BDC exclusive new dive site

Until recently, one of the first things visitors saw when flying into Bocas was an old rusted airplane. As scuba divers, we saw what a cool wreck it could be and started investigating. It turned out to be the fuselage of a British Aerospace 3101 Jetstream that had veered off the runway (no one was hurt, except the plane). We bought it, towed it home, scrubbed it up and sank it off our pier.

We named it MayDay, and it blew us away how quickly nature took over. Colorful corals and sponges set up shop there and attracted Bluehead Wrasse, Barred Hamlet, and a baby Moray eel. Lionfish and Jacks cruise through the plane and you can see starfish nearby in the sand. Octopi hang out there, too.

This broken old bird now teems with life, and she is solely for the benefit of our clients and guests. We use Mayday to teach wreck diving, night diving, technical driving, Nitrox, and sidemount diving. It’s awesome for fun dives and snorkeling, too!

Eddie Ibarra Awarded Gold Status

This month Panamanian Course Director, Eddie Ibarra, reached PADI Course Director Gold Status. This means that this year alone he has certified over fifty Dive Professionals.

This is a huge achievement, adding to the prestige of BDC (Bocas Dive Center) being only 5-Star IDC Technical and Freediving Center in Panama, with Eddie as the only Panamanian to hold Gold status.

Eddie started diving in year 2000 in Panama, and in his last six years as a Course Director, has completed around 2000 certifications.

“Eddie is always pushing everyone to further their diving and learn about everything dive related. The shop offers loads of specialities, there’s ones I didn’t even know about before working at BDC. Now I want to study them all!”—Sarah, a BDC intern.

Eddie places a strong emphasis on training Panamanians, sharing his knowledge to help other locals advance in their diving. Most of the staff at BDC have been certified by Eddie, as well as other instructors on the island. Eddie believes it is important that everyone has a safe and rewarding experience underwater.

Eddie Ibarra

“He strives to maintain the highest learning principles at the Center. His commitment to PADI standards and high level scuba training demonstrates his focus and determination for making BDC a destination for first-class scuba education in Central America.” Tereza, manager at BDC.

Last week another IDC course came to an end. Carlos, from Costa Rica who took part in the course commented:

“Eddie is a fantastic teacher. I had heard about him through multiple sources in Latin America, which is why I chose to do my IDC at Bocas Dive Center. His IDC course has an interactive atmosphere, where one has freedom to ask questions. He is a professional, with a fountain of knowledge, and even more, he is a wonderful person with a good heart.”

Eddie and the team is working hard towards opening Diver’s Paradise in Bocas del Toro. With state of the art classrooms and facilities he can continue to inspire and motivate divers of all levels.

Written by: Sarah Avery

Tec Diving Camp – April 2017

Bocas Dive Center is pleased to announce that Jeff Loflin will present a week of  Tech seminars on sidemount diving and other topics, during April 10 to 20 at Bocas Dive Center.  You will be fascinated by Jeff’s account of how sidemount diving first originated in Cave Diving, then progressed into Technical Open Water Diving and is now making its way into the recreational scuba diving community.  Jeff has developed an accredited course, recognized by the major certification agencies, for the application of Sidemount Diving in Recreational Open Water Diving. The September Tech Week will have the following seminars:

  • April 10 – Class Tec sidemount
  • April 11 – Tec sidemount
  • April 12 – Class Tec 40
  • April 13 – Class Tec 40
  • April 14 – Class Tec 45
  • April 15 – Class Tec 45
  • April 16 – Class Tec Instructor
  • April 17 – N/C class in morning Tec Instructor
  • April 18 – Tec 50
  • April 19 – Tec 50

This is a great opportunity to see Jeff Loflin in person and learn all about the advantages of Sidemount diving. Register by Clicking Here. 

Jeff Loflin is the Technical Diver’s Technical Diver. He is a PADI and DSAT Course Director and can teach all technical classes from Tec 1 to Trimix along with all of the accompanying instructor level programs.  Jeff has close to 30 years of Instructor experience and certifies through PADI, DSAT, NSS-CDS, TDI, SDI, ERDI AND IANTD.  He is a certified repair technician, an adjunct faculty member with the University of Tampa and a certified bridge inspector with the Florida Department of Transportation. Jeff has literally written the book on Sidemount Diving.  See more of Jeff and the courses he offers at http://www.JeffLoflin.com

Bocas Dive Center IDC Students get Certified as PADI Instructors

This week our first Instructor Development Course (IDC) of 2017 came to an end. Five passionate divers from around the world arrived on the island two weeks ago and embarked on a journey, filled with hard work and dedication-and of course, scuba!

The IDC course is available to all experienced Divemasters who not only want to advance their own personal diving, but who want to help others experience the amazing underwater world. Being able to instruct scuba divers means being able to work anywhere in the world sharing your passion with others.

Before jet setting off they had to cover a range of topics both on land and in water. Over the past week we’ve had the students pass through the shop in waves: Quick lunch breaks, presentations, in water assessments, or finally winding down and listening to music in the shop after a long day.

Topics ranged from physics, first aid, understanding PADI standards and procedures, and of course lots of scuba diving. This all accumulated in two days of exams at the end, which everyone passed with flying colors!

After watching the students work hard for two weeks, we witnessed frustration, focus, motivation, and finally perseverance. Seeing their smiling, relieved faces when they finally received their diplomas was the highlight of 2017. The PADI examiner who came for the IE stated that everyone was very prepared, so our students collected their diplomas and are on their way to being PADI instructors!
Who knows? Maybe you’ll be taught by them soon!

Here is what the IDC students said about their experience:
“The fact that the teaching was in two languages simultaneously was amazing. I was able to learn at the same pace in my native language. The Spanish speaking assistant instructor was very well prepared and motivated to assist Eddie.” – Carlos from Costa Rica

“When I arrived I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to be an instructor. I knew I was a good diver, but I didn’t know if I had the knowledge to teach. But the course was so well structured that I was able to progress. Now I feel ready to teach others my passion.” –Thom from Sweden

“I have found an amazing family atmosphere, with good staff and It was very easy to feel integrated. In this course it is very important to feel relaxed, focused, and comfortable to ask questions. Bocas Dive Center definitely has an environment that permits that. I felt at ease and able to ask any questions to the Course Director or even the experienced instructors around the Center. It is a family environment.” – Carlos from Costa Rica

Thom, from Sweden, re-iterated this sentiment:

“Bocas Dive Center has really nice group of people and such a cool atmosphere” – Thom

“Meeting and working with the other stude
nts and course directors has been really fun. Every new diver you meet has a different
story and it’s great to spend so much time with these guys.” – Manou, a french IDC student

“I am sad that it is over, because it was really fun to share passion of diving with everyone. We have become a great group of friends, learning from each other. It was very professional and we have become pro because of the standards. We all passed with high scores, around 4.8 (out of 5) which is evidence that we received high standards of training.” – Renate from the Netherlands

We asked the Course Director, Eddie why he loves training new instructors:
“I can influence a lot on the way people receive high quality standard instruction in scuba. I put a lot of effort making these instructors advance to a higher level, with the highest standards so they can take their knowledge around the world and teach in a professional capacity.”

We haven’t gotten rid of all our new instructors yet! Many love Bocas so much that they are sticking around, Eddie continues to work with them on furthering their education with Specialty, Tech-MSDT, and Freediving Ratings. Some students will stick around and train with instructors at Bocas Dive Center, refining their teaching skills.

Freediving Courses 2017

Are you already an avid scuba diver but dream of gliding effortlessly through the water without all the equipment? Or maybe you are new to the underwater world and want to expand your confidence in the water? Whether you are an elite swimmer or a total landlubber, freediving has something to offer you.

Freediving really gives you exactly what the name suggests: freedom. In freediving, as opposed to scuba diving, you are able to swim around without restraints, up and down as you like, with no bulky tank on your back or bubbles upsetting the water. You can get closer to marine life than you ever thought possible and all is done in complete silence. Passionate freedivers describe it as underwater meditation.

Freediving courses are the latest additions to the PADI industry. Combining all the best elements from other organizations, the PADI Basic Freediver, Freediver, Advanced Freediver and Master Freediver courses are safe, empowering and lots of fun!

What will you learn?

Ask any freediver, and they will tell you that freediving is a sport not requiring physical training as much as it does mental. Controlling your mind and getting to know your own body is a huge part of becoming a freediver.

In the PADI freediver courses you will learn to achieve this through breathing patterns, relaxation exercises and knowledge about the physiological processes in your body. You will learn what happens in our bodies when we enter the water, how pressure changes affect you, as well as how oxygen and carbon dioxide levels relate to your breathhold.

You will also learn about the different disciplines of competitive freediving, as well as safety protocols, emergency management and proper freediving techniques.

PADI Freediver/Basic Freediver

Prerequisites:

  • Freediver – 15 years old
  • Basic Freediver – 12 years old

In the PADI Freediver course you will get all the tools you need to become a freediver. The course consists of three main phases:

  • Knowledge development about freediving principles through independent study with the PADI Freediver Touch™, concluded with a classroom presentation by your instructor.
  • Confined water session to learn breathhold techniques as well as static and dynamic apnea. Goal – static apnea of 90 seconds and dynamic apnea of 25 metres/80 feet.

Open water sessions to practice free immersion and constant weight freedives, plus proper buddy procedures. Goal – constant weight freedive of 10 metres/30 feet.

PADI Advanced Freediver, Master Freediver and Freediver Instructor courses can be arranged upon request.

Tec Diving Camp – March 2017

Bocas Dive Center is pleased to announce that Jeff Loflin will present a week of  Tech seminars on sidemount diving and other topics, during March 10 to 19 at Bocas Dive Center.  You will be fascinated by Jeff’s account of how sidemount diving first originated in Cave Diving, then progressed into Technical Open Water Diving and is now making its way into the recreational scuba diving community.  Jeff has developed an accredited course, recognized by the major certification agencies, for the application of Sidemount Diving in Recreational Open Water Diving. The September Tech Week will have the following seminars:

  • March 10 – Class Tec sidemount
  • March 11 – Tec sidemount
  • March 12 – Class Tec 40
  • March 13 – Class Tec 40
  • March 14 – Class Tec 45
  • March 15 – Class Tec 45
  • March 16 – Class Tec Instructor
  • March 17 – N/C class in morning Tec Instructor
  • March 18 – Tec 50
  • March 19 – Tec 50

This is a great opportunity to see Jeff Loflin in person and learn all about the advantages of Sidemount diving. Register by Clicking Here. 

Jeff Loflin is the Technical Diver’s Technical Diver. He is a PADI and DSAT Course Director and can teach all technical classes from Tec 1 to Trimix along with all of the accompanying instructor level programs.  Jeff has close to 30 years of Instructor experience and certifies through PADI, DSAT, NSS-CDS, TDI, SDI, ERDI AND IANTD.  He is a certified repair technician, an adjunct faculty member with the University of Tampa and a certified bridge inspector with the Florida Department of Transportation. Jeff has literally written the book on Sidemount Diving.  See more of Jeff and the courses he offers at http://www.JeffLoflin.com

Kudos to our newest IDC team/ Class of October 2016

The staff of Bocas Dive Center congratulates Nicolás Aldana (Chile), David de Lucas Rivas (Spain), Mariela Herrarte (Guatemala), Ricardo Higueras Bueno (Spain), and Ivan Viña (Venezuela) on successfully completing our IDC course.

BDC is grateful to evaluator Jose Morera  who guided students through the program with great skill, proficiency and personal attention.

Best wishes to Nicolás, David, Mariela, Ricardo, and Ivan, and much success in your careers as PADI scuba diving instructors!

Bocas Dive Center Earns 2016 Tripadvisor Certificate Of Excellence

Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro/Panamá – May, 30th, 2016 – Bocas Dive Center, the most established, reputable and referred dive center on the island, today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. Now in its sixth year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.

“With the Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor honors hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travelers,” said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition helps travelers identify and book properties that regularly deliver great service. TripAdvisor is proud to play this integral role in helping travelers feel more confident in their booking decisions.”

The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

About Bocas Dive Center

Bocas Dive Center is the most established, reputable and referred dive center on the island. Founder and manager Eddie Ibarra is a PADI Course Director who returned home after diving around the world with the dream of offering world-class diving in Bocas. Eddie built the Bocas Dive Center into a PADI 5 STAR IDC that trains divers from beginner to instructor level. He also created the ACADEMY to teach advanced skills to professional and technical divers. The staff and team of Bocas Dive Center are dedicated to providing divers and students with the safest, highest quality, best diving in Bocas Del Toro.

About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site**, enabling travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers advice from millions of travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best hotel prices. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors***, and 350 million reviews and opinions covering 6.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 48 markets worldwide.

TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIP), through its subsidiaries, manages and operates websites under 24 other travel media brands:

www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.everytrail.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.thefork.com (including www.lafourchette.com, www.eltenedor.com, www.iens.nl, www.besttables.com and www.dimmi.com.au), www.gateguru.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.housetrip.com, www.independenttraveler.com, www.jetsetter.com, www.niumba.comwww.onetime.com, www.oyster.com, www.seatguru.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.tingo.comwww.travelpod.com, www.tripbod.com, www.vacationhomerentals.com, www.viator.com, and www.virtualtourist.com.

**Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, February 2016

***Source: TripAdvisor log files, Q1 2016

Presenting the New PADI Scuba Instructors | Class of FEBRUARY 2016

The staff of Bocas Dive Center congratulates Maja Karlsson (Sweden), who successfully earned the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor rating and is the newest member of our team.

During the program, held at Bocas Dive Center Academy in February of 2016, Maja attended and participated in 14 curriculum presentations. Bocas Dive Center would like to thank Oceans Unlimited for hosting a wonderful IE with Jeff Loflin as PADI examiner and Georgia King as course director.

Best wishes to Maja as our new BDC Diving Instructor!

Join us to get certified as a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor!
Bocas Dive Center is a 5 stars PADI IDC center located in Bocas del Toro, Panama.