I know, I know. It has been forever since I blogged. I even had some mentions from divers who have been with us in the last few weeks that it has been awhile. Like Mary Monasmith who came diving with her husband and two girls…. Sorry Mary, hopefully this blog will make up for it.
That really puts the pressure on, as I want this to be a fun, entertaining blog, that doesn’t take too much time to read. So, I will try to add as many photographs as possible, use good grammar, and make it sequential. However, as you probably have already gathered, I have a tendancy to ramble on (just ask Chris!).
Alright, alright, already. I will get to the good stuff. Chris, Michelle and I just returned from a diving convention at the Meadowlands in New Jersey called Beneath The Sea. It was a complete success! We met so many people, had so much fun, and even though we almost froze our little diver butts off, it was worth it!
It was our first time to Beneath the Sea and we have been preparing for months. I designed a banner highlighting all the great aspects of Octopus Diving (with a photo of lil’ Rog of course). I also designed leaflets that said “Why St. Martin?” on one side and “Why Octopus Diving?” on the other. I included things like the fact that St. Martin is one of the most easily accessible islands in the Caribbean and that we have great diving here. You wouldn’t believe how many people have never even heard of St. Martin. Or all the people we met that have been to St. Martin loads of times but never thought of diving there. I am rambling, I know.
So! We arrived and it was cold. My dad picked us all up with large puffer jackets at the airport and the next morning we woke up to SNOW! About 3 inches, so not loads for New York, but it was awesome for us. Everything so white and beautiful. We stayed at my parents house in NY so we had a couple days to acclimatize before the exposition. We decided to seize the day and go for a walk.
We took my nephews Tristan and Oliver with us.
Michelle had to borrow my mom’s jacket and also some fetching wellington boots. The snow really made our tans look great though.
Then, however, it was back to work. (Alright, alright… we took a shopping trip to Woodbury Commons, one of the largest outlet centers in NY. We needed shoes!!!) So, back to work! We went and bought a table for the show.
We drove to Weehawken, NJ where my Uncle Clay graciously hosted us for three nights. The next morning we went to the Meadowlands to set up our booth. We were one of the first people there! I think we were a little over eager… as our booth was modest, compared to most, yet we arrived earlier then everyone. This is what the booth looked like when we first arrived.
We got to work setting everything up.
It was so exciting to be there. I felt like a real grown up diving center. I mean, they even gave us badges to wear!!
We quickly discovered that we needed to make a trip to Home Depot for more supplies. First of all the back of the booth was all drape, so you couldn’t tape or pin anything to it. Also, we needed some plants. We could have rented the plants from the exposition center, but they were about $200 a plant. So, we bought 4 plants from Home Depot for $11 each! Bargain! Oh, we also bought candy. Lot’s of candy and two glass bowls. I mean, who doesn’t want candy. We got the good stuff too! This is the final booth!
Michelle and I were wearing the new Octopus Diving Tec shirts!
Although nervous, our neighbors were there to help. They were super super nice. Bill and Colleen were working for Scuba Cancun and they made the 3 days at BTS so much easier. Plus, they were super fun to hang out with.
Also, right down from Scuba Cancun where the Ikelite guys. They helped us out with pliers, scissors, tools of all sorts, plus letting us charge our laptops there. So, thank you Ikelite Guys!
You won’t believe some of the exhibits though. They were amazing! With giant TV’s, full dive kit set ups, amazing back drops and even a super sized diver!
Of course I had to try and get to his butt, but it was too high!
There was so much to see and do at the expo, (that is what the cool people call it… the “expo.” I learned that at BTS!!!). So many diving centers represented, and different places all over the world. We saw our old boss Stuart Cove manning the Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas booth. We went to the Westchester Dive Club booth, and there was a large photo of a diver on one of our dive boats… too cool! Michelle and I tried some masks on to see how they looked!
We asked people to sign up for our newsletter and also our free T-shirt raffle. Plus, if they took candy, we told them they had to!!! Just kidding… kind of 🙂
We also saw lots of Octopus Divers, which was great. Some of the first people that dived with us! Like this diver, Jeff, who actually suggested we go to Beneath the Sea in the first place.
Or Bruce who was diving with us just recently with his daughter Courtney.
We talked to so many people, made tons of contacts and people ate lots of candy. Well, Michelle and I probably ate the most, but we needed sugar to keep up the energy level!!! Soon, the candy bowl was empty…
It was such a great experience for us and we learned a lot. We can’t wait to go back next year, and if you met us at BTS, welcome to the Octopus Diving Family. If you come diving with us, you won’t regret it!
(Sally wrote this blog from sunny St. Martin, after warming her bones up from the cold NY weather. How do you folks do it? 🙂 )