,

London Dive Show 2014

1 Ticket, 4 Shows – Book Now and SAVE!

London Dive Show

London Dive Show

 Stand 280

Book online now and SAVE £4 per ticket.

Advance tickets cost just £16.00, instead of £20.00 on the door.
Under 16s accompanied by adults FREE.

Normal ticket price: Adults £20.00. Under 16s accompanied by adults FREE. No refunds.

1 Ticket, 4 Shows! logos

Your purchase includes a voucher to use for FREE entry to the Telegraph Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show, The London Bike Show & Triathlon Plus Show. Please present the voucher at the Show Box Office, which is located at the West Entrance of ExCel (Close to Custom House DLR stop) and it will be exchanged for your entrance ticket(s).

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A Simple Guide To DECOMPRESSION ILLNESS

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Everything we need to know and more.

Everything we need to know and more.

Find at Amazon.co.uk

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This book will enable divers to have a better understanding of some of the medical problem and illness associated with diving. After reading this book you will be able to fully recognise each of the individual conditions and have a clear understanding of the best action to take in the event of decompression illness.

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[item] For all levels of experience from novice to instructor [/item]
[item] Topics explained in a clear non-medical language [/item]
[item] Guide to initial treatment and first aid [/item]
[item] Includes emergency action charts [/item]
[item] Recompression tables [/item]
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[quote style=”dark” author=”John Liddiard – Diver Magazine”] A Simple Guide to Decompression Illness sorts it all out in one short booklet. It offers everything we need to know and more, in terms any diver can understand.
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[featured icon_size=”xl” image=”” title=”About The Author” subtitle=”Lee Griffiths” icon_color=”#6595bf” icon=”user-1″] Lee Griffiths has extensive experience working in the diving and hyperbaric industry. His positions held include Diving Safety Manager and Diving Accident Facility Manager. In 2003 he won an award for Improving Diving Safety in South East Asia by the Divers Alert Network (DAN). He currently works at London Hyperbaric Medicine, Whipps Cross University Hospital. [/featured]

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Second Giant Sea Creature Washes Ashore

Second Giant Sea Creature Washes Ashore Along Santa Monica Coastline – Alarms Sound Over Radioactive Gigantism

For the second time in recent months, a giant sea creature has washed ashore in California. First it was a rare oarfish that had grown to a freakish 100-foot length. This time it was a giant squid measuring a whopping 160 feet from head to tentacle tip. These giants look different but experts believe they share one important commonality: they both come from the waters near the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant in the Futaba District of Japan.

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[quote style=”dark” author=”Martin L. Grimm, PhD, Santa Marino College”] These creatures give us the chance to study radioactive gigantism.  Imagine a tuna fish that could feed a city the size of Austin, Texas, this is the possibility of radioactive gigantism. [/quote]
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Scientists believe that following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant an unknown number of sea creatures suffered genetic mutations that triggered uncontrolled growth – or “radioactive gigantism.”

Unfortunately, this cadre of mutant giants seems to be drifting towards the continental U.S. Local officials in Santa Monica, CA – where the creature drifted ashore – tried to calm residents. “This creature appears to be deceased and even if alive only thrives in water,” said Santa Monica Parks Manager Cynthia Beard. “We intend to move the creature in pieces to Scripps Research Institute so that they can study it,” she noted.

Radioactive Gigantism

Although not yet well understood, radioactive gigantism is said to result when radiation causes changes to the growth regulating portions of the DNA of affected organisms. When growth regulators fail to control cellular growth, an organism may reach many times its regular body size.

Local radioactive gigantism expert Santa Marino College biology professor Martin L. Grimm, PhD said that the nuclear disaster may have had some unintended benefits. “These creatures give us the chance to study radioactive gigantism,” he said. Grimm believes that harnessing radioactive gigantism may be like harnessing the atom to create atomic energy. “Imagine a tuna fish that could feed a city the size of Austin, Texas,” he said. “This is the possibility of radioactive gigantism.”

Others find the giant sea creatures to be a potential safety concern. Even before the giant squid washed ashore, the U.S. Coast Guard had issued a “blue alert” for residents in central and southern Californian coasts “to remain watchful.”

Yesterday Admiral Sandy Duncan-Roberts said that she would need to raise the awareness level to a “yellow alert” which asks resident to “exercise caution” along the shoreline. Are giant sea creatures really a threat for those on land? “Take Jaws but make him the size of a Manhattan skyscraper,” said Bruce Kenner, a marine biologist at UC San Diego. Kenner thinks that gigantism might distort sea creatures’ navigational systems. “If that guy took a wrong turn onto the coastline he could level 40 city blocks thrashing before he comes to rest,” he said.

Residents are anxious now that a second creature has surfaced. “Before we only worried about parking when we went to the beach,” said Marquise Griffon. “Now we have to worry about Godzilla coming after us.”

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Taravana: Can free divers get bent?

Can free divers get bent?

Can free divers get bent?

The classic study by Cross in 1965 looked at Polynesian island natives of the Tuamotu Archipelago,who habitually free dive many times in quick succession, usually for food or pearls and may make 40 to 60 dives a day to 30 or 40 metres. Taravana means to ‘fall crazily’ and his report listed 35 male divers. Twelve of them suffered from vertigo and one died. The ages ranged from 19 to 62, and the greatest depth dived was about 45 m. The islanders usually dived from a canoe or an outrigger and descended using a weight of about 4 to 6 kg attached to a line and wore goggles or a face mask. Divers would hyperventilate for 3 to 10 minutes before diving with a deep inhalation, followed by deep expiration accompanied by a long drawn “whoooeee” sound. Before the dive, the diver lowered himself into the water and continued to hyperventilate at a faster rate. Just before he dived, he raised himself out of water to the waist, took a deep breath and descended feet first holding the weight. Time on the bottom ranged from 30 to 60 seconds. Ascent time was no more than 20 seconds from depths of 30 to 39m. As soon as he reached the surface, the diver hyperventilated again for 3 to 10 minutes and then dived. The maximum duration of a dive, from surface to surface, was 2 minutes and 35 seconds. The average however, was 1 minute 30 seconds for a series of timed dives. The most common symptoms of Taravana were vertigo, nausea and ‘mental anguish’. Occasionally, vertigo was the only symptom. Some of these symptoms could be due to hypoxia, hypercarbia (high CO2 in the blood) and drowning, but are highly suggestive of decompression illness, especially the neurological symptoms.

Breath hold diving causing decompression illness was then reported in 1965 by Paulev, a Medical Officer in the Royal Danish Navy, after he spent 8 minutes at 20m as an attendant in a recompression chamber and then performed a number of breath hold dives in the submarine escape training tank (SETT) to 20m. Each descent took 20-25 secs, he would then sit or walk until he felt the need to breathe, at about 2 minutes, then he ascended to the surface, which took 10 – 15 seconds. Surface intervals were short (between a few seconds and 2 minutes) and he was in the water about 5 hours. During the last 2 hours, he experienced nausea, dizziness and belching and during the last 30 minutes, he developed pain in his left hip and right knee, with the right leg and the right arm weakness. Two hours after leaving the water he had chest pain, abdominal pain, pins and needles and numbness in the right hand and blurred vision. He was treated with USN Table 3 which was partially successful although a residual weakness of the right hand persisted. Three further cases have subsequently been treated in the Norwegian SETT and each one had been compressed in the hyperbaric chamber before breath hold diving. All experienced neurological symptoms and were successfully treated, which supported the diagnosis of decompression illness from breath hold diving.

 Question 1

Can I freedive after scuba diving?

Freediving after scuba is not safe. Although there are no clear guidelines, it is generally agreed that freediving can result in decompression illness after scuba diving, as a result of the above examples.

Question 2

Is it escaped gas or evolved gas?

The clinical pictures described above are more in keeping with the slower onset and less profound neurological problems associated with evolved gas decompression illness, that are dependent on the amount of absorbed nitrogen. Rather than the sudden onset severe neurological problems associated with escaped gas arterial gas embolism.

Question 3

Can submariners get DCI?

Submarines are pressurised to around 1 atm so there is no risk of decompression illness. However, if there is a breach in the hull, any ingress of water will pressurise the remaining space and make decompression illness more likely, especially if there is then escape to the surface. I have described how submariners can get decompression illness from evolved gas after repetitive breath hold dives in SETT, however they are actually more likely to get decompression illness in SETT from escaped gas from pulmonary barotrauma if they hold their breath on ascent.

Question 4

Can cetaceans get DCI?

There have been reports in Nature journal of bubbles in the tissues of cetaceans that have been stranded, suggesting that decompression illness is a problem in these air breathing mammals. Although the truth is more difficult to ascertain, as the stranding and the bubbles could be caused by cavitation from military sonar.

Question 5

What is the difference between deep water and shallow water black out?

These 2 terms cause confusion but are caused by the same thing, except for the depth at which it happens. The urge to breath is driven by the level of CO2 in the blood. That is, until the O2 drops to a low level, when the urge to breath is driven by O2. At depth, the level of O2 and CO2 are raised due to the increased pressure and breathing can seem comfortable. But on ascent from 10m to the surface (or 30m to 10m), the levels of both halve. If the O2 levels drop beyond that required for the brain to function, then black out will occur.

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SCUBA DIVING SAFETY – TOP 5 RULES

 

To come up with guidelines for scuba diving safety, the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) in the past decade conducted a study analyzing a database of incidents for a period of 12 years covering 1st January 1998 to 31st December 2009 (UK Diving Fatalities Review – BSAC). These incidents were categorized and ranked according to their level of gravity:

Moray eel with scuba diver

Moray dancing

1. Fatalities

2. Decompression illness (DCI)

3. Surface or boating incidents

4. Ascent-related incidents

5. Technique-related incidents

6. Equipment-related incidents

7. Illness (non-DCI) or injury

8. Miscellaneous

 

In 2012, the National Diving Committee released their Diving Incidents Report (http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1038&sectionTitle=Annual+Diving+Incident+Report), which placed DCI on top of the list.  Fatalities, on the other hand, were significantly low — which is a good thing.

Still, when it comes to dive safety, it is worthwhile not only to know the most common – yet easily avoidable — causes of dive incidents but, more importantly, to try to prevent them from happening at all costs.  Following these 5 safety rules in scuba diving will not only ensure your well-being underwater, but even that of your partner’s.

 Be Physically Fit

Diving is a physical and strenuous activity. Based on the 2012 report, 65% of the fatalities involved divers over the age of 50.  The underlying cause of death is often traced to heart attack or circulatory problems. This is because health and fitness normally decline due to increasing age. Divers therefore need to pay more attention to these factors as they grow older.  By being physically fit and well conditioned, your body will be more able to handle the stresses of this activity.

 Equipment Check-Up

Most accidents can be avoided by doing a pre-dive safety check between buddies. Often, by becoming too familiar with one’s equipment, it is easy to overlook a loose strap, a disconnected inflator hose, a close tank valve, or forgetting to put on a weight belt. But with the help of a buddy, this oversight can be corrected before it develops into a problem and results in an accident.

Also by having your regulator, BCD and your tank serviced regularly, wear-and-tear problems of the equipment can be detected long before it can cause any major damage or accident.

 Buddy System

There is a higher percentage of diving incidence when diving alone. That’s because in an emergency situation like a diver going out of air or becoming unconscious due to narcosis, such incidence will render a lone diver totally helpless. But with a buddy, access to an alternative air source is readily available and assistance for whatever need or predicament is always on hand. Also, having a buddy allows you to run through your pre-dive check with one another, help each other in and out of the water, and share the fun and experience of the whole dive together.

 Ascend Safely and Do a Safety Stop

As mentioned, DCI has often been at the top of the list of diving incidents in the past years. That’s primarily caused by the residual nitrogen in the body due to the compressed air being breathed. To avoid or minimize DCI, never ascend more than 15m/min up to 6m depth and 6m/min for the final 6m to the surface. Also to increase out-gassing in your body, make it a habit to do a safety stop (3min at 5m below the surface) at the end of each dive or a decompression stop when doing a decompression dive.

 Proper Training

Finally, nothing replaces proper training. Make sure you get your training from a legitimate club or a certifying agency. This ensures that the training you receive covers all the basics of scuba diving as well as the safety aspect of it.  It also helps to continue practicing the skills you learned until they become second nature to you. And remember, never dive beyond your level of training and experience.

 

By following these rules you would have addressed and safely avoided the majority of untoward incidents that occurred in the past decade.

Free Diving vs. Scuba Diving

Freediving-vd-Scuba-DivingIs there really a difference between free diving and scuba diving? While both sports deal with exploring the underwater world, there is a significant difference between the two.

Goal of the Sport

Free diving is a sport often associated with the objective of achieving a personal best on depth or dive time. Its stress is to go beyond one’s limits. Scuba, on the other hand, is a recreational sport that enables one to enjoying the aquatic marine life. And the stress is to dive within one’s limits.

Breathing Technique

Breath-holding is the technique used by a free diver. This single breath of air may last an average of anywhere from 45 sec. to 3 min. or sometimes longer. For scuba diving, the rule is to breathe continuously and to never hold your breath. This is because breathing compressed air at depth will allow a diver to fill his lungs to capacity. Breath-holding will cause lung injury upon ascent due to expansion of the air in the lungs which in turn is caused by decreasing water pressure. Since scuba diving is done with the help of a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA), the diver may last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the depth, tank size and the diver’s rate of breathing.

Lung Over-Expansion, Narcosis and Decompression Sickness

These diving injuries which may afflict a scuba diver is non-existent for a free diver. Because a free diver dives with a single breath of air, the volume of air in his lungs is never greater than it was on the surface because no additional air was inhaled underwater.  Likewise because the free diver is not breathing compressed air at depth, then there is no nitrogen overload that may lead to nitrogen narcosis at depth or decompression sickness on the surface. This means a free diver has no need to be concerned with maintaining a safe ascent rate or doing a safety stop.

Equipment

Because free diving relies only on a breath of air, a mask, a snorkel and fins are all that is needed. Sometimes if the water is cold then a wetsuit and weight belt is added. Scuba diving on the other hand requires not only the above set but also the bulky SCUBA unit to allow the scuba diver to adapt underwater.

Dive Preparation

Free divers need several minutes to prepare their body before a dive. They undergo a pre-dive respiration technique to relax their body. Scuba divers on the other hand use the time to prepare their equipment for a dive.

Mobility Underwater

Without the bulky SCUBA unit that also creates drag, a free diver is more mobile and agile underwater. Likewise with no air bubbles being exhaled or distracting sound caused by breathing from a regulator, a free diver becomes a silent and deadly hunter while spear fishing. He can also interact and be one with the aquatic life without them being intimidated.

So if you’d like to merely observe the marine life underwater, be a scuba diver. But if you want a closer interaction with the marine life, without a bulky apparatus that is both an encumbrance to you and somewhat of a threat to the aquatic environment, then go for  free diving.

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Dangerous Marine Life 2

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Dr Oliver Sykes  In the dangerous marine life series, this month I will cover injected toxins.

CONE SHELLS

Cone shells or snails have attractive shells, and may be picked up by children or visitors to the reef who may be unaware of the danger. The cones possess a detachable, dart-like tooth, with venom that can cause sustained muscle contractions, numbness and weakness.

Symptoms: Small puncture wound with localized blanching, cyanosis and swelling. Severe pain, numbness, and tingling of the mouth and lips. Sometimes there is difficulty breathing and paralysis.

Treatment: Immobilize the limb, apply a pressure dressing, administer CPR if needed. Cleanse the puncture site, give analgesics and give tetanus prevention. Be prepared to support and monitor rate and depth of breathing. There is no anti-venom.

 

BLUE-RINGED OCTOPUS

The salivary glands of the blue-ringed octopus produce venom.

Symptoms: The bite is usually painless and is followed by painless paralysis. Beginning with abnormal sensations of the mouth, neck and head, then nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and sometimes lack of respirations. There can be visual disturbances, impaired speech and swallowing, and generalized weakness and paralysis. The duration is from 4 to 12 hours.

Treatment: Immobilize the limb, apply pressure dressings, cleanse the bite, treat for tetanus and monitor rate and depth of breathing.

 

STINGRAY

These possess a serrated bony spine at the base of the dorsal surface of the tail. Most injuries occur when the ray is stepped on.

Symptoms: Intense pain at the site; there is local loss of blood supply and swelling. Edges are jagged and may contain pieces of spine. Therefore secondary infection is common. Systemic effects include salivation, sweating, vomiting, diarrhoea, cramps, low blood pressure, and fast heart rate.

Treatment: Irrigate and remove remaining spine. Immerse in hot (50 C) water until pain subsides. Give local or systemic pain relief. Cleanse, debride and suture the wound. Give tetanus protection, infection prophylaxis and monitor heart rate, blood pressure, rate and depth of breathing.

 

SALT WATER CAT FISH

Catfish are a common and widespread group of fish, found in rivers, estuaries, seagrass flats, mud flats and reefs. They are furnished with three venomous spines – one on the back and one on each side. These spines are very sharp and easily effect a serious injury, resulting in severe pain at the site. The pain usually only lasts a few hours The fins have a complex toxin which is believed to be destroyed at temperatures above 40 C.

Symptoms: Intense pain out of proportion for the physical injury, generalised symptoms are rare, including muscle cramps, tremor, fatigue, syncope and even cardiovascular collapse.

Treatment: Immerse in hot (50 C) water, cleansing of the wound and liberal irrigation with hot water. Give tetanus protection and antibiotics that cover Vibrio vulnificus. Severe allergic reactions can occur.

 

SCORPIONFISH

There are many species, including lionfish and stonefish. The venom is similar to stingray and is destroyed over 50 C. An antivenin is available through the Australia Commonwealth Serum Lab.

Symptoms: Immediate intense pain, redness, swelling, cyanosis, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, delirium and cardiovascular collapse.

Treatment: Irrigate and remove debris. Immerse in hot (50 C) water. Give analgesia, antibiotics, tetanus and antivenin if available.

 

SEA SNAKES

The sea snake is an inquisitive but usually non-aggressive air-breathing snake. Sea snakes are readily identified by their flattened tails and valvular nostrils. The venom is extremely toxic and, while not destroyed by heat, many bites are not envenomated.

Symptoms: No symptoms for10 minutes to 6-8 hours post bite then there is malaise, anxiety and stiffness, aching and paralysis, especially of the jaw and eye lids. Ten percent of untreated cases are fatal.

Treatment: Immobilize the site of the bite. Hospitalize, obtain the antivenin and give CPR if needed. Try polyvalent land snake anti-venom if specific anti-venom is not available. Haemodialysis can be helpful and respiratory support is often needed.

 

Question 1

What is venom?

 

Venom is made up of poisonous chemicals called toxins. Many animals have developed ways of injecting venom into other animals. When the toxins in the venom are absorbed into an animal’s body, they have a harmful effect on that animal. Venom is part of some creatures’ survival kit-they use their toxic weapons to survive. Some animals inject venom to gather and kill their food. Other animals use it to repel their attackers. Some animals use venom for both attack and defence.

 

Question 2

How do anti venoms work?

 

Anti-venoms are purified antibodies which act as a kind of molecular sponge to soak up venoms or venom components (toxins). The most commonly used animal in the production of Australian anti-venoms is the horse. Sheep, rabbits and dogs are also currently used in Australia. Venom is obtained in a number of different ways. Snakes and funnel web spiders are milked for their venom. Stonefish, red back spider and box jellyfish venoms are extracted from dissected glands and tissues. This can be a dangerous process

 

Question 3

What is a pressure dressing for?

 

The principle of pressure-immobilisation bandaging as a first aid measure is to prevent the spread of toxins through the body. This is done by applying enough pressure to compress the lymph vessels, and by preventing movement of the affected limb. Correct application of the technique can buy valuable time to get the patient to medical assistance.

 

Question 4

Which antibiotics should be used initially?

 

Tetracycline deriviatives, chloramphenicol, penicillin and aminoglycosides are useful broad spectrum antibiotics that will also cover Vibrio vulnificus.

 

Question 5

What do the blue rings on the blue ringed octopus mean?

 

The usual colour of this animal is a mottled brown, but when disturbed, bright blue rings appear on its skin, warning of the danger of a bite.

 

Question 6

Where can I find more information?

 

Australian venom research unit

http://www.avru.org/

A key activity of the Unit is to provide medical advice on envenomations, anti-venoms and related issues to doctors, veterinarians, paramedical staff and poisons information centres, as well as zoos, reptile parks and keepers, various workplaces, government departments and the military, Australia-wide and internationally. A 24 hour consultancy service is available for DOCTORS AND PARAMEDICAL STAFF ONLY. The Unit also aims to increase public awareness of the dangers of venomous creatures, and the first aid measures for such bites and stings. It also works closely with the World Health Organisation in matters of anti-venom standardisation as well as patient care.

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Cool Diving Apps For Your Mobile

The mobile phone – essential, indispensable, practically ubiquitous in our modern world. Wherever we go, whatever we do, a mobile phone is usually within reach. And it’s just the same for those of us in the diving community.

Most, if not all, divers carry a mobile phone on a dive trip. While the majority may want to keep their smart phones handy at least for emergency purposes, smarter owners actually use them as tools in their favourite outdoor hobby or sport – including diving. These days, a regular smart phone with the right mobile app can serve as a dive calculator, an electronic log book, a tide chart, a wreck locator, a reference guide, a book or a magazine. It can even transform into a dive computer, an underwater still and video cam, a compass or an emergency light rolled into one. A huge plus, as far as versatility and convenience go.

So what type of apps could be beneficial to you as a diver? Here’s a list of items you may want to consider acquiring for your mobile:

1. Wreck Locator – Wreckfinder (iOS and Android)
This app provides the GPS location, size and depth of over 12,000 official wrecks found in UK and Irish coastal waters. Wreck data is obtained from the UK Hydrographic Office database.

2. Dive Calculator – ISCUBA Plan Lite (iOS) and Dive Planner Pro (Android)
This calculator helps you compute the no-decompression limit, pressure group, surface interval, residual nitrogen and equivalent air depths and dive times for any type of mix (air or nitrox).

3. Weather – MET Office (iOS and Android)
When is a good day to dive? This app allows you to track the weather by providing blocks of three hours for the current and next day, and then day and night predictions for the next three days. It shows sunrise, sunset, wind direction and speed, and actual weather.

4. Tidal Chart – anyTide (iOS) and UK Tides (Android)
Part of planning a dive is knowing when to dive on slack. anyTide is a new app developed by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Liverpool that allows the user to obtain tidal predictions for any point around the British Isles including major estuaries. Although this is currently limited to iOS users, android users can make use of UK Tides instead. This app covers seven days of tide tables and charts of 700 UK locations displaying sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset and moon phase.

5. Electronic Log Book – Dive Log (iOS and Android)
At the end of the dive this app enables you to log the dive along with the GPS coordinates while still at the dive site and the experience is still fresh in your mind. You can also sync with your computer at home or view overall diving statistics.

6. Dive Theory and Exam Guide – Scuba Exam (iOS and Android)
Planning to upgrade your certification level? Or perhaps you are still a student diver preparing for an exam? Or you just want to brush up on your diving knowledge. This is a handy app that provides a practice quiz on scuba diving principles and theories and has a dictionary of diving terms and expressions.

7. Magazine – Dive Magazine (iOS and Android)
Want to read on the latest trend or current news in diving? Why not subscribe to this digital magazine. Its free!

8. Travel Guide – Dive Traveler (iOS)
Are you a diver who travels all over the world seeking the best place to dive? This app delivers up-to-date information on a travel destination by featuring local experts from each destination and dive experts from around the world. It shows not only the world below water but also provides you with top side information such as hotels/resorts, restaurants, bars, etc.

9. Social Log Book – Diving Dude (iOS)
Available only on iOS, this app allows you to interact and share your experiences with diver friends around the world. Log your dives, follow other divers’ logs, explore popular dive spots from around the world and find dive shops near your current location.

10. Multi-purpose – iGills (iPhone)
This is by far the coolest tool you can have. It’s an underwater housing and app that’s designed to convert your iPhone (models 3GS, 4, 4S & 5) into an underwater still and video cam, a dive computer, a compass, a log book and an emergency light all rolled into one. It has a rated depth of 40m and can display your dive info even when you are snapping stills or rolling video. As soon as you surface, you can send and show your experience to friends and family online in real time. And it automatically logs and inputs your dive onto your dive log. Truly an innovation!

These are just some of the many features that current dive apps can do for your mobile. Many more are on the pipeline. So don’t be surprised if, not many years from now, the regular smart phone becomes a regular part of any diver’s gear.

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Tips for Reducing Pre-dive Nervousness

Zenobia

Zenobia

 

You had been saving up for it for many months, have upgraded your gear, may have travelled overseas, and finally made it to the dive site you’ve been dreaming of.

Yet, with the big wide ocean now in front of you, and your dive buddies all excited and gearing up next to you on the boat, all of a sudden you start feeling funny.  Butterflies in your stomach? Sweaty hands?  Having a little difficulty breathing, perhaps?  You’re not alone.  Many divers experience this once in a while, from beginners to old-timers — especially those who haven’t gone underwater for a long time.  So you wonder how others deal with pre-dive jitters and still manage to enjoy a great dive.

One can easily recognize a diver who is uncomfortable or nervous before a dive:

 

  1. A friendly or sociable person suddenly becomes withdrawn;
  2. One who’s quiet becomes too talkative;
  3. Somebody normally upbeat and enthusiastic becomes negative about the dive;
  4. One who’s relaxed and easygoing stiffens up and starts to turn pale; and
  5. The person keeps going to the loo too often.

 

These are just some of the outward indications of pre-dive jitters.  But much of the problem lies internally, within the person’s mind.  He or she may have had problems in the past that he hasn’t overcome yet.  Mishaps like getting entangled, getting lost or trapped while doing a wreck penetration, getting separated from one’s buddy and going out of air, being swept by a strong current or being hit by a boat, perhaps.  Others may have had traumatic experiences outside of diving – such as drowning while on a regular swimming trip.

 

What can we do to reduce the pre-dive nerves, and get the most amount of joy and satisfaction from each plunge?

 

  1. Keep your mind focused on the joy of diving and not on any possible problem. Most fears are psychological in nature – drowning or being eaten by a shark tops the list. To prepare yourself mentally, it would help to do these things:
    1. Watch underwater videos like those of the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery. Try to recall and think about the positive underwater experiences you yourself have had in the past.  By keeping your mind focused on the good things, you won’t be dwelling on the roughness of the sea in front of you or whatever dangers you perceive to be lurking in the water.  If you’re feeling some shortness of breath, take a deep breath and just imagine all the good stuff you will be seeing during the dive.
    2. Before the trip, read about the exciting marine life or wreck you will be exploring.  During the trip itself, talk to your guide, the boat crew or any of the locals who live, swim, sail and dive in the area.  Find out as much as you can about the terrain.  Knowledge is power, and with power comes much confidence.
    3. Share some of your apprehensions with other — more experienced — divers.  They can give you tips on how they’ve overcome their own fears, reassure you about the concerns you have, and even quell any unfounded fears.

 

  1. Buoyancy is crucial. Most divers are over weighted. You need to make sure you are neutrally buoyant at the surface. That means your weights are enough to make you float at eye level with an empty tank and no air in your BC and drysuit. Doing so will allow you to move comfortably underwater, consume less air and, most of all, you will be certain of your equipment’s ability to keep you afloat.

 

  1. Make sure your regulator is properly serviced — it will give you the added assurance that your gear will always function properly during the dive.

 

Above all else, be excited! You have been waiting for this for a long time, so relax and just DIVE!

 

Scuba Diving opens a whole new world.

Scuba Diving opens a whole new world.