NIGHT DIVING: RULES, RECOMMENDATIONS AND FUN FACTS

If you feel that scuba diving is a thrilling exercise, try night diving. It is quite an interesting and mysterious experience. Once you descend into the water at night and discover a whole new world, you will definitely want more.

SURPRISESOR FUN FACTS

Night dives are always full of surprises. Let’s look at a few of them.

Diving at night at a location which is very familiar to you will present you with a completely new experience.

Night diving definitely changes the way we see marine life.  At night the marine world appears to be more beautiful, colorful and mysterious.

The experience and calmness of night diving cannot be compared with any other form of scuba diving. It is completely different. Dive slowly at night and you will find it exciting and relaxing at the same time. Many of the reef animals sleep during the day and only come out at night.

For example, wide ranges of fish can be seen sleeping in small holes. Likewise, many different shrimp, lobsters and crabs show up at night. You can also be so lucky as to see sharks passing by at the end of your light. Thus, there is indeed a chance to discover new and exciting marine animals while diving at night.

Scuba Diver in water before a sunrise dive at the Liberty Wreck dive site, Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia

Stubblefield Photography

Bioluminescence is something you have to experience during a night dive. There are tiny plankton type organisms underwater that give off a bioluminescence at night when set in motion.

To see it, try to minimize the effect of your flashlight and move your arms around in the water. This will make the plankton light up like tiny flashes all around you.

This can only be seen in darkness so you will need to cover your flash light. It is not recommended that you turn it off, simply cover it against your stomach or hand.

RULES AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Planning should be done carefully for night diving. There are a number of factors to be considered before you go underwater in the dark.

When choosing where to do a night dive, it is a good idea to pick a known site. It will be easier for you to navigate around at a dive you are familiar with from a previous day dive.

You will also be able to see the massive changes that happen when the underwater world goes from day to night.

When choosing a dive spot keep in mind that you do not want anything uncontrolled happening at a night dive.

Therefore, pick a dive spot with as little current as possible, and no surf or other obstacles that can interrupt the dive.

You also need to make sure that the spot you choose is easily accessed when it is dark.

Easy entry and exit is important, especially if you need to carry your dive equipment.

EQUIPMENT

scuba divers taking a rest.

Wen-ho Yang

It is important that you set up all of your dive equipment during the day or in sufficient light prior to the night dive. This will ensure that all of your equipment is set up properly, and that you will not forget anything.

You need to use a dive torch with strong power and long battery life. When choosing a dive light you should consider the beam width, burn time and the depth rating.

Always keep a spare flashlight in case your primary light runs out of batteries or stops working.A small flashlight can be stored in the BCD pocket.

It is also a good idea to have a chemical light stick or a battery powered marker, which can be attached to your BCD or tank, for easy recognition. The light can also be attached to the boat, anchor line or buoy so you can find your way around.

Use familiar equipment that you have tried during a day dive. Do not go on a night dive with brand new equipment that you do not know how to use.

TIMING

It is a good idea to go diving at twilight, this will make it easier for you to adjust to the darkness gradually.

Another adventurous option is diving down just before dawn. It is unbelievable to watch the beauty of marine life when they awaken.

Plan for a shorter dive, compared to daytime diving, for safety reasons.

GET A BUDDY

Getting a buddy for a night dive is a must. It gives you great mental support. Keep in mind, however, that you and your buddy need to keep an extra eye out for one another. It is easy to get lost at night.

You can also use a short buddy line to minimize the risk of being separated.

Be careful where you point your light. It is a good idea is to keep your light facing down toward the bottom so as to prevent shining it in other divers’ eyes.

SIGNALING

Learning to use light signals is crucial for a night dive. For example, moving the light up and down is for attracting a buddy’s attention. Waving from side to side indicates that something is wrong.

Waving the light in a circle shows that everything is fine.

Making a signal while holding the light toward your hand helps other divers to see it better.

BEFORE YOU GO

The first time for night diving should always be with an instructor.

Depending upon the training agency, it can be done through different courses.

Once you have had that experience with the instructor, you can make plans to go on a night dive with your buddy or on a holiday night dive with a dive center.

GO FOR IT

Night diving can be a breathtaking and fascinating act. So what is stopping you?

Go on and try this adventure to get a new feel for scuba diving all over again. Even if you are not new to night diving, there is always more to discover.

Every time we dive underwater at night, we can find something new to explore.

Some quite interesting facts about diving

Reflex

Hold your breath and submerge your face in cold water and your heart will immediately slow down by as much as 25 per cent. This is known as the “diving reflex” and it’s something we share with other mammals. It means we can survive longer without oxygen submerged in cold water than we can on dry land. Although it is an instinctive reaction, it can also be trained: free divers (the sport of deep diving without any breathing apparatus) practice the art of meditation and deep breathing in order to slow their heartbeat.

The deepest free dive ever achieved (using fins) is 896ft (273m), reached by Croatian diver Goran Colak in Lignano, Italy, in 2011. The record for holding one’s breath under water (static apnoea) is held by Stéphane Mifsud, a French free diver who managed 11 minutes 35 seconds in 2009.

Deep

The record for the deepest any human has ever dived was set in 1960 by Jacques Piccard, and his assistant Don Walsh, in an area of the ocean called Challenger Deep, part of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific. The trench is 1,580 miles (2,550km) long but only 225ft (69m) wide, and reaches a depth of about 6.8 miles (11km). It took them four hours and 48 minutes travelling in Trieste, a pressurised bathyscaphe (Greek bathos, “deep” + skaphos, “vessel”) in 1960. According to Piccard, “the bottom appeared light and clear”. In reality, the pressure there is so great you would have to heat water to 530C (986F) to get it to boil. In 2012, the film director James Cameron followed in their footsteps, and reached roughly the same depth in around 70 minutes.

The life aquatic

Aquatic mammals have used the reflex to allow incredible feats of underwater endurance. The sperm whale can dive the deepest of any air-breathing animal: they’ve been identified more than a mile (2km) down for around two hours at a time, where they hunt for squid. They expel all the air from their lungs to avoid the risk of “the bends” and survive on the oxygen absorbed in their blood. They can dive the length of a football pitch every minute.

Elephant seals can dive for two hours at a time, and reach depths of 5,000ft. Their bodies hold twice as much blood as most mammals and, when they’re diving, their heart rate plummets from 90 to just four beats a minute. To help them sink faster, some will even swallow stones.

Clear vision

A seal’s eyes don’t go blurry underwater. In other mammals, this blur is caused by the outer lens (cornea) being rendered useless by the water, like a transparent glass marble which disappears when you drop it in the bath. Seals overcome this through a huge spherical inner lens to focus the image, and an extremely adjustable iris to control the light. This not only gives them their big-eyed charm, it also means they can hunt in bright sunlight as well as the gloomy ocean depths.

Feathered divers

Gannets have no nostrils. Because they dive headfirst into the sea – hitting the water at 60mph – and need to keep water out of their lungs, the birds breathe solely through their mouths. They can dive down to 25m (82ft) below sea level. Geese lose altitude by “whiffling”; they nosedive, spiralling as they go, sometimes flying upside down with their heads pointing straight ahead.

Plunging

In the St Louis Olympics of 1904 there was a very odd event called the “plunge for distance”. Competitors dived into a very deep pool and remained motionless until they bobbed up again. The winner was the one who sunk the farthest without attempting to propel himself through the water.

The gold medallist was an American – 20-year-old William Dickey – with a plunge of 62.5ft (19.05m).

Scuba fun

“Scuba” is an acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. In North Carolina, there is an annual underwater bike race undertaken by people in scuba gear. In the Maldives there is an underwater spa, where passing fish observe your massage; there’s also an underwater restaurant 16ft (5m) below sea level.

But the hotbed of underwater activity is Florida: the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce stages an annual underwater concert which gig-goers can attend in their scuba gear; or you can get married underwater with a live video feed to guests on the surface

 

A quietly intriguing column from the brains behind QI, the BBC quiz show.

EN 250: What is it and Why is it Stamped on my Regulator?

EN250:2000 Respiratory equipment – Open Circuit Self Contained Compressed Air Diving Apparatus – Requirements, Testing and Marking is a European normative standard that was published in the year 2000, and Regulators must be independently tested to ensure they meet these minimum requirements. The purpose of this European Standard is to ensure a minimum level of safe operation for apparatus down to a maximum depth of 50 metres (164ft).

If you’re not sure what EN 250 means, you’re not alone!

You may never have noticed the unobtrusive lettering on your first stage, except to point out that it isn’t the serial number and move on.

So, what is it and what does it say about your regulator?

Manufacturers and consumers alike expect regulators to perform to certain specifications. If you purchase a travel regulator, you expect it to deliver a good performance under the conditions it was created for- in warmer water. However, most travel regulators are not designed to dive in all conditions; there are temperature limitations on many of them that would keep you from using them in Great Lake diving or under ice. Conversely, there are regulators that are diveable in more difficult situations such as high current or ice diving. But what exists to objectively test these regulators to ensure that they all perform under these specifications and conditions?

Enter the EN 250 rating. This exists to ensure that your regulator will perform well in every environment and condition for which it is advertised. It is given by a third-party testing facility (also designated on the regulator). EN 250 is an assurance that your regulator can deliver quality breathing performance beyond the recreational depth limit. In 2013, they plan to release a new rating requirement: EN250A. This rating ensures that your primary and your octo will simultaneously breathe easily under the same testing conditions. So, here are a few markings to reference on your regulator if you’re not sure what yours is meant to do.

1. <10 degrees C/50 Degrees F: Regulators marked with that designation should not be used in cold water. In other words, your local quarry during the summer may be fine, but don’t take it in Lake Michigan

2. EN250: Your regulator is designed to operate to 165 ft and below 50 degrees F with unchanged breathing performance in the first and second stage. The octo will not perform to the same specifications and its use is not recommended below 100 ft.

3. EN250A: Your regulator is designed to operate to 165 ft and below 50 degrees F with unchanged breathing performance in the first and second stage as well as the octo.

4. CE0078 (or some variation) is the stamp of the center that tested the regulator.

Additional Markings and Abbreviations (EN250A)

  1. Demand regulators which are not designed for cold water use are marked with ‘>10°C’ on both the Second Stage Demand Valve and First Stage Pressure Reducer.
  2. Demand valves which are intended to be used with an Octopus, shall be marked with EN250 followed by an ‘A’. EN250A.
  3. You may also see the use of a; symbol (Octopus) which also indicates that Apeks First Stage pressure reducers are suitable with two second stage demand valves and for use as an escape device by more than one user at the same time.
  4. If a demand valve is marked with EN250A, this demand regulator is suitable, tested and intended to be used in water temperatures below 10°C (50°F) and configured with an Octopus.
  5. If a demand regulator is marked with EN250A >10°C, this demand valve is suitable, tested and intended to be used in water temperatures above 10°C (50°F) and configured with an Octopus.
  6. If a demand valve is only marked with EN250 and not followed by an ‘A’ or the (Octopus) symbol is not shown, then it will not be suitable for use with an Octopus and is not intended for use as an escape device by more than one user at the same time, also known as an Octopus.
  7. You will also see CE0098. This denotes the identification number of the Notified body who has independently certified and examined your product.
  8. A serial number can also be found, usually comprising of eight characters, on both the first stage pressure reducer and second stage demand valve.
  9. A hose can also be marked with the maximum working pressure of that particular type of hose, EN250 and can also include a serial number specific to that hose.

The Ultimate Titanic Presentation – 14th April

We still have lots of tickets to sell so once again, please share this post on your Facebook page, with family, friends, stranger on the street and anyone that you think would be interested!

We have an opportunity to raise some fantastic money for Deptherapy and the RNLI, two amazing charities!

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A Guide to Using the GoPro Underwater

Just bought a GoPro for use while scuba diving? Then read on.
Whether you are just getting started with underwater image-making or a serious cinematographer, the GoPro Hero3 is a versatile, fully auto HD camera, perfect for making underwater moments lasting memories and as a competent B-roll camera.

While YouTube and the like have a gazillion underwater GoPro videos, most are, let’s just say, bland. We’ll share our tips and techniques for getting the best underwater images from your Hero3.
GoPro underwater

Preparing your GoPro for Underwater Use

 

Firmware and Memory Cards
GoPro regularly updates the firmware for their cameras; so always make sure you have the latest, as it will help your camera perform more reliably. And while memory is cheap, don’t cheap out on your memory cards – GoPro has recently updated a support document with new memory card recommendations for the Hero3 Black, as well as their other cameras, which can be found on their web site.

LCD Touch BacPac and Anti-Fog Inserts
For underwater shooters, the LCD Touch BacPac is a must have for framing your shots. The touch screen doesn’t work underwater, but can be used to set your jump settings prior to insertion into the housing. Never use the ‘Touch Door’ or ‘Skeleton Door’ that comes in the box with the LCD Touch BacPac. Use of either of these will immediately flood your camera or be the source of a flood while on a dive.

The Anti-Fog Inserts, while a bit pricey, are a useful addition. Sealing your GoPro in a low humidity environment and use of these inserts will prevent your Hero3 from fogging up on a dive, which can give you unwanted vignetting or the foggy look of a super soft filter.

Batteries and O-Ring Maintenance
Unfortunately, the battery life for these cameras is fairly short. The best solution is to have several, fully charged batteries on hand to swap out when needed.

Charge your batteries the night before, and the use of a third party, external charger will speed up the process.

As with any camera housing, it is crucial to inspect the rubber seal for debris (sand, hair, lint etc.) and to ensure that nothing (like your anti-fog insert) is inhibiting the housing lid from obtaining a tight seal.

GoPro Underwater Setup

Recommended Jump Settings
Our preference is to run the Hero3 Black in 1080p 60fps wide mode, and sometimes in the 2.7K resolution 30fps mode. Here’s why: If you wish to slow down some fast action you’ve captured, the 1080p 60fps will allow you to put that footage into a 30fps timeline in your video editing software, and it will playback at super-slow motion speed.

If you want to have the latitude to reframe your footage and crop in a little tighter, or run image stabilization on the clip, the 2.7K resolution can be used on a 1080p timeline. For the Hero3 Silver or White models, we prefer to use the 1080p 30fps wide mode (these cameras will run 60fps in 720p mode only and do not support any of the higher ultra HD resolutions).

  • Turn Spot mode OFFto let the camera evaluate the entire scene for better exposures.
  • Turn ProTune OFF, as this feature requires more work when editing in post.

Using GoPro Underwater

Joel Penner mounts his GoPro to the top of his SLR setup to capture “B-Roll” footage.

Go Red! Color Correction Filters
Topside, the GoPro cameras are a no-brainer for capturing pretty stunning, wide angle, HD footage in good lighting conditions. Underwater is a much different story, with the camera needing the addition of a red filter to help correct your images from being all blue or all green.

Our red filters of choice are the Flip3.1 Filters from Backscatter Underwater Video & Photo, made specifically for GoPro Hero3. The Flip3.1 features a top flip filter as well as a side flip filter – you choose which filters you want to attach based upon your dive plan: SHALLOW Filter (5-20 feet), DIVE Filter (20-50 feet), DEEP Filter (50 feet+ with excellent visibility), or the greenwater filter.

Flip filter GoProFlip3.1 color correction filters will bring back the vibrant hues in your GoPro underwater images at every depth.

As part of the research and testing team for these color correction filters, we don’t use our GoPros underwater without them, and love that the three different red filters for blue water diving aid us in capturing vibrant footage at all depths.

GoPro Underwater Shooting Techniques

To see what the Hero3 Black is capable of underwater, watch this recent video from Bonaire, using only GoPro Hero3 Black cameras and Backscatter’s DIVE and DEEP Flip filters and video lights.

White Balance and Adding Light
The GoPro cameras perform optimally underwater when they have plenty of light. And since it is an all auto camera with no manual controls, you can’t tell it what white is, making the addition of red color correction filters absolutely crucial for your footage to pop with color.

GoPro underwater white balance

Using the DIVE filter and video lights captures true colors in photos and video.

Here are some tips to get the best footage from your GoPro while in the water:

  • Plan your dive and attach the correct color correction filters for your planned depths.
  • Shoot with the sun at your back for the best color in your images.
  • Compose your shots with a slight downward angle to achieve richer color and contrast for your images.
  • While snorkeling, on the surface, there is no need for use of the filter. For depths between 5-20 feet, flip the SHALLOW Flip3.1 filter into place.
  • For the 20-50 feet range, we always use the DIVE Flip3.1 filter with video lights. Remember, the GoPros perform better with good lighting conditions, so if you’ve got video lights, use them with your GoPro set-up too.
  • Once you get below 50 feet, the DEEP Flip3.1 filter is the way to go. At these deeper depths, the quality of your footage will be totally dependent on how good the visibility is.
  • Whenever possible, compose your scenes with a good amount of neutral sand or reef that doesn’t have a lot of green growth on it. This, plus your color correction filter, will help the camera find what is “white” in the scene, giving you truer looking hues in your footage.

Avoid The Blurries and The Wobblies
The GoPro cameras are the ultimate for capturing wide-angle action in a very small form factor. Underwater, they can capture a field of view of 127 degrees! The only limitation is its minimum focusing distance of 12 inches. Frame your subject any closer than 12 inches and your footage will be blurry. And since it’s a wide-angle camera, the small critters are not a good choice of subjects- think subjects the size of a basketball and larger – divers, larger fish or schools, turtles, sharks, reef scenes etc.

Since the form factor of the GoPro is so small, it is very difficult to obtain stable footage without mounting your GoPro to something else. If using your GoPro as your “B” camera, mount it to the top of your dSLR housing[5]. Your strobe or light arms will act as outriggers, keeping you steady. If solely shooting GoPro, mount it to a two handled tray system that supports the use of video lights and keeps your capture stable, like Backscatter’s GoPro Double Handle & Tray.

GoPro handles

Two handles provide much needed stability when shooting GoPro underwater. Adding video lights to your GoPro with Flip3.1 color correction filters will make your video pop with vibrant color.

Keep your arms rigid and let the action come to you, or fin through your scene. Mounting your GoPro to a tripod for use in sandy areas or reefs where no damage will occur is another great option for capturing stable footage. Select the spot where you’d like to set-up your tripod, start filming and retreat from the scene for a short period to capture those critters’ natural behavior.

GoPro Underwater

A tripod for your GoPro is another way to capture stable underwater footage.

Taking Underwater Photos with the GoPro

The GoPro can take great photos too! In the photo mode, the Hero3 Black takes still images with a resolution up to 12 megapixels. However, since it is a fully auto camera, it chooses ISO and shutter speed based upon lighting conditions. To obtain vibrant photos underwater, follow these tips:

  • Attach the appropriate red color correction filter(s) for your dive plan.
  • Shoot with the sun at your back.
  • If you have video lights, use them deeper than 10 feet. The best results come from the brightest lights.
  • Make sure your subject is 12 inches or more away from your camera’s lens for a sharp image.
  • Be as steady as possible when depressing the shutter button.

Underwater GoPro photo

In photo mode, this image of a turtle was taken without a filter.

GoPro still underwater photo

Even though the GoPro has no manual controls, still images like this are possible with the addition of a color correction filter, lights and a steady hand.

About the Authors:
Joel and Jennifer Penner are avid divers, making the ocean their office as often as they can. When not in the water, they run a multimedia company

With Thanks to

By Joel and Jennifer Penner, November 28, 2013 @ 06:00 AM (EST)
By Joel & Jennifer Penner

Can I Really Cold Water Dive Comfortably?

Cold water diving often sends new divers or warm water divers running for the hills and screaming along the way.

The truth is that cold water diving is every bit as enjoyable as warm water diving, you just need the right scuba equipment and the right training.

Some of the best preserved shipwrecks in the world exist in cold waters, not to mention the amazing marine life that you will come across, such as the Grey Seals at Lundy or the Farnes.

Transitioning to cold water diving can be a challenging but highly manageable.

Here 6 tips for warm-water divers considering cold water diving. (Experienced cold water divers: Some of this may seem obvious, feel free to snicker.)

1. Cold Water Diving Requires Additional Weight:

Divers use thicker, more buoyant wetsuits (or drysuits) in cold water, which requires the use of more weight. This is obvious, and most cold water dive centers will assist divers in selecting the appropriate amount of weight for thick exposure protection.

2. Gearing Up for Cold Water Diving:

Plan ahead. Once a diver is wearing his gloves, it becomes very difficult to make small adjustments such as tucking mask skirt under the hood. On my first dive, I looked like a bit of an idiot when I put on all my gear but my mask, hobbled over to the entry platform, and then had to ask the divemaster to tuck my mask skirt into my hood because I waited to put my mask on until the last moment and couldn’t get the skirt under the hood with my gloves on.

3. Be Prepared for the Initial Cold Water Shock:

Divers transitioning to cold water diver should be prepared for the short initial, shock of entering cold water. For the first few moments in the cold water, a diver may feel that he cannot breathe easily. This is a physiological reaction known as the Mammalian Diving Reflex, and it is perfectly normal when a person’s head is submerged in cold water. It will pass. I managed my reaction to the cold by floating on the surface with my face in the water until I could control my breathing and felt comfortable. After about twenty seconds I felt great, and was ready to start my dive.

4. If a Diver Feels Cold, His Air Consumption Rate Will Increase:

When a diver’s body becomes cold, he will burn more calories to keep warm (no more fad diets for you!). He will use more oxygen and his breathing rate will increase. If the diver becomes very cold, he will shiver and his air consumption will increase more from the extra work of shivering. Thicker wetsuits and drysuits, as well as the extra weight necessary to compensate for this thicker exposure protection, will increase a diver’s drag, and thus his air consumption rate. I used a thick wetsuit for my dives, a noticed an increase in my air consumption rate as I became chilled near the end of the dives.

What is the solution to this problem? Wear proper exposure protection! 

5. Use Regulators Appropriate for Cold Water:

Most dive shops servicing cold water diving destinations rent or sell regulators appropriate for cold water diving. It is vital to use a regulator approved for cold water diving, as the first stage of a a non-cold water regulator may “freeze” due to normal cooling from gas expansion combined with chilly water, causing a free flow. Divers should also be sure to review standard protocols to avoid causing a regulator free flow, even when diving with cold water regulators.

6. Mask Clearing in Cold Water – Be Prepared:

Most divers find that the shock of cold water on the face makes exhaling to clear a mask difficult in cold water. This reaction can be overcome with practice, but divers must experience the cold water shock a few times before they learn clear their masks easily. It’s not hard, but practicing mask clearing in cold water is essential to being safe on cold water dives.
With proper preparation and gear, a diver shouldn’t be cold – even in cold water. When it is done correctly, cold water diving should be just as comfortable as warm water diving, and equally as enjoyable.

Vote For DiveStyle!

Hello everyone!

Well its that time of year again and the Sport Diver awards are up and running.

I would like to mix things up enough as it is the same old each year.

This year we would love to get a mention so if you find yourself witha  few minutes pare then click on the link below and vote for DiveStyle.

VOTE FOR DIVESTYLE IN THE SPORT DIVER AWARDS

We don’t mind what vote you give us just as long as it is a vote :0)

Cheers

Team DiveStyle

 

Ever Wanted A Water Bottle That Screams SCUBA?

We have scoured the land and sea to find unique gifts just for you and we believe that the TANKH2O water bottle is one of the best fun SCUBA products we have found for a long time.

Show your love of SCUBA with the TANKO2 water bottle

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TankH2Os are stainless steel water bottles for scuba divers and ocean adventurers. They’re food-grade stainless steel and 100% BPA free.

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Please Note: Free Water bottle with Silver courses Ends 31st October 2013