We have been busy at the dive shop getting ready for some great diving in 2016 – and we are off to a great start. In February we held a number of open water classes and advanced training. We also made a check-out/warm-up (literally) trip to the Florida Springs last month where we welcomed some great friends to our dive family. In this month’s newsletter Instructor John Addy offers up his thoughts on keeping those pesky water droplets from forming in your mask. After all, diving is a visual sport so if you cannot see all the underwater beauty – then why bother. We also take a moment to address the question of what is the best course to take after open water certification. Hope you enjoy our newsletter this month.
Welcome New Divers To The Dive Dive Dive Family
In February we welcomed a new cadre of divers to the family. Instructors Wolfe and White led a merry band of divers to the Florida Springs for check-out dives and some practice for our certified divers. It may have been in the 30’s in Atlanta, but it was in the upper 60’s and low 70’s in Florida with blue skies. We spent time underwater at both the Blue Grotto and Ginnie Springs. While the water may have been a tad bit chilly, the excitement of those first open water dives heated up the passion for more diving. And our dive students – (oops they are no longer “open water students” – as they are now certified divers) performed like pros during their check-outs. So if you are hanging around the shop and you run into Bryan, Houston, Andrew, Sharka, Dawna, Cory, Anna or Mitchell, make sure and tell them congratulations and give them a warm welcome to the dive family (some of them may still be cold from the trip).
If you are thinking about learning to dive – then we have a class schedule that will work with your hectic life style. We offer our standard monthly training – beginning the first Tuesday of every month. If the Tuesday – Thursday class does not meet your needs then we offer Executive Weekend classes. And lastly, if the Tuesday – Thursday or Executive Weekend class is not for you then stop by the dive shop and learn how we can put together a “custom schedule” class that offers you the flexibility of picking the times and dates to take the class that works for you.
We Are Headed to the Florida Keys in March
Instructors Sessoms and White are headed to the Florida Keys this month. We have a great group of students and certified divers who will be diving the clear waters of the Florida Keys – and for those of you that are not on the trip – we will of course miss you. The trip is once again sold out as the Keys trip is one of our most popular dive trips. So where are you going diving? Do not wait until the last minute to make your dive plans or while we are basking in the Florida sun, or hanging out on the reefs around the Honduras (April’s trip – which by the way is sold out) you will be surfing the internet instead of hearing the gentle surf as you sit on the beach after a great day of diving.
There are still spots left for Truk in June!
If you are thinking about going to Truk with us in June we need to know real soon. On an international trip like this we have to turn in any unused rooms about 90 days out. Don’t miss this trip of a lifetime!
What is the best specialty course to take after basic open-water certification?
One of the most often asked questions by newly certified divers is “what is the best course to take after I become a certified diver?” For most divers, it is one of the ‘Big 6″ specialty courses that will allow you to complete your advanced open-water certification. These courses give you three things:
* Diving experience with supervision. Here is the chance to get more diving experience under the watchful eye of an instructor. More diving will improve your skills and indicate where you need more work. While a complete review of basic open-water skills is not part of any specialty course, a good instructor will notice if you’re having problems and help. * Advanced Specialty Courses introduce you to skills required to safely make more advanced dives. Our specialty courses introduce you to many of the safety skills you need for typical recreational diving: deep diving, night or low-vis diving, underwater navigation, wreck diving and getting rid of some of that nasty Nitrogen by learning how to dive Nitrox.
Should I take advanced open-water courses right away or wait until I have more experience?
One of the 4 keys to SSI’s “Diver Diamond” program – a path to making you a confident and competent diver – is diving experience. We believe that a new diver should dive frequently, under conditions similar to those of their certification course, and with a competent, experienced buddy. We recommend that you make a dozen or so dives to solidify what you learned in basic open-water before going on to new skills.
The Big 6: The Most Important Specialties
These courses teach the skills almost every diver needs.
Stress and Rescue This course helps you recognize the signs of stress in you and your buddy and teaches you what to do about it. You learn about common diving accidents, how to prevent them and how to manage them. You learn and practice common rescue techniques.
Navigation. The potential to get lost exists. We always recommend that our new divers explore the underwater world with a competent dive guide. You have expended considerable time and effort earning your open water certification, and we believe you should take a moment to enjoy the underwater world – without getting lost! A good dive guide can make that happen. But once you are more comfortable underwater and ready to discover the underwater world on your own then a navigation specialty course will help you be more confident and competent while you travel beneath the surface – and find your way back. The course covers both compass use and “natural” navigation–how to read the current, the bottom contour and other techniques so you “know how to get back to the boat or beach.”
Deep diving. As an open water diver, you have been trained to dive to 60 feet. One of the cardinal rules of diving is to dive within your training limits. While the recreational dive limit is 130 feet, diving in depths greater than 60 feet requires a greater understanding of a number of the issues discussed in open water training, such as air management and nitrogen narcosis as well as risks of decompression sickness.
Night and low-visibility diving. Diving at night enables you to explore an entirely new underwater world. But that exploration requires the development of a new set of skills. There is new equipment involved, and new problems of communication and disorientation arise. For some divers, diving at night or in low visibility can increase their anxiety levels – and clearly lessens the enjoyment that can be found in night diving. By taking this specialty course you can reduce your anxiety levels and learn how to safely enjoy the nighttime underwater world.
Wreck diving. Many divers imagine themselves drifting slowly above a massive underwater wreck while taking in all the marine growth and fish that usually accompany an underwater wreck. Safely exploring a wreck requires new skills to help avoid risks that wrecks can present to the diver. And it is not just about seeing the ship underwater – it is learning the history of the vessel, how did it get there, what did it do while in service – how can I get the most out of exploring the wreck. This specialty will introduce you to the new skills required to safely dive on wrecks.
Nitrox. Our most popular specialty training is Nitrox. Nitrogen is not a diver’s friend so when we can lessen nitrogen loading we can extend our dive time. Learning to dive nitrox will enable you to safely extend your dive time while managing new risks associated with Nitrox diving. We believe that every diver should be diving Nitrox. We so strongly believe that a properly trained Nitrox diver who dives Nitrox is a safer diver this course is the only specialty course we offer every month on the first Wednesday of the month.
Take a moment to speak with one our instructors about which specialty course best fits your needs.
This Month’s Pro-Tip is From Instructor Addy
Each month one of our instructors share one of his or her “pro-tips”. This month Instructor Addy takes a look at mask defog. Defogging your mask and keeping it fog free is an essential skill – after all – if you cannot see underwater then why bother. Instructor Addy writes:
Are you old enough to remember the TV show Sea Hunt? If you are not, go Google some episodes. I loved the show. It turned a generation onto diving, including me. But, I cringe every time I watch an episode. When you compare our dive processes and equipment to those used in the late 1950’s … ell, you cringe.
Take the simple task of defogging your mask. Lloyd Nelson would just spit into his “round” mask; rub it around some, and no mask fogging on HIS dive. But before we get into why that makes me cringe, do you know why it worked?
The short version is condensation caused by warm humid air on the inside of the glass and cold water on the outside of the mask. Warm / cold / moisture meet and you get condensation. Those water molecules in the condensation connect and spread over the inside of the mask. Something about “surface tension” – physics wasn’t my best subject. Spit (saliva using the proper technical term) has the interesting capability to change the way the water molecules behave. Instead of spreading over the mask lens (fogging), they form bigger drops and the condensation simply collects in the corners of the mask.
So using spit was an economical and highly effective way to prevent mask fogging … until you mention it to your doctor or optometrist. Both will tell you that the human mouth is one of the dirtiest parts of the body and your spit contains some nasty bacteria. Any decent doctor will tell you that you risk some really bad eye infections or worse, if you were to get spit into your eyes.
Today, we don’t need to take the risk. We have access to a variety of products that mess with the water molecules like spit does, but which are bacteria free. There are several popular brands of “defog” on the market – Sea Drops, PSI 500, Sea Gold, and ironically, a brand called Spit! Every diver I know has the one they swear is the best, and their own, scientifically proven way to apply their particular brand of defog. But, in general, simply a couple drops onto the lens of your mask, rub it around some, making sure to cover the entire lens surface, and then gently rinse. Vigorous rinsing, or using your fingers to rub out excess blobs of defog, will entirely remove the defog from the lens surface.
I have used a concoction of water and Lemon Scented Joy dishwashing detergent (and yes, Lemon Scented works best) with great results. Same surface tension thing occurring as with saliva or defog. You see this a lot on dive boats, but be sure to rinse your mask well! It may not be dirty bacteria, but it can make the eyes sting.
Another important task to optimize the workings of your defog is to keep your mask lens clean. You were told to clean you new mask with toothpaste (or a mask cleaning product) to remove any film on the mask lens left over from the manufacturing process. Well, I clean my mask lens at least annually with that same toothpaste.
Well, enough on the technology of mask defogging. I am ready for my next Sea Hunt episode and see what makes me cringe this time.
If you call the shop and no one answers – then you know we have gone diving. You could have been with us instead of listening to the phone ring. Why don’t you come join us? At D3 we are a “family” of divers – if you are interested in learning to Dive – or you are a certified diver looking for “dive family” – then why not consider D3 and let us show you some “serious diving” and “serious fun”.