Thursday 27 July 2017

Go Scuba Diving- Do nothing! It is harder than it sounds.

Having a fair few years of Scuba Diving and Diver Training behind me, I am often asked what is the hardest part of Scuba Diving?

diver stops in mid water and does nothing but hang there
Besides putting on a wetsuit, which is usually the part that causes the most problems, I would have to say that the hardest thing to do when scuba diving.... is doing nothing at all!!

How hard can it be to do nothing at all?

Seriously, when you consider the number of divers there are in the world, there are very few that can just stop in the water and hold their position. Even dive professionals can struggle with this pretty basic, fundamental diving skill and you can often see divers swimming in circles on safety stops and resting on the bottom to take photographs.

There are a number of factors that will allow you to perfect this skill including correct weighting, but for the most part it is down to practice.

The more diving you do, the more calm, comfortable and competent you will be in the water. You will develop a relaxed breathing pattern and this is also exceedingly important to good buoyancy control.

GUE diver in good trim with good buoyancy control

You can also consider taking a training course that will help you to develop the Fundamental skills of diving such as the GUE Fundamentals diving course. This was one of the best training courses I have taken in my diving career and I already had 20+ years of diving experience at the time.

This fundamental diving skill, once developed, will help you in other areas of diving such as Technical Diving, Underwater Photography and of course, with problem solving. You can multi task while diving without having to worry about your buoyancy control because that is already "squared away" and you don't even have to really think about it anymore.

So, go Scuba Diving and do nothing!  Give it a try. Can you do it?

Saturday 1 July 2017

Artificial Reefs in Protaras, Cyprus

An Artificial Reef is a man made underwater structure, typically built to promote marine life in areas with a generally featureless bottom in the hope of attracting tourism and enhancing the growth of marine life.

For years, governments around the world, have been purposely sinking outdated or damaged vessels such as ships, cars, tanks, and various other structures i.e nets, concrete blocks, boulders etc.

As part of an ongoing programme to promote dive tourism in Cyprus, the CTO (Cyprus tourist organisation)  and other authorities are purposefully sinking wrecks and artificial reefs which are available for us to dive on.

1.  Nemesis III

The engine blocks and pipes inside the Nemesis III wreck in Protaras, Cyprus
The Nemesis III, in its past life was a bottom trawler ( a fishing boat to you and me) which operated in the Mediterranean and Libyan seas.

It was sunk in 2013. The vessel sits in 24 meters of water just off the Golden Coast, located in Protaras.

Since the boat sank, it has attracted lots of marine life and still continues to grow and develop four years down the line.

It is home to Amberjacks, nudibranchs, Damsels, various types of wrasse, sea bream and Grouper. Rays, Turtles and even Dolphins have been spotted in the vicinity of the wreck!

This is a fantastic wreck to dive, and is definitely one of our favourites here at Scuba Tech.

2. The Liberty 

Diver on the Liberty wreck in Cyprus
The Liberty wreck sits very very close to the Nemesis wreck. This means we can dive both wrecks in one dive depending on how good you are on air, as it takes roughly five minutes to swim between the two.

Like the Nemesis, the Liberty was also purposefully sunk but a few years earlier in 2009.

It is a small Russian Cargo ship and lies in 27 meters of water. The biodiversity on the Liberty has taken slightly longer to develop than the Nemesis, however it really is starting to boom! The wreck is now home to various species such as Anemones, Grouper, Sponges and Nudibranchs to name a few.

3. Artificial Reefs - Golden Coast

The Artificial Reefs in Protaras is the newest structure to promote the growth of fish species and to create a special diving reserve in the area. It comprises of nets, boulders, concrete blocks and piping in order to do so.

Since the reef's formation in 2015, the amount of marine life already in the area is staggering. It is a haven for fish life and hopefully it will continue to grow and develop!

Between each structure, a line has been put in place which makes it very easy to navigate around the site. The Reefs start at 25m and finishes up at 18m. The reefs are very close in proximity to the Nemesis and Liberty wrecks.
The kyrenia wreck in Agia Napa, Cyprus on her sandy bed
4. The Kyrenia - Ayia Napa. 

The Kyrenia is the most recent wreck to be sunk in the Ayia Napa area.

It used to be a motorised patrol boat which, before it sank, used to be equipped with a front mounted machine gun. However this was stripped and cleaned of its guns before the boat went down.

She sits in 24m of water.

5. Lady Thetis and The Costandis 

These two wrecks are located in Limassol, around an hour and a half drive away from Protaras. Nevertheless they are wicked wrecks.

Both lie in a regulated no fishing zone, 200m apart from one another.

The Costandis used to be an old fishing vessel and she sits in 25m of water. This wreck offers a large engine room which is still very much intact and easy to penetrate.

The wreck is home to huge Grouper, shoals of Fish, Amberjack amongst many others.

The Lady Thetis is a retired party boat and was sunk in 2014. She lies in 18m of water.

The boat has three levels offering plenty of exploration, you can even sit at the tables on the upper deck.

Both wrecks are home to lots of marine life and it is still continuing to grow!

What do you think?

Have you dived these artificial reefs that have been sunk by the Cyprus Government to promote scuba diving in the area? What did you think of them?

Do you like the idea of artificial reefs purposefully sunk or do you prefer your wrecks to have gone down naturally?

Join the chat and let us know

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Scuba Diving in Dipkarpaz, Cyprus 2017

Sunday 11 June 2017

Why do I dive a Twinset?

I first tried a twinset in my first year at Scuba Tech when I was a Divemaster Trainee. 

I did a discover twinset dive with my instructor, Peter Crane. I went on to complete my PADI Tec 40 and 45 in the last couple of years, both courses were conducted with a twinset. Since then I haven’t looked back!

Diver using DSMB while in twinset configuration

A twinset is two scuba tanks manifolded together, with an isolator in the middle of the two valves.
The misconception with twinsets is that they are only reserved for technical diving and exploration. This is wrong; anybody can use a twinset with the right training, whether you are recreationally or technically minded in diving.

The two main reasons for using a twinset are...

One, redundancy – having that extra peace of mind and security underwater as you have two tanks instead of one.

Two, to extend your bottom time. Having two tanks is a great way of increasing your gas supply.

My twinset, without a doubt, is my favourite way to dive. 

I love the balance underwater and the stability of two tanks on your back instead of one. When weighted correctly, this is a very comfortable way of diving as well as a simple, streamlined set-up. 

However, they are very heavy, and do take some getting used to at first.

Furthermore, I want to be self sufficient underwater, I know I will never dive solo and that I will always have a buddy there to help me. However, if it ever comes down to a situation when my gas supply is compromised, I want to be able to have control and to be able to rectify the issue.
Diving a twinset can help me do this, as I can manipulate the valves and breathe off independent regulators.

This is what is known as a shut down – a way to close the valves in order to save your back gas in the event of an emergency.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoorIf you do not know how to work the twinset properly and be able to perform these skills and drills, the twinset will only give you false security. It is so important to learn how to dive a twinset properly in order to receive the benefits!

Once you make the decision to dive a twinset, you know you are committed to diving as it is an expensive investment; you now need two of everything! 

I feel it is an excellent transition in my diving career as I grow as a diver as well as a professional. It may be expensive in the short term but it is worth it in the long run! 

A twinset brings comfort, control and flexibility in your diving whether you are in the shallows one day, or conducting a tech dive another. 

Sunday 4 June 2017

Zenobia- Technical Diving and Grouper

The Zenobia wreck in Cyprus is one of the best wrecks to dive in the world.

Sank in 1980, she is coming close to 37 years underwater, lying at a depth of 42m to the seabed.

This video is from Easter when we did a Technical Dive with Norbert. Unfortunately, our camera lady was diving recreationally but it did mean we got some great shots of the grouper that play around the outside.

Friday 26 May 2017

Try Scuba Diving in Cyprus - How to guide

diver with instructor for first try dive in cyprus

We all had to start somewhere with our Scuba Diving adventures and for many people, the biggest difficulty is knowing where to begin.

How can you Try Scuba Diving for the very first time?

The first step when scuba diving is to make sure you are fit and healthy. Now, this doesn't mean that you have to be able to run marathons but there are certain health conditions that would require you to see a doctor before you can take part in scuba diving. You can access a copy of the Medical Questionnaire for diving here.

Secondly, you need to find a reputable Diving Instructor or Dive Centre that will take you and do the experience properly. You can find them through friend recommendations and online reviews.

At Scuba Tech, we are all qualified PADI diving instructors and we do not operate in big groups, so your diving experience will be a maximum of 2 students to each instructor in the water. This guarantees you will have the full attention of the instructor at all times throughout the dive and you can feel safe in the knowledge that your safety and enjoyment is paramount.

What does the Try Dive involve?

The Discover Scuba Dive is a three part experience where someone with absolutely no prior experience or qualifications can see the underwater world first hand.

diving instructor teaching student diving in classroom
Part one will teach you the basic concepts of scuba diving; how our bodies deal with going underwater and how to look after ourselves down there. We also discuss the equipment that we will use and the various controls and also how to communicate with the instructor, since you will not be able to talk down there.

This is just a short briefing but is highly important to make sure you enjoy yourselves.

Part two comes after you have been kitted out with the properly fitted diving equipment and we head down to the local dive site, Green Bay.

During Part 2, you will be in a confined water area of the Bay with swimming pool like conditions. 

Here you get used to breathing underwater and the feeling of weightlessness that you have when scuba diving. You will also practice a number of diving skills that you may or may not need during your dive such as; taking out and replacing the regulator (what you breathe from) and clearing water out of the mask.

beginner diver practices equalising ears in the blue sea

Part three is the actual diving part when you move into Open Water and get to really see what scuba diving is all about.

Your instructor will take you out to Fish Rock to see all the fish that gather in this area. The SeaBream, Damsel Fish and Wrasse will gather around to look at this strange bubble blowing creature in their midst and you will be amazed at the array of colours surrounding you.

fish surround diver as he looks at underwater statues on first dive
If you are comfortable, your instructor may then take you deeper to a maximum of 9 metres, where you will find our very own "Atlantis Statues". These are great for playing and posing on and if you have opted to have our Divemaster come with you to take photos, these provide an amazing photo opportunity.

The depth increase is very gradual and there is always a bottom underneath you, so you only go as deep as you are comfortable going. Your instructor will be there at every step of the way to hold your hand (literally, if needed) and make sure your experience is amazing.


I feel I should warn you though, bubble blowing is addictive and once you start, it is difficult to stop.

Saying that, Scuba Diving is a hobby that you can enjoy for a whole lifetime with so many places to see and so many different branches available. You can dive wrecks or reefs. You may enjoy Underwater Photography or making Underwater Movies.

Diving has something to offer everyone but the first step is to give it a try. Now you know the steps, it is as easy as 1,2,3.

Safe Diving everyone!!

Sunday 14 May 2017


In my first season at Scuba Tech as a Divemaster trainee, I watched my instructor, complete his Tech 1 course with GUE. For those of you that haven’t heard of GUE, it is a diving organisation, and it stands for Global Underwater Explorers. GUE trains its divers to the highest standards in proficiency underwater, and allows divers to be the best they possibly can be under expert instruction. 

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, ocean and outdoorThis is what I saw two years ago, when Rich Walker (Technical Director of GUE and instructor) came to Cyprus. Watching the Tech 1 candidates complete skills and drills whilst completely motionless in the water was something I aspired to be able to do. 

To have that level of control and skill would be awesome. So naturally the first step for me is GUE fundamentals otherwise known as fundies, which provides the foundation for all other courses such as the caving or technical programmes within GUE.

I want to become the best possible diver I can be, in order to be the best instructor I can be. Working as a Divemaster already, this is perhaps my biggest reason for signing up for fundies. I can then apply what I learn to the everyday, when I am in the water with customers. 

Furthermore it also is a new challenge for me.  I never want to stop learning and I want to keep trying new experiences. This will then (hopefully) maximise my competence and confidence underwater.

Image may contain: swimming and outdoorThe course itself, is spread over four days, and has a mixture of classroom and in water practice. It focuses on the fundamental skills of diving including trim and buoyancy, rescue skills, gas management, equipment configuration, decompression theory and nitrox.

Unlike some other courses, GUE fundamentals has various outcomes – Fail, provisional pass, recreational pass, or a technical pass - the highest pass rating. 

The course is programmed to help those advance their basic skills, and to provide divers that have trained with other organisations such as PADI, TDI and BSAC with a gateway into GUE training. 

It is aimed at all levels of diver, for example, I have been diving for 7 years this year, I am a Divemaster and also a tech diver, yet I could be on the course with someone who has just started diving. 

It is designed to “cultivate the essentials skills required by all irrespective of level or environment” It looks at your dive skills and improves them to a much higher level whilst also having lots of fun!

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

                                                                  Bring on October! 

Saturday 6 May 2017

Night Diving on the Nemesis III wreck

Night Diving in Cyprus on the Nemesis III wreck

The Cobra Dive Boat is now coded for evening trips, which means that, for 2017, Scuba Tech Diving Centre are pleased to be able to offer Night Dives on the wrecks.

Below is a video from the first ever night dive done on the wreck with Scuba Tech Diving Cyprus, Mark Robinson and Allister Fraser.

The Footage above was very kindly donated to us by Mark from his GoPro mounted atop a stills camera.

If you would like to book your night diving on the wrecks in Protaras, please do not hesitate to get back in touch with us here at Scuba Tech Diving Cyprus and live the adventure!!

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Sidemount Diving

I recently had the pleasure of completing the PADI Sidemount Diver course with the most marvellous Mr Peter Crane. It was great fun and I was sad when the last dive was finished. This is the opposite of how I felt when trying all the same skills using a twinset!

PADI Sidemount Diver in Profile in Cyprus

Being somewhat short in stature myself (ahem!) - and consequently short of arm – I struggled on a twinset with shutdowns and any other skill that involved reaching behind me and turning the cylinder vales on or off; however, with the sidemount setup it was a breeze!
For those uninitiated in the wonders of multiple cylinder diving, sidemount involves wearing a harness-type BCD and having one, two or more cylinders clipped onto it.

On my first attempt, my expert instructors had got the harness so perfectly fitted and the weights positioned so well that my trim was straight away level in the water, and I was somewhat surprised at how difficult it was initially to tilt myself upwards in order to look at the surface, or other divers just above me.

Also trying to turn round whilst in sidemount takes some manoeuvring at first - a bit like turning a cruise liner – it can be done but it takes time and practice.

Sidemount diver unclips the rear of cylinder for skills practiceI consider the beauty of sidemount diving to be the ability to unclip the rear of each cylinder and swing them around in front of you, thus shrinking your profile in the water, reducing drag and enabling the diver to fit through slim or narrow gaps with ease – perfect for some parts of wrecks, and the caves and swim-throughs on our local shore dives here in Cyprus.
Divers practicing out of air scenarios on Sidemount
Among the other benefits of sidemount was that I had two separate life support systems, so a spare for myself if one system failed, or for a buddy in case of the need to share air.

I learned to swap between cylinders, breathing 30 bar from one regulator then swap to the other in order to minimise the weight imbalance due to air being used from each cylinder.

Entry and exit was easy - walking into and out of the water without any cylinders attached to me was strange but liberating!

All in all a very enlightening experience, and I am currently hunting down my own sidemountsetup (harness, regulators and other toys) so that I can carry on practicing my newly-discovered skills – need to find out just where exactly I am supposed to clip my camera..?
Sidemount diving in cyprus

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Diving in the fast lane

I have recently arrived back in Cyprus at Scuba Tech for my third season working as a Dive master.  After hearing that Pete and Shelley had recently invested in underwater scooters, I was even more excited to get back in the water.

The underwater scooters are made by a manufacturer called SUEX (The Submarine Exploration Company) these scooters are one of the best DPV’s (Diver propulsion vehicles) available and are “at the very cutting edge of underwater mobility”. [1] In the diving community they are very popular for exploring and suit all types of diving.  Knowing this, I was very eager to try them!

Instructor and student on suex scooters in Cyprus
Within a couple of days, I was back in Green Bay for my first dive of the season. The conditions were excellent, the sun was shining and the water looked lovely and clear. It felt very good to be back.

The design of the scooter looks very simple, yet sleek and professional. I was using the SUEX  XJOY 7, a machine with two handles which makes it very easy to manoeuvre and control.  On the right handle is a trigger button, which allows you to control how fast you go. Alongside this, there are two settings; high and low, which alter the speed of the scooter. To attach the scooter to you, there is a long cord with a bolt snap that attaches to the crotch D ring on your harness.

I had used a DPV in the past but it was nothing like the SUEX model. From the moment I first pulled the trigger, I knew I loved it.

You can cover a lot of distance with these machines so I learned it is even more crucial to keep an eye on your buddy and stick together so you don’t get separated. You also go through your air supply a lot quicker without realising, so it is vital you keep checking and be strict with your turn around times!

The dive was around the hour mark, I had my finger on the trigger for more or less the whole time. With a top speed of 55 feet a minute, these machines can go very, very quickly.  It really is diving in the fast lane.

diver using the suex scooter in profile

According to the SUEX website, the scooters have a run time between 60 and 75 minutes. However, having mainly dived the low setting and intermittently diving in the high setting, I managed a run time of two one hour plus dives. Furthermore, in the water, the scooters are neutrally buoyant so it is very easy to stay in trim with a SUEX without having to majorly alter your weight.

diver on SUEX XJoy 7 leaving green bay cyprusAfter having already done one dive, which was fantastic, I wanted to get out again as soon as possible and do another. I went out for an 85 minute dive with Pete and Shelley on the scooters, to one of our dive sites called The Hole. It really was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute! We covered a lot of distance in a short space of time and we saw plenty of marine life including a Ray, Moray Eels and lots and lots of Fish along the way.

As I am also a technical diver, with a full twinset set up, I did wonder how the scooter would fare pulling me along throughout the dive but it presented no problems and I glided through the water effortlessly. The feeling was phenomenal. 

Diving without a scooter is awesome, but diving with one takes scuba diving to a whole new level. 

[1] SUEX company mission-

Saturday 25 March 2017

How can I scuba dive when I need glasses to see

This is a question we get asked all the time here at Scuba Tech Diving Centre, so we wanted to put a mini post out to re-assure all those people who don't see so well without prescription.

So, let me state it right here in the beginning. If you usually wear glasses to help you to see, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be able to go Scuba Diving.

In the first instance, everything appears slightly bigger in the water anyway.

You have probably noticed this when you are in the sea or in a swimming pool. Any part of you that is submerged appears larger than parts that are not and this magnification is a result of refraction.

This means that if you only need a weak prescription for reading things, you may be ok in the water anyway.

However, if you need something a bit stronger, there are still options available for you.

putting in a contact lens

If you usually wear contact lenses, there is no reason to change this. You can still wear your contacts while you are scuba diving but if, for any reason, you do have to take your mask off, keep your eyes closed to stop you from losing them. Also, just remember to let your buddy or guide/instructor know you wear them, just in case!

diving mask with stick on lenses
Another option, which is fairly common and relatively cheap to implement, are the "stick on lenses" that you can buy for the inside of your diving mask.

These are like buying the Cheap Boots reading glasses with incremental prescriptions available. They don't work for everybody but are certainly worth a try.

prescription diving mask for scuba diving

Finally, there is also the possibility to buy a prescription mask. Not every mask is suitable for prescription and they can be quite expensive, so it is important to make sure that the mask fits you properly before investing in having the prescription lenses fitted. You might be able to focus through the lenses but if you cannot see because the mask is continuously filling up, you haven't really solved the problem.

So, there are a number of options out there for those of us who wear glasses. As with everything in Scuba Diving, there is no "one size fits all" answer and what works for one may not work for others. I know divers that have used all of the above options with great success but the bottom line is...

You can still go Scuba Diving, even if you wear glasses

Sunday 5 March 2017

Plastic Pollution- A Diver's Concern

It isn't a new problem. This is something that has been causing concern for many years now however, recently, it has started to make its way into the spotlight once again.

Some of you may remember a few years ago, we wrote a blog regarding a project that was being developed to help clean the garbage out of our Oceans and while this is a great initiative and we have to clean up the mess we have created, we also have to stop putting that rubbish there in the first place. 
It is a scary fact that plastic waste in the Pacific covers an area of almost 15 million Kilometres squared (that is not far off the size of Russia).

An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the oceans every year and this plastic pollution is adversely affecting all kinds of wildlife, their homes and habitats.

Approximately 1 in 3 species of marine mammals have been found trapped and entangled in marine litter while fish in the North Pacific are believed to ingest between 12 and 24 thousand tonnes of plastic every year.

Of course, if the fish are ingesting it, the plastic will make its way up the food chain and it finds itself in humans too. We are at the top! This is our problem and we all need to find a way to start reducing our dependencies on plastic.

Here are 5 simple, everyday things you can do personally to help reduce plastic in our oceans

1. Buy Re-useable Bags

There is a reason the world is moving away from plastic bags for our shopping. These bags have a working life of around 15 minutes but can take a whopping 1000 years to degrade.

More than 1 million plastic bags are being used every minute.

Most shops will now offer a "Bag for Life" usually made from materials other than plastic, which can be re-used over and over again and are much more environmentally friendly.

2. Say No to Straws

Again, straws are one of those items that are so popular and yet so unnecessary. If you cannot drink from the glass, consider investing in a reusable stainless steel or glass straw. These single use, trow away unessential items are a massive contributor to plastic pollution.

3. Invest in a Re-Usable Cup

If, like me, you cannot survive without your morning coffee but often have to drink it on the go or if you are a frequent visitor to coffee shops like Costa or Starbucks, have a think about buying your own refillable cup to help reduce waste.

Also, if you are always buying bottles of juice,  water or pop to carry around with you on the go, a refillable stainless steel bottle will reduce plastic waste whilst keeping your drink cool. Win Win.

4. Ditch the Disposable

Whether you are talking about your cutlery, plates, razors or lighters and everything in between, disposable is not a good adjective.

We have become a throw away society with so many things that could be reused being discarded for convenience. Hole in your sock? Throw it away. In years gone by, it would have been stitched and lasted another 10 years.

Ok, maybe an exaggeration but the point remains. Where once it was worth mending, fixing and revamping, these days it seems to be easier to just replace. Think about the long term consequences and the next time you throw something away because it is "just as cheap to buy a new one", consider where it will end up and what that can mean for the environment, the wildlife, you and your family and friends.

Is it still not worth repairing?


In this day and age, this should really be a given but if you do have to use plastic (and most of us do, it is everywhere and in practically everything) pay some attention to what you do with it when finished.

Most items can be recycled these days and most countries have some means of recycling your plastic, cardboard and glass, at a minimum. If the council doesn't offer special recycling pick ups with your refuse collection then make the effort to find out where you nearest recycling point is and take your waste there.

If we cannot eliminate it, we can at least re-use it and reduce the amount of new plastics that are being produced.

I recently read an Ancient Indian Proverb that I think fits very well here and is certainly worth bearing in mind.

We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors. We Borrow it from our Children

Saturday 18 February 2017

Wreck Diving on the Zenobia withTechnical Lucy

Diving the Zenobia wreck with Divemaster Lucy

Towards the end of the summer diving seaon 2016, our PADI Divemaster, Lucy worked very hard to achieve her Technical Diving certifications. 

Having completed PADI Tec40 and PADI Tec45, we took her on the world famous wreck of the Zenobia in Larnaca to have a bit of fun and explore.

90 minutes later with a max depth of 42m, we finally re-emerged. This is part 1 and the diving adventure will definitely be continued...

Sunday 5 February 2017

My Diving transition

As an active Divemaster working in Cyprus for most of the year, it’s fair to say I’m very comfortable with warm seas, stunning visibility and balmy sunshine all year round. It doesn’t get much better than that!

However, when the season comes to an end and I go back home for winter, the conditions are quite the opposite!

Diver scuba diving in warm water wearing a wetsuit

I returned back to England, mid-November! 

My last dive in Cyprus was a lovely 73 minutes at 22 degrees, so I knew when I came to dive back home (to water less than 10 degrees) I would get a massive shock to the system.

In the time that I’m home, I like to dive as much as I possibly can in order to stay active and keep my skills fresh. There is no way I could spend five months dry, so I need to be able to adjust and I knew the transition would be challenging.  

I was so excited to get back in the water. I had learnt to dive initially in the UK in a quarry called Stoney Cove and before I worked in Cyprus, I used to dive in cold water all the time, so it was nothing I hadn’t experienced before. 

The majority of the equipment I use in Cyprus is exactly the same as I would use in the UK so there is no change there. This makes the transition a lot easier!

scuba diver in cold waters wearing a drysuit

Having the right equipment is vital for diving in the UK. It is essential to use regulators designed for cold water, and that have been environmentally sealed.The amount of people I have seen since coming home that have had free flows due to inappropriate regulators or poorly maintained equipment is ridiculous. 

Furthermore, having a well fitted dry suit, with the correct thermal protection is also very important for cold water diving.It makes all the difference. I must say it did feel extremely strange going back in to a dry suit after wearing a 5mm wetsuit (and even a shortie) for the past 7 months!

My first dive was somewhat of a shock, I knew it would be cold, but I hadn’t anticipated it being that cold. 

One tip I have picked up, is to jump in to the water without a mask on. This helps your body adjust to the cold water that little bit easier. Also if you get a bit of water in your mask during the dive, the cold water won’t be as much of a shock. It sounds crazy I know, but it works. Although the first time I did this, the exposure to the cold set both my heart and breathing rate racing. This is a physiological reaction called the mammalian diving reflex, which is normal when exposed to cold water. Give it a couple of minutes, it will pass and your breathing and heart rate will slow back down.

Check out these quick tips for scuba diving anywhere.

Inland quarry for scuba divers and diver training

I dove to 22m for 45 minutes. The water temperature was five degrees and the visibility was less than 10m. After that length of time, I began to get quite cold, and it was time to get out. The outside temperature at that time was below freezing. However, the dives were fantastic! There is something about diving in the UK that I will always love, but it’s definitely not what I’m used to anymore.

I work and dive in warm waters. When I tell people I dive in cold water in a quarry in the middle of winter, sometimes they think I’m crazy. I often question it myself when I’m sat in the Stoney Cove car park at 6am on a January morning! But with the proper and appropriate equipment, cold water diving is just as comfortable as warm water diving and equally as fun!

Diving in the UK isn’t for everyone, it is cold and dark with sometimes limited visibility, nothing like diving in tropical warm waters, but I think that is one of the appeals of it. 

Sunday 22 January 2017

Scuba Diving from a Boat- 4 Tips to make boat diving easier

scuba divers diving from a hard boat in ProtarasMost of the scuba diving here in Protaras, Cyprus, is done from land but with the Zenobia wreck just down the road and the new wrecks and reefs being sunk, there are more and more opportunities to go Boat Diving.

Whether you are diving from a RIB or from a Hard Boat, here are 4 tips that will help you to enjoy your Boat Diving fully.

1. Arrive at the Harbour and/or Dive Centre Early.

Don't let that person that turns up late, keeping a whole boat full of people waiting, be you!

Getting to the Dive Centre early gives you ample time to fill in any paperwork you may need to do and sort out your equipment ready for the dive. 

There is nothing worse than having to rush to gather your diving equipment or assembling it too fast. This is usually where mistakes happen and things get forgotten. Make sure you can take your time and get it right!

Equally, arriving early at the Harbour will allow you to take your time loading the gear onto the boat and means that hopefully, you won't arrive at the Dive Site, which has taken 30 minutes to sail to, while your weights are still sitting patiently on the Harbour wall!

2. Be Aware of Limited Space on a Boat

Lots of divers on a busy dive boatIt is pretty self explanatory but when you are on  a dive boat, there is only a certain amount of space for all the divers and a whole heap of diving equipment.

On Larger Boats, we usually try to keep all our dive equipment in a dive bag or box, so it all stays together and doesn't impinge on the space of our fellow divers.

On a RIB, this is not quite so easy and protocol can vary, so listen to your dive guide and/or skipper and they will let you know how best to arrange your gear to optimise space and minimise gear getting lost.

3. Remember your Non-Diving Essentials

If you are simply heading out for a single dive on a RIB, chances are your Diving Equipment will already be set up, you will be wearing your wetsuit/drysuit already and you don't have to worry  about too much else other than fins, masks, weights and dive computers.

However, if you are on a hard boat for a full day excursion, you may also need to consider those things that you will need  when you are not in the water.

diver on a dive boat in his warm dry clothesWhen there is no dry area on the boat, you may wish to consider bringing your own dry bag to keep warm clothes (or just dry clothes) in. This also comes in handy for your mobile phone or tablet to prevent water damage.

Other items that could be invaluable are: 

Water for hydration, which is so important when scuba diving, particularly in warmer climes like here in Cyprus.

Snacks to keep you going, especially if the boat doesn't provide food for you and you are making multiple dives. Scuba Diving uses a lot more calories than you might think!

Of course, there is that all important Sun Cream, which will help prevent the most common injury amongst divers: Sunburn.

Even if it is an overcast day, you will want to either cover up or slather on the sun cream (preferably one that is Marine Friendly).

Finally, a little cash for snacks, drinks and tips is often useful.

4. Listen to the Dive/Boat Briefing

Even if you have heard briefings like them a thousand times before, always pay attention to the brief that your dive guide and/or Boat Skipper gives when you get on the boat.

Local rules and regulations and individual boat protocols can be different from boat to boat all over the world, so show some courtesy and listen to what you are being told, it makes life easier for the crew, for the dive guides, other divers and of course, for you too.

There is nothing too tricky about diving from a boat but, as with all kinds of Scuba Diving, having a little time to prepare and paying attention to the procedures used each time will mean you can sail through those Boat Dives.