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
newdiver

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.

How to Adopt a Coral Reef

Posted: 25th June 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving
Adopt a coral reef

Adopt a coral reef

If you really want to make a difference in the world, forget about adopting a highway. Adopt a coral reef. Much of the ocean life we enjoy so much while diving, snorkeling and swimming rely on the coral reef for survival. In fact, as much as 25 percent of marine life may depend on the coral reefs. And the rest of life in the ocean probably depends on that 25 percent of marine life. Remember, the ecosystem maintains a very delicate balance and should not be artificially disturbed.

How does adopting a coral reef work?

Well, the adoption process is not like adopting a dog or a cat, for sure. You don’t get to take the reef home with you… that certainly wouldn’t help anything. But your donation will go towards preserving the coral reefs. Depending on the organization, your donation my help their overall efforts or with conservation of a very specific section of the coral reef. You may also adopt pieces of reef that are grown in nurseries.

Here are a few organizations that allow you to adopt:

Coral Guardian

Coral Guardian creates and cultivates artificial reefs that you can adopt. You can even name your adopted coral. Then, Coral Guardian will plant it for you, and you will receive a certificate with its photo and GPS location, so you can go visit your coral any time you’d like!

Reef Check

Reef Check focuses its efforts on the reefs of California. Sponsoring local reefs will help raise awareness, fund studies and engage the community about California’s ocean vitality, health and beauty. If you live or dive in California and are looking to help the local community, this may be the charity for you.

Coral Restoration Foundation

The Coral Restoration Foundation is much like Reef Check, but for the Florida Keys reefs. Many of us on the East Coast enjoy diving the keys often. The marine life here is extremely diverse, and of course, reliant on the coral reefs for survival. They have estimated that it costs about $100 to grow, maintain and monitor just a single fragment of coral.

 

These are just three examples, but there are many more. Research to find one that works for you, and don’t be afraid to call and ask questions. We’d like to think that all rescue and conservation organizations are ethical, but it’s always a good idea to do your homework before donating anything.

http://scubadiverlife.com/20u15/06/16/want-to-adopt-a-coral-reef/

Dive with whales in the Dominican Republic

Dive with whales in the Dominican Republic

Scuba diving is an incomparable joy to virtually anyone who has adopted the hobby. And most divers will tell you that any dive is a good one. But truthfully, every diver hopes for an eventful dive. That is, one where there are interesting things to see. For some divers, those interesting things may include coral reefs, vegetation and wrecks. But every diver hopes to encounter various species of marine life whenever they submerge.

For the best chance at seeing marine life, plan your next dives in one of these spots.

1. Cocos Island, Costa Rica

If it’s sharks you’re after, sharks you will find around Cocos Island. Silky sharks, whale sharks and schools of hammerheads abound. But sharks aren’t all you’ll see (they have to have a food source, don’t they?). The Equatorial Countercurrent delivers a wide array of marine life. Here, you’ll also find Pacific manta rays, schools of jacks and many other marine animals. Pro Tip: Hammerheads tend to congregate near the pinnacles at Dirty Rock and Dos Amigos. If you want to dive with hammerheads, these are the spots for you. If the thought fills you with fright, well, you should probably avoid Cocos Island altogether.

2. Barbados

Sea turtles are common, but they are also among the most interesting animals you’ll find under water. And Barbados is one of the best places for you to find them. In fact, Barbados is home to both the hawksbill and leatherback turtle species. Both were once found on the endangered species list, but they are now thriving.

3. Silver Bank, Dominican Republic

The dives at Silver Bank are not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for it, there’s nothing like diving with a humpback whale. Imagine feeling dwarfed and humbled as you stare down 40 feet of this majestic creature. The Silver Bank seems to be home to more of these cetaceans than you’ll find anywhere else, so although a sighting is not guaranteed, you’ll have a better chance to dive with a whale here than virtually anywhere else in the world. Plan your dive between late January through early April to increase your odds.

 

5 Things Every Scuba Diver Should Know

Posted: 14th June 2015 by admin in Scuba Diving

ThemoreyouknowWhen you start scuba diving, you’ll embark on your first dives armed with the skills you’ve learned in your certification course and a little common sense (we hope). But there are a few other things that every diver should know. Here are six things we’d like to share with new divers. Can you think of more?

DON’T touch!!

We’re sure you would have heard this one from your scuba instructor, but it’s so important that it bears repeating. Do not touch the coral reef. Not only could it break your skin, but it can also cause more damage than you can imagine. If you damage coral in just one small spot, that small spot will become susceptible to parasites and further damage, so your little jab could turn into a major issue that continues spreading long after you’ve left the dive boat. Also, avoid temptation to touch marine life. We are there to observe, not to interfere.

Buoyancy takes practice

Don’t think you’re an expert just because you had a good first dive. There are a lot of things that affect your buoyancy, and you could find yourself in a world of trouble if you get too arrogant and stop learning. Your BCD should only be used to compensate for depth changes.

Think of your fins as your feet

You can’t feel the end of your fins like you can feel your toes, but you have to be just as conscious about where they are kicking. You don’t want to end up kicking another diver, marine animal or coral reef. Mastering this skill will also keep you from having to replace your fins as often.

Stay within your comfort zone (or just outside of it)

When you know what you’re doing, it’s okay to stray a bit from your comfort zone. After all, that’s how we advance. But when you’re a new diver and just getting the hang of using your regulator, stay in shallow water. Don’t feel pressured to dive deeper just because other people are or because you are allowed to. There will be plenty of time for exploring the underwater world after you have your bearings.

Take care of your gear

Your gear will last a lot longer if you take good care of it, so be sure to have it maintenanced regularly. Most scuba shops will service and repair your gear for a fee, which is well worthwhile, so check with your local shop to see if they can help keep your gear in good shape. It’s not all about money, either. Your gear is your life support, so you want to be sure it’s working properly at all times.

Scuba Addict Cartoon (courtesy of Scuba Diver Life)

Scuba Addict Cartoon (courtesy of Scuba Diver Life)

Last year around this time, we shared a list of our top 10 signs you’re addicted to scuba diving. Some of the signs were tongue-in-cheek, but we think all of them were relatable. If you haven’t seen that post yet, you’ve GOT to check it out. Let us know how you rate. 10 out of 10? Now, it’s time to see if you are really a certifiable addict with 5 more signs that you’re addicted to scuba diving.

1. You go on vacation to a tropical island and return without a tan

Your non diver friends think you’re just very conscious of UV exposure, but your dive buddies know that you’re not getting a tan because you spend all of your time well beneath the surface of the water. Sure, there’s some light there, but not enough to scorch your skin. Better for you!

2. You forget to hold your breath underwater when swimming

You’re so used to relying on your underwater breathing apparatus that you’ve all but forgotten how to hold your breath under water. You do it before you submerge your head, right??

3. You have fallen asleep with your dive booties still on

This may or may not have happened while you were still on the dive boat, all tuckered out from another amazing dive. But we know your buddies didn’t let you forget it, so neither will we. If this happened to you, you are officially a scuba addict.

4. Your picture appears on marine life identification charts

When tourists line up for their snorkeling excursions and are reviewing the “literature,” they may be surprised to see your smiling mug between the Dorado and the Wahoo. And why not? You spend about as much time down there as those guys do. You deserve your time in the spotlight too!

5. You’re in your 20s and your skin is permanently wrinkled

Yep, you’ve spent so much time under water that you look like someone’s grandpa – and you’re barely out of college. It’s okay with you, though. You wear each and every wrinkle with pride!

Have we missed any signs for the scuba addicted? If you know of anyone who may need scuba divers anonymous, please feel free to forward this post. There is no cure for scuba addiction, but it’s good to know where you stand! The best thing you can do is find a support group (also known as a dive association).