Manta Divers July 2009
Team Manta is well into the local diving season with successful trips to Pearl Lake and Haigh Quarry, and we are looking forward to our Lake Michigan charter this month. Many past newsletters have dealt with equipment care pre-dive and buddy etiquette during the dive, but I have never written about an important and woefully overlooked post dive step: Filling out the dive log. Even though I’m sure divers remember from their open water class that a dive not logged is a dive that never happened, it is surprising the number of divers who don’t have any dives logged after their initial 4! Many divers fail to record anything beyond the dive dates, times and depths. In my opinion, that is a waste of time and ink. Completed with care, your dive log not only is proof of your diving experience, but it can be an important tool to increase your diving expertise.
Given the number of releases divers must fill out for dive operations, it is not surprising the at more and more dive shops are using dives logs, rather than the diver’s say so to assess whether a diver can participate in a particular dive. For example, on a recent trip to Cayman Brac, divers with less than 20 logged dives were not allowed to do the night dive. This dive operation felt strongly that 20 dives would be the minimum to assure that the dive had good buoyancy and enough experience to deal with the added stress of being underwater in the dark. In addition, certain continuing diver education courses require a certain number of logged dives preenrollment.
Making a ritual of writing in one’s dive log is also a good way to keep a record of what dive sites you enjoyed the most at a given dive destination. That way, if you go to that destination again, you can request the sites you liked and perhaps avoid the ones you enjoyed less. You can add interest to your future diving by keeping a record of what fish and creatures you saw and setting goals for spotting new things. This is a painless way to gain knowledge of the diving environment. Make notes as to your condition at depth (Did you feel affects of narcosis? At what depth?), your stamina in currents (Do you need to add more cardio to your routine, or just buy better fins?), and perhaps even what you ate pre-dive. (Did it upset your stomach? Should you add more potassium to your breakfast to prevent cramps?) All of these little tidbits of information can aid in making future dives go smoother.
If you are not always diving with the same buddy, be sure to get contact information from whomever you are paired with. Perhaps you will need a roommate for your next trip and finding that compatible dive buddy may be as easy as thumbing through your dive log. It is also instructional to note what you liked in that dive buddy. This should lead to some introspection of your own behavior as a buddy and help you become the kind of diver you like to dive with.
If you still don’t want to get that detailed in your dive log, at least make note of your equipment. If you are renting gear, keeping a record of the gear you’ve used (brands, types of inflation), can help you make an informed decision when you purchase your own. It is important to note what thickness and the relative age of the suit. As you know, the more dives on a suit, the more the neoprene will be crushed, changing the amount of lift and insulation it provides. I like to note the water temperature and my relative comfort along with the notation of what suit I’m using. Soon you will have a record of what weight you need for all the varying situations you find yourself in.
Remember to record the amount of weight you used in your equipment list. Aside from the inability to set up one’s gear correctly, nothing screams inexperience louder than being improperly weighted for your dive. Anyone who’s taken the Peak Performance Buoyancy class will tell you that not only the amount of weight used but the configuration of the weights (use of trim pockets, etc.) are key to streamlining underwater, so record this as well in your logbook. Whenever you change equipment, such as wetsuit style, thickness, age, tank size or material, or bring added equipment on a dive start with a good buoyancy check and record that weight.
In Other News!
A spot has opened up on the July 18 charter to the Dredge 906 and the Lumberman in Lake Michigan. Call today to get in on this great adventure.
Remember that deposits are due August 31 for the Roatan trip. You may be hesitating because of the unrest in Honduras, but note that we are not stopping on the mainland at all and the state department alert is expiring July 31.
The destination for our planned trip for August 1 & 2 has been changed to Devil's Lake hotel info will be posted on the calendar this week.
The Aqualung regulator rebate program ends August 31. You can get $50 to $100 off your regulator purchase.