January, 2011 Diving Resolutions
Hopefully everyone had a wonderful holiday with lots of good food, family fun, and gatherings with friends. During this month as the your home and your routine start to get back to normal, many of us reflect on our lives and think about changes we can make to improve ourselves in the new year. It is also good time to do the same with your diving life.
If you haven’t already purchased your own equipment, make a commitment to start. You learned in open water class the importance of diving with equipment that is familiar, but with your personal gear, you can also be sure that it is regularly maintained. This is the time of the year that Manta Divers has many items on clearance and we are turning over our rental stock, so you can make a relatively small investment in quality merchandise with a documented service record. Once you’ve invested in your own gear, it will be easier to just pick up and join friends for a local dive, which brings me to the next point.
Once you own your gear, make a commitment to clean and care for it after every dive. It is very easy to get into the habit of planning to rinse your BC and regulator the next day or the next time, only to find that your gear is smelling bad and needs more frequent rebuilds than it should due to neglect. From an environmental stand point too, it is important to clean your gear and make sure that you are not transporting nonnative species from lake to lake. At Manta Divers we feel this is so important that we invite our divers to clean out as a group at the shop after trips. It makes the process fun and keeps your garage or basement clean and dry!
Have you been envying the divers going on the January and March trips? Now is the time to decide to go and start planning. If you squirreled away $40 per week starting now, you would have plenty put aside finance a dive trip in paradise. It is surprising that just a few economies on your part can afford you a trip of a lifetime without breaking the bank. Put a picture of a favorite dive spot on your phone to remind you what your goal is. Then, whenever you are tempted to blow money on an expensive latte or another new pair of shoes, take a look and refocus your efforts.
One thing we all can improve on is our buddy skills. Work on a predive planning to help you and your buddy to share a clear idea of what you will be doing on your dive. Think if the most important elements you need to discuss at the surface. It may be helpful to develop an ancronym or other memory device to assure you've covered everything. I like "PSST": Planned max depth, Signals, Separation procedures, and Time (or PSI) to start ascent. Work out if you will lead, follow or swim along side your buddy. If you have an emergency, next to your own calm problem solving, a nearby dive buddy to assist with air, entanglement or other problems is your best bet to save yourself from a mishap or worse.
Finally, make a promise to yourself to dive more this year. Get more use out of your diving gear purchase by using it whenever possible. As I often point out in class, the safest divers are the ones who log the most dives. In addition, the more you dive the more you can hone your buoyancy and the better you protect yourself and the environment while diving. If you need a little more motivation, sign up for some specialty courses such as Underwater Navigation, Night diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy or Digital Underwater Photography. When Manta Divers’ spring-summer schedule comes out, ink in a few dates in your planner and experience the fun and challenge of freshwater diving. We hope to see all of you more this summer.
Diving is a wonderful sport that has opened many people up to travel, friendships and a new level of personal fitness. Make yourself the best and safest diver you can be by owning and maintaining your gear, planning each dive carefully and diving as much as possible.
In Other News...............
Mike and I want to thank all of you for your patronage, loyalty and friendship in 2010, and wish you lots of good times, fun, laughter and of course diving in 2011!
Stop in and meet the newest member of Team Manta, our CUDDLEFISH. This masterpiece was created by Team Manta instructor and resident artist, Tina Neimi Johnson.
Look for updates on our Team Manta Utila trip on the Team Manta Dive Adventures Facebook page. I hope Utila Lodge is ready for the Manta Crew to take over their resort, but ready or not, here we come!