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Sunday, 22 December 2013

cyprus 2013: Our year in pictures

2013 has been a great year for us here at Scuba Tech Diving centre in Cyprus and, as it draws to a close, we thought we would have a look back through the last 12 months in pictures.

From our Divemaster training at the start of the year, to the kittens being born to the Christmas evening out for the Scuba Tech Diving team... this is how we dive.



If you would like to join us for diving in 2014 and beyond, have a look at our website, scuba tech diving centre Cyprus or contact us direct at info@scubatechdivers.com

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Who took the Brrrr out of Diving? 5 things that will help you stay warm when the temperatures drop

Having found myself firmly landed back in UK territory and the land of waters cold, I find myself torn.

To Dive or Not to Dive, that is the question?

Now, living in Cyprus, I have to say, I am a converted warm water diver and the thought of diving here again sends a chill all through my body but I know I will see my old Dive Club, Roundhill Sub Aqua BSAC in Leicester, look out over the waters of Stoney Cove and wish I was going in with them.

You see, in my heart of hearts, I know that it isn't diving in cold water that isn't fun... it is just being cold in the water.

The last couple weeks of our summer season in Cyprus has seen the water temperature tumble from around 24 degrees at the end of October to just 19 degrees on our last dive. While that may seem balmy temperatures to the hardened UK or Scandinavian divers that frequent our dive centre in Cyprus, to us wimpy divers, that only pull out the shorty for the week or so that the water is above 30 degrees, we tend to get quite cold.

Usually, this isn't a problem, if we use the correct tools for the job. So, what do we need to take the Brrrr factor away?

A Drysuit goes a long way to keeping you warm in the water with the added bonus that you don't get the wet wind chill when you get out because you are still dry (or mostly dry as is usually the case). You need a well fitting drysuit and you can read more about this essential tool in our "4 things to consider before diving drysuits" blog



In cold water, you cannot beat a Diving Hood.

I always hear people saying they don't like hoods and don't want to dive with them no matter how cold they are in the water. Yes, hoods do take a bit of getting used to and you have the added work of making sure the hood is clear of the mask skirt to seal and it can feel a little claustrophobic at first...but after a couple dives, you will be thankful for your hood and it will become the first thing you reach for when the temperatures start to drop.


Gloves are an essential item for scuba diving in colder waters. You will need at least 2 pairs. One you
can wear in the water and one to help you warm up after the dive.

There are a number of options when it comes to gloves but I have found that 5mm semi dry gloves work very well even in temperatures as low as 2 degrees. There are also drygloves (didn't work for me but others swear by them), mittens or even heated gloves to stay uber warm. Try as many different kinds as you can, find what works for you and use it.

Thermals for under your drysuit or wetsuit are essential in colder water. For wetsuits, there are base layers you can wear under your wetsuit to keep you warmer and we are going to invest in some Lavacore undersuits, which we have had the opportunity to sample this year.

Under your drysuit, the thermals you need will vary depending on the drysuit you use. Tri-laminates will usually require more layers or thicker thermals than a neoprene, which has thermal qualities in itself.

A new product we have seen and are quite excited about (when we have the cash) are the Thermalution Undersuits for wetsuits or drysuits. Like an electric blanket for the water!

When it comes to thermals, do not forget about the post dive clothes too. Get warm and stay warm to prevent getting ill.

While we are discussing post dive warming, the last item on my list is a Thermos of hot drinks. This will help no end to warm you up post dive. Not limited to tea or coffee, consider other delights such as Hot Chocolate (maybe with a nip of brandy in but only if you have finished diving for the day) or hot home made soups.

I think I might have just talked myself into braving the cold again. Stoney Cove... here I come!

Now where did I put that thermos?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Stops: Safety Vs Deco

So, I was recently asked by a fellow diver why it was possible to go through a safety stop but not a decompression stop? Basic Diving theory I hear some of you say, but here is the clarification.

A Safety Stop is NOT a mandatory stop when diving.

When we make deeper dives or stay longer underwater, we are strongly recommended that we complete a 3 minute safety stop at 5m to reduce the pressure gradient when surfacing.

What does that mean?

To explain that, we need a basic understanding of decompression, which, as divers, we should all have from our first training courses.

When we dive, we breathe compressed gas under pressure. At the surface the pressure around us is 1 bar and for every 10m we descend, the pressure around us (ambient pressure) increases by another bar. So, at 10m, the pressure is 2 bar, 20m the pressure is 3 bar etc...

Now, our bodies like balance (No, we aren’t hippy, pipe smoking, new-agers, we really do!)! And, as I am sure you all remember, nitrogen is the inert gas in our breathing mix that isn’t used in any metabolic process and is simply inhaled and exhaled... at the surface.

What our clever bodies try to do is balance the pressure of the gas dissolved in our bodies with the pressure of the gas we are breathing. So, as we go deeper underwater our body will dissolve more and more Nitrogen into our blood and tissues and, as we ascend it will release more and more nitrogen.

If we ascend too fast, the nitrogen is released too quickly and this is where bubbles can form and resembles that age-old example of the fizzy pop bottle shaken or champagne bottle opened too fast... which is bad!


A safety stop will slow down the ascent to allow a bit more nitrogen to come out of solution adding conservatism to our dives ie making it safer

Many dive computers will give you a 3 minute countdown when you reach 5-6m if you make any dive to 10m or beyond but it is just an added safety measure, which means, if there is an overriding factor such as gas loss, you DO NOT HAVE TO STOP!

On the other hand, a Decompression Stop is Mandatory.


When you have to complete decompression stop it means you have overstayed your allowable no-stop time. You have passed a no-decompression limit on your diving tables or dive computer and you MUST make a stop to reduce the nitrogen in your body sufficiently to ascend further or surface from your dive safely.
 

GOING THROUGH A MANDATORY DECOMPRESSION STOP CAN PUT A DIVER AT SERIOUS RISK OF DECOMPRESSION ILLNESS!

Some dive computers will add a safety stop onto the end of your 6m decompression stop for added conservatism for your decompression dives. It is often a good idea to add this extra conservatism if possible.

So, it is all there is the name really. A safety stop is for added safety and conservatism while a decompression stop is for needed decompressing. Unless you are a qualified decompression diver you should only ever have to be concerned with safety stops. However, in this day and age it is getting easier, as divers, to dive deeper and, once you get to around 35-40m your no decompression times are very short so you need to be aware of your times, depths and when you conservative safety stop becomes a mandatory decompression stop.

 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Tec45 PADI technical sidemount course, cyprus

The next installment of our TECREC courses running here in Cyprus at the moment. This gives an overview of how the TEC45 course runs. It consists of 4 dives and builds on the skills from TEC40 while adding in new skills and completing a decompression dive to a maximum depth of 45m. Our Videographer couldn't join us on every dive but hopefully, this will give you an idea of what is involved. Enjoy!

For more information see our website at www.scubatechdivers.com


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

5 things that should be on every diver's christmas list

December is finally here and Christmas will soon be upon us, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to give those Divers that are not sure what to ask Santa Clause for, a couple ideas for their stockings.

Now, some of these things are on my christmas wishlist, while some are items that just got me so excited, I had to buy them in advance. However, all of them are pieces of Diving kit that will feed that need that Divers of all different certification levels get when they see new diving toys!

Here we go...

  1. The Pathfinder Rebreather.
  2. It is at the very top of my Christmas wish list this year and I am trying to be a really good boy so that Santa says "yes".
    If you have been up to date with our blogs, you will know that a couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to "try-dive" this fantastic little Rebreather (if you missed it, check it out at this Pathfinder Rebreather Blog Post) and I have wanted one ever since.
    Made by the same guys that made the Megalodon CCR, the Pathfinder is a much smaller and lighter Rebreather aimed at the travelling diver or those slightly smaller in stature but to the same high quality that Divers have come to expect from this company (ISC).
  3. The Shearwater Petrel.
  4. If you are considering a CCR, then you will need a diving computer that will accommodate this... Enter the Shearwater Petrel.
    Little Brother to the Shearwater Predator and descendant of the Pursuit, the Petrel is a smaller sized computer that is open for Trimix and CCR use alongside normal air and nitrox, if you aren't a Technical Diver.
    The Petrel sports a 2.4 inch HD screen, which shines brightly in the darkest of caves or shipwrecks, is user customisable and adjustable. The menus are simple to use and highly intuitive, especially important on deeper dives where narcosis could be an issue. You can use up to 5 different gas mixes and swap at the touch of a button.
  5. Halcyon Traveller Wing.
  6. In this day and age of technology, the world has become a much smaller place and, as divers, we can easily travel from the UK to Thailand to Egypt to Cyprus for Scuba Diving. 
    The only drawback for the travelling diver is the cost of baggage transporting all your Scuba Equipment from one destination to another.
    Thankfully, manufacturers have started to bring out a number of items for the travelling diver and for those who want to dive with a single tanks set-up, there is no better travel buoyancy control device (BCD) than the Halcyon Traveller Wing
    The Halcyon Traveller combines the simplicity of small jacket systems with the performance of back-mounted BC systems. It uses a unique PA6 Nylon backplate and has an integrated single-tank carrier and Cinch quick-adjust system. The shoulders and back are padded and this provides unparalleled comfort with a 30lb lift capacity.
    Weight Belts are not needed with this fabulous piece of equipment, as there is a specialised weight attachment system, allowing weights to be distributed across the diver's back rather than the waist.
    All of this combined with a number of other unique design features means the Halcyon Traveller BC System weighs in at less than 3kg. A must for the Diver on Tour!
  7. Full Set of Miflex Hoses.
  8. Miflex Hoses are flexible and durable and a great alternative to the usual rubber hoses that are commonplace on Scuba Diving Equipment.
    They have an average lifespan of three times longer than traditional hoses, excellent resistance to abrasion with a Kink-resistant design. You can even tie an XTREME hose into a knot and air flow remains continuous.
    These hoses also have a burst pressure more than twice that of traditional hoses and since they are available in a multitude of colours, such as; Green, Black, Red, Purple and Glow in the Dark Yellow to name just a few, you can stay colour coded and at the height of fashion.
    Miflex are currently running a "Pink Tank" promotion, which means that miflex will donate £1 to Project Pink Tank for every Pink, Red, White or Purple Hose they sell.
     
    With 30 individual safety tests performed on every hose, Premium Packaging that doubles as a water-resistant document wallet and all hoses approved and certified to EN250 Standard, why are you still in rubber?

  9. A Diving Holiday.

    This one is always at the top of the list and although we live in Cyprus and get to enjoy year round diving here in the balmy waters of the Mediterranean sea, it is always nice to get away and dive somewhere new
    Maybe this year, our holiday diving will be in the somewhat cooler waters of the UK, at Stoney Cove and/or we might get to travel somewhere more exotic like Egypt's Red Sea or the Canaries
    Top of our travel list, you will find the Galapagos, where you can supposedly find all kinds of aquatic life including Dolphins, Whales and penguins etc but I think that will have to wait until we win the lottery. I mean, even Santa Clause has his limits


    So, for me, these items are some of the best on the market at the moment. There are always new toys available and something else exciting that we want and this list could have been 100 items that scuba divers would want for christmas but I guess we shouldn't be greedy. After all, christmas is a time to give...so if you are listening friends and family, I give you the gift of knowledge. You can give me anything on this list

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Tec40 Diver Training in Cyprus



PADI TEC40 training in Cyprus with Scuba Tech Diving Centre using the Sidemount configuration and the Razor Sidemount System. For more information check out our website at www.scubatechdivers.com or contact us direct on info@scubatechdivers.com

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Danger of the Dive Computer

These days it is rare to see a scuba diver who doesn't have a dive computer on their wrist but do they all know what the computer is telling them and how they should accordingly react?

When I first learned to dive, most dives were planned and executed using pre-determined tables produced and published by the relevant Diver Training Agency and as recent as five years ago, a common phrase you would hear in the Diving resorts was the Instructor's "Don't Dive Deeper than me and you will be ok!"

Although it is much safer for every diver to have a computer on their wrist for independent depth, time and decompression information, I do think that a lot of the explanation behind the information the computer is giving you has been lost in the attempt to simplify the training.

Divers are taught to read the information the computer gives without any real understanding.

Equally, now that diving with computers is commonplace, many diver training centres will give the student a dive computer to use, point out the basic information the diver needs to monitor the dive and after the course, take back said computer and wave cheerio!

Now diver goes to the local dive show and buys themselves a brand new, state of the art diving computer with all the bells and whistles needed, not only for decompression information relevant to their training and experience, but that they can "grow into" with in-built compasses, dive planners, trimix and CCR capabilities, GPS and satellite television.

The manual for the dive computer (and all its added extras) is so thick it looks a bit too daunting to actually read, so it goes in a drawer. There is no need to worry though because the diver has used a dive computer before.

picture from scubaddict.com
On a Diving holiday later in the year, the diver emerges from the depths with a continuously beeping computer and a cheery " well, its 5 past 5 again!!"

Pardon me? What do you mean?

Having a quick look at the dive computer tells the more experienced and (hopefully) more
knowledgeable diver that it isn't 5.05...more like SOS.

Dive stops, DECOMPRESSION STOPS, have been missed.

"Oh, don't worry. It always says that".

This is just one example of many stories I could tell with regards to Dive Computers. It seems to be commonplace to have a computer but not know how they work or what they say.

Or even worse, to dis-regard the information being given. I have recently seen dive computers sitting out the decompression stops tied onto a line at 6m while the diver has surfaced, enjoying a post dive coffee.

The Dive computer is a life saving piece of equipment. It gives important information that will assist the diver to complete their dives in the safest possible way.



Divers who spend hundreds of euros or pounds on a dive computer and then don't know or do not care what information they give, to my mind, have too much money and not enough common sense. These divers are dangerous and are not the kind of buddies I want to dive with.

When in doubt, read the manual and if you are still unsure, a good dive centre or dive store that have trained you and/or sold you equipment, will never turn you away if you have questions regarding scuba diving.

All our students are told that they can come back to us at any time with any questions about anything they like... and that is a lifetime guarantee :)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

3m Microdive Certifications- Good Idea or not?

In reading a recent copy of one of our Diving magazines, I came across a "Have your Say" article based around the Microdive Basic Diver Course. Readers of the magazine basically gave their opinion on this training course and whether they believe it to be a good idea or not.

So, I thought I had best find out more about it!!

The Microdive Basic Diver Course was originally written for the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) back in 2012 but has more recently been made available for anyone.

Initial thinking was to help powerboat handlers handle any potential problems below the waterline that may arise while they are out at sea. For example; freeing a fouled propellor, inspecting the keel for any damage etc.

This is a one day training course comprising the same skillsets as the more complex Scuba Diving Courses but with scaled down content, that is consistent with the depth limitations. Academic Knowledge, Surface and Underwater Skills and a couple supervised Dives are all included in the training but with no exams.

There is also an upgrade to a 9m certification with an extra day of training.




The programme is HSE approved and even has built in insurance from Lloyds of London.

To be honest, I think this sounds like a really good idea. The main objections I read to this training course was controlling how deep these "divers" would go, once they are certified but surely that is a problem with all divers regardless of the training they take.

Arguing the point, you could say that a Diver with a BSAC, PADI or GUE certification would at least have the basic knowledge of decompression needed to make deeper dives without specific training for such.

However, let me remind you that a person does not need to present a scuba certification when buying

equipment. If it is their mindset, these people could just walk into a Dive Shop and buy everything they need for a dive and go without training? Which is the greater of the 2 evils? At least this minimalist training allows us the opportunity to re-inforce the depth limits and dangers of exceeding them.


All in all, for the purposes for which it was written, I think the Microdive Basic Diver Course is a very sensible means of helping boat handlers be more independent and safer out at sea, as long as they respect the boundaries of the training.

For Scuba Divers in their own right? I still think it would be difficult to beat the time proven established Diver Training Courses.

 



Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Diving Equipment Trials: Wing Vs BCD

In these days of Diving there is so much new equipment that is being produced that getting something that suits you as a diver can be a minefield. You cannot always get impartial advice from your local dive store, as you need to buy the equipment and brands that they stock.

So, I thought I would share my insights into that age-old debate... BCD Vs Wing!!!

I am always willing to try new equipment and adjust my configuration when new products and ideas emerge. I learned to dive originally in the old Horsecollar buoyancy Control Devices and swiftly
converted to a BUDDY commando jacket style BCD, which seemed to be the unspoken champion of BSAC clubs across the UK. Hundreds of BSAC Scuba Divers congregated on the edge of Stoney Cove at the weekend in various shades of Flourescent Yellow and Orange, browns, blacks and Pinks ready to get wet.

Jacket BCDs are absolutely fantastic for what they are. They can be like an armchair cradling you while you dive and at the surface and are still the most common type of buoyancy device you will see today.

Inside the Jacket is an air cell, which wraps around the diver's sides, front and back. They are very stable in any position you adopt under the water and will hold you in a head up position on the surface.

 All jacket style BCDs have convenient storage pockets and sometimes weight pouches for integrated weight systems and, I will admit, seem to be easier for the novice diver to use.

They do tend to hold the diver in a slightly "fins down" position in the water though and when the BCD is full, most divers will feel the jacket squeeze them, like a big uncomfortable bear hug!





These days I wear a wing and backplate system, which I can honestly say I prefer. My reasons are as follows.

The Wing and backplate system is so versatile that I can customise my system to the way I dive.

For example, I can use an aluminium or a steel backplate. There are 30lb or 40lb wings for single tank diving or I can use a larger wing to accommodate my twinset for Technical Diving. These are all interchangeable parts so I can use them in any configuration I like, making it extremely convenient, particularly for a Diving Instructor, like myself, that has to change from Single tank, to twinset to rebreather set-up on an almost daily basis.

The Wing has an air cell that inflates only on the diver's back, which works to "trim the Diver out" in the water.
 
What I mean is, the diver is put into a more horizontal position when diving a wing and backplate system. This works to make the diver more streamlined in the water, reducing drag and effort required on the dive and feels extremely stable.

There is also a great feeling of freedom to diving with no clutter around the front of you. The wing configuration means there is only equipment on your back and your chest and stomach are pretty much clear.

There was an argument that wings and backplates are more difficult to put on and remove and while it was true, divers quickly got used to the difference and adapted.  However, with the invention of the cinch system from Halcyon, this is no longer viable. All a wing and backplate diver now needs to do is simply pull the shoulder straps to loosen the harness and pull the waist band to tighten it. Easy as Pie!!

For me, the versatility and convenience provided by the wing and backplate system far out weighs any benefits a jacket style BCD  can offer. This doesn't neccessarily mean the system will work for everyone.

The best advice I can give, is to dive with a wing and back plate. Ask someone knowledgable to help you set it up to fit you properly. If you are in Cyprus, pop in and see us and we can show you the system and take you out. See what you think of it and if you will be a convert like I was.

The proof is in the pudding. Over the past 3-4 years, the number of qualifed divers coming to Scuba Tech and asking for a wing set-up far out weighs those looking for the jacket style BCD.

Would I swap back? Not a chance!!



Saturday, 9 November 2013

Diving the Cyprus Wrecks. Part One: The Alexandria

This is part one of our wreck diving in CYprus series with Scuba Tech Diving Centre and all our fellow Divers and friends.

The Alexandria is a small fishing boat that began to founder in the Larnaca Harbour and was dragged out to sea to find her final resting place in close proximity to the world famous wreck of the Zenobia.

She rests in 32m of water and the fish life is really starting to accumulate. Unfortunately, it isn't so obvious from this footage as I had the wide angle lens, but we often encounter mediterranean Jacks and barracuda and even the odd titan triggerfish around this phenomenal wreck

Join us as we dive... THE ALEXANDRIA WRECK, CYPRUS

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

4 things everyone should consider before diving a dry suit

It is that time of the year again! The water temperature has dropped to the low 20s and the drysuit comes back out of storage.


technical diving in drysuit in cyprus

Drysuits are excellent pieces of equipment for scuba divers but you have to buy the right suit for you and have the correct training to use it safely.

So, when you dive with a drysuit, you need to consider a couple things

1. What Material is it made from?

Drysuits are usually either neoprene (sometimes crushed neoprene) or tri-laminate. Both have different properties and affect the way you dive.

2. Undersuits/ Thermals

drysuits require undergarments to keep warm
Neoprene drysuits generally have more warmth than tri-laminate and so the diver doesn't need to wear the same amount of thermals as you would in tri-laminate. Be aware though that if the neoprene is not crushed, the buoyancy changes when changing depth can be quite severe.

Obviously the amount of thermals you wear and their thickness is also going to affect buoyancy, so be sure to complete a proper weight check when altering them



3. Fit & Flexibility

Generally speaking you do not want a drysuit that is restrictive at all but if you are a technical diver, you will want to consider your flexibility in a drysuit. This is particularly the case when diving open circuit, twin tanks. If you have not got the manouverability to reach your tank valves, you will be unable to complete the basic drills and skill sets.

On the other end of the scale, if you have a dry suit that is too big for you, it will be too easy for air to migrate around it while you dive.  This causes you to be less stable in the water and leads to an uncomfortable dive.

4. Buoyancy Control

I see many divers who come to dive in Cyprus in the winter in their drysuits trying to use the drysuit as their only means of buoyancy.  While I realise this is often the way divers are taught to dive in their drysuits, it is wrong.

You have a buoyancy control device (BCD) so use it!


As I said before, the more air in the suit, the more it migrates around and the less stable you are in the water. You will also find that you will get gas bubbling out of the neck seal when there is too much in there.

Divers should only use the drysuit to take off the squeeze and other buoyancy should come from the BCD or wing. This will make you a more controlled diver and give you a more comfortable experience.

While many divers say diving in a drysuit takes a lot of effort and is uncomfortable, I have to admit, it is my preferred way of diving especially at this time of year. With the correct training and weighting, I am sure you will love drysuit diving too.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Finding the path to a new rebreather in Cyprus... The Pathfinder Rebreather

Earlier this month I was extremely lucky to get a call offering me the chance to have a dive on ISC's new Pathfinder Rebreather here in Cyprus and, as a Megalodon Rebreather Diver and Instructor, I was keen to give it a go!


 These are the points of interest for anyone considering this as their rebreather unit of choice or investing in a second CCR.

The Pathfinder is made by the same company that makes the Megalodon rebreather, Innerspace Systems Corp (ISC). As such, it undergoes the same rigorous 3rd party testing as the Meg giving you the assurance of its build quality, durability and reliability. Let's face it, when you put your faith in a machine, you want one with the reputation these units have.

Seeing the Pathfinder, you can see the quality of the unit and all in miniature too.

Standing just 16 inches tall, the Pathfinder is around 10kgs lighter than the Megalodon making it a perfect rebreather for the smaller CCR diver or those who travel a lot.

Divers can still use the Loop and  Lungs from the Megalodon unit and there are still 2 independently run sets of electronics.

However, the system used in the Pathfinder is completely modular with a "plug and play" design and on top of the head, you will find 3 connectors that are for attaching a primary handset, a back up handset and a heads up display. You can even get a shearwater dive computer that you can plug into these connections, meaning you can have your decompression information synched up to the correct breathing gas in real time.

The ease with which you can connect and disconnect the modular parts makes the Pathfinder ideal for travelling and/or troubleshooting. You won't have to send the entire head back for repair or service, just the part required.

Removal of the head itself has also been made easier on the Pathfinder with a simplified locking system. Put the head on and twist to lock down using the markings on the side of the can. To remove, twist to unlock and use the handy new handle to lift clear.

So, do all these changes make for a good diving experience on the Pathfinder?

In the words of Winston the Churchill dog... "Oh yes!!!"

The unit is light both in and out of the water, almost like being back on a single tank (God Forbid!). It was suprisingly streamlined and trims out beautifully.  As a 5ft 6 guy myself, it is great for those of a smaller stature.

I can definitely see the benefits for those who want to travel with their own rebreathers, particularly with the baggage restrictions in place on the majority of airlines. The plug and play design makes it a bit easier to protect the electronics in transit also.

If you are thinking to dive deep on the Pathfinder, it is worth pointing out that the factory depth limit for this unit is 60m. This is due to the smaller scrubber that is used and the limitations that incurs. For deeper diving, the Megalodon is still the preferred rebreather to dive.

I love diving my Megalodon CCR but I think there may be room in my heart for a younger model... so santa if you're listening, I've been a really good boy this year

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Bubble Bubble...Toil and Trouble- Diving for Kids

This past week, we have had an inordinate amount of children coming through the doors of our Dive Centre wanting to try Scuba Diving.

Generally speaking we do not push for the little ones to come diving with us but occasionally, one of the adult diver's children wants to try or the Diver wants the child to see what the underwater world is like and this is how we come by our BUBBLEMAKERS!


A bubble maker is a program from PADI, designed to allow children as young as 8 years old to experience Scuba Diving in a Controlled Environment.

So...what does a Bubble Maker program involve?

Basically, having completed the apprpriate paperwork, the instructor (or Assistant Instructor) will give the child a quick briefing as to the equipment they will use, how to equalise the air spaces in the body; such as ears and sinuses, mask and lungs and how to clear a mask and regulator.

Once this is complete, the little bubble is then taken to confined water and taken for a scuba dive.

When we refer to confined water, we mean a swimming pool or an open water site that has pool like conditions relative to clarity, calmness and depth.

The maximum depth that a bubble can go to is 2metres. For this reason, when the weather is perfect, we can take bubble makers to a couple of different local dive sites here in Cyprus, with the main one being Green Bay but they remain at all times in the shallows and, although the standards suggest that one instructor can take 4 bubblemakers, we at Scuba Tech Diving Centre will only take the children in on a one to one basis.


This means that any child that dives with us here will have their own instructor with them at all times. The reason for this is simple. Children of 8 years to teenage years all progress at a different rate and quite often the younger children do not understand the concepts of scuba diving but will pretend they do to try and please an adult. We have an instructor with each child to ensure they are always breathing, equalising the ears and, if they get scared at any time they will be at the surface in 0 seconds flat.



Yes, ok, we are never going to be rich by taking one on one dives but safety is paramount and, especially so when it comes to children who are scuba diving.

Although, the smiles on their faces when they surface having swam with the fish life is bigger than any jack-o-lantern smile and the thought of turning another generation into ambassadors for the sea is worth all the effort that diving with kids entails

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

5 Best Things about Trying Scuba Diving

So, I have been Scuba Diving for around 20 years now, which means I am obviously a big fan of the sport.

For those of you that have never tried scuba diving before, these are what I consider to be the 5 best things about Scuba.

1. It's a Whole New World

Scuba Diving opens up a whole new worldScuba Diving is as different from the normal everyday life as you can possibly get.

We enter a different environment that requires specialised breathing equipment to see things that most people couldn't even dream about.

From beautiful coral reefs to ancient historical shipwrecks that are beyond the reach of all but those who dare to don a cylinder and regulators. Fish living in their natural habitat, behaving the way they should when left to their own devices and not cooped up in aquariums.

The underwater world is magical and it is ours to explore.

2. Meeting New Friends

Divers having a social post dive beerScuba Diving is an extremely sociable sport.

Although it is true that we cannot talk to each other underwater, we divers do like to get together after a day of diving and discuss where we have dived, how deep we went, what wrecks we have seen over a nice plate of Lamb Kleftiko and chips (maybe a little beer too :) ).

Whether you scuba dive from shore, on a day boat or a liveaboard, you will meet some fantastic people when you scuba dive, each with their own interesting stories to tell.

3. Going New Places

There are not many places in this world where you cannot go scuba diving. In fact, anywhere there is water, you can usually get in.




Scuba Diving can take you to some of the most fascinating destinations around the world; from right here in the balmy waters of Cyprus to under the Ice in Norway, diving the shipwrecks of Scapa Flow or Truk Lagoon (Chuuk Lagoon) or the place where it all meets at the equator in the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos.

Just think about the wonders you can see as a Diver

4. Never Stop Learning


Scuba Diving is not one of those hobbies where you can do a course and you know everything there is to know about the sport. Even the experts have only just scratched the surface on this sport.

There is always something else to learn and another progression to make.

From a beginner diver, you can become an Advanced Diver, then progress to Technical Diving or rebreather diving. You could increase your depth limits to 100metres and you can look into the theoretical side of decompression, gas mixes, pressure effects etc.

With so much to learn, you will never get bored by Scuba Diving


5. A Hobby for Life

You can try Scuba Diving from the age of 8 years old and there is no limit to when you stop. Members of my diving club have continued to their 80s.

Scuba Diving can also be a family sport with parents and grandparents diving with the kids to make weekends and holidays fun for the whole family.


So, those are my 5 best reasons to try Scuba Diving.

20 years ago, I did my try dive in the UK and I have never looked back. Who knew where it would take me?

Sometimes I wonder what I would be doing if I hadn't tried Scuba Diving but when I am sitting on the top deck of a catamaran in the middle of the mediterranean at 11am on a Monday morning in the Cyprus Sun waiting to go back in the water for a second dive on one of the best wrecks in the world to dive, I have to admit, I am glad I tried Diving
 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

BSAC dives Zenobia Cyprus

This is a short video from a couple weeks ago.

Scuba Divers from Roundhill Sub Aqua Club in Leicester, UK, a BSAC diving branch, came to visit to play on this phenomenal wreck here in Cyprus.

Thanks for a great couple dives guys


Monday, 7 October 2013

Zenobia Wreck in Cyprus

She is voted as one of the top 10 diveable wrecks in the world and she is right here on our doorstep in Cyprus.

Scuba Tech Diving Centre dives the Zenobia wreck in Cyprus

We are, of course, talking about the amazing wreck of the Zenobia Ferry which sank off the coast of Larnaca back in June 1980.

Scuba Divers on Zenobia in Cyprus next to deck33 years later, she is starting to look a little bit sorry for herself but considering all that salt water and the number of divers that visit her each year, she is not faring too badly at all.

 Zenobia sits on the sea bed of the Mediterranean Sea, approximately 1.5km off the coastline of Southern Cyprus in 42m of water with her proud hull reaching all the way up to 18m.

172m long with 104 articulated Trucks with fully loaded trailers on board when she sank, which to this day, have never been salvaged, make this wreck one of the best in the world to dive.


You don't even need to be a scuba diver to take advantage of the wreck, as there are a number of glass bottom boats that go out to the wreck on a daily basis and even snorkelling, you can usually see the top of the wreck (sometimes down to 25-30m) on a day with good visibility.

I have been diving the Zenobia now for almost 10 years and still never get bored of her. She has numerous possibilities for penetration dives and even now, I can see things on her that I have not noticed before. For example, a loudspeaker and a door number in the accommodation block.

Sometimes, there might be current or maybe the visibility isn't as good as it could be but even on her bad days, the Zenobia is an awesome sight and well worth coming to Cyprus to dive.

Most dive centres will ask you to complete a check dive prior to diving the Zenobia though to ensure everything is in place, weights are correct and everything works properly before you make these dives but believe me, it will be well worth the effort when you jump in and she looms up at you to say hello.

On the Zenobia Diving days, we usually complete 2 dives of up to 60 minutes, depending on air consumption and no decompression limits. To try to maximise your bottom time, we do offer free nitrox on the Zenobia dives for those qualified to use it so you get the most value for money. If you do not have a nitrox certification, we can provide a combination value package with the Zenobia dives to get you there... you will never look back!

For more information about Diving the Zenobia in Cyprus simply get in touch with us at info@scubatechdivers.com and we will help you organise some of the best wreck dives imaginable.

 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Whole New World... it's our own Alladin's Cave!

Recently hitting the Internet News has been a story about a couple diving off the coast of Curacao who captured an image of Sesame Street's Cookie Monster underwater. Having seen it, professional photographer, Mauricio Handler quickly snapped this shot.


Of course this isn't really the cookie monster. It is 3 sponges grown close enough together to form the illusion of this well loved character but it is just one example of the wonders that we, as Scuba Divers have the opportunity to enjoy.

Zenobia shipwreck in Cyprus
The amazing things we can enjoy do not end there either. We have ships that, sometimes haven't been seen for centuries that we can go down and visit. No human will ever walk on these wrecks again but as Scuba Divers, we have the privilege of being able to visit and admire these ancient vessels and hear the stories they have to tell.


Add to that, all the fascinating creatures that live beneath the surface of the water and you have yourself an Alladin's cave of life that cannot be rivalled. Coral Reef systems are being hailed as the "rainforests of the oceans" due to their vast bio diversity.

cyprus turtle in protaras
Just here in Cyprus, we see a vast range of different species. A couple months ago, we were inundated with tiny little nudibranchs and today we were swimming with turtles. Who knows, next week it might be whale sharks... although that might be wishful thinking because, let's face it, this is Cyprus and we aren't known for whale shark visits.


The point is, there are so many different things to see under the ocean and we are extremely lucky that we are able to visit. Where else would you find such diversity and awe-inspiring sights?

It might not be silver and gold, but it should be treasured, admired and protected.