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How to Become a Scuba Diving Instructor

Posted by oceanzone on June 16, 2019 at 1:45 AM

How to become a Diving Instructor with one of the recognised organisations is a challenging and rewarding task. There are a few routes to take in order to gain all of the qualifications needed, and the one you take depends on several factors like time, personal preference, and to some extent, weather conditions and this article will look at the direct route to becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor or OWSI.

Become an 'Open Water Diver'. This is the first step on how to become a Diving Instructor and it teaches you the necessary skills and methods for you to become a competent diver. The course will start with academic sessions in which you will learn the basic information required to understand what happens to your body when you dive and how to plan your dives safely. This is followed by the confined water sessions in a swimming pool or other controlled environment where you will be introduced to the skills you must complete in order to progress. You will then complete four open water dives and complete many of the skills that will form the basis of your continued development through to instructor level.


After completing your 'open water diver' course, progress onto the PADI advanced open water course. This course consists of five open water specialty dives; deep diver, navigation, and three dives of your choice. The dives you choose will be down to your personal preference but guidance will be given by your instructor.


After completing your five advanced dives, move on to the rescue diver course, where, as the name suggests, you will learn to be of assistance to instructors and dive masters in an emergency situation. The course begins with a first aid standalone course called Emergency First Responders course, or EFR. You will learn basic first aid, useful in everyday life and also how to deal with dive related injuries such as decompression sickness. The course will then move to the pool where, once again, you will learn the skills to enable you to aid other divers that may be in trouble. The course then culminates with open water dives, in which situations will occur and you will be expected to use the skills that you have learned over the course to rescue the diver or divers in trouble.

Take the Dive Master Course. At this point, you will be a competent and experienced diver, able to deal with many situations that may occur in day-to-day diving life and well on your way to be learning how to become a diving instructor. The next major milestone on your progression of how to become a diving instructor is the dive master course. This is a structured course in which you will learn new skills and methods, how to run a dive boat and lead dive trips, as well as assisting instructors with their courses and providing support for students on their open water, advanced or rescue diver courses. You will sit exams and gain further knowledge in the science of diving, such as physics and biology. You will also cover the basics of teaching skills such as with a scuba review for those that have had a gap in between diving. The course will enable you to dive as much as you want, which is beneficial as you will need at least sixty dives in order to be signed off as a PADI Divemaster.

Take the Instructor Development Course or IDC. This final course takes about three weeks and consists of the PADI Assistant Instructors course, the Instructors Development course or IDC, mock exams and final practical exams. Once you have completed and passed this final course you are now ready to take the Instructor Examination or IE. This is a program that is administered by PADI headquarters and may be done at their headquarters building in Rancho Santa Margarita, or an Instructor Examiner may travel to your area on a set schedule. The IE consists of a closed book five part Dive Theory Exam, an open book PADI Standards and Procedures Exam, giving a classroom presentation, a confined water skill presentation, confined water skills assessment to demonstration quality, two ocean skills presentations, and an ocean Rescue assessment. After successful completion of the IE, you are awarded a certificate of completion and are designated an Open Water Scuba Instructor or OWSI. And that’s it on how to become a diving instructor!

First stage regulator setup

Posted by oceanzone on September 16, 2018 at 1:15 AM


This is the most common 1st stage design and you'll usually find Two Low Pressure and One High Pressure Port on Either Side. These are pretty simple and the only choice you should start with is whether you want it Inverted or Not. Inverting adds the extra benefit of making your 1st stage more protected and lower profile so if you're swimming in an overhead or keep bumping your head on the 1st stage...


Swivel turret 1st stages are the most customisable design and often have a 5th Low Pressure Port from the top of the 1st stage. Four of your low pressure hoses can swivel on one axis so hose routing is easier and they can route out at more natural angles. The 5th port allows for more direct hose routing in certain setups.


Same as your left twin 1st stage above with SPG, 2nd stage and LPI routed down the length of the cylinder.



Switching to a DIR setup is easy and you'll need the 5th port for best results. Put your long hose primary on the 5th port pointing down at 7 O'clock. SPG off the left side with LPI hoses and your octo on a short hose is fitted to the right side to go over your shoulder. This gives you a great setup that is both safe and practical in most situations but will require a few custom length hoses.


Fit transmitters to a short HP hose with a swivel pin, something like a 6"/15cm hose is perfect. That way the 15.000 php transmitter can move and be bumped without straining or breaking either the transmitter or the 1st stage. 

Consider DIR setups with a Primary Long Hose Donate arrangement, they're safer and more practical for all environments. You will need some custom length hoses and a little training for proper usage but it's a prefered setup by advanced divers around the world. 

Invest in some decent fixed spanners or wrenches instead of adjustables. If any of the nuts on my hoses are scuffed on the corners it's because an adjustable has slipped and taken the chrome off. 

All High pressure hoses have the same threads so all you have to worry about is length, and if a swivel pin is fitted. Low pressure hoses are usually 3/8" but there are a very few out there that are 1/2" but you can literally measure their circumference with a ruler to tell the difference. 

Take your time and make sure your tool is fitted correctly before loosening or tightening anything. 

Outside of swapping hoses don't touch or adjust anything. You can damage parts of your regulators, some parts are spring loaded and can be a real pain to put back together if not assemble in the correct order. Some regs have left handed threads inside so if it's working fine then just leave it alone and if it isn't working properly then take it to a service centre, and be honest... We can tell when somebody's been playing around inside their regs

Which bottom timer

Posted by oceanzone on October 23, 2017 at 12:15 AM

What do we need in a dive timer? Very little in all honesty. Here I've outline what we need out of a timer, and what options are available.

We don't use computers, so that removes a significant proportion of the clever functionality that other divers might require. I guess that I have five elements in mind when selecting a dive timer:


Time Display in Seconds

Depth Display in 0.1 metre intervals

Large and Clear Display

Reliability and Robustness

Additional Features

So, let's look at those items in a little more detail.

Time display in seconds.

This one is not essential. I know plenty of DIR divers that use a dive timer, such as the Uwatec bottom timer, a cheap and cheerful version which only displays dive time in minutes. However, I think divers are missing a trick here, especially when first learning to manage ascent rates. A timer that gives a display in seconds allows the diver to practice ascending. For example, if the diver wants to practice ascending at 3 metres per minute, then they know they should be going past the first metre after 20 seconds, and then second metre after 40 seconds etc. In this manner, a diver can become more familiar with ascent rates. you can also do ascents such as 30 second move 30 second stop far more easily. It's not the end of the world is your time does not have this feature, but it's a useful training tool.


Depth display in 0.1 metre intervals

Whilst not critical for real life diving, this is important when training. Luckily, this one seems fairly common. When you are training, its useful to have some feedback from your timer about your control in the water column. What is equally important as a granular interval, such as 0.1 metre, is the fact that the timer should respond quickly to depth changes. A timer that takes several seconds to change will lag behind the diver, and prove an annoying training tool.

Large and clear display

We don't need lots of figures and letters. We just need the depth, and the time, in nice clear numerals that are easy to read in any condition. This is something that surprisingly few manufacturers seem to comprehend. There are new technologies emerging that allow displays to be larger and clearer than ever, but the dive industry has been fairly slow in adjusting. However, old technology with backlighting is commonly available and there are plenty of options.

Reliability and robustness

Dive timers can cost a lot of money. And kitting up on a UK rib can be like kitting up in a tumble dryer. Equipment needs to be robust out of the water, and reliable in of the water. There are dive timers and computers with great reputations, and there are some that do not have such great reputations. Seek the former and shun the latter!

Additional Features

These are "nice to have's" rather than "must have", but I do like a timer that allows me to reset the stopwatch at the beginning of decompression. At that point in the dive I have little interest in the overall dive time, my focus is on the ascent. Another really useful feature is an average depth setting. Again, not essential, but a very useful feature. A back light is both common and useful, as is the ability to transfer your profile to a computer to analyse and log the dive for reference.

So what's out there?

There is a hundred and one options out there if you search hard enough. However, these would be on my radar:

The Uwatec Dive timer

Rather dated now, the Uwatec Dive Timer is still useful.

It costs about 6700 Php, and it does what it says on the tin. No user replaceable battery. No profile upload. No fancy functionality. No second timer. No resetting. However, what it does do, very reliably, and simply, is tell you how many minutes you have been in the water, and how deep you are. And that's pretty much it. The latest version has an average depth function, but this is not resettable, so will be skewed with your descent. However, the unit is cheap and reliable, and beloved by many a GUE diver. This is certainly a reasonable backup choice.

The Suunto D3 or D4

The D3 was a perfect DIR dive timer, and the D4 has an even larger and clearer display. A freediving timer is perfect for the type of diving we do, because all we need is the depth and the time. These little beauties have the additional advantages large clear displays, the ability to drop the profiles onto a computer via Suunto's free software, and critically a resettable stopwatch, so you can time your deco to perfection. The battery is user replaceable, and mine seems reliable, although I do hear about other units not being so robust. The D4 has a vastly improved display and reliability, although you do pay for it. The D6 and D9 add lots of cost but no real functionality of use to the GUE diver.

The Uwatec 2G

Then there is the 2G. The first near perfect DIR timer.

For a while the 2G was the smartarse of the divetimer world. It has a resettable stopwatch accurate to the second. It has a resettable average depth so you can set it when you hit the bottom of the shot - and then it continually updates. It reacts very quickly to changes in depth, has a large clear display with a great backlight, and is easily readable. Buttons are simple and easy to use. Profiles can be downloaded via Uwatec smarttrak software. It can be taken out of its mount and into a custom one so you can get rid of the strap and use bungee, which is ideal. Basically, for 13.500 Php it does what you need. But..

In cold water with cold hands and/or thick gloves the button system can be fiddly to operate, and the backlight which is needed to see the display at depth means you can't just glance over and see the information you need. Plus mine leaked mid dive after relatively few dives. To be fair Uwatec replaced the unit free of charge without a quibble. It took a few months to get the new one, but the process was easy, which lead me to believe this wasn't the first time it had happened.

The Liquivision Xen

Deliberately aimed at the DIR diving community Liquivision launched the Xen, a spin off from their X1 model. Possibly the world's sexiest dive computer, have a look at this bad boy...

This has an ultra modern OLED interface, which means its crystal clear and readable in complete darkness. No more shining a torch on your timer. Its built to ridiculously tight tolerances, has more bells and whistles than Santa's sleigh, and as a fully paid up equipment junkie, is so pretty it makes me want to just fall to my knees and weep with joy. Another leap away from the traditional computer is the buttonless method of operating.

Instead of buttons, Liquivision has used an accelerometer within the Xen which basically means you tap it to enter menus and change settings. While this takes quite a bit of getting used to, underwater this works really nicely. There are several shortcuts to the menus you need to reset during the dive such as the average depth and stopwatches modes.

Of course there's always a drawback....the cost. This will set you back around 21.500 Php. My personal view is that until recently it's been top of its game for size and functionality. Shearwater and OSTC both have OLED display computers, but while great from a display perspective, their size, weight and higher price tag puts me off. They are undoubtably great as trimix computers, but as we only need a gauge you are paying for way more functionality than you need.

Until recently there hasn't been a direct competitor for the Xen. Now there is.

The XDeep Black BT

Latest up is the XDeep Black BT.

A simple OLED bottom timer to rival the Xen. The display is crystal clear as you would expect, and some additional features such as the digital compass, and integrated battery pack rechargeable via a USB connection. And all for 15.000 Php.

The 10 Best Dive Sites in the Philippines

Posted by oceanzone on October 11, 2017 at 11:20 PM

With so many islands to explore, it makes sense that the Philippines is one of the best diving destinations in the world. Spectacular reefs, whale sharks, mantas and underwater UNESCO World Heritage sites invite divers into the crystal clear waters of the Pacific.

1. Amos Rock - Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

One of the most remote diving destinations in the Philippines, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is only reachable by liveaboard between March and June. It’s also considered a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts 600 species of fish, 360 species of coral, 13 whale and dolphin species, and 11 species of shark. You’ll need a week to explore all the sites, but don’t miss Amos Rock where a gorgonian-covered wall hosts a variety of soft corals and massive schools of fish. The area is famous for its large reef sharks.

Dive Type: Reef

Recommended Level: Intermediate

Featured Creatures: Reef Sharks, Groupers and Massive Schools of Reef Fish

2. Monad Shoal - Malapascua

As the Philippines’ best shark dive, Monad Shoal is home to regular sightings of thresher sharks. At 100 feet (30 meters), divers are nearly guaranteed at least one observation of the crazy-tailed shark over two diving days. This is the most consistent site in the world for thresher sharks, and happens to be the only place a thresher shark was photographed giving birth. Grab your gear and head to this tiny paradise for a thrill of a dive.

Dive Type: Shoal

Recommended Level: Advanced

Featured Creatures: Thresher Sharks

3. Canyons - Puerto Galera

Easily accessible from Manila, Puerto Galera is a diving paradise with crystal clear waters, abundant marine life and a variety of diving environments. While there are several dive sites worth note, the most sought after is Canyons where currents sweep divers through three gorgeous canyons covered in a variety of soft corals and sponges. Take your time inside these structures to find large schools of fish including barracudas, batfish, snappers, emperors and trevally.

Dive Type: Drift

Recommended Level: Advanced

Featured Creatures: Barracuda, Batfish, Snappers, Trevally and Emperors

4. Apo 29 - Apo Reef Natural Park

Known to be the second largest coral reef in the world, Apo Reef Natural Park is the second UNESCO World Heritage site reef in the Philippines. It is quite a journey from the main islands, so you’ll find Apo Reef is also best dived from a liveaboard. Be sure to include Apo 29 in your dive plan; it’s often considered one of the best yet most challenging dive sites in the area. The large seamount rises to 82 feet (25 meters) below sea level. Here you might spot various reef sharks, thresher sharks, hammerheads, manta rays and schools of pelagic fish. The best time to go is between November and May, and be aware that many dive operators require 100 dives as a prerequisite for a dive safari to Apo Reef.

Dive Type: Seamount

Recommended Level: Advanced

Featured Creatures: Manta Rays, Reef Sharks, Hammerheads and Thresher Sharks

5. Manta Bowl - Ticao Pass, Donsol

An underwater shoal covering 7 hectares of flat area, Manta Bowl sits between the plankton-rich waters of the Ticao and Burias Passes. With constantly flowing current, the alley has become a magnet for manta rays as both a cleaning and feeding station. The best time to spot these graceful creatures is between December and May. Other occasional visitors include massive whale sharks, hammerheads and tiger sharks.

Dive Type: Drift (with reef hooks)

Recommended Level: Intermediate

Featured Creatures: Manta Rays

6. Okikawa Maru - Coron Bay, Palawan

Sometimes referred to as the “Poor Man’s Chuuk Lagoon,” Coron Bay served as a brief harbor for several Japanese warships during World War II. In September 1944, 11 of these ships were sunk by an Allied air attack. Today, these wrecks are fascinating dive sites, and one of the most accessible is the Okikawa Maru, a 525-foot (160-meter) tanker. The top of the ship’s superstructure sits at 32 feet (10 meters) below the surface, making this a great wreck for all levels. Just be aware that strong currents are occasionally present.

Dive Type: Wreck

Recommended Level: Beginner

Featured Creatures: Macro Life

7. Coconut - Apo Island

Not to be confused with Apo Reef, Apo Island is located off of Dauin, near Dumaguete. The entire area is a world-class diving destination, but drift-lovers will want to add Coconut to their must-dive list. Locally called the Washing Machine, this site isn’t for the faint of heart. But you’re sure to see LOTS of interesting marine life, including huge schools of pelagic fish, banded sea kraits and sea turtles. Occasionally bait balls form. So find a sheltered spot and watch the action unfold.

Dive Type: Drift

Recommended Level: Advanced

Featured Creatures: Barracuda, Trevally, Sea Kraits and Sea Turtles

8. Yapak - Boracay

There’s more to Boracay than powdering white sand beaches that stretch on for as far as the eye can see. The diving around this paradise is also great, and the best site is Yapak. You never know what you might see along this 106-foot (32-meter) wall. Drift along, looking out to the blue for tuna and sharks that float effortlessly by. Turn to the wall and search for macro life, including colorful nudibranchs and pygmy seahorses. If you are extremely lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the strange mola mola ascending from the depths.

Dive Type: Wall

Recommended Level: Advanced

Featured Creatures: Tuna, Pygmy Seahorses and Nudibranchs

9. Divers’ Heaven - Balicasag

A coral reef paradise, Balicasag is a short boat ride from Bohol. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that one of their favorite dive sites around this small island is Divers’ Heaven, a wall dive between 30 and 130 feet (10 and 40 meters). Large schools of fish such as jacks and barracuda populate the area and are seemingly indifferent to divers. Because currents are light and the depth can be determined by the diver, this is a great site for beginners.

Dive Type: Wall

Recommended Level: Beginner

Featured Creatures: Jacks, Barracuda and Reef Fish

10. Manit Muck - Anilao

The best night dive on our list, Manit Muck is one of several worthwhile dive sites in Anilao. Also known as Secret Bay, this site may even rival some of the muck diving found in Indonesia. At any time of day, you might find ambon scorpion fish, ghost pipefish, wonderpus octopus, mantis shrimp and nudibranchs. But be sure to dive Manit Muck at night to see this environment come to life. The most life is concentrated between 10 and 70 feet (3 and 21 meters).

Dive Type: Muck/Night

Recommended Level: Beginner

Featured Creatures: Mantis Shrimp, Octopus, Nudibranchs, Seahorses and Pipefish

Servicing Your Dive Gear.

Posted by oceanzone on July 30, 2017 at 7:45 AM

Just short introduction on who I am so you dont think this information coming from someone who is not qualifyed to talk about this topic.

My name is Igor I am an UTD Instructor #87 and PADI Specialty instructor #492739 as well as Aqualung and Apeks Technician with over 5.000 dives including Caves, Wrecks, Technical in many parts of the world.

Regulator Service:

Let’s start this topic off with the first thing that should always be imprinted into your mind, not only when you take your regulator in for service, but when you pack it away under your dive gear, store it for an extended period of time or wonder if your regulator is overdue for service. This is your life support equipment! It is of the same importance as the systems on a space shuttle, it is delivering oxygen rich air to your lungs to control your body’s functions and keeping you alive, so you know what will happen when its mulfunction 20 mtr down bellow.


By far this is the MOST important piece of equipment that you own, as reasoned in the above paragraph so we must take care of it accordingly. Your regulator should be serviced annually no matter if you have 1 dive or 100 dives. Why? Because your regulator is built of many moving parts, especially o-rings which are made of either Rubber and on most or all newer regulators it will be EPDM (Oxygen Compatible to 40%). After a year the integrity of the o-rings start to diminish and the lubricants start to wear down and become stale. So it’s not a matter of “Oh but I only dove with it 4 times so I can service it in another year”, it’s a time issue. Just like the oil in your car, only good for 3 – 4 months, you wouldn’t think twice about changing the oil in your summer sports car.

In OceanZoneExplorers We service all brands of diving regulators with eather 6 months or 12 months warranty. Technician is always at the shop to service or just test your gear any time.

Our dive shop is located in 54 Timog Avenue. Quezon City just across the road from LUXENT Hotel.

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Underwater housing service in Manila

Posted by oceanzone on July 24, 2017 at 4:50 AM

OceanZoneExplorers offers expert service and repair of underwater photo and video camera housings, strobes and other photo accessories.

Our technician worked with Country's pro photographers camera, housings, strobes and lights and well known in the comunity. We do custom work as well, any problem you have with your gear bring it to us we will fix it!

If you scratched your wide angle dome port we can remove the scratches.

What we do:

  • Regular service and maintenance
  • System troubleshooting
  • Diagnosis and repair
  • Proven, quality workmanship
  • Standard Pressure testing to 160 feet

If you do not service your photo gear atleast once every 12 months you risking flooding your expensive camera or strobes plus we all well know how much stress it can be when you underwater ready to take a photo and the housing wont cooperate. When all controls are working smooth it is much more fun to use your set.

What is involved:

Once we get your gear we completely disassemble it and degrees all parts, wash of the dirt and sand. Next step is all parts go through Ultra Sonic Cleaner after that we use high pressure blow gun to dry the parts.

We use only high quality lubricants like Nauticam on all parts, when you get your equipment back you will be surprised how smooth its working!

Get in touch with us here.

Divers that learn on their knees

Posted by oceanzone on July 23, 2017 at 8:55 AM

How many times have you seen a group of divers kneeling on the bottom?

Whether it was on a dive boat or from shore, how many times have you looked over and seen a group of divers either kneeling or stirring up the bottom? As a marine scientist, it pains me to see corals and other “benthic” (aka bottom dwelling) organisms become smothered by sediments. It requires an enormous amount of energy for corals to remove these sediments, leaving them in a state of stress if the sediment doesn’t kill them from suffocation. Many times I have acted like an underwater “dust pan” swatting the material off my coral friends from these kinds of divers.

You could argue that bad buoyancy is part of the problem but there is an underlying issue. Divers that learn on their knees, dive on their knees. I have seen this time and time again with other instructors that teach skills kneeling on the bottom. When I run into their students later, I find them on the bottom because that is how they were taught.

UTD’s Solution:

UTD divers do not touch the bottom, even in their very first pool session. The UTD difference emphasizes to divers that they always need to be neutrally buoyant in the water column, never on the bottom. This is creating a culture of ocean friendly divers that maintains the benthic health of our marine ecosystems, and our visibility!

If you looking for UTD diving courses in Manila pass by our store we are UTD Training Facility based it 54 Timog Avenue, Quezon City.

Why is the Scuba Industry is in a Freefall

Posted by oceanzone on July 23, 2017 at 8:35 AM

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Unified Team Diving is an agency that teaches Ocean Friendly courses only. We dont run a factory like all the dive shops you see around. We dont need to promote our classes we work only with like minded people those who care about environment and safety and quality of knowledge they will get after the course. We charge people for education and not certification!

If you looking for dive center in manila and safety and the quality of classes is your main concern please come visit our dive shop and meet and talk to our instructor he will answer all your questions.

OZE Crew is out of country

Posted by oceanzone on July 23, 2017 at 8:30 AM

OceanZoneExplorers crew is out of the country and we will resume full operation on July 29. This will include service of all kinds of diving gear as well for those who are waiting to start the training with our UTD #87 and PADI #492739 Instructor Igor Subora.

As we dive all year around moving from one location to another trying to find the best of diving in the Country so we can improve our services to our customers!


Cave Diving

Posted by oceanzone on May 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Cave diving is a mystery waiting to be uncovered. Yes we know what is in a cave on the Earth’s surface but, a cave underwater is probably a whole lot more. Although a lot of people are into scuba diving these days, not many are trained to be a cave diver. It takes grace on your kicks, perfect buoyancy and fluidity of knowledge and skills.

In the Philippines, there are a lot of caves. Most of these caves are unexplored because they are located under a private land owners’ sector. Last year, May 2014, we went to Cebu to meet up with a friend and dive the Pawod Cave discovered in 2001 by Doc Alfonso Boy Amores.

I was much honored to be with 3 UTD Instructors in the Philippines, Juan Naval, Maike Espiritu and Igor Subora. On the first day, we catch up Maike, who is Cebu based over a sumptuous meal in a pizza parlor nearby a dive shop. With a full stomach, our cave diving training begun with the introduction of theory and skills. We were taught how to read the cave arrows, knots, placement of the spools and so on. It is extremely different because caves can be enormous on space or tight to squeeze in. Our training was the latter. I was excited and learned so much from my usual recreational underwater exploration. The second part of the training was the simulation. I had to carry not only 3 spool, but 4. Juan made a course using the spool tying it from pole to pole and put arrows as soon as we were ready. We simulated like it was murky and a truly zero visibility environment, so we wore our masks the opposite was of normally wearing it and started. One hand on the diver and the other on the rope. Rope is a diver’s lifeline in cave diving, so never let go! Igor led the first simulation and I did the second time. It was sooooo cool and it added up to my excitement. Over dinner, we planned our first cave diving to Pawod Cave for the next morning.

We head to Pawod Cave at 9am transported by our super cool tiny jeepney and geared up as soon as we arrived. The water was murky because the locals were enjoying a swim on the surface before we came. The entrance was dark and intimidating for first timers but as we went along, it became more mesmerizing each time. It was so interesting that you just want to go on every channel you see, but we weren’t allowed as yet. We ended the first dive and the three went ahead for the second one. It was truly something that I will forever remember and would love to do again. What an experience!