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Diving Diaries (Part 3)



In this new series Scubaverse blogger, Isobel Fairbairn, keeps a diary as she learns to dive with her university BSAC club (Salford University Diving Society or SUDS for short). Follow her progress as she heads underwater for the very first time.

My third week of my dive training and so far, I’d argue my hardest.

Our theory this week consisted of all the “what happens if?” questions and answers, all the terrifying dangers that come with diving if proper safety is not ensured.

Of course, some of it feels like common sense, paying attention to your surroundings, always making sure to check on your buddy, but some of it really isn’t common sense, and I came away with a head full of new information (and anxieties) that I wish I’d left in the classroom.  But of course wishes don’t often come true and I am well aware of the fact all of this information is to make sure we are all practicing proper procedure and therefore at our safest, so all of this information won’t be leaving my brain anytime in the future.

This week we learnt about DCI; the symptoms, preventions and treatment. We were informed on the importance of anticipating problems, being prepared and how prevention is better than a cure! We were presented with the “incident pit”, the pit of horrors type diagram and how its significance holds great importance as one thing can lead to another and suddenly you can be out of your depth, both literally and metaphorically.

We were also shown the importance of having proper gas canister checks and the issues that can come with contaminated breathing gas, oxygen toxicity and Nitrogen narcosis.

Onto the practical session of the evening:

Backwards rolling into the pool to begin with ended up being quite enjoyable, it was our first time trying it out and as nervous as I was when I stood with my back to the water with my feet on the edge of the pool, it went a lot smoother than I expected. I’ll be brutally honest I think I almost fell in backwards anyway, so I just went with it without giving myself too much time to overthink it. Following a backwards descent into the water me and my buddy then did a swim around the pool, monitored by our instructor where we used the hand signals we had learnt so far in practice on our own i.e. “I’m the leader”, “you’re the leader”, “are you okay?” “gas check?” this was fun, it was exciting to be able to freely swim around and use the information I’d learned (and realised it had stuck and I was getting better each week!)

Next up came the bit I’d like to now tell readers I’m STILL working on, if anyone has any miracles for how to do this easily, someone, please, enlighten me, my mermaid dreams felt like they were slipping from my grasp during this task.

We had to perform a mask removal underwater and reapply the mask after we had removed it. Now I’m sat, on my knees, underwater watching my buddy do this procedure, she completes it, very well might I add, and during every single one of those painstaking minutes watching her, my sense of dread is just slowly increasing, next thing I know my instructor is Infront of me asking me to now perform the mask removal so what do I do? Obviously I take my mask off! And then I panic, I bottle it. I come up to the surface, gasping for air a little bit, even though I’ve had my reg in the whole time, I’m still panicking at this point and I’m very aware that I just don’t think I’ll be getting this done this session.

My instructor, who is a very lovely man tells me to just take time off and we can get it done next time and not to worry, but, of course I spend the next two hours worrying, listening to my already qualified friend Jamie tell me to “just practice in the bath, it’ll be fine” much to my amusement, but I actually may take this as serious advice. So, to my mother, if you’re reading this now, please don’t be surprised if you catch me snorkelling in the bath when I’m home for easter.

Isobel Fairbairn is a 22 year old first year Marine Biology student at the University of Salford with a passion for both writing and marine life. She says: “I love to share things that I learn along my journey and that’s when I decided I wanted to take my career towards writing, I’ve always wanted to write but when my two passions collided I knew I had to go in this direction.” She lives in Manchester. Her favourite fish is the Chimera Shark and she is currently undergoing her diving training with BSAC with the University’s Diving Society. “I am equal parts terrified and excited.” Follow her on Instagram:


Intro to Tech: What is it about?



tech diving

Article by José Pablo Mir
Pictures by Cezary Abramowski

The world of technical diving is exciting. It opens the door to new sites, depths, and bottom times. More importantly, it opens our minds to a new way of planning, facing, and experiencing dives, even those not purely technical.

Becoming a technical diver is a process, and like in other aspects of life, we should find the proper entry point that suits us best based on our knowledge and experience. The Introduction to Technical Diving course from TDI -the world’s largest and most recognized technical diving teaching organization- is the best option for divers who have yet to gain experience in the fundamental aspects of this new practice. The course’s content and its embrace of new techniques and technologies make it possible to acquire a solid foundation to learn and gain experience in this practice properly.

Becoming a technical diver is not something that happens overnight, whether deciding to become one or receiving a certification card stating we are now technical divers. It is a slow process extending farther away than any introductory course. It requires effort and dedication. But it will bring us satisfaction from day one -or two.

It is a matter of mentality

First, we must understand and accept that technical diving, involving greater depths, longer bottom times, exotic gases, virtual or real ceilings, and more, comes with higher levels of risk than the sport diving we have been practicing until now.

Although this discussion usually starts with a warning about risks, as I’ve done in the previous sentence, our practice is not a game of chance.

Technical diving is a rational activity that requires maturity and good judgment, and we will put everything into ensuring that each dive is a successful one -meaning we return from it safe and sound. With this understanding, we will strive to establish a mental attitude more aligned with our practice and its realities.

This new “technical diver” mindset we will develop will lead us to be more cautious in our executions, more analytical in our plans, more rational in our strategies, and more detailed in our procedures.

Experience will keep teaching us to know ourselves better, to keep our anxiety and other emotions under control, and to manage our impulses. Over time, our senses will sharpen, and we will be more attentive to the particulars of the situation we find ourselves in.

tech diving

Strategies and procedures

Our strategies, those broad guiding lines tracing the path to follow, from how to approach planning to where, with what, and how we are willing to get there, will be more specific and more practical. Not because they magically become so, but because we will consciously and deliberately frame them that way.

We will establish clear, concise, and realistic procedures. Not only for the undesirable situations that may present themselves but also for those that are part of our dive objectives.

Even though, as technical divers, we often use equipment different from what we were previously accustomed to, it is essential to note that the gear does not make the diver. In a way, we could consider such equipment as the necessary tools to implement what our goal seeks to achieve, according to our strategies and procedures.

Technique plays an important role

We must put our greatest effort into learning and perfecting the different techniques we will be acquiring. Buoyancy, trim, propulsion, cylinder handling, deploying DSMBs and lift bags, valve drills, and more are essential skills we must begin to master to progress in our art. What we cannot do, when we need to do it, can harm us.

Our techniques must be effective and achieve the purpose for which they were devised. But they must also be efficient and require the least resources possible, including the time they take and the effort they demand. Effectiveness and efficiency will prevail over beauty and other considerations that may come to mind, although none of them should be mutually exclusive. A technique executed efficiently and effectively tends to have an inherent beauty.

Refining techniques is a lifelong mission. Some of them will be easy to master from the go; others, on the other hand, will be our life mission and will require many repetitions just to resemble the idea we have in mind of how they should be executed.

tech diving

We must consider the environment

Our learning, the needs and musts of the practice we engage in, the experience we gradually gain, our strategies and procedures, and even our equipment and tools change with the environment.

Diving in the ocean, everything about us must be suitable for ocean dives. Conditions there rarely emulate those found in a pool, lake, or river. Variable winds and currents, greater depths, visibility conditions, other divers with uncertain skills around us, marine life, maritime traffic, distance from the coast, and many other factors add complexity and uncertainty.

It is never necessary to master the pool on the first day, but planning and aspiring to gradually cope with the ocean’s conditions is essential.

The cost of good training

We are aware that our resources are often scarce in relation to the possibilities of use we could give them if they were not. To a greater or lesser extent, we are part of the economic reality in which we are embedded.

Fortunately, the cost of good technical diver training is not an entry barrier. Comparing training and equipment costs, we see that the former are generally lower. Yes, lower cost for personalized service, essential to our future

performance and safety, than for a series of mass-produced products that are mere, albeit necessary, tools for an end.

The value of good training

The value of the training we received encompasses a range of characteristics, from emotional and methodological to technical and technological. TDI and its Introduction to Technical Diving course offer a deep and modern approach, with a teaching strategy that aims to create thinking divers, not merely obedient ones.

As technical divers, our knowledge is our primary tool. In this type of activity, what we don’t know can harm us.

tech diving

Is this course optional?

Unfortunately, the fact that this Introduction to Technical Diving course is not a prerequisite for any subsequent training is an invitation to consider it optional. And we all know what usually happens to “optional” under budget constraints.

However, this course should be seen as optional only by those divers who are somehow familiar with the use of technical equipment, who have a mindset more in line with the requirements of this type of diving, who plan and execute the dives the proper “technical” way, who know their gas consumption rate, who are not intimidated by non-decompression tables, who feel comfortable using their dive computers, and know the techniques and have at least an acceptable level of buoyancy, positioning, and propulsion. Those can go straight to a more advanced training course, such as TDI’s Advanced Nitrox.

We must ask ourselves whether or not we are in that group.

Remember our goal: to have fun

Recreational diving is our passion. Jumping into the water carrying heavy equipment and having properly dotted our I’s and crossed our T’s have only one ultimate goal: fun. This is the activity we have chosen as a hobby. We must enjoy it; it must give us pleasure and make us vibrate.

Having a good time is not optional!

tech diving
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Four opportunities to go pro in 2024 with Dive Friends Bonaire



Dive Friends teaches the Instructor Development Course (IDC) several times a year to students who are eager to share their passion for diving with the world.

Dive Friends is known for the personal approach throughout the course. Their in-house course director will lead the students through every essential step, mentoring them to achieve their fullest potential as a dive instructor.

Applications for the following IDC start dates are now open:

  • 12 April
  • 5 July,
  • 20 September
  • 29 November

Partnership with Casita Palma

If the student opts for the IDC-Deluxe or IDC-Supreme package, their accommodation will be arranged for them at Casita Palma. This small and quiet resort is within walking distance from Dive Friends Bonaire’s main dive shop location and has everything you need to relax after an intense day of IDC training. Breakfast is included, so the student will always be fuelled and ready for their day.

Contact Dive Friends Bonaire’s Course Director Eddy for more information:

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