Sea TREK Newsletter March 2016





Sea TREK Newsletter March 2016



Sea TREK Opens in Vietnam


Cham Island, Vietnam

The white sand beaches and lush tropical forests of Vietnam have made it a hopping tourist destination for vacation seekers around the world. From adventure travel to relaxing site-seeing — Vietnam is a beautiful country with much to explore. TripAdvisor even named Vietnam the #8 must visit destination in the world for 2016.

When Mr. Cuong Nguyen from Cham Island Tourist Company contacted Sub Sea Systems (SSS) and shared with us his plans for Sea TREK in Hoi An City, Vietnam, we were very excited. SSS has long thought that Vietnam would be a really spectacular place to offer non-divers (even non-swimmers) the experience that is Sea TREK.

Glen (Radar) Hershey, Sea TREK Installation and Systems Specialist, and Keenan Mayfield, Training Coordinator-in training, visited Vietnam to install the system and certify the Sea TREK staff. The two had an incredible time exploring Cham Island, meeting the friendly locals, eating delicious food, and of course setting up the first Sea TREK system in Vietnam. Radar and Keenan have been gracious enough to share some of their adventure with us!


11-Helmet, EP-1 Air Center System

The first thing both Keenan and Radar commented on when returning home was the hospitality in Vietnam. Radar said, “I have never EVER felt more at home.” The customer service, the food, the kindness and even the free (government provided) WiFi was prevalent everywhere they traveled. Both Keenan and Radar were very impressed and thankful for the WiFi. They described the locals as strong people, dedicated to their work, and full of humor and personality. They raved about the delicious food– Cao lau is Keenan’s favorite. He says it is similar to Pho, but it has its own unique Vietnamese flair. “We ate a LOT of noodles,” Keenan said with a smile. 

The second most memorable part of their trip was dealing with lost baggage. When the two arrived in Da Nang, unfortunately their luggage did not. It was eventually found and returned to them a day later, but in the meantime they had to buy clothing. Radar is tall and Keenan is very tall. There was not much to choose from in larger sizes… So their styles were ‘interesting’ to say the least.


Keenan Mayfield trying to fit into the largest-sized, locally tailored clothing

The new Sea TREK location is in Hoi An City, which is an old French shipping town where much of the architecture reflects strong European influences. The streets are filled with open markets, and vendors are lined up and down the roads offering their merchandise. There is a constant flow of people buying and selling locally made fare. The vendors specialize in leather goods and handmade tailored clothing. These shops are open to bartering, and right now the Dong (Vietnamese currency), is more than 22,000 to one US dollar. With such a high currency exchange, you can imagine the numbers get confusing and can initially be quite shocking– for example, 150,000 Dong to buy lunch for two seems expensive, until you do the math. 


Sea TREK dive site at Cham Island

Sea TREK will operate from a custom boat, designed and built in the traditional Vietnamese style. The boat will take guests to a dedicated location in beautiful turquoise waters off the coast of Cham Island, which is a part of Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, a world Biosphere Reserve recognized by UNESCO, in the South East Asia Sea in Vietnam. Cuong and his company are growing coral reefs in this particular area as a way to take pressure off the natural reefs. The location is impeccably maintained and very clean (no plastic bags are even allowed in Hoi An City).

Cuong and his team worked tirelessly to prepare for the arrival of the Sea TREK system. Both Radar and Keenan agreed that Vietnam was one of the most well prepared locations, ready to receive and install the equipment, and begin their training. As Radar has experienced many times, language barriers delayed the training a bit, but by the end of the trip the new Sea TREK guides were knowledgeable, in control, and prepared to receive their first TREKKERS.


Newly trained and certified Sea TREK Staff

The best part of the whole trip, for both Keenan and Radar, was their daily rides to and from the Sea TREK site. Driving motor scooters, Radar and Keenan zipped through the traffic that consisted of scooters, bikes, chickens, taxis, buses and even water buffalo. There are no real laws or lanes to follow. A quick little beep and you can swerve around to get by. Check out Keenan on his scooter with a GoPro.

After a successful installation and training, Keenan and Radar enjoyed a little sightseeing before heading back to the states.


The Cargo Club, Downtown Hoi An


Thien Mu Pagoda, Huế


Emperor Nguyen’s Temple and Tomb, Huế

Although the flight home was unbearably long, Radar’s personal innovation got him through it. 


Magazine sleep mask, Patent Pending, All rights reserved.

We’d like to welcome Sea TREK Vietnam to the worldwide Sea TREK family! Follow Sea TREK on Facebook to learn more about this location as it develops. 

Love is in the Water 
at SEA LIFE Manchester


Rachel Ottery proposes to Sean Driscoll at SEA LIFE Manchester

The water at SEA LIFE Manchester seems to have a secret love potion in it these days, as the aquarium hosted two wedding proposals during Sea TREK in the past month!

For the first couple, the whole experience of an underwater proposal seemed completely beyond consideration. Sean Driscoll suffers from gamophobia while his partner, Rachel Ottery, is afflicted by galeophobia. For the non-Greek speakers, these phobias are fear of marriage and fear of sharks, respectively. So the whole idea of walking underwater near sharks and asking for someone’s hand in marriage doesn’t really seem to fit. Nonetheless, as any strong woman might do, Rachel challenged herself – if she could face her fear of sharks and propose to Sean underwater, she would prove how much she loved him. In return, Rachel hoped Sean would overcome his fear and commit his hand in marriage. 

On leap day, February 29th, with Ernie the sea turtle as their witness, these two faced their fears. The staff was thrilled to be a part of the proposal and eagerly waited alongside Rachel for Sean’s response… and guess what? He said YES! “This was a pivotal moment for me. Not only did I face my fears of sharks, the man who I know I am destined to be with faced his fear of marriage and I cannot wait for my future with him as his wife,” said Rachel. 

Fun Fact: Historically, English law did not recognize the day of February 29th during leap years. Thus, on this day it was acceptable for women to break convention and ask for a man’s hand in marriage instead of vice versa. 


Tejal says “YES” to Chrishun’s proposal

A few short weeks later, the love tank welcomed another surprise underwater engagement. Chrishun proposed to Tejal during their Sea TREK experience. Tejal answered with a big “YES.” 

We’d like to wish these happy couples a heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS and cheers to a lifetime of adventure!

Underwater Walk in the Land Down Under

2016 marks a significant milestone for Sea TREK – by summer the underwater walking tours will be available in 27 countries and FIVE continents. Australia is the fifth continent to join the Sea TREK family– and the beauty of the land down under does not disappoint. 

Two seasonal locations – Exmouth and Busselton Jetty, Western Australia– currently offer the experience. Easter weekend marked the end of the season at Busselton Jetty, and in the coming month tours will begin with Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim in Exmouth. 

Visitors to the Busselton Jetty were some of the first to experience Sea TREK in Australia, and the reviews speak wonders of the tour.

Facebook user, Sarah Sharp shares “… Absolutely amazing. I can’t swim and I was a bit nervous, but the staff were amazing and patient. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would.” Another participant, Rosalie Roberts writes “…thought I was too old to do it, but all went fine. Will do again now I know what to expect!” Travel blogger, Rebecca Boteler, recounts her whole experience complete with photos on her blog WA and Far Away.

And, one of the most incredible things to come out of Busselton Jetty is a recent video of the entire Sea TREK experience. If you’re having a stressful day, this is guaranteed to lower your blood pressure. Enjoy!

Vote for Sea TREK

Calling all Sea TREK supporters… We need your help! Sea TREK at Miami Seaquarium is nominated as one of the best underwater attractions in the United States by USA Today. There are currently 20 contenders and we’d like to see Sea TREK in the top ten!

You can vote every 12 hours and from multiple devices (computer, laptop, tablet, phone), up until the last day of the contest (Monday, April 11th). 

The notoriety of having Sea TREK represented in this contest will not only benefit Miami Seaquarium, it will also further promote and spread awareness about the Sea TREK brand worldwide. 

Click below to cast your ballot. Thank you for your vote!

Fun Social Media Campaign 

We all know that Sea TREK operations are located in some of the MOST beautiful, exotic, unique destinations in the world, and we want to flaunt that beauty for all to see. In the coming months if your Sea TREK operation places a parts order with Sub Sea Systems, you may find a hand-painted postcard in your box. We ask that you take the card and photograph it in front of your favorite spot near your Sea TREK location. Once you’ve captured the perfect photo, please email it to us. We plan to use the photos in a social media campaign that will showcase the variety and beauty of our Sea TREK destinations worldwide. 

And don’t worry, you will get to see and share the photos once they’re posted online. Stay tuned!

The operator who submits the most beautiful, unique, inspired photo will win a special prize courtesy of Sub Sea Systems. So keep an eye out for those postcards in your Sea TREK orders.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Please submit all photos to: andrea@subseasystems.com

Photoshop Tutorial

 

Sea TREK offers great photo opportunities that capture the smiles and wonder of the incredible experience. Most Sea TREK locations offer photos as part of the experience or as an add-on. Using Photoshop you can easily enhance these images in just a few minutes, truly representing the beauty of the underwater world for your guests.

When editing photos in Photoshop, there are just 3 quick and simple adjustments that can be made to bring out all of the details and colors your images. In less than two minutes your images will be brighter and and more beautiful.  
Open your image, select the Layers Panel, click on the Adjustment Layer icon and choose Levels from the drop down menu.


 
You will see this pop-up in your panels.

             
 
Your graph will most likely look different than this, but the important part is to note that the little white arrow needs to move inward to a part of the chart that has more height on the graph, and the little black arrow needs to do the same. You can mess around with the midtones (the gray arrow), but it is not necessary. Make sure not to go in too far on either side or you will wash out your photo (or make it too dark). 

For the next step click on the Adjustment Layer icon again and choose Hue/Saturation. You will see another panel pop-up. This one has a lot of options, but the easiest way to brighten photos is to turn up the saturation. Don’t go too far or you will blow out all of the details.

There is one final adjustment that can be made when the color in a photo seems off.
Select the Adjustment Layer icon  once again and choose Color Balance. You should see a panel pop-up that looks similar to this.

Unless you spend a lot of time perfecting your skill with this one we recommend that you only do slight adjustments in the midtones range. If your photo seems too cyan then slide the arrow toward red, if it seems too yellow slide toward blue. Typically, underwater photos tend to be too cyan or green, so moving toward red and magenta helps significantly.

Voilà! These 3 simple steps greatly enhance your guest’s photos, and even your marketing photos. If you do not have Photoshop there is a free photo editor online called pho.to, which offers similar tools that you can use to make the same types of adjustments.

If you find that the majority of your photos have very similar lighting, Photoshop allows you to apply the adjustment layers to a Batch of photos in a folder by using Photoshop actions. Batch actions can save you a lot of time and effort. Instead of adjusting each photo individually, the same adjustments can be applied to an entire folder of photos. For a tutorial on Actions click here. For a tutorial on Batch editing click here.

This can also be used to apply a watermark or logo to your photos.

We hope you find this tutorial useful. If you have any question reach out to our resident photoshop experts: andrea@subseasystems.com or christina@subseasystems.com

Clear Lounge Cozumel 
Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Raise your bubble guns in the air for a cheers to Clear Lounge Cozumel who will celebrate their one year anniversary on April 14th. 

Clear Lounge Cozumel is the world’s first underwater oxygen bar, located in Carnival Cruise Lines’ private port, Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico. The Clear Lounge experience immerses guests in a freestanding aquarium where they breathe scented oxygen while playing games, shooting bubble guns, taking photos in the underwater photo booth and interacting with spectators on the outside. 

During the week of its anniversary, Clear Lounge will highlight one of its most popular activities with an underwater Jenga tournament. If you plan to be in Cozumel in mid-April be sure to stop by for a chance to win the title of Underwater Jenga Champion!


Guests having fun with bubble guns at Clear Lounge Cozumel

Always deliver more than expected. Larry Page, Co-Founder
  of Google

 

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