Posts Tagged ‘Stories’

How to Make Your Dive Dreams a Reality

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

By guest blogger Adam Straub

You’re in your cubicle on a boring Wednesday afternoon, and your mind drifts, as it often does, to fantasies of running a dive resort on a small, exotic island, all from a poolside lounge chair. This scenario doesn’t have to be just a cubicle fantasy. If you’d really like to make the leap to managing a boutique dive resort here are some tips to turn your dreams into reality.

Be A Multi-Tasker

There are many elements at play when managing a small dive resort, and you’ll have to address them as a one-person army if need be. Over the course of a few hours you’ll be booking reservations, checking guests in, settling bills, and planning dives, courses and activities. Then you’ll need to switch gears to balance your books, plan the daily budget, organize and manage your staff and check the daily weather. Before you know it, you’ll be suiting up to go for a dive while organizing transportation for guests from the airport to the resort. The more experience you have in a multi-faceted work environment, where lots of different tasks fall onto your plate, the better. Before being given the golden key to the castle, you’ve got to put in some time. Resort owners are looking for people with experience in more than one area. Candidates with the most diverse portfolios get moved to the top.

It’s Not Just About the Diving

Diving and management experience are perhaps two of the most obvious skill sets that should appear on your resume, but what about accounting? Do you have marketing or maintenance and mechanical skills? Can you speak more than one language or words and phrases from many different tongues? All of these things can be invaluable when it comes to setting you apart from the field.

It should go without saying that any hospitality or service-related experience should be right at the top of your resume as well. From summer bartending gigs to front-desk reception work to retail experience — anything that shows you have experience as a warm, welcoming ambassador. Highlight the credentials that show you off as someone who’s eager to greet guests and give them the service and vacation of a lifetime.

Maintain Your Reputation and Relationships

Having a great resume and a few years of experience are key, but just as important is having a sterling reputation. As you progress in the dive industry, you’ll learn just how small the diving community is. That people do talk and bump into each other all over the globe. The impression you left behind at your previous posts will make or break your opportunities.

And it isn’t just employers and dive pros you need to be concerned with. Was there a scuba student you constantly made fun of? Did you help a customer find the perfect mask for their face shape? These people also talk, and they talk online in public forums. And yes, they will include your name, so make sure they are using it happily.

Also, foster ongoing pleasant and professional relationships any chance you have. It helps immensely to provide a prospective employer with glowing examples of your positive reviews. In this day and age, online reviews are everything.

Finding Employment

Now the kicker — how do you find these gigs? Positive relationships and personal contacts are key, but if you’re just getting started you’ll have to do a little research. Word of mouth will eventually lead you to meet so-and-so who went on a charter with and heard about an opening in Eden because the prior manager fell ill or left for their next adventure, so always keep your ears open and chat people up, because you never know where an idle conversation can lead.

Keep an eye on the dive-agency employment boards online. Found a posting for a small resort in Bali that was filled three months ago? Follow it up. Check what other boutique resorts are in the area and send inquiry letters along with your resume. And be persistent. Check in every couple of months until a position opens.

Now, how do you make sure living the dream doesn’t turn into living the nightmare? Do your research and ask hard questions. You may annoy or insult someone by asking if the resort is currently turning a profit or if there have ever been any dive-related accidents, but it’s better to risk causing discomfort or losing an offer than to find out after you’ve flown thousands of miles that the resort was set up illegally, theft is a rampant issue with your staff or that the compressor is powered by gerbils running on a wheel.

Running a small dive resort is hard work and a tough gig to land. But once you’ve begun planning business calls around dives and started seeing the happiness on the faces of people desperately in need of a getaway, you’ll wonder why you ever stepped a closed shoe into an office instead of a flip-flop by the pool.

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Book Review: The Swarm

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

With the subtitle A Novel Of The Deep, The Swarm by German author Frank Schätzing is an environmental thriller with a marine theme. Translated from the German Der Schwarm into English in 2006, the book tackles a range of complex issues, drawing upon the challenges of deep-sea oil exploration, marine science, animal ethics and the role of mankind’s relationship with nature. The story is worthy of a Hollywood disaster movie, and the plot sees most of Northern Europe in ruin and the rest of the world on its knees, along the way delivering a staunch warning to mankind about how we treat our world.

The novel opens with a series of unexplained accidents along the coast of South America, where deep-sea fishermen have gone missing, their boats found unmanned and adrift. Eventually, the plot unfolds into humanity’s worst nightmare, and militant environmentalists’ wet (pun intended) dream: what if the oceans fought back? What if the oceans started exacting revenge on humanity for all the waste we’ve poured into them, all the overfishing, and all the other harm we’ve done to them for centuries? Think Independence Day meets The Sea Shepherd and you’ve got a good idea of the plot.

The story centers on an ensemble of main characters, the majority of them marine scientists from various fields, and all of whom are called into action when strange things start to happen in the world’s oceans. It all begins with a new species of worms living on the methane hydrate deposits on the world’s deep-sea continental shelves. As the worms munch through the methane hydrate, they collapse, taking the continental shelves, and most of the world’s coast lines, with them (not a too far-fetched scenario, and a possible outcome of global warming), destroying a large portion of the industrialized world. But that is just the beginning, and when poisonous jellyfish and crabs attack, whales start sinking ships, and underwater probes start going missing, it becomes obvious that there’s something going on, and that mankind has a new enemy.

The main problem with the novel is that it’s too long; the story quite simply would have worked far better if it had been trimmed. There’s too much downtime. The author takes his time building the premise, following multiple characters around the world and adding little plot elements here and there. This is a classic way of building tension, but the story takes too long to get going, and the reader will be a third into the book before the plot starts to develop in earnest. And even here, there are overly long passages exploring philosophical questions or characters’ backstories, which are unnecessary to advance the plot along.

It’s clear that a lot of work has gone into the novel, from the above-mentioned character development to accurate representations of oceanography and other science used in the book. And the book does a great job of introducing complex, scientific topics in easy-to-understand ways. However, as the story progresses, it simply tries to bring too many things on board. Oceanography and marine biology are digestible topics, but when accompanied by genetics, cultural studies, the search for extraterrestrial life, conservation, marine engineering, history, oenology and much, much more, the task load of the book simply becomes too much, and the story starts straining under the weight of all of the topics it has to carry.

Which is a shame, because when the novel works, it works well. The main idea is quite original and seemingly well researched. The book is entertaining, outdoing many Hollywood disaster movies in certain passages and, as long as you skim a bit, it is a pleasurable read. Especially if you, too, sometimes wish the ocean could fight back.

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An Inspirational Scuba Event Comes to Television

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Open Sky Pictures is pleased to announce that filming will begin in late September for Series 3 of the hit documentary series Invincible.

Project History

Inspired by the positive international reaction to the Invincible Series 2 segment on disabled scuba diving, the entire third season will be devoted to the quest for a transformational open-water experience.

Series star Daniel Ennett is a quadruple amputee who is currently completing an honors undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Alberta. Thousands of people were inspired by his first encounter with scuba in a pool in Alberta. Working in conjunction with Edmonton’s Northwest Scuba, Daniel is now going to take on the challenge of diving with marine life in Florida and the Caribbean.

Scuba Diving S2E1 from open sky pictures on Vimeo.

Invincible

Daniel is an ordinary guy who happens to be missing all of his limbs. As he prepares to exceed expectations, audiences will be introduced to his world. His academic interest in how disabled people are perceived will be explored and preconceptions will be exploded.

The beauty and wonder of the human soul will meet the astonishing diversity of nature as we escape the terrestrial confines of gravity and embrace the weightless magic of life in the sea.

Prepare to join the journey in Invincible Series 3 and witness the power of scuba to liberate, inspire and transport both body and mind.

Community Involvement

Producers are currently looking for underwater camera people in Florida and the Bahamas with access to underwater camera systems. Anyone able to donate the use of a professional underwater camera system will be of immense service to this inspirational project.

Contact: Rebecca@openskypictures.com

 

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