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Scubafest was a blast!

Discussion in 'SEI Diving' started by Jim Lapenta, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    On Friday I arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Columbus. Site of Scubafest 2009. Even though I was over 2 hours early they were already busy with registrations. After reconnoitering the hotel a bit I made my way to the lobby to relax and have an iced tea. Started meeting people and putting faces to names of OCSSDI members I've been in contact with when setting up SEI's presence at the show.

    Met some volunteers and had a great conversation with one regarding the lowering of training standards and what a shame it was. I enjoyed describing our program and how SEI was not amongst those she had problems with. I then got to have a short talk with John Chatterton about the SUDS program and disabled divers in general. It was the first time I've met him and found him to be extremely personable and approachable as well. I had him sign my copy of Titanic's Last Secrets that Richie Kohler signed for me at the last show I attended. John was to be the keynote speaker but was forced to return to Hawaii (poor guy) to finish a shoot. In his place Bernie Chowdury was the man on Saturday night.

    I spent well over an hour all totalled in conversation with Bernie over the next couple days. Another very approachable and easy to talk to person. I wondered about this before hand as I've met a few "famous" people and quite a lot of them were real jerks. Not so with John, Bernie, Richie Kohler, and Gary Gentile. All of them were easy to talk to, genuinely friendly to me and have responded to emails I've sent to all of them. I especially enjoyed meeting Bernie's girlfriend and having an exciting conversation with her on the work she is doing. Dr. Nasreen Haque is doing some incredible research on an organism she found in the Gowanus Canal in New York that seems to kill every nasty bacteria they throw at it! For those not familiar with it the canal is known as one of the most polluted waterways in the world. Yaay New York! But she is another very easy person to talk to and I hope she enjoyed the conversation as well.

    As far as SEI is concerned there was a great deal of interest from many different directions. I personally spoke to at least 8 pro level divers wanting info on crossing over. I know Tom spoke to some as well. The primary reasons given were pressure to certify too many people too fast and standards that left something to be desired. A big issue for some was lack of support for or not being allowed to certify students as an independent instructor. I'm hoping to see some of them in the future on my list of instructors. In addition I met some really great people from many different ops and organizations.

    I would especially like to thank the members of the OCSSDI- Ohio Council of Skin and Scuba Divers Inc. THey put on a really nice show. I also joined the OCSSDI as an independent member and Tom Leaird also signed up Scuba Educators International as a member. And if their website is correct SEI is the only international agency that is a member! There are representatives of many agencies who are members of the Ohio Council and the clubs are made up of many divers from various agencies but SEI at this time is the only agency officially a member.

    I'm still sorting through the cards, brochures, and fliers. I'll be back later with more on the show.

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