Manta Divers, September, 2012 Diving Specialties
Anyone who’s hung around Manta Divers for any amount of time knows that we feel that keeping divers diving is as important as making them divers in the first place. Organizing dive outings and trips is part of our strategy to accomplish this goal, but another fun way to get more dives in is to take Advanced Open Water or a specialty course.
In open water class, we talk about all the opportunities for more scuba education that are available to divers after they earn their initial certification, but it seems that after entry level certification, many divers do not know when and where to take their next step. For example, I was congratulating a new open water diver the other day and encouraging him to take the Advanced Open Water course. He looked at me, surprised at the suggestion and told me he wasn’t sure he was “qualified” to take advanced open water! I think this is a common misconception.
Advanced Open Water, the next step in diver education, is an experience based course that allows the diver five open water dives with an instructor, each focusing on a different facet of diving, so an open water certified diver is “qualified” to take the course. By “experience based,” we mean that there is little time spent in the classroom and lots of time spent underwater. A deep dive, to deeper than 60ft., and an underwater navigation dive are both required. This is mainly because so many interesting sites, such as wrecks are at depths beyond 60ft. and it is important to know what to expect when you are down at depth. Additionally, when making your first unguided dive with your buddy, being a skilled navigator will give you confidence and increase your enjoyment of the experience.
Boat and night diving are very popular choices for adventure dives. Boat diving is an often underrated adventure dive choice, but there is particular etiquette to boat diving as well as logistical considerations that your instructor can clue you into during your experience. Doing a boat adventure dive may save you from being that “jerk” on the dive boat that no one likes! For many new divers, a night dive could be the most terrifying choice, but again, your instructor can show you how much fun a night dive can be as well as open you up to how different in the lake or ocean’s “second shift” can be. Night diving is not just more of the same, but at night!
If you really want to use less air, the peak performance buoyancy dive and corresponding specialty course are your ticket. This course builds on what you learned about proper weighting in open water class and teaches that location of the weight is as important as how much weight. Students also learn visualization techniques to aid in streamlined, low energy travel underwater. There are many more adventure dive possibilities and thumbing through your advanced diving manual will pique your interest and give you many ideas as to what you would like to do next.
For those already Advanced Open Water certified, taking a specialty course may be your ticket to really developing as a diver. For example, courses such as underwater photography or videography can convert a terrestrial hobby into an underwater one. The equipment specialist course not only demystifies some of the gear used in diving, but teaches you how to do simple repairs that could save a dive (or your life) sometime in the future. One of our most memorable excursions this summer was our Search and Recovery course weekend. In addition to learning effective search procedures and how to lift objects from the depths, students got to really apply all that they learned in Peak Buoyancy and Underwater Navigation. If you want to communicate more clearly underwater, consider the Sea Signs specialty, a sign language course for divers. This skill was used extensively this summer and helped avoid trips to the surface to make my messages clear!
Advanced Open Water dives and specialty course dives not only beef up your dive log, but they expand your diving world to new and wonderful experiences. Becoming a diving specialist not only moves you toward becoming a self-reliant diver, but through the course work and training dives, you meet new people and build friendships. Yes, the frequent divers are better divers, but the diving specialists are the ones others look up to and they have the cards to prove it!
In Other News.................
The New Legend Regulator is here and Lisa says it is a great breather and light weight. She likes the new flexible hose, too. Stop in and take a look! This is the best excuse we can give you to upgrade your reg!
Good News! The Griplock Cam Band that has been a hit on the newer Aqualung BC's is now available for all Aqualung BC's. No more struggling to pull the cam band tight. With the Griplock, your tank simply buckles to the tank. Easy and quick.
Due to an ordering error, we have an excess amount of Universal Spring Straps for non-Atomic fins. So, while supplies last, they are 50% off, or free with purchase of new Aqualung Slingshot fins. ($69 value)
Check the Calendar page for the remaining local dive dates. Remember, it will be a long, dry winter!
Congratulations to Manta Divers' course graduates:
Divemaster, Neil (Nigel) Badham. Great Job!
Rescue Diver: Sheryl and Jerry Brandes, Patrick Gazarkiewicz, Jimmy Ray Purser, Scott Duban, and Terese Rutkowski
Advanced Open Water Divers: Becky Anderson, Liz Boomer and Eric Bates
Open Water Divers:Cody Moreland, Laura Zielinski, Fernando Luna, and Sean Bellinger
Enriched Air Divers: Becky Anderson and Brian Doverspike
Search and Recovery Diver: Patrick Gazarkiewicz
Peak Performance Divers: Josh Parker and Scott Duban