The Adelaide has gone from strength to strength again this week.
More fishlife is starting to inhabit the wreck especially the inner areas. During a dive on Tuesday afternoon I surprised a long finned or Blue Morwong as it was nestling down for a nap in the Junior Sailors mess. The fish made a hasty retreat for the deck below and hid behind some machinery.
I also found another octopus, this one is much larger than the one found, near the intake vent on deck two. Wednesday saw us all swim over the side onto the sand where I found a huge Shovel Nosed shark half buried in the sand- It too didn't like the look of me and took off at a great rate of knots.
We had more overseas guests come along with us- they absolutely loved the wreck and the marine life.
Small Sargeant Baker on the Adelaid
One thing has been puzzling me and I think I have the answer now!
The main mast has been alive with fishlife, small Yakkas, Sea Pike, small Bream, colourful tropicals and Leather jackets- All the fish are too small for line fishos and I have noted sometimes, the mast early in the morning is quite lonely, whilst the inner sections are swarming with juvenile fish.
Dolphins are seen swimming away from the wreck when I arrive early in the morning!
I think the dolphins are feeding on the juveniles and the juveniles are hiding inside the ship for safety- This can only mean the artificial reef is doing what it was intended to do and create a habitat.
I will keep monitoring the fish life and see for myself what is happening.
The hull is now almost completely covered in barnacles at the bow down to 33 metres. There are thousands of barnacles waving their tiny legs at the divers almost beckoning them to come explore the rest of the ship.
Our overseas visiting divers are amazed at our wreck and are so jealous at the close proximity to the boat ramp. One diver from England last week told me, he travels for nearly an hour by boat to get to a site that is very good, but the penetration opportunities are nowhere near the Adelaide.
So far this week, we have certified divers for Enriched Air. Dave, Ben and Carrissa dived the wreck for longer bottom times and I asked the Rescue course to implement an Assessment plan for the Adelaide.
Still a lot more diving to be done and today I have found another tour you can follow me on.
The fundamentals of buoyancy control-
Over the last seven months I have taken real notice of the divers whilst diving the Adelaide. Some have come up so rusty they could crack whilst others, have cut their fingers pretty bad on the many barnacles now festooning the wreck.
I have realised for a time now, buoyancy remains an important issue for a lot of divers- so whether you are a new diver struggling to perfect your buoyancy techniques or someone who is looking to polish on your already good skills- Here are a few tips to help you to fine tune your buoyancy .
Breathe in and you increase your displacement and buoyancy- you automatically tend to rise slightly, then when you exhale, you will tend to sink.
Divers preparing to descend, let all the air out of their BCD and then- "take in a big breathe to descend"- they tend to float about the surface, then when they finally do exhale, they descend like a brick- This sometimes causes divers to stress especially, as they grope around for more weights, they don't really require!
Now this technique does not require you to hold you breath, it’s a matter of timing your breathing and paying attention to how full or empty your lungs are to ascend or descend a little.
A little bit of practice and breath control buoyancy becomes second nature- You can easily ascend or descend solely by breathing in and out.
Whenever we talk about buoyancy it’s stressed that you need to be wearing the right amount of weights in the first place. But, distributing your dive weights about you correctly is just as important as it can also make a big difference to your buoyancy.
Weight distribution depends from diver to diver and according to the dive you are about to make. Typically, for a horizontal swimming position, that reduces drag, position your weights forward, towards your sides and stomach to help maintain a flat swimming position.
Weight distribution is not just limited to the weights you wear, it also includes all the scuba gear and dive related equipment you carry about you on a dive, plus how it is worn.
Be warned however- you could end up on your back or even upside down with this little test.
Streamlining not only minimizes exertion, it also reduces air consumption by improving your overall hydrodynamics.
Believe it or not- This helps your diving skills quite a bit when your dive equipment is not poking out, hanging off you or getting dragged around by you. Make yourself tight and streamlined- you will notice a marked improvement in your buoyancy right away.
Physical fitness is often overlooked as being important for diving but it can make a huge difference in your overall diving enjoyment.
Think about it for a while! Lean mass sinks, fat tissues float- which makes fitness important.
When you’re fit, you become sleeker and more naturally streamlined, this makes controlling your buoyancy and trim a whole lot easier.
So, what are you waiting for!
You want to become a better buoyancy diver?
Trim level, breathe properly and tone up......
The simple fact is-we can't be underwater all the time, I know that!
Sometimes we need to do totally irrelevant actions like eating, sleeping, working, spending time with family, for me its filling tanks, cleaning boats etc. To rest my mind, one of the hobbies I enjoy most when I get the time, is to blog my dives- Yes, I said blogging and not logging.
We all log our dives, but since the great invasion of the internet into our lives, I am seeing so many more divers using different medias to share their dives in a more interactive way.
Where before we would sit around the table at the back of the Dive shop writing up our logs, now a days we just blog about our dives on the internet.
I often use Facebook to entice people to blog their experiences. You can download software to blog with or do as I do, open a Google blog spot account.
Some blogs I keep private, others I share-
You too, can create blogs, add a few photos, customise text and before your very eyes, a brief description of your experiences underwater appears before you. You can then publish your dive info into your blog and instead of closing the book, you invite other divers to comment and add their opinions into your "Online Dive blog".
Strange you might think? Not so strange if you understand the advantages of the internet.
An old paper dive log book was a confidential piece of your life. You never shared your logbook!
I often have to prise divers fingers off Logbooks, especially those divers who requested to join us on a Dive master program, because at the end of the day, this is your personal thoughts being exposed to the world,.
The real truth is- no one really cares to read it! Especially if you have taken time to add boring technical info like gas mixes, dive percentage program data, camera colour temp settings. This info never invites feedback.
Only divers understand when a diver recants the freedom, the excitement and the joy of a perfect dive. Only divers understand the feeling of pressure waves on your body during a drift dive.
Only divers appreciate the effort you took to take the perfect photo of that tiny shrimp in thre anenome.
Only divers understand the feeling of weightlessness you access when going underwater.
I am not a fan of heights- Going onto the roof to check the solar is a big deal for me, but I will happily drift along a drop off 1000 metres deep, this can easily allow ypou to share with people your inner self or demons, whichever sets you off!.
Divers also take their sport to extremes sometimes.
Only this week Darren W. took the bold step to propose to Samantha underwater in Manly Shark tank.
Non divers would think it crazy, to be underwater in the first place- The nay sayers would reckon it would be safer diving than getting married in the first place.
All I can say is congratulations to you both and lets hope they have a great life together.
Sharks are the least of your problems......
In my personal view, I am still in the process of understanding why blogging is such an addiction for some and a chore for others.
I guess it is like diving: it is not so much about the diving, it is about being able to share with the world, the amazing feeling you get everytime you touch the water.
I guess this where a dive computor like the New Mares Icon HD comes into play- The ICON HD allows you to upload photos, write short notes.
When someone invents a waterproof PDA this is when I will enjoy deco stops until then, I will happily while away a few moments of "ME time" and write my blog happy in the knowledge when old age sets in and I can't remember what I had for lunch- I can then recall the fun I used to have diving.
I was reading an article a while back and something struck me as odd!
I note there are a few distinct groups of divers withdistinct areas of readiness to dive about them.
The first are the new recreational divers.
They get to the divesite early, eager to dive albeit a bit terrified, they wait around for someone to tell them what to do, put their gear together and chat to each other, trying to ascertain diver experience to see who they can tag along with.
The next group are the somewhat experienced, maybe travelled diver, who often arrives just in time or a little late, races to get their gear ready, or may have already set their gear up the night before and tossed it into the back of their car, ready to just shove their gear onto the boat- This group almost always, have a coffee in hand or looking for the toilet one minute before departure time.
The third group are the somewhat experienced, meaningful divers, carrying twins, sidemount, big cylinders, equal sized stage bottles, drysuit, gloves, rock boots and zippered hood, with a shiteload of stainless steeel double ended clips, hanging off everything! Even carry a couple of spare clips on their crutch strap d ring just in case!
Then their is the fourth group the techies. When I watch "tech divers" plan their dives, they go ever every little detail of the dive. Their equipment is much better than I see somewhat experienced divers use, they have higher quality regulators, that obviously breathe better at depth but also shallower.
I earlier read a great article about the invention of LiquidSkin technology by Mares, you can read the article below.
Prior to the LiquidSkin era, the entire mask skirt was composed of a single type of silicone, which depending on the material thickness – was more or less comfortable. As a compromise, a material with medium-viscosity was used, ensuring the skirt shape has stability and reasonable sealing qualities.
Bi-Silicone technology put an end to this compromise! LiquidSkin utilizes two different types of silicone; a very soft and flexible material where the mask comes into contact with the face (45% softer and 270% more elastic than traditional silicone), and a material that is approximately 30% harder for structural stability.
Both silicone components are tightly fused / molded together. The advantages are tremendous; fit cannot be matched, comfort is unsurpassed, and sealing is unparalleled.
No more red marks or lines around the face, easier equalizing, and less leaking due to mediocre fit. LiquidSkin is truly a revolutionary breakthrough in diving.
The wheel of innovation keeps turning: At first sight, the newly designed X-Vision LiquidSkin is unique and stands apart from the rest. New colors are vibrant and match perfectly with Mares’ fins and snorkels.
When wearing the mask, you will immediately notice the field of vision is 20% wider as a result of improved mask geometry. In terms of comfort, you will find a “shock absorption” in the nose area. Small Lamellae provide soft cushioning, preventing unpleasant marks and discomfort caused by pressure from the frame.
Inside the mask, a drainage system ensures clear sight at the bottom. Our wide, soft head strap with Bi-Silicone insets lend to easy and very secure mask placement. These insets also provide a consistent fit, while the new buckles allow for intuitive and effortless strap adjustments.
The new LiquidSkin is a real "head-turner"; coincidentally, the jury at the most important designer awards, "reddot design award 2013" thought so as well.
Do I become a Dive Pro?
This is a question often pondered by divers, the world over!
Do I stay a diver who simply loves diving, do I complete a couple more courses, because I want to know a bit more or, do I simply go all the way and become a diving professional?
Many, many divers view the ocean as a playground- They love to look at all the pretty, colourful fish, stare at sharks from the security of a metal cage, swim through wrecks, admire the antics of marine mammals or whatever, takes their fancy.
Other divers see the ocean as a workplace, the love has become jaded and the "I come to work in the morning- do my bit, then go home!" syndrome, has set in.
Hopefully, not too many Dive Pros fall into this final category, but it can and does happen! Why?
Probably because the lifestyle was just that, a lifestyle!
For some Dive Pros, not a lot of thought went into the decision making process.
Did you weigh up the options properly?
Was your passion taken advantage of?
Were you given information that sounded, too good to be true?
Did your misguided ambition, overcome the plain sight of day?
The dive brochures never put in photos of Dive Pros filling scores of dive tanks, at the end of the day.
You never see, neck high boxes of dirty, wet, salty dive gear that has to be disinfected, washed and rinsed, ready for tomorrows' dive classes.
Carrying one dive cylinder to be filled is Ok, now double up and carry forty cylinders from the carpark to the tank filling area- separate the nitrox tanks, work out the oxygen contents, mix the gas and at the same time, fill the air tanks. Then when finally you are finished mixing and filling, carry all the dive tanks back up to the carpark and this time, reload the truck.
But hey! This is the reality!
It takes a special type of person to live this life.
Someone who is young, fit, able to multiskill, offload responsibilities to suitably trained people would be right at home here and true, the pay for effort, is not that great. In fact- some places I have visited, it is downright appalling.
That is if the Dive Pros, get paid at all...
When you complete a Dive Pro course with ProDive, all this is explained to you, right at the very start of your induction. You will be required to carry dive tanks, wash dive gear andf complete paperwork, all with a smile on your face, all the time.
We are in the business of making people happy, giving them have a good time.
Our mission statement is "Lets Go Diving!"
Then again, someone has to fill the empty tanks, someone has to wash the gear and someone has to load the truck!
Whilst some dive centres seem to run on the smell of an oily rag- they have a need for plenty of cheap staff, (Trainees, overseas travellers, or even non paid volunteers, working for lessons, etc)
These people are short term gain employees, they are paid no super, no workers compensation, no sick leave, more than likely, paid cash in hand. You get the drift!
Other dive centres run a very professional, schmick, tight handed operation. They can afford to hire good, well trained staff who do wash gear, fill tanks, do paperwork for the Dive Pro-
I haven't come across too many of these!
When you complete your Dive Pro program with ProDive- You will be trained in all aspects of running a successful dive centre including, running the compressor and gas filling station, servicing diving equipment and also retail sales.
You will also be responsible for supervising qualified divers and leading them on pleasure dives. You will dive on weekends and be trained to escort divers on local and intrastate dive getaways. Go on overseas dive trips, be qualified to run the ‘dive deck’ of a dive charter boat plus, teach people to scuba dive safely, on recreational dive courses.
To become an effective Dive Pro you will need diving knowledge. Below is a list of courses, we deem sufficient, for you to become a diving professional.
You will need to undertake Stress and Rescue training combining First Aid and Oxygen Provider, as a must!
Many dives may take place where deeper depths can be achieved, so the Deep Diver Specialty Course is amongst the mix tagged on with being able to navigate underwater correctly. Boating experience is a given, along with diving after dark in the Night or Limited Visibility course.
During the Science of Diving Specialty program, you begin to understand the mechanics of diving, how air changes underwater and what nitrogen does and how to avoid decompression sickness.
Oh! I almost forgot! Enriched Air divers like to dive longer, so the Enriched Air diver training, comes into its own.
Only after completing these courses, accumulating at least one hundred dives,
owning all your dive gear, should you continue on, to become a Dive Pro.
For the majority, the Assistant Instructor course sets the ground work for a great professional aptitude- Don't miss this vital step to becoming a very well trained, competent and professional Dive Pro.
So, after weighing up the options, leaving the security of following the crowd, considering the hard physical work involved, the long hours and the cost of training, not forgetting the loss of weekend leisure time.
Do you still want to become a Dive Pro?
Let's look on the positive side, for a start, you will be extremely well trained.
Your knowledge will be expanded into areas others only dream about, you will have the opportunity to transform peoples' lives. They will remember the trips, the meals, the fun times and they will forever possess a skill, that only you, taught them,
Your social skills, people management skills, time managment, risk analysis and hazard reduction abilities will be heightened. Your safe working situation awareness, will increase and your demeanour towards people, who require your special attention, that you alone possess, wiill be awakened.
The return should, but never will, be equal- But the gratitude will be boundless.
Gratitude doesn't pay the mortgage, doesn't pay the car repair bills either!
You will need to sit down and have a long hard think to yourself, analyse your worth, weigh that up against your ability to work hard and only accept what you believe, is to be fair and equitable, to both parties. Pay particular attention to your needs, wants and desires.
Are you looking to supplement your income, have a sea change or simply disappear over the horizon, to see where your travels take you. Some people do work for gratis, maybe getting cheaper dive travel, new dive gear or extra training in return for labour is your thing, so be it!
What do I love about scuba diving and teaching scuba diving?
The lifestyle definitely!
The long hours don't bother me, I do miss the parties and family events I cannot attend, because I am working, I do love the adventure and excitement of diving different places, I have travelled to over two hundred different countries, dived in six oceans and five seas. I have dived into shipwrecks, under ice, swam with sharks, photographed sea snakes, snorkelled with whales, swam into caves and lived, to tell the tale.
Would I experience all this working in an office, I doubt it!
Ask yourself, will you get to experience the joy of watching someone evercome their fears underwater, will you feel the warm waters lapping your throat as you lay in warm tropical waters, waiting to descend onto sunkem ships that have become living reefs?
You won't! If you don't put down your pen, your newspaper, your hammer, your whatever! Pick up your mobile phone, call Pro-Dive on 02 4389 3483 and start your Dive Pro adventure today!
I hope to see you working, somewhere in the world, sooner than later....