Friday, 17 April 2020

Keep calm and carry on diving!

Greetings from sunny Curacao!

We sincerely hope all you're well, healthy and happy - and not going too #coronacrazy just yet?
Don't worry, we've got you.

But first, we wanted to say a huge, special thanks to all of you who’ve been in touch to check in on how we’re all doing. It means a lot to us, thank you, and we sincerely hope you're all doing ok, too!

And secondly, apologies for the lack of blog post and other updates from us for a while. Things have been wonderfully busy here.

Busy with high season bringing us tons of fun divers and heaps of PADI dive course graduates..

Busy with our 2nd appearance at the inconveniently-scheduled-but-absolutely-awesome Toronto Adventure Show and plenty more. (Just as well that March's Beneath the Sea show was rescheduled, otherwise Mark and Suzy might still be in tropical New Jersey.)

And we were lovin' it.

And then COVID-19 showed up in Curacao and things got a bit weird and a lot quiet. Easter is always one of our busiest times of the year - we didn't even it realise it was Easter. How's that for weird?

It turned out, that although we think that diving is an essential part of daily life, the Curacao Government does not. Consequently, The Dive Bus was one of thousands of “non-essential” Curacao businesses ordered to close their doors and gates, last month.

So we did.

So although the dive center building is closed,
The Dive Bus itself is not closed. Far from it!

After wintering all the Dive Bus rental equipment, vehicles, shop contents and cats (they're totally fine, and loving having the place to the themselves), we got to thinking and planning.

And, then we got busy, working on a bunch of fun ways to keep you diving and having fun, until long after COVID-19 is a really bad memory.

So if you’ve been itching to dive? Keep watching this space and facebook for a bunch of fun ways to carry on diving, get a regular fix of #seriouslyfundiving and help you avoid going #coronacrazy, coming soon.

In the meantime, as a starter for 10:

➧ head over to The Dive Bus facebook and tell us how you’re avoiding going #coronacrazy

➧ stay tuned to The Dive Bus on Instagram for regular doses of #seriouslyfundiving photos to keep you smiling

And if you’re not already following us on social media? Now’s a GREAT time to fix that, so you don’t miss out on any of the fun stuff we've got going on for you already and coming up.

And if you have a second (literally), liking and sharing our social media posts really helps expand their reach. With a click or 2 to like and/or share our posts, a LOT more fun folks like you will get to see them, too. Then we'll have even more #seriouslyfun diver in the wonderfully-ridiculous Dive Bus audience, which would be awesome 😊πŸ₯³

Speaking of #seriouslyfundiving: we thought you might enjoy a quick fix of Curacao diving by now. So sit back, relax and enjoy the brand new, super-fun 'Dive Bus Best Bits' video, courtesy of the talented Thais, one of our buddies at Turtle and Ray Productions.

And if all else fails:

#Coronavirus #COVID-19 #Coronavirus #StayHomeStaySafe #StayHome #QuarantineandChill #FlattenTheCurve #SocialDistancing #TogetherAtHome #Covidiots #coronacrazy #divecuracao #thedivebus #seriouslyfundiving #learntodive #PADI #divecourses #diving #scuba #padi #curacao #caribbean #thedivebus #travel #diveshop #underwater #ocean #feelitforyourself #shorediving

Thursday, 13 February 2020

The Dive Bus and the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show, Canada

As a crowd of #seriouslyfun Canadian Dive Bus divers can attest to, just about a year ago, The Dive Bus ‘did’ Canada.

In spite of it being colder than the Dive Bus Beer Fridge ice department, it was awesome.

So awesome, that we’re doing it all over again...

HIGHLY thoughtful and HIGHLY used gifts!
Last year, a last minute opportunity to exhibit at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show landed in our laps, when The Dive Bus was invited to be a Squba Holidays dive resort partner on their show pavilion.

With just a few weeks to prepare, Suzy got planning while Mark hit social media to warn Canadians of our imminent arrival.

In response, kindly Canadian divers gifted tuques, long johns, a bobble hat and a furry, camo hunters hat - complete with fluffy ear flaps - that Mark all but slept in for the duration of the trip.

Suzy’s ski jacket was released from its 15 year confinement under the bed. Along with the few warm clothes that the pair possessed, they were thrown into almost-empty suitcases, and off they set on their adventures.

As the plane slowly descended on its approach to the airpot, the entire ground below was white. It was incredibly beautiful.

Until we landed.

There was snow everywhere, thanks to the bitterly cold wind. In the 30 seconds it took to walk (outside) from the Airport Arrivals Lounge to the National Car Rental desk, the pair was officially the coldest they’d been in 15 years:

The next morning, in preparation for exiting the lovely warm hotel into the frozen tundra of the parking lot, Mark and Suzy donned every gifted clothing item, after lengthy, steaming-hot showers and gallons of coffee. It was still shockingly cold.

Not very happy.
A quick initiation at Timmy's for more coffee (and ‘bits’) helped warm the spirits a little, but their next stop really did the trick. Two hour laters, the pair left MEC - a truly wondrous store - significantly more suitably prepared and able to deal with the incredible cold. 
The Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show began the following day.

Exactly the kind of show that Suzy loved to visit back in the UK, it was filled with amazing adventures and activities, destinations, equipment, cool accessories, noise, buzz and just plain fun. And filled with exactly the kind of people we love diving at The Dive Bus: fun, easy going, adventurous, enthusiastic. Super enthusiastic. No one seemed to notice, mind or care that it was snowing like heck outside.

Crowds of Dive Bus divers formed a large and wonderful part of ‘exactly the kind of people’, coming by to say ‘Hi’, catch up, swop fun dive stories, laugh at Mark and Suzy wearing ‘real clothes’ and plan their next Curacao dive vacation.

A LOT more happy.
Tons of potential Dive Bus divers and Curacao vacationers came by to see what all the merriment was about. They left with fun Curacao fold-away sunglasses courtesy of the Curacao Tourist Board (they also work as snow-glasses) and having learned at least 6 new things:
  1. It's where that “blue liqueur / cocktail- stuff” comes from

  2. It's also an island in the Caribbean

  3. It's pronounced "Kur-a-sow"

  4. It's one of the Top 10 best year-round scuba diving destinations in the world, and should definitely be on their 'awesome dive travel destination' wish list. (At the top.)

  5. There are direct flights from Toronto to Curacao (and back)

  6. You don’t have be slightly bonkers to dive with The Dive Bus (one of the Top 25 dive centers in the world); it's merely coincidence that a large percentage of our divers just happen to be

    Members of
    The Dive Bus Distribution Team
    An elite squad of Dive Bus Returners (see 6. above) formed a large and very special group of ‘exactly the kind of people’. They excitedly and enthusiastically distributed boxes and boxes of The Dive Bus DRIVE + DIVE Show Specials to show goers and exhibitors, encouraging them to swing by the stand and see for themselves. (And they certainly did.)

    The flyers ran out shortly after the show opened on Day 2. An emergency reprint was called for. Then another. After the third reprint, came the news:
    “That’s your lot, folks - the printer’s closed til Monday so make ‘em last, eh!”
    Meanwhile, on the Underwater Stage just across from The Dive Bus stand, Bryan delivered amazing Curacao presentations, introducing show visitors to their next dive vacation destination and inviting them to “Feel it for yourself”:

    If any attendees - or exhibitors - managed to leave the show without knowing about either Curacao or The Dive Bus? We'd be amazed:

    But it wasn't all "work". Outside of the show, they squeezed in a bunch of other cool things, like:
    • Heckling from the viewing room, during Bryan's great radio interview with Toronto Caribbean Network, all about how great Curacao is (in a locked, soundproof studio, luckily for all concerned)

    • Lunch at a very cool 1950s-style diner in Bryan’s home town, and a beautiful drive through miles and miles of vineyards (who knew?) and tons of other cool places

    • Several incredible, superb food experiences in and around Toronto, including lunch at Emmas, by the shore of the frozen Lake Ontario

    • Visiting Mark’s favourite store, Best Buy (three times), picking up, among many other things, a bunch of tablets in the ongoing Dive Bus quest for sustainable practices.

      (Notably, this was the first and last time on the entire trip that Suzy was “too hot”.)

    • Visiting Once Upon a Child: a brilliantly simple and wonderful concept, that every parent (and child!), everywhere, would surely benefit from

    • Being blown away by the magnificence of the (frozen) Niagara Falls - a childhood dream come true for Suzy.

    • "Researching" Canadian beers ...


    In spite of the shocking cold, it was an awesome experience all round.

    That's why we’re heading back for the
    2020 Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show,
    on the Dive Curacao Pavillion.

    See you there - or see you here!

    Check out Dive Bus social media channels for tons of fun photos and
    the 2020 Toronto Outdoor Show Dive Bus Specials coming SOON:


    #OAS #divebus #torontooutdooradventure #divecuracao #curacaodivevacation

    Monday, 6 January 2020

    Dive into Curacao Carnival - for a vacation you'll never forget!

    Curacao Carnival is one of the largest and longest Carnival spectacles in the Caribbean
    and one of the best times to visit this amazing island.

    So if you’re looking for a unique, incredible and highly memorable Curacao dive vacation experience?


    Check this one out.

    Originally a Catholic rite to represent the Christian practice of “Carne Levale,” or giving up meat for Lent, Curacao continues the tradition now known as Carnival, with incredible masquerade parties and and huge, colourful, gigantic Parades ("marches").

    Curacao Carnival is the Curacao's biggest party of the year and amazing to experience - and join in.

    With fantastic parades, floats, costumes and characters, including Carnival "Royalty" elected during full-scale, island-wide beauty contests, impromptu street parties, dancin' and even more music than usual, it's a wonderful, incredible and unique opportunity to experience the passion of the islanders.

    It’s HUGE.

    It’s AMAZING.

    And you're welcome.

    You're welcome to join the tens of thousands of road-side spectators and be amazed by the impressive, energetic and amazing array of multi-colored floats and the lavish, intricate, hand-made costumes.

    You're welcome to enjoy the music that plays such a huge part in daily Curacao life: "Tumba", which is, effectively, the “soundtrack” for Curacao Carnival.

    And you're welcome to dance your flip-flops off to the complex rhythms of the live Tumba bands - or just watch, absorb and enjoy the whole massive, lavish and incredible Curacao Carnival experience.

    Whether you're spectating or participating, it's just about impossible to prevent your feet from moving to the complex rhythms of the Carnival music. Originating in Africa and named after a 17th century Spanish dance, Tumba has evolved through influences including jazz, merengue and other Afro-Caribbean beats, to become Curacao's most popular dance and music style:

    But participating in Curacao Carnival Parades doesn't come cheap.

    Once Curacao Carnival season is officially "opened", islanders set about raising the necessary funds for their favourite Tumba bands to participate in the Grand Parade - by arranging parties!

    While their favourite band plays at these "Jump Ups” (parties held outside, in, on and through the streets in mini-Parades of their own) and "Jump Ins" (parties held inside), friends, family and fans sell the band’s official t-shirts to the dancing crowds, to raise the funds.

    If you happen upon any of these parties, you don’t need to ask: you are welcome. Make sure to buy a t-shirt or 3 now you know the cool reason behind them - and they make awesome souvenirs to illustrate your cool story of how and why you got them…

    The Grand Parade (“Gran Marcha”) is the first of the two main Carnival Parades, on Sunday during the day.
    The second is the Farewell March (“Marcha di Despedida"), the following Tuesday evening, with the floats adorned with sparkling lights.

    The dramatic Carnival finale takes place at midnight when King Momo and all that he symbolizes is banished...

    (Until Carnival 2020, that is.)

    Both the 2 main Parades - and the various others in between, including the hugely popular Kids Parade - are the product of months of incredible amounts of work and preparation, featuring fantastical floats, lavish costumes and head-dresses, as well as traditional Carnival “characters”. 

    The Carnival Queen is the most important Carnival character. Representing Mother Earth, she’s a symbol of fertility and peace, elected through a series of full-scale, island-wide beauty contests. 

    The Carnival King (Momo) is a symbol of the exact opposite: infertility, sins and bad luck. Momo is a straw–filled dummy - which is fortunate, given that he’s center-stage at the dramatic and spectacular ritual that marks the official close of Carnival at the Farewell March…

    The trick to getting a great viewing spot along the Carnival route for the Grand Parade is to get there early. Islanders set up their prime, road-side seating days, weeks and sometimes months in advance, to reserve their favourite spots.

    But the best way to experience Curacao Carnival isn’t to sit and watch it pass by.

    The best way to experience Curacao Carnival is to hang out in and on the streets, mingling and dancing with and like the locals (who forgot to reserve their favourite spots in time).

    And if you are invited to join the Parade? Do it. It’s fun, safe, friendly – and the experience of a lifetime.

    The Curacao Carnival route effectively splits the island in two. And with thousands of spectators as well as the floats and participants, it can be pretty tricky crossing the route to head West or East, as you can maybe imagine.

    So if you're planning on diving Curacao during Carnival, you may want to prepare for random “delays” or “alternative routes” - and keep a cooler of cold beer and your phone handy.

    And if you're diving with us at The Dive Bus, we plan our dive schedule around the Parade routes / days ... and carry cold beer just in case the plan doesn't quite go according to, erm, plan.

    (If you’re going to be be here on a Dive Bus DIVE + DRIVE Package, ask to rent one of our coolers...πŸΊπŸΊπŸ˜‰.)

    With all of the above, plus the Curacao kids and teens Carnival festivities running alongside, the Tumba Festival and awesome diving,
    you may need another vacation to recover from your Curacao Carnival Dive experience.

    Or an additional week. (Don't say we didn't warn you!)


    #feelit #experiencecuracao #discovercuracao #curacaocarnival #divecuracao #scuba #tauchen  #curacaovacation  #dutchcaribbean #rightnowincuracao #followme #travel #wanderlust #carnival #party #thedivebus #divecuraca

    Wednesday, 4 December 2019

    10 GREAT Christmas gift ideas for your favourite scuba divers AND our oceans

    If you're searching for fun, awesome, cool, ocean-friendly Christmas gift ideas for your favourite people?
    This may help.

    Because people don’t need to be divers to care of our oceans.
    1. Pimp ‘em up and protect the ocean with Project AWARE

    It's a fact universally acknowledged that it's simply not possible to have “too many” t-shirts. And, especially for guys, “too many” hats. (Or is that just Dive Bus Mark..?)

    An international registered non-profit organization and a global movement for ocean protection, powered by a community of adventurers (that would be you), proceeds from Project AWARE apparel sales help fund their important activities around the world.

    Project AWARE's ever-expanding range of cool, ocean-related apparel, printed with low-waste ink, on 100% organic, made in a wind-powered factory, make for awesome, impactful gifts all year-round, “connecting our passion for ocean adventure with marine conservation”.

    2. Pimp ‘em up and protect the ocean with PADI Loves

    Check out the latest "PADI Loves" range for more super cool, fun gifts that that give back by protecting what you love: the ocean.

    Working closely with Project AWARE, according to PADI:
    "'PADI LOVES' harnesses the enormous power each of us has to impact our Blue Planet. With every purchase we make, we’re voting for the world we want, directing entire industries toward sustainability.  
    PADI loves these brands because they enable us to choose products that lessen our impact on the environment. They share our ocean ethos, creating eco-conscious products and developing sustainable practices we can all stand behind."

    3. Help change the picture. 

    If you, your dive buddies, friends and family really do have too many t-shirts and / or would like to give (or receive) a meaningful, impactful gift this Christmas, how about:
    A non-profit organisation, Project AWARE spends 75% of donations on marine protection:
    • 32% Shark & Ray Conservation
    • 29% Marine Debris Solutions
    • 14% Ocean Protection
    • 25% Global Operations
    4. Give the gift of diving -
    and turn your family and friends into something useful πŸ˜‰

    Gift a PADI eLearning course or a Discover Scuba Dive at your favourite dive shop, and you'll have a dive buddy for life.

    How useful is that!

    Whether you choose a local dive shop or one in an awesome year-round dive destination like Curacao (just sayin' πŸ˜‰) choose a 100% AWARE dive center wherever possible.

    100% AWARE dive centers make a donation to Project AWARE for every every PADI dive course certification that they issue. So you'll enabling your chosen dive center to give your family and friends an incredible, unforgettable experience and to take care of our oceans.
    5. Ditch single-use plastic gifts. For EVER.

    With an estimated 16 billion pounds of plastic entering the ocean each year, avoiding single-use plastic especially over the festive period makes a massive, positive difference to our oceans.

    Yup, we know it can be hard to change habits or 'default' / automatic purchase decisions, because we've done it ourselves. But this one is super easy, low cost and massively, instantly, impactful.

    scuba tank water bottle

    Gift a re-usable metal water bottle to your buddies to take on each and every (dive) vacation.

    Sure, it may cost a little more in the first place, but re-usable metal water bottles last forever, save money and massively reduce single-use plastic bottle consumption.

    (And they can pimp it with stickers from each dive center and dive destination they visit for a fun, unique, cool and practical alternative to single use plastic bottles. And to show off their dive adventure destinations, just a little...)

    6. Gift meaningfully

    Not only are these awesome Fair Tradewinds holiday favorites the coolest socks ever, they also protect sharks, plant trees, fight breast cancer, give water, protect dogs, provide relief kits and give people a reason to talk about your feet, while keeping them warm and stylish.

    Click here for more Fair Tradewinds Christmas gifts that give back. Gift certificates also available if there are just too many cool things to choose from!)

    7. Remove a pound of trash from our oceans and coastlines with these awesome bracelets

    Support 4Ocean’s mission to clean our ocean and coastlines, one pound at a time, by gifting these cool and highly meaningful bracelets this Christmas.

    With an estimated 16 billion pounds of plastic entering the ocean each year, each bracelet sold goes towards funding their massive clean up operations. It's a great way to "end the plastic pollution crisis together."
    8. TONS of great, funky and fun stuff,
    made from recycled marine debris!

    Check out these amazing products made with recycled ocean plastics / marine debris - there's something for everyone, from sunglasses to skateboards, and plenty more:
    9. Gifts that give back

    Every product in the Fair Trade Winds online store is lovingly handmade by folks working hard to create a better world for their families and children.

    Help make that happen - check out this year's Fair Trade Holiday Gift Guide more:

    10. Zero Waste, Plastic Free Christmas Decorations & Gifts

    Have some fun: make and gift your OWN zero-waste gifts and decorations for your friends and family this Christmas.

    You might be pleasantly surprised by your own creativity!

     Ho, Ho, Ho and happy ocean-friendly Christmas gift shopping!

    #curacaochristmas #caribbeanchristmas #christmasdivevacation #thedivebus #divecuracao #newyeardivevacation #divepackagecuracao #scubagifts #divegifts #giftsfordivers #learntodive #scuba #dive #duiken #tauchen #vacation #holiday #curacao #dutchcaribbean #caribbean #rightnowincuracao #padi #travel #paditravel #divecuracao #wanderlust #adventure #diveequipment #scubadivergiftideas #projectaware #sustainablegifts

    Sunday, 10 November 2019

    5 GREAT reasons to dive Curacao this Christmas and New Years

    If you haven't decided where to spend your Christmas and / or New Years dive vacation yet? 


    Here are a bunch of reasons why Curacao should be at the top of your list:

    Reason #1: 
    It'll be at least 85 degrees of sun, sun and more sun in Curacao. So you could be shoveling ice into your cocktail on the beach, instead of shoveling snow off of your driveway.
    Reason #2:
    At a balmy 80(ish) degrees, Curacao’s ocean temperature will be warmer than your air temperature back home.

    Reason #3: 
    Instead of freezing your butt off at home, you could be chilling out at one of Curacao's many, many beach-bars. 

    After another day of fabulous shore diving. 

    Before heading out for dinner in one of Curacao's many many awesome restaurants, like this one: 

    Reason #4:
    This year's Curacao Christmas festivities begin on 16 November with the arrival of "Sinterklaas" and his band of "Black Piets", by boat, in downtown Willemstad:

    They’ll be making surprise appearances all around the island, entertaining and collecting / handing out bucket loads of candy and speculaas cookies, before setting sail again on 6 December.

    More fun Curacao Christmas events and festivities not to miss include:
    Reason #5:
    For a New Years Eve (or "Old Year's Eve" as the Dutch call it) you'll never forget, spend it in Curacao. 
    It's a spectacular, erm, spectacle, with the island's night sky exploding spectacularly. For hours and hours and hours.

    Conveniently for divers and dive instructors who can't manage to stay awake until midnight, celebrations begin at 5pm on 31 December, coinciding with midnight in Holland and beer o’clock at The Dive Bus.

    While we chill out with a cold beer or 2, Curacao home and business owners set off gigantic chains of “pagaras”, to banish evil spirits and clear the way for good one (and deafen bystanders). Like the annual Pietermaai pagara, the biggest on the island:

    Made from red, biodegradable paper, the exploding pagaras sound like rapid machine gunfire: deafeningly loud. We can hear the Pietermaai pagara from the dive center, 2 miles away.

    Then, as soon dusk begins to fall, hotels, bars and restaurants up, down, across and around the island unleash their incredible firework displays to the skies.

    The intensity, frequency and grandeur of the fireworks increase as midnight draws closer and there's absolutely NO possibility of missing or sleeping though the New Year without serious pharmaceutical assistance. Even residents of Bonaire can see and hear Curacao’s fireworks, too.

    You can be certain there'll be no bad spirits still hanging around in Curacao by 1 January. Only the pagaras’ red ‘petals’ lining the streets until they dissolve - and maybe a few bad heads...
    Reason #6:

    Because diving in Curacao OFFICIALLY rocks.
    That's why Curacao made it to the top 10 in several categories in the Scuba Diving magazine's 2020 Reader Choice Awards
    Both Curacao and The Dive Bus reached the final 25 in this year's DIVE Travel Awards  - for the 2nd year in a row!
    TOP TIP:
    If you're hoping or planning to be in Curacao for your Christmas and / or New Years dive vacation, book early! 

    And if you're hoping or planning on diving with us at The Dive Bus - and especially on a DRIVE + DIVE Package - you might want to get in touch asap. Vehicle availability is always limited at this busy time of year and our opening hours / days change over the holidays... 

    Here for info about flights to Curacao   
    Not quite in the festive planning mood yet?
    This fun blast-from-the-past may

    Wherever you spend Christmas and New Years,
    we hope it's your best EVER
    and hope to see you soon!

    #curacaochristmas #caribbeanchristmas #christmasdivevacation #thedivebus #divecuracao #divebuscuracao #@newyear #divevacation #rightnowincuracao #curacao #CHATA #PADI #driveanddive #seriouslyfundiving