Dive Mastering and what comes with the territory!

My thoughts after i read this complaint...
Sharing our worst diving experience at Malaysia Mabul Seaventure Rig Dive Resort, hoping no one will be victim to this so call DM Suki (Facebook :Christine Su) . (Total 16 divers involve, 13 Malaysians, 1 from Beijing & 2 HongKong divers)
From day 1, she sounded really rude while doing arrival briefing. Even when we requested the critters sea dragon and her answer is "This is Malaysia " She sounded like the whole world owe her everything. She seems like not clear of her position, being in service industry, you can choose not to serve by taking MC if you are not too well. We did not pay to be shown black face. Even with that, we choose to ignore that face than to spoil our dive trip.
First 2 days was great until we decided to extend our dive in day 3 after our normal dive. We registered ourselves for extra dives, this DM was assigned to lead the dive. The conversation started:-
DM: I'm your dive guide later
Diver: is there other DM available?
DM: I am the only one available, you can choose wanna dive or not, don't want is fine also.
Diver: (halfway gearing up) ok la, let's go then...
(Diver continue to gear up, full set gear prepared, with weight belt on as well. When all ready, sit while waiting for the dive, she sat there doing nothing, not even preparing for the dive. She came up to us and say the following)
DM: (shouted)since you guys wanted to choose DM . even you wants to go now, I don't want to go also)
Diver: (speechless) $&@@#^£•¥*¥#
This DM just ignore and avoid us for the rest of our stay.
We choose not to further argue with her, and proceed to request her details from the management office later of the day. We were told that they didn't have any of her details. This makes us really curious on the selection of DM by 5 star PADI dive centre. No information need to be recorded before hiring a person as DM?
This is the service level we got from this DM. Not sure if PADI has lowered the standard of DM or she is not even a qualified DM, unknown till now. Sharing it with fellow divers to beware of this DM. Qualified or not, dunno yet, but she surely will kill your dive trip if you dive with her.
I am of course referring to the above posting shared ,complaining about the services of the SeaVentures DM..named Suki..
Personally,i do not know her ,although professionally,think i can relate a little as to her job demands and what she may have to occasionally put up with,in the process called Dive Mastering, Been in that position for years then moved on to train quite a few to be dedicated Dms as best as I can ,drawing from my personal experience..
And although many may beg to differ, but DM is a under appreciated and it is not an easy job The diving part and guiding perhaps yes,
But it is the people skills,and the immense amount of patience needed to interact with scuba divers, with tact ,that is the tougher part. Divers are people that comes with all manners and personalities..Generally,most ,if the DM is a good guide and safety conscious-are well mannered and knows how to allow the DM breathing space to do their jobs efficiently without getting in the way.
But then amongst these divers, are the prima donnas , the egoistic ,impatient and on and on , who expect to be waited hand and foot just because they paid good money..
A DM is a working professional,like any engineer or accountant is a pro.and they deserve the same level of respect .
Their job is to ensure safe diving practices,monitoring all the divers under their charge while doubling as a in-water tour guide, and whilst on the job,must be on top of the situation in-water all the time.
.Anticipating , looking out for dangerous situations to anticipate and prevent
.Ever conscientous that they have the overall safety and well being of the divers they are guiding.,It's not to be taken lightly, when we are talking about lives and safeties of scuba divers..
.And sometimes , they have to be stern but balanced it by not being overbearing , to keep stubborn divers in check or newbie divers who may not know any better.
All that to make a dive experience as thoroughly enjoyable and incident free as possible.
And hence in reference to the above complaint...
i am mulling as to the phrase.
"This is Malaysia"- Perhaps if Suki can clarify what she meant when she said those words,it may present an added perspective.
.Particularly in the SIpadan National park area, where DIve pros must take their jobs very seriously in helping to protect and conserve the natural treasures.
.And like it or not..they reserve the final judgment on whether divers ought be taken out or banned from diving because of certain "stubborn " inwater actions, when advised against doing so..they act like "I pay money so i can do as i wish"..like grabbing turtles , harassing marine creatures etc.
.Hopefully of course thats not the case here, but then ,.there are divers who haven't as yet learnt proper respect for the precious Malaysian marine environment..judging from some shares and postings on social media on how these destroyers wreak damage..sad to note,many of them newbies of a certain country.
Its about respect, to the marine environment and the host country and then the pros who show you the national marine treasures.
BTW, dive sites,irrespective of where, are for" You will see what you will see , and encounter , marine critters in their natural habitat " not supermarket to pick and choose what you want to see-.,For that may as well go to the aquarium..
This is a frame of mind that so many divers have not yet figured out..

ear injuries

What’s the most frequent diving injury? Decompression illness, right?
No, it’s ear injuries. The most common injury divers experience is some form of barotrauma to the ear. Barotrauma means injury from pressure (baro = pressure + trauma = injury). This type of injury occurs for a variety of reasons, but generally it develops when the pressure in the middle ear is not equal to the pressure of the outside environment as the diver descends in the water column. (But see Barotrauma on Ascent) Because of the rapid relative gas volume change as the diver descends at the beginning of the dive, the first 14 feet / 4.2 meters of the descent is where the ear is at most risk of injury.
No discussion of the examination of any part of the human body could be complete without a working knowledge of the anatomy of that part. The ear is made up of three compartments: the external ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.
The External Ear Auricle and the External Ear Canal
The auricle (pinna), is the first and most obvious view of the ear. It’s what we generally refer to as the ear, although it is just the outside section of it. Funnel-shaped and mostly cartilage covered by a thin layer of skin, it channels sound (and water) into the ear.
Directly behind the tragus, the cartilaginous prominence in front of the external opening of the ear, the ear canal curves inwards approximately 24 millimeters in the average adult. The outer portion of the ear canal contains the glands that produce earwax (cerumen). The inner portion of the ear is covered by thin, hairless skin. Pressure on this area can cause pain.
The Middle Ear
At the inner end of the ear canal, separating the external ear from the middle ear, is the tympanic membrane, or eardrum. The middle ear is an air-filled space that contains the ossicles - three tiny bones that conduct sound. (many of us learned them as the hammer, anvil and stirrup: in medical terminology they are the mallus, incus, and stapes. See How the Ear "Hears")
The Eustachian tubes, one in each ear, connect the middle ear and the back of the throat (nasopharynx). They keep the middle ear "equalized" by keeping the air pressure on both sides of the eardrum the same. Because they are surrounded by cartilaginous tissue they don’t allow for expansion. Therefore a diver must equalize his or her ears by gently "opening" the tubes—that is, by introducing air through them and into the middle ear.
The Inner Ear
Separating the middle ear from the inner ear are two of the thinnest membranes in the human body, the round and oval windows. These membranes embody one of the reasons divers are taught to gently blow to equalize their middle ears — damage to the round or oval windows may cause a leakage of fluid from the inner to the middle ear. This can cause a ringing or roaring in the ears, and even hearing loss. Window rupture can also cause severe vertigo and vomiting, a dangerous — even deadly — combination when underwater.
Otitis externa (swimmers ear): This is an inflammation of the external ear caused by infection. Some people are prone to developing this kind of infection. If the ear remains moist from immersion in the water, this moisture, coupled with the warmth of the body, creates an inviting growth area for many microorganisms, especially opportunistic bacteria. For more details on this, see Can You Prevent Otitis Externa, or Swimmers Ear?.
Signs & Symptoms: The ear canal can become inflamed and may partially close. The external ear canal is red and swollen and may itch. Touching the outer ear may cause intense pain.
Treatment: Prevention is key, especially in those persons who have previously shown they are susceptible. Domeboro Otic ‚ solution, available at drugstore, may function as a prophylactic and treatment for otitis externa when it is used as directed.
Barotitis Media (middle ear barotrauma): This is by far the most frequently reported injury among divers. People with barotitis media generally develop symptoms immediately following the dive, but delays of up to one day or longer have been reported. When the diver descends, the pressure can cause injury to the middle ear. This overpressure of the middle ear can cause serious fluid and blood to leak into the middle ear, partially or completely filling it.
Signs & Symptoms: A feeling of fullness in the ear may develop, like the feeling of fluid inside the ear. Muffled hearing or hearing loss are other indications of middle ear barotrauma. On examination with an otoscope (a special device medical personnel use when examining the ear) fluid may appear behind the tympanic membrane, causing it to bulge and appear red. In other cases, the eardrum may be retracted or sunk in. Either condition warrants immediate medical attention.
Treatment: First, diving must stop. Also, changes in altitude—as with flying—must be considered a concern as well. See a medical practitioner. The combination of drugs and time will usually allow this injury to heal in a few days, but cases have lasted up to several months. If you have been on decongestant therapy for seven days and have experienced little or no relief, it’s time to see your otolaryngologist, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.
Otitis Media (middle ear infection): This is not a diving malady, but may look the same as middle ear barotrauma to a non-dive-trained medical practitioner. Because the treatments can vary, it is important to realize that an ear problem immediately following a dive outing usually signals a pressure-related injury rather than an infection.
Inner Ear Barotrauma: This injury generally occurs when divers attempt to forcefully equalize their ears. This "hard" blowing over-pressurizes the middle ear and can result in implosive or explosive damage to the round and oval windows.
Signs & Symptoms: Vertigo, vomiting, hearing loss, loud tinnitus (a ringing or roaring sound in the ear).
Treatment: Place the injured diver in a sitting head-up position. Get the injured diver to medical help right away, preferably to someone knowledgeable in diving medicine since inner ear barotrauma may be difficult to distinguish from inner-ear decompression sickness.
Tympanic Membrane (TM) Rupture: Barotraumatic injuries to the ear may result in perforation or rupture of the tympanic membrane. This may occur in as little as 7 feet / 2.1 meters of water.
Signs & Symptoms: Generally there is pain and bleeding from the ear. This may not always be the case, as a number of dive-related traumatic TM ruptures have reported no pain at all. Hearing loss and tinnitus may also be present, but not always. A discharge from the ear of commingled fluid and blood may be a sign of TM rupture.
Treatment: Go to the nearest medical practitioner immediately for an examination. Do not re-enter the water if you suspect TM rupture: water entering the middle ear cavity may cause severe and violent vertigo. Do not put any drops of any kind in your ear. Do not attempt to equalize your middle ears.
External Ear Canal Superficial Vessel Rupture: This occurs more often in divers who wear hoods. Occasionally, the overpressure may rupture a blood vessel inside the external ear canal, causing some minor bleeding.
Signs & Symptoms: A minute trace of blood trickling from the ear canal. Later, the injured diver may find drops of blood on his/her pillow or bedclothes.
Treatment: In order to distinguish between this injury and other, more severe injuries, it is necessary to stop diving and seek evaluation by a medical practitioner.
On a general note, a physician should examine any ear problem that drains purulent material (pus) or has a foul or disagreeable odor.
Ear injuries are the most commonly encountered injuries to divers. Permanent hearing loss may result from barotrauma to the ears. The likelihood of injuries is reduced by preventive measures such as:
  • properly equalizing
  • never diving with a cold or other congestion, and
  • abstaining from diving if you cannot clear your ears.
Several types of ear injuries can occur. All of these injuries should be examined by a qualified medical practitioner. If in doubt regarding the practitioner’s knowledge of diving medicine, bring this article with you or encourage them to call +1-919-684-2948 and ask for the Medical Department here at DAN for a consult.
Otoscopic examination of the ear by a qualified medical practitioner knowledgeable in diving and emergency medicine may be useful in determining what type injury has occurred. In remote areas of the world or on board liveaboard dive vessels you may have to wait a while until you can get medical help. DAN’s advice is to encourage you to get to a medical facility as soon as possible.
Good diving, and keep your ears dry!
How the Ear "Hears":
Sound travels as vibrations through the air of the external ear canal. These vibrations are transmitted through the tympanic membrane to the ossicles. The movement of the ossicles transmits the vibrations through another thin membrane into the fluid in the cochlea in the inner ear, where they are converted to fluidic pressure changes. Special structures and cells in the cochlea convert the fluidic pressure changes into nerve impulses. The nerve impulses are then transmitted to the brain through a portion of the eighth cranial nerve, where they become sounds.
Barotrauma on Ascent
Barotrauma of ascent can also occur. It happens when gases in the middle ear expand with ascent and become blocked, causing tissue damage similar to barotrauma of descent. This malady is less common, because, in all probability, any blockage will usually be felt first upon descent by blocking the Eustachian tubes.

Ciguetera poisoning in scuba diving

Accident Assessment: A 37-year-old diver and her companions made their first 2 dives on a dive vacation. The first dive was 60 fsw for 50 minutes, the second was 45 fsw for 60 minutes. Both dives were on air and there were no reported problems. In the evening she and her companions enjoyed dinner which included local grouper. The next morning she awoke experiencing a metallic taste in her mouth, tingling of her lips and a reversal of hot and cold sensation. She spoke with her companions and one other person was experiencing similar symptoms. They went to the local hospital for evaluation. What do you suspect?

Accident Assessment Answer: The ultimate diagnosis was ciguatera poisoning. Victims of suspected ciguatera poisoning should be evaluated immediately by medical personnel. Reef fish such as groupers, sea basses and snappers, and barracudas that prey on reef fish, may contain toxins that cause ciguatera poisoning. Initial symptoms of poisoning occur within six hours after someone consumes toxic fish; symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and numbness and tingling, which may spread to the extremities. The classic symptoms — metallic taste in the mouth and reversal of hot and cold sensation in the hands and mouth, are not always seen. The symptoms will generally resolve within a few days to a few weeks.

 Learn more: http://bit.ly/1az6uxw . Not all injuries or illness that occur on a dive vacation are dive-related, but DAN can still help by preparing you to recognize and manage these situations. 
The DAN First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries course prepare you to recognize and manage seafood poisoning and other marine life-related illness and injuries. (http://bit.ly/1az6vl5 )

Night Diving

If you have not yet experienced the ocean at night, we highly recommend it.  You can see creatures and behaviors not normally seen during the day.  The whole experience is fantastic.  There are some special considerations for diving at night, including equipment selection,  buddy proximity, and navigation techniques.   However, everyone can enjoy these special dives with a little attention to proper preparation.

If you have not yet experienced the ocean at night, we highly recommend it.  You can see creatures and behaviors not normally seen during the day.  The whole experience is fantastic.  There are some special considerations for diving at night, including equipment selection,  buddy proximity, and navigation techniques.   However, everyone can enjoy these special dives with a little attention to proper preparation.Firstt, have a tank light.  That’s a light you attach to your tank to make yourself more visible.  These can be any color. Some flash, some look like luminous pencils. Anything will work, but it needs to be battery powered.   Those sticks are an absolute terror on the environment above and below water.  In addition, you need to have at least two dive lights with you.  Have two good lights, and check the power level of each before the dive.  Debbie and I make certain to each have two functioning and well-charged lights on every night dive, and even that precaution is  no guarantee.  On a night dive off of Statia a few years back we entered with two lights apiece. We checked them all, they had new batteries.  Within ten minutes, for whatever reason, we were down to one.  Redundancy is key.  So is having quality equip. Be aware of other divers and control the beam of your dive lights.  Don’t shine your light in other people’s eyes.  Work out signals with your light- circle it for “ok”, side to side for distress, and other signals.  But keep the light beams out or other people’s field of vision.
On every night dive ( in fact on every dive)  you should  have a compass,  know how to use it,  and  use it.  Let’s face it, in good visibility with plenty of light, navigation is usually not an issue.  At night it is always an issue.  Knowing where you are is important to your safety and is a courtesy to those who will have to come and find you in the dark if you get lost.  If you and your buddy  are not comfortable on your own on a night dive, then join up with someone with more experience and better skills, and  stay very close to them.  Many resorts offer guided night dives for those new to this kind of diving.             If you are in a group, stay with the group and close to the group.  Always.  If there is a designated leader, and there should be, follow the leader.   Buddy proximity and group proximity are very important on night dives.  Don’t wander off.
Night diving from shore suggests using either a shore party with a signaling device for indicating your point of entry or exit, or if everyone on the outing in getting in the water, placement of a distinctive light or beacon to reference as point of entry and exit.  When diving from a boat, suspension of a strobe of other light fulfills the same function.   In fact, I have been on night dives in which a sequence of lights or beacons have been placed to mark the “trail home,”  though that is a bit unusual.
Remember your dive flag when diving at night, and illuminate it with a small light.  Daytime diving and safety rules apply at night, including dive flag rules.
Let people who are  not on your dive know where you are diving, when you are diving, and when you will be back. This is an important rule for all dives, but especially important for night dives.  If you are diving from shore, make sure someone knows where you are going, when you are diving, and when you expect to be back.  The same thing holds true if you are diving from a live aboard or private boat.  Check out properly. Tell people when you leave and tell them when you get back.  Most people are pretty good about the first part of the rule, but don’t always remember to report back when the dive is done.  Be sure after you return from your night dive that you tell people you are back.  Tell all the people you told about the dive before it began. Those people who took the time to note your absence are entitled to know when they are off duty.  It is not fair for them to be searching frantically for you only to find that you are snug in your boat cabin or decided to stop off on the way home for a drink or snack.
If you get the chance, try diving at night.  If you want a little more training before trying it, consider a night dive specialty class through your local dive center.  But don’t be afraid of the dark- there is a whole new world of wonder in the sea after the sun goes down.

- See more at: http://scubadiverlife.com/2013/06/18/night-diving-101/#sthash.2UDcOQGc.dpuf

Vertigo on ascent, why?

Accident Assessment: A 38-year-old male diver was participating in a recreational dive. The profile was 58 fsw(approx 27m) for 40 minutes. This individual experienced transient problems with equalization of his middle ear during descent. During his ascent he developed acute vertigo, sense of fullness in one ear, nausea and slight disorientation at around 20 fsw (7m). He managed to reach a buoy line at 15 fsw(5m) and hold on. Within the 3 minute safety stop all symptoms completely resolved and he returned safely to the surface. What do you suspect and why?

  Response: This was most likely alternobaric vertigo related to a reverse block. Typically equalization during ascent is passive with the air venting from the middle ear easily. If for some reason the expanding air vents more easily or quickly from one ear than the other, the difference in pressure between the two middle ears can cause the symptoms. It is possible that the transient difficulty with equalization during descent may have contributed to the reverse block. If you experience a reverse block, especially if the more serious symptoms manifest, stop your ascent, descend a few feet and move the jaw to help facilitate equalization.

Diving and getting caught in a vortex..check out the bubble trail.(Video ).

A very dicey situation to be caught in.It can be seen that the bubble trails are being pulled sideways i.e. horizontally rather than up. This happened at Roca Partida, Revillagigedo, A potentially dangerous situation for the less experienced. The vortex current was flowing horizontally, at 25 metres depth, Divers can learn a lot just by watching these..


Alcohol and scuba diving.! Experts have different opinions!

Don't drink before , in between and immediately after diving!

No booze,No Strenous activity after diving!

Following  is a response to the article above after posting the discussion in forums!

What the experts say! 
                      On drinking alcohol  and scuba diving.
Mainly it is a bad idea but there is another school of thought!

You would have thought that this subject will have a general consensus among the experts in Dive medicines as a Bad Idea. But interestingly and contradictorily, there are detractors among the specialist, citing strong evidence to support their contentions.
 Experts on diving medicine don't agree totally , and have different opinions on the effects of alcohol and diving.

 DAN's (divers alert network) 

 Simply put, alcohol and diving are not compatible. Alcohol causes depression of the central nervous system, which impairs judgment and reduces reaction time and coordination. Often the individual is not even aware of the degree of impairment. A review of more than 15 studies on the effects of alcohol on performance found that alcohol was involved in roughly 50 percent of all accidents in people of drinking age. In Diving and Subaquatic Medicine (Edmonds C, et al., 2002), the authors report that alcohol is associated with up to 80 percent of all drownings in adult males. It takes time for alcohol to be metabolized and its effects to wear off. M.W. Perrine and colleagues studied a group of experienced divers and the impact of alcohol consumption on their performance.. The study went on to state that  situational awareness and protective inhibitions may be reduced. Recent alcohol intake (along with seasickness, traveler's diarrhea, excessive sweating, diuretic medications and air travel) is a potential cause of dehydration in divers. Alcohol ingestion may also enhance the effects of nitrogen narcosis. Elevated BAC, dehydration and nitrogen narcosis together may result in otherwise preventable accidents due to decreased problem-solving ability. Many divers appreciate a cold beer, but drinking and diving can turn a safe activity into a unwanted bad experience for both the diver and all those impacted by a rescue or fatality. Think twice before combining alcohol and diving

Scuba docs has this to say :
                                      Beer While Diving? 

Some divers insist that drinking beer before, during and after their dives has no risk if consumption is not excessive. Is there any danger in drinking alcoholic beverages and diving? The short answer is that by drinking alcohol before and during diving trips increases the risks not only to themselves but their dive buddies!
 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Research has shown that there is a definite reduction in the ability of the individual to process information, particularly in tasks that require undivided attention for many hours after the blood alcohol level has reached 0.0%. This means that the risk for injury of a hungover diver is increased significantly, particularly if high BAC levels were reached during the drinking episode. The AMA upper limit of the BAC for driving a vehicle in the US is 0.05%. Surely diving with any alcohol on board would be foolish, considering the alien environment (water) and the complex skills required to follow no deco procedures.
 Alcohol Impairment 
 All of the following behavioral components required for safe diving are diminished when alcohol is on board or has been on board in the prior 24 hours: Reaction time Visual tracking performance Concentrated attention Ability to process information in divided attention tasks Perception (Judgment) The execution of psychomotor tasks. The individual who has alcohol onboard may not feel impaired or even appear impaired to the observer but definitely is impaired and this is persistent for extended periods of time. The use of alcohol, even in moderate doses, clearly carries a self-destructive aspect of behavior and leads to higher probabilities for serious accidents. Alcohol causes dehydration (a diuretic) In addition to these dangers is the definite danger of alcohol-produced dehydration. Dehydration is considered to be one of the prime causes of decompression illness. Alcohol in any form has a direct effect on the kidneys, causing an obligatory loss of body fluids. If your drinking buddy is an intelligent diver, surely he will understand that this is not preaching- a cool beer is appreciated by the author-but by drinking and diving he can turn a safe sport into a nightmare for himself and his family. I'm sure that when he considers that he is also endangering his buddy that he will think twice before drinking alcohol before and while diving. There have been recent discussions in scuba magazines, chat rooms and scuba forums that it's OK to drink beer between dives during a surface interval. Some divers insist that drinking beer before, during and after their dives is acceptable citing personal experiences and maintaning that nothing untoward has ever happened.
 So, Is there any danger in drinking alcoholic beverages before , in between and immedaitely after diving? General consensus among the experts seem to indicate that it is a bad idea and the risks of DCS is increased by doing so! Dr. Glen Egstrom, PhD has stated the problem succinctly: He made personal review of over 150 studies on the effects of alcohol on performance has resulted in the following observations:
 1. Ingestion of even small amounts of alcohol does not improve performance: to the contrary it degrades performance
 2. While there are variables that can speed up or delay the onset of the effects of alcohol, they are minor issues which do not overcome the decrements to the central and peripheral nervous system.
 3. Alcohol can be cleared from the blood at a predictable rate. Generally on the order of .015% BAC per hour. This does not necessarily mean that the decrements in performance have been completely eliminated in that time.
 4. Alcohol is a depressant drug that slows certain body functions by depressing the entire central nervous system. Effects are noticeable after one drink.
 5. The effects are mood elevation, mild euphoria, a sense of well being, slight dizziness and some impairment of judgment, self control, inhibitions and memory.
 6. Increases in reaction time and decreases in coordination follow the dose/response curve quite well.
 7. Alcohol is involved in 50% +/- of all accidents involving persons of drinking age.
 8. The deleterious effects of alcohol on performance are consistently underestimated by persons who have been drinking alcohol.
 9. Divided attention tasks are found to be affected by alcohol to a greater degree than those tasks with single focus of concentration, i.e. a task such as a head-first dive into shallow water, with many interrelated decisions necessary to a successful dive, will be impacted to a greater degree than lifting a heavy weight.
       ( click the titles to link to the full articles)

Detractors opinions below:

 Diving research"Alcohol and DCI"

But interestingly, there are many experts in the field of dive medicine who actually disagrees with the general consensus that alcohol and diving is just bad news.
 Quote from an article " in a study of 440 divers, incidence of DCS in those who frequently drank wine was lower than in those who did not. Recent research on mortality from heart disease has suggested that drinking red wine may protect against heart disease by way of vasodilation. It may be, then, that such vasodilation may improve the movement of nitrogen bubbles through the circulatory system, leading to faster elimination of small bubbles. " unquote. (brief extract from the article suggesting among the experts that not enough data to definitively suggest alcohol and diving is dangerous.)
 1. there are no data showing an association between alcohol use and DCS risk;
2. everybody thinks there are; 3. there are theoretical reasons to suspect a link, but these remain unstudied and unproven.. Although conventional wisdom holds that alcohol use, either before or after diving, contributes to the development of DCS, there are no data supporting this contention.

Current policy Alcohol use is described as a risk factor for DCS in the dive training manuals of all the major diving certification agencies as well as numerous books and articles on diving and DCS. DAN cautions against drinking before or after diving, citing alcohol's effect on judgment and the dehydrating effects of alcohol, which may inhibit nitrogen off-gassing The training manual of the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) instructs divers to avoid alcohol before, between, and at least two hours after diving, stating emphatically that alcohol "causes dilation (enlarging) of the blood capillaries, increasing circulation. Drinking alcohol prior to a dive will cause increased nitrogen absorption during a dive. Drinking alcohol after a dive will release nitrogen much too quickly, possibly contributing to bubble formation" Books on deep diving similarly caution against drinking, often giving no particular reason (Gilliam & Von Maier, 1992; Lippmann, 1992). Yet,in a later article [Gilliam, 1994], criticized some of the conventional wisdom of diving, including the rule "you can't dive if you have a beer with lunch." Gilliam noted that alcohol has the same dehydrating effect as caffeinated beverages, and that the effect of moderate consumption of these beverages is of little consequence. He concluded that "a few sacred cows continue to moo long after their milk ran dry"
  Link to the full article at Diving research"Alcohol and DCI"

spanish dancer nudibranch/violent sex of slugs

Sensuous dance of a spanish dancer nudibranch in front of a mirror

Violent sex of the underwater hermaphrodite aka the  flatworm

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Signs of swimmer in distress/near drowning

This is a very important video to watch - for ANYONE who is going near water. Particularly important for scuba divers as this contradicts what we are taught in the PADI Rescue course. Panicking people splash at the surface, but drowning people are often silent ..

A person may drown and nobody may notice the signs of trouble until it is to late .
Usually most people expect a swimmer may be in some sort of trouble and struggling in the water accompanied by yelling or crying out for help. But as the video shows ,that is not always the case, swimmers in difficulty may be struggling in silence just next to any person who doesn't even realise that the person needs help till it is too late and without a whimper  just slipped under water. This type of situations happens more frequently than we would like but if we can learn to recognize the signs of distress,it may mean the difference between life and death. Deep water whether in a swimming pool or ocean is an  environment not to be taken for granted. Many things can happen....

The Instinctive Drowning Response -- so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) -- of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning -- Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard's On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:

1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.

2. Drowning people's mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people's mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.

3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water's surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.

5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people's bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

This doesn't mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn't in real trouble -- they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn't last long -- but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

- Head low in the water, mouth at water level
- Head tilted back with mouth open
- Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
- Eyes closed
- Hair over forehead or eyes
- Not using legs -- Vertical
- Hyperventilating or gasping
- Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
- Trying to roll over on the back
- Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.

So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK -- don't be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don't look like they're drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, "Are you alright?" If they can answer at all -- they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents -- children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

 Share this information above  with your friends ,you never know , it may help prevent an unwanted incident 

Wanna get stoned while you are scuba diving underwater.Well, it is called nitrogen narcosis!!

Why is it that entry level scuba learners have a depth restriction of 18 metres.. Many gung ho diehard would be divers who don't have the knowledge about  nitrogen narcosis may think it is a bravery issue to go dive deep,where it is actually a knowledge and control thing mentally.18 m and above is usually not deep enough for the water pressure to effect the onset of getting nitrogen narcosis and beginner divers may learn to gradually control their mindset as they increase their total underwater exposure building up bottom time.
Only through experience can an individual be more calm and controlled.It doesnt really matter how gutsy you may be,but if you are a total newbie scuba diver, you may not know what narcosis might feel like and hence not be able to anticipate its onset or recognise the symptoms if the diver suddenly ventures in to deep water and risk losing control or downright losing it , like ..getting totally stoned , zonked , smashed , and behaving foolhardily. All is fine and good if the diver in question is in control of their faculties but then if not,well, there is always drowning underwater to contend with.

 Getting narc is a funny thing . Personally i have witnessed few incidents of divers getting nitrogen narcosis on my shift as a dive instructor chaperoning or supervising deep dives with supposed experienced divers who were supposed to be trained for dives deeper than 25 m.

 I have seen narc divers with my own eyes while training beginner divers on an advanced diver course and bringing them to a depth of 30 metres,linger few minutes then give them some simple mental exercises to test their coordination and also to see if they are susceptible to narcosis at depth..
 There was a guy who after few minutes in a stationary kneeling position on a sandy bottom at 30 m,as i was about to play a fingers game with him, i noticed a blank stare through his dive mask. He was just staring at the surrounding environment and you can pretty much tell,he wasn't totally there!  Inquisitive little wrasse fishes were swimming close to his face mask,and then the next thing you know,he suddenly on a whim, decide to feed the little fishes......with air bubbles.....from the regulator ...that he took out from his mouth that which he was getting his air supply from...and started depressing the purge button so that the air bubbles will make the fishes happy with a bubble bath. To top it off , i suddenly could hear laughing coming from him , sounded like laughing at first, then it seemed to sound more like coughing or worst .choking. All in a matter of 10-15 seconds.

 Yup narcosis rears its head. And another one bites the dust.Rephrase ,another chokes on seawater.Had to force the regulator back to his mouth ,sealing the mouthpiece with my palm and his lips depressing the purge air button (at least he isnt merely sucking in water when he gags,coz of the continuous air flow) and immediately start ascending slowly to a shallower depth. At about 12 m ,he snaps out of it .And on the boat, he said he could vaguely remember what happened but sheepishly had an attitude of  "devil made him do it" kind of excuse.
         Which is cool by me.
 At least to me it was a situation where i had a bit of control over since i was physically within touching distance with him at all times. Meaning there was a risk but it was minimized to the fullest.

 Better odds than another diver, who had the deep diver certification,showed the cert to me verifying that he had gone through deep diver training and a advanced diver course meaning that he could handle himself underwater in deep ,strenous or challenging conditions. Requested that he be guided to a dive site popular among advanced divers because of the beauty but at the same time known to be challenging as well during certain periods .
 Also a deep dive site that maximizes at 70 metres to the bottom . Usually,i will guide divers straight down to level off at 30m where the most interesting stuff is and progressively go shallower till dive ends at about 13m top of the reef.
 This 'advanced diver' with a group of 4 more jumped in with me and started to follow me down to 30 m as planned.There was a bit of a surface current and reef was in open water so i had briefed them that soon as we jumped in we had to descend as quick as we can to the reef and take cover from the current ,or we risk missing the reef swept off course by the current. Jump in swim straight down,don't linger on the surface,regroup underwater at the top of the reef and descend deeper to spiral around the reef as we tour the dive site.
 There was good visibility of approx 20 m. Every diver managed to dothe first part, which also kind of loosened me slightly,because i thought that if they could do that individually,then there shouldn't be any problems since the tough part is over, the rest is easygoing ,just touring dive site. Every 10 mins or so i will look back as we
swam along giving OK signals making sure all responds with same . 20m paused. Was in front of group.Looked back,divers in buddy formation. gliding towards me,the advanced diver at that point had both his hands on his depth and air gages and compass, he was looking at it . and i thought , " good, a careful diver ,monitoring his profile at all times underwater".

 Banged my tank to signal to elicit a response from him that all is good at 23 m. Got an OK,so continued deeper,looked back again at 25m ,Okayed everyone, all responded except for the guy who had both hands in front holding  his gages..Assumed that he is on top of things and didn't hear my clanging of tank, arrived at a landmark at 25m where we had to turn right. so looked back at the divers to signal them to follow ,all responded again except for the guy who seemed to be too preoccupied with his depth gage and air gage coz it was the only thing he was looking at.

 Felt at that point that i may need to be on a "just in case" state of mind, so swam to him, pinched him on his arm and asked if he was OK. The guy just seemed to snap out of some mind state,but he could respond with a OK. so i motioned for him to follow me ,and he OKayed and even nodded. So i relaxed and started to swim to position myself in the front of the group to guide them .
   Looked back again , all seemed smooth in a tight group.
Arrived at 30m, another landmark for course diversion ,so paused to wait for everyone before changing course .
And right in front of my eyes ,i could see that as the other divers were following me in changing course,that guy was going straight, down , not looking at anything..and would you know it , he still was grabbing on to his gages seemed to be staring at it  , same unchanged position but worst yet he wasn't levelling off but was swimming straight down.Everyone else was following me making a right turn at the landmark except for him who was not levelling off at all but just swimming and swimming, in one general direction , down deeper.  
 Furiously banged on my scuba tank to get his attention but all i see was a figure with both hands in front firmly  clamped on to his depth and pressure gage.
        Well,by then ,signaled the other divers to go shallower and stay together while i chased the stray. Had to fin so hard to go after him ,by the time i caught up with him,i was almost out of breath ,risking getting narc myself ,Actually i could feel the effects of the narcosis on my person,luckily i knew enough to fight it and stay alert as best as i can and not let it get to me, by that time , he had managed to swim down to 50 m from 30 and god forbid if i had not gone after him,how deep he would have gone on .!
  And he still wanted to go on a straight course deeper down. Had to grab him by his arm when i caught up with him,, jerked him a little, but this time i am not letting go of my hold. Had to literally drag him by his arm to follow me back up shallower. Glad the other divers were really cool and knew to stay in a group and waited at the shallow part of the reef.
  And of course, symptoms of the narc diver just evaporated as we ascended to shallows.
            I can think of many instances witnessing divers getting narc. point being, nitrogen narcosis is not to be taken lightly.
 Divers get killed not by nitrogen narcosis but by the effects of it while they are at depth. The silly things it causes a diver to do, one when in severe narcosis, just loses it and commits life threatening stupidity.

Even the best of divers do get narcosis, it is how the diver controls his state of mind by recognising the symptoms and making a super effort to stay alert and not let it take control.

The most poisonous octopus has venom that can kill a man in 10 secs with just a tiny bite., on the other extreme, the most fascinating octo has an amazing ability to pretend to be another underwater creature .

Did you know that  there is an octopus that has venom 10 times more venomous than the cobra,a neurotoxin that paralyses anything the octopus bites an stops muscle function(including the heart muscle) in approx 10 seconds. The creature uses the venom to hunt its prey but also as self defence,so be careful where you step on the rocky crevasses of beaches. So far it is the only octopus that has deadly poison whereas other types of octopus are more ingenious in camouflaging.

But not all octopus are that deadly. The mimic octo below is among one of the most fascinating creatures found underwater. You have to see to believe what it can do.
Nobody even knew of its existence until 1998, when it was chanced upon by a scuba diver. Yet it is one of the most brilliant testament of how bizarely clever the octopus is.

Try using your imagination and think about what it is pretending or trying to Mimic..

Now you see me then you don't. Its like an episode of star trek!

Octo , octo
Wherfore art thou..dear octo

Caught off guard !! Whoa,what the heck is that!?

Are you diving with a guide who is reckless and endangering your safety?

Scuba diving beginners should always dive within your limitations , as it is often reminded upon you. That carries more truth than you may realize.
 Especially if you are a beginner diver with less than 20 dives under your belt. There are dive sites that are just not suited for you, Not yet unless you have been specifically trained to dive these sites or have actually encountered them before and know what to expect. Dive sites where there are strong underwater currents ,or limited visibility. Deeper water dive sites that have different conditions. Strong surface currents which requires a high level of inwater competence to dive.

Scuba diving beginners ,please note that there are dive sites that if you dont know how to dive with a proper profile can risk...sweeping you out to open sea...getting you nitrogen narcosis and risk drowning underwater...sites with down currents which pushes you deeper, bad visibility dive sites with overhead environments , even shallow water ship wrecks can be dangerous if you are not mindful of a few considerations. swim throughs with fire corals,potentially sharp objects.etc
 These are all potentially unsafe dive sites to the untrained scuba diver. Most of these type of dive sites are covered in the advanced courses in scuba diving which is the next level up from the entry level.
 But mainly the objective of this post is to help you to recognize or realize that you are potentially placing yourself in a risky situation underwater and how you may get out of it.
 For those who can reflect back on their open water diver course when they signed up for the entry level course,they will remember the basic training of the skills they were taught. Like cramp release, buddy breathing etc. The skills learnt during the course revolves around emergency underwater scenarios,what to do and how to react in certain given situations.Most of the skills are not really used on a dive to dive basis ,maybe 30% of the skills being applied on every scuba dive,the rest to be called upon when it is needed in an emergency.
Then as you obtain your certification and start your diving adventures,you will be going to differing dive shops and diving with different guides .Most of the dive guides are highly skilled pros good at their jobs but there will always be the odd ones out who may just lead the beginner divers into  risky situations if they dont realize it.
 A  Dive master is trained to ask relevant questions and make tactful and subtle observations on the divers signing up for dive trips to help them form an idea of the experience level of the diver in question and plan accordingly or know what to expect.. But at the same token,that in itself can be in reverse.  It may work both ways.
 The diver about to sign up for a dive trip can also train themselves to observe the dive guide or ask the relevant questions.
 Just determine if the guide taking you out is a qualified DM or do they have the experience to in dive safety.
( strange that this may sound but there are very experienced dive guides who are more than capable to handle whatever potential situations and there are qualified DMs who have been trained to do so yet lack the real practical experience so they are untried and untested, in a way it is down to the individual dive guide)

 Another factor is to determine the ratio..DMs are allowed up to a ratios of 12 to 1 but most dive shops will allocate 6 to 1 .
That depends on some considerations.. If the group has mostly experienced divers then 8 to 1 ratio is ok but if the group mainly consist of certified divers that are relatively inexperienced and  if i am the newbie diver in the group.. I will either ask to join another group ( if there is one ) or have a lower ratio of  DM to divers.,  6 to 1 and below.

And then there is the actual dive itself. Here is where if you are a beginner , you will need to train yourself to remember all that you were taught t during the dive course and measure it to the profile your dive guide is doing.
 Here are a few things to help you form an opinion on how safe the dive centre or dive guide may be when it comes down to safety considerations.

 !..Was there a pre dive briefing..providing info about the dive site and how your guide will be communicating, and more
     importantly how much emphasis was on the safety aspects of diving in a group and making sure everyone knows what to do at the beginning , during and at the end of the dive..(If there isnt one,then you will have to be more mindful of you and your buddies profiles, max depth and air consumption)
2..Assuming it is a small group of perhaps , 6 to 1 ratio.. upon arrival at dive site and water entry, did the guide ensure everything goes smoothly or did they just jump  in and ignore all else.

3..Descending or diving into the water, was the guide or DM in plain sight making sure everyone can see him/her as they lead you down  to the dive site.

 4..During the dive, how often does the guide look back to make sure the whole group is accounted for.and their underwater communication with the divers.A positive sign of a conscientous and responsible DM or guide is one who looks back every 15 minutes to make sure all is good.and they will have a sounding device to get the attention of the divers they are guiding.
 Another thing worth mentioning is that , when you are at the dive site and it turns out to be more strenous than expected,strong currents or choppy water, you always have the option of not diving or aborting the dive.And you can suggest accordingly to the DM to change sites.( Good DMs automatically decide that soon as they recognize potential hazards) 

 5..Was there any mention during pre dive briefing on when and how they will check your remaining air and the signals used.And during the actual dive ,how frequent did they do so. especially the 1st dive with the group.

6..Observe the way the guide handles themselves underwater. Buoyancy skills.. Their interaction with the marine environment. The way they position themselves when they are leading a group.

7..Ending the dive. Did the guide signal to all that it is time to go up and do a safety stop.

Was the dive overall close to the description provided during the pre dive briefing.

Following would be a description of a potentially hazardous or risky situation to a beginner diver following a dive guide.
 You arrive at the dive site , but waves are very choppy and even the dive boat is rocking violently.
A good DM will abort and have a contingency site planned. A reckless one will insist it is ok to dive .

As you descend into a dive site,, the guide just motions you to follow them and they just take off swimming as fast they can deeper and deeper. You follow and checking your depth gage, you realized that you are at the 25m mark and the guide is still going deeper. Stop and level off at that depth and swim to the nearest position at a shallower depth and wait for the DM to come to you. OR go back up slowly if you feel its too risky.

 You get caught in and are swimming against an underwater current and you are getting out of breath.Your guide is a long distance in front and doesnt even look back to check on you . You dont have to push yourself if you cant. You just risk hyperventilating and risk suffocating, stop where you are ,sink to the bottom grab onto a rock or something  and catch your breathe,if it is shallow and within reach..(18m and above) Check your air, and if you think you have enough,stay there a minute to see if the guide will come for you or notice you missing. If not ,dont bother chasing up if you feel you cannot possibly swim against the current. Just make a slow ascent. ( If there is a current present and you have to make a decision to surface,it may be more prudent to skip the 3 MINUTE safety stop inwater) Just suface and get the dive boat's attention to pick you up or wait for the DM to come get you.

you are diving at a site with overhead  environments. ( swim thrus)  if you feel your buoyancy skills are not up to mark,better not to attempt it, during the course,you wiil have been reminded that beginners are not suppose to swim into environments that doesnt have a direct access to the surface. But the reality of the situation is that there are dive sites with very tempting swim thrus but are spacious and safe enough for beginners. Yet some of these environments may need a full 3 to 5 minutes to swim in and out of.
 If the dive guide you follow  crawls into a tight space and motions you to follow,use your common sense. You dont want to get stuck in a crevass underwater. 
 A good DM or dive guide  will not allow you to do so if they feel you are not capable or you may not have enough air to do so.

Another sign of a bad guide is one who grabs onto corals for balance or hassles the clownfishes or grabs onto turtles demonstrating no respect for the marine life.

 Remember that the good ones know when to be strict and when to relax a little when guiding. A bad one just dont care.
 A good guide always has safety as the priority when they are underwater.The decisions they make are always based on the ability and skills on the divers they guide,focusing on the weakest link. The reckless ones will push the limits .

 Beginner divers need to be reminded constantly on the safety aspects and give tips on how to improve their profiles. Usually it takes at least 20 dives plus before the diver can start to settle and feel confident enough to dive in many varied conditions.

There are dive sites that are  more challenging and unsuited or even risky for the newbie diver and it is on the dive guide to recognize that and plan accordingly.
 But if you think you may be following a dive guide who is taking too many chances with the safety aspects, there is always another shop or another DM,and even if there isnt one , you can always opt to not dive.
 Scuba diving is suppose to be a fun activity to be done safely and not take chances with


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