What could a college lacrosse player, an IT executive, a pharmaceutical products representative, a horse trader, a fishing-lodge owner, a couple of retirees, a Native American tribal administrator, a U.S. Navy sonar expert and nearly a dozen other people possibly have in common?
Well, a love of diving, for one.
And a passion for shipwrecks, for another.
Scuba was the universal language for a mixed bag of adventurers who descended on 9 Beaches Bermuda earlier this year for the first-ever Sport Diver "Get Wrecked in Bermuda" continuing-education event. They enjoyed three days of diving with PADI Gold Palm 5-Star IDC Blue Water Divers and PIRA member Triangle Diving, lunched with Bermuda diving legend Teddy Tucker, enjoyed tours of both the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute and the Bermuda Maritime Museum (the latter led by Dr. Ed Harris, director of the museum), and became the first group ever to earn the PADI Wreck Historian Distinctive Specialty certification a feat that combined wreck diving and shipwreck mapping with onshore research excursions.
The trip was co-led by Sport Diver executive editor Tom Morrisey and distinguished wreck expert Thomas L. Farnquist, director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. Farnquist gave two lectures on shipwreck topics, illustrated with videos and side-scan-sonar images. The lectures included a recap of the expedition to remove the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald, and insights into some of the advanced technologies being employed by wreck hunters and wreck divers today.
During free time, participants shopped in Bermuda's famous Royal Dockyards and historic St. George's, went sightseeing, and enjoyed the contents of swag bags that included autographed copies of Daniel and Denise Berg's Bermuda Shipwrecks and Tom Morrisey's Bermuda-based novel Dark Fathom, Teddy Tucker maps and DVDs, carryalls and daypacks from the Bermuda Department of Tourism, and more. At least two participants got certified as wreck divers during the trip, and one obtained his Master Scuba Diver certification.
Participants emerged from the experience with seven different Bermuda shipwreck certificates in their portfolios, address books full of new diving friends and broad smiles. At the gala farewell dinner, the most frequently asked question was, "What are the dates for next year?"
We'll answer that soon in an upcoming issue of Sport Diver.
Caradonna Dive Adventures is the official dive travel specialist for Bermuda. For additional information on year-round dive packages contact them at 1-800-328-2288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.