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

Why is it more advisable to have trained Divemasters to guide your diving?

Of all the various practices  in dive centers or resorts around the world, using of untrained dive guides to lead scuba diving  beginners rank highly among the most undesirable practices. There is a very big difference between a trained Dive Master acting as your guide into the underwater realm of exploration or  merely following a guide who has no training whatsoever of safety precautions and even basic first aid should there be an emergency.The only thing going for them is that they maybe thoroughly familiar with the  dive sites and can show you all the interesting sights and creatures .
  The sad thing about this is that many scuba diving beginners who are certified divers seem to take things for granted and ignore this issue,and settling for whoever that will be their guide underwater. ;
It is not so much of an issue when it involves experienced divers following an untrained dive guide because these divers will know how to take care of themselves. And they will know to question unsafe scuba diving practices when they recognize it.

But when it comes to freshly certified inexperienced divers,then it is a different matter altogether.
 Scuba diving as a recreational activity has really exploded in popularity the last few decades and there are now practically hundreds of thousands of certified scuba diving beginners  the world over.
   There are many variations when it comes to scuba diving and divers. There are those who have their own equipment and some even their own boats and when it comes to diving ,they can basically do as they please. But as long as they know what it means to dive safely and have at least a understanding of dive theory and the physiological effects then the risk of undesirable incidents are minimize. Safe scuba diving is all about knowledge and practical application in relation to ones level of skill and unnderstanding.
   
   Certified Dive masters (DMs) are trained to anticipate or deal with problems or emergencies underwater should they arise. A very well trained DM would have gone through all the rigours of training and theory relating to all the aspects of underwater emergencies.
   To be a fully qualified DM,the person will have gone through the Rescue diver certification which is precisely what it;s namesake suggests. Besides the the large variety of dive theory they need to study and pass an exam, it also prepares them to anticipate or respond to any given situation that may arise when they are scuba diving .Skills like search and recovery of missing divers or inwater rescuscitation of an unconscious diver ,CPR and logistics of handling any dive emergencies are practiced using  realistic scenarios during the courses before the candidate can be considered for a  Dive Master course.
   In a nut shell,when you are being guided by a fully trained and certified DM,that means that you are in the hands of a capable person who has been trained to prevent or avoid potentially hazardous diving conditions or to handle them if suddenly a situation does arise.
    Whereas in many dive centers,the dive guides that goes with you are sometimes just experienced divers who may know the local area or dive sites but have no clue as to what are the safety aspects in terms of scuba diving. Some have an inkling of it but often times ,most of them are reckless and not only do they lack the knowledge but they jeopardize their very own safety with irresponsible dive practices ,imagine these guys  leading a group of newbies who may not know any better.
The concern is exactly that. With seasoned divers who have logged hundreds of dives,they will know what is safe and what is not and usually they can handle themselves underwater , So a local dive guide is just what they need to highlight the local sites attractions but with total beginners,even though certified,they have always dived with their instructor who knows exactly what the limits are but being still fresh at the activity,they will tend to follow the  dive leader just assuming or taking it for granted that it is ok. And that can be a terrible mistake.
  There are  situations where a total beginner who has done only 4 certification dives and for all intents and purposes are still relatively ignorant of many dive safety issues in terms of the environment and their own ability but are taken to depths well beyond what they were trained to go to or dive in strenous and potentially dangerous  dive sites which to a experienced diver may be a non issue but to a newbie not knowing how to cope may end up putting themselves in a grave risk of a mishap.
   Almost everyday,thousands of dive courses are conducted somewhere in the world and thousands of certifications are issued to these newly trained divers.The marjority of these newbie scuba divers are city folk who perhaps dive only a few times in a year.
  During the learning of the course,they will always be under the care of a trained dive pro who will know  their ability and train them according to the requirements of an entry level diver course,trying their best to impart to them the necessity of safe diving practices and hazardous situations to avoid in terms of environment or sites they may not be qualified to dive at just yet. But as soon as they are signed off as certified divers, then they are on their own under the assumption that they will remember all they were taught.

 If you are a beginner diver  ,always know your own limitations. All dive agencies train the entry level to a restricted depth of 18 m and certain less challenging diving environments.. There is a very good reason for that as with all the other aspects of the diving course.
  The next time you are diving at a dive resort or dive center, let it be known what kind of diving environment you are comfortable with and what you are not.If the dive leader who will be guiding you is a fully trained pro,they will know exactly what to plan for you to minimize the risks and maximize the enjoyment of your underwater experience.
  If you feel you need a refresher , sign up for one, even very experienced divers who have not dived for an extended period of time will prefer to do the 1st dive in a very controlled and easy dive site with a dive pro refreshing their memory of the requirements for safety. This is more so for beginner scuba divers who may need a little more than merely jogging their memory, they might need to practice the skills they learnt during the scuba diving course in  a controlled underwater environment to prepare themselves into diving at a regular dive site.

 Dont follow blindly. The non trained dive guides  may not even realize that there are dive sites unsuitable or even dangerous for beginners. They usually see things from their own point of view. If they can dive it,so can you, perception,not accounting that they have hundreds of logged dives where you have less than 10.
   But what is most alarming is the fact that some of these purportedly experienced dive guides are in fact also not very experienced divers themselves who were hired by the dive resorts or dive shops to just accompany divers to cut costs. Many of them are not even trained to handle themselves in an emergency scenario underwater much less other divers,so the onus is on you to know who is leading you and what their  qualifications are.
   DMs are trained to cope with or avoid potential risks and hazards which a untrained guide will not even have the thought cross their minds.A good instructor will constantly hammer in to their DMs under training , the thought of dive safety  ,risk prevention or elimination , management of emergency situations, proper planning and management of divers according to experience level. Recognizing and handling stress in divers, hazardous marine life and avoidance of potential risky creatures etc etc.
 So if you are a freshly certified beginner scuba diver about to sign up for a few guided dives at a dive center,just very tactfully enquire as to who will bve leading or guiding you and what dive qualifications they have.All DMs have a number assigned to them by the respective training agency, so if you fell ackward about asking for credentials,get them to sign your log book, and you will know if they are trained DMs or not.

Can you learn to scuba dive if you cannot swim?

Ask this question to many a dive instructor,and invariably the answer will be in the negative. 

But, in actual fact there is more than meets the eye. 
And ,facts are albeit begrudgingly, there are actually many non-swimmers who are certified scuba divers !

And to be honest,it isn't really much surprise in this trivia.

Now the requirements before one can be accepted into a scuba diving course is that the enrollee needs to demonstrates proficiency in the water by being able to thread water for approximately 10 minutes,and be able to swim at least 30 meters with any style...

    AGAIN BUT..!!    Surprisingly,there are in fact a lot of scuba divers who cannot swim a stroke if their lives depended on it! No joke!  I personally happen to  know a few of them. So if i was asked ,  ,can a person who cannot swim learn to scuba dive? I will say yes- although it involves a few other factors.

   .The whole reason for the requirement to know how to swim is mainly because,it is believed that a non swimmer may not have the level of confidence in water to participate in a scuba course. 

Non swimmers are usually very uncomfortable when they are in a deep water environment with a high anxiety level which understandably is because they cannot float themselves causing real phobia of drowning.It is a sense of not being in control!

   So they might  freak out(panic) more  easily and risk  drowning ,to put it bluntly,but that doesn't attest to the fact that there are so many non swimmers who are bona fide certified scuba divers..

 Let's look at it from another light, scuba diving is actually a equipment intensive activity. When a person learns how to dive, they are in effect learning how to use the scuba diving equipment safely and properly. 

And actually in a real diving scenario, very seldom is it called upon for the diver to use their ability to swim naturally. They have the Buoyancy jacket which they inflate to float,and when they dive underwater all they do is let the air out and they  start to sink. 

And all the swimming is done via the feet with swim fins . That is all there is. But of course while they are underwater,it is important that they are able to control their buoyancy so they will not crash into the reef and damage the delicate environment.

  Skills of buoyancy which they learn to master during the entry level course,and any good dive instructor worth his money will be able to train them to adequately handle themselves controlling their diving profiles and knowing exactly what is safe and what is not.

 Also ,before they are signed off as certified scuba divers who can dive,they would have demonstrated to their  instructor their ability to be in control of their mental state and usage of dive gear at all times while they are underwater in a real scuba dive!.

 Knowing exactly how to use the diving equipment to sink  ,float or swim underwater neutrally , and in full control.!  
     Therefore back to the question, can a non swimmer learn all this?

  Personally from  a scuba diving instructor's point of view after so many years of teaching and post hundreds of certifications, encountering so many variation in mindsets ,from gutsy to the timid, and the naturals to the hopelessly ackward and clumsy.

So to honestly answer that question - I may respond with a  "Why Not ? Non swimmer but can clearly distinguish possession of high aptitude in acquiring or picking up skill sets.
I will tend to say yes..

But it does boil down to the individual , non swimmers are more edgy when it comes to swimming without swim aids but if the person is quite comfortable in-water,then there is every reason they can learn and complete the scuba course..

    After all, in the beginning,the student gets to practice breathing underwater with scuba gear in chest deep water .
Then they get to practice using the swim fins to learn to propel themselves,again in very shallow water. And then , still in shallow water, they learn how to properly control their buoyancy and how before they will be brought in to a slightly deeper environment..

By that time,they will have learnt how to use the buoyancy jacket and the breathing apparatus so there will usually be no problems.. It is all about the coordination of the individual's hand ,feet and mental awareness and the scuba equipment

Although , the main international dive certification agencies impose rules whereby the requirements for eligibility to participate in learning a scuba course is a basic ability to swim without swim aids, but in real life, it isn't that straightforward.

 There are many dive instructors who may conveniently bypass this requirement by placing their own standards of assessment and eligibility. 
As was mentioned earlier ,there are many certified leisure divers who cannot swim without swim aids ie..Fins,life jackets ,flotation device yet they can still scuba dive because they can demonstrate proficiency in the usage of the dive equipment.  

And incredibly, some of them turn out to be  much better divers in comparison to the newbie divers who can swim but  who lack the mindset of calm and alertness , so important in the making of a good diver.
 Again, it is all in the proper use of the dive equipment and having the necessary knowledge of safety in all regards ,  pertaining to scuba diving.
Like understanding the workings of dive gear and knowing how to tell if the gear is in good condition or unsafe. 
Knowing your own limitations in terms of the environments you scuba dive at. 
Knowing your own physical state or fitness and also your mental state,thereby being able to tell what you can and cannot cope with in the dive profiles.
This is in accordance with the level of skill you have mastered ,thoroughly at ease with your equipment and your ability to use them dexterously,controlling when to float ,when to sink,how to be in a neutral state of buoyancy ,proper breathing methods with the breathing apparatus,reading and understanding the gauges and knowing exactly how to react in any given emergency situations.

 And maybe somewhere along the line ,you pick up the skill of swimming without any equipment,but meantime you can take up the course to learn how to scuba dive.

Meaning ,it all boils down to the individual's mindset, regardless of whether you can swim or not,if you are one who can be cool as a cucumber in high anxiety situations,you could learn how to scuba dive 
Being able to swim and being able to scuba dive are two distinctly separate type of skill-set.
The former is mainly dependent upon your physical ability and coordination , whereas the latter is about acquiring the knowledge and skills with using of  diving  equipment . 
After all,you cannot scuba dive without scuba gear , being a good swimmer or not doesn't factor into the equation.!


 So again ,can a person who cannot swim learn how to scuba dive? What do you think?

why scuba diving is popular!




Scuba diving as a popular recreational or leisure activity really took off in popularity during the 90s. Thanks partly to so many TV programs with the vivid and brilliant visuals of fantastically colorful coral reefs and its inhabitants and personal testimonies of bona fide users of S C U B A Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

 It was not until the 60s that diving as an activity for recreation began to take form.Before that, underwater domain was restricted to naval commandos or commercial divers using bulky equipment to stay underwater for any extended period to either demolish or construct something. However, the major disadvantage then was that the equipment consisted of very heavy set up, made from metal and usually attached to the surface by an umbilical life support with which the diver gets their breathing supply from.
 
 Then came SCUBA.! Jacques Cousteau, the diver liberator, the man credited with inventing the Aqualung, where a diver goes underwater totally independent of any hoses attached to the surface,thereby giving the diver freedom of movement to swim a larger area,free of restrictions because they bring their air supply along with them underwater but with a minor disadvantage of a limited air supply. Hence self contained, the diver brings their underwater breathing apparatus on their backs.

 Scuba diving as a popular recreational or leisure activity really took off in popularity during the 90s. Thanks partly to so many TV programs with the vivid and brilliant visuals of fantastically colorful coral reefs and its inhabitants and personal testimonies of bona fide divers who have done it and was smitten by it. Also by then, the various international Scuba certification agencies had hitherto enough time to refine their training and instructional methodology to a very high competent level of safety and enjoyment especially to many who have never dived before and extremely curious as to the safety aspects and enjoyment factor of diving as a extracurricular activity.

 Diving certification agencies had recognized this potential niche of scuba and taken full advantage of the opportunity to design it in a way to open up this tremendously enjoyable recreation to the masses by creating a syllabus that progressively trains according to individual abilities and fitness level.

 There used to be a time where you would have needed a few months and a very strenuous training regime to enable you to confidently dived into the ocean fully prepared,physically and psychologically to handle the challenges or situations should they arise.

 But that had preempted many from taking up the sport. Not any longer. Now anybody with a desire to learn and who possess average swim skills and even physical shape can participate and learn how to have fun underwater safely. All dive agencies have similar training structures, from the very basic to highly advanced level.

 It has been noticed that many who take up the sport merely wish to just immerse themselves underwater enjoying the sensation of the ability to breathe in that environment for an extended time beyond normal and having a blast swimming alongside.

NO booze , no strenous activity ( no sex??) ,no hot shower after diving-seriously!

Most divers after a full day of scuba diving , having done multiple dives , the moment they clear their equipment,they will walk over to the nearest bar and grab a beer  . Big Mistake ! If you are diver who knows your nitrogen absorbtion and elimination theory  ( which you should otherwise, you would not have got your dive certification.) anyway .many tend to forget that the nitrogen gases you have absorbed into your body needs a bit of time for it to leave.And the worst thing is that before it can actually out-gas itself , the worst mistake one can do is to introduce some substance to accelerate it into bubble form.


 Alcohol can do that to you. Beginner divers , take note , in the 1st place  , do you remember your instructor informing you or cautioning you on the dangers of going scuba diving with alcohol in your system  Dont drink and dive !!
  Well , at the same token ,it is also not a good idea to drink alcohol after diving. Dont drink immediately after diving!
Thats is not to say you should not drink at all . Actually it shouldn't be a problem if you have a drink or two or three if you
put in a period of about a minimum of 3- 4 hours. before you hit the booze. You wanna tank up , that's fine .but it will be more prudent to let  more of the nitrogen gases out of your system 1st. If you remember your dive theory , then you will recall the decompression sickness warning. How divers can get DCS , but the manual doesn't cover the topic of boozing after scuba diving.
  The thing is, if you have been doing multiple dives in one day , your body would have absorbed some residue nitrogen during the dives. Remember your dive theory when you learnt  about the 21 % / 79% mix of the atmospheric air us humans breathe. And how that is compressed into the scuba tank. So essentially scuba tank air is the same air we breathe to live.
  21% being oxygen which is not a problem but the other 79% being nitrogen gas which is a problem , especially when we breathe it in a pressurized environment , namely underwater. Well , to make a long story short , divers absorbed the excess N2o in their bodies and need time to let it out-gas when they are back on land. If managed properly , no problem at all, but if there is insufficient knowledge to minimize the risk, it is very likely risking DCS. (decompression sickness) in mild cases , can be excruciatingly painful like dislocated joints , and in extreme cases can be fatal causing heart attacks or brain embolism.
 And drinking alcohol immediately after diving , especially if the amount of absorbed N2o is substantial , can cause DCS.
 Alcohol  increases  your heart rate . Thus making your blood (full of N2o) pump faster. Acceleration of blood circulation risk the N20 come out of solution  and become gaseous instead of the soluble state it was in prior to that.Becoming gaseous means changing into a foamy state or bubbles that might block circulation to your extremities or worst the vital organs . Thats dangerous , can cause pain or paralysis or death in extreme cases.
 And so simple to avoid this DCS condition. Among the other stuff beginners learnt in the dive theory about this and how to minimize the risks , another element here is dont drink immediately after diving . Also not a good idea to do any strenuous activity after diving. Common sense will tell you that that will speed up your circulation rate and again accelerate the absorbed N2o.  How showers are a big NO.! Warm is OK but really immersing yourself in a tub full of really hot water, that's just asking for trouble!Common sense again ! Hot water ! Thats heat on you body , especially steaming hot ,on your body , the gas may evaporate into bubbles . DCS !It is all so simple to avoid , just give yourselves a decent time  interval of at least 3 hours or more and then you can do what you like. Except flying in a plane. That needs at least 18 hours of rest time before you can be fairly certain there is no more N2O in your system before you can board a flight with a lower pressure environment. Well, you should  know that already during your dive course.

 Just remember immediately after diving..No Booze ..  No heavy sports ...no hot baths or hot showers and Hmmmm should i mention NO SEX !!( Heck this is strenuous activity , isn't it ? Of maybe if you insist , then go slow and easy,that is probably a prudent idea)
  The point is , just anything that makes your blood pump faster and heats up your  body , try not to do it ,especially if you have been doing a lot of scuba diving in that day.

Above is my opinion, but the experts in Dive Medicine have different opinions. General consensus of course is that it is risky but others maintained there is not as yet enough data to support the conclusion that alcohol is dangerous to divers.

What the Experts say!
DAN and Alert Divers and Dive Research: Different experts opinions on Alcohol and Scuba diving




World record , biggest wave ever surfed!

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WATCH IT AGAIN.... BELOW..BUT WITHOUT THE MUSIC!! ITS EVEN MORE EXCITING, THIS IS THE ONLY FOOTAGE  OF A MOMENT IN HISTORY THAT WILL NEVER BE REPEATED ! The KIWI dude  MIKE PARSONS taking on JAWs in MAUI. ..From the documentary the Billabong Odysey. Take in the sound of CRASHING WAVES and the WIND as you watch , 
ENJOY THE RIDE!! TURN UP YOUR SPEAKERS.Listen to the wind and Crashing waves...Mind Blowing !!









fASCINATING MACRO CRITTERS









Pylons of a rig!
Photo taken by student of mine Aric Chia.

SAWBLADE SHRIMP

pics by edwin eng,








WHIP CORAL CRAB

Lazy good for nothing hanger on.


Remorra. Laziest fish. Likes to hang around bigger fishes like stingrays or sharks. Bigger the better.These lazy buggers cant even be bothered to swim,with suction cups on their backs,they just stick themselves to their host hitching a ride, detaching themselves to feed when their hosts eat. Sharks for example , as they grab food and tear it to pieces,bits or small chunks will drift about and these opportunist fish will grab its share and then stick itselves back on to the main body after the snacks. Waiting for the next convenient meal to come about. No wonder they are called suckers or parasites.

Underwater ninja.Mimic octo.

Look is it a flounder , no , is it a bunch of deadly seasnakes,no,could it be a stingray? No its just a mimic octopus.

Underwater ninjas .it can pretend to be what it feels like to camouflaged itself or to prey on food!

If ever there is a animal i totally respect underwater it has got to be the mimic octopus.Shapeshifter , invisible critter ,master of disguise , it not only can blend into any environment but actually by memory mimic another creature to deter or to prey upon prey.Amazing to watch.!!


.
video video

1st  video is when it adapting itself to look like the seagrass ,  and the other has it pretending to be a flounder fish.



























 
This last cephalopod may not be as versatile as the  Mimic octo , but still pretty good in any book!







Damselfish.The vegetable grower.farmer fish!

Small but fearless. Next time you scuba dive on a shallow reef.
And you come across this puny little fish aggresively darting at you.

Once..it is warning you to steer clear..
Twice if you stubbornly insist on confronting it..

Third time is usually a charm..the little bugger will really take a nip at you..

This damsel buggers are really fearless..They will take on fish or divers 50 times its own size..
Not that it hurts , actually more amusing than painful when bitten by a damselfish.

 But have a heart. There is a good reason why it is so aggressively trying to chase you away from the vicinity.
Some damsels are nicknamed farmer fish. In the real sense of the word.
They actually grow their own food, just like a vegetable farmer would do.
Damsels are known to cultivate their own crop of algae.

 Certain types of damsels graze on algae among the coral reefs and some actually swim around collecting algae and plant it all in a chosen patch, concentrated on a rock.or coral.
They will graze around and gather the algae onto a small patch on a selected patch , the algae they harvested .

So have a heart,next time you are diving the reef and the damsel have a go at you. The thing is merely protecting its algae farm it has so carefully cultivated and when you wander too close ,you are perceived as threat to its crops,stealing the spoils of its hard work.

Raiding its store.



 So if you get accosted by the damsel,if you look around ,with a keen eye and you may notice a patch of healthy thick clump of algae concentrated on a rock or coral patch , close to where the attack happened,That is  what it is defending...It's food source...
Like in the video above ....
See the healthy clump of algae on the bleached staghorn...





Yup indeed.these Damsels are fearless and by no means helpless  in Distress






Why i like to go scuba diving! Amazing cleaning stations



 Observing marine life and interaction of  events that happens around coral reefs. Dramas unfold like a TV soap opera,of sneakiness,intrigue, with elements of a spy drama ,there is deceit , grace , treachery ,trickery, trust ,betrayal,transformation,mutual respect,confusion,panic,agony, intelligence,posturing, beauty , courtship , seduction , delicate meticulous treatment,.harmony,balance,

Evolved from thousands of centuries of interaction between the organisms,creatures more ancient than human history,fierce predators turn docile,tiny fishes taking on other animals 50 times its own size,without fear protecting a small tuft of algae,it nurtured n cultivated,parasitic fishes, hitchhiking, too lazy to hunt for their own food preferring to grab leftover chunks ,killer lice slowly sucking out the life of the fish it has latched on , ritual of courtships, dances or posturing  with strikingly beautiful colors being used  to attract or seduce the opposite sex .
 Fascinating to watch as events unfold and being able to interpret the going ons is immensely rewarding,anemone condos or tiny cleaner shrimps,bigger boxer shrimps,venomous spines of scorpion fishes,or pencil urchins,deadly toxins of seasnakes 10 times more potent than the cousins on land.!


Cleaning stations.
  Fishes have no arms nor legs to scratch themselves when their bodies itch,as they swim about grazing for food,its inevitable they will pick up unwelcomed guest, hitch hikers that latches on to their bodies from their bodily contacts with the reef or  free swimming parasites that drift with the currents.
Or algae growth on their bodies as they swim about , the oceans are full of microscopic life in the form of plankton or tinier micro organism that floats and drifts with the currents.
 Its just mother nature's  design of the food chain link. Which in itself is another intriguing story. As for scuba divers,to be able to recognise a cleaning station and interpret the going ons,can be a rewarding and entertaining sight when observed.

 Its intriguing to admire the trust involved when species are being cleaned.
Predators like moray eels,sting rays  or generally those bigger fish that prey on smaller fishes ,quick snacks,seem to know where the boundaries of respect lies,more so for the smaller cleaner wrasses or cleaner shrimps which during the course of their feeding of the parasites,if the bigger fish should decide to make a quick snack of them,there really isnt much they can do to get out of the situation,especially when they are literally in the mouths already of the fish
.Amazing how restraint is  applied ,as the fishes let the cleaners do their jobs.Goin in and out of the gills and agaped mouths and eyes,hovering motionless as the cleaners go about their business.



















barras





See to belief.!.great white sharky buddy.not ur evryday pet!
































Remember the JAWS theme music..



Hey buddy , need your help...Got an itch.!














                                                                                                             







        YUP, Right there, thats the spot !! Scratch  
                    me  there!! Right on,feels gooood!

































AAAAAhhHH...What a relief.. Thanks a lot..MAN,!













 NO,PROBLEM,BRO..Anything for me pal..!!
m














                                SEE YA.!!







KILLING SHARKS IS NOT RIGHT!!

Scuba diving MISHAPS,Tragic fatal diving accident !

Diver films his own demise !!

Bone Chilling to watch as this diver sinks deeper and deeper to his Tragic Demise..Horrible !





The diver in this  video,a Russian named Yuri Lipski , lost his life and the footage ( because his video camera was on ) are the final moments before he drowned!! He was diving at the infamous Blue Hole in Dahab, Eqypt.

 This following video explains the situation and clarifies why it happened




It happens to the best of pros,and the worst of beginners,Diving accidents..it doesnt matter how experienced or skillful you are in scuba diving , if things go wrong underwater,Murphy's law comes into play. But experience does make a tremendous difference in the outcome or resulting consequence..In recreational scuba diving,mishaps are commonly attributed to  equipment malfunction or extreme underwater environments.or a combination of factors similar in nature.

   Whether the outcome turn out  severe or in some cases fatal, or a complete opposite of it which is like a controlled emergency situation despite injury or trauma , if one can maintain an air of calm and handle the situation like how a pro is trained to do,then it does make a very big difference- life and death difference, no exaggeration.
   Sadly there are known to be cases where the incident is caused by ,of all silly things ,vanity, pride or ego of the victims.  Certain individuals feel , foolishly , that due to their many years and logged dives numbering in the hundreds or thousands,these people seem to think that they have a right to be reckless,even when they are in possesion of the facts that suggest the risks outweigh all else, but they feel their experience will see them through and they are perfectly capable of carrying out the risky dive- ignoring caution - overconfident of their own ability to handle things,which in many cases turns out badly.
    Many divers  have lost their lives doing that,throwing caution to the wind,especially certain dive instructors, arrogant and proud to an extent that they don't actually practice what they preach.
   Teaching safety in diving on one side and themselves doing the complete opposite in their personal diving profiles.Contradicting all they teach. Supremely cocky of their skills.
 In actual fact,instructors who really are good and capable are those who recognizes the limits and will not cross them for anything. These are the ones who truly are masters of their craft.because they have a very strong control over their common sense.And even when they are pushing their diving limitations,they will always have a contingency  if something fouls up.Always prepared for all eventuality,

  The highlighted video link here shows the last moments of a dive accident involving a instructor.
 who inadvertently filmed his own tragic end with his own camera  Tragically,it is surmised that if he had maintained his cool and rationalised things and applied problem solving,the fatal  tragedy may have been averted. He had jumped in the water too heavy and probably had equipment failure to make things worst. Unable to control his descent,he just dropped like an anchor and sank very rapidly onto a ledge at a depth of more than 100 metres(330 feet) 3 times beyond the limits of  air  diving  ...Panicked and disoriented,he may have lost his good judgment sense and just freaked out and frozed...The poor guy struggled till he suffocated till the very end , documented on his camera he was still clutching onto when they recovered his lifeless body !
                                                                                                                              Bryan

Why diving beyond your fitness level and not properly controlling your buoyancy can be fatal.
Following is another account of another incident which involves a loss of  buoyancy comtrol..


SAM kicked with all his strength, but he wasn’t making much progress. He had dived down to try to  dislodge the boat''s anchor. .Without thinking,he made his way to the anchor and proceeded to free it by attempting to physically carry it to the sandy bed. So his group could move on to the next dive site . The anchor was heavy in his hands, and resticted his movement causing him to be off balanced underwater,. He was breathing really hard, but he just couldn’t get enough air from his regulator. He added air to his jacket-style BC thinking to offset the weight he had in his hands.The BCD jacket was nearly full and it pressed on his chest making it harder for him to breathe.Yet the weight of the anchor was heavy enough to keep him down.
 Then he let go of the anchor with one hand to pull down on his BC, but the weight caused it to slip, and go crashing back to the bottom, as he lost his grip. Almost instantly, he was rocketing for the surface totally out of control.
  
  Sam was an experienced diver who had worked  as a divemaster on a local dive boat. Always a little overweight, he had nonetheless been active and it had never been a problem. In the last year or so, a number of personal and physical problems had gotten in the way of his diving and his overall activity and exercise. His body weight shot up dramatically while his fitness level had decreased. His doctor recently prescribed high blood pressure and cholesterol medications and advised him to lose weight, explaining that he was obese .
 Sam was reluctant to begin a traditional exercise program, so he hadn’t done much to get in shape, but he knew he wanted to get back into diving. It was a stroke of luck that he  was in the dive shop having his gear serviced when the manager told him they needed some help on the boat that coming weekend., Sam  jumped at the chance to go diving again and feel like part of the team. He thought the activity would help get him back in shape quickly.

     It was a typical day on the boat with passengers going out for two wreck dives. It was up to the two divemasters to set the anchor at each new site and free it afterward. When they got to the site, the other divemaster had placed the anchor on the wreck, wrapping the heavy chain around the steel of the wreck to hold the anchor in place.
After all the divers were back on board, sam jumped in the water to make a quick dive, often referred to as a bounce, to free the anchor from the wreck. Once the captain realized the anchor was free, he would begin pulling it up, 

During his time away from the dive boat, the dive operation changed the anchor. It was heavier and a bit more awkward to control. The anchor was connected to a rope by a heavy chain. Since the other divemaster had taken the anchor down, the first time Sam had touched the anchor was when he was trying to get it free.But from his past experience, he felt confident he could handle the anchor.
As Sam donned his gear, he struggled to get his wetsuit on. He made a joke that it must have “shrunk” during his layoff. He was red-faced and breathing hard by the time he got his gear in place and entered the water. The wetsuit and the BCD were both noticeably tight around his chest and midsection.
Sam descended down the anchor line quickly and found the anchor. After a few minutes of struggle, he was able to get the heavy weight free.After adding air to his bcd. He found himself able to move, but at the same time the pressure on his chest made it harder and harder to draw a breath. sam was overbreathing his regulator, but the rapid shallow breaths were preventing him from actually moving fresh air into his lungs. He began to feel light-headed and dizzy.
He was about 10m off the bottom when he let go of the weight with one hand to adjust his equipment and ease the pressure on his chest. The heavy anchor slipped loose from his hand and the chain quickly ran through his fingers. The rapid change in his buoyancy immediately shot him toward the surface.
Louis surfaced about 25 yards away from the boat. He immediately began waving his arms over his head, and the crew heard a weak call of “Help!” before Sam went unconscious. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.
Analysis
Every diver has heard the line to “breathe continuously and never, ever hold your breath.” We all also learn that if we don’t follow that rule, we can hurt ourselves very badly and very quickly. There is no way of knowing if sam exhaled on the way up or not, but it really didn’t matter because his ascent to the surface was so fast — according to his dive computer, in just a few seconds he went from a depth of a little more than  10m to the surface. The air in his lungs expanded to nearly triple the volume in that same amount of time, much too rapidly for him to exhale. An autopsy later showed that he had significant amounts of air underneath his skin and in his arterial supply. The expanding air tore a hole in his lungs and leaked out into his body, entering his arterial blood supply. The bubbles went directly to his brain. This is called arterial gas embolism (AGE).
The cause of death in this case was the AGE, but the triggers that caused this accident began long before that. Sam was out of shape and not physically fit enough to do the dives he was attempting to make. He should have taken the time to prepare his body regardless of his past experience. He also hadn’t been in the water or used his dive gear in a year. A quick trip to a pool or a local lake/quarry to practice some of his emergency skills and get comfortable again would have helped him tremendously. Additionally, it would have become apparent to him that his gear didn’t fit properly before he tried to use it on the dive boat. It probably would not have made a difference, but his’ size also made it difficult for the others to pull him on board and begin providing care. That delayed first-aid treatment as they struggled to get him on board.
As he struggled to ascend to the surface, sam used his BC as a floatation device for the anchor. When he dropped the anchor, he was suddenly extremely buoyant and there was no way he could have vented air fast enough to counteract more than 40 pounds of additional lift he was facing. It is very unsafe to use your personal BC as a means to float a heavy weight. He should have used a small lift bag to bring the anchor to the surface or the dive operation should have given him a communication system to allow him to free the anchor and then let it go while the boat brought it to the surface with the winch, rather than him attempting to swim it up.
Lessons for life
  • Take a diving refresher after a long layoff from the water.
  • Make sure you are fit enough to make the dives you plan to make. A general level of fitness is essential to safe diving.
  • Use gear that fits well and is appropriate for the dive.
  • Use a lift bag to bring heavy objects from the bottom, not your BCD








      insulting or tactful,bad students

      Being a scuba instructor is a cool job to have but isn't fun and games all the time.Of course,more up than down moments. Teaching people the finer aspects of underwater skills
      can be very gratifying when the students respond well to instruction and but at times downright hairpulling frustrating.

      Some individuals just dont seem to have it.But they seem to think they are natural water babies.No big deal,breathing underwater,swimming around ,which is pretty much the case except that one needs to be smooth and stable
      when swimming ,in full control,not like a rampaging bull charging through the coral reef,crashing and tearing the reef apart,scaring away the fishes.

       Yup,tough profession we have ,patience,tactfulness is a prerequisite skill we must master  When at times you want to say , "Hey,so sorry,but you are an absolute disaster underwater,a downright clumsy oaf who cant be trusted to be left to your own devices underwater ,you would probably drown yourself or worst be an ecological threat to the reef as it is. i just cannot in good conscience sign you a certificate and face mother nature.'
         But in tactful  reality , you sigh ,take a deep breathe , then turn around and with a grin- careful not to let it resemble a painful grimace , you say to them, " Ummmm,, you know what , I think you need a few more sessions to practice and improve on your underwater skills- come back another time to the dive shop ,and we will work on it,i suggest you put in some practice in a swimming pool when back in the city . Overall,you did well, just some minor kinks need to be ironed out.WE'll make a diver out of you yet".!!

         There are also the other type,certified divers who can dive but lack the experience to the more challenging diving environments.So called advanced dive sites.

       Beginner divers are restricted to not more than 18 meters depth and preselected sites mainly out of safety considerations,more emphasis on the fun factor than taking unnecessary risks.

      And you 'll have this divers come to you and say,i want to go this site or that,why dont you take me there,i heard its a brilliant dive site.just slightly deeper but no problem,i can handle it.I've already done 10 dives in my log and its no big deal,i feel i am ready for all conditions,i insist we dive there,we are paying for diving so as a customer,our request has priority .
       
       Hmmm...Right ...''  In  your mind you are thinking,," this dude is  asking to go to a site where the currents can sweep even the experienced divers out to open sea if they make a mistake,max depth is like 60 meters which is off limits even to us professionals,so have to be extremely careful not to go too deep,and diving with you- what i see is a buffoon who never checks his depth while underwater, the word 'hazard' is the name of a song from the 80s, and when swimming underwater with your fins, technique looks like pedalling an imaginary bicyle ,  if ,i take you to this dive site , it will  be akin to holding your hand and jumping off the top of a 30m waterfall and taking your chances when you land in the water.OK,you have a death wish,but please,not on my shift".

        But what you really think need to be in stark contrast on what you eventually say which is something to this effect , "  Oh ,yeah , sure,i'll take you there,if you want ,not today though, coz the dive site is at open sea and weather forecasts very rough conditions for few days,off limits to small boats,maybe tomorow , if weather calms down".
       Then when tomorrow comes and he still asks and insist on  going ,you'll say,"Oh,the dive centre next door went and came and told us not to go because  visibility is very bad,can't see more than 1 meter ,so no point,cant see the dive site even if you dive in,tell you what,let me take you to another site almost as good as this one,vis is fantastic,you can see 20 meters all around, It will be great , i promise.."

        We also have a trick up our sleeves as a last resort.If they are still insistent on going after few days ,then we go , we dive and go back.  Their Response" not really that good this site,dont see what the hype was about" .  And You say "Yup,you're right,we do think that this site is a bit overrated, " but the fact of the matter is that, in your mind you are thinking in a whispered tone
       "of course its not that good as expected,dumkopf ,thats because we didnt exactly take you there ,just decided to rename another dive site so it has the same name to the one you requested to go to
       .All in your honour,cos we know you wont be able to tell the difference,"

      Well ,why not ? sneaky i 'll admit,yet in the end everyone's happy,and no mishaps to worry about.
      Customer's satisfaction.

      Turning Pro -from recreational diver to Dive mastering or Instructor.


      If you are one of those divers which after obtaining a entry level certification and gone diving and something within you clicks and you just cant seem to get enough of diving, its like a drug, you are inextricably hooked to the activity.Consider yourself blessed!
        Mainly there are 2 categories of recreational scuba divers, either you are among those who just go on a dive trip occasionally,few times a year,enjoy the experience then return to what it is you do to eke out a living or the other category of divers who after learning how to dive, discovers an affinity to it and unleashes a passion for an activity within themselves that hitherto have been lodged in their psyche, Similar to many of the adrenaline seeking junkies and what they chose to satiate their thirst for the fix. Sky diving, surfing, automobile or bike  racing,to name a few.
       Scuba diving to a lesser degree has similarities with a slight edge over these sports in that it isnt as extreme and physically or psychologically as demanding as the requirements needed  for the other extreme sports.

       It caters to all niches.from students to businessmen, children to senior citizens,all alike can enjoy this activity without apprehension provided of course that they have been properly trained in the knowledge and inwater skills necessary for a complete underwater fun experience.
        Or the adventurous in spirit , there are so many avenues in scuba diving open to exploring the underwater realm,be it seeking out ship wrecks, looking for new reefs to research , treasure hunting on the sea bed. search and recovery of lost objects.
      Even for the extreme sports seekers who are constantly on the lookout for something to push themselves to the limits,dicing with the fine line between fatality and adrenaline rush gratification,it can be found in diving.Tecnical diving , treasure hunting  salvage diving. etc
       There have been many professionals who were searching for an additional recreational activity,like golf, something to have fun with when they can spare the time from their hectic lives,then does a  entry level dive course,discovers a whole new world and awakens an awareness of a new perception of a whole different exciting realm that is available to them , and their lives as they know it, just suddenly ups and abandons their cosy,cushy lucrative careers to becoming a dive professional after realising just how gratifying the feeling can be ,going scuba diving.

       Because, it is so simple to meet the requirements needed to becoming a dive pro!  Just 60 dives logged and verified and one can start training to be a Divemaster, 1st level that qualifies one to actually get paid for recreational scuba diving. DM's  are trained to guide and plan dive excursions underwater , know to take precautions when guiding divers,  and know how to react to underwater emergencies if such situations arise.
        So from the very 1st certification of open water diver,then continuing training to becoming an advanced open water diver ,
      the next step is to have a basic 1st aid certification,CPR etc which qualifies the diver to train as a rescue diver,learning how to handle diving emergencies and life saving skills in water. And coupled with a verified dive log of 60 dives enables the diver to train as a Divemaster.
        Then if a year has lapsed from the time of the entry level certification and 100 dives logged, the DM can register for a assistant instructor and instructor course conducted in numerous locations around the world. After which there is a exam
       testing the theory knowledge and inwater skills of the candidate and when all goes well,another fully qualified scuba instructor joins the industry to teach others how to dive safely and appreciate and admire the wondrous underwater realm.

        AS it turns out,usually the ones that become instructors are usually those who have developed a passion for diving and desires to dive as often and in as many locations as possible.Making money is a secondary concern,as long as one can earn enough to eke out a living and pay for expenses,being a scuba instructor is reward in itself. It isnt a big bucks industry,for the individual dive pros,yet it can still pay the bills plus some.. Can be a part time job amongst other professions or full time
      job working for a dive resort or dive shop.or a full time freelancer going island hopping wherever there is a demand for instructors to help teach. That is one of the advantages of being a dive pro affiliated to a international certification agency tha is acknowledged worldwide. Structure of the dive courses and the materials for training and certification  are exactly the same everywhere.

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