rich coast instructor course experience

My Rich Coast Instructor Course Experience

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Ranelle Ivens

SITE AUTHOR

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Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology.

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[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”2_3″ _builder_version=”3.0.47″ parallax=”off” parallax_method=”on” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”no-repeat”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.14″]Who doesn’t want the perfect job? For me the job includes connecting with nature, inspiring others, traveling the world, and most important, diving. It was for these reasons that I chose to become a PADI instructor, and it is because I wanted a proper education that I decided to study through Rich Coast Diving. To this day, I do not regret my decision which is why I’ve decided to share my instructor course experience.

Below you will find my step by step experience and overall opinions of the course. Please know that all thoughts and opinions are authentic. That being said, Rich Coast has offered to give me commissions if you decide to take their course through my article. This is at no extra cost to you but it does help me out, so please let me know if I was helpful to you.
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Lots and Lots of Choices

When trying to decide which Dive school you want to attend the choices can be overwhelming. There are so many options, and if you have any dive experience you know that there some outfits that cut corners, there some that have questionable safety, some mediocre but still good places, and then there are the gems and pearls. When trying to make up your mind you need to first decide what you want. Do you want cheap, sloppy, and potentially dangers? Or would you prefer average pricing, safe diving practices, and a concrete education?

When trying to make up your mind you need to first decide what you want.Click To Tweet

 

If you decide on the second option then you want to start by looking for a 5 star Career Development Center (CDC). These are PADI dive schools dedicated to training professionals and need to follow safety and standards to uphold their rating. After that it’s about location, and personal preferences. Rich Coast was not only a 5 star CDC, the lead Course Director, Martin, has a Platinum teacher rating. Being that I wanting to train inn Costa Rica Rich Coast was the best option.

Before It All Started

I wanted to make sure that I was prepared to start the actual Instructor Development Course (IDC) training. Brenda (the other Rich Coast Course Director) made this easy by supplying me with the PADI Instructor Crew pack well in advance so that I could study and prep. She even told me what I should focus on which proved to be a big help. The crew pack comes with many materials and as exciting as it is to crack it open like its the biggest present under the tree, it can be a little overwhelming.

Her recommendations were to complete all parts of the work book and get familiar with the encyclopedia, especially in sections that you find more challenging. In addition to this, I was told to study my instructor manual (which you receive during Divemaster Training). All the suggestions she gave proved very useful as they were some of the key focuses of the course.
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The quality of training

I found the Rich Coast instructor training to be top notch. As someone who has witnessed other IDC courses I can say that Martin’s class was very organized, he went through every piece with you, and challenged you with scenarios often. He also places a huge focus on standards and makes sure that his professionals know proper conduct. This keeps things legal and safe, which is key to your success as a PADI professional.

Martin has loads of experience in many faucets of diving and loves to share his knowledge and experience, especially with aspiring professionals. The man’s even been underwater in a diving suit. Big metal helmet and all! I still use the knowledge he passed on through his experiences on a regular basis while teaching and diving. You can assure that in choosing this IDC program you are being taught by someone who knows what they’re talking about.

What you need to know before you start

The Rich Coast IDC is a great program but it is not all rainbows and butterflies. If you are looking for an easy breezy experience this is not the right place. That being said an IDC course shouldn’t be easy. It should challenge you, it should make you think, and should not be a breeze. When you become an instructor you are not only responsible for the safety of your students today. You are responsible for making sure they dive safely for the rest of their diving life.

When you become an instructor you are not only responsible for the safety of your students today. You are responsible for making sure they dive safely for the rest of their diving life.

 

During my IDC course I felt nervous and stressed and there were even points that I really despised my teacher.  Martin can be really intense and knows how to put the pressure on. However, when I got to the Instructor Examinations (IE) I almost laughed at how easy it was. Rich Coast had trained our class to excellence and you could see the difference between the caliber of students from various IDCs. Suffice to say, at the end of the day if I had to choose where I did my Developmental Course all over again, I wouldn’t change my original choice.

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What is expected of you

If you are taking this IDC or any other for that matter you should take it seriously. Above all else you are expected to act like a professional. What does this mean? It means you are not a kid anymore and it’s time to pull up your sleeves and dig in.

  • Get to class early: class starts on the dot, and it’s highly unlikely that the teacher will hold up the class for one person.
  • Be prepared: have your instructor manual, guide to teaching, and any other relevant materials on hand. Remember your note paper and a pencil!
  • Do your homework: people who fail to complete their homework hold up the class and/or fumble more on presentations. The tasks aren’t that hard so just do it
  • Pay attention: if you aren’t paying attention you are setting yourself up to fail. You will be tested on this information later.

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Loosen up!

  • The IDC can be stressful but do your best to relax and enjoy it. Remember you are a diver, and you are learning how to introduce others to our magical world. The IDC only lasts a week or two and the Instructors Examinations two days. The whole thing will be over before you know it so make sure you buckle down and do your best! Have fun with your classmates and don’t forget to joke around a little. Even your instructor could probably use a laugh once in a while.
  • Your classmates will likely become good friends of yours as you all share an unforgettable experience. During my IDC my classmates and I would get together once in a while after class to take a break and have a few laughs. Sometimes Martin would even join us. These experiences really helped me to take a step back from the more stressful days and remember despite it all I did enjoy learning everything in the IDC.

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You Will Succeed

One thing I remember very clearly from my IDC was a short chat given by Martin. Simply put, he would tell you if you were ready for the IDC or not. If you tend to struggle or happen to be a slow learner, or even if you get a lot of anxiety over tests, you can relax a little. Despite the stress and push you will feel in the development course if Martin does not believe you ready to take the Examination then he will let you know. He and Brenda will also take the time to help you become ready, and that is something you can count on

 

Have more questions about my Rich Coast Instructor Course Experience? Ask away in the comment section!

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The divers were arrested

Cenderawasih Bay divers were arrested

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Ranelle Ivens

SITE AUTHOR

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Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology.

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Share This $#!@

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Welcome to post one of Mermaid Musings! Where you get to hear my personal thoughts and opinions on random dive/ocean stuff and happenings. To kick things off we’re going to start with a video that went viral this month and I’m gonna give you all the juicy deets. Let’s dive in and find out why these divers were arrested.

Earlier this month a video started circulating of several divers fin riding a whale shark a young whale shark. In the video it is very clear that the animal is stressed and struggling under the added weight. People everywhere were very upset seeing this endangered species being so abused, and rightly so. Luckily the authorities were on our side and several of the Cenderawasih divers were arrested.

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When I saw this video It made my heart hurt. Part of me wanted to cry for that young whale shark seeing him desperately trying to free itself from the clutches of those people. While the other half of me was absolutely livid with the divers riding him. Each of them smiling and posing for the camera like animal abuse is so cool.

It’s just so wrong

Truly, there are so many things wrong with this video! I wish I could say that these people had no idea what  was going on but as far as we’ve been told these guys were fully aware of their heinous crime. This makes it all so much worse, and I’m going to go through all the reasons why.

My List of Wrongs

  1. Look at that Whale Shark! The animal is so distressed! its struggling to swim, its trying to get them  off of him and nothing is working!
  2. There are so many riders! Way to many people are hitching a ride on that animal it’s obviously pushing him down deeper into the water.
  3. It is an Endangered Species! The whale shark is an endangered species world wide, and is protected by the United Nations through their CITES program, the ICUN redlist and many others.
  4. This animal is just a baby. Despite the size of the shark this guy quite young. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean reaching up to 12m (40ft) in length. This whale shark isn’t all that much bigger than those divers making it an adolescent. In fact, it hasn’t even reached sexual maturity yet.
  5. What the hell is the divemaster doing? This dive was guided by a dive professional, and generally, divers are told not to harass marine animals. it is the guides jobto enforce these rules. I know that if any of my divers were behaving in this matter I would be actively removing them from the shark. I would also be ending the dive right then and there.
  6. Fin riding is dangerous. I don’t care how fun it is, fin riding is very dangerous and can easily result  in death or severe injury. Especially if you don’t know what you are doing.
  7. The animal could get hurt. Not only is this whale shark stressed to the nines, it could be seriously injured. Most sharks, including the whale shark, need to continuously move forward to breath. This is because they take oxygen from the water that passes over their gills. Moving backwards through the water can actually cause the animal to drown. In the video we can observe the whale shark attempting to swim  upwards,but is pushed back down by the weight of the divers. In these moments the water is moving backwards over the gills, potentially harming the poor thing.

To be honest with you I could keep going on all day but let’s leave it there for now. These are the 7 most important faults. How this was allowed to happen is beyond me. At the very least it helps to know the divers were arrested.

Apparently they were told no touchy

Sometime after the video was released the dive company Sea Safari Cruises was found to be the dive operator. A local environmentalist group, Bird’s Head Seascape, confronted the cruise line about the incident. Read their reply yourself below.

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As a a dive professional I can certainly affirm there are divers who don’t listen to the rules about animal interaction. However, I can also say that it is our job to intervene when such behavior is exhibited. In addition to this, after reading some of the tripadvisor reviews for this company I am left questioning the honesty of their statement. I was dismayed to find several reviews indicating that divemasters were mishandling marine animals and plants, including blatant damage of coral reefs.

Cenderawasih Divers Were Arrested

We have to thank Rocker Kaka Slank and his twitter post regarding the incident for getting the ball rolling. After he tagged minister of marine affairs and fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti and Minister of Indonesia’s environment and forestry Siti Nurbaya investigations began. Immediately after, The Dive Professional also began assisting with finding the divers in question and filing reports to the appropriate dive institutions. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved four of the divers in the video have been arrested.

After reports of arrests had been confirmed many people were celebrating. Yet, there were still a few saying that arresting the divers was a bit much. I even read some comments saying they should only receive a slap on the wrist. In my opinion, a slap on the wrist for the abusing and traumatizing a critically endangered species that is protected worldwide is not a sufficient punishment.

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The Incident Report

Once authorities were made aware it didn’t take long for before the divers were arrested, especially with the help of social media involvement. It turned out that the primary diver in yellow was indeed the dive guide. The others being clients from his group. This means that Sea Safaris outright lied in their release when they stated that their professionals were not involved and tried to stop the divers. I am lead to believe that rather, he was the one that initiated the behavior.

On the 14th of August it was reported that 4 of the divers were arrested. We have yet to hear of their sentencing. Recommendations have been made and speculated by The Dive Professional that seem fair but it is hard to say exactly what will come of this incident. Especially when so many people are requesting that licenses be completely revoked.

 

What do you think should happen to these people?

Do you have an opinion you would like to share regarding the video?

Let’s hear you thoughts! Leave a comment

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bad fin riding

A Lesson in Fin Riding Marine Giants

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Have you ever imagined what it would be like to ride a wild animal? Some people dream of riding tigers, or whales, or rhinos. But that’s how they should stay; just dreams. It is one thing to ride a trained animal such as an elephant, however it is another thing entirely to ride on a wild animal, especially fin riding an endangered species.

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Why Fin riding is a bad idea

In the dive industry fin riding is highly frowned upon. If you don’t  know what I mean by ‘fin riding’ it consists of taking hold of the animals fin or grabbing onto it in some way and letting it take you for a ride. The problem with this is that it will stress the animal out and is very dangerous, not only for the animal but for the people involved. In addition to this most large marine animals including the Whale shark, Gigantic Manta ray and many species of whale are endangered. Harming endangered animals is illegal and punishable by law! So don’t touch please.

You may be wondering about the dolphin shows in professional aquariums, the trainers there are often seen riding the animals during performances. These animals are trained for this yes, but it’s still not right. These animals are subjected to horrible conditions. The size of the ocean could never compare to the size of a tank and the training is often very cruel.

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No one wants that kinda stress

Imagine that your walking along, minding your own business, and someone literally just jumps up onto your back. You would almost certainly be thinking something along the lines of ‘what the phoque,’ and you would almost definitely be trying to get them off of you. I know that I would be freaking out a bit. I wouldn’t be sure if this person was trying to hurt me, rob me, or was just messing around. I’d be confused and stressing; animals are no different. An animal is not going to understand that you are just messing around and it’s going to be scared and upset and feel stress. It is not fair to any animal to subject them to this, especially when we are visiting them in their own environment.

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Your Next Move

So here we are, we’ve got a random person hanging on you what are you going to do now? Obviously, try and get rid of them. How do you do that? Well you can wiggle and shake, or you could try reaching back and grabbing or hitting them. Or maybe, you fall backwards on top of them. Wild animals have these same options, and trust me, they are much more inclined and able to hurt you than another human being. A whale, for example, can weigh 1000’s of tons. Imagine getting fin or tail slapped by that much force? Animal riding is dangerous! You do not know how they are going to react, and that animal has every right to attack and protect itself from anyone who would try something as stupid as fin riding.

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It is important to note, that especially in the case of the giant Manta ray (pictured above) fin riding is detrimental to the animal. Mantas skin have a mucosy coating that helps them swim and protects them from bacteria. This coating is removed and damaged on contact and puts the animal at risk of infection. Due to this fact, you should never touch a Manta unless absolutely necessary.

It’s all fun Until…

Let’s go back to where we were standing there minding our own business. So here we are and some dumb bloke decides to jump on you, but what he doesn’t know is that you’ve got a bad leg from a boat accident a few years back. Instead of a funny joke you are on the floor in pain, possibly with severe injury. Many animals get injured in the wild from propellers, other animals, fishermen, ecetera. We don’t know if grabbing on to this animal is going to hurt them. They may have weak cartilage or simply their biological anatomy is not made to drag around a 200 pound diver by the fin. Even if you mean well, Fin riding can seriously injure the animal, and I don’t believe that is anyone’s intention.

Here are a couple more reasons fin riding is dangerous:

  1. The animal may suddenly dive and take you deep. This can damage your ears and/or you may drown.
  2. They may try to jump/breach out of the water, taking you with them before they land on top of you.
  3. You risk getting bitten if riding an animal such as toothed sharks.
  4. If the animal spooks it may swim very rapidly trying to escape, taking you far from where you were. This could result in you becoming lost at sea.

There are So Many Videos and Pictures

Sadly, yeah. There are tons of people doing this and they are ignorant. Maybe they are good people who don’t know any better, or maybe they are pompous jerks who don’t give two sits about anyone but themselves. Either way, fin riding is wrong. In most cases, people are told not to touch or harass the aquatic life in the dive briefings by their professionals, however not everyone listens. Yes, fin riding seems fun and all but it isn’t worth the risk to you or the animal.

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Please be Responsible

If you are out there and you are diving, or swimming, or snorkeling or whatever! Please be respectful of the animals around you. No one wants to hurt these beautiful creatures nor does anyone want to see you get hurt by them. Below are a few simple tips that will allow you to safely enjoy the presence of these animals.

  • Stay calm: of course you are going to be excited, I am too swimming next to a graceful giant, but  if you splash and make a lot of noise it is going to get scared and swim away. Instead take your time relax breath and slowly get closer.
  • If on a boat, don’t use a typical entry; it tends to scare them off. Instead quietly glide or slip into the water.
  • Keep a Safe Distance: Animals like whale sharks, Mantas, and whales are huge animals. Make sure that you always stay far enough away that you won’t get hit by a fin or tail, even by accident. If the animal has a baby stay even further away. Mothers are protective of young and may become aggressive.
  • If you are diving, make sure to maintain good buoyancy control! Often, larger creatures are near the surface where it is most difficult to control your buoyancy.
  • Don’ t Chase: As much as we all wish we could stay with these big beauties for the rest of our lives (or at least I would) don’t chase them if they are trying to get away. Chasing them will only make them hurry away faster and trust me… You aren’t going to catch them.

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The ocean is my biggest passion. As a SCUBA instructor I have a unique opportunity to show people exactly how precious the ocean is.  I aim to inspire others to love and respect the sea through education and diving.

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Let Others Know

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lots of sharks

Logbook Entry #2 White Tip Reef Sharks Everywhere!

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A few days ago my dear friend Bobbie Jo called me up to see if I could help her out with a trip to the Catalinas. My immediate reaction was ‘hell yeah!’ Not only is this lovely lady on of my favorite dive buddies for 11 years, but the Catalinas are gorgeous! Little did I know there would be sharks everywhere!

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Here in Guanacaste Costa Rica we have a grouping of islands called the Catalinas, or the Cats, for short. These islands host a great number of cleaning stations and so are a great place to see the gigantic Manta ray. It is also home to a lot of white tip reef sharks.

While out there we dove 3 tanks at 3 different sites, and each dive was wonderful. On the 1hr boat ride out we ran into a couple if whales who sang to us, and a pair of mating turtles!

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The wall

The wall is one of the two most popular dive sites in the Cats and also our first dive site. One if the main features of this dive site is that it contains many channels where the sharks like to hang out. There is one channel in particular that we don’t often get to enter due to conditions. However we were able to go in today!

During our dive we came across many schools of fish and over 8 individual sharks. Like I said, sharks everywhere. This included a baby white tip of about 2ft. He’s super cute and one of my favorite shark pictures I’ve ever taken is of this baby shark!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_gallery gallery_ids=”1044,1043,1042″ gallery_captions=”there where shark everywhere and here’s one of them,Swimming through the big channel in the wall,the reef life here in Catalinas is so pretty” _builder_version=”3.0.92″ fullwidth=”on” background_layout=”dark” text_orientation=”right” max_width=”75%” module_alignment=”center”]

 

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Arcoiris

Also known as rainbow in English is a dive site loved by many local guides. The reason why is simple: sharks!!  Sharks everywhere! In Arcoiris we came around the corner into the main shark bed and came upon around 12 white tips! The sharks calmly swam around waiting for us to move on so they could settle back down into their beds. To their dismay we stuck around for a few extra minutes, and even doubled back later, to enjoy their beauty.  I don’t think they minded too much but I’m sure they are glad when we got out of their space.

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Near the end of the dive a large school of grunts came to play with us for a few minutes before we needed to surface. Grunts are always a fun treat as they will allow some people to swim in their schools. Then, after surfacing, we ate fresh made sandwiches put together by Bobbie Jo!

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Button Hole

For some reason every time we introduce this dive site people think we call it butt hole. It usually gives us a giggle. On this dive we didn’t see any sharks but we did find, lobsters an eagle ray and a large turtle. If i had to guess the turtle was a black pacific due to its size and coloring.

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Many colorful fish danced about us the whole dive giving splashes of yellows, blues, and purples to the already captivating surroundings. Then, just before it was time to surface one of our divers spotted a pile of lead dive weights. Lead is a bad pollutant when left in the ocean and is also useful for diving so we were taking it all up! When we get to the surface we counted about 20lbs of weights, woo whoo! Talk about a score! It made for the cherry on top of an already great day!

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Luxury Diving with Sharks Everywhere

Okay, so I can’t guarantee there will be sharks everywhere but I can almost make sure you definitely see one. If you are interested in diving with Bobbie Jo and I, we can make that happen! I offer luxury dive tours through Bobbie Jo’s company Sirena’s Diving. If you book through me it costs you no extra, but does help me out! Plus, you get to dive with me as your personal guide!

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seahorses are cute

What you don’t know about Seahorses

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Ranelle Ivens

SITE AUTHOR

Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology. [supsystic-social-sharing id=’2′] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”2_3″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text (main post content)” module_class=”dd-post-content” _builder_version=”3.0.92″ text_font=”Lato||||” text_font_size=”15″ text_text_color=”#04493e” text_line_height=”1.4em” custom_padding=”60px|||”]

Did you know that seahorses have a crazy mad but beautiful mating ritual? What about that when giving birth seahorses defy all gender norms? The seahorse is also a super deadly animal believe it or not, but also very fragile! This animal is one of the most fascinating creatures I have come across. It’s so strange and weird and beautiful that I find them absolutely captivating. Which is exactly why I want to share all this cool information  with you.

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First the Basics

The first thing you need to know about seahorses is that they are a fish. Yes, I know, they are weird shaped and don’t look at all like a normal fish but those crazy scientists classified them as fish so here we are. Next, is how they fit into the food chain. Shrimp, plankton and itty bitty fishies are the seahorse’s snack of choice.  They also eat tiny crustaceans which is only fair as crustaceans are also their only true predator. Crabs are about the sole animals that go out and hunt for seahorses to eat. However, the seahorse does  have other predators such as rays, tuna, and seabirds. Each of these tend to eat them more by accident or mistake though, they haven’t been recorded to actively hunt for seahorses.

The habitat of the seahorse may be one reason they don’t have many predators. Seahorses live on corals and in sea grasses. This is because they can easily  grab onto grasses and coral structures. In case you didn’t  know, seahorses are awful swimmers. that’s why they need to stay in one spot or small area. Seahorses have also developed wicked camouflage that allows them to blend into their surroundings. Their camo skills are so good that some seahorses can even change colors to blend into different colored reefs.

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That Crazy Mad but Beautiful Mating Ritual

Ever dream about old fashion love? Courtship, romantic dancing, good morning snuggles or a true love that lasts forever? Well, seahorses don’t just dream it, they live it. It begins once two seahorses find each other and decide to give it a try. They first go on a few dates. These dates usually happen in the morning when the two meet up and dance. Wait, wait, wait, dance? Yep, dancing. Seahorses have what’s called a prehensile tail (like monkeys), which they use to hold on to each other. Then they swim about in fancy circles and patterns  and even change colours. The seahorses will meet every morning for several days before they will ‘do the deed.’

Once they’ve conceived, the seahorses continue to meet every morning where they wrap around each other for hugs and snuggles. Starting to wish your significant other was just like a seahorse? Well, maybe don’t wish too hard. Many people believe that seahorses mate for life. This can be true but it is more correct to say that they breed with a singular partner for one breeding season. Sorry to burst you bubble, I really hoped it was love for life too. On the bright side, seahorses are totally monogamous during the breeding season which means they are faithful and don’t cheat on each other!

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Soooo Many Babies!

I don’t know about you but when I think of having more than two kids I feel a little stressed! Try having up to a 1000 or more babies… in one delivery! As a female That just sounds too painful, but its not the female you should feel sorry for, it’s the male. Confused? That’s okay not everyone knows that it is the male seahorse that gets pregnant and gives live birth. Talk about dad and husband of the year! Not only do seahorses have tons of babies in one pregnancy they have lots of pregnancies too! Sometimes the male will give birth in the morning and then be pregnant again by that evening! Some of those guys have it easier than others though. Depending on the species pregnancies can last anywhere from 9-45 days.

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One of the deadliest animals in the sea, nay, the world

The seahorse!? What about lions and tigers and bears (Oh My!)? Well sure these guys are pretty scary but that doesn’t mean they are the deadliest! These large animals don’t catch too many of the animals they hunt, most, less than 50%. Meanwhile, the seahorse traps and kills over 90% of it’s prey. What’s even more amazing is that the they catch their prey without teeth! Seahorses don’t even have teeth. Instead, the seahorse uses its long snout like a straw and sucks up tiny plankton and other yummy treats.

Want to know what’s even more crazy about seahorses? They eat almost all day, and they don’t even get fat. sometimes I wish I could eat all day and not get fat. Then I remember that the seahorse needs to eat all day to stay alive. This is because they have no stomach. Not having a stomach means that seahorses are never full, and due to heir super fast metabolism they need to keep eating continuously!

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Sooo Weird, but Sooo Cool

Yes, after reading all these awesome facts you probably think that these animals are super weird. But, that is exactly why I love them, that and they are super cute! You might even want to see one in real life! If that’s the  case I swish you luck, they can be really tricky to find, especially because they are endangered. This has a lot to do with humans. Many people like to buy dead seahorses as decorations… The people that sell them will often take them from the wild. That’s right! That now means there is a sad seahorse mate out there missing it’s lover… So don’t be that guy!

Another reason seahorses are endangered is the same problem most animals on the planet face. Habitat reduction. Seahorses live on corals and sea grasses both of with are typically found in shallower water near the mainland and islands. However, where there is land there is human activity and pollution. Garbage and toxins leak into the sea everyday by the tons… this makes seahorses vulnerable as it kills the corals and other vital parts of the ecosystem.

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How to Help Seahorses

  • Reduce pollution! Use earth friendly products, car pool, walk, cut out single use plastics!
  • If you are a diver practice good buoyancy,especially around corals!
  • Help research with the research by reporting seahorse sightings to Project Seahorse (they even have a handy app to make life easier)
  • Stop using sunscreens that contain OXYBENZONE! This chemical kills corals and causes cancer in humans. Plus there are way better alternatives.

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Open water course hover

Entry #1: A New Diver in the family!

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This Week turned out a beautiful set of dives, a new diver and some great new photos. It started back in December 2017 when I did a DSD for a family member. He was a natural in the water and was lucky enough to see a manta on his first dive. Who the hell gets that lucky!! I was a little jealous even. On his recent return to the country he decided that Scuba Diving was going to be a new hobby and we got in touch.

The course went very smooth, and it didn’t take us long to get through the pool sessions. It was here that I saw very quickly that my student was gonna make a great new diver. Next, off to the ocean we went to complete the course! We enjoyed 3 days diving out of Playa Hermosa. Two for the course and one extra day of fun diving. Over 6 dives we visited 5 different sites and saw a whole bunch of awesome critters! I even got to dive with my Grandfather who joined us for dive days 1 and 3.

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Dive Day 1: The Ocean

We started off the course at a local dive site called monkey head. As usual, the site was loaded with fish and rays! The colours there are so brilliant and with all the different species of fish it is difficult to decide were to look. We were often visited by eagle rays soaring past or gently gliding past  to take a better look at us. The water was warm and clear and the current very mild. After the dive we visited a local white sand beach for our surface interval.

For our second dive we dropped down into Merows, a personal favourite. This dive site is not used by too many dive centers, and it boggles my mind. The site is a bit a shallow reaching a max depth of 40ft but not all dives need to be deep. While swimming about we found 2 seahorses, 5 frogfish, a number of eels octopus and other reef dwellers.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_gallery gallery_ids=”972,971,969,963,962″ gallery_captions=”This octopus was poised perfectly on top this rock blending in seamlessly.,Close up of an octopus eye,the cute little jeweled eel swam up to check us out while taking photos of the yellow seahorse,A cute and ugly couple,This yellow seahorse kept posing for my camera! ” _builder_version=”3.0.92″ fullwidth=”on” background_layout=”dark” hover_icon=”%%75%%” title_font=”||||||||” max_width=”85%” module_alignment=”center”]

 

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Dive Day 2: We have a new diver!

On day two we decided to dive Virador first. This dive site, like monkey head, has a large population of fish. It’s also great for rays of all kinds, turtles and sometimes sharks. We didn’t see any sharks on this dive  but we did see a big ol’Greenback turtle. the thing was huge, and quite majestic as he sat there posing for the camera. He even let my student get in on his photo shoot before he decided he’d had enough. Through out the rest of the dive we saw a number of rays as well.

Once again we returned to Merows for our second dive. However, this time to switch things up we went looking for a wreck. This dive site once has an old sail boat at 60ft that many turtles call home. The only problem is that it was destroyed by a shrimper who was trolling illegally. Since then no one likes to visit the wreck, even though the turtles haven’t left. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the boat as the visibility dropped as we headed deeper. Despite not finding the wreck the we had a great dive and saw many more seahorses and frogfish. Not to mention that after the dive my student was a Certified Diver!! WHOOP WHOOP!

 

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Day 3: The Fun dive

Our fist dive we dove at Tortuga. Tortuga is a local favourite and home to many white tip reef sharks. My student had told me he was a bit afraid of sharks, so we decided it was time for him to face his fears. As a new diver I couldn’t let him go home fearing sharks! On this dive we visited a pair of resident clown shrimp, a baby white tip and eventually Rusty II (an old wrecked fishing boat) where we fsaw a second white tip (a large female). On the dive my student got to see 2 sharks, and after we surfaced he decided that maybe they weren’t so bad. In fact, he told me he wished they’d gotten closer!

On the second dive we decided to go to another personal favourite, Corridas. This dive site is home to many species of ray and is usually a bed of nudibranchs and seahorses. On the dive we found a number of stingrays including one that was over a meter wide which is huge! And though we didn’t find any seahorses we did find 2 more frogfish and a tiny nudibranch!

 

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An Awesome Week

I couldn’t have asked for a better week! The diving was awesome the company was great and I got to spend time with family! Plus, I got to see seahorses and frogfish, two of my favorite little creatures. No to mention we have a new diver in the family! My favorite part of this week though is when we student said “I wish the shark had come closer.” So many people have a misunderstanding of these animals it is feels so amazing when I can help them over come that. Sharks have become so endangered due to shark finning that changing even one persons mind about sharks makes a difference.

Wanna Learn too?

If you want to learn to dive I have got a step by step by step guide on how to get started. The guide will help you decide on how to get started and which course option is best for you. Or, if you want to learn with me you can check out my services page, or even go ahead and contact me directly.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image (author photo – square image)” align=”center” module_class=”dd-author-image” _builder_version=”3.0.92″ border_radii=”on|50px|50px|50px|50px” border_width_all=”3px” border_color_all=”#61e8a6″ max_width=”96px” custom_margin=”-50px|||” custom_css_main_element=”border-radius: 50%;” use_border_color=”on” saved_tabs=”all” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” global_module=”511″ src=”https://seareinascall.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/IMG_5052.jpg” /][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.92″ background_layout=”light” background_color=”rgba(8,68,81,0.53)” custom_padding=”25px||25px|” text_orientation=”center”]

Ranelle Ivens

SITE AUTHOR

Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology.

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5 Dive Entry methods for boat diving and when to use them

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Ranelle Ivens

SITE AUTHOR

Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology. [supsystic-social-sharing id=’2′]

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Being a SCUBA diver means that you need to know how to adapt and go with the flow. You never know what nature or your dive shop has in store for you. Sometimes it’s a calm peaceful sea and nice big boat that can facilitate your preferred entry style. Other times you’re wading into big waves, battling current, or dealing with small boats. So how do you still pull it all  off like a seasoned diver? Knowing and using the right dive entry method.

First things First

Before you go jumping into the water make sure you’re ready. Just because you’ve put your kit on and you want to get in the water doesn’t mean that you’re set to go. To avoid looking like newbie diver, and be perceived as that diver that ‘has definitely done this a lot’ then don’t forget to go through this checklist.

The List

  • Check, check ,check: Remember that horrendous acronym from you open water course for the buddy check (BWRAF)? Use it! Whether you use it by yourself or with a buddy make sure you go through the steps. Here’s a quick reminder in case you forgot; BCD, Weights, Releases, Air, Final okay.
  • Check your hoses: Ensure all of your hoses and gauges are tucked away and secured. Your extra regulator needs to be secured with the hose under your right arm with a clip or D-ring, but still easily accessible in an emergency. Your pressure gauge or computer on the other hand needs to be tucked into your waist buckle or secured with a clip under your left arm. Dragging hoses reduce streamlining and get get caught on fragile reefs or damaged banging against rocks.
  • Accessories: If you have an goodies like cameras, lights, safety buoys, or anything else make sure they are attached to you using clips, re-tractors, magnets, shoelaces or I don’t care what, but make sure that they aren’t going anywhere. In my career as guide and instructor I’ve seen people lose knives, cameras, compasses, dive computers! You name it. Dive gear is expensive and if you lose it, it becomes ocean pollution so make sure its secure.
  • Don’t Forget your Fins: This may be more of a personal reminder, but even as a dive professional you forget things sometimes. I’m particularly bad for leaving my fins on the boat. As much as I wish my legs would transform into a tail it never works. In other words, don’t feel bad if you forget something its usually not that big a deal, no one’s perfect all the time.

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Time to Jump

The most important part of choosing a proper dive entry as assessing the conditions. Each entry has different benefits and draw backs so you need to make sure that the dive entry makes sense. Not only that, but some boats can’t facilitate all kinds of entries which is why it’s good to know more than one or two.

Always remember before you jump to make sure of two very important thing. First, that there is air in you BCD (unless your guide tells you to do a negative entry). Second, don’t land on your dive buddy! always make sure the landing strip is clear.

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The Giant Stride

This dive entry style is one of the more popular styles and one you may have seen before. The giant stride can be used in any kind of conditions as long as the water is deep (10ft/3m +) and can be done from any kind of ledge that you can stand on (edge of a boat, dock, pool etc.). When done correctly your head will stay mostly out of the water and you will end in a vertical position.

To preform the giant stride put your toes right on the edge of the platform. Next, place one hand over your weight belt buckle, this will ensure that it does come undone when you hit the water. Take your other hand and use it to secure your regulator and mask. You can do this by using your fingers to hold the mask and the palm or your hand to push the reg in your mouth.

Once everything is held in place look straight ahead and take a leisurely stroll of the side of the boat. Of course make the sure that first step is a giant stride (ha ha). You should hit the water mid stride as your legs are nice and far apart, at this point bring your feet together. the force of the kick, along with the air in your BCD, will keep your head at the surface. Though be aware your head may dip under for just a second or two.

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The Back Roll

Much like the giant stride, the back roll can be used an any conditions suitable to recreational diving. What makes it different is that this technique is suitable for deep and shallow water. You will find that in some places you will enter the water over shallow coral reefs. Where a giant stride would likely cause damage to the reefs and yourself, the back roll is a better alternative. To do this dive entry you will need a ledge that you can sit on, such as the side of a boat. In many small boats the back roll entry is the only geared entry available.

Have you ever heard that dive joke why do divers roll backwards out of the boat? Well the back roll entry is where that joke came from. With this entry method you sit on the side of the boat fully geared, with one hand securing that weight belt buckle and the other keeping your regulator  and mask in place. You then simple fall backwards into the water and into your tank. When you hit the water, sit up. This way you avoid doing an underwater back flip. Have you figured out the answer to the joke yet? Well, if you rolled forwards you’d still be in the boat.

The In Water Dive Entry

You can’t enter the water if you’re already it. Which is why the name in water isn’t talk about how you get in the water, rather, it’s referring to donning your gear. With this dive entry method how you get in the water is up to you. Whether you want to do the toe dip and slide in, the cannon ball, or a triple standing back flip that’s up to you. Just don’t hurt yourself. Grab hold and put on your gear after getting in. Don’t forget to double check that your hoses and accessories are still secured. You can either have someone hand you the equipment or put it in the water yourself before you jump. Especially if you use and integrated weight system, Make sure that the gear is fully inflated before putting it in the water.

There are a lot of variations in this dive entry method. People who have difficulty putting gear on in the boat for health reasons are the primary users of this method. These variations have to do with when you put on your fins, mask, and belt. I always recommend entering the water with fins and mask, this way you can see and swim more effectively. As for the weight belt, You can have someone hand it to you in the water when you are ready for it, or put it on before you get in. If you decide on the later, make sure that you maintain contact with your BCD so as not to sink.

This entry method should not be used in rough waters or strong currents as this could make it dangerous.

The Trust Fall

This is by far is my favorite entry method of all. The first time you use this entry method it may be a little bit scary but I swear you will love it. You can use this method in deep or shallow water, in any kind of conditions. All it requires is a ledge that you can stand on. As with the giant stride,  secure your belt/gauge, mask and regulator but this time stand on the edge with your back to the water. When the way is clear and you are ready, fall backwards onto your tank. The ocean will catch you I promise! Oh and by the way, you will look like a total badass when you do this one.

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The Controlled Seated Entry

Controlled seated entry is a dive entry used primarily by people who cannot stand up in SCUBA gear for health related reasons, and where back roll is not an option. This entry method is suitable for most conditions but can be hazardous in high swell or waves. I do not recommend this entry to people who do not need to use it, or have poor upper body strength or limitations. The reason for this being that you may hurt yourself and/or potentially damage the boat. I also highly suggest practicing this entry off a dock or pool side before attempting it off a boat.

To begin, sit on the edge of the boat with your legs hanging over the edge and get into your gear. Next, turn and place both hands on the platform next to you. You will then push up off the platform and twist and the same time. You should land in the water in a vertical position facing the boat.

Relax Just Do It

When you want to go to it, and you aren’t sure which method entry to use just ask! If you have questions about anything always ask. A good guide will always do their best to get you in the water nice and easy. Trust me, even if you feel like a nuisance for needing someone to hand you this or that, don’t! It really isn’t a problem.

Do you have a favorite entry method that isn’t listed? Thoughts or comments? Tell me about them in the comments!

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Shark Finning, Where We’re At

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Ranelle Ivens

SITE AUTHOR

Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology. [supsystic-social-sharing id=’2′] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”2_3″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.92″]

Shark finning has been an on going practice for hundreds of years, dating back to the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century. However, it has, in the last 70 years, gotten way out of hand. The shark fin trade hit its peak in the year 2000 and has been declining slowly since then. The biggest problem with the practice is that sharks, a key component to the health of our oceans, have become critically endangered.

What is Shark Finning

Shark finning is a barbaric practice that involves removing only the fins of a shark and then dumping it back into the ocean, usually still alive. In recent years laws have been made against these techniques, dictating that the shark must still be attached. Unfortunately, without proper enforcement and amendments shark fisherman are finding loopholes, or in some cases completely disregarding these laws.

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How much shark are we talking?

In the early 2000’s reported shark catch weighed in at over 750 000 tons. In more recent years the number has dropped as low as 600 000 tons (read more in these numbers here). Though I would love to be excited about these reductions in numbers it is still very unclear what has caused them.

A few examples include:

  • Reduction in shark populations
  • finding loopholes that allow fiishermen to remove more of the sharks whole weight at sea
  • An increase in unreported shark catch
  • Improper species identification

To give you a better idea of how many sharks are being taking out of our  oceans every year you need to think about the whole picture. As you many have already realized, not all shark catch is reported. Due to the grotesque nature, and high demand for shark fins there are many sharks being sold on the black market. In addition to this tons of sharks and are also killed as by-catch. By-catch is defined as animals caught unintentionally and discarded dead at sea. This is typical of trollers, net fishing, and a variety of other unsustainable fishing practices.

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This photo was taken from Shark Defenders, follow the link to read more about exposure on illegal fin markets.

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If sharks are endangered why are they being hunted?

This is probably one of the most frustrating questions to answer. I wish that s any animal was listed as endangered that we would automatically protect it. Sadly, we do not yet live in such a world. Like many other endangered animals sharks are wanted for a specific body part, which is why shark finning is a problem. It is also very difficult to regulate every boat out on the open ocean. Enforcement of laws is a component to conservation that we are sorely in need of. Even sharks listed in CITES (international treaty agreement banning/regulation the amount caught of the defined species) are still being slaughtered regularly for their fins.

In a recent study scientists purchased trimmings from shark fin vendors and proceeded to identify the sharks based on DNA. The fins were purchased from legal markets of Hong Kong (allegedly the number one buyer of legal shark fins). However, after results came back it was the fins were found to be primarily harvested from sharks protected under CITES.

The Conclusion

Though reported sharks fished is dropping we need to keep pushing, we need to work harder to protect the sharks. The people at CITES have added a handful of new shark species to the appendix, but now we need to enforce their protection. Especially since most shark finning is done illegally. The amount of sharks removed each year has yet to lower to sustainable  levels.

Global awareness of the shark finning trade is rising. Slowly but surely more and more people are starting to fight for these beautiful creatures but it is not yet enough. People like Shark Girl Madison and the Nakawe project are working hard to make things right but they need our help. Though it doesn’t always seem like it, its everyday people that make the most impact. It is with your support we can push our governments to better regulate the fish trade and protect sharks.

How can you help the sharks?

  • Buy responsibly, make sure that the products you are buying do not contain shark meat. Be specially wary of fish oils and canned fish.
  • Sign these petitions to ban the shark fin trade from North America
  • Say NO to shark fin soup and shark steaks
  • Support conservation efforts and Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s)
  • Reduce plastic use and other sources of pollution
  • Educate yourself and others on sharks
  • Take the Shark AWARE course (Book through me or your local dive shop to learn even more about sharks also available to non-divers)

 

 

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Ranelle Ivens

SITE AUTHOR

Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology. [supsystic-social-sharing id=’2′] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”2_3″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text (main post content)” module_class=”dd-post-content” _builder_version=”3.0.92″ text_font=”Lato||||” text_font_size=”15″ text_text_color=”#04493e” text_line_height=”1.4em” border_style=”solid”]

One of the most important and most useful skills in SCUBA diving is neutral buoyancy. It can also be the most difficult to overcome, and often takes dives and dives of practice. However, once you get the hang of it, diving becomes so much more enjoyable.

Mastering neutral buoyancy also comes with a few extra bonuses!

  • Air consumpotion goes down
  • You can get closer to wildlife
  • Focus on what you love about scuba diving
  • You can minimize your impact on the marine environment

Oh, the struggle

When becoming neutrally buoyant is a fight the whole dive becomes a challenge. Not only that, but it can become stressful and even cause anxiety. You start to worry about what other divers think of you, you can’t enjoy the little stuff because you’re rolling all over the bottom. People are giving you exasperated looks because you are harming the environment they are trying to enjoy. Nobody wants to feel like this. That’s why it’s important to practice, because no matter how horrible your buoyancy is, you can get better!

The mind is powerful

Very powerful. Studies show that in many sports, visualization techniques aid in improving skills. Whether you want to watch videos of people practicing buoyancy or visualize yourself being a neutral buoyancy master, both can help you achieve your goals.

As you visualize pay attention to things like breathing techniques (watch those bubbles!), body position, and swimming techniques. Each of these will help guide you to improvement and eventually mastery.

Take a minute for yourself

Having patience with yourself and staying calm are the most important steps while tackling neutral buoyancy. So take a long, slow, deep breath and try to relax, especially if you are starting to get frustrated. If you take your time and think critically to figure out what’s going on you can typically sort yourself out. This is especially important as you begin the dive and are setting up your buoyancy.

 

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Just breathe

One if the biggest mistakes I see in scuba is breathing techniques. People just forget to breathe out, or try to take in less air to reduce air consumption. When you took your open water or scuba diver course your instructor should have taught you to just breathe normally. This is true, however there is a breathing method that can help your buoyancy, air consumption, and how relaxed you are in the water.

I like to refer to this method as the zen method (check out the link for other methods to practice breath control). It is quite simple, just breath in slowly and count as you do; I like to count to five. Once you have a nice comfortable breath start to exhale. The key to this technique is in the release if breath, try to let the air out nice and slow. You can count as do so, try to aim for twice as long as your breath in (i.e. breath in for 5 and out for 10). If you can breath out longer that you breathed in that’s even better. These long slow easy breaths should help so stay calm and in control, which will aid you buoyancy tremendously.

Where are your weights?

Have you ever had a dive where you kept rolling to one side, or you just couldn’t get into a horizontal position? Then before you know it you are fighting and you loose control of your buoyancy or are simply just uncomfortable the while dive? Well luckily there’s an easy answer for the problem. Lead distribution. When you are checking over your gear take a look at your weight belt/pockets. Try to make sure that your weights are symmetrical in both amount and positioning. This should stop any tilting or leaning to one side. If you still lean try adding one or two pounds the opposite side. This leaning can be caused by many things including dive accessories or even increased muscle mass on one side of the body.

Next take a look at your trim weights. If you find it difficult to hold a horizontal position try moving about 1/4 of your total weight into the trim pockets on your tank. If you find you are top heavy, and your fins are always to high and you get stuck in a head down position reduce tank trim or add ankle weights. By evening yourself out like this you will find it easier to swim and maintain a steady depth while diving.

Once you have the positioning and balancing of your lead under control try to do buoyancy checks before and after the dive. Diving over weighted can be beneficial until you get better at buoyancy, however being too overweighted can be problematic, tiring, and makes you more prone to floating up and away.

Don’t forget to check

To do a buoyancy check hold a normal breath at the surface with an empty BCD. Remember no cheating! This means no kicking or sculling. You should float just below the surface and sink slowly as you let out air. Staying above the surface means you need more weight and sinking like a rock means you have way too much.

 

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Position, position, position

While in the water you should try your best to stay in a horizontal swimming position. This makes swimming and observing easier and more relaxed. Its also a good idea to keep your arms tucked in. People often don’t realize how much their arms weigh. They can actually throw you off balance just as much as lead will. Try playing with it a bit next time you dive. If for any reason you want or need to be in a vertical position remember to stop kicking! Otherwise you will find yourself swimming for the surface, or if overweighted, kicking up sand and damaging the bottom. In terms of position in the water these are the most important when it comes to buoyancy.

It may seem like a lot…

but it is really just 4 things:

  • Weights
  • Visualize
  • Breathing
  • Body position

It may seem like lots at first but try focusing on one or two things at a time. Once you master one portion add in another. Eventually all of these things will come easily and naturally, you just need to practice!

If you feel as though you would like to improve but want a personal training session ask your local shop about the Peak Performance Buoyancy Course. This course is two dives and generally costs around 160$, not much more than a typical day of diving depending on where you are. As an instructor it is one of my favourite courses to teach as it includes lots of fun and interesting underwater exercises!

 

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If we Save the Whales we Can Bring Back the Ocean

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Though many people may have told you to save the whales, but has any one told you to save the whales because they are hard workers? Whales are the biggest living animals on the planet, and there’s a reason for it. It isn’t just because they eat tonnes of food, nor that they’ve been around so long. Whales are big because they carry a huge responsibility. The health of the oceans rests heavily upon their backs.

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What responsibility could whales possibly have?

Being a whale probably sounds pretty easy, you are a huge animal with little to no predators who swims around the world and eats all day. While traveling and eating lots of food is a dream most of us strive to achieve, we also know that we have to work for it. So how do they pull it off? Whales are giant fertilizing machines.

If whales are removed from the ocean, the waters would become more stagnant and eventually little to nothing would be able to grow. Sea plant life is heavily dependent on nutrients that, in surface waters, tend to be scarce. But don’t worry, whales are able to propagate and share these with the rest of the seas.

How do whales fertilize the ocean?

Just like on land, when plants and animals die they go back into the earth, are decomposed, and become nutrients to be consumed by plants. Except for the ocean is really deep… Where it’s deep it is dark, and as we all learnt in 2nd grade science class, plants need light to do photosynthesis. Put simply, the bottom of the ocean is a treasure trove of untouched nutrients that aren’t being harvested.

This is where the whales come in. These peaceful giants swoop down in to the deep ocean and feed on deep dwelling organisms. On their way back up their large powerful bodies stir up the waters bringing nutrients up to the shallows. Not only do they stir up the water they share the goodies that they’ve eaten. How might you ask? The answer is by poopin’ and peein’ all over the place.

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Whale tail spotted in Catalina islands in Costa Rica on a beautiful March

Image Credit goes to my friend/student Nathan Mobach author of Sir Handsome Hank a DiveMaster Blog. 

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You’ve got to be Shitting me….

Nope, a whales job is to eat lots of food and create giant messy clouds of feces. Ocean plants find it most difficult to acquire two things: iron and nitrogen. Animals such as krill (a favorite among many whales) are high in Iron. Especially when you consume up to 2 tonnes of them a day. Whales, though very large, do not require all of the iron they consume and therefore share the excess by passing it through the other  end.

Despite passing the whales rear the plants still enjoy the iron. They are  able to absorb this iron which in turn allows them to grow providing more food for the krill. If you think back and remember how the predator prey cycle works, you will know that more krill means that the  whale population can increase. What’s odd, is that this nutrient cycle is a positive feedback loop which benefits all parties involved. This means that krill populations will not decrease with more whales, rather it will increase.

And what about that nitrogen?

Whale pee. These big fellas whizz out lots and lots of nitrogen another plant favourite. The reason for that is again due to deep dwelling animals. At the bottom of the ocean there’s lots of nitrogen which is absorbed by the local inhabitants. Those locals get gobbled up by whales and taken to the surface to be excreted and used as plant fertilizer.

That’s so cool! Good thing there is a lot of krill!

Wrong. The oceans krill are dying. First there was a huge decrease in whale populations which also decreased krill populations. Then to follow that up there had been a rapid change in ocean climate due to the melting of the polar ice caps. The increase of fresh water has made the ocean less salty while changing water temperatures everywhere. In warmer climates the water is becoming colder and the coldest parts of the ocean are warming up. Then you add a drop in the purity of the water due to oils, detergents, and chemicals, add a few million tonnes of plastic pollution every year ad you’ve got a big problem.

Some super cool scientists decided to research the krill and found out that the more polluted the water became, and the more the temperatures changed, the harder it became for the krill to adapt. It was also found that surviving krill had to eat more, and their bodies had to work harder to survive. This cause the krill to become less nutritious, meaning less nitrogen and iron for the whales and the plants the krill feed upon. This could lead to a very vicious cycle of

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Whale surfacing for a breath of fresh air, and exercising that blowhole. This while came very close to our boat along with another adult whale and calf. Talk about a lucky day!

Photo taken by Ranelle Ivens author of SeaReina’s Call

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SAVE THE WHALES!

Yes, save the whales indeed. Luckily, we have made some big improvements to protect these magnificent giants. In fact, there are even some populations on the rise such as the blue whale, bowhead whale, and humpbacks. So, at the very least, we are doing something right! However, in many countries including the USA and Canada Whaling is still legal, and whales still face many threats. These include climate change, plastic waste, and water pollution.

How to help

  • Avoid products containing whale (lamp oil, some soaps and cosmentics, tennis rackets, cooking oils etc.)
  • Stop using single use plastics
  • Recycle more
  • Avoid harsh chemicals and cleaners in your home
  • Tell your local government/politicians to make whaling illegal you can also ask them to take further steps to help save the whales such as banning whale products
  • Educate yourself and others on whales
  • Donate to organizations that will help save the whales and the ocean!

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Ranelle’s addiction to SCUBA started in 2004. From a young age she has been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures living within it. Her Ultimate dive dream is to swim with Orcas and to dive the world. Ranelle is a certified PADI Specialty Instructor and spent 3 years in university studying Science and Biology.

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