Diving Vacation Idea’s

Want to take your family on an unforgettable vacation? Why not diving? Take your family out where they will see things they’ve never seen before, and experience the world in a way you just can’t experience it only walking on the ground. It’s even a good vacation ideas for kids. So if you’re up for it, here are some diving tips as well for this family vacation.

Diving in open waters is a highly popular sporting activity all over the world. The extreme forms of diving involve deep-sea diving without any equipment, and trying to cover the maximum depth or distance in a single breath.

But the common form of diving for recreational or commercial purposes is carried out with proper diving equipment in order to ensure longer duration of diving as well as keeping the diver safe.

Diving Pirate Point in Roatan, HondurasPhoto Credit: Marc AuMarc

Scuba Diving is the most popular form of diving, which equips the diver with a supply source of oxygen to allow him to breathe while he explores the underwater world with fins attached to his feet.

SCUBA refers to Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. The modern Scuba Sets are of two kinds:


OPEN-CIRCUIT SCUBA SET: In this case, the diver breathes in from the scuba set, but breathes out into the water. In recent times, usually a single-hose design is used for this purpose. This equipment is cheaper and simpler to use, but it is bulkier and lasts only till the gas supply is available.

CLOSED-CIRCUIT SCUBA SET (OR, “RE-BREATHER”): In this equipment, the diver breathes in from the set, and exhales back also into the set, where the exhaled gas is again re-converted to make it fit for breathing. This is a more complicated equipment, but allows the diver to stay underwater for much longer periods due to its ability to re-cycle the gas.

In both types of equipment sets, a high-pressure cylinder is used for supplying oxygen in compressed form. The cylinder is strapped to the back of the diver’s body.

SNORKELING is a simpler form of underwater free-diving, where the diver’s nose and mouth can remain beneath the surface of water, while he breathes through a small tube known as a “snorkel” that sucks air from outside.

Apart from the Scuba Set or the Snorkeling device, the good divers generally include the following equipment as a part of their diving gear:

DIVING SUIT: A diving suit is a useful gear designed to protect the diver from the hazards of the underwater environs. Wet suits, dry suits, dive skins are three common types of diving suits available.

DIVING HELMETS: These are worn primarily by professional divers who need to explore the rock-bottom surface of the sea.

DIVING MASK: This equipment enables the scuba divers, snorkelers and free-divers to see clearly underwater.

SWIM FINS OR FLIPPERS: These are attached to the feet or legs, and are made from fin-like light rubber or plastic to assist in swimming underwater without much resistance.

DIVING REGULATOR: It is used alongwith a scuba set to regulate the air pressure so as to supply the breathing gas to the diver at an appropriate level.

DIVING WATCH: A typical mariner’s watch will have a water resistance of approximately 500 to 1000 feet. It allows the diver to keep a check on the amount of time that he is spending underwater.

STROBE LIGHT: It is a device that produces regular flashes of light to facilitate the view particularly in the dark or deeper areas of the sea.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis to Curb Cancer

Preimplantation genetic testing is a relatively newer technique that is used to find and identify an embryo’s genetic defects, through the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is used specifically when one or both parents are know to carry an abnormal gene, so testing is used and performed on an embryo to identify and screen those specific embryo before they are implanted into the uterus. The term pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) is used to denote procedures that do not look for a specific disease but use PGD techniques to identify embryos at risk.

PGD baby sleepingPhoto Credit: Kristin Kokkersvold

By using these techniques only unaffected embryos are implanted within the uterus. Many of the most frequently screened for abnormalities are autosomal recessive disorders like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Beta-thalassemia and spinal muscular atrophy. But inroads are being made in other areas such as that of breast cancer.

This is particularly relevant as in the news this past week Angelina Jolie recently underwent a double mastectomy so as to reduce her risks of developing breast cancer. She is a carrier of a gene mutation known as BRCA 1. Unfortunately the lifetime chance of developing breast cancer from the carriers of this gene is 80%. And the only known procedure to reduce the risk or prevent it is a double mastectomy.

Recently Dr Jain of Santa Monica fertility has written about this subject, and in particular how PGD has the potential to screen for these types of genetic defects.

He further explains:

BRCA 1 and 2 genes are normal genes found in the body. The typical role of these genes is to keep DNA stable and prevent cells from growing out of control, or mutating. Mutations of either BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes can lead to loss of cell control and the development of various cancers, among which breast and ovarian cancers are most prevalent.

BRCA 1 and 2 mutations can be passed on to children leading to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in multiple generations. The chances of inheriting a BRCA 1 or 2 mutation are somewhat high. In order for an egg to be fertilized by sperm, it must discard half of its chromosomes. Since the BRCA mutation is typically found on one chromosome, there is a 50% chance that the mutation will be randomly discarded by the egg. If the gene is not discarded, it will pass to the child who will also be a BRCA mutation carrier. In other words, there is a 50% chance of passing the mutation to a child.

Dr. John Jain and his colleague, Dr. Dagan Wells of Oxford University, are currently conducting a study aimed at identifying eggs that have successfully discarded the BRCA mutation, and studying what makes those particular eggs more resilient. If experts can effectively identify the mutation-resistant eggs, then these healthy eggs can be used to create embryos, ultimately eliminating hereditary breast and ovarian cancer from future generations.

This is pretty exciting, to have the ability to screen out certain genes that have an 80% likelihood of developing breast cancer is something that can change the lives of so many people. PGD has great potential to help us further screen out other abnormalities as well that have caused a lot of suffering and needless loss of life for so many people. There are many who have begun to travel to get these techniques done at clinics who have the ability to accomplish them.

10 Tips for Planning a Big Group Trip

Planning a trip can get quite messy. You have to make arrangements for transportation, food, accommodations, and the activities that you may want to try while on vacation. Imagine organizing an itinerary, reserving accommodations, and trying to find a suitable mode of transportation–all while coordinating with your entire group. But if you are organized and work together, the planning stage that you so dread can go much smoother. That’s what we found out when planning a Grand Canyon photography trip this summer. Here are 10 tips to help you do just that:

Have three or four people present a range of destination options.

Don’t be surprised if only a handful of people in your group are active during the planning stages; many people enjoy simply tagging along. Get a few members of your group to do research and suggest the places your group may want to go. This shortlist makes it easier for everyone to cast in their vote and makes deciding where to go much faster.
Wine tasting on passport dayPhoto Credit: Simon Davison’s photostream

Designate one person to be the group organizer.

This person acts as a coordinator and mediator while the trip planning is going on. It helps if this person is decisive, so that if the group cannot decide on something, he/she can make a decision for the group.

Assign specific tasks to different members of the group.

Planning can go smoother when there is a go-to person for each task, so try to get everyone to give a hand and help out. Have someone in charge of finding accommodations for the group, another person to take care of making the transportation arrangements, and one or two others to help out with organizing the individual payments.

Have a rough idea of the kind of things you want to do.

Talk with your trip companions about the type of trip you want – do you want this to be a relaxing vacation where you can all hang out and chill, or are you looking for adventure? You don’t have to put together a detailed itinerary, but this can help you decide how long your getaway will be and narrow down your options of places to stay.

Look for accommodations that have rooms for big groups.

You and your trip companions will save more if you book a smaller number of rooms. For example, if there are ten people in your group, instead of booking five rooms that can accommodate two persons each, try to find a place that can accommodate four or five in a room, so that you’ll only need to book two rooms. Another option is to find a hotel or resort that allows an extra person to stay in the room for a small fee. Even though you have to pay extra, you’ll still spend less than if you had booked another room.

Finalize your headcount before booking accommodations and services.

Make sure that everyone has confirmed that they’ll be joining the trip before you make transportation arrangements or book a place to stay. Sometimes one or two people can make a big difference in the type of rooms you’ll reserve or even the modes of transportation, so be sure that everyone who says they’re coming along on the trip will be there. To make this easier, set a deadline for confirmation with your companions so that you can make reservations and organize transportation schemes accordingly.

Get everyone’s contact details, and make sure everyone else does, too.

This is as much a safety precaution as it is convenient. Having everyone’s cellphone numbers and other contact information can be very helpful in case of an emergency. It will help you coordinate with each other about arrival times, each other’s whereabouts when you’re not all together, and will help you look out for each other.

Set a time and place to meet on the day of trip.

Instead of picking everyone up individually, it’s more practical to meet at a specific time in a place that everyone can go to and then leave for your destination from there. This will help save time, fuel, and money.

Try to make meal arrangements before you set off to eat.

One way to do this is to call the hotel and inform them about the size of your group and to reserve a table during mealtimes. If you’ll be eating outside the hotel or resort, try to make reservations at the restaurant where you’ll be dining. This will help you avoid waiting long to get a table when you’re going to eat.

Allow yourselves a little time to break into smaller groups or go solo during the trip.

Even though you all know what you want to be doing together, some of you may want to try things that not everyone else is up for. Leave some time free for all of you to do your own thing. Not only will you get to do what you want, but it also gives you something new to talk about.