DIVERS DELIGHT BLOG
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The iconic Leafy Sea Dragon is South Australia’s marine emblem common to our coast line.
Leafy Sea Dragons (Phycodurus eques) are exquisitely camouflaged and belong to the same family as seahorses and pipe fish (Syngnathidae). They are found either solitary or in pairs moving slowly in sheltered water relying on their elegant camouflage to protect them from predators.
Like seahorses, it is the male Sea Dragon that carries the developing eggs. The breeding season runs from October to March, and males develop a ‘brood patch’ on the underside of the tail that consists of cups of blood-rich tissue, which each hold an egg. The female transfers around 120 eggs into these pits; the eggs are then fertilised and carried by the male for about a month. Hatchlings emerge over several days and are initially only around 10-20 mm long. They are extremely vulnerable to predation but grow quickly, attaining adult maturity in about 2 years. Sea Dragons feed on small organisms such as plankton and mysids by sucking them into their tube-like snout appearing somewhat like sneezing.
Our most visited dive sites for encountering the Sea Dragon are Rapid Bay and Victor Harbor. Approaching these delicate creatures should be with minimal water disturbance using good buoyancy and trim so they are not stressed. A sudden sweep of the hand or fin can damage their frail appendages so it is imperative to maintain good water conduct in their proximity. They are quite camera shy and will turn away from lights insomuch that the front portrait facial view is almost impossible to shoot without strobes and soft focusing lights. Should a Sea Dragon sense intruding danger they will move away and possibly up into the water column and in flight mode can stray out of the gentle water into strong surge and current to their detriment. Hence you will mostly find Sea Dragons ebbing and flowing in quiet sheltered surroundings.
Every Sea Dragon has distinctive facial markings that give them unique identification. They are quite territorial rarely venturing a few meters from their familiar surroundings.
The majestic Leafy Sea Dragon has captured the attention of the dive community and divers come from all over the globe to behold and photograph this most unique and mystical creature.
Divers Delight promote and facilitate diving tours to visit Leafy Sea Dragons regularly and accommodate divers with a seasoned dive guide, required gear and transport to sites.
Call us on 83637518, email firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook Divers Delight
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On a recent dive trip to Bali I was fortunate enough to don the new Scubapro Hydros Pro BCD. As it comes with a separate webbing harness [without the integrated weight system] this was my choice for warm water diving with minimal weight. The two rear trim weight pockets were ample for 1-2 kg each, although I didnt require any lead in my 2.5mm wetty. Its light to wear down to the dive sight and fits snug and well streamlined while diving. The monoprene back-plate moulds and adheres nicely and stops BCD movement while in any position under water. The rear lower dump is on the left akin to the Scubapro Tek range with the improved inflator hose on the left shoulder. The wing is neatly bungeed and provides 40lbs lift. Two shoulder D-rings and left and right at the hip provide adequate attachment. There’s a couple of neat attachment points integrated to the top harness connection for bolt-snaps. There’s also the option to add a crotch strap for those technical dives.
All round great design, without clutter, and feels great in the water.
My score 8.5/10 ….I’ve not dived in a better single backmount BCD.
See more specs at : http://www.scubapro.com/en-US/USA/bcs/products/hydros-pro.aspx
Side mount diving originated in the UK resulting from early wet cave exploration beginning in the 1930’s. Using scuba was a natural progression although there wasn’t any real intent to develop a side mount diving system and kit, it just came about out of practical necessity and good old fashioned innovation as divers discovered caves with tighter restrictions with the need to have your tank and breathing apparatus streamlined and easily accessible. Maybe that’s why we have quite a few variations of harnesses and wings with myriads of attachment systems and features in today’s modern side mount systems. Most of the dive equipment manufacturers have developed a dedicated side mount system, some have even built a hybrid to accommodate both back mount and side mount.
There are three main parts to side mounts. The harness, the wing [inflation] and the rigging of tanks and regulators. The Harness is composed of 50 mm webbing with varied snaps, keepers, D-rings and attachment points either naked or a solid or soft back plate.
The wing or the buoyancy device is usually modular and adaptable to most harness systems via webbing or bungee attachments. Buoyancy wings are manufactured in various shapes and sizes for individual application and requirements.
The rigging of the tanks and routing of regulators is where it all comes together. This is where it gets personal for the diver as components and equipment are arranged and attached to a specific configuration pertinent to the type of diving.
Some like gauges up in sight, others like them running down the tank. Hose routing always goes down the tank first and bungee’s neatly with 7′ long hose on the right tank and wing inflation hose on the left tank. Both second stage regulators with 90-120 deg elbows. Some adapt the twin rear mount concept of routing hoses around the neck and the left regulator on a neck bungee. 1st stage up or down, left and right tank valves are also preferences for each diver.
Cylinder attachment to harness and bungee retaining the top or neck are commonly via cam-band and single end bolt-snaps with top connections loop bungee or hard connections of many variations.
The next step is practical application with some in-water tips and instruction from a good side mount or tec side mount instructor. While the internet and forums have lots of ideas and alternative concepts for side mount diving, some time with a solid and reputable instructor will be invaluable . Choose an instructor who actually dives in a side mount system and has done plenty of in-water time developing and honing their own skills and delivering quality courses.
Dedicated side mount divers are popping up in most diving locations but more specifically cave divers and deep technical divers are trending towards the associated benefits of side mount systems for penetration dives with tight restrictions. The E-CCR market has even developed a side mount Rebreather using the left tank as diluent.
With most instructional agencies and dive shops getting on board your transition to side mount scuba diving will have you trained and kitted up for longer and even deeper diving expeditions exploring beyond the gas limits of a single tank. Visit your local dive store and discover side mount scuba diving.
Why Tec Dive ? Sometimes there is not enough NDL time when you’re navigating an interesting and intriguing wreck. Some wrecks or walls with specific artifacts or life are beyond 40 metres the recreational depth limit.
With diving attractions like Truk Lagoon, Bikini Atoll, The Coolidge and other much visited historical wreck sites, the desire to go deeper and longer has necessitated the refinement of equipment, training and skills to descend upon these undersea wartime monuments. When there’s just a few minutes to survey and take ‘snaps’ of something profoundly interesting at 35-40 metres and you really want so much more time …. Technical decompression [or CCR] dives are the next step. Sure some of us have done a few short minutes of decompression due to overstaying at depth on a single tank and had the air reserve to accommodate or a buddy nearby just in case. Decompression time can “rack up” pretty quick beyond 40 metres and air consumption increases such that safely diving at these depths requires multiple tanks and a run-time to perform the specific tasks and mission of the planned dive. My dive trips to The Coolidge and Truk have been spectacular and most rewarding. With the right equipment and training these amazing dive sites take on a whole new level of enjoyment when you venture deeper to visit history never before seen.
Tec diving isn’t for everyone, [nor should it be the goal of every diver], however if your’e the kind of diver that likes to push the boundaries of recreational limits and you want more out of diving than single tanks can deliver, there’s another world of diving waiting.
See more, dive beyond, join the exciting world of Tec diving.
See our training page for more information on technical diving and how you can become a technical diver http://diversdelight.com.au/training/
The World of Tec Diving
I was asked to write a blurb on Tec for the shop website blog, comments and replies welcome.
From my first ever diving experience upon the Ocean Spirit out of Cairns QLD in 1994 the ocean had my attention as I marvelled at her beauty and rich diversity. My curiosity and imagination reeled as I wondered what lied over that ledge, down that wall and further and beyond the azure haze of deep tropical water.
I have always ventured further on my quest for new discoveries which inevitably necessitated further training and equipment to pursue the mysterious depths beyond accepted safe limits.
My sojourn to the Mecca of wreck diving in the Pacific island Chuuk Lagoon had me awed and inspired while diving on the San Francisco Maru peering at wartime relics in the forward hold at my record depth of 56.4 metres. I love diving wrecks and deep ones are all that better preserved. My “Lust for Rust” was further engrained in my addiction to deeper diving.
Tec Diving was born and evolved out of the insatiable desire to penetrate further and deeper. The use of more than one tank, guide reels, mixed gasses, redundant regulators, multi gas computers, comprehensive dive checks and plans with pertinent sundry equipment and a cool headed wary attitude etched the norm and basic requirements for technical divers.
So what is Technical Diving? Put simply … Technical diving is any diving that exceeds the accepted safe limits of recreational diving executed with appropriate equipment and training.
However, it is NOT just diving past 40 metres and returning to the surface. Nor is it simply donning a set of twins or a stage to increase your gas supply.
The deeper and longer we dive thusly dictates the substantial resources required for successfully executing and exiting safely from the planned diving mission.
As a general rule any technical dive requires 1. A dive plan, 2. A gas plan, 3. A decompression plan, and necessarily in that order as the dive plan will greatly influence the latter.
So a good dive plan must first be determined to be sensible, practical and achievable. Sensible because the risk must be weighed against the proposed outcome. There is nothing at the depths of the ocean that warrants the cost of human life. Practical because the mission has a material objective outcome deemed worthy of the dive and related resources. Achievable because stretching divers and resources beyond planned and specified limits almost always ends unfortunately. In other words, skills, resources and experience must equate to the task. If you feel I’m painting a canvas of risk, danger and detriment and possibly trying to dissuade the average recreational diver, then you’re right.
Technical diving isn’t for everyone, nor should it be the goal of every diver. If you’re the type of diver that enjoys a few summer dives at your local dive spot, or a few warm tropical dives while on holiday then technical diving is probably not for you.
Conversely, if you’re frothing for deep adventure and have a keen curiosity for the many exotic creatures and features of the beckoning abyss then technical diving might be your next favourite endeavour. A well planned and executed technical dive to a historically significant WW2 wreck lying at 60 metres while capturing some intriguing photographic footage can offer some of diving’s most exhilarating experiences and rewards. I still get goose bumps when watching my video production of wreck diving in Chuuk Lagoon.
What does it take to become a Tec diver? Well its primarily a matter of attitude and this will largely determine your suitability for the mandatory vigilant discipline and rigorous training associated with technical diving. Having graduated the Padi Tec programs I can endorse course contents and the contributors from not only Padi’s knowledgeable Technical Diving Division, but from the many and diverse technical divers and agencies around the world.
So if I’ve stimulated something that summons you to delve into a deeper diving experience, come into the shop and talk Tec with us. We’re a full Tec centre with instructors that will take you from the discover Tec experience to the level of mixed gasses and unlimited decompression.
Scuba Steve PADI Tec Deep Instructor