Dive In, Trash Out

Put some fun in your good deed this coming weekend!

The small sign beside the highway told passing motorists that the stretch of road they were travelling on had been ‘adopted’ by a local scout troop. A few hundred metres further, there were a handful of youngsters wearing work-gloves and armed with various tools like rakes and shovels picking up litter and throwing it into garbage bags ready to be carted off to the dump. The synchronicity of the situation struck me immediately. I was on route to a Saturday morning DITO event organized by a buddy and aimed at cleaning up the mess left by “picnickers” at one of our favorite local dive sites. I pulled over immediately.

DITO – in case you did not already know – is the acronym for Dive-In, Trash Out – one of the nicest things to happen in our local dive community. I have no idea how DITO got started or where the movement first appeared, but I have noticed more and more DITO event invites being circulated during the past two or three years. Either there is more trash being dropped in and around dive sites (the pessimistic, glass half-empty outlook) or, as divers, we are getting more serious about the stewardship of the places we love to visit and dive in (my optimistic, glass is filling nicely viewpoint).

How to Get Started
Like it or not, there is a smattering of the untidy urchin in many of us, and litter has become a fact of life in our streets and our parks and public spaces. My guess is that the anthropologists out there could determine a lot about our society with no other evidence than the discarded fast-food packages, coffee cups, aluminum cans and other detritus that dots the landscape. However, if you feel that stuff belongs in a garbage can rather than on the grass and that it is time to beautify the local landscape at your favorite dive site, here are some pointers to organizing your very own DITO event.

Get help from your mates. Even the smallest DITO event can be a challenge for a single-handed organizer. Just like diving, you need a buddy… or two at least.

Agree on a site and build a plan that fits that site. Most successful DITO events tackle the area around entry and exit points, and many strive to clean up the underwater site too. Choose what you want to do and work on the task with two teams: surface and underwater, if that’s what fits.

Your next step is to get permission. It may be an obvious no-brainer to you and me that it is a great idea to plan a clean-up of the riverbank, shoreline, green space or parking lot that borders a dive spot. Just make sure that the local landowner appreciates the idea too, and if the approach pathway crosses land owned by a different person or entity, include them in your letter – yep, a letter – asking for permission to do an area cleaning.

Many dive sites are privately owned and some belong to local municipalities and authorities. Put down what you intend to do in writing and fire off a copy to the appropriate address. Keep a file and assume nothing until you have the OK in writing… and on official-looking notepaper.

Now you need sponsors. Many businesses will sponsor area clean-ups, and one of the large donut and coffee franchises in my part of the country is great at supplying participants in clean-ups with a box of treats and a big “jug” of coffee: FREE.

Never be afraid to approach local companies to ask if they can help out. Cleaning up the environment is a smart PR move for any business from an auto shop to the local credit union or community bank. At a minimum ask for wall space for promotional posters (hand-made or professionally done by a sponsoring quick print company). Our local hardware store supplied thick work gloves, eye protection and ultra strong trash bags at their cost for the cleanup crew at a nearby riverbank.

Arrange transportation for the crew, gear and for the trash to be taken out. Participants with pickup trucks should be welcomed!

What to Be Mindful Of
Even the smallest pile of garbage can be a breeding ground for pathogens and other nasty surprises, so NEVER work with unprotected hands and always have a disinfectant and hand-sanitizer available. If possible, rake garbage together and use a garden fork or spade to put it into bags.

Garbage with the potential to harbor sharp edges and points (old wood with nails in it for example) are best dumped into hard plastic or metal trash cans.

Discarded trash in the water can present risks too. Beware of sharp edges and entanglement hazards. Handle carefully and use goody bags to get collected trash to the surface.

To help manage the risks associated with any underwater “work” set a policy from the start regarding work teams (buddy pairs is an absolute minimum) and have crews work a grid whenever possible (marked out with lines and floats).

Heavy objects, such as household appliances (yes, we have moved more than one fridge in the past), can be floated using liftbags properly rigged and inflated with a stage bottle specially rigged for the job! However, before attempting this, some outside consultation may be in order. (Speak to someone who has experience or better yet teaches water salvage).

Jobs are easier when the work is shared and more enjoyable when the work is turned into fun. Jobs stay fun when they have a well defined start and ending point. This brings up the most important warning of all: Do not attempt to do more than is comfortable to complete in a couple of hours. If a site is going to take more effort than two or three hours, has trash above AND below water, then consider tackling it in several stages.

Who to Invite
The simple answer is everyone. Create an event on your store or club’s Facebook page. Send the word out in your club or store’s newsletter. Call up the local newspaper and let them know about it. Most of all, get a solid commitment from at least twice as many people as you think the task is going to require.

Of course, you may be planning a job that you could tackle on your own on a Saturday afternoon, in which case, take a friend along for company, and you’re halfway there.

How to Say Thank You
I’ve always found the perfect end to a DITO event is ice cream, but your buddies may prefer something different. However, everyone appreciates a proper thank you. Follow up your DITO event with an official “thank you.” It does not have to be the lead story on your local TV station. It can be something as simple as an email or an article in the next club newsletter.

When I pulled over to show my thanks to the scout troop cleaning up the highway on my way to our DITO event, I handed them the box of treats I was taking for our cleanup crew. After all, I could replace them in the next town, and it was worth it to see the smiles on their faces when I pulled out a box with that familiar logo on it.

Organizing a DITO event is one of the most satisfying and effective things you can do to improve the quality of local diving in your area. It might be just you and a couple of buddies showing up with your dive gear and cleaning up a couple of pop cans, or it could be something that took two months to orchestrate. The scale is immaterial: It’s the thought that counts.

How to Tell All that You Are a Diver

…In a subtle and classy way!

Chances are you have recently completed yet another milestone in your diving education and, since doing so, you have been quietly plotting –“How do I get the word out?” You have already tried the pictures scattered about your desk, the license plate or sticker on your vehicle. You’ve tried ever so subtly to insert the topic into the most mundane work discussion – “That reminds me of this one time while I was diving…” – leaving your cohorts with a confused look on their faces.

Well, listen up! You need not work so hard. All you have to do is buy the gear that tells your friends (as well as nemeses) that you are in fact a diver. A cool polo, t-shirt or cap are smart ways to get the word out. When what you are wearing causes a discussion by the water cooler, you can smoothly retort, “oh, this old thing?” and smile inwardly as you receive the kudos you deserve.

Who knows? You may be well underway to recruiting a new dive buddy as well!

Buy the gear now:
SDI: /tdisdi/index.php?cPath=139_160

To find a Training Facility for family or friends, visit:
https://www.sdi-onlinetraining.com/divers/index_facilities.php?site=3

Media Luna Hotel y Resort Looking for an ADVENTURE OFF the beaten path?

Recently, La Media Luna Facilities joined the growing ranks of worldwide facilities integrating into the SDI Family.

SDI’s own National Sales Manager, Cris Merz (Cris.Merz@tdisdi.com) asked Saul Martinez to describe in his own words his unique Dive Resort. Hold on and get your passport ready, what you will read will have you booking your next trip by the time you read what Saul had to say!

We have been working for 36 years, providing and serving recreational and technical divers from Mexico and all over the world. Our services include: sales, rent and diving equipment maintenance, Instructor certified, air and Nitrox service, the best T-shirts and souvenirs from La Media Luna.

Stop waiting and Contact us! We are proudly a 5- Star SDI/TDI Instructor Training Center #1003153

“We are as proud to have you as you are to join us” stated Cris, “but tell us more about this unique site.”

Laguna de La Media Luna, Rio verde, SLP México

The lagoon: La Media Luna is at México´s center, more specifically at the middle zone of San Luis Potosí, between the mountains, at 3300ft above sea level, in the Rioverde valley. La Media Luna is a spring of GEO-Thermal waters with a very comfortable temperature that goes from 79 to 90 Fahrenheit, with a maximum depth of 118ft ideal for snorkeling, swimming, camping and diving all the time. Even at winter when the lagoon reaches it´s maximum temperature of 90F!

Temperature between 79 and 90 Farenheit
What mysteries does it have?

What is the history of the lagoon?

 

 

Did the lagoon exist 20,000 years ago? Some researchers believe so…

La Media Luna is an ecosystem that has housed several forms of life during thousands of years; there have been great archeological discoveries including the bones of a mammoth belonging to the Pleistocene fauna. It has been said that La Media Luna was a giant natural trap, in which some animals were caught thousands of years ago, thereby leaving their remains for us to encounter during the last 40 years in several expeditions made by Mr. Juvencio Martínez Flores; the INAH (INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE ANTROPOLOGÍA E HISTORIA) for its acronym in Spanish, granted him the ward of the pieces and its preservation.

Thousands of Tiny Fossils

A pioneer diver in the country with a deep respect to the environment, Mr. Flores has preserved all of the archeological pieces under his ward. Owner and founder of Media Luna Hotel y Resort, all of the findings can be seen at the Mammoth museum, at Media Luna Hotel y Resort at (Carr. Rioverde-San Luis Potosí km. 3 esq. Canal de la media luna, CD. Fernandez, SLP México).

Juvencio Martínez Flores

There is no doubt that after the mammoth era around the year 650 A.C.-before the Spanish conquest-Rioverde was inhabited by the indigenous natives called the Pames, Otomíes and Grupos Chichimecas. The natives, who lived at the shore of the lagoon, left us some evidence of their inhabitance. These vessels were placed in the depths of the lagoon using free diving, arrow heads made form obsidian, figurines, pots, among other things from the Pame culture that have been found inside the lagoon. Thanks to the ceramic that was recovered, we know that this zone was of great value, dating back to 100 years after Christ.

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Media Luna characteristics:

• 3300 ft. above sea level

• Temperature between 79 and 90 Fahrenheit

• Max depth of 118ft

• GEO-Thermal waters

• Cristal clear water

• No dangerous animals

• Endemic fish

• Turtles

• Thousands of tiny fossils

• Petrified trees

• Springs water

• No currents

• Pleistocene lagoon

• Prehispanic culture PAME

• Prehispanic culture PAME

Geo-Thermal Waters

Endemic Fish


Petrified Trees

 

 

The crystal clear water, the biodiversity and the colorful fauna create a calm, peaceful and beautiful underwater world. This place is one of México´s natural wonders. The amazing contrast that La Media Luna has to offer is in part thanks to its vegetation and waters. During a visit, try to envision all of the wonders and moments this lagoon went through and realize that we are just one being coexisting with this vast underwater world.

 

Now, it is time for action and to book your next “out of this world” unique adventure….

To do so you can simply contact the SDI/TDI Facility nearest you and simply ask them to book it! They will do so through Scuba Travel International (STI).

Visiting your local SDI/TDI facility will allow you to focus on the preparation for your trip or find the local diving facility near you.

For more information you can contact Saul directly:

E-MAIL:

saul@medialunabuceo.com / saulmedialuna@gmail.com

medialunarioverde@hotmail.com

Media Luna Hotel y Resort®

5 Star SDI/TDI Instructor Training Center #1003153

Boulevard El Refugio-CD. Fernández-Rioverde #650 Esq. Canal Media Luna CP 79650

CD. Fernández. S.L.P. México.

TEL: 01(487)872.1473 FAX: 01(487)872.8255

www.medialunabuceo.com

To learn more about SDI/TDI and the services that are offered please visit https://www.tdisdi.com or Contact Cris.Merz@tdisdi.com or call 207-7294201 xt 202

 

WHO SAID YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK? Not only can you, YOU SHOULD!

Go back to where it all started –by revisiting your original training site

Think back to when you joined the ranks of divers. That amount of time can widely vary, from last weekend to decades, yes decades ago. However long it’s been, you should never let your dive experience mar every opportunity you can to dive.

Involved in training for many years, I have always gotten a kick out of inviting a new diver along on a dive trip. The discussion would usually go something like: “Doing any diving this weekend?” the newbie diver would ask. “Yes, I’m completing open water training for some new divers. You should join us.” Often, the response I’d receive always brought a smile to my face; sometimes I could not contain the chuckle when I would hear. “No, I did my training dives there. I’ve already seen it”. If I was inviting them to a 6 by 6 pit of 33’ of mud I had dug out to “complete training” I would have understood, but I was inviting them to THE FLORIDA KEYS! My response would usually be “Already seen it? All of it? How did you manage to do that?”

As an industry professional, I reflect back on these encounters and realize now I was the one to blame. I must have not presented the diving opportunity properly. Training Dives? Why in the world did I refer to them as training dives? These were people I was going diving with, not walruses or seals! I guess I had fallen in to the trap of referring to them as I had always heard them called: training dives.

If your Instructor made the same mistake, I suggest you go back and revisit the site where you were originally certified. If it’s been a while since you have been in the water, tag along or shadow a group that may frequent the site. But, this time you will see the site through a new set of eyes: diver’s eyes. You won’t be ignoring your surroundings while waiting for your instructor to give you a command to exhibit your proficiency on a given skill you’ll be there to purely enjoy the dive. Be it a lake, river, or ocean, the site where you first started diving deserves a second visit and another closer look.

Chances are, by the time you exit the water you will smile as you think back at the original dives done at this site. Your apprehension and concerns are natural for any diver entering any unknown. After all, isn’t that part of the adrenaline rush for so many divers? And as you fondly reflect on your first course, you will probably have a desire to explore new ones. Maybe a Solo Diver course that hones your skill set like no other or an Intro to Tech. You will find info on these and much more at https://www.tdisdi.com or locate your closest local facility. You can also peruse our local courses.

I’m reminded of a Divemaster at a popular diving resort that in briefing his guests would state… “If I interrupt your dive more than you like just give me this signal and I’ll know to back off and give you your space.” The signal required the use of one finger, and it wasn’t a thumb indicating to go upwards. You get the idea!

Most important of all, stay diving, stay wet and please stay safe!

LOCAL DIVING Gives YOU MORE Access and DIVE TIME!

While we all have that “special place” we must see, do not miss out on what we have close to home!
Years ago, I recall hanging out around the set of a TV station for an interview about diving. Teaching a local college diving program for many years had brought me the distinction of being somewhat of a “diving expert,” a nomenclature that I will always scoff at!

 

On the way to the interview, I thought of the places I’ve had the good fortune to dive and those I still would like to visit. I had it nailed in my mind. “Ask away; I’m ready!” I reflected. I sunk into the well-worn couch and waited for the first question.

 

I heard nothing but a murmur during the introduction process as I continued to rehearse my answer to the inevitable question, “What is your favorite place to dive?” Without a second thought  I blurted out, ”Locally, right here at home!” I certainly didn’t rehearse that!

 

Despite my quick response, I still stand by my statement to this day. There really is no diving like local diving. Local diving gives you unequaled access and in most cases great variety if you are creative in your approach. Now you may be thinking, “but there’s only one dive site near me!” To this response, I ask: Have you ever seen it through the eyes of other divers? I can assure you the dive you make each time will be as unique as your dive partner if you simply insist they take the lead and ask them to point out anything they see of interest.

 

Local diving sites can offer many challenges and rewarding moments. They’re a great place to socialize, meet more divers to add to your contact list and a better place to try new gear or acquired techniques.

 

Here are a few suggestions to stir some interest in your local diving:

 

  • Get the word out– A simple posting in the Dive Center, Divers blast e-mail, newsletter or social sites will work nicely.  Set up a meeting- Don’t be scared. This isn’t meant to be a serious work meeting; it will be fun! Talk about local diving opportunities and places that someone in the group “has always wanted to check out.”
  • Create a social gathering surrounding the dive– We all know that in the scheme of things a two- dive day does not require a lot of time. But having a barbeque, volleyball match or round of drinks will fill the day nicely.
  • Set a date– Select a time each month to get together, dive, grab a coffee, see a movie or go bowling. After all, you share an important common bond: you are divers!

Remember, everyone’s definition of local diving will vary. One particular group of local divers invited me to one of their monthly rituals. Early on a weekend morning we met at the Dive Center, the regulars retrieving their coffee mugs that proudly hung on the wall. We grabbed a coffee and a donut and marched into the classroom, a destination they had selected last time they met a month ago. We arranged who was driving with whom, consolidated gear and headed out the door.

Any place that could be dived and return home in one day was considered local, but the adventures often spanned a full day. As we headed out the door, the group split, some heading to the 2/3 of a day option while I jumped in with the “let’s go for it all day!” crowd.

By the time we returned to the rendezvous point that night at the Dive Center, it had been long closed and we meandered to our vehicles. As I wearily pulled away, I was approached and asked, “Hey, want to join us for a cold one?” Their day was not over yet, but I was too tuckered out to continue.

You see, local diving is where the fun and friends are! You meet new ones to go explore and answer the ever-burning question: “Hey, I wonder what is at the bottom of …?”
So, what are you waiting for? Start diving locally! Make it happen & make it safe!

To Snorkel or Not to Snorkel: That is the Question

 

How did this become such a point of contention for so many?
A long debated issue amongst divers, instructors and training agencies is: do divers need to wear snorkels? Before we explore this topic, a little bit of history is in order.

 

In the beginning, snorkels were a very useful and important piece of equipment. In the early days of SCUBA training, free diving or snorkeling was a big component of the course, acting as an air management tool. Divers were taught to hold their breath and dive down to depths so instructors could assess their comfort in the water.

 

In addition to cylinder volumes being less, given that SPG’s were not a part of the regulator, the diver only knew the tank was full because the person that filled it said it was. Towards the end of the dive when the “J” valve stopped delivering air and the diver pulled the shepherds hook to get the reserve amount of air to get them to the surface, it was quite possible that the surface swim would have to be performed on the snorkel.

 

Fast forward to present day: we now have SPG’s, air integrated dive computers, snorkeling skills are not as big of a part of training, and our training materials teach better air management practices. Also, today more divers are going into overhead environments and diving in areas where snorkels become a liability and not an asset. So this brings us to the question: snorkel or no snorkel?

 

There are still dive sites that require a surface swim, and a snorkel will conserve the air in the cylinder for the dive. There are also locations where snorkels are required by law. In these situations, snorkels are a must.

 

Where do snorkels become more of a liability? On high current dives, snorkels create a drag and tend to cause the mask to flood. In overhead environments, such as wrecks, swim troughs and caverns, they can cause the divers mask to be dislodged and cause a leak or flood. When diving around kelp or areas where monofilament line is known to be, snorkels become an entanglement hazard.

 

Another deciding factor is the comfort level of the diver; are you comfortable wearing a snorkel or not? One thing a snorkel should never replace is proper planning of air supply. Divers should always surface with enough air left to make a surface swim to their exit point, be it a boat or shore.

 

By breathing off the second stage, the diver avoids the possibility of breathing in water that has entered the snorkel due to choppy surface conditions, waves or poorly aligned snorkel (snorkel leaning too far backward or forward). A variety of pocket snorkels have also entered diving, allowing the diver to “always have one with them” although not necessarily attached until it is needed. With all these details, it’s easy to see wearing a snorkel or not depends on the type of dive that is planned.

There is possibly no better exercise and opportunity to interact with sea life than going out for a swim across the surface of the ocean, lake or river. In this case, a snorkel is exactly the right tool for the job. With the brightest sun light, it attracts the highest concentration of life. Find a good fitting snorkel, mask and fins, and the experience is sure to be amazing!

Underwater Journal

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Did you know… the UWJ is the official publication of SDI™/TDI™/ERDI™, a diving certification agency, and is included in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Information Exchange for Marine Educators Archive of Journals?


Did you know … that issue 20 of the UWJ is ready for download?
Here is what one of our readers had to say:
“Many scuba magazines are
about ads and superficial topics. ‘UWJ’ gives me details that
I can’t find elsewhere and
covers all aspects of my favorite
activities in great depth.”
– Vance A. Barr, Glenville, NY
You’re really going to enjoy issue 20. We’ve included some compelling tales of dive destinations both near and far. Doug Ebersole tells of the wonders that can be found just off the coast of Vancouver at a site called God’s Pocket; Tim Rock takes us to Guam to visit marine preserves, and a team of French adventurers travels to Iceland to report on a unique thermal vent found in the relatively shallow depths of a northern Fjord.


History buffs
and wreck divers will enjoy the vicarious discovery of a World war II British fighter in Greek waters, and will be pleased to learn that the easily-accessible wreck of the USS Massachusetts awaits in shallow waters just off Pensacola, Florida. And, as always, we’ve added a mix of product reviews, dive medicine and ocean science to round out the issue.
Stay tuned! We’ve created our first-ever underwater video contest. Slated to run from June 1 to June 30, the contest will give UWJ subscribers the chance to showcase their video, and anyone can vote on favorite entries. All the details will soon be posted on the website.

Whatever your adventure is this summer, we encourage you to share it with fellow divers and with us,. Whether you’re capturing the underwater scene on video for the chance at a great prize, simply posting us a note, or sharing a photo.
Next issue is due out June 15.
Cheers!
PS – Don’t forget, UWJ is iPad compatible.

https://www.underwaterjournal.com/

Lost or Forgotten C-Card… Here’s the Scoop

Oh no… It’s the night before your next dive and you can’t find your c-card or even worse… You arrived at the dive site or dive boat and you can’t find your c-card for check-in. First things first, don’t panic! We have a solution. Don’t cancel your dive. Read this article to learn more about how our digital c-cards can save the day.

Headaches and SCUBA Diving

Diving headaches have spoiled many dive trips. As there are different causes associated with headaches and diving, it can be as simple as a mask squeeze, an excessive constriction around the neck by thermal protection, a dental issue, cold water around an inadequately insulated head, or saltwater aspiration.