to the US Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. John – home of powdery white beaches, sparkling turquoise waters, lush green mountains and perfect painkillers.

We often stay at Secret Harbour Beach Resort on St. Thomas.  Secret Harbour appeals to us for many reasons, but first among them is the welcoming on-site dive shop, Aqua Action, expertly run by owners Sam and Diane.  From a diver and snorkeler’s point of view, both Sam and Diane possess the qualities that make a dive shop owner / divemaster truly excellent – patience, friendliness, safety consciousness, concern for the environment and a desire to make every customer happy.

Beach at Secret Harbour 1024x818 Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

Secret Harbour Beach

Sunset at Secret Harbour 1024x717 Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

Sunset at Secret Harbour

STT Surgeonfish 923x1024 Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

Secret Harbour Sealife – Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

I recently had the chance to interview Sam and Diane about their work with disabled divers and snorkelers.

Reeftraveler (RT):  Tell me how you became involved in helping divers with physical disabilities?

Aqua Action (AA):  The previous owner of our shop, Carl Moore, was an HSA (Handicapped SCUBA Association) Dive Instructor, and was very active with taking people with physical disabilities diving and snorkeling.  That sounded to us like a wonderful thing to do, and once we took over ownership, I too became an HSA instructor.

RT:  What sorts of unique challenges do divers with disabilities face, and how can you help them overcome them?

AA:  The most obvious is the physical immobility. We take both paraplegics and quadriplegics out, but we also take people with vision and hearing impairments, so the challenges each diver or snorkeler faces are unique.  For those with physical limitations, we have a beach wheelchair that we use to get them in and out of the water, and we have a great staff that love helping out!

AAs Beach Wheelchair Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

Many people with disabilities are used to depending on equipment and other people for their mobility, and so are very comfortable with the changes and challenges that diving presents. They are used to facing challenges everyday, and diving is just one more hurdle to overcome. And in many people, no matter what their abilities, it’s about facing the same challenge – entering the unknown!

We also have a boat that is very open and accessible, and our dive shop is recognized as an accessible facility by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors).  The resort itself (Secret Harbour Beach Resort) is also very accessible – right above our shop are several handicapped-accessible rooms, so our entire operation is geared to helping the physically challenged get on and into the water!

Aqua Action Dive Boat 1024x829 Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

Aqua Action Dive Boat

Das Puffenfish 1024x747 Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

Pufferfish Seen on Dive with Aqua Action – Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

Crabby 1024x819 Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

Crab Seen on Dive with Aqua Action – Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

RT:  Can you teach physically challenged individuals to snorkel as well as dive?

AA:  Yes, we take many physically challenged folk out snorkeling – more often than we do diving, in fact.

Night Snorkel 1024x682 Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

Night Snorkeling at Secret Harbour – Photo by Mr. Reeftraveler

RT:  What has been the most rewarding aspect of working with disabled divers?

AA:  The pure joy we see once people enter the water.  In many cases it’s something they thought they might never do, and it’s amazing to see their faces light up once they realize that they are doing it!  For me, it’s the feeling of trust I see develop between my diver/snorkeler and me – it’s a very personal thing, and very rewarding.

AA Photo Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

RT:  How can those with physical disabilities get more information about learning to dive?

AA:  All of the major dive training agencies (e.g., PADI, NAUI, SDI, SSI) make considerations and have alternative methods for those with challenges to meet training standards and get certified. Plus, there are several dive training agencies that specialize in certifying divers that can’t meet those standards to still be able to dive with specially trained dive “buddies”:

Handicapped SCUBA Association

Disabled Diver International

International Association for Handicapped Divers

More About Aqua Action

Aqua Action is a PADI 5-Star Snorkel and Dive Center located on beautiful St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands! Our focus is on custom-tailored SCUBA and snorkeling trips, individual training, and small, fun groups of people! We are located at Secret Harbour Beach Resort, near Red Hook, on the southeast end of St. Thomas. We offer beach chairs, kayaks, paddle boats, stand-up paddleboards, snorkeling (the best on St. Thomas!), a beautiful white sand beach and a beach side bar and bistro. We also have a fully stocked store and gift shop, with a wide assortment of souvenirs, snacks and refreshments. Plus, we are the only HSA (Handicap SCUBA Association) Certified Dive Center on St. Thomas, with specialized programs for divers and snorkelers with physical challenges! Come visit us and experience the vacation of a lifetime!

More about the owners, Sam and Diane

Sam and Diane Photo Helping Divers & Snorkelers with Disabilities   An Interview with Aqua Action Dive Center

About Diane 

Diane is an SDI/TDI Divemaster and PADI Assistant Instructor. She is also an attorney and owned her own law firm in Cleveland, Ohio before moving to St. Thomas. She specialized in Domestic Relations and Constitutional Law, so when diving with Diane, you’ll ALWAYS have a shark in the water!!!

She finally got tired of the stress of the courtroom and pressed the “escape” button on her computer and ended up in St. Thomas with her husband Sam. She and Sam have never regretted the move for a moment.

About Sam

Sam is a PADI Master Instructor, an SDI/TDI Dive Instructor and an HSA (Handicapped SCUBA Association) Instructor.  He is also certified as a Primary and Secondary Care Instructor/Trainer by the Emergency First Response Corporation. He has been an avid SCUBA diver for 15 years, diving in such diverse locations as the Red Sea, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, and the Great Lakes (Lake Erie). He holds a USCG (United States Coast Guard) 50-ton Master’s License, with both Inland and Near Coastal routes. During the summer months in Cleveland, Ohio (where he is from) he captained the Express and the Linda Mae, 36′ and 40′ Lake Erie charter dive and fishing boats owned and operated by Discovery Dive Charters, located in Wildwood Marina in the Cleveland Lakefront State Park.

When not in the water, Sam served as Director of Engineering for the VAC Division of Multi-Dimensional Imaging, the Medical Device division of the Healthview Center for Preventive Medicine. Prior to that, he spent 20 years working on and leading teams designing CT (Computed Tomography) systems for Philips Medical Systems.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Cleveland State University and a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Case Western Reserve University with an emphasis in Networking. He is also an IT (Information Technology) Specialist, with several certifications from Microsoft and CompTIA.

Contact Aqua Action

Secret Harbour Beach Resort

6501 Red Hook Plaza, #80

St. Thomas, USVI  00802

Phone & FAX: (888) 775-6285 or (340) 775-6285

E-mail: sam@aadivers.com

Website: www.aadivers.com

Book Now at www.aadivers.com/reservations

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