How Honest Have You Been With Your Family About Diving?

EUROTEK advanced and technical diving conference, Vikki Batten, PADI, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Leigh Bishop, Mark Dixon, Dr Neal W Pollock
Vikki Batten about to dive at Ginnie Springs © Copyright Karl Shreeves PADI

We are aware there has been more than 60 'recreational' diving fatalities worldwide since 1st January 2014. In the UK this subject is rather raw at present; we lost 4 divers in 4 days during last weekend's Bank Holiday.

Vikki Batten, (PADI Director, Rebreather Technologies) will be delivering a talk on Sunday 21st September at EUROTEK.2014 entitled 'The Aftermath Of Incidents'. This topic is rarely discussed professionally, and will be a useful tool for dive centre owners, managers and dive pros.

Vikki has experience of dealing with the fall out of serious incidents from both a personal standpoint, and as part of her role at PADI. She has taken part in extreme dives herself and been on the other side of the fence. In January 2012 she received a phone call advising that her partner had a serious case of DCS (decompression sickness) following a dive beyond 200m / 656f depth. She then spent the following week not knowing whether he would survive, and if he did, what state he would be in. In her professional capacity Vikki has been involved with people reporting incidents, providing support to ease their distress and assistance with practical matters in the following months.

In this presentation Vikki focuses not on the victims of incidents, but on the fallout that their fellow divers, friends and family experience. Vikki asks whether your family would be prepared if you had an accident? Have you faced the possibility that diving could kill or injure you? None of us like to think that we could become a victim, but preparing yourself and your loved ones for this eventuality is Step One in preventing it or minimising the damage it could cause.

Vikki looks at the reality of incidents and their consequences, and discusses ways to prevent a tragedy becoming an even bigger disaster. This is an interactive talk, so come along prepared to take part in this rarely discussed aspect of advanced and tec diving.

Not sure when Vikki is speaking? Click this link to access the handy EUROTEK.2014 Conference Schedule.

 

Don't Miss The Anglesey ScubaFest This Weekend

Anglesey ScubaFest, scuba diving in North Wales, Cornwall ScubaFest, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, SITA, Scuba Industry Trade Association

It is two days and counting until the UK diving event of the summer! This Friday (15th August) sees the start of the Anglesey ScubaFest.

Anglesey ScubaFest, PADI, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, British wreck diving, SITA, Scuba Industry Trade Association
British Wreck Diving © Copyright PADI - All Rights Reserved

The weekend event, now in its third year, showcases British diving, and to this end brings together like-minded divers from all agencies to enjoy some great diving, trial new equipment and techniques, tuck into some great food, listen to some live music, and just generally have a good craic over some apres-dive beers. Download the packed 2014 Anglesey Scubafest Schedule here.

For non-divers this ScubaFest is the ideal opportunity to learn all about scuba diving and meet key people from the leading diver training agencies; BSAC, PADI, SAA and SSI.

For certified divers, there is a packed schedule of diving with plenty of shore diving on offer. If you want to boat dive, there are still a handful of RHIB diving spaces left - go to the website to secure your spot.

You can also try something new. Curious about freediving? There are four Static and Dynamic Apnea Freediving clinics running morning (10am) and afternoon (2pm) on the event beach. All you need is a wetsuit and a pair of socks to take part. Everything else will be provided.

Mark Evans, Sport Diver Magazine, SBS Charters, rhib diving in Wales, rib diving in Wales, scuba diving, The Anglesey ScubaFest, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, SITA, Scuba Industry Trade Association
RHIB diving in Anglesey © Copyright Mark Evans / Sport Diver Magazine - All Rights Reserved

The same goes for sidemounting. Sidemount supremo Garry Dallas will be running Sidemount workshops and will be bringing rigged cylinders, harnesses and regs a-plenty

In between times you can refresh your rescue skills by getting up to speed with CPR!

There is plenty to keep the kids occupied with BSAC running Beachcomber and 'Beach Snapper' events on both days. And children aged 12 and under get free entry into theAnglesey Sea Zoo during this ScubaFest. Just say the two magic words at the ticket office; "Anglesey ScubaFest"!

Representatives from manufacturers including Apeks Aqua Lung, Huish Outdoors, Liquid Sports, Mares, Suunto and Weezle Diving will be on the beach at Porth Dafarch near Trearddur Bay, or Newry Beach in Holyhead (final location dependent on the weather), and will have plenty of shiny new gear for you to take for trial dives.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a snapper, then the Northern Underwater Photography Group (NUPG) has a special category for The Anglesey ScubaFest sponsored by AP Diving. This is free and anyone can enter. Simply take images of the ScubaFest event, i.e. divers getting ready, equipment, people having fun along the shore or at the event. You can enter a maximum of 2 images by 6.30pm on Saturday evening at the Outdoor Centre.

Anglesey ScubaFest, BSAC Beachcomber, BSAC Beach Snapper, rock pooling, Elaine White, Mary Tetley, British Sub Aqua Club, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving, PR, Great British diving, SITA, Scuba Industry Trade Association
BSAC Beachcomber at the Anglesey ScubaFest © Copyright BSAC - All Rights Reserved

There is still some space for camping at the Outdoors Centre - check out the website for details. Of course no ScubaFest would not be complete without some great entertainment. Two fabulous live bands are lined up to play on Friday and Saturday night, so come and grab a drink and dance the night away.

For more information, to book your accommodation, a band ticket or space on a RHIB dive, check out: www.theangleseyscubafest.com

DUI Purchases OMS

Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, OMS, DUI, IANTD Technical Conference, Fraser Purdon, David Jones, advanced and technical diving equipment, Simon Lodge, Divers Warehouse, Bts, Graham Blackmore
The author working the OMS stand at the 1999 IANTD Technical Diving Conference, Coventry

BREAKING NEWS - Overnight Diving Unlimited International, along with their European partners, Bts Europe AG and CCR Sp. Z 0.0. has announced the acquisition of Ocean Management Systems.

The new company will be called Ocean Management Systems GmbH and will be based in Germany.

“The OMS brand is recognized worldwide with a solid reputation”, said Susan Long, DUI’s President & CEO. "Our goal is to bring divers the quality products they have come to expect from OMS combined with DUI’s reputation for exceptional customer support. Our partner, BtS, will do the same for divers throughout Europe. We will be working hard over the next couple of months to streamline the OMS product line with a release in early 2015.”

DUI will be distributing OMS throughout North America, Central and South America, Australia, Korea and Japan.

BtS will be distributing OMS throughout Europe, Russia and China.

International DISTRIBUTORS interested in OMS should contact Thomas Dederichs.

A 6 Pence Dive and Killing Ghosts in Swanage

Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Lisa Shafe, St Albans BSAC, Poseidon Rebreathers, diving Swanage, SS Kyarra, Shearwater Petrel, O'Three drysuits, AP Diving
Predive checks Image Credit: Mike Thomas

It was the perfect place to dive. The obvious choice. Back in 1992, my debut sea dive was underneath Dorset's Swanage Pier as I cautiously made my first ever night dive. A day later my first ever wreck dive was out of Swanage. So when a couple of friends hatched a plan to take me on my first UK sea dive on my Poseidon rebreather; the ideal solution was of course Swanage!

Swanage is actually quite useful as a 'first sea dive'. You can take a dip beneath the magnificent Victorian Pier to ensure your weighting and buoyancy are correct, before doing something more adventurous. We duly walked down the wide stone steps and did pre dive checks before gingerly stepping over, on and around the submerged rocks.

Experience is a good teacher. You quickly learn how to minimise risk to yourself and your kit. Walking into deeper water at Swanage is not that easy and there is a high chance you can fall over and hurt yourself or damage your equipment. As soon as we could, we gently dropped onto our knees and used 'pull and glide' techniques to get us into deeper water, where we could make a proper descent beneath the pier.

Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Poseidon Rebreathers, James Roberton, Steve Newman, Lisa Shafe, diving Swanage, Adam Wood, SSI Poseidon Training,
'Pull and glide' into deeper water Image Credit: Mike Thomas

After a quick non-descent (yes please I do need another 2 kilos), we gently dropped beneath the Pier. It looked to me as though the seabed was covered in tossed Marks & Spencer salad being gently washed about by the current. There was a good smattering of Sea Lettuce wafting in the water. I played with my buoyancy whilst watching a feisty Velvet Crab demand that I take it on. One of the things I really love about my Poseidon is how quickly I can get to grips with my buoyancy and get a reasonable position in the water. I have found that this skill is not so intuitive on other units.

Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company,  Lisa Shafe, St Albans BSAC, Divers Down, Swanage Pier, scuba diving in Swanage, rebreather divers, Poseidon Rebreathers, AP Diving, James Roberton, Steve Newman
Heading for the pier Image Credit: Mike Thomas

I glanced over to Lisa to check she was ok, to find her picking up a disc from the seabed. I inspected her outstretched palm closely. Tuppence. And then I spotted one too. We cruised the seabed, giggling as we found more coins. It was a useful drill because we were diving 3 metres / 10 foot. If you can achieve and maintain neutral buoyancy here, then you are in good shape for deeper dives. All too soon it is time to turn for home and head back. I surfaced triumphant gleefully clutching three tuppences. Treasure worth 6 pence.

After a reasonable surface interval debriefing, dive planning and enjoying ice-cream, we jump on a boat to head out to the SS Kyarra. Time to kill some ghosts.

Why the "ghost killing"? There are certain dives that are forever seared into your soul for good, or not so good reasons. My first dive after I had qualified as a diver was a "not so good dive". I did my four PADI Open Water dives in Stoney Cove, and a few weeks later my five PADI Open Water Advanced dives out of Swanage.

Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, Poseidon Rebreathers, The Underwater Marketing Company, Lisa Shafe, James Roberton, Jared Hires, Dive Rite Transpac XT, O'Three Drysuits, Swanage Pier, Divers Down, shore diving in the UK, St Albans BSAC, AP Diving, scuba diving, rebreather diving
Surfacing! Image Credit: Mike Thomas

After listening to some very bad advice from an instructor, and not realising at the time it was; my first ever dive, as a qualified diver, was the SS Kyarra. She is considered a classic British wreck dive and she can be an awesome dive. The Kyarra is probably one of the most dived wrecks in the UK because she is so accessible from Swanage, a mere 20 minute boat ride. She was a twin-masted schooner-rigged steamer, built in the Clyde (Scotland) in 1903 and was torpedoed a mere 15 years later on 26th May 1918 by the German submarine UB-57. Today she lies in 30 metres / 100 foot.

30 metres temperate water diving off the UK south coast is a completely different animal to 30 metres blue water diving in Grand Cayman or Egypt. It can be as black as your hat down there, or the wreck can benefit from good ambient light. I have dived it in various light levels. And the wreck can be swept by quite strong currents. It is certainly not the place for brand new qualified divers to go exploring on their own.

Rosemary  E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Poseidon rebreathers, James Roberton, Lisa Shafe, Steve Newman, Swanage diving, south coast diving, O'Three drysuits, Hollis F2 fins,
Heading Home Image Credit: Mike Thomas

My 10th ever dive was with someone vastly more experienced than I. He had 14 dives. And it was back in the day when octopus' were not mandatory kit. Between us we had a primary regulator each. And then we shared a watch, a depth gauge and the biggest knife we could lay our hands on. Long story short, after a 25 minute bottom time at 30 metres, we were off the dive tables with decompression obligations to fulfil. We didn't. Instead we made a very fast uncontrolled ascent from seabed to surface in a matter of seconds. To this day I still do not know why either of us didn't embolise or get decompression sickness. We were very very lucky.

Twenty two years later, not quite to the day, here I am jumping on the Kyarra with my Poseidon. Time to kill the ghost of that dive. It took ages to get down the shot. You can't descent quite as fast on a rebreather as you can on scuba. The viz was a tad milky and I wondered just how dark it would be on the wreck. We got lucky! The wreck was bathed in glorious emerald green light and the viz was pretty amazing. Ten metres plus. We both confirmed we were "ok" and started to bimble along the wreck.

An opening looked quite enticing. I could see it didn't go very far, something like two metres, but I was still curious. There was nothing of interest, however I got a little stuck. What immediately went through my mind was, "I have all the time in the world to get out of here." My Poseidon was giving me just what I needed at that moment. Time! After some gentle wiggling, I successfully reversed into the green sunshine.

Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Poseidon rebreathers, Poseidon Ambassador, Simon Morris, Steve Newman, Adam Wood, James Roberton, OThree drysuits, Hollis fins, Swanage diving, rebreather diving, Divers Down, Shearwater Petrel
Surfacing With Treasure - Six Pence! Image Credit: Mike Thomas

The wreck is pretty broken up, however you can still make out some key features on her. Pieces of deck. The cove hatchings around the holds. Bollards and some railings. Time to check my paddle and computer. 20 minutes before I hit deco, and I'd already been down there for 20 minutes. How wonderful to have the luxury of such long no-decompresion time and I marvelled at just what little gas I had used on the dive. I was snug, warm and very happy on my Poseidon.

Ahead of me loomed a vast boiler. I inched closer admiring the 'furry' boiler. It was covered in hydroids and small sea anemones. "Is anyone home?" I wondered. I peered in one of the fire doors expecting to come face to face with a Conger. Instead I was greeted by a blue lobster wiggling its tentacles at me.

All too soon we came the end of the wreck as I hit one minute of deco. Time to dispatch my delayed surface marker buoy and head on up. I love how my time machine can allow me to do a 50 minutes run time with pretty much no deco, on a wreck at 30 metres. Pure Poseidon pleasure!

Poseidon Rebreather, Divers Down, Swanage Pier, Spike, Greenforce Torch, Richard Pyle, Bill Stone, James Roberton, Simon Morris, Steve Newman, Tasha Wallace, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company
A Successful Day's Swanage Diving! Image Credit: Rosemary E Lunn