3 Ways to Get to Know Scuba Diving

Posted: 1st October 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving

padidivingAfter you master the open water course, there is more fun to be had! Oh, there is SO much more fun to be had, really, but we’ll just focus on the next steps for now. It’s not all about getting in there and breathing under water. There are different types of dives that can help you acquire and master new skills. Skills that will take you to the next level in your diving career.

Performance Buoyancy

Can you swim through a hula hoop without touching its sides? If so, you may have mastered the art of buoyancy. Or you may have just gotten lucky that one time. Give it another shot and see how it goes. Actually, buoyancy is something that takes a long time to master, so if you’re a novice diver, don’t get frustrated about not having it down just yet. Practice makes perfect.

Underwater Navigator

When you dive, you are free. You literally lose gravity and everything that means, so you are not tied down to one spot. But when you’re not tied down to one spot, it’s easy to get lost! You know how easy it is to lose your beach towel when you’re in the water with a strong current? Well, it’s even easier to do while you’re under water. And this can be extremely dangerous. If you stray too far from the shore or from your dive boat, you can be in big trouble. With this course, you will learn basic navigation skills that you can practice to become a master diver.

Deep Diver

It’s probably hard to think about yourself doing any kind of deep dives at this point, but if you want to go deeper than a mere 12 meters, experts recommend taking the deep diver course first. It’ll teach you the skills you need to build on your diving expertise and explore greater depths. After this course, you’ll know to expect the changes that occur when you reach beyond the point where the sun is still shining.

If you want to take any of these courses, feel free to reach out to us. We can help! Follow this link or give us a call and we can arrange your PADI class of choice. The important part is that you learn everything you can about diving. If we can be part of the process, we’re even happier! Now, go dive!

Practice your skills on land first

Practice your skills on land first

First and foremost, if you aren’t a scuba diver, go ahead and take your first open water course. This course will teach you the skills you’ll need to start scuba diving, and much of what you’ll learn will take place on land. More than likely, your “hands on” training will take place in a pool or another body of shallow water. But even after you have taken your maiden dive, you can still practice on land in between trips. Like anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll become. And since we all can’t dive every day (although we wish we could), these tips offer you a great opportunity to hone your skills and become the best diver you can possibly be, regardless of how many dives you’ve logged.

Just like a rower can do exercises at the gym to help her improve her sport, a diver can do exercises on land to help him improve his game. Practice these things to boost your performance under water.

Practice Navigation

How good are you with a compass? If you were an Eagle Scout, well, you can probably skip this step. But for the rest of us, we’re not used to navigating with a compass. The GPS kind of just tells us where to go most of the time. But while you’re on land, it’s a great time to learn how to get your bearings and practice using your compass. While you’re on land, it’s just about the only thing you’ll have to focus on. When you’re under water, you’ll have to worry about things like situational awareness, buoyancy and air. It’s a lot easier to familiarize yourself with the compass when you’re on solid ground!

Start Doing Yoga

Many divers shy away from the yoga thing because it doesn’t feel manly enough. Call it Bro-ga if you’d like, but this exercise can really help improve your diving abilities. Not only will it help with flexibility and overall health, but it can also help reduce stress, which can be a major problem for divers, and learn breathing techniques that will help you while diving. Check out the yoga classes at your local gym or get a yoga DVD to do in the comfort of your own home (this is a great option for anyone who is embarrassed about starting out with yoga).

Practice Photography

If you learn to become a better photographer above ground, guess what’ll happen? That’s right! You’ll also become a better underwater photographer. Sure, there are a few things you’ll need to learn about lighting underwater shots that you won’t learn from a standard photography class, but you will learn the basics that will help improve your vacation albums.

What You Should Know About Diving and Jet Lag

Posted: 17th September 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
Adjust to jetlag before a dive

Adjust to jetlag before a dive

So many people plan dive vacations, but they don’t think about the effects of jet lag on their dives. Of course, it’s tempting to run off the plane directly onto the beaches of Phuket to make the most of a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, but there are a few things you should know first.

1. You can lessen the gap before you travel

It may surprise you to learn that there are things you can do to lessen the time difference. Say, what? Okay, so no human has control over time and space, BUT you can control your reaction to time. If you’re traveling east, start going to bed later and later every night before your trip. If you’re traveling west, do the opposite. This will help train your body to adjust to the time difference while you’re there. Of course, there’s only so much you can do if you have to get up for work every morning, but every little bit does help.

2. Always force your body to adjust

Apply a healthy dose of tough love to your body when you arrive at your new destination. Regardless of how tired you may be, force yourself to stay awake when the sun is out and asleep when the moon makes its appearance. This will help reduce the number of days you’ll have to deal with your jet lag. It may be super tough at first, but it’s kind of like ripping off a band-aid.

3. It’s a good idea to plan your dive for day #2

You’re going to be excited to don your wetsuit and jump into the water, but don’t give in to temptation. Not only are you likely to be groggy on the first day, but the changes in pressure from being on the plane combined with the changes in pressure from diving could make you feel like you need a few days to rest. Instead, give your body a proper rest between activities and you should be just fine.

5 Ways to Be an Irreplaceable Dive Buddy

Posted: 10th September 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
The most interesting man in the world doesn't always scuba dive...

The most interesting man in the world doesn’t always scuba dive…

We’re always on the hunt for a perfect dive buddy. Someone who you know you can count on. Someone to help make every dive more interesting. Someone who gets it. If only the most interesting man in the world was available for the job. Sadly, he doesn’t scuba dive often. Still, you can bet that when he does…. he’s the best dive buddy there ever was!

But instead of focusing on finding the right dive buddy, maybe we should turn things around and instead focus on being the right dive buddy. Focus on being the kind of buddy that everyone wants on their dive and you’ll have your choice. People will be fighting to get the chance to dive with you! Here are some tips for becoming a better (nay, the best) dive buddy.

1. Always be willing to adventure

“Hey, buddy! Are you down for…?” Yes. The answer is yes. Whenever possible, make yourself available to dive with your buddy. Be open to go on new adventures and explore old haunts. One of the greatest things about scuba diving is that no two dives are alike – especially if you’re diving with a different partner.

2. Avoid temptation to go rogue

What does the worst dive buddy in the world do? He wanders off and isn’t there when you need him! Don’t be that guy, please. Stick around. But not just for emergencies. Be there to share the experience with the human you chose to spend your time with. It’ll be fun, promise.

3. Help your buddy check his gear

Dive buddies are more than just pals. They are partners. A good dive buddy will help check equipment to ensure that the dive will go smoothly – even before you both get in the water.

4. Know how to help in an emergency

It’s one thing to just be there. It’s another thing entirely to know what to do when your friend just sliced his hand open on some coral. An irreplaceable dive buddy will keep her cool under pressure and know exactly how to stop the bleeding, so she can get her partner safely to a hospital. It won’t always be a flesh wound, but you get the point.

5. Point out any interesting things you see on a dive

Have you ever been talking about a dive with your buddy after the fact and realized that you both had two completely different experiences? There is something cool about that, but “dude, why didn’t you tell me there was a monster sea turtle around the bend?” You would feel slighted if you missed something big, and so will your partner, so get your hand signals down and be sure to get your buddy’s attention if there’s something interesting to see.

Top 5 Reasons to Log Every Dive

Posted: 25th August 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
Should I log this dive?

Should I log this dive?

Okay, so maybe you’re not going out for a world record, but you still should log each and every dive you do. It’s about much more than just journaling.

1. Safety – No one wants to think about worst case scenarios, but if you have an accident while you’re down there and cannot communicate dive details yourself, a dive log can help emergency responders get you the help you need faster. For this reason, your logbook should also include any medical conditions, emergency contact numbers and insurance information.

2. Memories – Sure, you have your GoPro footage, but that doesn’t have all of the details of your trip. For the full picture, you’ll need to log dives. The logbook is the perfect way to record everything, so you can easily share on Facebook, Twitter or your personal blog.

3. Weight Check – Buoyancy is so important when you’re diving, but weighting can be difficult. Especially if you don’t dive often, or if you only dive a particular site once a year, keeping a logbook can help you remember how many weights you’ll need to maintain neutral buoyancy. It’s a better starting point than just guessing.

4. Performance improvement – Every diver wants to improve their Surface Air Consumption (SAC). Since it is something that evolves over time and changes with varying dive conditions, keeping a logbook can help you keep track of patterns and your improvement – which can help you spend the most time under water.

5. Gear log – The logbook is the perfect place to keep track of your gear service record, which is an important part of dive safety. Here, you can record new gear purchases, service and repair. When it’s time to prepare for a dive, check the logbook to see if anything needs to be repaired or replaced before you put yourself in a dangerous position.

With so many things to worry about during a dive, keeping a logbook may seem like an extra step that can easily be skipped. In truth, it probably isn’t life or death. But it can help you become a better diver. And who doesn’t want that?

3 Biggest Threats to Ocean Life

Posted: 30th July 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving

pollutionIf I were to sum up the biggest threat to ocean life in one word, my choice would be obvious: Humans. But for the sake of education and conservation, I will break down the most dangerous things we as humans do to destroy the ocean and its delicate ecosystem.

1. Irresponsible Overfishing

If you want to keep an ecosystem intact, there are some simple rules to follow. First, eat food that can reproduce quickly, so the supply will naturally replenish. Second, don’t eat food that is older than you are. Unfortunately, we have not been following these rules when it comes to fishing. And we have been rather greedy about how we take life from the ocean to please our own taste buds.

How to help: Support marine protected areas, fish regeneration zones and buy only sustainable, fast-reproducing fish.

2. Coastal Pollution

You know that time you didn’t recycle? Well, I’m not going to make you feel guilty about one oversight, but it is a fact that our collective plastic waste is damaging coral reefs and killing wildlife. But plastic is just one part of the nasty cocktail that is destroying our oceans. There is also agricultural runoff and untreated sewage (gross) that makes its way into our oceans.

How to help: Avoid using plastics whenever possible. When you must use plastic, be sure to recycle. Also, consider eating an organic, plant-based diet to cut down on agricultural pollution.

3. Oil and Gas

You’ve probably seen images of marine life covered in oil all over the news because, unfortunately, oil spills are much too common. But its not just the spills that are damaging to the oceans. The process of drilling for oil in itself causes serious damage to the oceans.

How to help: Seek out and use renewable energy sources, and do your best to avoid using oil and gas byproducts, such as plastic.

There aren’t any easy fixes when it comes to preserving the ocean and its delicate ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. There are even small steps that you and I can take today to start making a difference. Remember that ever journey, regardless of how big or small, begins with just one step.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Dolphins

Posted: 23rd July 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving

evolutionDolphins are truly amazing and beautiful creatures, but they are also very complex. There are many interesting facts about dolphins that most people don’t know. As a diver, you may be aware of some of these, but I am willing to bet that there is at least one fact here that will surprise you. If you think I’ve missed anything important, please feel free to let me know in the comments.

1. Dolphins probably used to live on land

Say what? It’s true. Researchers believe that dolphins first lived on land before they adapted to the water. After studying their fins, scientists found that they are formed more like legs and toes than the fins of other marine animals.

2. Dolphin babies are always breech

Dolphins are the only mammals that give birth to their young “feet first.” The tail must come out first or the calf would drown. Breathing is not involuntary for these animals either.

3. Dolphins drown with less water than a human

It takes just two tablespoons of water in a human’s lungs in order for him or her to drown, but a dolphin would drown with just two tablespoons of water in its lungs. Rather interesting for a mammal that lives under water, isn’t it?

4. Dolphins sleep at the surface

In order to keep their blowholes from being submerged, dolphins must sleep at the water’s surface. Sounds dangerous, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Fortunately, they are able to keep one side of their brains activated while they sleep in order to keep breathing and stay alert.

5. Dolphins may be able to see a pregnant woman’s unborn baby

More research needs to be done on this topic, but experts believe that dolphins may be able to see a human’s unborn fetus by using its sonar – the same type of waves used in an ultrasound machine. Pregnant women have reported dolphins behaving unusually, which leads them to believe that the dolphins know about the pregnancy – sometimes even before the woman knows herself!

Stress-Busting Tips for New Divers

Posted: 16th July 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
Stress can be dangerous under water

Stress can be dangerous under water

Scuba diving is a sport that seems very far out of many people’s comfort zones. You have to learn how to breathe under water for crying out loud! This isn’t for the faint of heart, but just because you’re courageous does not mean you won’t be nervous on your first few dives. The best way to combat new dive jitters is to be prepared. Here are five tips for doing just that.

1. Increase your physical fitness level

You may be surprised to learn that your physical fitness level has a lot to do with the progression of panic under water. Diving does require a certain level of fitness and stamina to begin with, but you should strive to be more fit if you would like to be less stressed. Experts agree that an unfit person is much more likely to suffer from physical stresses under water and these can lead to psychological stress and panic, which can be very dangerous.

2. Avoid diving too deep

Don’t let yourself give in to pressure to dive deeper than a depth where you are comfortable. If you start getting nervous about depth during a dive, you are likely to breathe heavier, or even hyperventilate, which will use your air much more quickly. This can also be very dangerous. Stay within your comfort zone to avoid unnecessary stress.

3. Choose a dive with good visibility

Dive conditions vary based on the day, but they also vary based on the location. Certain dive spots are known for their high and low visibility. If possible, choose a spot that is known for having great visibility and check dive conditions before you leave. If you think you may be on a dive with low viz, be sure to keep an experienced buddy nearby to keep your stress level down.

4. Maintain human contact

There is something to be said about human contact. It is quite possibly the best stress reliever around. Just having a dive buddy to communicate with under water can keep your heart rate down, and if things get really stressful, like in a case of minimal viz, try holding hands for a moment (unless, of course, all hands are needed to diffuse the situation).

5. Research marine life before your dive

Many new divers get stressed out over an encounter with an animal that they deem to be dangerous, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Think about which marine animal would scare you the most and learn all you can about it before you go on your next dive. Fear often comes from a place of ignorance. With a better understanding, you will probably not be as scared.

How to Get Back Into to Diving

Posted: 9th July 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving

Back to basics

If you have taken a hiatus from diving, don’t worry. Although it’s not exactly like riding a bicycle, you may be surprised at how much of your initial instruction you will retain, especially if you were previously an experienced diver.

1. Take a refresher course

If it has been a few years since your last dive, you may want to take a refresher course. If you were a beginner diver, consider taking the open water course all over again. If you were a little more experienced, you may want to start with a refresh of the last course you mastered. Either way, it is good to brush up on some basic safety skills.

2. Have all equipment serviced or replaced

This is an extremely important step that cannot be skipped. Even if you only used your equipment one time, if it has been more than a year, get it checked out. Most scuba shops will also service and repair your old gear. And if it needs to be replaced, they will certainly let you know. Please remember that scuba diving is unlike most other sports in that your diving equipment is literally your lifeline. This isn’t something to mess around with!

3. Get over the fear with a buddy

It’s natural to be nervous on your first dive back, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Be sure to dive with an experienced buddy, so he or she can help you brush up on your skills as you go. One thing is for certain, though, you should not go it alone. Diving without a buddy isn’t really recommended for most divers, so be sure to bring your buddy along with you.

4. Choose an easy dive

You may have some challenging dives under your belt, but if you haven’t done it in a while, it’s best to err on the side of safety. Choose the easiest possible dive for your first one back. This will allow you to focus on adjusting your equipment and getting back into your old groove without having to worry about whether you are “in over your head” (pun intended).

5. Just do it!

Take a page from the Nike handbook and jump in with both feet. Once you’re sure you’re prepared and have chosen the easiest possible dive, don’t over think this. Soon, you’ll be back to diving like a pro (if that’s what you were doing before your break) and will barely remember feeling this uncertainty. The second dive back is much easier than the first.

Can You Dive with a Disability?

Posted: 3rd July 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
Diving with a disability

Diving with a disability

Whether you are born with a disability or develop one later in life, there is one thing for certain. You can live life to your fullest capacity. But there are some more dangerous hobbies that cannot occupy your time. Is scuba diving one of them?

Can You Feel the Weightlessness?

Most people with disabilities can absolutely dive, and in fact, it is encouraged. You may even be surprised to learn that someone who is paraplegic can float weightlessly through the water in a wetsuit. Of course, depending on the disability, certain modifications may need to be made in order for the sport to remain at its current level of safety, but it is highly possible for someone with a disability to scuba dive.

Benefits of Diving with a Disability

There are many advantages to scuba diving as a physical rehabilitation tool. It allows all people to interact in a near-weightless state, which gives many people the opportunity to feel the normal obstacles and restrictions of their disability simply drift away.

How to Get Started with Scuba Diving

If you are interested in diving with a disability, your instructor should be certified with Disabled Divers International. Find your local dive center here: https://www.ddivers.org/divecenters. As a diver, a level will be assigned to you based on your need for assistance. This will let you and your instructors know exactly where you stand and how much assistance you will need on each dive.

Who Cannot Dive

Diving is deemed as too dangerous for people with certain conditions. Those who are mentally handicapped may not have the ability to scuba dive. And if you have a heart or respiratory problem, the increased pressure of diving may prove to be fatal. Also, if you have issues with your nasal sinuses or ears, you should not scuba dive. If you suspect you have any of these problems, it is best to go to get checked out before you take your first open water class.