Sunday, June 20, 2010

Neoprene Swimsuits

For the ladies: This is a neoprene swim suit from the Roxy website (click the post for a link). Has anyone worn these under a wetsuit?

What do you wear under your wetsuit? I find that the wetsuit wears out my regular swimwear, and regular bikinis can sometimes shift around. I might give this a try. It might even work without a wetsuit in the warmer water on shallow, tropical dives. Then again, after that jellyfish nightmare in Cozumel, I'm tempted to wear a drysuit everywhere.

Free Diving

This is the most incredible free diving video I've ever seen! Guillaume Nery at Dean's Blue Hole.

If you're on YouTube, check out our channel - TwoTankScuba - where we'll be posting original videos and collecting our favorites posted by others. You can access it by clicking the link to this post. Please feel free to let us know about your diving videos so we can include them on the channel.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


TwoTank is now on Twitter! Come follow us for all things SCUBA! And please let us know if you're on so we can follow you, too.


Look forward to seeing you there!
Jenny Mo

Friday, March 27, 2009

Passport Changes

On June 1, 2009, new passport requirements go into effect for border crossings within the Western Hemisphere. Click on the title of this post to go to the website that lists all the important changes. For scuba divers, this is important as U.S. citizens will now need to present a passport or a passport card when entering the U.S. from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, and Canada. This is part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

Has anyone traveled with the U.S. Passport Card (as opposed to a passport)? Just wondering if there's any benefit to it.


Packing a Diver's First Aid Kit

So I'm packing for Belize, and I'm not going to get caught in a foreign country without an adequate supply of medications and first aid stuff this time. I'm getting together some items for my kit, and I'd love your input.

My first stop on the Internet was DAN - Divers Alert Network - to see if they had any helpful suggestions, and of course, they did. They emphasize the importance of protecting yourself from malaria, so the first thing to go into my bag is going to be mosquito repellant.

Here's my list so far:
Mosquito Repellant
Calamine Lotion
Hydrocortisone Cream
Nose Spray
Band aids

DAN lists the various potential concerns with medications here:

Does anyone have any further suggestions?
Hugs and fishes,

Sunday, March 8, 2009

When Thimble Jelly Fish Attack

"Sea Bather's Eruption" - it sounds as disgusting as it is.  It's the reason I abruptly stopped blogging in Cozumel on my last dive trip in August, and I'm just now getting around to posting the photos six months later. 

If you've never experienced Sea Bather's Eruption, count your blessings.  Click on the title of the post to read a dermatology site's thorough explanation, but to sum up: it's an allergic reaction to the stings of tiny jellyfish larvae.  These jellyfish larvae tend to be incredibly tiny and omnipresent in Cozumel in August, and they sting like the devil.  Apparently, not all people are allergic, but I developed a rather inconvenient and incredibly painful skin rash the first day of diving on a ten day trip.  Having had no prior experience with this condition, I found myself hitting several different pharmacies looking for answers and buying medications. I even tried a few folklore home remedies I heard about from locals and was close to seeking out a Mayan witch doctor for the antidote to what seemed more like an ancient curse than a simple skin condition.

I'm including a photo of my rash covered arm, and as you can see, it's covered in raised, red, inflamed bumps. It's hard to see but my neck was also extremely red and inflamed. 

I was told on day two of this vacation that I would need to stay out of the sun.  A pharmacist assured me that my skin condition was sun poisoning.  Another informed me that I had scabies. A lifeguard told me to pour vinegar all over myself and scrape my skin with a credit card or a razor.  The only thing more absurd is that I actually did it and it actually helped (somewhat).

So I hope this particular post helps someone because no one should have to needlessly endure a dive vacation fraught with skin rashes, hideous itches, misdiagnoses, benadryl hangovers, long sleeves, etc.  Here's the deal: the dang things attacked me at my most vulnerable point - the neck of my wetsuit.  Teeny tiny transparent jellyfish - the size of thimbles - were floating near the surface of the water.  I paid them very little attention. I felt a sting, but I was enjoying my dive so much on that first day that I didn't really think about it.  The site of the sting was red, but that wasn't the issue.  That night a rash covered my arms, chest, legs. It looked like I had been simultaneously been sunburned and attacked by mosquitoes.  So, I used aloe and insect bite stuff which was entirely pointless and didn't relieve anything.  I bought a long sleeve shirt which I wore for the remainder of the trip while I mostly sat in the shade.  

Fortunately, I was able to dive a few more times.  But I had to stay in the shade of the boat when I wasn't in the water, and I must have spent $200 on medications that didn't work.  Here's what happens: Jellyfish sting with barbs. Those barbs get stuck into your skin and will keep stinging you long after you're out of the water. If you scratch, more venom will be released. Vinegar cuts the sting of the venom, and scraping the skin with a razor will cut the barbs out, at least at the skin's surface.  Benadryl will arrest the skin rash, but in my case, it was either too late, or it just had to run its course.  The pharmacy told me to get prednisone, but I didn't want to take it without a doctor's supervision.  The three most important things I've learned: (1) get out of the water if you see them (2) pour vinegar on your skin immediately if you've been stung, don't put freshwater on it first (3) wash your wetsuit and swimsuits thoroughly in vinegar and in soapy water before you wear them again as the barbs might get stuck. And if you do get stung and you're allergic, your whole body might break out, not just the site of the sting so be prepared to take benadryl or prednisone.  If you're severely allergic in general, talk to your allergist before scuba diving, especially in the Caribbean in May - Sept.

I'm going to buy this product:
Has anyone tried it?  Does it work? 
This Sea Bather's Eruption stuff was only identified in 1949 according to Wikipedia, and it seems like there's a lot of misinformation out there about it.  The best bet is to avoid the water if these little demons are visible.  

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I've just booked my next dive trip for the spring, and we're going to Belize.  It's my first time there, and I can't wait to get back into the water.  I'm ready to plan dives and adventures, so any tips are welcome!  Click on the title of the post to read an article about a new dive shop at Las Terrazas resort in Belize.  I'm not staying there, but it sure looks nice!

Apparently Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world as well as the Great Blue Hole that can be seen from outer space.  

Hugs and fishes

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunken Treasure

A new law has recently opened Greece's coastline to scuba divers, and archaeologists are worried that artifacts may be discovered and taken by underwater treasure hunters.  Experts believe there are ancient ships dating back to the first century B.C. as well as numerous antiquities just waiting to be discovered.  Has anyone done any diving in Greece?

It would be very exciting to discover history underwater, but it presents a dilemma - should scuba divers be permitted to scour under the sea for sunken treasure?

Click on the title of this post to read the article.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

At the Movies: TAKEN

TAKEN - a new action movie starring Liam Neeson - is currently in theaters.  Luc Besson, the son of two scuba diving instructors, is one of the writers of the screenplay.  What caught my eye in this article is that Besson directed a diving film called "The Big Blue."  Has anyone seen it?  Has anyone seen "Taken" yet?  

I haven't seen a lot of great diving films, but I'll be checking out "The Big Blue" as soon as I get the chance and will report.  Nice to be back in the blogosphere.

Hugs and fishes, 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

19th Century Wreck Discovered

It's always exciting when recreational scuba divers discover a wreck, and today divers announced that they had successfully reached "The Portland" off the coast of Massachusetts this summer. For more, click on the title of the post!

Congratulations Bob Foster, David Faye and team!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Presidente Intercontintental

Quick post about this fantastic hotel. Naturally, it's amazing that there's a dive shop and dock steps from the room - that goes without saying. But there are plenty of dive-friendly hotels that focus entirely on the diving and don't bother with the other details. When planning this trip, I wanted a bit of luxury with my diving adventures, and I found it. It's not uptight luxury though. Everything is perfectly laid-back and casual, but the staff are incredibly well-trained in service and the restaurants and additional features are exceptional. The pyramid above is a playground for the iguanas that have taken up residency on this gorgeous beach. I love that they have their own little Mayan temple.
My favorite food so far is pictured here - iced tea and Panuchos - shredded grilled chicken, lettuce, avocado on corn tortillas stuffed with black beans. Amazing, and relatively healthy. The restaurant has breathtaking views of the ocean, a great happy hour with 2 for 1 drinks, and fantastic food! There's something for everyone - Mexican food, American food, pizza, salads. It is a little more expensive than I anticipated - lunch is coming in around $35 - $40 without cocktails. Water is kind of absurd at $5 per bottle, and $3.50 for iced tea with no refills. But, they have expenses and we seem to be practically the only ones in the hotel, so I'm not complaining.
I also had an incredible massage on the beach under a thatched roof that I arranged through the Spa. This spa is really nice, and just small and quaint enough to fit nicely with the overall vibe of the hotel. The most important thing is that it's clean and offers a nice variety of services by trained professionals. The brochure mentions yoga and pilates, but when I asked about this, the receptionist explained that the "lady left town" for a while, and also, that it wasn't "real" pilates but something similar. I thought that was kind of hysterical. The one thing about this laid back island is that you have to be flexible. Fortunately, I'm so relaxed here that I feel very able to go with the flow.
And how could you not be relaxed having almost an entire hotel (and a 4 1/2 star one at that!) to yourself!!

I highly recommend this hotel to anyone who loves a little taste of the finer things mixed in with their diving. It strikes just the right balance between easy casual and luxury service and accommodation. It's unpretentious yet impressive. And what a view!

Hugs and fishes,
Jenny Mo

Divelog: Palancar Gardens / Chankanaab Reef

Today was a SCUBA dream! Our first dive day in Cozumel, and it was fantastic! Palancar Caves, followed by Chankanaab Reef. A great way to begin over a week of diving one of the world's best locations.

I have to back up a bit and explain that after trying on my Mares BCD, I exchanged it for a SeaQuest Libra travel BCD. The Mares looked great, but I could tell it would chafe my neck. So today I broke in the new SeaQuest Libra BCD. It has back inflation with integrated weights. Before today, I've always rented my BC -so I was excited to see if this improved the dive.

This morning we didn't have to wake up at 6 am to wolf down coffee and breakfast and lug our gear to a car and drive to a dock. Instead, we walked right out of the hotel room onto the beach at 7 am, had a leisurely breakfast on the water, and walked about 25 feet to the dive boat in time for an 8:15 departure. Scuba Du - the onsite diveshop at the Presidente Intercontinental - was fantastic. The dive masters are extremely professional yet easy-going. It's no wonder they have a top PADI rating. On our boat, we had divemasters Sarah (who spoke French, English, and Spanish!) and Giovanni (our divemaster who was simply the best I've had the pleasure of diving with). They helped us set up our gear quickly and correctly and had every detail covered.

Palancar Gardens was our first destination, and it was gorgeous. Incredible coral formations, grouper, sea turtles, and a nice current that made finning almost completely unnecessary on the entire dive. Both of today's dives were drift dives as Cozumel is famous for its currents. It was a multi-level dive: we started around 40 and went as far as 80 ft. deep. The water was as warm and as clear as I've ever seen. I wore a 2 mil. shorty wetsuit and I was perfectly comfortable.

Two particular details to mention: (1) I was under-weighted - I only brought 8 lbs. and I needed 10. I struggled with buoyancy most of the dive and kept floating upwards. It became a real problem when I tried to do a 3 minute safety stop toward the end, and simply couldn't stay down. I don't know if it was the air expanding in my tank or the back inflation, but combined with the fact that I was underweighted, I didn't manage more than a minute at most. Fortunately, no harm done. (2) I kept getting stung by tiny jellyfish. Nothing serious, but they felt like pinpricks. Gloves are strictly prohibited in the area (as I discovered when putting them on), and naturally the jellyfish went straight for my hands. The stings didn't leave any marks, and I didn't feel them at all once I surfaced.

Once we surfaced, I realized that the back-flotation meant that it was far easier to lay on my back horizontally than to try to bob up and down in a vertical position where I had to keep treading water to stay upright.

On our second dive, we headed over to Chankanaab Reef after a brief surface interval when the dive crew brought us fresh cantaloupe and bananas. The Reef was gorgeous, although it was not as spectacular as the Palencar Gardens. Still, there were incredible colors, coral, grouper, and we even saw a massive Barracuda just hanging out. While we were down, a brief rainstorm passed over us. We could see the raindrops on the surface, but the visibility was still remarkably good. What a great way to ride out a little rain! This time, my weight was correct and I had gotten used to the back flotation to the point where my buoyancy was clearly much better. The currents were strong, but staying with the group was easy. Properly weighted, I was able to do a 3 minute safety stop with no problem.

A short boat ride to the dock at the hotel, and we were back in time for a nice lunch and a nap in the sunshine. We met a couple of nice divers - Jeff and Julie from Houston - which is always a plus.

The photos (taken yesterday) with this post are of the restaurant and Scuba Du - right on the beach, steps from each other and the hotel room. I can't imagine anything easier.

Hugs and fishes,
Jenny Mo

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Bienvenidos everyone! I am officially on vacation, and I have stumbled into paradise. If you have read this month's Scuba Diving magazine you've seen incredible photos of Cozumel, and that's exactly where I am as I write this. Keep checking our blog over the next couple of weeks as I'll be posting all about my adventures in this incredible place.

I arrived yesterday, and I haven't done any diving yet. Therefore, the first round of photos will be on the surface. I bought a new digital camera for this vacation. I ordered it on, and it arrived in plenty of time. However, I ordered the housing on Amazon marketplace two weeks ago and the seller didn't bother to ship it until the day before I left. So a friend will be sending it to me as soon as it arrives. Fingers crossed!

Getting here was very easy. We booked the whole thing through We flew Continental Airlines and connected in Houston. Apparently you can fly to Cancun and take a ferry over to Cozumel, but now that airlines are offering flights directly to the island, flying seems like the way to go. I have to say that flying economy in Continental was actually more pleasant than some experiences I've had flying first class on other airlines. The flight crew was really pleasant, the connection was easy, and the seats were comfortable. I was really surprised, and it got our trip off to a great start. Also, the Mexican customs agents were very nice and friendly. No problems there at all.

Tip: We booked a taxi from the airport to the hotel through Expedia and had vouchers. We were supposed to meet a guy in a yellow shirt when we arrived. He was waiting for us, but we were stuck in a hot passenger van with 9 other people who weren't going to our hotel. From the little Spanish I speak, I heard him basically auction off our vouchers to the lowest bidder. A small bunch of drivers with vans were calling out numbers, "Cuarenta!" "Treinta!" and the one who took us shouted, "Veintesiete!" We could barely fit into the van, and someone had to sit on the arm rest. When we tried to ask for a different van, the man in the yellow shirt acted like there was nothing he could do. But it was 7 minutes to the hotel, so no real problems. Next time - cab.

The hotel is the Presidente Intercontinental, and it's gorgeous. There's also a dive shop - Scuba Du - onsite right on the beach! Apparently the hotel had a renovation not long ago, and the furniture, the bathrooms, and the flat screen tv are fantastic. They tried to upgrade us to a beachfront room for free, but we wanted a great view from a higher floor, so we stayed with what we'd originally booked - an Ocean Suite. The hotel is practically empty!!! It's unbelievable. There are a couple of great restaurants, a gorgeous spa, and one mile of private beach in paradise. The temperature is in the low 90's with a beautiful breeze and the water is crystal clear. I have no idea why this place isn't crawling with people, but fortunately, it's not. However, it is crawling with Iguanas. They're amazing creatures, and this guy was sweet enough to let me take a photo.

I will be posting frequently, and I'll try to break it up by topic. I will do my first dive tomorrow - Palencar Gardens. Also, I'm taking a trip over to the Yucutan peninsula to visit some Mayan pyramids and to dive in some cenotes. Please feel free to weigh in and share any tips about Cozumel or ask any questions if you want me to investigate something.

Hugs and fishes,
Jenny Mo