A Technical Divers Skills Pt 2

By , 30 August, 2015, No Comment

At Davy Jones Locker, we have a busy technical diving department that caters for people that are new to the discipline and experienced technical divers. Your foundational scuba diving skills need to be second nature so when an emergency arises you can focus on solving the problem and aborting the dive. I feel these six essential skills should be practiced on every dive, whether you’re a experienced technical diver with 1000’s of dives under your belt or someone just starting out.

  1. Predive Check, Descent/Bubble Check, and S-Drill– While there are three skill sets listed here, we group them together because the overall objective is the same for all three: start the dive properly equipped and with fully functioning equipment.
  • Predive Check – Once fully dressed for the dive, as a team, each diver runs through their own equipment to verify primary cylinders are full and valves open with turn pressures verified, stage/deco cylinders are full with regulators pressurized but valves turned off, BCD inflates AND holds gas, dive computers/gauges are turned on and functioning properly, mask/fins/weights/etc. are donned and in good condition to dive.
  • Descent/Bubble Check – Depending on conditions and site, either on the surface or on the initial descent, the team inspects each other’s equipment looking for leaks and trapped or entangled equipment.
  • S-Drill – Each team member takes turns conducting the proper gas sharing procedure with another teammate.
  • The dive does not start until all of these checks have been conducted, any complication must be resolved before continuing the descent.
  1. Trim/Buoyancy/Finning– It’s not just for looks. The importance of being able to hold your position in the water column and prevent silting-out an environment cannot be overstated; and everyone can use a little practice. Every dive, try to spend some time focusing on different finning techniques and trim/buoyancy control. Grab the GoPro and let your buddies film you so you can get some valuable feedback on what you actually look like in the water as well.
  2. Valve Drills– On every single dive, you should practice shutting down and re-opening each valve. Make sure do to this with a teammate so they can verify each valve gets re-opened. Depending on your exposure protection and recent diving activity, you may find it more difficult to reach your valves than you remember. It is important to work on this flexibility and muscle memory on a regular basis, because when you really need it is not the time to realize that you cannot reach a valve.
  3. Remove and Replace Stage/Deco Cylinders and Bottle Swapping– It is important to occasionally practice removing and replacing stage/deco cylinders in order to maintain this muscle memory. Even if the dive does not require you to stage a cylinder, practicing this skill often will speed up and smooth out the process on the dives where it is required. Going over your bottom time because you were fumbling with a stage cylinder is both embarrassing and dangerous. You should also practice swapping bottles with teammates. This can be done while decompressing by swapping stages or lean deco gasses that you are finished with between your teammates. This increases team awareness, communication, and equipment familiarity. It is extremely important to check that no hoses or equipment have been trapped by the stage/deco bottle any time you replace one.
  4. SMB Deployment and Reel Skills– Deploying an SMB and running a reel are skills that deteriorate quickly when not practiced regularly, and sloppy work in these skills can be extremely dangerous. Practice these skills as often as you can, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
  5. Post Dive Briefing– It is extremely important to debrief every single technical dive. Discuss the highs and lows of the dive, where communication was good, where it was bad, and what areas can be improved upon for the next dive. You cannot see yourself in the water, so it is important everyone in the team provides some constructive criticism. This is often done with friendly banter, but it is important to remember that this feedback will help you improve your diving and safety.

 

While this is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of skills to be practiced for technical diving, these six skills are applicable to most technical diving scenarios, and can be easily practiced on just about every dive.

by Matt

 

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Check out our Tech department in Davy Jones Locker at www.techdivingthailand.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where can we go from Advanced Open Water?

By , 26 August, 2015, No Comment

Even if you have never been diving before, you have probably heard of the PADI Open Water Course (if not then we can talk in a different blog) and you may have heard of the PADI Advanced Open Water diver. Even when people reach the Advanced Open Water stage, they are not always aware of their options after this? Here I would like to discuss some of these to help you make the right choice for you.

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Rescue Diver

 

The next step for many divers in their training is the PADI Rescue Diver. Taking place over three days (including the Emergency First Responder and Secondary Care), this course increases your awareness beyond ‘self’ and into ‘global’ awareness. This means that you understand more about responding to other diver’s issues and equipping you with the necessary knowledge to deal with these situations. It is a fun and rewarding experience and can make you a much more knowledgeable and responsible diver.

 

Specialities

 

Maybe this isn’t where you are right now in your learning. Maybe there was something off your advanced course you particularly enjoyed and would like to take that further. All the adventure dives you did in your PADI Advanced Open Water count as Dive 1 of their corresponding Specilaity Course. Here are just some of the options:

 

Wreck Diver – Maybe the allure of the Sattakut and the promise of many wondrous wrecks to come really spiked your interest? Then maybe the Wreck Speciality is for you. four dives over two days, with the option to penetrate (go inside) the wreck on Dive 4. Learn how to perform tie offs, advanced buoyancy techniques and the risks and hazards associated with wreck penetration.

 

Deep Diver – Ever wanted to know what lies beyond 30m? With PADI Deep Diver you are able to dive down to the maximum recreational dive depth of 40m. Learn more about navigating at depth, gas narcosis effects and pressure at depth.

 

Nitrox – Enriched Air Nitrox Found your air supply lasting but that pesky No Decompression Limit forcing you up, then try Enriced Air Nitrox. By learning about enriched air (up to 40% O2), you will then be able to extend your bottom times

 

There are many other specialties you can look into including, but not limited to: Digital Photgraphy, Night Diving, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Search And Recovery, O2 Provider.

 

So come into Davy Jones Locker, pr speak more to your instructor about the potential paths ahead…

by Chris

 

 

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Amazing diving around Koh Tao

By , 21 August, 2015, No Comment

Here on Koh Tao we have been lucky enough to experience some excellent underwater conditions lately, although the water temperature has been marginally cooler the visibility has been 30-40 meters in some areas making dive sites so much fun to explore! After two particularly fantastic Morning dives with one of my advanced students one morning i decided to do some research into what affects underwater visibility.
Here are the 5 main factors that affect visibility:
1. Particles in the Water:
Suspended particles of sand, mud, clay, or other bottom sediments effect the visibility underwater in much the same way as fog effects visibility on land – distant shapes become colorless, poorly-defined shadows. Visibility reduction caused by suspended particles may be slight or severe depending upon the density, type, and amount of sediment suspended in the water. So although the whale sharks may be more likely to be around when ther is a lot of particles in the water… we may not necessarily be able to see them!

2. Salinity Gradients (Haloclines):
Water of different salinities forms distinct layers in a manner similar to that of olive oil and vinegar. The interface between the two layers is called a “halocline” (halo = salt, cline = gradient). When viewed from above, an undisturbed halocline resembles a shimmering underwater lake or river (an effect caused by the variation of refractive properties with salinity). However, when water of different salinities is mixed, the visibility becomes very blurry. Not very common here on Koh Tao however i have experienced this diving Cenotes in Mexico, was very strange to the eye however great to experience. the affect is the same as losing a contact lens!

3. Temperature Gradients (Thermoclines):
The term “thermocline” signifies a temperature gradient (thermo = temperature and cline = gradient), or a level at which water of two different temperatures meets. Water of different temperatures layers similarly to water of different salinities, although the effect is not as pronounced. Colder water is denser than warmer water, and sinks below it. Therefore, divers will typically encounter increasingly cold layers as they descend. This does occur here on Koh Tao and is pretty to see, when the difference in temperature is severe the water looks almost oily, it mainly occurs around 28 meters is my experience and as soon as you ascend the visibility comes back again to normal.

4. Organic Particles:
Bacteria or algal blooms can disturb the visibility in a very dramatic way. A typical place to encounter this sort of visual disturbance is a body of fresh water with little or no circulation. Algae and bacteria usually require very specific conditions of temperature, salinity, and light, and may be present only seasonally. Again this does happen on Koh Tao however mainly somewhere like Sairee beach where the water can look completely green when the temperature increases significantly.

5. Divers and weather
Natural causes of water movement that forces particles into suspension include currents, wave action, choppy seas, runoff, and rough weather. A diver can stir up bottom sediments and reduce visibility by using improper kicking techniques, by swimming with his hands or by landing on the bottom (one of the many reasons these actions are discouraged) I have found this to be the main reason for changes in visibility which is why proper buoyancy control is essential in diving.

Lets hope these condition last as long as they can so we can all enjoy the wonderful crystal clear waters Koh Tao has to offer.

by Dani

 

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The Sattakut

By , 18 August, 2015, No Comment

The Sattakut is an old old metal boat used during the civil war era …. oh no wait that’s the ‘diversity’ and that’s the old old wooden ship that Ron Burgandy was talking about in Anchor Man.

 

The Sattakut was laid down at Commercial Ironworks in Portland Oregon. She was launched on February 27th, 1944 and commissioned into the US Navy as a Landing Craft Infantry (L)arge. She saw action during the following campaigns:
Western Caroline Operations- Capture and occupation of Southern Pulau Island from the 6th of September to the 14th of October 1944 as LCI(L). She was reclassified as LCI(G)unboaton the 31st December 1944, and participated in the the Iwo Jima operation which involved the assualt and occupation from 19th of February to the 3rd of March 1945. She then participated in the Okinawa Sunto operation from the 26th of March to the 14th of June 1945. During this operation she was again reclassified to LCI (M)ortar, on the 30th of April 1945. LCI (L)(G)(M) recieved 3 battlestars for service during World War II.

 
Her statistics are :
* displacement- 246 tons light, 419 tons loaded
* speed- 16 knots max; Length- 48m; beam- 7m
* endurance 4000miles@12 knots 110tons of fuel.
* manpower complement- 4 Officers, 24 enlisted Men and a troop capacity of 6 Officers and 182 Enlisted Men.
* cargo capacity – 75 tons

 
Armament during WWII :
5 single 20mm guns on the bow mounted one each on port and starboard aft of the wheelhoouse. On some LCI(L) two 50 cal machine guns were also added.
She was commissioned into the Thai Navy as the HTMS Sattakut in 1946, and was sunk in Koh Tao on the 18th of June 2011 at 16h00.

 

She lies approximately 40m south of Hin Peewee with her bow facing Northwest, Sitting upright. The top of the wreck is around 20m and and the bottom is at about 32m. When she was sank as a part of an artificial reef project in 2011 she landed on her starboard side in a different location to where she is now, it was only after a few months that her position was corected and she was put back upright that more and more people started to dive on her. Now it is one of the most popular dive sites on Koh Tao

 

She is a great dive for levels Advanced Open Water and above, but more importantly she is a perfect training dive for technical diver training, and as she is a very open wreck with lots of entry and exit points she makes a good training wreck for courses such as PADI Wreck Diver and TDI Advanced Wreck courses.

by James

 

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The Sattakut is a great dive for levels Advanced Open Water and above, but more importantly she is also perfect training dive for technical diver training.

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Divemaster Competition!

By , 14 August, 2015, No Comment

If I had to single out a part of my diving career as the favourite period it would be hands down the time I spent doing my Divemaster. The course takes you from just being a recreational fun diver, being lead about on underwater tours to a fully-fledged Divemaster with the knowledge and skill to lead your own dives safely and comfortably and more importantly lead others on underwater tours and actually get paid for it. It’s the moment your passion becomes your career!

One of the best parts of the course is that it’s run at your own pace. If you’re in a hurry it can normally be completed in 4 weeks however the more standard time is between 2 and 3 months which gives you the time to relax, dive whenever you want (for free!) and properly enjoy this island paradise. We even have some Divemaster candidates who have fallen in love with the place, got stuck here and have still not completed it two years on. The best reason for doing it at Davy Jones Locker is the people. Here at DJL we on average have between 15 and 20 DMT’s at one time. In my opinion the perfect amount, not so many that you just become a number on a conveyer belt but not so few that you can’t find plenty of people to get on with and fully enjoy both your day activates, consisting mainly of diving on our two boats or lounging by our pool or at the beach, and your night activities consisting mainly of sampling the ridiculously good food the island and indeed our restaurant has to offer and also sampling what our bar has to offer.

The biggest advantage of starting your course now however is that you will get automatically entered into our DMT competition that runs all through July and August. Anyone who signs up during these months will have their names put into a hat and 3 names will be then picked out. 2nd and 3rd place will receive 15% of their course fee back and 1st place will receive all of their course fee back! Not just their Divemaster price which is already 25,000 Baht but also any other course they have done here at DJL on the way up to that. A prize possibly worth over 60,000 Baht! To qualify all you have to do is sign up to the Divemaster programme by closing time (6pm) on the 30th of August. What are you waiting for!

by Alex

 

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