Wednesday, February 23, 2011

10 Things to Check Before Your Next Dive Trip

Diver under the Salt Pier in Bonaire.Image via Wikipedia

Here are the Top Ten Things to Ask Your Dive Company Before You Book Your Trip with Them.

Remember the difference in price is often the difference in quality.

1. Is your dive equipment serviced by trained and certified technicians?

This may seem obvious, but worth checking. Make sure the servicing is performed as per the manufacturers’ recommendations. Common mistakes include reusing consumable items, trying to service the equipment without the proper training and leaving it too long between servicing.

2. Are they a member of a reputable and recognized training organization?

There are too many too mention here but the most common ones are SSI, PADI, CMAS, BSAC, TDI/SDI. This is important too ensure that they are kept up to date with the latest in training and procedures in case anything does go wrong.

3. How Many People are Diving at Once?

To truly enjoy your dive experience it is best to keep the numbers in the group as small as your can. This also reduces any impact that you may have on the environment, such as scaring away fish and stirring up the bottom.

4. What is the Ratio from Instructor to Student or Guide to Diver?

There are regulations covering the first point so numbers will vary under that amount, but it is best to ask before you go so you are not shocked. If you want a smaller group you may have to pay for it. Smaller amount of divers per guide allows for a much smoother and personal dive, allowing the dive to be tailored for what you expect to see on the dive.

5. Are they a member of a relevant local dive organization?

Like point 2 above this ensures that you have a operator that is involved and up to date with the latest guidelines or safety procedures for that region.

6. Do they support local or global efforts in conservation or research?

This gives you a great indication on the attitude of the dive company and makes sure you get great dive karma. Sustaining the marine environment shows the company is interested in the longevity of the local or global ecosystem and is doing their bit to contribute.

7. Do you have travel or dive insurance that gives you the coverage you need?

This will include all sorts of things that may happen that can throw your dive trip into disarray. These may include an illness, illness of a relative, travel agent or operator going bankrupt, weather related cancellations, flight cancellations.

8. What is the cancellation policy of the dive company?

Do they give full refunds for weather or other cancellations? Do they have an immediate no refund policy for cancellations or are they flexible?

9. Are the owners or managers going on their own trips?

Quality control to make sure that you have a great experience is often done with management teams that have a more hands on approach. By taking the time to experience the trip and meet the guests shows that they are going the extra mile to make sure you have the best experience possible.

10. How far is the boat/resort really away from the hotel?

Often people follow the old “we’re just 10 minutes away” story. Use Google Maps or other technologies to get a true picture of where you are in relation to the boat. Better still see if they can arrange transport for you to arrive at the boat on time and not have to lug dive gear around.

Thanks to New Horizon

Kathy Dowsett
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Cave diving venues

Sediment off the Yucatan Peninsula.Image via Wikipedia

Grand Bahama Island

The caves and caverns of Grand Bahama, contain an immense underwater cavern, with a vast, flooded, labyrinth of caverns, caves and submerged tunnels that honeycomb the entire island of Grand Bahama and the surrounding sea bed. The inland caves are not abundant with life, but do contain creatures living in the caves, other than the migrating gray snappers. Residents of these caves include a type of blind cave fish, and remipedia that don't pose any threat to cave divers.

The caves in the Bahamas were formed during the last ice age. With much of the Earth's water held in the form of glacial ice, the sea level fell hundreds of feet, leaving most of the Bahama banks, which are now covered in water, high and dry. Rain falling on the most porous limestone, slowly filtered down to sea level forming a lens where it contacted the denser salt water of the ocean permeating the spongy lime stone. The water at the interface, was acidic enough to dissolve away the limestone and form the caves. Then, as more ice formed and the sea level dropped even further, the caves became dry and rainwater dripping through the ceiling, over thousands of years, created the incredible crystal forests of stalagmites which now decorate the caves. Finally, when the ice melted and the sea level rose, the caves were reclaimed by the sea.

Central and Northern Florida, U.S.

The largest and most active cave diving community in the United States is in north-central Florida. The North Floridan Aquifer expels groundwater through numerous first-magnitude springs, each providing an entrance to the aquifer's labyrinthine cave system. These high-flow springs have resulted in Florida cave divers developing special techniques for exploring them, since some have such strong currents that it is impossible to swim against them.

The longest known underwater cave system in the USA, The Leon Sinks cave system, near Tallahassee, Florida, has multiple interconnected sinks and springs spanning two counties (Leon & Wakulla).[7] One main resurgence of the system, Wakulla Springs, is explored exclusively by a very successful and pioneering project called the Woodville Karst Plain Project (WKPP), although other individuals and groups like the US Deep Cave Diving Team, have explored portions of Wakulla Springs in the past.

One of the deepest known underwater caves in the USA is Weeki Wachee Spring. Due to its strong outflow, divers have had limited success penetrating this first magnitude spring until 2007, when drought conditions eased the out-flowing water allowing team divers from Karst Underwater Research to penetrate to depths of 400 ft (120 m)[8]

The Florida caves are formed from geologically young limestone with moderate porosity. The absence of speleothem decorations which can only form in air filled caves, indicates that the flooded Florida caves have a single genetic phase origin, having remained water filled even during past low sea levels. In plan form, the caves are relatively linear with a limited number of side passages allowing for most of the guidelines to be simple paths with few permanent tees. It is common practice for cave divers in Florida to joint a main line with a secondary line using a jump reel when exploring side passages, in order to maintain a continuous guideline to the surface.

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

While there is great potential for cave diving in the continental karst throughout Mexico, the vast majority of cave diving in Mexico occurs in the Yucatán Peninsula. While there are thousands of deep pit cenotes throughout the Yucatán Peninsula including in the states of Yucatán and Campeche, the extensive sub-horizontal flooded cave networks for which the peninsula is known are essentially limited to a 10 km wide strip of the Caribbean coastline in the state of Quintana Roo extending south from Cancun to the Tulum Municipality and the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, although some short segments of underwater cave have been explored on the north-west coast (Yucatán State).

In the Yucatán Peninsula, any surface opening where groundwater can be reached is called cenote, which is a Spanish form of the Maya word d’zonot. The cave systems formed as normal caves underwater, but upper sections drained becoming air filled during past low sea levels. During this vadose, or air filled state, abundant speleothem deposits formed. The caves and the vadose speleothem were subsequently reflooded and became hydraulically reactivated as rising sea levels also raised the water table. These caves are therefore polygenetic, having experienced more than one cycle of formation below the water table. Polygenetic coastal cave systems with underwater speleothem are globally common, with notable examples being on the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca) of Spain, the islands of the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cuba, and many more.

As with all cave speleothems, the underwater speleothems in the Yucatán Peninsula are fragile. If a diver accidentally breaks off a stalactite from the ceiling or other speleothem formation, it will not reform as long as the cave is underwater so active cave conservation diving techniques are paramount.

In plan form, the Quintana Roo caves are extremely complex with anastomotic interconnected passages. When cave diving through the caves, the pathways then appear to have many offshoots and junctions, requiring careful navigation with permanent tees or the implementation of jumps in the guideline.

The beginning of the 1980s brought the first cave divers from the U.S. to the Yucatán Peninsula, Quintana Roo to explore cenotes such as Carwash, Naharon and Maya Blue, but also to central Mexico where resurgence rivers such as Rio Mante, sinkholes such as Zacaton were documented.

In the Yucatán, the 1980s ended with the discoveries of the Dos Ojos and Nohoch Nah Chich cave systems which lead into a long ongoing competition of which exploration team had the longest underwater cave system in the world at the time, with both teams vying for first place.

The beginning of the 1990s led into the discovery of underwater caves such as Aereolito on the island of Cozumel, ultimately leading to the 5th biggest underwater cave in the world.

By the mid 1990s a push into the central Yucatán Peninsula by dedicated deep cave explorers discovered a large number of deep sinkholes, or pit cenotes, such as Sabak Ha, Utzil and deep caves such as Chacdzinikche, Dzibilchaltun, Karkirixche that have been explored and mapped. To this day these deep caves of the central Yucatán remain largely unexplored due to the sheer number of cenotes found in the State of Yucatán, as well as the depth involved that can be only tackled using technical diving techniques or rebreathers. In the end of the last millennium closed circuit rebreather (CCR) cave diving techniques were employed in order to explore these deep water filled caves.

By the end of the 1990s, "The Pit" in the Dos Ojos cave system located 5.8 km from the Caribbean coast had been discovered, and it is presently (2008) 119 m deep. At that time, technical diving and rebreather equipment and techniques became common place.

By the turn of the millennium the longest underwater cave system at that time, Ox Bel Ha was established by cave diving explorers whose combined efforts and information helped join segments of previously explored caves. The use of hand held GPS technology and aerial and satellite images for reconnaissance during exploration became common. New technology such as rebreathers and diver propulsion vehicles (DPVs) became available and were utilized for longer penetration dives. As of October 2010, Ox Bel Ha includes 182 km of underwater passage (See QRSS for current statistics).

Active exploration continues in the new millennium. Most cave diving exploration is now conducted on the basis of "mini projects" lasting 1 – 7 days, and occurring many times a year, and these may include daily commutes from home to jungle dive base camps located within 1 hour from road access.

Starting in 2006 a number of large previously explored and mapped cave systems have been connected utilizing sidemount cave diving techniques and many times no-mount cave diving techniques in order to pass through these tight cave passages, creating the largest connected underwater cave system on the planet, Sac Actun, which presently has a length extent of 215 km (See QRSS for current statistics).

Many cave maps have been published by the Quintana Roo Speleological Survey (QRSS).

United Kingdom

UK requirements are generally that all people wishing to take up cave diving must be competent cavers before they start cave diving. This is primarily because most British cave dives are at the far end of dry caves. There are individuals that begin cave diving directly from the recreational diving, but they represent a minority in the UK, and represent only a few percent of the Cave Diving Group (CDG).

Australian cave diving and the CDAA

Australia has many spectacular water filled caves and sinkholes, but unlike the UK, most Australian cave divers come from a general ocean-diving background. The "air-clear" water of the sinkholes and caves can be found in the Mount Gambier area of south-eastern Australia. The first cave and sinkhole dives here took place in the very late 1950s, and until the mid 1980s divers generally used single diving cylinders and homemade torches, and reels, resulting in most of their explorations being limited.

A series of tragedies between 1969 and 1973 in which 11 divers drowned (including a triple and a quadruple fatality) in just four karst features - "Kilsbys Hole", "Piccaninnie Ponds", "Death Cave" and "The Shaft" - created much public comment and led to the formation of the Cave Divers Association of Australia (CDAA) Inc. in September 1973. As a consequence of the CDAA's assessment programs, divers are rated at various levels, and today they comprise Deep Cavern, Cave, and Advanced Cave.

During the 1980s the Nullarbor Plain was recognized as a major cave-diving area, with one cave, Cocklebiddy, being explored for more than 6 kilometers, involving the use of large sleds to which were attached numerous diving cylinders and other paraphernalia, and which were then laboriously pushed through the cave by the divers. In more recent years divers have been utilizing compact diver-towing powered scooters, but the dive is still technically extremely challenging. A number of other very significant caves have also been discovered during the past 10 years or so; the 10+ (Lineal) kilometre long Tank Cave near Mount Gambier, other very large features on the Nullarbor and adjacent Roe Plain as well as a number of specific sites elsewhere, and nowadays the cave diving community utilizes many techniques, equipment and standards from the U.S. and elsewhere.

The CDAA is one of a number of organisations responsible for the administration of cave diving certification in Australia. Mixed-gas and rebreather technologies can now be used in many sites. All cave diving in the Mount Gambier area as well as at some New South Wales sites and the Nullarbor requires divers to be members of the CDAA, whether in the capacity of a visitor or a trained and assessed member.


In Brazil there is cavern diving in Chapada da Diamantina, in Bahia state; Bonito, in Mato Grosso do Sul state; and Mariana, where there is also cave diving (visiting Mina da Passagem), in Minas Gerais state.

To dive in public parks, for example those in Bonito, one must be adequately certified by an agency recognized by IBAMA - Instituto Brasileiro de Administração do Meio Ambiente, a federal organ. For cave diving in Mariana a cave diver certification will be required.

Sardinia Italy

In the north west of Sardinia, close to Porto Conte bay, Alghero territory, there is the most important cave diving site in the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to the huge limestone cliffs of Capo Caccia and Punta Giglio there are more than 300 caves above and below water, with about 30 large, and many smaller, underwater sea caves. The Nereo Cave is the most important and it is considered also the largest in the Mediterranean Sea. On the east side of Sardinia there are many underwater cave systems starting from the Gennargentu Mountains, with underwater rivers which arrive at the sea by different, lengthy routes. Here one of the deepest fresh water caves exits at more than 110 m (360 ft) depth.

Thanks to Wikipedia

Kathy Dowsett
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Monday, February 21, 2011


Anybody seen Santum yet? Add your comments below!!!

Plot Summary:
The 3D action-thriller "Sanctum," from executive producer James Cameron, follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a tropical storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, deadly terrain and creeping panic as they search for an unknown escape route to the sea.

Master diver Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) has explored the South Pacific's Esa-ala Caves for months. But when his exit is cut off in a flash flood, Frank's team--including 17-year-old son Josh (Rhys Wakefield) and financier Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd)--are forced to radically alter plans. With dwindling supplies, the crew must navigate an underwater labyrinth to make it out. Soon, they are confronted with the unavoidable question: Can they survive, or will they be trapped forever?

Shot on location off the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, "Sanctum" employs 3D photography techniques Cameron developed to lens "Avatar." Designed to operate in extreme environments, the technology used to shoot the action-thriller will bring audiences on a breathless journey across plunging cliffs and into the furthest reaches of our subterranean world.

Sanctum Clip
Uploaded by teasertrailer. - Full seasons and entire episodes online.

Kathy Dowsett

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Best Scuba Diving Spots In The World

Manta Ray off Ishigaki Island in September of ...Image via Wikipedia

Once you've become a certified scuba diver, you'll want to visit one of the best scuba diving spots in the world. Travel to these unbelievable ocean escapes to see wrecked ships, go into deep caves or view vast coral reefs. Whatever adventure you are looking for, you will find them in these hot spots. Go around the world and see these awesome scuba diving sites in Africa, Egypt and even off an island in Hawaii.

1. The Yongala - Australia. If you love history and shipwrecks, then this is the best scuba diving spot in the world for you. The Yongala was a ship that sank in 1911 in Queensland. It's now a myopia of marine life like manta rays, sea snakes, octopuses, turtles, bull sharks, tiger sharks, and clouds of fish. Diving into the shipwreck however is off limits.

2. Blue Corner Wall - Palau, Micronesia. Wall diving is unique sport of scuba diving to where you use reef hooks to sustain your body to view the marine life around you. Here you will see a plehtora of barracudas, sharks, killer whales and large turtles.

3. Barracuda Point - Sipidan Island. If the idea hundreds of barracudas schooling around you excites you, this is where you need to go. This scuba diving spot is a barracuda haven along with leopard sharks and hammerheads.

4. Thistlethorn - Egyptian Red Sea. A British ship "Thistlethorn" sunk here in 1941. The ship is in great condition for wreck diving as it was filled with a cargo of war supplies: rifles, motor bikes, train carriages and trucks. It will take more than one day to see all the artifacts this sunken vessel has to offer.
5. Shark and Yolanda Reef - Egyptian Red Sea. This spectacular scuba diving spot offers three unique visuals. First a huge numbers of anemone; a shark reef, and finally the shipwreck "Yolanda."

6. Navy Pier - Western Australia. Considered one of the best shore dives on the planet, you'll find octopus, sting rays, white tip sharks, eels and humpback whales. You don't have to go deep into the ocean to get a great taste of aquatic life.

7. Manta Ray Night Dive - Kailua Kona, Hawaii. An unusual diving spot as underwater lights are placed on the ocean floor. At night the lights attract plankton which in turn attract manta rays.

8. Big Brother - Egyptian Red Sea. In this scuba diving spot, you'll find shipwreck the "Italian Aida II." This is considered a world class dive so you'll need insurance, logged 50 dives, and to own a surface marker buoy and a torch.
9. Great Blue Hole - Belize. This beautiful spot for divers is a ring of coral reef that surrounds a round hole. Inside you'll find sharks swimming along with colorful tropical fish.

10. Richelieu Rock - Thailand. Here you'll see barracudas, batfish and mantas, but that's not the main attraction. This is the best place to see whale sharks.

Thanks to mademan

Kathy Dowsett

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sue Oldham became the oldest woman to swim the English Channel

A PERTH GRANDMOTHER who has become the oldest woman to swim the English Channel says thinking of the special people in her life kept her going during the crossing.

Sue Oldham completed the swim from Dover to the French coast on Monday morning (Australian time) in 17 hours and 31 minutes. The 64-year-old, from Carine in Perth's north, first claimed the record in 2006 in a swim of 16 hours and three minutes.

"While a huge personal achievement, I did it for all who inspire me, like my son Michael and my five fabulous grandchildren," she said after her swim. "In fact every hour of the swim I thought about someone special in my life, and that would motivate me to continue - that's what took me to the end."

Speaking from the United Kingdom on Tuesday morning (Australian time) Sue told ABC Radio in Perth she loved swimming in the ocean. "When you start something you have to finish it don't you, no point in getting out when it gets a bit tough."

World's most difficult swim

The English Channel was regarded as the most difficult open water swim in the world, Sue says. "You just don't know what you're going to get because you've got currents and tides that could take you anywhere."

The endurance swimmer said she struggled for five to six hours to get her stroke right and her throat began causing her discomfort along with a blocked nose and a sore right shoulder. "But I would never stop, I would never give up, ever."

Sue's Perth trainer Pauline Pratt and fellow Perth endurance swimmer Selwyn Jellie were on the support boat encouraging her. She was covered in grease and vaseline for the swim and was passed food and energy drinks on the end of a pole because once in the water she could not touch the boat or be touched by anyone until the finish.

Sue says that after the swim she thought she would "hang up my bathers and goggles and retire gracefully". But after a glass of champagne to celebrate she thought she might still give the channel another go.

The record breaker said she probably swam 50km on her 2006 swim but the distance had yet to be worked out for her latest crossing. A month before her 2006 solo swim, Sueswam as the only female member of a relay team that still holds the world record for the oldest relay team to make the channel crossing.

For her latest crossing, she trained at Churchlands Senior High School swimming pool in Perth, swimming morning and evening for about five hours to fit around her part-time job.

Thanks to Australian Geographic!!!

Kathy Dowsett
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why Wreck Diving Is The Best

Wreck of the Zenobia in Larnaca CyprusImage via Wikipedia

Have you ever dreamed of floating silently through the oceans depths, exploring wrecks and maybe even discovering lost artifacts?

The ocean is a mighty beast and she has swallowed many unsuspecting ships and downed aircraft over the years.

There are many reasons that hobby divers take up this adventurous sport:

* wreck diving presents an exciting new challenge for even the most experienced diver. It is an opportunity to test your skills and expand your knowledge of diving.
* Many of the wrecks become artificial reefs and attract an abundance of sea creatures. You may see; crabs,lobsters,eels,beautiful reef fish.
* Many ship enthusiasts enjoy wreck diving because it gives them a chance to see some of the working machinery that would otherwise be out of view from the surface.
* People wreck dive because of the exciting and tragic historical interest surrounding many of the wrecks.

There are many organizations that offer training for new comers to wreck diving. SDI and PADI both offer such training.

It is always advisable to join a organized group excursion to some of thee dive sites as wreck diving carries slightly more risk than regular diving. Many of the wrecks are fragile and are covered in silt. If silt becomes disturbed due to fin strokes or other disturbances the, silt cloud created can cause zero visibility. This is where a lifeline comes in handy if you are planning on penetrating a wreck as it will guide you out when visibility is low.

As with all dives, it should be planned, you should always dive with a buddy and make others aware exactly where you plan to dive.

If you follow you training then wreck diving can be a fantastic experience.

Thanks to Enzine articles and C John

Kathy Dowsett
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chelsea + Victoria == Swish

International Association of Nitrox and Techni...Image via Wikipedia

If you’re tired of the tedium of the 9-to-5 grind at the same old office, check out the work and lifestyle of Chelsea Berg.

The founder of Swish Suits, a wetsuit that is billed as eco friendly, durable and designed for women participating in all aquatic sports, has turned her passion for scuba diving, the environment and travel into a business that doesn’t tie her down.

“My sister (Victoria) and I live in Mexico,” says Chelsea. “Freedom was really the thing I wanted to capture. You could be anywhere.”

Her mother, Carolyn, a water sports enthusiast like her daughters, lives in Chicago, where Swish Suits is based. From there, the company’s products are shipped, with most of the orders being international. One of Chelsea’s designers is in Milan and the wetsuits are manufactured in Vancouver. But distance isn’t an obstacle in today’s world. “We do video conferencing.”

Still, travel was involved in the evolution of the company that would be created to develop Swish women’s wetsuits. Chelsea, an athlete, had been travelling the world from Thailand to Egypt to Mexico, “but I couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear (in the water).”

In Thailand, she had some innovative wetsuits made for her. Chelsea kept making a few suits and finally decided to develop it as a business. “I did a bunch of research on how to make suits well.”

While most dive suits are made from oil-based neoprene, the Bergs went in a different direction. They use a form of neoprene that has a limestone base. Besides the environmental edge, it also has a couple of other advantages, Chelsea says. “The stretch is huge (513 per cent). It has made size almost irrelevant. It also is higher performing in the way each cell is injected with nitrogen so suits don’t take on much water at all. Three mils (millimetres thickness) is like five (in a conventional suit).”

Chelsea says the Swish suits are warmer and compress less, which is great for technical diving because compression becomes an issue at depth.
Swish started producing wetsuits in April and is now going to pursue dealers and ramp up production.

The Bergs are originally from Chicago, although Chelsea and Victoria lived in Montreal for awhile. There, Chelsea studied environmental economics at McGill University, while Victoria was in environmental science, also at McGill.

Their interest in environmental issues carried over into scuba diving, where both sisters are highly qualified divers. Chelsea is a PADI OWI (instructor), IANTD Cave Diver and DSAT Tec Deep diver. Victoria is a PADI Divemaster, ANDI cave diver, and DSAT Tec Deep Diver. Chelsea says while divers lament environmental disasters such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, many are not as aware. “We could do a much better job. A lot of divers are vacation divers so it is not like something they live for and care about every day. It’s not their fault.”

Swish is now expanding to include a men’s wetsuit in its product line, working in partnership with technical diving companies and men’s wetsuit firms. It is being made to accommodate technical diving (where there is no direct access to the surface, such as cave diving) that requires a “really functional” suit.

Besides functionality and environmental responsibility, fashion is also important to Swish. Chelsea says women divers want to look good in their gear. These traits also come into play in bikinis, which Chelsea hopes to manufacture.
“I actually wanted to make bikinis for so long. I’m an athlete, in triathlons, and I can’t find sport bikinis that don’t fall apart in two or three months . . . the material breaks down in salt water.”

Chelsea says Swish Suits are priced similarly to other high quality wetsuits.
“They last longer and perform better. We’re not trying to capture the whole market, but people who care about performance, eco or style.”

Kathy Dowsett
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Diving Basics: Give Your Body what it Needs

Pictogram representing the sport of Scuba diving.Image via Wikipedia

For someone who has never been scuba diving, it might seem that the sport doesn’t take much physical effort. When we see pictures and videos of divers, it often looks like they’re just floating around, and how much exertion can that take, right? But the truth is, scuba diving can burn as much energy as many aerobic sports, such as tennis or volleyball. How much energy you’ll burn depends on a few factors, such as the water temperature and the currents you’re in, but in all cases, you will end up putting forth some energy.


Many people who are about to go on a dive are traveling, and it might be tempting to hit the hotel breakfast buffet and load up on a lot of the fried or sugary foods there. It’s a better idea to stick to complex carbohydrates the day of your dive though. These foods, such as oatmeal (without a lot of sugar on it) or bran cereals, will help you to feel fuller longer and will maintain good blood sugar levels to keep your energy up during your dive. Greasy and spicy foods are not good choices, as they can make a diver uncomfortable while under water.

Once your dive is over, it will be time to fuel up after burning a lot of calories. Within an hour of your dive, be sure to have a decent meal to avoid feeling over-tired. Some will down an energy drink after a dive, but make sure to read the label and choose something that doesn’t have a lot of sugar or high levels of caffeine.


Even though you’re completely surrounded by water while diving, it isn’t doing your body any good from a hydration standpoint. Just as with any physical activity, it’s very important to remain properly hydrated before and after scuba diving. It’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, making sure to increase the amount if the weather is hot. Drinking at least two quarts of water throughout the day of your dive will help reduce muscle cramps and fatigue.

General Precautions

Getting plenty of sleep before and after diving day gives your body an opportunity to recharge, and helps you avoid feeling rundown. Remember, diving can be a physically demanding activity, so getting plenty of rest on both ends of a diving day will definitely pay off.

It’s also important to put off diving if you have a cold or a cough. These conditions can make it difficult to equalize while diving, and that can be dangerous. Also, while decongestants might make you feel like you’re ok to dive, they can impair your performance while underwater, so it’s best to avoid them prior to a dive.

Scuba diving is a blast, and you certainly don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy it. Just be aware that it does take a certain amount of physical exertion. Follow the common sense tips above, and you’ll get the most out of every dive experience!

Thanks to Dive Dave!!!

Kathy Dowsett
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Monday, February 7, 2011

10 Tips for Great Underwater Photos

A group of snorkelers observing undersea wildl...Image via Wikipedia

1. As with anything in the water it is best to best to be calm and relaxed and move slowly. Taking photos while in the water either diving or snorkeling takes a little practice and is better if you work with the elements rather then against them.

2. Try to time the taking of the photos with the movement of the water, wind and other environmental variables. Again do not fight them but relax move in harmony with the elements.

3.Whether snorkeling or diving work on your stability in the water that means your buoyancy and how you are able to balance and relax in the water. It will take some practice to be able to become stationary, but well worth the effort.

4. Start taking pictures of fixed objects first such as reefs, underwater structures, corals, etc first. This will help your stability above and give you confidence to be able to frame your picture later. Keep your distance steady, slowly adjust the camera. Making adjustments quickly and constantly will make for erractive and out of focus pictures.

5. Hire a digital camera, this way you can take as many pictures as you want without running out of film. It is best to hire a small compact digital camera without strobes until you get your buoyancy correct. Heavier cameras make it difficult to hold a steady shot for the beginner.

6. Let your dive instructor or guide know that you want to practice taking photos; this will allow them to pick something that will photograph well and also plan the dive appropriately so you have all the time you need to get confident.

7. Ask questions of your tour staff, they will be more then happy to show pointers and evaluate how to improve your photos if you ask.

8. Avoid crowds, dodging other divers and snorkelers will frustrate you as well as take away your focus from your job at hand. Stay with a friend and pay attention to each other to make sure you are in contact, it is very easy to get separated while taking photos.

9. Have fun and try to photograph subject matter you are interested in, this will make the process a lot more enjoyable and you’ll be surprised how quickly you improve if there is a little passion behind your photos.

10. Once you are confident and taking some good photos of corals have a go at the fish or turtles. If the fish or moving animals move away from you do not chase them. No matter how good a swimmer you think you are they are better. Relax and move on to the next object, if you are calm and relaxed they may even circle back giving you another opportunity for that perfect photo.

As you can see to start taking good photos you have to be relaxed and most of all enjoy the experience. After a short time you’ll be taking some great photos that you’ll be proud to show your friends, colleagues and relatives for years to come.

Thanks to New Horizon

Kathy Dowsett
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