Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Don’t Succumb to the Dreadful Depths- Follow These Three Cave Diving Safety Tips!

You have been scuba diving on open water for almost a year now. Having passed and acquired all the necessary certifications, you’re now ready to try something more advanced.

Cave diving can be an exciting new frontier you can explore. However, it’s not without risks. Implementing the safety tips we have listed below makes for a more enjoyable dive:

  • Keep a continuous guideline to the surface
One of the dangers of cave exploration is running low on air. Remember, underwater caverns aren’t always spacious. Some are the exact opposite. Narrow maze-like tunnels can leave divers confused. To make matters worse, those who aren’t trained in precise buoyancy control or proper cave propulsion might leave a silt train behind. This reduces visibility, making it more difficult to find one’s way back.

Having a continuous guideline to the surface is crucial. It ensures that the diver can easily get back to land before he or she runs out of oxygen.

  • Don’t go too deep
Diving past the depth of 130 feet makes a person more susceptible to nitrogen narcosis. This is an altered mental state that results from breathing oxygen at a high partial pressure.

In addition to depth, the oxygen toxicity in the water can also be a factor for causing nitrogen narcosis.

If you’re trained as a recreational diver, its best to stick within the prescribed limits indicated during your training.

  • Bring plenty of light
Caves are generally dark and diving lights may falter. If yours fails and you don’t have a backup, you’ll end up being helpless. It will be extremely difficult to find the guideline you’ll use for a safe exit.

Have at least two extra diving lights when exploring overhead environments. This will ensure safety and peace of mind.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Four Great Spots for Scuba Diving in “The Last Frontier”

To those with a thirst for adventure, Alaska is paradise. A vast and uninhibited wilderness dominates the 49th state. Even major cities like Anchorage and Juneau are dwarfed by the natural wonders found in this winter destination.

There are a number of ways to explore the Alaskan wilds. One can go hiking in Denali National Park or join a boat tour to explore Tracy Arm Fjord. Scuba diving is also another popular recreation option in the region.

Yes, you read it right. This American state has got great variety when it comes to diving sites. Want to take the plunge in The Last Frontier? Check out our list of the best spots for underwater exploration here:

  • Lady of the Lake (Fairbanks)
The “Lady of the Lake” is what remains of a WB-29 from Eielson Air Force Base. This weather reconnaissance aircraft in a gravel pit filled with water just off Transmitter Road. The B-29s have since been replaced with the larger B-50s in 1957. Nonetheless, this submerged vessel is still worth exploring.

  • Kayaker’s Cove (Seward)
Another terrific dive spot, Kayaker’s Cove lies a bit further away from Seward. To reach it, you’ll need a boat. You’ll find big rocks with plenty of kelp underneath; where fish congregate. Other great diving sites are just a short ride from the cove. These include Shark Tooth, the Fox Island wreck, and Mary’s Rock.

  • Ann Coleman (Juneau)
This spot features deep and sheer walls filled with crevices. Local octopus hangs out in these cracks, as well as varied rockfish and sculpin. Ledges can be found at 70 and 90 feet. Water temperature is usually at 38 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.

  • Birch Lake (Big Delta)

This fresh water dive site is famous as the location for the television series “Ice Road Truckers”. Divers here can reach the maximum depth of 35 feet.

fr. www.runtrails.com

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sunreef Diving, Mooloolaba Launches Swimming with Humpback Whales

SUNREEF Mooloolaba has launched an Australian first – the opportunity to swim with the captivating humpback whales. Australians have long had a love affair with these gentle giants and now people have the opportunity to see them from a very different perspective on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Sunreef Whale Encounter Supervisor, Dan Hart – a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer – said Sunreef was excited to be offering this great experience.

“I swam with humpback whales in Tonga and it is something very special. It’s a life changing experience – it’s indescribable.”

“It gives you such a sense of these amazing creatures and we are excited to be able to offer it to everyone.”

Dan said the swimming with whales experience was operated under a strict Code of Conduct to protect both the whales and the participants.
Participants who take part in a swim with the humpback whales experience can expect a three-hour round trip with a maximum of 20 participants taken on each trip. 2 spots are made available on every trip for the Sunshine Coast University to conduct their studies into the conservation of whales.

Dan said Sunreef provide a full briefing on what to expect and safety procedures as well as providing all required wetsuit and snorkeling equipment.

Once a whale is sighted, the boat will be put into neutral 100m or more away from the whale, and if the conditions are determined as safe by our trained crew, the boat will be turned off and swimmers will be allowed into the water holding on to the floating line attached to the boat.

“Then it’s all up to the whale – it is a natural experience and it is 100% on the whale’s own terms,” Dan said.

“Whales are known as curious creatures so they may come over towards us or they may just swim past or away. Either way, it’s an experience you will never forget.
“In our experience, the whales seem as intrigued by us as we are of them and often come close to swimmers, gliding effortlessly around us, with such a gentleness that it’s like they recognise our fragility in comparison and know we are there out of wonder and respect,” Dan said.

“Our first Swim with the Whales experience commenced on the 6th of July and we will continue to offer them throughout the season,” Dan said.

Dan said that every day is different on the water, and every encounter is unique.

Sunreef have access to a spotter plane to increase the likelihood of participants whale encounter. If however, the boat does not see a whale during a tour, guests will be offered the opportunity to rebook at a 50% discount.

Sunreef is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre and offer accredited PADI dive courses for all levels of divers as well as local reef dives in the Sunshine Coast region including the ex-HMAS Brisbane. They also offer international dive trips and travel as well as dive equipment sales and servicing.
The whale swimming and watching operations work out of Mooloolaba at the heart of Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast.

It takes about 10 minutes from the Sunreef dock to get out on the beautiful waters off the Coast, which are at their best during the winter months when the whales migrate. Water temperatures during this time range from 17 to 23 degrees C and visibility is regularly up to 30 metres.

Sunreef Scuba Diving Services, based in Mooloolaba is the longest established dive centre on the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) with roots starting back in 1976.

Images and reference: http://www.padi.com/blog/2014/07/28/sunreef-diving-services-mooloolaba-launches-swimming-with-humpback-whales/

Thursday, July 31, 2014

How To Avoid Mask Fogging

Fogging is the bane of every diver. Since the scuba mask is your porthole into the underwater world, fogging ruins the trip by reducing or blocking your view. A wise diver will take the necessary steps to prevent fogging from occurring in the first place; but, should it occur during a dive, there is only one action that will remedy the problem.

Clean Any New Mask
Brand new diving masks are usually covered with a film of oil, which is meant to preserve the plastic or rubber parts while the mask sits on a store or warehouse shelf. This oil will fog the mask heavily unless it is removed, but harsh detergents must not be used to clean the mask, since these will probably scratch the scuba mask's lens(es). Soft scrub soap and toothpaste are often used to remove this oil, but the mask's manufacturer may also have suggestions.

Spit in the Mask
Common spittle is a defogging agent used by divers around the world. Spit inside the mask, rub the saliva or saliva plus mucous around the lens and nose piece, and then rinse the mask out with sea water. This simple, free method works for ordinary fogging problems.

Avoid Sunscreen
Sunscreen is an oily substance, and its presence on the nose and around the eyes will cause a scuba mask to fog. A diver should rinse off any sunscreen applied to her face before putting the mask on, and better still rely on a sunhat instead of sunscreen to protect her face from sunburn, to avoid this problem.

Use a Defogging Agent
Some dive conditions produce serious fogging problems, such as sharp changes in water temperature. Also, some divers simply insist on working on their tan on the dive boat and wear sunscreen, even though sunscreen causes fog. To counter these problems, apply a scuba mask defogging agent to the mask interior, but do not rinse it afterward. Bottles of this cleaning solution are available in any dive shop or online. Some divers recommend using car windshield cleaning agent as a cheaper substitute, although this may be harsher than scuba mask defogging agent. Others endorse bringing along a potato and rubbing the starchy liquid from a slice of potato inside the mask and then rinsing it. (Strange as it may sound, I know from experience the latter methodology works quite well.)

Flood the Mask
A diver who is already on a dive and has a problem with fogging has only one remedy, namely to flood his mask. A diver should open a crack at the top of the mask by pulling that part slightly away from the face, and allow the mask to fill with seawater. Then the diver purges the mask as taught in basic dive certification, by tilting the bottom of the mask upwards and exhaling through the nose. The air forces the water out of the mask, and the water rinses away the fog.

Reference: http://www.ehow.com/list_6659621_scuba-mask-fogging-tips.html

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Scuba Diving Tutorials: What are the Essentials of Technical Diving?

Ready to plunge into the world of technical diving?

To get you started, here's a video on the essentials of technical diving.

Courtesy of Hossam el-Hamalawy