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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Scuba Tech Diving Centre: Last video of 2014

Friday, 19 December 2014

Finding your Path- Underwater Navigation in Scuba Diving

So, last week we started a blog series with regards to underwater navigation. Essentially, the concern is that we are training Scuba Divers to go Scuba Diving with a similarly qualified diver but, with the very limited Navigational Skills training on the initial training course, can we really say we have given them the tools they need to dive without a guide!

Now we will start to look at Navigation techniques that divers (of all level) can employ to find their way around a dive site, starting with the most common tool... Underwater Compass!

Underwater Compass


An Underwater Compass is usually liquid filled and the important elements you need to know about include; the Bezel, the Lubber Line, and the Card, which has graduated degree markings and the North Arrow.

Although it appears that the card moves, it doesn't. This is why the North Marking will always point North. The Compass housing actually moves around the card.

How do we Set a Heading


We like the Suunto SK-7 model, as it is very easy to use, so the instructions below are for this model. It is an indirect reading compass, which means it has degree graduation markings arranged clockwise on the Bezel, with 0 degrees (North) coinciding with the Index Marks. The card itself will show 180 at the top of the North needle... hence indirect!!


To use the compass, a diver simply turns the Bezel so that the direction heading we want to take sits at the top of the Lubber Line (which shows our direction of travel). You would then turn yourself with the compass so the magnetic needle sits between the index marks again and the Lubber Line remains aligned with the centre of your body.

So, if you want to take a 30 degree heading, turn the Bezel so 30 sits at the top of the Lubber Line (furthest away from you). Then turn yourself and the compass together until the North needle on the card sits between the index marks.

If that all sounds too complicated to you, you are probably over thinking it. The biggest problem I find with students learning to use a compass is that using it is simpler than they think. So, even though we spend ages practising on land before getting in, add water and they think they must be doing it wrong because it is too simple!

For a reciprocal heading, turn the bezel 180 degrees to head back the way you came.

To Navigate a square, the bezel turns 90 degrees (add or subtract depending on whether you want to turn left or right) while for triangles make 120 degree changes.




Things are even easier now with the advent of digital compasses that many modern computers
include. The newest of which is the new Shearwater Petrel 2.

It doesn't get much easier than this!




Some tips for using a compass for navigation on your dives
  • Trust your compass. It is more likely that you are wrong than it is
  • Hold the compass level 
  • Be prepared to navigate around obstacles and account for currents etc
  • Don't forget other essential skills such as buoyancy and air consumption. It's very easy to get transfixed by the compass to the detriment of all else.
  • Practice with it so you are confident

A very handy tool to use but not the be-all and end-all of navigation, especially in clearer waters. Still, it is essential all divers know how to use a compass to find their route.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Finding your path underwater-Navigation for scuba divers

Diver training can vary enormously depending on where you train, who your instructor is and what they believe are the important skills for you to master.

Underwater Navigation is taught in the PADI Open Water Course but it is only really "touched on" and not explored in detail. Divers must navigate a straight line on the surface and then a reciprocal heading underwater. Ask divers if they know what a Bezel is and the majority will look back at you with a blank expression.
diver with compass swimming into shark's mouth
And yet... we are telling these divers that they are now certified to go Scuba Diving with a similarly
qualified diver. Have we really given them the tools they need to dive without a guide?

Over this series of blogs, we will look at Navigation techniques that divers (of all level) can employ to find their way around a dive site.

But first...

Why is Navigation an important skill to master?


When we dive, we like to go and see the points of interest. This could be wrecks, reefs, caves, certain flora or fauna or anything that strikes your interest, really.

Without navigational skills, we would be just swimming aimlessly, unable to find said attractions. On land we use our GPS or Tom Toms, don't we? These do not work so well underwater, so we use other means but the basic need is still there. We need navigational skills to find our route.

If we know where we are going on a dive, we can conserve breathing gas because we can find our way directly to the attractions, rather than wasting air going in the wrong direction. This will then give us more time to enjoy what we went down there to see.

For the same reasons, we can save on precious minutes eating into our No Decompression Limits.

diver swim on the surface
Avoiding Long Surface Swims  is another benefit of being able to navigate underwater. It is a lot more tiring (and boring) swimming on the surface than gliding underwater, so if you have the skills to navigate to and from the attraction underwater, you should have a lot more fun!

Divers that know where they are going tend to experience Less Anxiety and Confusion, which is always a benefit when scuba diving. We have enough to deal with underwater without unnecessary stress in the mix. Read more about the stress spiral here.

So, navigation is a very important skill that we should learn and practice often. 

Don't get lost, check back next week when we will start to look at Navigational Techniques you can employ on your dives.

We will point you in the right direction!
Compass needle pointing NNE






Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Dive Presents for Scuba Divers

When it comes to Christmas presents, we aren't hard to buy for, we the Scuba Divers of this world.

Anything that helps us get wet, stay warm and dry whilst getting wet, lights up dark murky holes, is shiny or can be classified under the terms gadgets and toys will surely be a winner wherever a Diver is concerned.

So, here is a Christmas offer from Halcyon Dive Systems to make you feel Festive this winter. This is the Double Down Christmas 2014 Bonanza.

The offer looks something like this...

Buy a Halcyon Infinity Single Tank Wing System for €895 (£715) and get an Evolve Twinset Wing for just €100 (£80).



The Halcyon Infinity System is the ultimate in luxury for the special diver in your life (or even if you want to treat yourself!). It has all the durability and reliability that divers worldwide have come to expect from Halcyon products and incorporates the opulence of the Deluxe Comfort pads for back and shoulders all combined with the Halcyon Cinch system for easy fit adjustments.

Of course, the system has the basics; wing, aluminium or steel backplate, harness and Single tank adaptor.

Use the Backplate with the Single tank wing or the Twinset wing and you are all set up for any kind of diving you want to do... all for less than €1,000.

For more information, just get in touch with us at Scuba Tech Diving Centre

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Moray-ly diving along at Cape Greko, Cyprus

SCUBA DIVING PROTARAS:



Just for fun Shelley and John went out for a bimble at Cape Greko. So many Moray Eels, we decided to call the video "Moray-ly Bobbing Along".

Do you want to come and Swim the Ocean Blue with Scuba-Tech Divers? Get in touch www.scubatechdivers.com



Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Don't Drink and Dive

With the festive season fast approaching, we all find ourselves with lots of nights out and parties to attend to celebrate. Be it with friends, family or work, it is easy to find yourself over doing it with the alcoholic beverages but if we are diving during this season, how can this impact our health?



Obviously, we all know the risks of drinking too much and most of us wouldn't even consider having an alcoholic drink before we go Scuba Diving but just like driving the morning after a big night out, can alcohol still affect us while we dive?


The answer is a big resounding YES!!

It takes time for our bodies to metabolise alcohol in our systems and there are no hard and fast rules. Like diving and Nitrogen off-gasing, everyone is different and everybody's metabolic rate can vary. 

Narcosis and Alcohol


Tests have shown that a diver's ability to complete skills on Scuba is dramatically compromised with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of just 0.04% which is less than the legal limit for driving a car and, after a late night drinking, can easily be the level left in your body the next morning.

Add this impairment to that which we already feel as divers through Nitrogen Narcosis and you are asking for trouble, especially if old Murphy pops his head up....
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong

Energy Zapping


Which leads us quite nicely onto our next problem with drinking the night before diving. Alcohol Drains Energy by impeding the liver from producing the body's primary energy source, Glucose. This can leave you feeling tired and lethargic.

If Murphy does show up on your dive, you want to have a bit of Energy in the bank to be able to deal with the unexpected. A lack of Energy can leave you incapable of dealing with it safely and expediently. 

Chilling


Feeling chilly? Have a wee dram of brandy to warm your cockles, right?

Wrong!

Alcohol actually works to dilate the blood vessels close to the skin, allowing blood to flow closer to the surface, which makes you feel warmer but with blood flowing away from the core and so close to the surface, you lose heat and chill faster.

Add this to the fact that we lose heat 25 times faster in the water anyway and those drinks are putting you at increased risk of Hypothermia

Dehydration

We have touched on Dehydration and Diving in previous articles and discussed all the risks that entails. In brief alcohol affects the kidneys, which is going to lead to a loss of body fluids and when you combine this with the dehydrating effect scuba diving inherently causes, we greatly increase the risk of DCI.

So, the take-away from this blog is not kebab and cheesy chips or to put a damper on your Christmas festivities. This is just a reminder that if you are scuba diving, take it easy the night before and after your dives.

You don't have to abstain completely but moderate your alcohol consumption and maybe switch to soft drinks after 11pm to give your body a good 8 hours, at least, to metabolise the alcohol to an acceptable level.

Above all else...Dive Safe!


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Long Hose Diving from the beginning.

Currently teaching a TDI Advanced Nitrox Course to one of our Divemasters here at Scuba Tech Diving Centre and we found ourselves having lunch in the sunshine discussing the merits of using the long hose configuration.

Now, the long hose Hogarthian configuration is used in all technical Diving and Sidemount diving standard equipment set up and yet, for recreational scuba divers and beginners, we still start off using the standard 75cm regulator hose/ 90cm alternate configuration.



What is the Hogarthian Long Hose set-up all about?


The Hogarthian is actually named after its creator, William (Bob) Hogarth Maine.

Bob was a cave diver that developed the Hogarthian Set up as a means to more efficient dive practices, keeping things simple and ultimately... safer!

The Hogarthian regulator set-up comprises a second stage on a short hose (60-75cm usually depending on the size of the diver using it) which is hung from a bungee around the neck.

The long hose is usually 1.5 to 2.1 metres in length and comes under the right arm, up over the left shoulder and around the back of the head to the mouth in a big circle. This is your primary regulator but also, the one you would donate in an Out of Air emergency.

Why is Hogarthian Long Hose configuration better?

You always have an alternate air source around your neck, so if you were to lose your primary regulator for any reason, you have something easily accessible to breathe while you relocate it. This offers you the life saving gift of time to sort the problem.


In Out of Air situations, you donate your primary regulator and switch to your back up around your neck, which has the advantage of giving the out of air diver, what they can see is a working regulator. In a  panic situation, it is not unheard of for divers to grab the regulator out of your mouth. With this system, all you need to do is dip your head forward to free the long hose and switch to the secondary regulator around your neck.

An added advantage is the long hose offers a bit of room for manoeuvre and it is workable even if you have your emergency inside a wreck or other overhead environment.

You also avoid that pesky dangling alternate air source that gets loose regardless of how well you clip it up to get a cleaner, tidier, more streamlined set-up.

Why don't we teach this from the start?


This brings us back to the question of why we wait for technical diver training before most agencies implement this system of diving?

On the very first training dive we ask our trainees to "lose" their regulators behind their backs and control their breathing while they relocate them. Why not KISS? 

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

If they lose the reg, swap onto another working regulator so they have time to solve the problem. In a hostile environment, we need all the help and simplicity we can get, so it makes sense... doesn't it?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Rebreather Try Dives in Cyprus

Christian came to Cyprus with the sole intention on trying a rebreather. Of course, where else would he go than Scuba Tech Diving Centre in Protaras to try under the careful tuition of Megalodon Rebreather instructor, Peter Crane.

Peter has been teaching divers on the Megalodon Rebreather since 2009 and loves introducing divers to the wonder of Stealth and Bubble free.

In his words... it is Marvellous!!!


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Reactivate your Scuba

There is a new course being released by PADI for all those scuba divers out there who haven't been in the water for a while...ReActivate!

What is PADI ReActivate?


diver refreshes scuba skills in water with instructorIt is stressed to divers from the very beginning of their Diving journey that, should they endure a period of scuba inactivity, they should refresh their skills before jumping back into similar kinds of diving from before the break.

In days gone by, this would mean taking a Scuba Review, which involved a theory refresh with the Scuba Review manual (or Open Water quizzes and Exams) and a pool session to practice all those Open Water course skills before hitting Open Water again.

This has now been replaced by the PADI ReActivate Course.

How is it different to Scuba Review?


The PADI ReActivate course knowledge refresher is completed online using the reActivate Touch or ReActivate Online depending on whether you wish to use a PC or device. Completing this and mastering the scuba diving knowledge, shown through completion of the ReActivate quick review, earns the diver a Reactivate Certificate.

The new reactivate cardHowever, to earn the full ReActivate card you must also complete the in-water, confined skills session.

Unlike the Scuba Review, this is not simply a case of completing mandatory skills. The aim of the ReActivate program is to focus on the student's strengths and weaknesses, so the whole program is more personalised and focused on the individual.

Instructors are required to browse the student's log book and conduct a pre-dive interview to determine

  • how many dives the student has made and the conditions/environment they were in
  • How long it has been since the last dive made
  • What the student believes will help them to improve their scuba diving
  • What skills the student wishes to practice
instructor discusses skills with student to see what she thinks are strengths and weaknesses


Following this, the instructor would be required to observe the student divers as they plan the dive, assemble the diving equipment, complete the pre-dive safety check, enter the water, equalise, descend and achieve neutral buoyancy providing tips and reminders as they proceed. Any skills needed will be demonstrated and the diver can practice until mastery is achieved.

The required skills on the course include:

  • Remove, replace and clear the mask.
  • Become neutrally buoyant and hover.
  • At the surface in water too deep in which to stand, with a deflated BCD, use the weight system’s quick release to pull clear and drop sufficient weight to become positively buoyant.
  • Ascend properly using an alternate air source and establish positive buoyancy at the surface. Act as both donor and receiver.
So, as an upgrade to an existing course, the Reactivate program should be a much better way to improve the skill and confidence of a diver who has been out of the water for a while. The personalised approach is much more efficient than the "one size fits all" method employed in the current Scuba Review.

This course is available from PADI instructors effective immediately but mandatory switch from the Scuba Review will be October 2015

Saturday, 8 November 2014

LADY THETIS wreck Limassol

 
The Scuba Tech Diving Centre gang take a road trip out to the Limassol wrecks. This is the Lady Thetis and you can see the difference in fish life already from earlier videos in the year.

Cannot wait to see what next year will bring!

For more info on wreck diving in Cyprus, see http://www.scubatechdivers.com/Wrecks-in-cyprus.html


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Diver Training? 5 tips to get the most out of it

Well, we have had a bit of a break from blogging over the past couple weeks, as things have been hectic over here in Cyprus with dive training courses and safari diving,  Now, however, the winter season is upon us and things are starting to settle down a bit.

Conducting all these dive courses over the past weeks has brought, once again, to the forefront of our minds the problems that divers often have with training courses, regardless of level. From a Try Dive, PADI Open Water to TDI Advanced Nitrox and even Trimix courses, how can you get the most out of your Dive Training?

1. BE INTERESTED!


To get the most out of any kind of training, you simply have to be interested in the subject matter.

Before beginning any Open Water Course, we advise the student to take part in a try dive session to make sure they enjoy Scuba Diving before investing in the manuals and possibly equipment. There is nothing worse than spending a whole lot of money to realise that this isn't the sport for you, even if those people are few and far between.

Equally, although it is nice to have a common sport in families and partnerships, if your husband, daughter, friend etc. really isn't interested in Scuba Diving, they won't get out of the courses what you want them to. 

Everyone should try it! Most people love it! But don't force it.

Technical Diving and Sidemount Diving are another aspect of the same thing. We have seen a number of divers coming to Cyprus who just want to scuba dive but because Tech diving and Sidemounting have taken off in such a big way, they are worried about being left behind.

This Diving is NOT for every Diver and if it isn't something that really interests you, then leave it alone. There are plenty of dive sites for recreational diving, and plenty of training courses you can take to maintain your interest and keep learning, so stick with what you enjoy.


2. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR


When we teach Scuba Diving, an instructor will usually brief the dives and the skills on land before getting in the water. Once in the water, we will demonstrate the skills for you so you see how they should be done before you try them yourself.

Listen to the briefings and try to visualise yourself doing what the instructor says. Even mimic the action on land before getting in the water to start building that muscle memory from the beginning. The instructor will also be able to give you tips drawing on his experience of where other students go wrong and paying attention to this will hopefully, prevent you from doing the same thing.

3. RELAX


Dive Students, of all levels, often try and race through new skills in an attempt to get them over and done with.

The problem is that when you rush through a new skill, you do not give yourself enough time to consider what the next action should be and it tends to go a  bit wrong.

When you relax and take your time over completing a new skill, you give your brain time to process what comes next and you are more likely to get it right. And, if the skill is an emergency drill that needs to be completed as fast as possible, such as shut-downs on a twinset, don't worry. As you practice the drill and it becomes muscle memory for you, the speed will come but get the steps correct to begin with.

4. DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP


If you are learning something new and just don't feel like you are "getting it", it can be very frustrating and it is very easy to start to feel like you cannot do it!

The reason we take a course is to learn. If we could already do it, why would we need to pay someone to train us and of course, learning something new will inevitably mean doing something until you can do it right.

People also learn at different paces and in different ways, so a good diving instructor will be able to help you grasp those diving concepts regardless of the kind of learner you are and how long it takes you.

5. ASK QUESTIONS


Again, this comes down to learning something new and the old adage that "there are no stupid questions".

You are paying your instructor to teach you something and so if there is something that you don't understand or you do not know, ask them and they will happily answer any questions you have.

We extend that for our student divers and everyone who leaves Scuba Tech knows that if they ever need information about equipment, training or scuba diving in general, we are always at the end of an email or the telephone.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

4 reasons to be a Scuba Diver

You are looking for a new hobby. It needs to be exciting and something that will keep your interest but nothing too  confining and restrictive. It can only be Scuba Diving!

See things most people never will!


Scuba Diving opens up many places to its enthusiasts. Not only will you get to experience underwater landscapes but also, some travel destinations that are little visited by those that do not dive.

The beauty of an underwater reef in Egypt, the continuing majesty of the wrecks in Truck Lagoon or Scapa Flow or maybe the diversity of life in the Galapagos. All add their own insights into life and the world and we are the few that can experience it in its entirety.

Scuba Diving is Social  


Go Places, Meet People, do things.

In this world of mobile technology, there are constant jokes about how we are beholden to our mobile phone, tablets and technology in general. The upshot is, Social Media is reducing our ability to be social.

Scuba Diving is one of the most social hobbies you can have. Everybody who loves Scuba wants to talk about it. You will never be short of conversation in a crowd of Scuba Divers... and yes, there is technology involved in Scuba Diving but it isn't the be all and end all. Pop a tank, BCD and regs on your back and you are good to go and don't forget about the post dive get together for a chat and logging afterwards.

That always comes before posting your pictures to Facebook!

Cartoon by Ritsch Renn: ritsch-renn.com/



Scuba Diving is Relaxing


Scuba Diving is almost like underwater meditation. You get an overwhelming sense of relaxation that just allows your mind to shut off from the problems of the day. Try watching a reef of coral with all the fishlife around it and still think about that business meeting coming up.

Some big business chiefs own fish tanks to help them relax... well, this is the real deal. If that wasn't enough, you are exercising at the same time, which not only helps to relax your mind but help your body too.

Scuba Diving can Keep your Interest


You get out of Scuba Diving what you put in, so if you find yourself getting bored of it, it is your own fault.

Once you are qualified, there are lots of different branches of Scuba Diving you can train in to branch off into areas you are interested in; from underwater photography to deep diving, technical diving, rebreather diving and even moving into other arenas such as; commercial diving, marine biology and Underwater Archaeology.

Also, you can travel around the world with Scuba Diving, which means there is always something new for Scuba Divers.





Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Cyprus Dive Sites- The Blue Hole

Re-visiting our Cyprus Dive Sites series, Let's look at another local shore dive site in the Protaras area. This is Cyprus' very own Blue Hole.

The Dive

The Blue Hole is very easy to access, being in the same area as Green Bay, but heading out East instead of North. We clamber over a couple rocks before dropping into some very shallow water and heading out over a shallow reef. You have to keep your eyes open here, as there are usually plenty of little fish to keep you occupied with the occasional squid and turtle sighting.

Following an Easterly bearing we drop into a sandy channel, which you follow South to the "Millenium Falcon". Before you Star Wars fans get too excited, it isn't the real one crash landed in Cyprus but a rock shaped like the famous starcraft!

Behind the falcon is a lovely archway hiding squirrel fish, sponge and moray eels.

Continue East and the depth begins to increase to around 12 metres where you find the drop off and 2 cracks in the ground, the second of which is our Blue Hole.

Drop into the top and swim through the cave, that is home to more squirrel fish, grouper and purple corals.

We exit the cave onto sand at 18 metres and if you swing around to the right, you can find the old wreck of the car that is starting to become visible again after the recent wind storms.

Maximum depth here is 22 metres.
Heading to the left takes you around the next little bay and through the abandoned fishing nets, where if you are lucky, you can find Octopus, nudibranchs, squid and Barracuda.

This bay gives a gradual ascent to 6metres and if you keep a check on the west heading, you should find yourself at cave number 2, which will exit in the same channel the Millenium Falcon was in.

The Blue Hole is a fantastic dive site where you never know what you might see but the fish life can always be found if you know where to look. Be aware of the boat traffic over your head and we would recommend carrying your DSMB for this dive, just in case!

If you have sufficient gas left, we can usually exit through Green Bay to make it a gentle walk out. Two Dives in One... now that is a bargain!





Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Divers do it Deeper-5 tips to do it right!

Just four days ago, a new diving depth record was set by Egyptian diver, Ahmed Gabr, as he spent 14 hours completing a dive to a whopping 332metres underwater.

A dive like this can take years of planning and organisation to ensure it is done safely and the bulk of us will never even consider descending to such depths but if you are going to go deep, do it right.

1. Have a Reasonable Deep Diving Objective.


Right from the start of the deeper diving courses, we are told that if you just want to go deep to boast that you have been there, then this is not really the course for you and this theme continues all the way from the PADI Deep Specialty through all the Technical Diving Courses.

If you are making deep dives, you should have a reasonable objective... and that is just one... never try to overload yourself with doing too much on a deep dive. Keep everything as simple as possible.


2. Depth Progression.


I have just completed a couple PADI Deep Specialties here in Cyprus and while there are not many skills involved in the course, it is a great way to progress your depth experience in small steps with the comfort of having an instructor there with you. 

Build the experience and your confidence. Don't just jump in at the deep end!

3. Plan the Dive


When you are making Deep Dives, it is even more important to have a dive plan in place, so everyone knows where they should be, what they should be doing and what happens if something goes awry.

Dive with people you have dived with before and whom you trust. Remember that it is not just you that has to be fit and ready (mentally and physically) to make this dive, your buddy or dive team must be equally prepared.

Also, make sure somebody on land knows where you have gone, how long you will be there and is prepared to activate emergency procedures if needed

4. Have enough Gas


A single 12 litre tank is usually acceptable for dives in Open Water down to the recreational Diver limit of 40m but if you start adding in overhead environments with Wrecks and Caves, you really need to start thinking about some kind of redundancy system in case you have a problem.

Rebreathers, Twinsets or sidemount systems allow you to carry 2 cylinders of breathing gases that works along with the training to allow you to shut one down and breathe from the other in the event of any problems.

Know your SAC (Surface Air Consumption) rate and use it to calculate your gas consumption for the dive. Although, be aware that this is only useful if you know how to do it properly. If not, you could get incorrect information and will be more detrimental than beneficial.



5. In Kit we trust


Configuration of your equipment is a very personal thing and it often takes a lot of little changes to fix any little niggles you may have.

Although, this ability to adjust our equipment is a good thing, we must also realise that sometimes it just takes us a little while to adjust ourselves to new things. Changing equipment on every dive means you never get the opportunity to get comfortable with it and when you are making deep dives, you should always be comfortable with the equipment you are using.

Know your controls and get it right before you dive deep.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dynamite Fishing-The Cost...

At certain areas of Cyprus, there are unexplained bangs that occur regularly and are currently being investigated. Although there have been a number of theories, most believe the cause of these underwater bangs is Dynamite Fishing.

Dynamite fishing (or blast fishing) is used as an easy means of catching fish by stunning or killing large numbers of them through the use of explosives. It is highly destructive and, in most parts of the world, illegal!

This method of fishing is incredibly inhumane, as the shockwaves from the explosions rupture the swim bladders of the fish causing them to lose buoyancy and direction. This leads to a prolonged death from drowning.

Some of the fish caught in the blast will float to the surface but the vast majority of them will sink to the seabed. The fishermen come and scoop up those that float at the surface, while those that sink are left to die down below.

Combine this with the fact that dynamite will kill everything indiscriminately and you see that this is an exceedingly wasteful means of fishing. Not to mention the damage that it inflicts on every other part of our oceans including; food chain destruction, coral and sponge damage, habitat destruction, leading to reduced rates of reproduction and diminished fish stocks.

Not only is dynamite fishing killing sea life, it is dangerous for the fishermen using it too, as much of the explosives used in dynamite fishing are home produced with all of the hazards that entails. Equally, anyone within the shockwave's radius is at risk. This includes swimmers and divers!

Quite simply, Dynamite fishing is unsustainable. With the wastage and damage inflicted on the ecosystem, it will not be long before the sea is uninhabitable and nobody can win from this diagnosis. There will be no fish left to catch for the fishermen, there will be nothing to see for the divers, snorkellers and swimmers and the world be a poorer place for it.

A healthy ocean equates to a healthy income, particularly in tourist dependent countries like Cyprus.

So, let's get to the bottom of these underwater bangs and ensure that if there has been Dynamite Fishing in Cyprus, it becomes extinct instead of the fish life we all treasure!

http://mundotribus.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Best Dive Kit? Has to be the Dive Instructor's!

I am sure this will be a post that most dive guides and instructors from around the world can easily relate to.

You have students starting a new course or taking part in a try dive at your local dive site and you do your very best to fit them out with the best fitting equipment possible. To get the students comfortable is worth the extra effort at the Dive centre because a comfortable diver will have a better time in the water and be more at ease, making it much easier for the dive guide/ instructor.

So, you get the boots and fins...they are easy to sort out and pretty generic.

Breathing apparatus is fine. So long as the BCD has a good fit, they are, again pretty standard, as are the regulators.

Wetsuits are a little more tricky and we like to tell everyone that getting into a properly fitting wetsuit is the hardest part of Scuba Diving. It should be relatively tight and fitted so there are no gaping areas that will allow water to swill and cool you but it shouldn't be so tight that you cannot breathe or it is restricting blood flow!

The final piece of the puzzle is the Dive Mask!

Now, as we have mentioned before, the Diving Mask is a very personal piece of equipment. Since everybody has a slightly different shape to their faces, the way the skirts mould to the individual will be slightly different from one diver to the other.

The best way to test whether a mask fits your face is to place it against your face, with the strap and all hair out of the hair. Next, inhale through your nose and the mask should stick to your face without having to push or twist it on... until, of course, you exhale through your nose.



Then put the strap behind your head and tighten as needed. You should not feel any pressure on any part of your face from the frame (particular hot spot is the bridge of the nose).

As hard as we try to make sure the mask you will use with us has a god fit for your face, even taking a couple different spare masks along (just in case), there will always be at least one diver in the pack that will not get on with any of them and the only one left to try is the one on your face.

Surprise, Surprise... it's a perfect fit and the rest of the dive goes really well.

Do you want to try my Mask?

So, Why is the Instructor's mask always the best fitting one?

I am not sure really but it is a strange phenomenon. I know it isn't just because we all have amazing multi-face moulding masks and can only assume that it is something to do with confidence. If that Dive professional uses it, it must be good, so it will be ok for me!

I use a Poseidon 3dee mask and it is now at a point where I have 3 others in the shop for students.

However, on a recent Open Water Course I taught, I had to give the student my mask for the first dive and proceeded to give them the identical school one on the second dive.

Did it fit? Not a chance! Well, it wasn't the Instructor's.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Scuba Diving from Shore in Cyprus. This is Cyclops

To go with our blog about the different dive sites. This should match up to our Cyclops Dive Site Blog



Enjoy Diving with us!



Thursday, 21 August 2014

4 Suprising facts about scuba diving you may not know

I was talking randomly with a friend not so long ago about Cling Film.

Exciting, I hear you say!!! Well, as a general topic of conversation, no it probably isn't but I did learn some interesting information which has certainly made my life much easier.

Did you know that there are small buttons on the side of the box for your roll of cling film that says "press here"? If you press, the box pushes inwards and holds the roll steady inside the box while you peel a sheet off. For my 40 odd years of life, I have never understood why cling film had to be so difficult to use and now I realised it wasn't. It's just me.

So, it got me to thinking about other bits of kit I use all the time and probably don't know enough about and having done a bit of research, here are a few interesting bits of information about scuba diving that you may not know

Tiny bit of Temper


We are all taught that our Scuba Diving masks should have lenses made of Tempered Glass because, when it
girl tries on a mask for scuba diving made from tempered glass
is tempered, it is stronger than normal glass and this is needed when you are descending to the elevated pressures underwater.

Did you know that Tempering the glass puts the outer surface into compression, while the inner surface is put into tension?

This stress means that, if the glass were to break, it would not break into jagged shards like normal glass would but instead, crumble into small granule-like chunks, making it safer for you!

Not all Nitrogen Bubbles are Bad



Wetsuits have been around since the1950s, developing from fragile suits to the more robust hybrid foam neoprene suits we see today.

Foam neoprene is a synthetic rubber that contains small Nitrogen Gas bubbles and it is these bubbles that are responsible for the thermal properties (and increased buoyancy) of a wetsuit. As we go deeper, the Nitrogen bubbles are compressed and we lose heat and buoyancy.


Breathing is Dehydrating


With every breath we take, we exhale a lot of moisture. If you have ever exhaled onto a mirror, you will see all the moisture fog the glass.

At rest we lose approximately 17.5ml of water with each breath and when we exercise, it can be up to 4 times that amount. Add to this, the dry, filtered air that we use when Diving and you can see why it is very important to drink plenty of water when we use Scuba.

All Things Being Equal


http://www.divebuddy.com
We are taught from early in our Diving lives that the Valsalva technique is used for equalising ear and sinus air spaces underwater, but did you know there are actualy a plethora of different ways to do the same job.

None are more effective than the other but a combination of options may help if you find you have stubborn ears.

Some options are; Yawning, Swallowing, The Frenzel Manoeuvre, Politzerisation, The Toynbee manoeuvre, the Lowry Technique and the Edmonds Technique. You can google the ones you don't know, as I would be writing for an eternity to cover the others :)

Hopefully, I have surprised you with a few interesting facts that you didn't already know about Scuba Diving. 

Do you have any interesting facts that could surprise us today. Please share them with us in the comments section.




Thursday, 14 August 2014

Cyprus Dive Sites- The Chapel

Continuing on with our theme of local Dive Sites here in Protaras, we move a little further around Cape Greko, past Konnos Beach to a tiny white chapel on a cliff top. This Chapel is the marker for 2 potential dive Sites depending on how deep you wish to venture and how exciting you want our entry to be.



We will look at Dive one, which sees you walk down a windy path to a handful of steps at the waters edge, where you can slowly lower yourself into the water and put fins on.

amphora pottery fused into the rocks at chapel dive site
As you drop below the surface, there is a slowly descending route marked out between the boulders that guide you to the masses of Amphora resting between 6 and 9 metres deep. Some say it is from ancient moored ships that would anchor in the small bay while others say there was a potters at the top of the cliff that came down with a landslide to deposit its wares into the water. Either way, you can still make out the handles and mouths of the old pieces of pot quite clearly.

Continuing around the headland, you will find the bottom gently slopes away, allowing you to go slightly deeper to around 24m or stay shallower at 18m or even 12metres, depending on your comfort and desires.

There are lots of little spaces for Octopus to hide and you will often find Starfish, nudibranchs and moray eels lurking in the dark recesses of the plentiful nooks and crannies. I have even seen a couple firework anenomes and Umbraculum Umbraculum at this dive site, which are pretty rare in Cyprus.



You can go treasure hunting at the furthest point of the dive, as this is where the locals and tourists like to come and do the cliff jump. On every dive, we will find flip flops and shorts, room keys and hairbands but if you are very lucky, sometimes you can find something of value like a nice pair of sunglasses. We were speaking to a diver here not so long ago that found a gold sovereign ring!!!

Follow your path back at a shallower depth to make your ascent and be aware of any boats that may be overhead and you will find that this is one of the most diverse dive sites we have for variety of fish.

Even on land, around the chapel, you will see tourists, divers and even brides, so there is definitely something for everyone. Will you enjoy it?

Well....eerrrrmmm!!!... I DO!!!



Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Scuba Addicted Divers? That is SAD!

Sunday is the day that many Dive Centres close their doors and give their Scuba Instructors a well deserved day to off-gas a little.
megalodon ccr diver waves to the camera underwater

This week, we had some technical divers in with us at Scuba Tech and decided to organise an exploration dive somewhere new with depths suitable for both Technical and Recreational Diving.  Since it was on a Sunday, we invited some of the local Diving Instructors along with us.

Everyone jumped at the chance and it suddenly occurred to me that the willingness of these instructors to scuba dive on their days off could only be a sign of one thing.

We are all SAD (Scuba Addicted Divers)! Are you?

Your Garage could be a Scuba Shop


lots of diving equipment, masks and snorkelsYou have so much Diving Equipment that your inside cupboards and storage will no longer hold it all and your vehicle that meant so much to you when you first bought it has been relegated to the curb. In the meantime your wetsuits, drysuits, cylinders, BCDs, regulators and other diving paraphernalia are slowly building and taking over.

Your partner will no longer enter the garage because of that unique diving smell but you could spend hours checking out all the bits of kit you have accumulated over the years. Much of it, you don't even use any more but daren't throw it away just in case, one day, it comes in useful.

That Diving computer might need a new battery and depth sensor but one day, you might need it!

Are you out this Weekend? Of Course!


Except your friend is talking about the local pub while you mean the local Quarry.

Weekends are no longer about family time or going out on the lash. Weekends are for getting wet; wherever, whenever and if the club are going for a post dive beer, well that is ok, so long as it doesn't interfere with your diving!


Where is your Tan?


You have just been on a lovely beach holiday, so everyone is expecting to see a bronzed body return.

Unfortunately, if you have any colour at all it is usually on your lower arms and legs (up to the point the boots begin at your ankles) and maybe a bit of burnt skin around where the mask sits on your face.

It is hard to get tanned when you are 30m under the sea!





Your Mastermind Speciality Topic is Kit Configuration



What more needs to be said. It is important!


Baked Bean Diet

baked beans in tomato sauce

You live off a diet of baked beans to enable you to save up for that latest piece of diving equipment that you want... no need to own!


Be it a new wetsuit/drysuit, the latest GoPro camera or a brand new rebreather, Scuba Equipment is never cheap and when you are a real scuba addict, you will give up a lot of luxuries in life to get it.

Now, where's that tin opener?


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

4 ways to combat pre-dive stress

It doesn't matter whether you have been Scuba Diving for fifty years or only started last week, at some point in your life as a Diver you will or will have felt some nerves and stress before making a dive.  Maybe you are diving with new people, at a new dive site or different conditions that are a bit more difficult than you are used to.

Stress on a dive in small amounts is not always a bad thing but excessively, it can cause many problems and dangers, so here are 4 tips to combat that stress before you even get in the water.

Equipment

diver tries to prepare yellow dsmbThe best way to avoid stress over using new Dive Equipment is to have your own and to have dived with it many times.

However, there will always be times when you need to rent equipment or have upgraded your own and your kit is new. How can we manage nerves at these times.

There are many resorts around the world where the staff insist on setting up all your equipment for you and you simply get to the dive site or on the dive boat, put the equipment on and get in the water. I would recommend against this and set up the kit yourself. If you are diving it, this gives you the opportunity to check all the components prior to getting to the dive site. 

As you were taught from your first scuba lessons, put everything together, open the scuba cylinder and check  for any leaks and hissing.  The regulators should breathe easy with no fluctuations on the gauges and no funky smells or tastes to the air.

Check the inflator too. Inflate your BCD fully until the Over pressure release valve blows off, then check the deflator and any emergency pull dumps too.

This should help assuage any nerves regarding the diving equipment functionality

Dive Brief

Participate in the dive brief.

Your guide or instructor will go over the dive profile, what you are likely to see, points of interest and hazards, turn pressures and signals but if there is something you are unsure of, ask questions.

If you are diving with a buddy, discuss the dive plan together until you both are 100% sure of all aspects including separation and out of air scenarios. Divers that understand fully what to expect on a scuba dive tend to be more relaxed about it.

Communicate

Be ready to communicate with your buddy or guide. As professionals, we have certain signs that will indicate to us if you are nervous or stressed before a dive and while we try our best to detect such signs, the best way to let us know is to tell us.

A discussion can often reassure divers when they are nervous, reminding them of information they have forgotten but sometimes, when the stress cannot be reduced, it may be better for everyone to alter the dive plan and negate the nerves before they can cause a problem but communication is key to this.

Remember your pre-dive safety checks too. We recommend that you talk through your equipment with your buddy, so you know that they know how your equipment works in the event they need to help you underwater or at the surface.

Any Diver can Cancel Any Dive at Any Time

This is a firm rule that is applied ANY time, ANY where.

If for any reason you are not comfortable making a dive, ABORT it. Although there might be some disappointment, any diver worthy of being a buddy will be happier to cancel than have problems underwater. It isn't worth the risk to dive when you are not 100% sure you are ready and nobody will think any less of you for it.

Sometimes, just knowing you can abort at any time is enough to put a diver's mind at rest and ease those pre-dive nerves.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

5 quick tips for Scuba Diving anywhere

As Scuba Divers, we do tend to get around a bit and there are always new places we want to add to the "bucket list". So, I thought I would share five quick tips that will help you dive anywhere in the world.

There are many other things to add to the list, so please feel free to add your contribution to the diving community in the comments below...
  1. GET AN ORIENTATION

  2. We do believe that when you are diving somewhere new, it is best to get an orientation from a diver that knows the site well.

    Most commonly, this comes in the guise of a guided dive. The dive resort/dive centre hires you a guide to take you around the local dive sites and they can point out the things of interest and any potential hazards.

    It is also nice because the guide will help remind you about decompression limits and air supply, reminding you to check them frequently while you are diving.

    If it is not possible to get a guided dive, at least ask someone who has been diving there before. You will enjoy the dive more if you have prior knowledge of what to expect, what you are looking for and how to stay safe.

  3. DRESS FOR THE OCCASION

  4. Different places require different equipment depending upon the conditions and once you have had an orientation about the conditions, you should know what to expect.

    There is no point turning up in Cyprus in August with a drysuit and thick thermals, as you will end up overheating. Equally, where sea diving in the UK may require reels, DSMBs, torches, compasses, pony bottles and all the other life saving pieces of equipment that leave you looking like a tree at Christmas, here in Cyprus, the bulk of the diving does not require this kind of kit.

    So, do yourself (and your wallet if you are trying to fly) a favour and find out what trimmings are needed before you pack them all up.



  5. HAVE A BASIC TOOL KIT


  6. Every diver that does not want to be caught short on a dive should carry a small, basic tool box.


    Many has been the time, we have been out and about to be asked if we happen to have an Allen Key, spanner, screwdriver or some simple tool that doesn't take up much room but can mean the difference between making the dive and having to cancel.

    Even something as simple as; Schraeder Valve Removal Tool, Allen Keys (Imperial and Metric because you never know), a couple adjustable spanners, O-Rings in various sizes and a pick to remove them safely, spare hoses and good old faithful Tie Wraps should see you through most situations in a pinch.

  7. DSMB

  8. DSMBS are an extremely useful tool to have at your disposal. They can mark you out for boat traffic and allow you to make an ascent from practically anywhere by providing a reference line to the surface.Some areas for diving, it is mandatory that you carry them but I have seen many divers with them attached with no clue how they work!

    Setting off a DSMB is now taught in a PADI Open Water course as a compulsory skill and those of you who have been diving for years without ever using a DSMB should get caught up by asking an instructor or buddy to show you how it is done. You do not need a course, just a demonstration and a bit of practice but this is definitely a skill every diver should have.

  9. KNOW THE EMERGENCY PROCEDURES

  10. God forbid something goes wrong on a dive but unfortunately, it does happen sometimes. Even if you have been diving safely for years with no incidents at all, there is always a first time.
    If something happens on your dives, would you know how to handle it?
    Get the number of the Emergency Medical Services for the area you are diving in and, of course, the local hyperbaric chamber. In this day and age of mobile phones, you don't usually need to locate a nearby pay phone but it is always useful to know in case you find yourself without signal.
    How far away is the nearest chamber and do you have your own Oxygen Kit in case of emergencies?
    In water, make sure to practice your emergency procedures because, although these are skills we all hope we will never need, in the unlikely event of an emergency, you want to make sure you and your buddy are up to the task.
As I mentioned at the start, these are just 5 little tips to help make your diving anywhere in the world a little easier, a little safer and I hope you find them useful. Please add your own contributions in the comments below and whatever else, DIVE SAFE!