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Travel Journal: Barcelona Dive Show

Catalonia’s capital is always pleasantly surprising, warm and life enticing. I arrived in Barcelona sometime during Thursday evening, March 10th, 2011, to be on the spot right from the first hours after the opening of the Cornellá Dive Show. Present for the third time at the event, I had the possibility to observe, from a regular visitor’s perspective, the evolution of the recreational diving market in Spain. 

The year 2008, which brought a radical change, a shock in the world’s economy, had also an impact on the recreational diving field, through a decrease in clubs’ and producers’ activities, together with the limitation of scuba divers’ expenditures. 

Cornellá, the location of the show, is practically a town in itself, but has already been attached to the growing metropolis which is Barcelona. Due to the fact that I arrived at the exhibition around 2pm, a few hours after opening, the number of visitors was low, but grew exponentially after working hours and in the next days, surpassing in the end 12.000 visitors.

The number of booths was a bit lower than at the 2010 edition and it was probably due to the local “fights” to dominate the scuba market, respectively to the scheduling of the Dive Travel Show event just one week earlier, in Madrid. Even under these circumstances the show was well inhabited with exhibitors: many recreational and commercial dive centers in Spain, many travel agencies, plus a few famous entities: GEAS – Guardia Civil (Grupo Especial de Actividades Subacuaticas – a kind of military police for the maritime and underwater area), DAN Europe – with its well-known first aid scuba and aquatic specialty courses and medical insurances, Cressi (after many editions in which it was absent, it returned with a big and imposing booth), FECDAS (The Catalan Federation of Underwater Activities), The Volunteers’ Association from L’Hospitalet Civil Protection, Valiant – with its famous RIBs, booths with Bare, DUI, Poseidon etc products or rebreathers, nautical equipments, a small demonstrations pool etc.

Gear and accessories for all tastes were provoking your wallet at every step, the temptation being quite big. Cressi representatives came with their latest novelties: four new BCD models with a new inflator (amongst which Air Travel, which can be completely folded), five new suit models (see the Ultraspan and Helioflex) collections, two new regulator models and a modular computer (Leonardo). Lassive representatives also presented their new trends in suits, with an attractive design. Technical diving was also well represented by brands such as De Profundis, Casco Antiguo, Camaro, Norteck, which addressed the needs of this new developing specialty. The underwater lights area wasn’t missing, the Saga Dive representatives introducing numerous novelties. Very interesting equipment was the one introduced by ANDI (American Nitrox Divers Inc.): a Flexi-Lite portable hyperbaric chamber for two people.

A spacious hall hosted almost non-stop throughout the three days seminars with themes of general interest (ecological, technical, medical, historical etc.).

The visitors had the possibility to do try dives in the swimming pool specially installed for the show. Plenty of children received their scuba “baptism”, by doing their first try dive under professional supervision. Also here freediving demonstrations took place with some of the world’s champions of this sport.

DAN and a local center for submarine salvage and investigation presented a new unit for hyperbaric medicine, recently opened at the Moisés Broggi hospital in Sant Joan Despí and which strengthens the emergency network of the Spanish peninsula.

The show was completed by the retro gear exhibition, as well as by the art exhibition signed Marc Gimenez and entitled “Water colors”.

Located at a flight distance of 3-4 hours from Romania, with a Latin culture and a rich  gastronomy, having an impressive coast area, with many islands (Balearic archipelago and Canary Islands – the largest and best known groups of islands), with a few bio-reservations and a remarkable variety of attractions (from the underwater world to wrecks and caves), as well as over 1.000 diving clubs, Spain remains a reference point which shouldn’t be absent from the logbook of any diver, and which I personally highly recommend it.

Guest author: Constantin “Costa” Benedic

More photos here

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