2012 Northwest Dive & Travel Expo (Tacoma – April 21 & 22, 2012)

It’s the fifth year for Northwest Dive and Travel Expo and it has grown steadily every year. Starting with around 1500 attendees the first year, organizers at Dive News Network expect over 7000 attendees this year. Locally known now has the “Tacoma Show” the NWDS gives divers and prospective divers a unique opportunity to learn about gear, services, training and dive travel from over 300 vendors under one roof. Included in the price of admission are over 50 seminars and lots of chances to win prizes.

ScubaGadget will be reporting live from the show floor
both days via FaceBook, Twitter and this ScubaGadget site. We will have live tweets and posts and daily summaries, as well as the post show wrap up and best of show awards. Please let us your tips and choices for best of show via facebook or email john@jmckenzie.com.


You can pay the regular admission of $20 per day ($15 for youth 10-17)  or you can pay half-price with this ScubaGadget Discount coupon [CLICK FOR DISCOUNT COUPON]. You can also see the show for free if you stay at the expo’s host hotel, the Hotel Murano during the show. If you book a room at the Hotel Murano, you get up to 4 free show passes to add to the $30 discount (show price $139) off of the regular room price ($169). The Murano is across the street from the Tacoma Convention Center.


  • A beer garden on the show floor featuring live music. It was supposed to be included last year, but bureaucracy won out.
  • A dry treasure hunt on the show floor featuring QR code hints that lead you to prizes.
  • A dive pool treasure hunt
  • A show floor theater showing photo contest entries, dive videos and videos from local organizations.
  • A show floor stage featuring vendor talks and demonstrations.
  • New and improved kid’s section offering 3-9 year olds a chance to have some interactive fun. Kids under 10 are free.
  • Special hand tie-dyed t-shirts for to help raise money breast cancer research through “Dive for a Cure


Other show traditions which are continuing and growing this year include the Saturday night banquet and film festival, which includes award for the Local Legends Award: Bill High and Diver of the Year: Diana Hollingshead and the photo contest.


I recently had lunch at the Hotel Murano’s Bites Restaurant. Everyone in my party swooned over the fries. We agreed that these were the best garlic fries we had every eaten any where in the world. Each one tasted as if it had been delicately painted with garlic butter. I will certainly be headed there for lunch to re-enjoy this creation by executive chef Matt Stickle. He also suggested trying the Fries in white truffle oil.


The main underwater NWDS Treasure Hunt has been evolving this year and organizer have made changes for this year that they are hopeful will resolve the previous years’ concerns. This year will be no actual treasure chest, all prizes will be awarded to those that find numbered golf balls. Divers only need to find one ball and only one ball per diver will be eligible to win. The grand prize will be awarded to that person that find the “magic ball” but no one will know which ball is magic ball until the drawing. If no one finds the magic ball, the grand prize worth $1000 will be put in the general prize pool. With the number of prizes and entries, organizers say everyone entering will likely win something. The entry price for the treasure hunt is $35 in advance or $40 on the day. The hunt is held at Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park.

Two other treasure hunts, both included in the admission price, have been added this year; a show-floor treasure hunt and demo pool hunt.

Show Floor Treasure Hunt: Certain vendors will have QR codes at their booth. Scanning the codes with a capable device will both reveal that prize and lead you to others around the show floor. Prizes will be randomly awarded by the vendors to someone who has scanned the code at their booth, but awards will be handed out by the show staff.

Demo Pool Treasure Hunt: The demo pool on the show floor will also have tokens at the bottom and anyone using the pool to test dive equipment will be eligible to grab one for a chance to win a prize. The top prize is a week at the the Atlantis resort valued at $3000.


The NWDS has a goal to raise $12,000 for the fight against breast cancer partnering with Oregon-based Dive for a Cure organization. Dive for a cure has raised over $100,000 in the struggle against breast cancer since 2008.

In a lemons-to-lemonade experience they turned a shirt printing goof-up into an artistic solution.  Rick, Selene and family spent long and grueling hours tie-dying the shirts and turning them into individual works of art. Selene’s son Reagan came up with a special technique that turned out to produce the best shirts of the bunch.  You can help be purchasing shirts and donating at the show. If you get there early enough you may be able to get one of the “Reagan Roll.”


SATURDAY: Dive Expo Show Floor Open to the public 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Hourly information seminars 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Cocktail Reception 6:30 p.m.; Sat Night Dinner Film Festival 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

SUNDAY: Treasure Hunt registration at Owen Beach 7:30 a.m.; Treasure Hunt 9 a.m. Dive Expo Open to the Public 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

All other info: http://www.divenewsnetwork.com/tacoma-schedule-of-events.html


Divers from the San Francisco Bay area and all of Northern California again have their own consumer dive show. In past years US Dive shows was producing a small Bay Area dive show but they dropped that venue. Dive News Network, the NWDS sponsors answered that call to bring a consumer dive show to the area. The first SANTA CLARA DIVE & TRAVEL EXPO 2012 will be a slightly small version of the NWDS held in the Santa Clara Convention center. If you know the area, you will recognize that Santa Clara sits in the heart of the Silicon Valley and right between the SF Bay Area divers and the best dive sites they all frequent in the Monterey area.

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