Tag Archives: scuba diving

Top 10 factors a diver should consider

In the life of a scuba diver, one sees and hear all kind of things. From the regular recurring “is there any sharks here?” all the way up to “I dive DIR, I hope the DM will match me with a good diver otherwise I want my $$ back!” and so on and so forth.

I recently stumbled up upon a scuba diver’s article online and could not help but do a remix of it all…  Let say I jump into the arena and see what’s there. Too tempting 😀
It may unleash the fire of hatred or the critical eyes of a few but hey, the news are what they are today – biased. So, here, I will try to give you the other side of the coin.

  • Using your tank valve to dry off your dust cap

It is actually a good thing to dry your dust cap prior to placing it back onto your first stage regulator. Doing this will avoid moisture to get in and start corrosion. As of how to do it, this is another thing. Consideration would dictate your actions but…if you use it considerately, you can use your tank valve to dry the dust cap off, or, you can also use your mouth to blow air in the cap – it is usually enough!

  • Make good use of your kitting area

Don’t spread your kit on one side if your entry point is on the other side…DUH!!!!

  • Take your time..but keep on track

Kitting up on a sunny day is a great motivating factor but watch out for some details. You can be the most experienced diver on the boat or site, so take a second or two to observe your team. If there is a diver who takes longer and/or repeat tasks at nauseum, you can conclude that this person is under stress. Instead of starting to complain and getting ready too fast, stop what you’re doing, go and speak with her/him. This is a sign of stress. For you Rescue Divers, does it sound familiar? It does to me! 😀
Maybe the dive plan is too aggressive or the side too intimidating. Getting to know your team members during the boat ride out to the site is a nice way to “screen” everybody. Be nice!

  • Communication is key

To avoid confusion, a team of divers must agree on a plan and stick to it. Along with a series of hand signal, a team leader should be assigned. During a dive, in a group, there is no “passenger”. Let me explain this: I do not follow blindly the DM and barely monitor my gas, I am an active member of the team. Therefore, I keep and eye on them as I know, that they keep an eye on me. No “I” in TEAM 🙂

  •  A theme dive should be filled with like-minded divers

If you are a photo maniac (like me!) and you want to dive just for taking photos, the best to avoid the “accidental” photo bombing, is to book onto a photographer’s dive trip. Like this, you are among divers who will be doing the same they’ll expect you to do: be smart.

  • Did I already said you should be considerate?

If you, the diver photographer refused to listen to our advice and find yourself on a boat full of non-photographers, then be considerate and use this to your advantage – this day, you can build something super interesting with the team and have your them participate. Yes, this photo shoot will be with models, get used to it! You and your team, now form a perfect crew for making your photos NatGeo‘s eligible shots. A dive plan, with assigned roles and solid communication will make this dive a bliss rather than a nightmare. Be smart!

  • More often than not, you could end up being the most experienced dive on-board

Yes, it is a fact that you could end up being the diver with the most experience on board. Does it mean you are a snob? Certainly not. Can you play the snob? Sure! Should you? Certainly NOT 🙂
Hear me out here a second. The most experience you have, the more others are going to turn to you and ask for advice. This your time to shine.
Be a role model. Like always. 🙂
On the other hand, that means that you are within your comfort zone and will not learn much, if not more “people skills”. So think again when booking your next diving holidays – FACE YOUR FEAR – give yourself a challenge. If you are an instructor, take an instructor course to better your knowledge and if you are Rescue diver, take onto some new challenge and like this, keep your hobby interesting.

 

So, here it is, I have said what I wanted to say. There is only 9 points in the end because I think there is no need to repeat too many times the same thing.
We are in an individualistic social activity, if that make sense. It is probably one of the most social sport to meet people, travel to new places and have fun.
In my opinion, learning to scuba in resort destination is not the best thing to do to your hobby. Unless you are learning an advanced form of diving, not being taught at your local dive shop. Sidemount scuba diving comes to mind, as well as cave diving.
Once you become a sidemount diver and/or a cave diver, you first can be proud of yourself as these two courses are challenging. But keep in mind that it is not for every diver and that your experience can and will help others.
Your experience, over those many dives that you have logged, have given you the “resuce others” type of skill set. Give away those tips and tricks you’ve learned and be the diver everybody wants to dive with.

If you feel you’ve reached a plateau, then take up on a new course. Challenge yourself and make sure you’re doing it for the right reason – HAVE FUN 🙂

 

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Safe Scuba Diving

Accident Analysis & Normalization of Deviance

This post is not like any other one. It treats of a serious subject and is only the reflection of my personal thoughts. In no way I am here to judge ones act or decision. It is just here to bring to light a sad reality. Scuba diving and, even more cave diving, is deceptively easy. As one of my trainers have said, ‘any monkey can go in a cave but can they actually make it out..??’

Natural Selection is slow but…

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The Art of teaching scuba diving

…Or The Value of Training

Yes, teaching scuba diving is an art. I know this because I have just been taught by one of the best trainer there is in the industry at the moment. His name is Steve Bogaerts, owner of Go Sidemount in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico.

I decided to take my sidemount cave diver training from the Master himself! If you don’t know who I am talking about, check out Steve’s website and you will understand. His teaching method is impressive, his eye for detail is unique andhe has a way of explaining things which makes them easy to understand.  Another bonus of his sidemount cave course is that you have to dive with the harness he designed ­– the Razor harness — after many years of sidemount diving in one of the harshest environments in scuba diving.

Basic Sidemount Drill

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Scuba Equipment Essentials

Scuba Diving Essentials

I have been scuba diving since the age of fifteen and have logged a good amount of dives. I would like to say I have enjoyed everyone of them but it would not be true and I would not be writing this article.

When you decide to go and buy your scuba diving equipment, on the recommendation of your instructor, of course, you need to keep certain rules in mind.

First off, here is what you will need as a bulk pak:

  • BCD or buoyancy compensator
  • Regulators with alternate air source, SPG and low pressure inflator hose.
  • Mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit.
  • Dive computer or depth gauge, compass, cutting tool slates or wetnotes
  • Tanks if you are sure of the need otherwise dive shops have these for rent

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Diving Weight vs Balanced Rig

To weight or Not to weight?

Once wrapped into your wetsuit, weight belt and BCD you are now ‘free’ to go and enjoy the wonders of the aquatic realm. Do you remember your first dive? As it happens I do and I remember putting on a weight belt with 2 blocks on it – I guess they were two pounders. Don’t exactly remember how I was in the water as my concentration was on my breathing and my instructor, a very attractive mermaid!
This said, my initial scuba training was done under the banner of the CMAS, World Underwater Federation, and at the time the use of a BCD was sort of newish, specially that I was in the French Caribbean. OK, ok, did I mention already that I have a great life?
Being balanced and trimmed underwater is quite challenging, especially when it’s your first time. Usually, dive resorts have what we call ‘try dives,’ and as the amount done means more profit, things can go a little bit too quickly, so you may not really have time to adjust. Also, the instructor who runs your try dive has another four clients, and probably more waiting on the boat to get the chance of their life to try scuba diving.
Have a look at this video, shot by Steve Martin during a trip to Tortuga Reef, Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The quality is not great, but you will get a better idea of where I’m going with all this:
Overweighted scuba Diver

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Buoyancy, Trim and Propulsion

Buoyancy, Trim and Propulsion, in that order.

Like any physical activity, scuba diving is demanding and requires a certain level of fitness to enjoy it safely. We could stress that physiological preparedness is the main core of scuba diving, so trim, buoyancy and propulsion are the essential skills needed for its practice.

To get a good trim, you need rock solid buoyancy skills.

Divers often forget the impact on the environment from which they have evolved. Although the practice of the sport was founded on exploration of the aquatic realm from a conservation point of view, the skills needed today for a more sustainable scuba diving practice are on many diver’s minds.
Much of the diving community is aware of the need for more responsible diving.
There is much more interest these days in technical diving, overhead diving, including prestigious cave diving, and voodoo deep gas diving.
Although some of these have been practiced for a long time in some circles, the demand from recreational divers is increasing.
New agencies have been set up to support a more established and strict set of training standards.

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Back To Basic Scuba

Fundamental Skills

Going back to basics is not a bad thing and not at all a waste of time. When taking your hobby into account you want to maximie the time and experience youget from it each time you comit. Scuba diving is no different and requires attention and care, a bit like a bonsaĂŻ tree!

When you look at the size of the scuba diving industry it is no surprise to have a different although standardised way of teaching. I feel weird just by saying something like that but when you think about it, it’s just as true as it is scary.
Holiday goers are now offered a scuba diving certification in three days…three days!!! How can you learn to evolve in a unfamiliar and sometime hostile environment in only three days? Continue reading


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