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Featured Author // October 1, 2018

What I’ll Never Forget About Learning to Dive

By blogger, Lisa from Fjords and Beaches

Learning-to-dive-OK

Learning to dive is an amazing experience, and I almost wish I could experience it again! The nervousness when trying to remember the theory of it, the shock when I realised that the gear was quite heavy (not sure what I was imagining), and the feeling of letting myself descent for the first time. These are all things I can barely explain to someone who is yet to try diving.

These are some of the things I’ll never forget about my PADI Open Water Diver course

The sound underwater

One of my favourite things about learning to dive was realising how quiet it is under the surface. It is such a relaxing experience, and a part of me would like to argue that diving and meditation has its similarities.

My first breath underwater

I’m sure this is a given, but there is truth to the cliché. The first time I drew a breath underwater I was standing on my knees, face to face with my instructor, just off a beach in the Maldives. We did nothing but breathe for several minutes, so that I would get used to the sensation. It was absolutely magical.

Learning-to-Dive-Black-tip-reef-shark

Seeing a shark during my Confined Water Tests

Not long after my first breath underwater it was time to start with some of the Confined Water Tests. As I was out in the ocean, there were plenty of oceanic life around us, including a blacktip reef shark! It swam past us without a care in the world, and all though it was only about 1 meter long, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ll never forget that sight!

Being completely weightless

I mean, it’s only in space and under water you can truly experience this. I have no plans of becoming an astronaut in the near future, so diving is my best shot. The first time I managed to control my buoyancy and simply float was an incredible experience. I think I spent the entire dive swimming in corkscrew circles around myself (you know, like Ariel?) instead of actually looking at the fish my instructor kept pointing out.

So there you have some of my most unforgettable memories from learning to dive. If you have the opportunity to experience this for yourself, grab it!

Source: https://www2.padi.com/blog/2017/11/08/ill-never-forget-learning-dive/


Featured Author // August 7, 2018

From Snorkeling to Getting Scuba Certified: What You Need to Know

byBrooke Morton

Snorkeling person

If you’re already a strong snorkeler, or at least comfortable with your face in the water, you’re well on your way to getting Open Water Diver certified. But it won’t be a total cakewalk. Here are the top three skills that will surprise even the most experienced snorkelers.

You’ll need to become comfortable underwater with no mask on.

But don’t worry—this is a skill you will build up to in class. Students first partially flood their mask to feel what it’s like to have water near their eyes. Then you’ll fully flood your mask when you’re ready, and with instructor supervision.

“This is the number one thing that can throw people for a loop,” says Rob Kohl, course director and owner of Seal Sports in Mandeville, Louisiana. “Our brains tell us we cannot breathe when we have water on our eyes, so we have to overcome this psychologically.”

You will learn how to find balance with your weight underwater.

When snorkeling, if you’re staying on the surface, you don’t have to think much—if at all—about your weight or buoyancy. But with scuba diving, you’ll play with weights on a weight belt or integrated weight system, and with air in your buoyancy compensator, aka BC, until you find that neutral sweet spot.

According to Kohl, “This is really unique for people at first. You want to be neither sinking nor floating, so you learn to put just the right amount of air into your BC.”

The good news: “After 10 to 15 dives, anyone can have this skill dialed in.”

Diving person

You will find a natural breathing pattern underwater.

“I usually ask people if they hike, jog or swim laps,” says Scott Shelley, course director for Ventura Dive and Sport in Ventura, California.

He adds, “If you’ve developed a breathing pattern for another sport, you’ll surely find one for scuba.”

Because the threat looms of water coming down the snorkel barrel, most surface swimmers don’t find a calm, regular breathing pattern.

“They just haven’t started taking deep, long, slow breaths yet,” says Shelley, “You just need to relax and let the equipment do its job. It’s one of those things that comes very naturally to people by the end of the Open Water course.”

Ready to take the giant leap into scuba diving? Sign up for a PADI Open Water Diver course.

Source: http://www2.padi.com/blog/2017/01/25/from-snorkeling-to-getting-scuba-certified-what-you-need-to-know/

Ericka Villa // December 5, 2017

5 Common Mistakes That Scuba Divers Make And How To Avoid Them

As humans, we try to be the best we can be and Scuba Divers are no exception. However, sometimes we forget things or let emotions get the better of us, which can lead to mistakes under the water. It’s normal, we have all done it at least once in our diving careers, humans are not perfect however, knowing how to prevent these issues from happening is a good start. Remember that practice makes perfect, here are 5 common mistakes that divers and new divers make and how to avoid them…

No Buoyancy Checks

If you haven’t dived for a while, it is so common to jump into the water and get swept up by your feelings of excitement and thoughts of what you might see on your dive, that you forget to conduct a buoyancy check. There are so many factors, which can affect your buoyancy. Such as putting on weight, losing weight, what kind of wet suit you are wearing, what water are you diving in fresh water or salt water, are you using the same BCD you always use or are you renting one? If any one of these points mentioned above has changed, then you may be over-weighted or under-weighted throughout your dive, which in itself can ruin your diving experience. If you are weighted incorrectly, then this can cause you to exert excess energy throughout your dive, increase your air consumption and in the worst-case scenario, cause you to have an uncontrolled ascent. The majority of marine life injuries usually occur when a diver accidentally comes into contact with them, due to lack of buoyancy control. Remember that correct buoyancy control starts with the correct weighting and that is essential if we are to ensure our safety and the safety of the marine life surrounding us.

Do Not Maintain Gear Properly

When scuba diving, a diver is entering an environment that naturally, they should not be in. Your dive gear is your lifeline throughout a dive, so it should be treated like one. The way you can ensure that your dive gear remains at its optimum efficiency is by:

  • Rinsing your gear properly after your dives and cleaning it properly before storing it away.
  • Make sure that your kit has fully air dried in a shaded area before storing it away.
  • Ensure that your gear is stored in a dust free environment, which is dust and dirt free.
  • Check your equipment regularly for any holes, breakages or cracks.

Do Not Create a Proper Dive Plan

If you are diving with a DM (Dive Master) or a guide it is a common mistake to place all of your trust in that one person. Some divers, who are diving with a guide, don’t listen to the pre-dive briefing, as they believe that no matter what happens, the guide will take care of them. In my opinion, this is dangerous and bad diving practice as divers should be responsible for themselves. Dive plans are there for a reason, they are to prepare you, prevent and manage any dive accidents that can occur. If you are diving with a guide, make sure that you listen to them throughout their briefing. Be aware of various landmarks and currents, this will not only help you to remain safe throughout your dive, but it will also help you to become a better diver.

If you are not diving with a guide, you must NEVER ‘dive in and figure it out later’. Before you even get on a dive boat you should know the following:

  • What location are you going to?
  • What are the currents like at the dive site?
  • Do the currents change?
  • What kind of marine life is found at this dive site?
  • Depths of the site
  • Exit and entry points
  • Is there boat traffic?
  • Are there any environmental concerns?
  • Surfacing Technique

Before leaving for your dive, make sure to tell someone on-land where you are going and when you expect to be back. That way, someone knows that you are out there. Finally, make sure that you and your buddy are on the same wavelength. Make sure that you have discussed back-up plans if your situation changes. Always establish your maximum depth, maximum bottom time as well as minimum air supply to finish your dive.

Diving Beyond Your Limits

Once you are a diver, you will want to develop your skills and progress. When diving you will never be short of things to learn. No diving experience is alike. However, when you are fledgling diver on a dive boat, with a lot of experienced divers, it is pretty hard to say no. However, by saying yes, this can lead you into uncharted territory, which you are not prepared for and can be extremely dangerous. It is important to remember that you are only qualified to dive in the conditions in which you have a certification. If at any point before or during your dive, you begin to feel uncomfortable in any way, you have the ability to end it there and then. Remember that YOU are in control of your own safety. Starting to explore new places is a good way to gain experience before undertaking your next diving qualification. If you are particularly interested in wreck diving or cave diving, make sure to take proper training before entering a wreck or a cave as these new environments present new dangers. In addition, first aid training or emergency first response training is always a good idea when diving, as you never know when it might save you or your buddies life.

Over Loading Yourself

With all the amazing sites and magnificent marine life to take in, many scuba divers feel the need to over load themselves with expensive cameras, lighting equipment and filters, however scuba divers already have a lot to concentrate on and by adding more, this can be dangerous for a new diver. Try to avoid doing too much when you first start out as a diver. Gain as much experiences in as many diving environments as you can before taking your photography gear with you. Practice makes perfect and once you have practiced and feel comfortable in the water and remembering everything becomes second nature to you, then you are ready to take photos. Whilst your buoyancy control is off and you are racing through your air, whipping out the camera equipment will be not only detrimental to you and your group, but also to your surrounding environment.

Do you have any tips or stories about common mistakes when scuba diving?  Please share in the comments below.

 

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