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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Diving Chapel's Tabletop in Protaras, Cyprus

Exploring new dive sites for our divers here in Protaras, Cyprus.

This is the Chapel's Tabletop, from the Cobra Dive Boat and it has a wall (doesn't show up so well on the video) with a max depth of 30m and a shallow point of 17m.



 





 
Scuba Diving in Cyprus with the best!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Getting the most out of every dive




Scuba Divers! We are an easy bunch of people to please. A bit of water, a few fish and/or submerged twisted metal and we are happier than a dachshund on Stilts.


However, there are times when that little something goes wrong or doesn't happen and it leaves our dives incomplete. So, how can we change this to try and make the most out of every dive we do.

Check your Dive Equipment

One of the most common reasons we have seen for people missing dives on holiday is down to equipment failure.

We all know how important it is to have your diving equipment checked and serviced by someone who knows what they are doing regularly but if you are travelling with dive kit, it is just as important to make sure that nothing has been damaged in transit.

This happens so often that we ask all divers to make their first dive locally here in Protaras.  This allows us to be close enough to the dive centre (and all our tools) to fix any kit problems that may occur easily so no dives are missed. Also, it is a great opportunity to get in an extra dive and get weights sorted, making other dives more comfortable.

Air Accounts


There is nothing worse than having to end a dive early due to getting low on air.

It is possible to improve your air consumption when scuba diving by staying fit, being correctly weighted and getting plenty of dive experience. All divers find that the more they dive, the more comfortable they become in the water and the longer the cylinder will last.


However, there are some who just have big lungs and need that bit more air than others. If this is you, the best way to avoid having to end the dive too soon is to take the right size cylinder for your needs. Don't be afraid to ask for a 15l cylinder, if you need one. 


Equally, it might be worth considering a twinset or Sidemount training. You get more air and more options in the event of a problem with air supply underwater.

Nitrox Training


As a continuation of the last point, if you feel your dives are being cut short due to No Decompression Limits, you may want to consider some Nitrox training to allow you to extend your bottom times underwater.

Nitrox is most beneficial as a breathing gas to a maximum of 35-40m, after which I believe trimix is the only way to go. 

Nitrox is not a miracle gas though. It will NOT make your cylinder last longer than if you were breathing standard air (which seems to be a common misconception). Nitrox simply reduced the Nitrogen in the gas you are breathing, which exposes you to less nitrogen, extending your NDLs.

For even more time underwater, have a think about Technical Diver training and learning how to formally make decompression dives.

Listen to the Guide


To really get the most out of your diving, you want to listen to the people who know the dive site you are visiting. This may be the dive guide or other divers who dive there regularly. This way, you know what to look out for and what to expect on the dives.



Build the dives up, so you get the most out of your time. For example, when Zenobia diving, we ask all divers to complete the two orientation dives prior to making any decompression dives or penetration dives on the wreck. By doing this they develop an awareness of the wreck's layout and are familiar with the wreck before making more advanced dives.

So, to my mind, the best way to get the most out of your diving is to minimise the risk of equipment failure by checking your own kit after travel or, if you are renting equipment from a dive centre, make sure it is working correctly and you are acquainted with the controls.

Also, make sure you have the correct equipment and training to complete the dives you want to make and to do it properly, stay fit... with which I mean physically fit and dive fit.

Chat with others that know the area, be that other divers or dive guides in the area. Discuss what you want to achieve from your dives and then you can work out which dives are best for you with your training and equipment so you always feel happy and satisfied that you got the most from every dive!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The importance of Continuing Education in scuba diving

dive instructor shows a diving mask to a studentWhen we book onto our very first Scuba Diving Course, we realise that there will be a lot to learn.  Although, there is a lot of information passed over on that first diving course, it is extremely difficult to absorb everything over the 3-5 days that you get for most introductory diving courses.

Much of the information that you really need comes after the course when you start actually diving.
When you begin to put all that initial training in to practice, things begin to make more sense and you gradually begin to see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

What happens next can take a number of different avenues. There are some that will not dive again after gaining the initial certification and there are those that will go out and dive for a while but then stop citing reasons like "it just didn't interest me anymore!"

This is where Continuing education for Scuba Divers comes in.

2 divers have their photos taken night diving
Scuba Diving is such a diverse sport that there is literally a side of it that appeals to everyone. You can learn Underwater Photography or Video, which is becoming more popular these days with the advent of the affordable GoPro cameras. Night Diving and now, flouro night diving offers a new perspective on regular diving with lots of different creatures and critters that you just do not see during day dives. Open up cooler climes by learning to dive in a dry suit and the cold will not be a limiting factor for your Scuba.

The beauty of these branches of Scuba Diving (and many others) is that you do not need to take a formal course to learn how to use them. However, use common sense. Practice good buoyancy skills before you start to play with cameras underwater and, if you have never been night diving before, dive with somebody who has experience that can help you, make sure you know the dive site well and keep your routes simple for easy navigation.

Other areas of scuba do require formal training and these can include Technical Diving or Cave Diving and even reaching a professional rating so you can guide and teach others.

Every diver I take in the water teaches me something new. Whether it is an Open Water Course or a guided dive with Tech Divers, if you listen and watch, you can learn every day. There are multiple diving agencies out there and they all have their own twists and tweaks to make the courses, skills and diving slightly different and if you keep an open mind, it is possible to cherry pick those things that will work for you in your diving.


As an instructor, I think continuing to learn and grow your diving and knowledge base is even more important. The world of Scuba is continually evolving. New techniques and equipment are released all the time and it is imperative that you stay up to date and maintain the flexibility to adapt to better diving systems and ways of diving.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Zenobia with Robert Kostic

Sunday, 30 October 2016

PADI Advanced Open Water- The what, why and how?

padi logo, blue world, red diver

As a follow on from our PADI Open Water blog earlier this month, I thought it would be appropriate PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.
to continue with the Advanced Open Water training, particularly since September sees the launch of the new, revised



What is the PADI Advanced Open Water Course?

Essentially, the Advanced course is a continuation of a diver's entry level training. While you have learned the basics in the Open Water Course, the Advanced is designed to build on your experience and increase your confidence and competence in the water.

This course works by building on core issues such as buoyancy and navigation and allowing you to increase your diving certification depth to 30m under a supervised, controlled setting.

You have the opportunity to try different areas of Scuba Diving to see what aspects interest you and if you would like to advance in those areas by making 5 Adventure Dives, which correlate with the 1st dive of the associated Specialty training course.

The core, mandatory dives are the Deep Dive (taking you to a maximum of 30m) and the Underwater Navigation dive. The other 3 you can choose for yourself and there are now, lots more available to choose from.

What's New then?
diver takes photographs underwater as part of training in cyprus

Although the structure of the course is still the same, everything has finally come into the modern age with new manuals, online theory available and updated content.

As an example, where divers who wanted to make the Underwater Photography dive had to read all
about F-stops and shutter speeds, much of that information is just not relevant to the modern digital point and shoot cameras because the camera itself takes care of that.

The new Photography Adventure dive is called Digital Underwater Imaging and is, not only based on photography but underwater video, since most modern cameras offer both.

Other Adventure dives may also be available depending on the qualifications of your instructor including; Enriched Air Diver, Self Reliant Diver and Sidemount to name just a few.

I think the biggest difference with the revised course though is the focus on training divers to become thinking divers. We have already seen this improvement in the Open Water Training and there should now be a focus on expanding and improving this through the Advanced Open Water Course too.

Divers will be responsible for pre-dive planning including assessing dive site conditions, buddy and own abilities, turn times and/or pressures and gas management.

Conclusion

As with all diver training, a big part of the standard of training comes with your instructor and the dive centre that you choose to train with but having these standards in place from the agency means more divers will learn to dive rather that just follow and I for one, would always prefer to dive with thinking divers!!!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Technical Diving vs Scuba Diving- What is the difference?

I have had a few emails over the past couple weeks asking me what is the difference between a recreational diver and a technical diver, so for those of you unsure, here is some clarification as to how we differentiate between the two.

diver with camera surrounded by fish, single tank and bcd, recreational diver


Recreational Divers are regular scuba divers who are qualified with a diving agency such as PADI,
BSAC or CMAS.  Their depth limit for diving is usually 40m and they usually dive with just a single cylinder and complete their dives within the no-stop limits offered by recreational dive planners or dive computers. If necessary, the dive can be ended at any point with a direct ascent to the surface without an excessive risk of DCI.

The vast bulk of divers fall into this category.



Technical Divers however, use more complex diving equipment. They may dive a twinset or Sidemount configuration and they are trained to use it properly.

Tech divers have the training, equipment and skills to dive beyond 40 metres and often make decompression dives, which means they cannot make a direct ascent to the surface.

If you exceed your no-decompression, no-stop times, the decompression stop is mandatory and if you miss it, you will put yourself at an unacceptable risk of DCI.

However, just diving beyond 40m and going beyond the no-stop limits to make decopression dives does not make you a tech diver.

technical diver closes the manifold to shut down cylinders
Technical divers learn how to use more sophisticated dive gear so, in the event of an emergency when a direct ascent to the surface is not possible due to overhead environments or decompression obligations, they can try to solve the problem underwater to allow them to ascend safely.

For example, a second stage free flows underwater and you are losing gas. In recreational gear, you would swap to your dive buddy's alternate air source and make a direct ascent but tech divers, whether on sidemount or twins, can shut the offending cylinder down and breathe from the other one while they complete decompression obligations or reach a safe depth to breathe a richer, decompression mix.

Mixed gases are another mark of a technical diver.

Nitrox is pretty standard as a breathing gas these days and in and of itself, does not distinguish a tech divers. Most recreational agencies only qualify divers to use up to 40% nitrox.

Tech divers can use up to 100% Oxygen to allow them to optimise off-gassing of Nitrogen (or indeed Helium). If diving to 45m, they could breathe a 25% nitrox mix on the bottom (or a 25/20 trimix), switching to 50% at 20m and then to 100% at 6m. This is known as Accelerated Decompression.

sidemount diver with 2 cylinders extended in front practicing skills underwater

Over the years, the lines between rec and tech have been blurring. Some agencies such as BSAC and
CMAS train their divers to make decompression dives and to dive to 50m using air. Many recreational divers now carry additional cylinders in the form of a pony cylinder or a stage to allow them additional safety options. Sidemount diving and Twinset diving is becoming more mainstream in the recreational market for those wishing to dive with extra gas and nitrox is readily available practically anywhere in the world.



There is even talk of offering rebreather training from the very first dive. That would mean no open circuit training at all. I think that would be a bit further into the future but who knows with the way technology and diving  is advancing...

...now where did I put the keys to my hovercraft?


Saturday, 3 September 2016

PADI Open Water Course- Reviewing the new stuff!

padi logo. Blue world, red diver

We have been teaching the revised PADI Open Water Course at Scuba Tech for approximately 2 years now, which I think is plenty of time to get to grips with the changes and how to adapt it to different types of student, which means it is a great time to do a review of the changes.


What changed in the PADI Open Water Course?

diver showing buoyancy and trimThe main difference in the whole course is the focus on Buoyancy and Trim and taking more
responsibility for yourself underwater.

While the older course saw most divers kneeling on the bottom of the pool for the majority of the skill exercises, the new course aims to have divers completing the skills mid-water, which, let's face it, is where we usually have to do them when we are actually scuba diving.

So, although we still begin teaching the skills with a solid base below us, throughout the training, we look to bring divers up so they can demonstrate mastery while hovering off the bottom.

More attention is paid to making divers responsible for their own dives. Checking air supply regularly and being aware of how much air you have remaining at any given time and how much air you are using throughout the dives alongside all the pre-dive planning are all aspects of diving that were not really compulsory for the old course. This meant divers out in the real world with no real idea of how to plan their dives besides using the RDP.


recreational dive planner


The idea of training Open Water Divers using computers is a nice addition, as we have also seen plenty of divers out here that have bought their own computers and yet have no idea how to use them. However, I also like to teach them in conjunction with the Dive Tables because I feel that the tables give the students a better picture of what is happening with no-decompression times and pressure groups.

I think the whole course has shifted to try and create thinking divers rather than just a diver that can follow a guide.

However, I still feel that Open Water Divers would do well to dive with other more qualified divers for the first few dives after certification until they have a little more experience and are a bit more comfortable in the water.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Why I became a PADI Divemaster

I have been diving now for five years. 

When I was 14, I did a Discover Scuba Dive in my school pool. I didn’t see much apart from the odd dead bug and grimy tiles on the floor but I was hooked! 

As soon as I took my first breaths underwater, I knew right there and then I wanted to become a diver.

The divemasters and instructors were warm, professional, enthusiastic and the perfect role models. Within the year I achieved my junior open water and the following year my advanced open water. 

I joined my local BSAC ClubRoundhill Sub Aqua, which was when I really started to build up my dives and experience. It was at RSAC where I met Pete and Shelley of Scuba Tech, which gave me the opportunity to do my rescue diver, emergency first response and, of course, my Divemaster training over in sunny Cyprus.

Divemaster was the best course I have ever done and the experience was life changing. This cemented the idea that diving was the perfect job for me.  

At 18, I withdrew my place from university and made the decision to move to Cyprus, so that I could work at Scuba Tech as a DM. 

People often tell me “I’m committing to the wrong job, I’ll never make any decent money out of it and twenty years down the line I’ll regret not getting a degree.” I guess it isn’t the normal profession for a young person to choose straight after leaving school and I understand the point of view,, as nowadays university is the next step for the majority. 

But I wanted to do something different. I never wanted an office job or to be stuck in a job that I would end up hating.  Diving started off as a hobby, but is now my career, it makes me very happy and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else at this point in time.

I became a Divemaster so that I could share my experiences and love of diving directly with other people, my friends and my family. It is my ticket to see the world and travel to places people can only dream of. I get to interact and meet different people from all walks of life, see amazing marine creatures and to ultimately introduce people to the underwater world, so that they too can fall in love with it.


I won’t lie though, some days can be difficult.  It is challenging and the work can both be physically and mentally draining. For example you can get a difficult customer or perhaps you’re overtired due to long and irregular hours and sometimes certain situations can be very stressful. 

However, it may sound cliché, but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world, as it has made me into the diver I am today.  

Last year I took my mum for a try dive and it was one of my most rewarding dives/experiences.  She gained an insight into what I do and why I love it so much. Seeing her face coming up after the dive was priceless!  She was so happy and her grin was enormous. 



Experiences like that definitely make it all worthwhile. 

Friday, 15 July 2016

10 things you should do in Protaras and Agia Napa, Cyprus

It is always great to book a holiday away somewhere hot and exotic but when you get there it can be difficult to find new ways to spend your time.

For some, it is easy enough to while away the holiday relaxing on a sun lounger around a pool or at the beach but if, like us, you prefer to get out and about the resort, here are a few tips of fun things to do and see around Protaras and Agia Napa.



1. SCUBA DIVING

Well, I am a diving instructor, so this was bound to be top of my list, wasn't it?!

Cyprus' East coast is full of great dive sites that you can enjoy. From easy dive sites perfect for beginners to more adventurous caves, deeper shore sites and wrecks that can only be reached from the dive boat, there is something for every level of diver.

To book your scuba diving adventure in Cyprus, get in touch with us via the website, Scuba Tech Divers, Cyprus.



2. BOAT TRIPS

When the sun is out and the weather is hot, there is nothing like living life on the Ocean Wave. See the East coast of Cyprus from a different angle on a half day adventure that usually sees you visit the border between Northern and Southern Cyprus, where you can see the ghost town of Famagusta.

After that, most trips will take you around the headland of Cape Greko with plenty of stops for swimming and snorkelling.



3. RENT A BIKE


There are numerous places that do bike rentals in Protaras and Agia Napa and you can usually ask at your hotel reception for information about this.

The East Coast of Cyprus is very biker friendly with a bike path running through the centre of Protaras, up through Paralimni (or alongside the motorway if you prefer), around Cape Greko so you can take in the viewpoints along the way and into Agia Napa.

Feel the breeze and see the sights but be careful not to burn with too much sun exposure... it is a hot country!



4. NISSI BEACH

The beaches around Protaras and Agia Napa are some of the best in Cyprus but if you want something a bit different, pop down to Nissi Beach in Agia Napa.

Hear the latest "tunes" from the beach bars and, on certain days, you can even find yourself at a foam party on the beach!



5. WATERWORLD

Enjoy an action packed day at Waterworld waterpark.

From adventurous rides like Icarus to the lazy river, the water park has rides to cater to all ages and all level of adrenaline junkies.



6. ENJOY A NICE MEAL

There are loads of great restaurants and tavernas in the Protaras and Agia Napa areas but we can particularly recommend 3 to you. Each for a different occasion.

Firstly, there is the Well Inn in Protaras. Run by Andreas and his wife Kathy, this restaurant offers superb food and excellent service. Anoula's Chicken is a particular favourite and teemed with his home made sauces and condiments, this will be a meal you are unlikely to forget.

Secondly, in Protaras, there is Mojitos Bar and Grill. Not particularly Cypriot but great food with something for everyone. A great pint and the best chips on the Island!

Finally, for something a little different, Los Bandidos Mexican restaurant in Agia Napa. Great value for money and you have to try the Strawberry Margarita while wearing a Bandido Sombrero.


7. SEASIDE PROMENADE

After eating your nice meal, you will probably feel the need to walk some of it off and Protaras has done a lot of work over the recent years to create a lovely promenade that runs the length of the resort along the coastline.

En route from one end of protaras to the other, you will find a number of ice cream vans for dessert and small bars for a refresher.


8. EARLY MORNING SWIM

The mornings are beautiful here in Cyprus with the sun rising in the summer at a very respectable 5.30am. It can soon get hot though, which is why, morning swimming is a great way to get your fitness in.

The air is in the high 20s, low 30s in the mornings in the summer and the water is lovely and warm. Currently (July) it is 28 degrees near the shore.

A perfect wake up to any morning!



9. PROFITIS ELIAS CHURCH

Also known as the church on the hill, Profitis Elias can be seen overlooking the resort of Protaras from its lofty position at the top of the hill.

Best saved for early morning or evenings for the walk up the stairs but the beauty of the Orthodox churches cannot be denied.



10. RENT A CAR

Cars can be rented at pretty reasonable rates here in Cyprus and it is well worth having a car for around 3 days to be able to go off and see the rest of the Island.

Aphrodites's rock and the ancient sites of Paphos along with the scenery and wineries in the Troodos Mountains are all unmissable attractions that will make your holiday in Cyprus epic!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Dive Professionals Zero to Hero- Not for me!!!


This is my first season working as a Divemaster and I absolutely love my job. 

My role involves assisting on courses, which vary between recreational and technical diving. 

I can lead Discover scuba dives and love to see the amazement on people’s faces after they have breathed underwater for the first time. 

I guide certified divers around our local dive sites and handle the logistics, for example filling tanks, washing and sorting kit as well as the general tidying up of the dive centre.

My next step professionally would be to become an instructor, and many people have asked me if I plan to take the course this year. However, this is an area I feel particularly strongly about not rushing into.  

Many candidates go straight into their instructor training after completing their Divemaster certification with not many dives under their belt. Having completed my 300th dive a few weeks ago, I have more than surpassed the required number of dives to become an open water Scuba Instructor, which demands 60 logged dives. However, I still feel I lack the experience to move up the rankings just yet. I have always told myself I would wait until I had logged at least 500 dives before I even contemplated becoming an instructor.

The reasoning behind this, is that by working as a divemaster for a few seasons, it will allow me to build up my dives, level of experience, confidence and competence in the water. This is vital when the lives of students/customers are in my hands. Just because you carry professional status as a divemaster or an instructor, it does not carry any prestige into the level of diver that you are and your ability in the water. 

Furthermore, I believe that not rushing into anything too quickly will give me a wider knowledge base to begin teaching with in the future,  as I can reflect on my experiences, which will hopefully come to my advantage when sitting my instructor exams.

By working alongside two fantastic instructors, I’m constantly learning new things every day,  It isn’t always dive related, but valuable life skills as well, such as finding out who you are as a person and how to interact with different groups of people. 

It’s also things you can’t necessarily be taught by passing an exam, such as how to read and react to a particular situation as every customer is different. Situations such as a diver panicking underwater or if a student is struggling with a certain skill. 

You can do course after course, but I feel this cannot be substituted for experience. Every dive you do, whether for pleasure or training, you will learn from,

I am in this for the long run as diving is now my career.  The sea will always be there, so why rush into it when I can take my time, enjoy it and grow as a professional along the way.


Saturday, 18 June 2016

WOMEN DIVING IN CYPRUS

The Scuba Tech Girls are at it again.

Join Shelley and Dawn, as they hit the water again. This time they head to Cyclops Dive Site in Protaras to see the fishlife and, in particular, the lionfish that are accumulating in the area.



Sunday, 12 June 2016

SCUBA DIVING- 5 Rookie Errors not just made by Newbies

Scuba Diving is something that, if you are reading this blog, I have to assume you are qualified to do or, at least, are interested in learning someday. From our first day of training, there are a number of things that we are told we must do if we want to stay safe while we are in the water doing what we love. 

Hopefully, we take this all in and we become great scuba divers but there are certain mistakes that are easy to make when we are Rookie Divers that can also affect those of us with lots of experience from doing this for years.

So, here are just 5 Rookie Errors that are not only made by beginners in Scuba.

1. Watching your Air Gauge

As a new diver, there is so much to think about while you get your buoyancy sorted, used to the regulator in your mouth and the mask on your face, finning correctly etc, that it can often be, just the gentle reminder of your instructor, Dive Guide or buddy asking what air you have left that causes you to  check that little life-safer, the SPG (Submersible Pressure Gauge).

The SPG is very very important because, like the fuel gauge in your car, it lets you know how much longer you can keep swimming underwater without running out of air.

Ok, so Newbies have an excuse, so what about the more experienced divers.

It can get to the point, especially if you are diving the same sites regularly that you have an idea of how much air you are using at any given point. In fact, if someone asked me my air at any given point on a dive, I could probably tell them to within 10 bar based on the dive time and dive profile. I wouldn't need to check the gauge... but I do!!

I could have a leak somewhere in my equipment that is causing me to lose air faster than I think I am using it!

Maybe, I am feeling a little tired or the under the weather and my consumption has gone up. Don't mock, it can be a considerable difference, especially if you pair it with a current or a buddy that you are trying to assist.

Bottom line is, you have the gauge for a reason. Don't guess your air, you should know what you have at all times to ensure you can ascend safely from every dive and don't get caught short.

2. Not making Buddy Checks

As a new diver, you are taught to make buddy checks before every dive you do. There are usually 3-5 steps depending on which agency you learn to dive with and you learn them by doing the checks over and over. Then, the training finishes and you start to dive and the guide no longer makes you do the checks while watching over you and your buddy just doesn't seem interested.

For the experienced Divers, I get it! You have done this enough and can check your own gear before you get in the water. You know how your own equipment works and those rental ones are always the same controls! 

I know I switched my air on before I got into my rig and I am ready to go, if you aren't?  Tough!!!

Buddy Checks are a great way to make sure you know exactly where everything is on your system and your buddy does too. In the event of an emergency, this could be the difference between life and death.

Alternate Air Sources and Weight Releases can vary quite drastically from one rig to another and if the stuff really hits the fan, do you want something so basic like not finding the weight release to be the reason an incident becomes an accident?

If nothing else, buddy checks have often helped to catch those times when cylinder valves haven't been opened, opened fully or re-closed by a well-meaning "checker" who didn't know which way to turn the valve.

3. Not Dropping Weights in an Emergency

This one gets me, as I have heard Dive Professionals say to their students that weights should only be dropped as a last resort since they are so expensive. This is certainly not a mantra that divers should die by.

If there is any kind of problem and you cannot get yourself buoyant, release the weights. If your diving buddy is having problems and you need to help get them buoyant, drop the weights.

6 kilos of lead (average diver) here in Cyprus costs around €30. You cannot be replaced so easily! So, if you need to drop the weights, even if you just aren't sure, let them go. Better safe than sorry!

4. Rushing

I see this from all level of divers at all points in diving.

Completing skill circuits with beginners and Dive Masters alike, rushing through a skill often means you miss a step and mistakes happen. Take a bit of time, it gives you the opportunity to think through what is coming next and likelihood is, you will nail it sooner.

The other way to ruin your diving by rushing is when preparing for the dive. 

I myself, have spent so much time rushing around helping other divers that I have driven all the way to Limassol to dive the wrecks and then realised I have left all my equipment here in Protaras. Thankfully, I was able to rent kit, otherwise that could have been very embarrassing and a total wash out for my divers.

Moral of the story is, when getting ready for a dive, no matter what level you are at, you need to take a bit of time (sometimes just 10 minutes is enough, sometimes it is just better to get as much as possible organised the night before) and concentrate on you. When you are certain that you are prepared and ready for the dive to come, you can help others and be more productive.

5. Task Overloading

Many Diving incidents are caused, not by equipment malfunction or bad planning but by creating stress underwater by doing too much all at once.

When we start teaching Technical Diving, one of the main points of the Dive Plan is to set an Objective or a Mission. This is so each member of the team knows what the point of this particular dive is. To do everything you want to achieve may take several dives but you have the time on each dive to do this properly and safely.

For beginners and experienced divers alike, one of the biggest causes of stress we see comes from diving with things like underwater Cameras. Even something as minimal as a GoPro can be too much for divers that aren't used to using them and may be diving with new kit in new environments that could also be challenging for them.

The best tip we can offer anyone who is Scuba Diving is the KISS principle.

Keep It Simple Stupid. 

If you are making changes to your rig, make them gradually or, if you have new equipment or have gone for the complete overhaul of your kit, start off shallow at a dive site with gentle conditions to minimise stress and task loading and panic.


Sunday, 29 May 2016

Scuba Diving Instructor- A day in the life!

Hello fellow scuba divers and welcome back to our blog.

I know, we haven't really shared much in the way of blogs over the winter season but, funnily enough, life has been pretty hectic, even in the "off-season".

We have renovated the new shop, serviced all the Dive Centre equipment; cylinders, BCDs and wings and regulators, so all are looking good and in excellent working condition for you guys when you come to visit.

However, it is time to get back to the nitty gritty and I thought a nice way to start the blog for the Summer Diving Season 2016 would be to give you an insight into the day of a Scuba Diving Instructor at Scuba Tech in Cyprus.

MORNINGS.

We are pretty early risers!

As I am sure you can imagine, the sun comes up pretty early in Cyprus and by 5am, it is shining brightly over Protaras, which means it is beaming in through our open windows, waking us up to another bright sunshiney day.

It is important to have a proper breakfast, since scuba diving uses so much energy and so first thing is first and we fuel up for the morning.

Once we are at the dive centre, the work really begins. Before Divers arrive, we have to check the compressor to make sure it is set for the day, get paperwork organised, answer emails and update Facebook, Twitter and all the other Social Media Portals and ensure all the equipment is dry and back where it is supposed to be, ready for your arrival. The water cooler needs to be switched on, so there is plenty of cold water to hydrate or hot water for teas and coffee.

DIVING

Our day is a cycle of getting paperwork signed, equipment sorted and together, heading out for the dive, diving, coming back to clean and dismantle equipment and re-fill the tanks.

We usually make 2-3 dives a day.

The diving side can be really varied depending on what we are doing and who we are diving with. Sometimes, they are training dives, so we practice dive skills or they may just be fun dives to get out and dive. Wreck diving, shore diving and getting out onto the Zenobia Wreck are just some of the things that we offer.

Sometimes, we may be introducing a diver to the underwater world for the first time and that is a great pleasure. Showing someone our world and seeing the big smiles when they surface, proud of their achievement, is like nothing else!

On occasion, we may also make night dives, so we put our torches on charge, wait until the sun goes down and pull out the Dive centre BBQ, so we can have some dinner before we go.

The great thing about the diving we do here at Scuba Tech, Cyprus, is the variety. We may do the same dive sites over the course of a week or a year but every one is different because they are with different people doing different things.

AFTER DIVING

Once the diving is finished, there is the final task of cleaning up and re-filling the cylinders for the next day of diving. Floors are swept and mopped, tables wiped and equipment locked away to dry overnight.


We have long days that are action packed, so it is no surprise that 9 times out of 10, we will be in bed, fast asleep by 10pm.

Good Night y'all.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Diver Ranking and Attitudes

Whatever we do in life, we all have to start somewhere.

Diving is one of those sports where you can begin at any age. There are 8 year olds that can make their Bubblemaker, right through to 80 year olds trying Scuba Diving for the very first time.

Many of these people then proceed to complete the diver training, buy equipment and dive on a
regular basis. As a general rule, diving instructors and those of us with more dive experience try to help those with less experience with patience, advice and assistance when needed.

So, if we look after these divers as they are learning to dive, why does the attitude change completely when training the next generation of professionals. I am talking about Dive Masters and Dive Masters in training (DMTs).

It seems to be pretty commonplace to treat Dive Masters and DMTs like slaves and general dogs-bodies to be used and abused doing the things that the instructors, office workers, managers etc. don't want to do. Equally, if a piece of equipment is forgotten, a tank isn't quite full or has the wrong mix in it, suddenly there is a scapegoat to blame, even if they aren't trained to fill tanks or mix nitrox.

I have seen instructors yelling at their DMTs because they have asked a question when they should know the answer or missed a point on their dive briefings.

This attitude then passes to the Dive Master who may become an instructor and treat their DMTs in the exact same way, creating a lot of instructors with bad attitudes towards their Dive Masters.

As instructors, it is our responsibility to look after and mentor our Dive Masters so that they are proficient in the water AND able to assist divers with any queries and problems they have. Treating them with respect is just as important as teaching them the physics and skill sets because your attitude will become the accepted standard for them.

Yes, sometimes it is necessary for you to leave them washing the dive equipment while you continue instructing but it isn't an excuse for you to pop off, put your feet up and have a coffee.

Kit washing can be a great opportunity for unofficial debriefings and chats to help you find out where your DMTs are struggling, what they enjoy and who they are. All these things will help you to find the best way to teach them as an individual and help them become the best Dive Master they can be.

Remember, when all is said and done, these divers become a reflection of you and the kind of instructor you are.







Saturday, 23 January 2016

How to dive a drysuit

Too many Cooks spoil the Broth...Many hands make light work

He who hesitates is lost.... Look before you leap

Practice makes Perfect... All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

These are just some examples of how simple everyday advice can conflict and confuse. We learn these proverbs from an early age and if you think about it, each one has another in place to contradict.

In the same vein, there are 2 very contradictory ways that divers are are taught to dive a drysuit.

A drysuit is essentially a sealed bag that we wear when we go scuba diving in colder waters. It prevents water from contacting the majority of our skin and therefore, alongside thermals, keeps us warmer than would a wetsuit.

When we go deeper underwater and the ambient pressure increases, the air inside the drysuit (like in all air spaces) compresses and unless we add air, via an inflator usually found mid chest, the suit begins to squeeze our bodies, becoming uncomfortable.

Equally, as we ascend, the air we have added to the dry suit expands and we have to be able to remove this air to control our ascent. This is usually done via a "dump valve" found on the arm or wrist.

Pretty straight forward I hear you say... where is the confusion? This comes from the way certain divers are taught to use their dry suits.


Many divers are taught that, when using a drysuit, this will become their primary means of buoyancy. This means that, rather than using the BCD or wing, everything is controlled with the drysuit. The premise of this appears to be that one set of buoyancy to control is easier than 2 lots of buoyancy. If something goes wrong and there is an emergency, it is easier to only have to concentrate on one set of buoyancy control and since we have to add air to the drysuit on descent, this is the winner.



However, with that much air in your drysuit, you will find that you get air bubbling out through the seals. Even if you are correctly weighted, you will have this problem and if you are overweighted, you will be bubblier than a glass of Champagne at New Year!

The result is constant re-adjustment of buoyancy as air is lost through the seals. You may also find it extremely uncomfortable, as there is more air moving around inside the suit, which can lead to less control in the water.

It is much more effective to just add enough air to the drysuit to take off the squeeze and then use your BCD to control buoyancy, as you would in a wetsuit. You will find that you should have much more control over your positioning, buoyancy and trim.

If you don't dive a drysuit this way already, give it a try and see the difference.

After all... Actions speak louder than words!


Saturday, 9 January 2016

New Year -New Diving Centre

Happy New Year to all our scuba friends and diving family from around the world.

2016 is finally here and to welcome in the New Year and another year of fun and frolics, we are making some changes in the Dive Centre.

Don't get worried, we will still be offering the same high quality diving for you all but we are making a few changes to the building.

For those that visited us in 2015, you will know that we took on a second shop for storage of our wetsuits, BCDs and DiveLime. Well, we are going one step further and making use of all that extra space.

It's a work in progress...

Step 1- Dive Centre Reception and Shop.



This will be the new reception for our Dive Centre where you will be greeted by our smiling faces and fill out the necessary paperwork for your diving.

You will also find a selection of Diving Equipment for sale including; wetsuits, Miflex Diving Hoses, Shearwater Diving Computers, Regulators, Clips and accessories.



Step 2- Dive Equipment Servicing Workshop


Purely for servicing, this Workshop has put a smile on my face.

I now have plenty of room for my tools and for all your diving equipment that needs that bit of tender loving care.

Space for Regulator Servicing, Cylinder Testing and Computer Battery Changes, this is my own piece of heaven.


Step 3- Cylinder Filling Room



Purely for the Cylinder filling and Gas Mixing, we now have plenty of space for all the tanks in their own room.

Divers that have been to us over the past 6 years will know that this room previously held everything! I kid you not, this little room used to hold all our suits, BCDs, Rebreathers, Cylinders, Lime etc and it was also the Servicing Workshop.

We wonder how everything fit into this room but somehow we managed. Oh, to have a bit of space!

Now, this is a room that will be reserved for Oxygen and Helium, Air and Cylinders... and let's not forget our Haskel Booster that will always be welcome in our Diving Centre.


Step 4- Kit Room

Just behind the new shop, we will store our Rental Diving Equipment with extra space for your diving equipment when you come to visit us.

This room is still under construction but we are hoping to have some nice benches built just around the corner where you see the regulators, where divers will be able to try on their wetsuits and boots in comfort and Luxury.

Plus, we will have a charging station where you will be able to charge phones, tablets, torches and cameras ready for the day of diving ahead!


Step 5- Dedicated Classroom




Upstairs from the new Dive Centre Reception and Kit Room, you will find our new dedicated classroom. This is still under construction at the moment but should be up and running by the end of February.

Some Items are already in place, such as our new classroom table,  but imagine the work surfaces cleared and shelves put up for the educational materials. The White board will be installed plus a monitor for watching the DVDs and running power points etc.

So, it is all very exciting here at Scuba Tech Diving Centre and I hope we will see you later in 2016.