Hi all, hoping for some advice.  A friend and I are keen to learn to dive and head to Malta/Gozo to start. Do you recommend any particular dive school? And whats the best area to stay in for a fun, chilled but not too chilled place? Thanks !

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A bit of diving last summer in Malta :)

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HUSH Lounge Cafe in Portomaso Marina

Dine under the stars in this #romantic     #Malta   #restaurant     .
Sample exquisite Mediterranean delicacies from the special menu featuring the best fresh local ingredients.
Overlooking the #Mediterranean   #Sea     and private #yacht  marine HUSH restaurant is open every day from 12am till late night hours.
Come and join us this #summer   #season    

Booking is highly recommended on 2136 9100 or info@hush.com.mt
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2014-08-19
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Some footage from my recent trip.... If you're ever in the Maldives, make sure you dive! :)

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This weeks Featured Destination are the islands of Malta and Gozo - Just a short flight from most European cities, these two small islands in the southern Mediterranean are wrapped in the regions’ warmest and clearest waters, and is one of the few European destinations where warm water diving is possible year-round. http://bit.ly/19wE4EZ
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DIVE LIKE A PRO / HYDRATION 

DIVE LIKE A PRO 

DRINKING ON THE JOB!! (Keeping yourself Hydrated)

By: Tom 

Keeping yourself hydrated while diving is one of the most basic and important parts of diving that I just can't stress highly enough to my friends and SCUBA students!! You may ask your self why?! I'll tell you here:

Being dehydrated can affect you in many ways while diving and the reason I feel is most important is that it can lead to DCI!But not only that but cramping and a lot of discomfort.

The first way that diver's become dehydrated is through WATER itself! The cooling effects of water do this to you. To save heat your body reduces the blood flow to your extremeties,which basically act like radiators.With less blood volume in your arms and legs means that your "inside core" will have this extra fluid, where the pooling triggers your kidney's to get rid of the "excess" water, which your body thinks you have.

Your second way you lose water is through the simple act of breathing! Since water vapour gums up engines and such air compressors remove most of the water that is in air. The result being that most breathing gases be it air, EANx, or Tri-mix have about as much water in them as Kansas in a dry spell. Since it's so dry each breath that you take from your tank picks up moisture in your lungs and expells it with every breath. So every time you breath you lose a little more moisture.

You can also lose lose a lot of water before your dive which is the third way you can become dehydrated. If you sweat a lot before your dive your body is obviously giving up some of it's water content. And especially in "tech" diving this is very important as you need more exposure protection for your dive. Putting on your exposure suit in a hot climate, the worse being a HOT DRY CLIMATE, (Drysuits here folks), such as California, the Sinai, Missouri!! You get the point, hot air and cool water!!

And finally your diving lifestyle affects your bodys hydration. Most people tend not to drink enough NON- CAFFIENATED, NON-ALCHOHOLIC fluids before a dive. Caffiene makes you urinate,(pee a lot), and so does alchol the night before,(Especially in vacation mode, really bad on an all inclusive!! :) :) 

HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO KEEP YOURSELF DIVING AND NOT DEHYDRATING!!!

1) DRINK BEFORE THE DIVE!!!
Yup, right up to the last minute before you hit the water! And you "tekkies" should make a bottle of water part of your standard gear bag!!!

2) DRINK WATER!!
You want to minimize the amount of caffiene your body has, (see peeing a lot, above). A cup of coffee won't kill you, but do you really want to risk it with a pot of it before you dive?? Fruit juices, sport's drinks like Gatorade may have a great taste, but your body absorbs plain old water faster than anything!! (Except maybe an IV, but if you're that sick you shouldn't be diving today!!) .

3) DON'T BE AFRAID TO USE DIAPERS OR A RELIEF ZIP IN YOUR DRYSUIT!!!
Some people don't drink enough before a tek or deco dive thinking they'll have all of their hang time with their legs crossed. If you can relieve yourself,(P),you won't be afraid to guzzle right up until the time you jump in for your dive!!
4) DRINK DURING THE DIVE!!
Yes this does take some practice, so try it in confined pool space before you venture out to "Big Blue". And don't count on drinking the water you're diving in! YUCK!! Drinking underwater isn't hard, but it's not a task taught in your Open Water class. The easiest way to do this is to use a collapsable container, (like a wine skin). If you use a collapsable bottle, put it to your mouth, squeeze in a bit and swallow, keeping it in your mouth, as when you exhale it will re-inflate the bottle making it easier for your next sip!!

Oh yeah, it's probably best to AVOID eating underwater!! :)

5) DRINK AFTER THE DIVE!!
After a long dive it take's awhile for your body to feel warm even in the hottest climate, but it doesn't mean your body isn't thirsty! So drink up!! Avoid alchohol, unless it's your LAST dive of the day!! It's fine to have a beer with the buddies on the way in.

Hope you find my article amusing but informative! That's what diving is all about!! HAVING FUN!!!

TOM

Before You Enter The Water

Make sure you're fit to dive
If you've never dived before, you should have a medical examination in your home country before you go travelling to ensure you're fit to dive.  If you're generally fit and healthy, there should be no problem. You will be required to sign a medical statement before learning to dive.

If you’re already certified to dive, avoid diving if you’re not feeling one hundred per cent.  In particular, don’t dive with a cold or a bad hangover!  Save the big party night for the finale of your diving days.

Dive with a reputable diving school
Use the Net to locate a recommended dive school in the area where you’re going. It’s important to know they are well-established and have well-maintained scuba equipment and boats, along with experienced staff.  If English is not your first language, check if they have instructors that can speak your language fluently

Listen to your instructor or dive guide
Once you’re on the dive boat, it’s important to listen to your instructor or guide, no matter how experienced you are.  Plan Your Dive, Dive Your Plan is the number one rule of dive preparation – you need to follow your instructor’s brief on where you’re going, the route you will follow and what you need to watch out for.

Double check all your scuba gear
En route to the dive site you will need to set up all your scuba gear. Take your time and double check everything is working. If you are not sure about anything, don’t be embarrassed – ask your guide or instructor.

Make sure you do your buddy check 
Doing the buddy check of each other’s scuba gear is extremely important before you get in the water to make sure neither of you have missed anything. Introduce yourself to your buddy beforehand as well, so you can get to know each other a little. It’s better for you both safety wise and it can also be the start of a great friendship!

Have scuba diving and travel insurance 
Ensure you are covered both above and below water with insurance that explicitly states scuba diving activities are included. (World Nomads provides scuba diving coverage to 40 metres, which is the recreational limit and therefore covers virtually all scuba situations). Being covered on land is vital too, as diving often involves being in remote locations in developing countries.


When You Go Diving

Breathe Normally All The Time - Never Hold Your Breath
Scuba is a strange and exhilarating experience because you’re doing something technically impossible – breathing underwater. It is important to NEVER hold your breath – breathe normally on scuba at all times. Holding your breath can cause an air embolism (where an air bubble enters the blood stream), which is a serious and potentially fatal injury.

Equalise frequently as you descend
Just like on a plane, the change of pressure as you descend to depth while scuba diving means you need to equalize your ears. This needs to be done frequently and before feeling any pain to avoid injury to your inner ear. 

Stay aware of where your guide and buddy are located
Don’t be tempted to swim off on your own when you spot something interesting – point it out to your guide and dive buddy and head towards it together. Staying with your buddy and guide is important for safety and also your orientation. If you do lose each other underwater, look around for 1 minute, and if you still can’t see them, slowly ascend to the surface where they should have done the same. 

Keep an eye on your air gauge
You can only stay down as long as you have air in your tank, and you need to be aware of when your tank is half full and quarter full so you can plan your return to the surface accordingly. Your guide will ask you how much air you have left periodically, but you are ultimately responsible for your own air consumption.

Dive within the limits of your dive computer and no deeper than 40 metres
If you are wearing a dive computer, ensure that you consult it frequently to see how much time you have at each depth during your dive. Otherwise, follow your guide and do not descend below their depth. It’s also important to avoid going below 40 metres – this is the limit for recreational scuba diving, and it’s also the limit for scuba insurance as well. There’s usually not a lot to see below 40 metres. 

Don't over exert yourself 
Diving is often called an adrenaline sport, but you should actually be super relaxed when underwater.  The is no gain to swimming fast over reefs – the slower you go, the more you'll see. Avoid moving at a pace which makes you out of breath. If you do feel tired, signal your buddy and find a coral-free rock on which you can hang to have a rest.

Don't touch anything
You should avoid touching anything (besides the aforementioned rock) as good practice to protect the coral reefs – but also to protect yourself. Many corals are sharp, many marine plants poisonous and many marine creatures will bite if they feel threatened. Keeping your hands to yourself ensures you and they stay safe and unharmed. It’s also important to perfect your buoyancy so you can hover without effort over the reefs and therefore won’t feel the need to touch anything.

Always Ascend SLOWLY from every dive 
As well as not holding your breath, ascending slowly from a dive is the other Number 1 rule of diving. Coming up fast from a dive can cause “the bends” or decompression sickness, as nitrogen is forced into the bloodstream. By coming up slowly from a dive and doing the safety stop, the nitrogen in your body has a chance to dissipate and therefore cause no harm.


After the dive

Stow all your gear away on the boat
Don’t leave your scuba gear dumped in a heap in the floor when you get back from your dive – it’s not good for the gear and it’s dangerous for you and others who might trip over it. Scuba gear is heavy and potentially dangerous if not handled and stored correctly.

Debrief with your guide and buddy 
Discuss how the dive went and make notes on what you can improve next time to ensure maximum fun and safety. Keep a note of the weight you used – this can help you on your next dive to help get your weighting correct.  

If you feel strange, let others know
Don’t keep it to yourself if you feel strange after a dive – let others know. Many people feel tired out because they are simply not used to the exertion of physical exercise. If you feel anything else, tell your guide. 

Don't fly until at least 24 hour after a dive
Due to the excess nitrogen in your system, it’s important not to fly until at least 24 hours after your last dive. (Some agencies specify 18 hours but 24 remains the norm). Flying in a pressurized environment can cause decompression sickness if time is not allowed beforehand for the nitrogen to dissipate.  Plan in a day off at the end of your diving for relaxing on the beach before you get on a plane. 

T. Hanna   IT 686628
NAUI   PADI  SSI
TDI/SDI/ERDI
Diver Certification Board of Canada

Basic Rules For Safe Diving

Get proper training

This is one cardinal rule of safe diving. Having proper training will make you much more comfortable underwater and that is key to having a safe dive.

Scuba dive certification card from PADI
The best place to start, of course, is by taking a scuba diving certification course. You will get the training you need and will increase your chances of having a safe dive.

If you want to learn more about getting certified, you can check out our open water certification page.

Many people's first experience with diving is through a dive during a resort course. If you fall into this camp, just make sure you don't go too deep (30 feet should be the max). Some resorts are known to be very lax on this rule and it is to your detriment.

If you are certified and go diving in caves, caverns, wrecks, etc., you also need the proper training for these types of dives. Whatever you do, don't dive beyond your ability.

Don't hold your breath 

This is probably the #1 cardinal rule of diving. Remember to always breathe slowly and in a relaxed manner and to exhale fully.

Don't take short, shallow breathes and never hold your breath. Holding your breath underwater can lead to lung injuries and worse, in the extreme case.

Be in good physical shape

You don't have to be a triathlete but you should be able to swim and take the stress of diving. A physical exam is a good idea before diving. Some studies have shown that about a quarter to a third of all scuba diving fatalities are from heart and/or circulatory problems.

Taking a dive class for safe diving
Never dive alone

This is another key scuba diving safety rule. Always dive with a buddy no matter where you are. And when you do dive with a buddy, keep an eye on him/her to make sure everything is OK (and hopefully they are doing the same).

If something happens, that buddy can be the difference between life and death. Never violate this rule. Also do a pre-dive equipment check with your buddy.

Ascend slowly and with control

Another one of the key scuba diving safety rules.

As you ascend you are ridding your body of nitrogen in your tissues and bloodstream. If you ascend too quickly, you risk "the bends" or decompression sickness.

A dive recompression chamber
You should not ascend more than 30 feet per minute. And always do a safety stop at 15 feet for at least 3 minutes after deeper dives. After your safety stop, do not propel yourself to the surface either. Ascend that last 15 feet very slowly also.    

Check your equipment

You don't want to find out the regulator doesn't work once you are underwater. Checking equipment is especially important if you are renting.

If you own your regulator and haven't dove in a while, it should also be serviced to make sure it is working properly. Do a check of the regulator hoses also. After one dive, someone bumped my rental regulator and the hose snapped off. It was totally corroded inside and beginning to show on the outside. Thank God it didn't happen underwater. While this is very unlikely to happen again, I always check as well as I can.
Relax

Being relaxed and comfortable underwater is key to a successful dive. If something happens:

Stop
Breathe
Think
Act
Do not panic and rush to the surface (I know it is easier said than done). But observing this scuba diving safety rule could be key to a safe dive.

Plan your dive and dive your plan 

You will hear this in your training (or you should) and you should follow this advice. Prior to going under, you and your buddy should know the max depth you will go, the amount of bottom time you'll have and how much air you will start to ascend with. Check your air supply often. You should also agree on the hand signals you will use to communicate underwater.  

This is by now means an exhaustive list, but if you follow these scuba diving safety rules, you greatly increase your chance of a safe and incident free dive. And of course that's what we all want.

So when you go diving, take your time, relax, think and go through your safety checklist.

Why is the Advanced Class Useful?

Why is the advanced class important? Does it create an expert diver? These are two questions that create a lot of controversy....Lets explore why....

The controversy, and answers to these questions, are intertwined in human nature. The controversy is related to the concept of an "advanced" diver being an "expert" diver. These are two different words that are used in two different contexts. The difference in context is often misunderstood. The word expert means a very high degree of competence associated with mastery of a set of skills. The word advanced means beyond elementary or introductory. It has been interesting to see the variety of opinions regarding the "advanced certification", what it means, and what it should mean. Many expert divers are offended that relatively new divers have the word advanced on their C-cards. Unfortunately for those who are offended by the name "Advanced Open Water (AOW) Certification", we are bound by the accepted meaning of these words and we can't redefine them to be equal. It is not necessary to hold an advanced certification to be an expert diver, nor does an advanced certification indicate a level of expertise. Many divers that hold only Open Water (OW) certification have logged hundreds of dives and have become very expert by hard work and study.

Lets look into the purpose of the Advanced Open Water class. The Open Water class provides the new diver with a set of skills that are necessary to dive safely. We all understand the benefit of experience in developing skills and good habits as well as the hazards of developing bad habits. The AOW class is designed to provide skills beyond those presented in the OW class, and to provide experience after the OW class under the supervision of divemasters and instructors.

Consider our experience while learning to drive a car. Most of us completed driver's education and got a driver's license when we were probably capable of making a short trip to the store, but not capable of defensive driving. The advanced certification class gives the student a head start toward "defensive diving". If we take away the word "advanced" we have a very worthwhile program that hardly anyone would criticize. Lets not place the meaning "expert" on the advanced certification. The skills taught in the advanced course are prerequisite for becoming an expert diver. It makes sense that these skills must be taught sometime before the diver becomes an expert. Why not before the diver actually needs them! The AOW class introduces the OW diver to deep diving, night diving, search and recover techniques, additional navigational skills, and other activities that should be practiced with supervision the first time.

From my own experience, I took the advanced class because I wasn't comfortable with my skills after basic OW. Fortunately, the divemaster assigned to me was the most experienced, conservative, and cautious diver I have ever met (good idea). Unfortunately, my buddy was his girlfriend (bad idea). After the weekend, I knew my limitations and my responsibility for my buddy very well. And, I had confidence after the DM told me he would dive with me any time. I remain firmly convinced I could have participated in any group doing recreational diving without being a safety hazard after my advanced certification. I think that is the ultimate goal and criteria for measuring of the worth of any advanced certification program.

WHY ?? do we need DIVE TABLES ??!!!


Before we can discuss dive tables, we must first understand why we need them. Henry's Law tells us that the amount of gas that will dissolve into a liquid at a given temperature is almost directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas. What does this mean?

Basically, liquids have a certain amount of gas dissolved in them. For example, a glass of water sitting on your kitchen table will have gasses dissolved in it. The atmosphere is comprised primarily of nitrogen and oxygen in a mixture of about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen (with the balance being comprised of argon, carbon dioxide, neon, helium, etc). Henry's Law then tells us that of the gas dissolved in our glass of water, about 78% is nitrogen and 21% is oxygen.

Under our normal atmospheric pressure of 1 bar, or 14.7 pounds per square inch, we have a fixed amount of nitrogen and oxygen in our glass of water. If, however, we double the pressure of the gas in our house, twice as much nitrogen and oxygen would dissolve into our water. Three times the pressure would force three times as much gas into the water, etc.

Well, the pressure in your house will probably not double or triple, but as you learn in your basic open water scuba class, as we descend in the water, the pressure on our bodies increases greatly.

We also know that our bodies are primarily liquid. This means that as we increase the pressure on our bodies, and we breath air that is also under pressure, our bodies will absorb more gas, just like our glass of water.

For example, if you descend to a depth of 10 metres, or 33 feet, you are under twice as much pressure as you are at the surface, and in time you would absorb twice as much nitrogen as you presently have in your body now.

You notice that we said "twice as much nitrogen..". What about the oxygen? Our bodies use oxygen - we metabolize it, so at the depths we dive to as recreational scuba divers, we don't have to worry about the oxygen in our air, just the nitrogen. Since our bodies don't use the nitrogen, it can accumulate or build up in time.

We have stressed "in time" because this is not an instant process. The gas exchange in our bodies happens in our lungs with each breath, and then the excess gas is carried to our body tissues by our circulatory system, by our blood.

The same is true when we lessen the pressure on our bodies. The excess nitrogen is slowly eliminated by our bodies as we breath out the nitrogen over a period of time. 

Not only time under pressure, but how much pressure we are under is an important factor in how nitrogen is absorbed or eliminated by our bodies. It stands to reason that if you are under higher pressure, the nitrogen is pushed into your body faster. If we are under extreme pressures, as say 39 metres or 130 feet of depth, it does not take long for our body to absorb quite a bit of nitrogen.

It turns out that having too much excess nitrogen can cause problems for us when we reduce the pressure on our bodies by surfacing after a dive. Much like a bottle of soda, if kept under pressure, the gas will stay dissolved in the liquid, but when you reduce the pressure rapidly, bubbles can form. If you look in a sealed bottle of soda, you see no bubbles, but pop the lid and it can bubble over.

As scuba divers, we want to avoid this "bubbling over". When we absorb too much nitrogen in our tissues, and/or ascend too rapidly, we can form bubbles of significant number and size to cause pain or permanent damage to our body. This is commonly referred to as "The Bends" since it would cause the sufferers to contort and bend in attempts to alleviate the pain.

The more technical term is decompression sickness (DCS). It was first noted in men working in pressurized coal mines in the early 1840's when they would leave the pressurized area and return to standard pressure.

Research on DCS started in the mid to late 1800's but it was not until 1907 that a physiologist named Dr. John Scott Haldane published the first dive table. His table was developed from experimentation with the Royal Navy Helmet divers and research with goats.

Research has advanced by leaps and bounds since these early experiments. Scientists now have doppler bubble detectors that can "hear" tiny bubbles in our bodies. Computers can calculate theoretical models to approximate how fast different tissues in our bodies might be absorbing or eliminating nitrogen. 

Even though the technology has advanced, the primary goal is the same as it was in 1907. To develop and use a table that would allow us to dive safely by giving us time and depth limits that would stop us from getting DCS.



It is important to note that although technology, research and computers have all advanced dramatically in the past years, we are still dealing with the human body. No dive table or computer can guarantee that you will not suffer from DCS, but by knowing how to use the tables properly, and by diving conservatively within the tables, one can greatly reduce the chances on DCS. 
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