Beneath the Sea & Welcome Mermaid Sarah!

After recovering (& working like crazy) for a few days from our amazing ScubaRadio trip, I figured it was time to give my impressions of my first time to Beneath the Sea in New Jersey and our adventure to New York City!

I've been to a good number of trade shows, but this was one that I had yet to experience.  My overall thoughts?  It was pretty darn good!  It reminded me of a smaller scale DEMA – but with consumers instead of just dive professionals.  And my thoughts on New York?  It's definitely not the Keys, and I'm definitely a beach bum at heart, but it did have its moments.  (More on that later.)

We even had a brand new mermaid to debut with us at the show – the beautiful Mermaid Sarah!

Sorry guys, Mermaid Sarah's taken!!

Now… it does sound a little odd when people ask where we found her and we answer “Well… we picked her up in a bar in Vegas”.  The worst part? It's true!  And it just so happened that her first debut as a “guest mermaid” at DEMA was on the same day we lost another mermaid … also somewhere in Vegas.  Ok – it's really not as bad as a it sounds.  We were doing some end of the day networking at the convention hotel in Vegas after a long day and we met Mermaid Sarah – who is the marketing mastermind for Diamond Brand.  She was working the DEMA show with Stahlsac and ran into our crew.  Little did she know what she was in for as we recruited her!  She joined us for her first official ScubaRadio mermaid trip – at Beneath the Sea in Secaucus, New Jersey… and things went awesome!  (Sorry it wasn't somewhere warmer!!!)  And the best part?  She survived Greg the Divemaster's hazing ceremony better than I did!  But regardless of the quality of her liver, we hope to have her on more trips!

As for the rest of the show – it was wonderful!  My favorite thing is walking the show floor and seeing all of our amazing friends from all around the world as well as meeting new friends… and walk the show floor we did! There were lots of meetings to be had to get us ready for our upcoming busy summer of travel!

Also, I must mention we got “blinged” out (wow… I can't believe I just used that word) with a new line of ScubaRadio jewlery by Dive Silver!  The mermaids, Pup, and even Greg were wearing ScubaRadio logo'd jewelry.  As I recall saying on the air, “I feel blingtastic!”  Someone please shoot me next time something like that comes out of my mouth!  hahaha

Mermaid Toni & a hairy Robin Williams!
Mermaid Toni & (a hairy) Robin Williams

In summary – it was a fantastic show & a great trip (did I mention I got to meet Robin Williams after his seeing his new Broadway show from the 6th row!?! AMAZING!)

I'm already looking forward to next year's BTS.  (Although, I could request it to be a bit warmer!)  However, who am I to complain seeing as I live in the Florida Keys and am leaving in less than 24 hours to celebrate ScubaRadio's 14th Birthday in Bimini at the Big Game Club with some pretty amazing dive industry people!  Soooo excited!  There's still time to join us!!  🙂

The best way to find out about all of our adventures in NY & NJ is to listen to the March 26th episode of ScubaRadio!  (And of course, don't forget to listen live this Saturday as we broadcast from the Big Game Club on our BIRTHDAY! – EST 3-5pm)

A Mermaid’s Tail of Vegas & Fiji!

Ahhhh…. Home sweet home back in the beautiful Florida Keys.  That is if you can call “beautiful” a balmy 54 degrees and freezing cold rain.  As I sit here on the couch wrapped in a blanket, fully clothed, drinking hot beverages and dreaming of being back in Fiji's gorgeous summer weather, I wonder where the past 3 1/2 weeks went and why there's a Christmas tree in my living room.  Oh wait, it's December.  When did that happen?  I guess I lost a few more nights in Vegas and Fiji than I realized!

I always knew I had an evil twin somewhere!

DEMA was great this year not just for ScubaRadio, but seemingly for the entire industry.  It was my first time representing ScubaRadio and it was so much fun!  It was a little awkward seeing almost life-size standup pictures of myself around the show advertising an Oceanic Wetsuit, but I have to admit, it was kind of neat at the same time. (Although coming home to it standing in my house was even more awkward!) And of course, it's so great to see all of those wonderful divers that I've met over the past year.  It's really quite impressive how quickly divers can go from being an acquaintance to great friends.  I think that's always been one of my main reasons for loving this industry – the diver bond – and DEMA is a perfect place to see proof of that.  Despite our busy schedule, we still found time to meet at the Hilton Bar for cocktail hour (or hourS to be more exact.) During the last day of the DEMA show, we pulled an early disappearing act to head to the airport for the beginning of our journey to FIJI!!

I never thought I'd be so lucky as to go to Fiji twice within 6 months.  Miracles do happen! We arrived safely after our long and interesting journey all the way to Matava's Eco Resort on the island of Kadavu. The resort is very intimate with some wonderful dives to offer.  I even got to see my first Manta!!  Simply majestic.  We should ask Greg the DM how he scared the s*** out of one… literally.  hahah!

"Throw it back!"

I guess mermaids aren't the only ones who get a little nervous when Greg's at the operating end of a camera.  We got him back for all of those cold waterfall photo shoots and hanging us up by the tail when we came up with a new idea…. “Everything you make us do for pictures – you can do too.”  Muwhahah (evil laugh).

We even got to celebrate “Tanksgiving” with a real turkey and all (which is extremely hard and expensive to get to Fiji). And of course there were a few Turkey Day Cocktails with great company. Plus, they even gave us an early Christmas present of handmade coconut bras (or Kava Bras as Greg likes to call them)!

We got off the island of Kadavu just in the nick of time before a tropical cyclone hit and grounded all flights for 2 days.  We headed back to the main island of Viti Levu and drove around to Raki Raki for more than a week of fun at Volivoli Beach Resort.  We were welcomed with open arms by the Darling Family and some absolutely world class diving.  Not to mention a pool bar where we created a new drink, the Volivoli Bomb!  You'll have to go and ask for one to find out what's in it.  But believe me… it does the trick.

Our New Adopted Family - The Darlings

Once again, Greg the Evil Divemaster tried his best to bring down the mermaids with weapons such as Chicken Fights in the pool, Jack Daniels, Fiji Bitter Beer, potent daiquiris and Volivoli Bombs, but Mermaid Tiffany and I survived!  I think we only owe this to the Darling Family. They kept his liver occupied so he had less time to focus on punishing ours.  We even recorded a live and amazing version of The Scuba Cowboy's new song, The Liver Song – Can I Borrow Your Liver, which was inspired by Greg while in Grenada.  I'm sure it'll air sometime soon on ScubaRadio, so make sure you listen in for that. Also, you can hear the details of our amazing 2 1/2 week adventure on the shows which are already posted in the archives ready for you to download.

With my side of the story now having been stated, it's now time to go back to my so called “real world” of teaching scuba and trying to stay warm throughout our Florida Keys winter until our next ScubaRadio adventure!  (I know, woe is me…)