SNUBA Operator Spotlight: Beaches Resorts

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SNUBA® is pleased to spotlight Beaches Resorts

BEACHES TURKS & CAICOS

Beaches Turks and Caicos is a unique Caribbean setting located on 12 miles of the world’s best beach. Voted by TripAdvisor as one of the Top 25 hotels for families in the world, Beaches offerings have ample activities for adults and children alike. With over 1,000 square miles of reef and coral walls, Beaches Turks and Caicos and SNUBA are a perfect match! https://www.beaches.com/resorts/turks-caicos/



BEACHES NEGRIL

Beaches® Negril is located on the world famous 7-mile beach in Jamaica, and was the recipient of Trip Advisor’s® Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Beaches in the World for the second year in a row. Coupled with that award, Beaches® Resort also took the top spot with the Family Vacation Critic, MLT Vacations Quality Assurance Award, Travel + Leisure World’s Best Award and the Travvy Award. (And that’s just a few of them). SNUBA is offered daily at Beaches® Negril directly off the beach. https://www.beaches.com/resorts/negril/


Congratulations SNUBA SXM – SNUBA 2018 Operator of the Year!

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CONGRATULATIONS SNUBA® SXM!

Each year SNUBA International chooses one of its 80+ world-wide operators to be Operator of the Year. Many factors are considered when
selecting which operator most exemplifies the spirit and essence of SNUBA. This year, SNUBA Saint Maarten has not only embodied the true heart of SNUBA, it has also faced and overcome many unforeseen obstacles. Be it dealing with the rigors of government regulations or literally weathering Hurricane Irma, the team at SNUBA SXM located in Saint Maarten, have overcome adversity to become SNUBA International’s 2018 Operator of the Year.


A TEAM EFFORT

Led by the husband and wife team of Michel and Kelly Wouterse, SNUBA SXM has become an integral member of the SNUBA family. After meeting SNUBA’s Director of Caribbean & Latin American Operations, Alex Edelmann, Michel decided to change course and become a SNUBA Operator. Michel worked for Swalinga Charters from 2009 to 2015 before joining the SNUBA team.


THE DECISION TO SNUBA

Michel’s decision to run a SNUBA operation wasn’t without some reluctance. “To be honest, it was a little bit weird in the beginning and it felt like an enormous step backwards.” he admitted. “But my opinion changed in about four weeks. Seeing how easily people took to SNUBA and transitioned to scuba was a huge game changer.” As a Platinum PADI Course Director, with over 1,800 Instructor courses led, Michel quickly recognized the significance of SNUBA and how SNUBA complemented the dive industry.


DOWN BUT NOT OUT – OVERCOMING ADVERSITY

Since opening in 2016, SNUBA SXM has had its fair share of challenges. In late 2017, SNUBA SXM and many others in the Caribbean, were devastated by Hurricane Irma. Irma topped out as a Category 5 hurricane and ended up being fifth costliest Atlantic hurricane in history (64.8 billion in damage). SNUBA SXM lost everything, including its diving platform.

Now just over a year later, with a brand new diving platform and a renewed energy, SNUBA SXM and its staff are back on track and conducting SNUBA tours – a miraculous feat considering the destruction and damage to the environment and infrastructure suffered by Hurricane Irma. Michel and Kelly, two professional and resourceful people, represent everything SNUBA. We are so proud to announce their selection as the 2018 SNUBA Operator of the Year.

Want more information about SNUBA SXM? Check them out here: https://snubasxm.com/

Congratulations Pride of Maui! The 2017 SNUBA Operator of the Year!

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Many would be surprised to learn that Pride of Maui, a 65-foot maxi-power Catamaran, was originally built in the small Iberia Parish village of Loreauville, Louisiana with a poPrideBoat375pulation of less than 1,000 people! Built in 1992 and based on the vision of Roy Cleghorn, then a retired dentist from the Lake Tahoe area, Pride of Maui made its way to Maui through the Pacific Ocean by way of the Bayou Teche canal. As a result of its stability and comfort, its size and seating and layout that permits unobstructed panoramic views, Pride of Maui is today one of the more revered and respected large yachts on the island of Maui.

 

KaitlynPrice of Maui has been offering SNUBA to its guests for over 15 years and has the distinction of introducing more guests to SNUBA than any other passenger vessel in the nation! In fact, Pride of Maui is the nation’s leading SNUBA diving vessel!
When booking a SNUBA tour with Pride of Maui, you’ll have the incredibly unique opportunity to SNUBA the Molokini Crater – one of only three volcanic calderas in the world. Located just a few miles off Maui’s shore, it is Hawaii’s only island marine sanctuary formed nearly 150 thousand years ago! The quality of the water surrounding the crater combined with the absence of any sentiment make for a remarkably vivid underwater experience. 

 

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It has become extremely important that our coral reefs remain healthy! Coral reef ecosystems provide protection against erosion, cultivate fisheries and create and sustain underwater tourism. And did you know that coral reefs act as the medicine chests of the sea? Marine creatures can produce compounds used to treat human illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and even leukemia! Conserving the vitality of our precious coral reefs is a fundamental issue that we all face. Check out Pride of Maui’s blog post: Top 10 Things You Can Do to Help Save Hawaii’s Coral Reefs. 

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Trainer’s Corner – Sandals LaSource, Grenada

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After a full day of travel, we safely landed in Grenada. The resort itself was beautiful. One of the newest Sandals resorts – nestled on the mountainous island has beautiful scenery and great shallow reefs. Perfect for SNUBA!As is the case on most of these types of training excursions, every training session has its own unique hurdles and challenges that must be overcome. However, the professionalism of the dive team combined with talented SNUBA guides made these particular training sessions extremely fluid. The soft coral in the area is in an abundance and the reef fish were out everyday. We’re so excited for the future success of Sandals LaSource and we feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with everybody in the area. Cheers!
On our most recent trip, we opened Sandals
LaSource, Grenada. On our way to Grenada, we made the obligatory pit stop in Nassau to work with our lifelong friends over at Stuart Cove at South Ocean, and the Atlantis. Spending time in the Bahamas is never a dull time! After a few days in Nassau, we grabbed our gear and headed south.

Scotty’s Corner – Sandals Beaches Resort, Turks & Caicos

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learn and who were open to the idea of SNUBA. The interesting thing about about this session was that the diving would be done from the beach rather than from the boat like all the other Sandals/Beaches locations. With a busy season and max capacity at the resort, we weren’t short for clientele! When I conduct training, I usually offer free SNUBA dives to guests in order to knock “training dives” off the potential guides. Usually we have to put in a little leg work and convince some people to join us for a FREE training dive, but always get people to join. This trip was the complete opposite. We had hordes of people wanting to try SNUBA, so much so, I was having people ask me if they could pay me to experience SNUBA. This is something that has never happened to me, but made training a little easier, and the guides gained more experience this way. All in all the training was a success. The service at the resort is top notch, the guides are professionals, and the water was warm and clear. Not much more a guy can ask for, right?
Over the last few years, I’ve charged with opening all of the Sandals/Beaches resorts around the Caribbean. Each time I have the opportunity to visit a new resort, I’m anxious to see what the resort has to offer. This particular Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos was the largest of their fleet with nearly 800 rooms. It included a water park for the kids, over 20 restaurants, and nightly entertainment for the whole family. It was a sight to behold! This training included four guides – all very eager to

Congratulations V.I. SNUBA Excursions – 2016 SNUBA Operator of the Year!

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Owned and operated by Frank and Tammy Cummings since 1988, V.I. SNUBA Excursions is the oldest running SNUBA Operation in the world! Before launching their own SNUBA operation, Frank Cummings, a “surfing and sailing waterman from the Monterey Peninsula”, worked for Columbine International – a company whose tools and connections eventually assisted in theStaffordQuote building of SNUBA rafts in America. Hooked immediately on the idea of launching an underwater activity that bridged the gap between scuba diving and snorkeling, Frank opened the first SNUBA Recreational Center on the island of St. John in the U. S. Virgin Islands. After proposing the SNUBA dive system to the U. S. National Park Service and receiving permits to conduct SNUBA at Trunk Bay in the Virgin Islands National Park, SNUBA was finally offered as a shore excursion tour on Cunard, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Holland America cruise lines. Today, V.I. SNUBA Excursions provides SNUBA guests the opportunity to enjoy the warm, crystal clear blue waters from both St. John and St. Thomas – and Frank and his family are doing exactly what they set out to do when they moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands all those years ago!

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When asked about their favorite story from the islands, both Frank and Tammy talk fondly of raising their daughter to be a SNUBA Guide. Kaitlyn started riding the SNUBA raft when she was 3 years old.  A life jacket, floppy hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and a stripped down Barbie Doll were esKaitlynsential gear for the ride.  From Frank, “I fondly remember looking up from 10’ to 15’ deep and watching the Barbie Doll guided by my daughter’s hand, porpoising through the water.” At the age of four, she calmly asked a gentlemen clinging to the edge of the SNUBA raft what was wrong. When he replied he was a little scared she responded “Oh, you’re okay, you’re a big boy”! 

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MannersQuoteLooking for some good old fashioned advice when visiting the islands? “Old fashioned manners are worth their weight in gold”, says Frank.  “A ‘Good Morning’ or a ‘Good Afternoon’ will almost always result in a dazzling smile and a friendly demeanor while abrupt rudeness will turn off most islanders in a hurry!” can be.

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Frank, “SNUBA is an incredible tool that enables people to conquer their fear of diving in a safe and easy manner.  SNUBA Guides must have a certain demeanor – Patience and calmness are an absolute must, combined with a genuine kind regard for people. With that, you know you’re in the best of hands when you SNUBA with V.I. SNUBA”!

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SNUBA Summer Tour 2016

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Late this summer, our own Alex Edelmann took to the water to meet with a few of our SNUBA operators, connect with old friends, and SNUBA with sea turtles. We told him to snap as many pictures as time would allow, and snap them he did. It would be unfair NOT to share these with you; and so what follows is a photo diary of Alex’s trip across the Caribbean. We are absolutely blessed to borrow the world’s oceans as our playground……

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SNUBA is Proud to Sponsor Kind Traveler!

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At SNUBA, our mission is to provide our Guests with an unforgettable three-dimensional oceanic experience. We consider ourselves blessed to borrow the world’s beautiful oceans as our playground. As a result, we consider the interaction with our oceans and coral reefs very responsibly.

 

While there are several causes for irresponsible underwater destruction and pollution – it’s our vow to never be one of them. We’re proud to train and work with SNUBA Operators and Guides around the world who share our respect for oceanic ecosystems and are passionate about conducting SNUBA tours with guests in a manner that maintains the protection of sensitive coral reefs and fragile sea life.

 

We’re fortunate to live in an age where there are several environmentally conscious choices that we can make; choices that impact both life below the water’s surface as well as above it – which is why our relationship with Kind Traveler makes so much sense!

givegetSNUBA is honored to be one of several companies that sponsor Kind Traveler – the first ‘Give + Get‘ hotel booking platform that transforms travelers into a financial force that benefits communities, the environment, and animals. So what does this mean? In exchange for a donation to a local or global charity, travelers are given an exclusive rate to book directly with some of the world’s best hotels and unique properties! Additionally, 100% of  the donations raised on the Kind Traveler platform are given to charity! Considering the size of the travel industry, Kind Traveler has tremendous potential for positive global impact.

 

Kind Traveler is completely different than other online travel agencies, primarily because of the way they book hotels and the manner in which they ‘profile’ hotels. Kind Traveler has created a unique technology that sends the traveler’s information from Kind Traveler’s site directly to the hotel’s booking engine to complete the transaction. This direct booking provides a significant value for the hotel and traveler, allowing them to communicate directly with each other – before, during and after their stay. In terms of the hotel profile, Kind Traveler highlights the property’s local charitable affiliation and ‘Kind Factors’ – the term Kind Traveler uses to explain how the hotel is impacting individual wellness, sustainability, and community. This unique way of telling the hotel’s story communicates a commitment to corporate social responsibility, at a time when transparency is expected!

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“Our win-win platform offers solutions for everyone,” said Kind Traveler CEO & Co-Founder Jessica Blotter. “For travelers, they become warriors for good and support hotels that are making a positive impact in the world – while receiving exclusive hotel rates. For hotels, they cultivate new relationships with cause-minded consumers and take another step towards corporate social responsibility. For charities, they receive 100% of donations and a new, sustainable channel for fundraising.”

As a sponsor of Kind Traveler, SNUBA wants to do our part to help support Kind Traveler’s mission. Looking to book a SNUBA tour? When making your travel plans, please take the opportunity to ‘travel kindly’! For more information, please visit www.kindtraveler.com!

Operator Spotlight – Brian Heustis, Shoreline SNUBA

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We’re excited to shine our OPERATOR SPOTLIGHT this month on Brian Heustis, shorelineSnuba-Logo-230x111Owner of Shoreline SNUBA® in Hawaii! One of the qualities that make our Guides and Operators so special is the passion they have for sharing SNUBA with their guests. A waterman at heart, Brian has passion in droves! Shoreline SNUBA operates in Maui with five resort locations and three boats.  Shoreline SNUBA also operates on the Big Island with two resorts and two boats. For more information on Shoreline SNUBA, check out their website at www.shorelinesnuba.com !

 

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I’m a waterman.  I’ve lived near or on the water (a boat) for all of my life. Quote1I started off  playing around in the San Diego surf as a kid and instantly became hooked. Surfing is still a huge part of my life. I got certified when I was an early teen and from that moment forward, I knew diving would somehow be a big part of my life – I didn’t know how or when, but I just knew. I got my SNUBA beginning when I was asked to start the SNUBA program for one of Maui’s BrianSittiglargest snorkel boats.

Learning SNUBA from the ground up felt difficult at the time, but looking back, I believe this is the main reason why Shoreline SNUBA is so successful. The situation allowed me to forge my own path and learn through trial and error – which I think is the best way to learn.  I’ve been leading SNUBA dives since the early 90’s and still do at least a couple times a week. Every diver remembers their first time breathing underwater.  For me, being part of that is not only a huge responsibility but an honor. I, and all my guides, know that making a guest’s SNUBA experience an exciting and positive one determines, to a large part, what their relationship to the ocean and being underwater will be from that dive forward.

 

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I’d say the biggest factor is passion.  Passion is what I look for in a Guide.  Passion about the ocean, and most importantly, passion about sharing it. This starts at the top and infects everyone. Another quality that all my Guides have in abundance is empathy. Quote2They understand that, just because to them (SNUBA) is second nature, doesn’t mean it is for everyone else.  They remember their first time breathing underwater and how exciting, yet strange, it can be. All Guides really want to make the SNUBA Adventure enjoyable for everyone, no matter what their experience level.

BrianGroupThe guiding principle for Shoreline SNUBA is we allow every guest to experience SNUBA at their own pace and depth.  We never put pressure on anyone to dive any further than they want to.  We have taken thousands of people who never actually go under the water but have the time of their lives.  Our goal is FUN!  I still love guiding and do it weekly to keep myself fresh and in touch with our guests. Shoreline SNUBA is also the only operation in Maui that does both land and boat based SNUBA dives. Shoreline SNUBA operates in Maui with five resort locations and three boats. We also have an operation on the Big Island with two resorts and two boats.

 

BrianBeachBoth ways are an awesome way to experience SNUBA.  I ask guests a few simple questions to determine what fits best.  Is SNUBA diving your main goal?  Is everyone in your family/group planning on SNUBA diving?  Has everyone snorkeled? Does anyone get sea sick? Is SNUBA diving at a particular spot (Molokini, Honolua Bay) important to you?  Does a 5-hour boat trip sound exciting?  I believe that if a guest has not snorkeled, their SNUBA experience would most likely be better “off the beach“. They are simply walking in off the beach into very shallow water and can practice there before venturing out to deeper water. It really is up to our guests to decide what fits them best. I’m just glad we can offer them both!

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I have taken people with no arms or legs, blind, and with terminal illnesses (Make-a-Wish Foundation).  I have a lot of memorable dives, but for me, I feel taking people who are physically impaired, as well as kids, is very rewarding. Quote3Wheelchair bound people truly get to experience freedom and weightlessness all at the same time and you can see the joy all over their face.  With kids I get to turn them on to something that covers 2/3 of the earth and turn their fears into curiosity.

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The way they look at the world is never the same and I get to be a part of that. How cool is that!? I’ve actually taken a 12 year old kid who, 11 years later, came back to Maui and ended up working with me! He said his SNUBA experience changed his whole life. He went to college for a Marine Science Degree and wanted to do only one thing: Dive for a living.

 

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At Shoreline SNUBA we never guarantee a guest they will see something. It’s actually an inside joke that, when a guest says, “I’ve waited my whole life to see a turtle“, we know we definitely won’t see one! That said, everyone will see beautiful coral, lots of tropical fish, maybe a turtle, octopus, eel, manta ray or even a reef shark. One nice advantage of SNUBA diving in our winter months (Dec-Feb) is the great chance they will be serenaded by Humpback whales during their dive!  I think people should SNUBA simply for the incredible experience of breathing under water, and view marine life as the “icing on their cake“!

BigTurtleThe next time you visit Maui, be sure to book a SNUBA tour with Shoreline SNUBA! Everyone at Shoreline SNUBA believes the best part of Maui is the part that is under water! Mahalo!