Exploring Shipwrecks, Diving with Sharks and Getting SCUBA Certified with the Citizen Promaster ‘Fujitsubo’ in Black Super Titanium

At the dive platform’s edge located at the Phoecena’s stern, the aqua marine Bahamian waters sloshed around my SEAC F-100 fins. Any experience I had related to diving up to that point had been limited to a bit of low-stakes snorkeling and freediving, as well as reading about the exploits of Jacques Cousteau and Dr. Sylvia Earle or the fictitious adventures of Dirk Pitt and Julian Tusker. The week of PADI e-learning was helpful to develop a mental foundation of the do’s and don’ts down under and the pool session the day prior helped me trust the Aqua Lung regulator would deliver the precious air supply beneath the surface, but nothing was going to compare being out in open water for the first time. There was no longer the safety net of sitting behind a computer screen or being in the confines of a training pool – just the ocean. Gazing out past the platform, there was nothing but pure blue skies, crystal clear water and a silhouette of New Providence just visible in the distance. This was the real deal. With my left hand securing the SPG (submersible pressure gauge) tucked into the waist belt of my BCD (buoyancy control device) and my right over my mask and regulator, I attempted my best version of the giant stride.

The Calm Before The “Giant Stride” / Image via Kristin Paterakis

The partially inflated BCD kept me at the surface and following protocol, I immediately turned to the boat to give them the “okay” sign. The water was a bath-warm 83 degrees and a slight current traveling away from the Phoecena tried to steadily pull the few of us that were already in the water away, but a well placed drift line kept us in position. With our small dive team of four in, we conducted a final weight check at the surface, pulling a full deep breath from our regulator followed by fully deflating the BCD. All of us maintained afloat with just our masks above water, a proper sign that our total weight was sufficient. With the green light from our SCUBA instructor, he yelled just loud enough over the other dive team entering the water, “Okay guys, let’s go diving”.

Raising the air-control module up high with my left hand and once again totally deflating the BCD, but this time releasing all the air in my lungs, my entire body steadily descended. Under the guidance of a downline, we slowly progressed towards the bottom. Every few feet we followed the same pattern – equalize, descend, equalize, descend – preventing any sort of pressure build up within my ear canal or around my mask, otherwise known as the “squeeze,” Reaching the weight at the end of the downline, the SPG read 20 feet, but it sure didn’t feel like we had traveled that length, the first experience that the perception of time and space at the surface are totally different below it. Wide-eyed and giddy about the entirely new experience, I scanned the blue world below made up of a white sandy bottom and areas of coral reefs rising in the distance. The surrounding fish were startled by our entry at first, but their curiosity would soon bring them close enough to observe their shimmering scales and vivid colors. There was no doubt that my curiosity for them and the oceanic backdrop was the same.

Diver Down
Pre-Dive Briefing In Progress

Day 1: A Hollywood Dive & A Very Special Cameo

Form Check / Image via Kristin Paterakis

I would have never thought my first trip to the Bahamas would be centered around getting SCUBA certified at the world renowned Stuart Cove’s. In my imagination, a trip to the islands looked more like a scene out of Casino Royale, exploring the exotic beaches in a white linen shirt and a pair of Persol’s blocking out the Caribbean sun, or enjoying a Vesper at the illustrious Ocean Club. Maybe a high-stakes game of Texas Holdem Poker if I was feeling financially adventurous, although the former would be more likely than the latter. The Bahamas however has an earlier connection with Mr. Bond, dating back to the films Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. It wasn’t just the beautiful beaches or the elaborate villain lairs that were captured on film, but the underwater wrecks we would soon be visiting located off the coast of New Providence and residing on the ocean floor.

Fish Are Friends

From our initial depth at 20 feet, our dive team made its way down another line, angling downwards towards a deeper portion of the ocean. Once again, following the same equalize-and-descend process. My depth gauge read 45 feet, a short distance from the dive boat for veteran SCUBA divers, but for me, the furthest below I’ve ever been in the ocean blue. Before we made our way to the first wreck, we situated ourselves in a meadow of sand where we performed a couple of our open water skills – we were still trainee divers after all. With careful instruction from Ramon Munroe, our SCUBA instructor and savvy diver, who quickly became known for his witty topside humor and calm, cool and collected nature at depth, we observed and performed each and every delegated skill. First, intentionally flooding our masks and then clearing it, followed by removing our regulator, locating it with an exaggerated downward reach and then an up-and-over swipe. Once in hand, we reapplied the regulator and cleared any residual salt water. Finally a fin pivot to work on buoyancy. Boom, multiple skills checked off and we were on our way to the Tears of Allah wreck

Crossing The Bow

We finned past multiple coral beds, clearly holding onto life and the occasional curious yellow snapper and angelfish swimming by. Moments later, the Tears of Allah wreck came into view. In its past life, the ship was notoriously confiscated by the local government due to the transportation of illegal substances and then later sold to film producers who would go on to sink the ship and use it in the 1983 film Never Say Never Again. Spanning 89 feet in length, the Tears of Allah cargo shipwreck sat mostly upright with an ever-so-slight lean on its port side. Creeping up on the ship’s flank I marveled at its ghostly appearance. It was no longer a ship used to transport contraband or as a movie prop, but a paradise for all sorts of marine life. Sea coral and sponges blossomed from the ship’s exterior accompanied by playful plume worms spurred to life with a wiggle of my fingers. Towards the base of the ship, shoals of angelfish, different types of snappers and the bashful butterfly fish created a city-like atmosphere. At depth, the non-existent current made it a breeze to explore the different parts of the ship, from the remnants of the foremast and the bridge, to the miscellaneous pieces spread across the powdery bottom.


Reef Shark
Dive Buddy In Action

Just a few minutes swim away, was yet another Bond wreck, but this one from the film Thunderball. The Vulcan bomber no longer resembled the high powered jet it once was when Angelo Palazzi disposed of the flight crew and landed in the middle of the ocean as part of the SPECTRE scheme in the 1965 film. Actually, the wreck wasn’t even a jet at all. The mock jet was fabricated to look like the bomber, paneled with sheets of fiberglass, but as it currently stands, only the metal skeleton frame remained, serving as an ocean jungle gym for larger marine life. Sprouting from the surface were bounds of vibrant sponges and barnacles clinging to the metal exterior. Technicolor reef fish flitted to and fro and although we didn’t see any, the wreck is known to be a rest stop for sea turtles. Our position wasn’t compromised by henchman divers armed with spearguns like the iconic underwater scene in Thunderball during our time diving the wreck, but we did caution ourselves with the fire coral peppered across the bomber’s skeletal remains.

A View From Above Exploring The Vulcan Bomber Wreck / Image Via Artisan Assets

Passing another small wreck and well within our turnaround time, I heard a garbled yell through someone’s regulator. I couldn’t tell if the yell was distress or excitement, but I knew it was Ramon. Uncharacteristic to Ramon’s tranquil nature thus far, he frantically was trying to get our attention. We all turned around to be met by a special cameo on this Hollywood dive. Several feet away and approaching our current position was a Volkswagen Beetle sized manatee. It cruised effortlessly in the water with surprising agility. With increasing curiosity, it came closer, scraping the ocean bottom with its limb flippers, maintaining eye contact the whole way and passing through our group expecting each and every one of us to move out of its way – and we happily obliged. Ramon hand signaled to us and it most certainly was not a dive signal we learned during our training. The tips of his fingers firmly pressed together on each hand and gestured to the sides of his head and then exploded away, signaling the universal sign, “Mind blown.” Aboard the Phoecena, Ramon excitedly told us and the rest of the crew that in his 20 years of diving the area, he has never seen a manatee in open water like that, which made the first open water dive all the more special.

Nurse Sharks

Our second dive continued at a site called Nari Nari. It seemed that our leash underwater was getting longer and longer with each passing minute, but Ramon still kept a watchful eye. In addition to continuing our open water skills training, we dove the largest single sculpture ever to be deployed underwater, the Ocean Atlas. The 60 ton sculpture, comprised of pH neutral and sustainable materials, depicts a woman carrying the weight of the entire ocean. Between the two dive teams at the site, freedivers passing through and snorkelers at the surface, the Ocean Atlas had more visitors than she bargained for. We continued the Hollywood themed dive by finning over to a Cessna seaplane wreck that appeared in Jaws IV, another movie prop turned into a dive attraction. Thankfully for us, the celebrity great white shark didn’t make a cameo during our visit.

Happy Trails
Long Day Of Diving In The Books
Bahamian Naval Ships

The Dive Watch

Citizen ‘Fujitsubo’ In Black Super Titanium

The dive watch was, and still is, a key component of any SCUBA diving kit. Luckily, Citizen made sure the options were plentiful with a slew of new Promaster divers to choose from. The brand is no stranger to exploring larger silhouettes, peculiar case designs and occasionally incorporating the fun-loving lume dial. That said, none of those characteristics appear in Citizen’s Promaster Challenger Diver, otherwise known as the ‘Fujistubo’. It’s Citizen’s run-of-the-mill diver forged out of titanium that seemed to be missing some of the beloved brand’s panache we’ve come to adore, until now.

My dive watch of choice up to that point was the new Promaster Fujitsubo in Black Super Titanium. At its core, it’s everything we’ve come to understand about the Fujitsubo. It has a straightforward diver design built on a foundation of ISO compliant features. Its muscular profile on the bracelet thanks to the solid endlinks stretching beyond the lug tips measuring 54mm (49 mm lug to lug) is balanced out by its 105g weight (bracelet sized to a 6.25” wrist). The difference here is that the case and bracelet are coated with Duratect DLC giving the watch a charcoal gray complexion.

Exposure to a bit of diving and the elements give the Black Fujitsubo a well-worn look that takes a steel diver a lifetime of wear to achieve. Salt water doesn’t just bead off the metal surface, but leaves a unique pattern of marks across the case and bracelet every time. The streaks, swishes and stains left behind cause a slight iridescent sheen which, coincidentally enough, similarly occurs when light hits the smokey gray dial, adding in a hint of violet in certain angles.

Citizen has made an effort to add some of the brand’s beloved flair to the Fujitsubo. The Duratect DLC coating and the dial’s fume effect matching the case does just enough to balance out the more ubiquitous design cues such as the mercedes hour hand and traditional diver layout. It feels more in line with the black -coated stainless steel ‘Fugu’ or the Promaster Dive with a lume dial, and less like a traditional diver.

Citizen Promaster Dive ORCA
More Double-Wristing, But This Time With A Wrist Compass
Ecozilla In Action
Over The Sleeve Is Always A Proper Move
Lume. Dial.

Day 2, Part I: Wall Dive & Officially Certified

Open Water Skill Briefing

Building on the confidence we all developed the day prior, we were back in the water with a day full of diving ahead. The fickle Bahamian weather tried to thwart our plans the morning of with the sky opening up to torrential rains and a lightning show that would’ve made Zues proud. But sure enough, the clouds dissipated and the seas calmed. Below the surface, the same conditions remained – 35 feet of visibility in  bone-warming 84 degree water.

Surface Weight Check

The captain located his mark just southwest of New Providence. On the agenda, we would be completing two separate dives with the first being at Pumpkin Patch followed by Mike’s Reef. Both dive sites offered up incredible views of a vibrant coral reef teeming with marine life. The Pumpkin Patch in particular seemed to be much busier thanks to its proximity to the Tongue of the Ocean, bringing in nutrient-rich waters from the Great Bahama Bank with each tidal change. As the name suggests, large orange sponges akin to a pumpkin are among the highlights of the intricate coral reef with squirrelfish, glasseye and the occasional moray eel swimming about.

Spot The Squirrelfish

After spending a portion of our dive time at the coral bed, we set our sights on hitting the wall where the Pumpkin Patch ended and the Tongue of the Ocean began. The Tongue of the Ocean is a vast body of water separating the island of Andros, Great Exuma and New Providence, which at its deepest plunges to 6,000 feet between the islands. For our purposes, we were only concerned with the top 60 feet. While peering over the coral bed’s edge and looking into deep blue abyss, a slight chill shot up my spine. I’ve looked over the edge of mountain summits as high as 14,500 feet but somehow not seeing the bottom of a 6,000 foot ocean floor was more daunting.

In To The Deep

Leaving the fringe of the Tongue of the Ocean we found ourselves a spot to complete more open water skills. With a wrist compass strapped opposite to the Fujitsubo, I demonstrated proper compass navigation, following a designated heading and then completing a 180 degree turn to backtrack to my starting position. We then completed another buoyancy skill, controlling our rise and fall in the water with the simple act of breathing. We made our way to the surface simulating an emergency ascend situation. As we secured our tanks back on the boat and wrestled the top half of our wetsuit to find some relief from the midday heat, it was official, we were dive certified.

Return View Of Stuart Cove’s
Looking For Parking
Tanks On Tanks
Resident Feline
Mode Of Transportation

Day 2, Part II: Thrown To The Sharks 

Ray Of Hope / Image Via Kristin Paterakis

As an official PADI open water certified diver, it was only right to turn an open afternoon into a couple of dives and what better way to log our first official dive than to turn things up a notch. During our first dive, we made our way to a different part of the Tongue of the Ocean to explore the Ray of Hope wreck. The Ray of Hope was a 200 ft cargo ship that was donated by the Bahamian government to be used as an artificial reef. Like the Tears of Allah wreck, the Ray of Hope stood upright with its bow facing the edge of the Tongue of the Ocean. There was much to explore, from the ship’s open deck to finning through promenade thru-ways and around the hull that stared into the ominous blue. Gray reef sharks lurked in the distance while nurse sharks often invaded our personal space as we finned around the wreck.

The Main Event At Shark Arena

The grand finale dive was a once in a lifetime experience witnessing a shark feeding. Known as the Shark Arena, a group of large rocks completed a circle setting the stage for experienced divers dressed in sharksuits to complete the feeding. The heightened energy in the water was palpable. A combination of groupers, reef sharks and nurse sharks slowly introduced themselves into the arena surely knowing what was to come. As the feeding commenced, the shark’s behavior quickly changed. They were no longer the animals keeping their distance but now the aggressors, torpedoing towards the bait at the end of a metal rod being waved around by the main shark feeder/diver.


The feeding was the equivalent to a football scrum. Large female gray reef sharks surrounded the feeding diver at the center, quickly changing directions at the drop of a hat to snag an afternoon snack. Nurse sharks sneakily made their way towards the bait box and often had to get redirected. Groupers swam around clumsily with their mouths wide open for scraps and the smaller male reef sharks maintained their distance outside of the circle. I would occasionally get nudged by sharks entering and leaving the circle but the extra weight added to the BCD pockets kept me grounded to the ocean floor. As the bait box closed and the last piece of fish was fed, the scrum cleared as quickly as the whole thing started.

Topside Chronicles: The No Dive Day

No Dive Day / Image Via Artisan Assets

The beauty of diving abroad is the no dive day. In order to avoid decompression sickness it’s recommended that there is a period of time that passes before you can hop on a return flight home. That means, you get to kick back, relax and enjoy the view from your dive locale.

In my down time, I quickly acknowledged my increasing appreciation of the dive watch. Diving with a diver totally changes the wearing experience because you get an actual sense of why things are designed the way that they are. I had no dive computer on any of my dives, and surely I will invest in one for the future, so the dive watch played an important role during my training and my first official dive.

One Word To Describe Getting SCUBA Certified

I used the 60-click time-elapsed bezel on the Fujitsubo every time at the surface before each descent. The minimal dial display and thick markers made it easy to stay aware of the dive time and was key when keeping track of our 3 minute safety stops. The diver extension clasp was actually used so that the watch was properly secured over my wetsuit and not just as a convenient bracelet adjuster on hot summer days. And of course you want a solid case material, whether that be stainless steel or titanium to take on the rigors a watch endures diving. All of this solidified my love for the dive watch even more.

It’s More Fun When You’re A Part Of The Circus / Image Via Kristin Paterakis

I can also write another 3,000 word article on why those who have been on the fence about diving should give it a try, but I’ll spare you the additional reading this time around. In short however, it truly is like lifting up the cover of a circus tent, revealing a whole new world you would have never seen if you were just a bystander outside of it. Citizen


Header image courtesy of Kristin Paterakis. Photos provided by Thomas Calara, Kristin Paterakis & Artisan Assets.

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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.