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November 25th 2013

24 Nov 2013 Written by 

How's my diving?
dive-positionHow long can you stay underwater on a dive, 30, 40 minutes, or even an hour? Of course it depends on a number of factors such as how deep you go, how fit you are, how big you are and how bad the current is to name but a few. But the way you move in the water and the position you dive in also influence how long you can stay down for. Following on from yesterday's blog about buoyancy, there a few things you'll learn on the open water course to help you dive in the most efficient way.

When you walk, do you lean heavily forward and let your body's inertia propel you along so your legs have to catch up? Not unless you work for the ministry of funny walks. Diving is the same. When you first let go of the buoyline on dive one of the open water course, you need to be thinking about your position in the water. The aim is to be as horizontal as possible (tech divers call it good trim) for two reasons. The first is that you will be much more streamlined, so you won't have to kick as hard to move yourself through the water- water is dense. The second, is that if you're a little bit upright, as you kick it will make you move upwards slightly. Not the end of the world you'd think, but remember on dive one you're also getting to grips with your buoyancy, so kicking yourself upwards combined with having a little air in your BC that will expand as you ascend and make you go up quicker will ensure you are surface-bound before you've even realised what's going on.
Streamlining your equipment is also important. Having your air gauge hanging out whilst you're diving along will create drag, and if it's dragging on the dive site it may damage coral and cause wear and tear to your equipment, both big no nos. Another good tip is to never try and compare diving to swimming. You may be tempted to do the breast stroke with your arms whilst diving, but if you think about the weight of all that equipment, and compare the surface area of your hand to the fin you are wearing, it's doing pretty much nothing apart from make you look a bit crazy and wasting your energy. Put your arms away and let your fins do the work.
Finally, how should you kick when diving? Simple, flutter kicking as if you're doing the front crawl, or frog kicking as if you're doing the breast stroke are both good, as long as they are nice and slow, and the power is coming from your hips and thighs. Slow, slow, slow is the key. The worst thing you can do is to bicycle kick. It's extremely inefficient, you look stupid, and you are again helping to propel yourself upwards slightly and making it harder to keep nice and horizontal. You may find frog kicks a little hard initially, so always best to start with the flutter kick, but as you progress as a diver you will eventually frog kick- if you're able to do it by the end of your open water course, you'll be well on your way as a diver.
You will learn all of the above on the open water course, and listening to your instructor and trying to follow what he or she is telling you underwater will help to minimise exertion during your dive, so that you go through your air slower, and therefore have more time to enjoy the underwater world. Once you get more experience, for example by doing the advanced course, you can move on to more advanced techniques such as the modified frog and modified flutter kicks, and the DMT's nemesis- back finning. For now, enjoy the learning new things, go with the flow, listen to your instructor and have fun!
 
Whaleshark saved by text
How's this for a bit of good news. Fishermen in Karimunjawa National Park in Indonesia got a bit of a surprise when they realised they had accidentally caught a 4 metre juvenile whaleshark in their nets. But luckily they had a back up plan; they sent a text message to the World Conservation Society (WCS), who then, in conjunction with officers from the National Park sent a boat out to help free it. The fishermen didn't just happen to have the phone number to the offices of the WCS though. In a brilliant bit of forward thinking, the WCS set up a helpline for people to report fishing violations and marine animal strandings, which involves sending out a simple text. The fishermen didn't want to get into trouble for accidentally catching the whaleshark, and weren't able to free it by themselves, so they asked the WCS for help, and it all worked out marvellously.
Since the helpline has been set up, illegal fishing has been markedly reduced and compliance with fishery closures within the national park have increased. This is thought to have increased the number of fish, which in turn may be bringing more whalesharks back into the area. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had such a system in the Gulf of Thailand, so that illegal fishing could actually be enforced properly.

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Read 926 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 October 2017 08:24

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