Associate Member eNews

OZTeK Dive Conference… more SDI/TDI fun

The OZTeK Dive Conference and Exhibition has been a solid fixture for Australian divers for the past 12 years and the Conference has become the premier Tech Diving Seminar for divers the world over.  The past 6 shows have built a reputation as an enjoyable and informative way to see the latest in dive gear, meet key industry representatives & innovators and mingle with some of diving’s most adventurous and entertaining speakers, right in the heart of one of the most spectacular cities in the word.

This year’s event over the weekend of March 12 – 13 include presentations by SDI/TDI Vice President of Training & Membership Services Sean Harrison and another by TDI CCR Instructor Trainer John Garvin, Script Writer, Actor and Dive Controller on James Cameron’s recent 3D underwater cave diving feature film “SANCTUM”.   Joining them at the show will be many other SDI/TDI staffers, instructors, divers and explorers from Australia, New Zealand, across the Pacific, Asia, Europe and North America. Truly a global event and one not to be missed by any diver!

You are invited to join us at the Show and visit the TDI/SDI Australia Booth right in the middle of the main exhibition area (booth #38).  Come meet the crew, see the latest in what SDI/TDI has to offer and explore the adventure of diving from Rebreathers to Solo to Open Water and everything in between.  To make it even more exciting we are giving away an autographed coffee-table over the weekend.   Of course you have to come to the booth to win so make sure you plan your visit to the exhibition, maybe even attend some or all of the Conference sessions and see why OZTeK is all about the adventure of diving ….just like SDI/TDI!

We look forward to welcoming many of our SDI/TDI divers at the show.  Click here to read more about OZTeK.

Dive Show Schedule

It is dive show season, fully and completely.

Everyone at SDI, TDI and ERDI would like to give a big thank you to the organizers and everyone who dropped by our booth and who attended our seminars at the Our World Underwater Show in Chicago last month. It was fun for our staff to meet with local divers and dive professionals. One of the highlights for us was having a full-house for the Sidemount presentation.

If you missed OWU but are going to be attending ScubaFest (Columbus, Ohio, March 18-20) or Beneath The Sea (Secuacus, NJ, March 25-27) this is your invitation to come out to see us at both those shows.

ScubaFest will be held at the Crowne Plaza North, Columbus, Ohio, on 6500 Doubletree Ave. There will be lots of seminars, presentations and exhibits. On Saturday March 19 from 10 until 11 in Salon B SDI/TDI’s Director of Marketing, Corporate Communications, Steve Lewis will present:

Rebreathers: are they the solution you’ve been looking for?

If you dive, chances are you have given some thought to rebreather diving and whether there is a CCR in your future. During this presentation, experienced tech diver, author and CCR instructor Steve Lewis takes a slightly off-kilter, humorous look at the pros and cons of rebreather diving in the hope that he can save you time, heartache and MONEY.

On Sunday March 20, from noon until 1 PM in Salon C, he will deliver:

Sidemount Diving and its application in wreck and open water diving.

Sidemount used to be exclusive to divers exploring small, tight caves, but in the past couple of years, this very simple kit configuration has become the hottest topic in diving. This presentation will outline the whys and how-tos of sidemount diving for wreck diving and open water cold-water divers. If you are curious about sidemount diving, this presentation is a good way to find answers to your questions.

Steve will also be running an SDI/TDI/ERDI member update during the show. If you are a pro-level member (DM, AI, OSI, tech Instructor, or IT) please email steve.lewis@tdisdi.com to book your spot and to get more details.

Beneath the Sea (BTS) is the Big annual consumer dive show for the Northeastern States and Eastern Canada, and as in the past will be held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, Secaucus New Jersey over the March 25 – 27 weekend.

On Friday, from 9:00 – 4:00 ERDI will be part of the PUBLIC SAFETY DIVERS CONFERENCE to be held at the Holiday Inn just across from the Convention Center. Among the PSD speakers will be Paul Montgomery.

Also on Friday from 6 PM until 9 PM there will be a full slate of TECHNICAL DIVING SEMINARS including presentations from Jarrod Jablonski, Jill Heinerth, TDI’s Steve Lewis, Dallas Edmiston, Dave Ulloa, Dr. Matthew Partrick, Jeff Loflin, and Peter Denhaan. TDI’s Lewis will be making two presentations during the evening; one on dive planning and the second on the special considerations of diving CCRs in cold water.

After the Tech Seminars, TDI will be co-hosting the TECH PARTY. Please drop by our booth on the exhibition floor on Friday or see our staff at the seminars to get your ticket.

On Saturday, the show runs full tilt and among the presentations and workshops will be the popular SDI Solo Diving Presentation: The Secrets of Solo Diving.

For details about ScubaFest, visit: https://scubafest.org/

For more about Beneath The Sea, visit: https://www.beneaththesea.org/

To find out about SDI/TDI participation in dive events in Australia, CLICK HERE>>> and in the UK, CLICK HERE>>>

 

 

Our World Underwater… come and visit with SDI/TDI

Our World Underwater has been one of the best-established consumer dive shows in the mid-Western USA for the past 40 years, and this year is schedule for the weekend of February 18-20.

It will be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, in Rosemont, IL very close to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The show draws exhibitors from around the world and the whole weekend will be filled with dozens of presentations, film shows, workshops and seminars. Among the presentations on tap will be several that touch on topics near and dear to SDI/TDI/ERDI philosophy.

The listing includes:

Presentations from Dive Right In Scuba

On FRIDAY from 9 until 5, Dive Right in Scuba will be running a VIP workshop. This course trains participants how to inspect and maintain scuba cylinders and is an SDI certified course suitable for "first time" inspectors and is a valuable refresher for those previously certified. (SIGN UP HERE>>>)

In addition, on SATURDAY  from 9 until 5, this local SDI/TDI /ERDI partner will be hosting a EDGE/HOG regulator repair clinic (SIGN UP HERE>>>). 

 

On Sunday, in Room 58 at 10:45, Rod Pederson will be asking Is Solo Diving Right for You?. At 11:30, Mike Ridgeway (also from Dive Right in Scuba) will be asking Is Technical Diving Right for You? (MORE HERE>>>)

SDI/TDI staffers will be also be making two diver-related presentations in Room 42 starting at 10:45. The first is entitled: Sidemount Diving:  Sport or Tech Diving, Caves or Openwater, Novice or Expert? The 45-minute discussion will outline the benefits and challenges of this neat, streamlined equipment configuration. At 11:30 the focus switches to onLine and Blended Learning and how you can make the most of the opportunities offered by "throwing away the book" and doing your next course, diver or leadership level, onLine.

 

For more information about SDI/TDI we will see you at booth 709 on the show floor or you can contact us via email at enews@tdisdi.

MORE ABOUT OWU CLICK HERE>>>

SDI SPECIALTIES… Night / Limited Vis

 

 
Let’s start by answering an obvious question: Since diving is an activity where the visual impact is a huge draw, why dive in the dark or when the visibility is poor?
 
The simplest answer is that diving at night is fun if you know how to approach it. For example, diving on a reef at night opens up a completely different world and a completely different cast of characters compared to diving in daylight.
 
Diving in limited visibility – which is defined as not being able to see beyond two metres or about six or seven feet – is a little more difficult to explain. One potential reason to dive in poor visibility is to recover lost objects; for example fishing gear, anchors, a lost watch or ring. These things rarely seem to drop off the dock or side of a boat in crystal-clear water. Another reason is that some dive destinations do not have perfect vis and although the water clarity may not limit a diver’s field of vision to the limit defined in the course outline, having experience and the techniques to manage less than optimal conditions is a great boost to a diver’s logbook and confidence.
 
In fact, the techniques and skills that make up this SDI specialty will help any diver, especially relatively new divers, gain confidence and extend the conditions in which they are able to conduct diving activities.
 
At the core of this program is learning some of the tricks and nuances of underwater navigation. Graduates from this course will have put in some thought and time to working on a dive plan that includes working with and learning to depend on good natural and compass navigation techniques. They will also have been introduced to some dive equipment and accessories that are not used by “ordinary” open water divers.
 
During this SDI specialty course, divers will be asked to use natural “landmarks and waypoints” as well as run tasks such as triangulation using a dive compass. The complexity of the tasks will depend a little on local conditions and what works best in those conditions, but every dive will be a learning experience.
 
Other skills and drills will included using marker buoys, lights, buddy lines, and overcoming the challenges of communicating in conditions where the conventional hand signals may not cut it!
 
All in all, SDI’s Night and Limited Visibility Specialty will help a diver to build confidence, gain new skills as well as hone existing ones, and will broaden their menu of options when it comes to dive sites and the length of your “dive say.”
 
FIND OUT MORE BY VISITING YOUR LOCAL SDI DIVE FACILITY or speak to an SDI instructor as our booth at these upcoming dive shows: Our World Underwater, NEC Birmingham, LIDS London, Beneath the Sea, ScubaFest, and Others.
 
 

 

Fitness and Flexibility for tech diving

 How do you shape up for tech diving activities?

The most sensible approach for someone considering a move into technical diving is to regard it as physically testing, and respect it as an activity that calls for above average fitness and flexibility. How much above average a technical diver has to be is a debatable point, and the rhetoric runs from the argument that technical divers should be capable of competing in triathlons to a completely hands-off approach that believes any diver is clear to go as long as he can stagger around the dive deck with sufficient control to stub out his cigarette and put down his beer before dropping into the water.

You may, like me, be looking for a set of fitness guidelines that fall somewhere in between those two extremes, and there are several suitable scales to measure personal fitness levels in a way that fits well with the general rigors of tech diving.

The first is the Cooper 12-minute run test. It is used to gauge aerobic endurance, and is perhaps the most straightforward to self-administer. I run a “diagnostic” on myself a couple of times a month and track the results on a spreadsheet. The test simply calls for the subject to warm up and then run as fast as possible for 12 minutes. Results are evaluated on distance covered within those 12 minutes.

A run of more than 2700 metres is excellent, 2300 – 2700 is good, 1900 – 2300 is average, 1500 – 1900 metres is below average and less than 1500 metres is poor. Over the years I have dropped a category but find it has been worth the effort to maintain a rating on the upper end of “good” for several reasons, including resting gas consumption rate.

(The approximate imperial conversions are respectively: more than 1.6 miles is excellent, 1.4 – 1.6 miles is good, 1.2 – 1.4 miles is average, 0.9 – 1.2 miles is below average, and less than 0.9 miles is poor.)

Running speed and endurance are good indicators for tech diving but so too is overall flexibility. There are two methods I use to test flexibility: modified sit and reach, and trunk rotation. Both are part of a whole raft of fitness tests published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and I would recommend a visit to their website for additional ideas. Flexibility in the hamstrings and lower back have been an issue with me since childhood and I always find the first of these tests a challenge.

Modified Sit and Reach Test

This gauges the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings and requires a box about 30cm (12 inches) high and a metre rule:

1. Sit on the floor with your back and head against a wall. Legs should be out straight ahead and knees flat against the floor.

2. Have someone place the box flat against your feet (no shoes). Keeping your back and head against the wall stretch your arms out towards the box.

3. Have someone place the ruler on the box and move the zero end towards your fingertips. When the ruler touches you fingertips you have the zero point and the test can begin.

4. Lean forward slowly as far as possible keeping the fingertips level with each other and the legs flat. Your head and shoulders can come away from the wall now. Do NOT jerk or bounce to reach further.

5. Slowly reach along the length of the ruler three times. On the third attempt reach as far as possible and hold for 2 seconds. Have your training partner read the score. Repeat twice and compare your best score with the table below. (All measurements in cm.)

Gender Excellent Above Average Average Below Average Poor
Male >40 cm 29 – 40 cm 23 – 28 cm 15 – 22 cm <15 cm
Female >43 cm 34 – 43 cm 23 – 33 cm 17 – 22 cm <17 cm

Trunk Rotation Test

This flexibility test measures trunk and shoulder flexibility. The only equipment required is a wall and a piece of chalk or pencil.

1. Mark a vertical line on the wall. Stand with your back to the wall directly in front of the line. You should be about arms length away from the wall with your feet shoulder width apart.

2. Extend your arms out directly in front of you so they are parallel to the floor. Twist your trunk to your right and the touch the wall behind you with your fingertips. Your arms should stay extended and parallel to the floor. You can turn your shoulders, hips and knees as long as your feet don’t move.

3. Mark the position where your fingertips touched the wall. Measure the distance from the line. A point before the line is a negative score and a point after the line is a positive score.

4. Repeat for the left side and take the average of the two scores.

Rating Positive Reach (cm) Positive Reach (inches)
Excellent 20 8
Very Good 15 6
Good 10 4
Fair 5 2
Poor 0 0

Because of the nature of water and the effects of buoyancy, above average strength does not seem to be as critically important for tech divers as it may be for other sportsmen and women. However, some strength building and testing is in order since divers with arms and legs like noodles will be at a distinct disadvantage moving gear from one side of a parking lot to the other, and may find it close to impossible to get themselves and their equipment back onto the boat in a big sea.

The US Marshal Service has a well-respected and openly published set of fitness and flexibility guidelines for the men and women on its staff. These guidelines have been used by some of the tech diving community for years. Some time ago while researching another book, I modified those tables and developed a set of values that seemed to work for most able-bodied course candidates. These values are based on the figures from the US Marshal tables for above average males in each age category.

Age % body fat Sit and Reach Push-ups Sit-ups 2.4 km run
20-29 5.3 – 9.4 >50 cm >50 >45 < 10 mins
30-39 14 – 17.5 >45 cm >38 >40 <12 mins
40-49 16 – 20 >42 cm >35 >37 <14 mins
50-59 18 – 22 >40 cm >33 >35 <15 mins
60 plus 19 – 23 >38 cm >31 >33 <17 mins

 

SANCTUM – with TDI’s John Garvin

By Richard Taylor
 
“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran though caverns measureless to man…”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan 1816.
 
So starts SANCTUM the latest project of Executive Producer James Cameron (The Abyss, Aliens, Titanic, Avatar) and based on the real life story of underwater documentary maker and Producer Andrew Wight. Set to wet the appetite of every adventure seeking diver and to highlight extreme cave diving to audiences around the globe (the film opened globally on the 4th of February). SDI and TDI are pleased to have been associated with the production from day one. Not only is Script Writer and Actor, John Garvin, a TDI CCR Mixed Gas Instructor Trainer but he was also the Dive Coordinator. Add to this that a number of the main actors were certified SDI Open Water during the film and that 4 other SDI/TDI IT’s were also involved with the production and you can see why we are excited!
 

Many North America, European and even some Australian Members will remember John from his days in the Caribbean, surrounded by rum, barracudas and an eager clientele wanting top class Closed Circuit Rebreather Training! Having previously worked as an actor in the UK, with four years playing the lead in “The Buddy Holly Show”, John moved to the Turks and Caicos and opened ‘O2 Technical Diving’, specialising in CCR Inspiration training. With a 100% safety record over 8 years his diving CV is impressive; founding a team to map the incredible Caicos caves, working on several BBC and Discover Channel documentaries and providing logistics and dive safety support for UK Free Diving Champion Tanya Streeter’s world record breaking free dive to 160m/540ft in 2004. It was from here that John first met Andrew Wight and James Cameron and became involved in the Sanctum project.
 
 As inspirational to all CCR divers and Dive Instructors as his story is it is John’s involvement with Sanctum that is no doubt the highlight of an exceptional career.   As Dive Co-ordinator John’s list of responsibilities was itself demanding for one full time professional, let along his triple role as also Script Writer and Actor (John plays Jim Sergeant, the Surface Support Manager)[Ed. though forgive him his Australian accent!]. He had to firstly ensure that all actors and stunt divers were trained and qualified for the diving being done, attend daily briefings and assist Director Alister Grierson on how to visualize the underwater scenes, brief the actors and stunt divers, assign safety divers, ensure the rebreathers were prepped and monitor all underwater activities.
 
 It was also John’s experience as both a Cave Diver and a CCR Instructor that led to actual rebreathers being used on set [Ed. it seems SANCTUM is the first feature film to put real actors on CCRs inside an actual cave environment]. The shots are real with filming inside a huge enclosed tank at the Warner Brothers Studios on Australia’s Gold Coast (the same tank was used for the underwater scenes in Fools Gold) as well as in real caves and sinkholes in the Mt Gambier Region (the cave diving centre for much of Australia). In setting up the dive team John was the one who decided to use real CCR divers, including TDI CCR Instructors David Apperley and Barry Holland. 
 
As he explains: “Before underwater filming started it became very obvious to us that the (CCR) stunt divers who would be best suited to delivering the performances required were needed to be taken from Australia’s Cave Diving Elite. What we discovered was more important than their experience front of camera was their ability, through thousands of hours spent on CCRs in caves, to move like cave divers. 
 
“For example….where “Frank” [Ed. main character played by SDI Open Water Diver Richard Roxburgh] swims out through the body-choke tube, pivots effortlessly in the water, attaches a line and then swims off camera hovering just off the bottom David (Apperley) was able to do that in one take and was able to move his body in a way that absolutely communicates that this is a guy who has spent his life diving caves. It would be very difficult for someone new to closed circuit rebreathers to be able to make that happen.”
 
Even though the dive team were experienced with CCRs none had any previous dives on the unit used in the film. The VR Technology Sentinel CCRs were chosen for the need for a “big, tough expedition unit” explains John. Kevin Gurr (VR Technology owner and author of TDIs “Diving Rebreathers Manual”) had previously been involved with Cameron and the unit had the look the film designers and producers (and John) wanted! With as little clutter as possible the unit was easier for the actors to work with and the heads up display and back mounted display meant that it was easier for the safety and stunt crew as well. However, John is the first to admit that the actors had a spectacular learning curve, going from SDI Open Water Diver one day to CCR Try Diving the next! He was assisted in this by Brisbane SDI/TDI CCR IT Jason Blackwell also joining John on set as Sentinel Instructor and helping to prep and maintain the CCR dive kits.
 
It was here that John’s long time friend and SDI/TDI President Brian Carney stepped in with a specially designed TDI Sentinel CCR Course. This allowed the actors to complete their SDI Open Water course and then move directly to diving the CCR. In addition to learning the basic CCR skills they also had to learn how to use of reels, dive lights, helmets, full face masks and DPVs.  It was probably here, task loaded with his CCR off in front of him and attempting to negotiate a “no mount” squeeze that was purposely getting silted up that Richard Roxburg (aka “Frank”) found his “..worst experience ever” (though he could also be saying this about buddy breathing with a full face mask in the dark in 7m/23ft of water in an overhead environment!). As John points out, as much of the CCR diving as possible is done by the actual actors!
 
The decision to use rebreathers was one made at the very beginning of planning the film “..to reflect actual cave diving”. However don’t expect an 100% authentic “no bubble” rendition of CCR cave exploration. Using the same technology used to lens Avatar, in fact two of the same cameras were used in the actual filming of SANCTUM, the movie explores the breathless journey through flooding passages, water filled caves and across plunging cliffs with the latest in 3D technology. With only a modest budget by Cameron levels (SANCTUM cost $30mil as opposed to Avatar’s $237 million) the producers wanted to show that 3D could be used in all movies, just to tell the story. “The idea behind using the 3D cameras is to make the viewer feel like they are actually swimming around these caves too" says the film’s Underwater Cinematographer, Simon Christidis.
 
John explains that “Bubbles look fantastic in 3D!”  So much so that aside from the five actual rebreathers used an additional two “open circuit mock ups” were made. Add to this face lit Full Face Masks and CCR/FFM Buddy Breathing and John is the first to admit that some of the more critical CCR Cave Community may find fault.
 
“But I think most divers are smarter that that” John says smiling. “They know that this is not a cave diving documentary and that there has to be a balance between expedition and high tech diving and the need of story telling… the need of the movie!”
 
Overall the underwater filming lasted just over four weeks, with three in the pool and one on location in South Australia. Going from the balmy 40°C/104°F studio pool, where all the actors needed was a 3mm wet suit, to the invigorating 15°C/59°F of the Mt Gambier caves and sinkholes provided its own challenges to the divers.   Not that being in a dive tank with 12 huge concrete cave sections, moveable pontoons, high powered electric lights, cameras, cables and 12 divers was any easier!
 
As the SANCTUM character Victoria says, ”Diving in caves…..what could go wrong?”.   Add rebreathers, actors who have never dived and a 7m deep 11million litre (23ft deep 3 million gallon) tank of water and, you can understand why John Garvin was the right man for the job. And all of us at SDI/TDI are happy to be along for the adventure and will be front of center with our 3D glasses when the film opens. See you at the movies!
 
(Note: look out the full Diving in SANCTUM and personal interviews with John Garvin in upcoming editions of the Underwater Journal).
 
Get the film info and see the SANCTUM Trailer at https://www.sanctummovie.com/
 
 

 

 

SDI SPECIALTY: Boat Diving Specialty

Last month we looked at what goes into an SDI Night and Limited Vis Specialty course. This month we focus on the SDI Boat Diving Specialty. This is another essential course for sport divers since scuba and boat diving go hand-in-hand and there are few regions of the world where boat diving is not near the top of the menu for local divers.
 
When you are making the decisions on which specialties to focus on, obviously the driving question must always be: “How useful is such and such class going to be for me?” It is simply not worth investing the time, effort and money taking a course that is not going to improve your skills and increase your enjoyment.
 
Based simply on these criteria, a boat diving specialty would rank high on everyone’s  must-do list. Frankly, diving from a boat is not as easy as it might seem at first glance and there is a lot more to it than falling off the back of the dive platform when the boat reaches the dive site. With a nod to one of those Washington types from a few years back, when it comes to boat diving, there is a lot of unknown unknowns to work around! And in spite of the popularity and availability of charter boats, divers are frequently unaware of special procedures and etiquette that should be employed when boat diving.
 
In order to uncover those unknowns, an SDI Boat Diving Specialty consists of classroom instruction, a little field work (skills demos, gear mods and briefings on the surface, and boat dives. Unless this course is combined with a deep diving course, all dives will be to a depth no greater than 18 metres / 60 feet.
 
The skills overview for this course consists of  modules on: Dive planning; Pre-boarding preparation and briefing; Review of procedures; Captain’s / Crew’s briefing; Water entry; Diving procedures; Boarding boat after dive; Logging Dive; Caring for equipment.
 
During the classroom sessions, students will discuss the various types of boats used for diving and the features, challenges and benefits of each. These include:Live-aboards, Charter Boats, and Private Boats. Divers will be briefed on what equipment must be carried on a dive boat according to local rules and regulations, and will discuss the diver’s responsibility to confirm that any boat taking him and his companions to a dive site conforms to those laws and regulations. As well, they will learn the pieces of equipment that SDI recommends as part of its general guidelines for dive boats. These include: Life Preservers or Personal Floatation Devices; Life boats; Signal Flares; A marine VHF radio; A First-aid kit and an oxygen kit.
 
Part of the briefing will also go over Boat Procedures. Nothing separates the novice boat diver from his experienced shipmate more than how they conduct themselves on-board the dive boat, and how they go about simple tasks such as stowing gear.
Two very important issues with regard boat procedures that will be covered in the briefing are exiting the boat at the dive site, and getting back on board following a dive.
 
Other topics covered in an SDI Boat Diving Specialty include: Planning Boat Trips; Determining Necessary Equipment; Lines and Knots; and Underwater Navigation to and from a Boat.
 
Since a huge number of great dive site around the world can only be comfortably reached from a boat, we believe that this course is the perfect starting point, especially for newly certified divers. If you want to find out more, connect with your local SDI dive center.
 
 
 

WHAT COMES NEXT?

 

Possibly the most common question we receive from new divers goes something like:

 
“Hi, I just finished up my SDI Open Water course this week. What an experience. I thoroughly loved every minute. NOW I’m now thinking about my next step, but I am swamped with information! HELP! What should I do next?”
Common question, easy answer: DIVE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. Really, there is no better way to become a better, more comfortable, more aware diver and better dive buddy than logging additional dives.
 
Of course, working for a training agency, especially one with a curriculum that covers everything from scuba try-dives to public safety diving while including full cave and CCR diving, I should put in a plug for continuing diver education! After all, even our instructor-trainers are encouraged to take “personal development” courses every year. But I have to admit, the answer to “Which Course Next?” is not quite as easy to come up with.
 
So, I asked around Headquarters staffers to get their suggestions for a new diver looking to build confidence and experience, and even then, it was a split decision.
 
By far the majority of our dive pros suggested Nitrox as a useful next step. Perhaps because we are snowed in here in Maine and diving opportunities are limited, because nitrox CAN be taught without any open water dives. Strange to recommend a course where diving is optional, don’t you think. Well, consensus is that a nitrox course reinforces some basic dive planning practices (always a good thing for divers of ALL experience levels), and when they can dive, allows divers to use a gas that is simply hands-down a better option in most cases than straight air. That is if more bottom time is something the diver is interested in.
 
However, nitrox only just beat out Advanced Adventure. This is one of SDI’s leading specialty classes and gives divers a chance to log a handful of ‘specialty’ dives under the tutelage of an SDI instructor. Specifically, students are required to do two core specialty dives (deep and navigation) and then get to choose three more from the full list of SDI specialties such as boat, drift, night and so on.
 
What threw a slight wrench into the works was that a couple of folks in the office here asked what level of diver the person asking the question was. The assumption being that the decision about what course to take next was not confined to new open water divers alone.
 
How about experienced divers who are asking whether they should stick with SDI programs or branch out to the TDI side; perhaps starting with an Intro-to-Tech class? What about an experienced tech diver wondering if Cavern/Cave would be better than Advanced Wreck? After all, they are both overhead environments!
 
I have to admit, at this point, it dawned on me just how open-ended the “what next” question is. How can we possible give a good answer? Luckily, there is an out, but it does involve a little work on the part of the person asking the question.
 
First, be honest and make a realistic assessment of your comfort and skills in the water. This is especially important for divers who have a few dives logged. Really, really important for divers who started to dive back when we used cylinders carved from rock and we have to dodge saber-toothed tigers during surface intervals, but who have not logged many dives in the past year or so. Perhaps a simple refresher is what’s called for.
 
Secondly, write down what dive-related goals you have. Is there a specific dive you want to do? Is there a dive trip you want to take? Do you want to take the most striking photo of a shark feeding? Those goals can help qualify what you do next.
 
Thirdly, put down a timeline. Is it important to you that you take your rebreather on an excursion to the wreck of the Prince of Wales next month, or can it wait until next year?
 
Lastly, put aside some expendables… time and money. Make a note of how much of each you can afford to invest in the adventure.
 
Now when your list is finished, take it to your local shop or an instructor you know and ask the question “What course should I take next.” I guarantee you’ll get a better answer.

 

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Travel News for December

One of the top destinations for dive travel has become Scuba Travel International’s new website, and this is a destination you should bookmark immediately!

https://travel.tdisdi.com

In case you have not heard, STI, the travel division of SDI and TDI, really knows travel and is run by experienced scuba divers and travel professionals. We know sport and tech diving and we have been connecting travelers with their dream diving vacations for over a decade!

What Makes Us Different?

We believe that every trip should be the trip of a lifetime! We know how passionate you are about exploring the beauty of the undersea world. These are the memories you’ll treasure for the rest of your life.

That’s why we personally and regularly inspect every destination, every boat, and every dive provider we work with. We want to make sure you’re going to have a first class experience – and to ensure that the only surprise you encounter is the shock of how much fun you’re having!

 

So what are you waiting for? Visit us right now and find out where your next adventure will take you.