‘Binks of the month’ award – May 2012

Vote for the diver you feel most deserves to be awarded the ‘Binks of the month’ award at club night on 1 May.  It’s basically an award, as a bit of fun, for the diver who has done the silliest thing in the last month.  You only get one vote, so use it wisely!

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Dive before you buy – Whites Drysuit

Apeks, Aqua Lung, Whites and their specially selected partners will be visiting Wraysbury on 12/13 May.  We are now a premier Whites dealer and we think their new drysuits are amazing, but don’t just take our word for it!  If you go to Wraysbury on 12/13 May you’ll be able to try them out for yourselves and actually go for a dive in one.  Let us know if you’re thinking about heading down that weekend and we’ll meet you there!

 

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Focus on the PADI Rescue Diver Course

Lifting a diver from the bottomWould you know what to do if your buddy got into difficulty during a dive?  Lots of divers, after completing their rescue course, tell us it was the most fun and rewarding course they’ve completed so far.  You’ll learn how to spot potential problems and how to confidently carry out a rescue scenario if necessary.  Whilst the course deals with serious topics, practising the scenarios is a huge amount of fun.  And after the course you’ll be a qualified first-aider and a much more confident diver!

Many people are interested in doing the Rescue Course but don’t know exactly what it entails, so I’ll try to give you a bit more of an in depth look at what the course involves.

Firstly you’ll need to be first aid trained, some people will already have a suitable qualification and anything that covers basic CPR, scene management and secondary care is appropriate as long as it’s been done in the last 2 years.  If not, the Emergency First Response (EFR) covers all this and makes up the first day of the course.  During the EFR course you’ll get the opportunity to find out how to perform CPR, a very useful life skill that I know some of my friends are very glad they knew how to do, as well as watching the EFR DVD, an all time nadir in the world of educational media that delivers a shock and awe attack on the intelligence of such ferocity that many viewers struggle to find their way out of the classroom at the end.

With the EFR course safely out of the way and the students recovered from the sight of a child asking their dying Grandmother for legal permission to offer assistance, the Rescue Course can get under way.  We usually run this section on the Sunday of a pool weekend, we start off in the morning at the shop where we go through all the theory.  In advance of the course you’ll get a manual and DVD (which is Citizen Kane in comparison to the EFR), as with other PADI courses you complete the knowledge reviews and then we run through them to make sure that you’re happy with the content.

In the afternoon we head to the pool.  The aim is purely to practise skills and get used to them before open water, so it’s an informal, fun session.

The skills we cover include dealing with tired, panicked and unresponsive divers on the surface as well as underwater.  You’ll learn how to bring an unresponsive diver up from the bottom, establish their buoyancy on the surface and then provide rescue breathes whilst you de-kit them and yourselves.  You’ll then learn how to exit them from the water.

Once you’ve got to grips with these skills you’ll head to open water on the next weekend. On Saturday we carry on working through the skills so you can master them in open water.  You’ll also learn some search patterns for seeking out missing divers and you’ll try some different exit techniques.  You’ll also learn how to resuscitate someone using the abyss method of CPR; punching them repeatedly in the face and screaming ‘live goddamit!’

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Finally on the last day of the course we throw some rescue scenarios at you.  The idea of these is for you to respond to simulated emergencies in a group, putting into practise all the skills you’ve learned.  It’s also an opportunity for the instructors to be as evil as possible, usually waiting until you’re sitting down with a nice cup of tea before informing you that there’s a missing diver.  It’s also a chance for the divemasters to flex their acting muscles, thrashing around in panic on the surface and pretending to cut themselves underwater (not in a self harm way).

All in all the Rescue course is an immense amount of fun for students and instructors alike, as well as being probably one of the most useful courses you’ll ever undertake.

Check out the next course dates on our website:

http://www.divingleisurelondon.co.uk/courses/rescue-diver

Liquivision Xeo Computer Review

Some divers and many fellow DLLers will remember the Uemis, a dive computer that, rather like Roy in Bladerunner, burned so very brightly for a short period of time before sadly passing into obscurity like tears in rain.

The thing with the uemis was that despite the fact it ended up spending most of its time not working, the OLED screen was a thing of beauty. I can still remember dropping below the 30m mark in Vobster, an experience akin to passing through the gates of hell, into a thick layer of black silt so dark that it swallowed the beam of my green force torch up and meant you couldn’t see your own hand in front of your face. But even there the uemis screen glowed clear, bright and visible and from that point on computers without OLED screens just didn’t cut the mustard.

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I was very excited therefore to finally get my hands on a Liquivision computer. Here was a piece of kit not only with an OLED screen but also full trimix capability, something that ultimately never materialised for the uemis.

At first glance the Liquivision is not a pretty computer, it’s boxy, quite small and the screen is a bit pixelated unlike the slightly more high tec lines of the uemis. However as we all know looks only matter when you’re trying to sell an item of kit so top marks to the manufacturers there!

The unit is practical though, it comes as standard with a watch style strap, but also bungee to mount through holes on the side which is by far the best way to secure anything that costs lots of money to your wrist.

However, the most immediately different thing to note about the unit is the complete lack of buttons. Instead you use a tap method to navigate around the menus. This has the advantage of reducing potential failure points and also means you won’t be fiddling around with cold hands and thick gloves when trying to gas switch later in a dive. It takes quite a bit of getting used to but having now done a full deco dive with it I can say that it genuinely works and you’ll soon be flying around the menus as quickly as I’m now typing on this iPad in comparison to my fat fingered approach when first presented with a touch screen.

There are a huge range of settings on the computer but they’re all laid out in a sensible way. You can easily change things like screen and menu colours, which allows for endless fun and games when someone leaves it on the table, pops to the loo and returns to find it all set to pink.

From a teccies perspective setting gases is easy and ENDs, deco stop depths etc are all customisable.

When diving the computer is fantastically easy to read and you quickly forgive any slightly old fashioned looking fonts and pixelly boxes on the screen. When not in deco the computer functions simply and easily with ascent rates and safety stops all built in. Once in deco, the unit is easy to read and simply displays time to surface, ceiling and stop time in an easy to read line in the centre of the screen. Gas switches are very easy to do: When you reach the MOD you simply tap the top of the unit 3 times to bring up the menu and then tap to select the gas you want and confirm. I found this very easy to do despite the fact that the visibility at 20m was nil, my reel had jammed and disappeared and the reg I was using was delivering mainly water.

The Liquivision isn’t cheap coming in at about £770 although that makes it only a little pricier than a D6 with a whole range of extra features. Yes it does trimix which is fantastic but the main selling point of this computer, just like the uemis, is the screen. When Maxim and I were in Chepstow on Monday they’d had some mud slide into the water with the rain and the vis was seriously reduced in the shallows. This had the effect of making it very dark down at 50m but the Liquivision was bright, easy to read and reassuring.

If you want a tec computer then this is great but equally if you just want a computer with an amazing easy to read screen then this may also be as great option as well.

Alex

Divemasters have a fun fuelled weekend at Chepstow

Written by Dev Glaizner, a DLL Divemaster Trainee

We had the best time in Chepstow, especially taking full advantage of the new facilities- hot food, not too greasy and you can eat in a comfy environment still in your SCUBA gear!

We arrived Easter Saturday and after working out where everything was, kitted up, got in the van and hit the water. The only downside to Chepstow is you need to ensure that you have all your kit with you before getting into the van which takes you to the top of the slope to get into the water- some of us learned this the hard way- mentioning no names!!

Our first deep dive, the visibility was amazing and we had a great time bumbling about.  Our second dive involved the search and recovery of Easter Bunny rabbits – well it was Easter!  Successfully searched and recovered we headed up to our wigwams to get ready for a well deserved curry in the heart of Chepstow town – a DLL tradition.  Upon returning to our wigwams we got the bonfire started, being introduced to the American tradition of s’mores by Denise – delicious chocolaty marshmallows sandwiched between crackers. Yum!

After eating and drinking our fill we took our weary bodies off to the cosy Wigwams- very comfortable! (Tip- turn the heater off before you go to sleep!)  Upon waking to a sauna like room we headed for breakfast- reasonably priced and enough fuel to get us started for our next couple of dives.  The first dive we went to the other side of the pontoon for our first deep dive of the day. Getting down to 36 meters and it’s a bit eerie down there- quiet, dark and full of boulders!  Again great visibility for such depths.  Our second dive of the day was to use our newly acquired search and recovery skills to search and recover a missing weight belt and Theresa and Denise did a great job of inflating the lift bag (see celebratory photo below)!  Once done it gave us an opportunity to explore Chepstow- with its helicopter, plane, a few ironing boards (random!) scattered about the place and “truck lagoon”.

I think as it had been such an exhausting day, and whilst most of our group departed back to London, the rest of us had a “quiet night in” making full use of the new restaurant to have dinner and a few beers before once again heading back to our bonfire and trying to find out what we could burn, whilst perfecting our s’mores. (The paper on a Heineken bottle makes the flames a lovely green – don’t try that at home!!).  Remembering to turn off the heater in the wigwam we all tucked up for a cosy sleep ready for the following days diving.

Exhausted and tired the weather took a turn for the worse. Miserable and grumpy we headed down to the water for our second attempt to reach 40 meters. What an awesome dive- it’s easy to forget that it doesn’t matter if it’s raining on the surface when you’re floating underneath, and certainly when you get a bit narked, nothing in the world matters!! Until you surface! Through the torrential rains (it wasn’t really it just felt like it!) we made it up for lunch and once the rain had eased we went in for the final dive of the trip.  We wanted to find the gnome garden but had been informed that the gnomes were on holiday (in a bag tied up somewhere is apparently the equivalent to Gnome Bahamas) so we went to discover truck lagoon more thoroughly.  Again fantastic visibility and lots to see.

It was such a great weekend and it was so much harder to go back to work the next day – I’m counting down the days until I can head back!!

Dry Diving to 50 metres!

Have you ever experienced nitrogen narcosis while diving?  Some people think that they’ve never been affected by it.  Well, one way to find out for sure is to do a Dry Dive!

On 17th May we’re taking 12 divers to a hyperbaric chamber at the London Diving Chamber to dive to 50 metres.  This will be deeper then most of them have been before and I’m sure that everyone will experience nitrogen narcosis and be ‘narked’.

Some divers are a bit scared of getting narked for the first time as they don’t know how they’ll react.  So we think that by diving to 50 metres in the safe environment of the chamber is a great way to experience it.

I’ve done a dry dive before and I discovered that when I was narked I felt like I’d had a couple of glasses of wine and my lips began to tingle.  Now I know that if I feel the same underwater the chances are that I’m narked!  As soon as we ascended the tipsy/tingly feeling completely disappeared.

The dive is just like a normal dive – apart from we’re not in water!  You still need to equalise and be fit for the dive and it even counts as a logged dive!  We’re not allowed to wear normal clothes inside the chamber so we change into hospital scrubs.  We’ll be doing two dives with 6 divers on each dive.  We can take our dive computers into the chamber and put them in a bucket of water to log the dive.  The dive takes just 48 minutes.

To really notice the effects of the nitrogen, we’ll do a simple timed exercise on the surface before the dive, and then we’ll repeat the exercise at 50 metres and, once back on the surface, we’ll compare results!

When I did the dive I found it hysterically funny at 50 metres, but I won’t give away why, you’ll just have to come along and see for yourself!

We’ve got a few spaces left on 17 May so give us a call on 020 7924 4106 if you’d like to join us.  It costs £40 and you’ll need to bring a cert card to show you’re a qualified diver and complete a medical form.

Marvellous Mexico Trip!

ImageWe’re going scuba diving in Mexico!  This is our first club trip to Mexico and we can’t wait.  We’ve heard such great things about the diving here and we decided we had to do it too!

If you fancy joining us, we’re going for one week, 10-17 November 2012.  We’re diving with Phocea Mexico dive centre.  One of our instructors, David, dived with them last year and had an amazing time.  That’s David in the photo, diving at the Cenotes.  If you don’t know what a Cenote is, then let Wikipedia explain it for me:

“A cenote is a deep natural pit, or sinkhole, characteristic of Mexico and Central America, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Especially associated with the Yucatán Peninsula, and some nearby Caribbean islands, cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings. The term derives from a word used by the low-land Yucatec Maya, to mean any location with accessible groundwater.”

So when you dive the Cenotes you’ll be guided through crystal clear waters through the cavern.  It’s probably the closest you can get to cave diving, without actually cave diving…if you know what I mean!  It’s so good that we’re going to spend a couple of days at the Cenotes.  You’ll even be able to do your PADI Cavern Diver speciality course if you fancy it.

Another dive that we’re very excited about is diving with bull sharks.  November marks the start of the bull shark season in Mexico.  We’ll dive to the sandy sea bed at about 20 metres and after a few minutes the sharks should appear.  Sharks are naturally very curious and so they’ll probably pass within a couple of metres of us.  There’ll probably be around 15-20 bull sharks in total!  Cameras at the ready for this one!

As you know, we love wreck diving, so we had to fit in a wreck dive here.  We’re going to dive the C56 wreck at Puerto Morelos.  The wreck lies on a sandy bottom at 28 metres.  I’ve been told that during November we’ll be able to see big stingrays hidden in the sand.  We’ll also be able to admire the majestic ballet of spotted eagle rays!  Apparently the best thing to do is settle on the deck of the wreck and watch!  We’ll also do dives at Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.

We’re counting the days till 10 November!

If you’d like to join us on this trip then take a look at our website for more info: http://www.divingleisurelondon.co.uk/trips/marvellous-mexico