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Dive Training Blogs

I have Air but I can’t Breathe…



The first in a series of three excerpts from Simon’s new book: Scuba Exceptional…

This is Cat’s story:

“I was swimming along, relaxed and enjoying the dive. There was not much happening and the thought crossed my mind that I had recently allowed my fitness levels to lapse. So I thought I’d do a little power finning to build up my leg muscles and get the blood flowing. I set off, powering my way past the other members of the dive team and feeling like I was getting a good workout. I built up a bit of a rhythm and was quite pleased at how well I was keeping my breathing under control. Maybe I was fitter than I thought? After a few minutes of this, I told myself enough was enough and paused to wait for the others to catch up.

That was when I suddenly felt heat suffusing my chest and spreading up to my neck and face. I started panting. I knew I was hyperventilating and that, if I just forced myself to exhale and inhale fully a few times, eventually the panting would stop. I tried to regain control but I could not lose the feeling that no matter how much I breathed in, I still had to have more. I knew that my regulator was working properly and I knew I had plenty of air left in my cylinder, but it just was not enough. I felt confined by the mask on my face. I just wanted to rip it off and get to the surface as quickly as I could to get air, fresh air, all the air I desperately needed.

But, despite these almost over-powering thoughts, I somehow resisted the urge to bolt. I knew that it would be completely the wrong thing to do. I turned and found my husband hovering next to me. I grabbed him and just hung on to him while I recovered my breath and my senses. It took a few minutes before I was back to normal, but I was still a little shaken by the realisation of how stupid I had been and of how my sudden illogical urge had brought me so close to panic. I am not normally a panicker!

Narcosis can persuade us to do some strange things. In this case, it induced Cat to push herself to the point where her exertions loaded her bloodstream with so much carbon dioxide that she was on the verge of panic. She did remarkably well to resist the temptation to bolt for the surface. The advice in your dive manual regarding what to do when this happens, i.e. stop, breathe, hold on to a rock, makes it sound easy. It is not easy. It is incredibly hard to convince your intellect to over-ride the chemically generated urges produced by your autonomic nervous system, but it has to be done. As long as you have plenty of air in your cylinder, you NEVER head for the surface until you have your head together. Cat did it, so can you!

This piece is an extract from the chapter “Out of Air with Plenty to Breathe” in Simon Pridmore’s new book Scuba Exceptional – Become the Best Diver You Can Be available now from Amazon, iTunes, Kobo and other online bookstores.

Simon Pridmore is the author of scuba diving books, travel books and, as you might expect, scuba diving travel books. Originally from the UK, Simon has lived in Asia for over 30 years. As well as his books and guides, Simon writes regular columns for a number of magazines. He and his wife Sofie currently live in Bali, Indonesia but spend a lot of time exploring other places trying (but failing so far) to find a cure for their itchy feet. Simon's latest book - Scuba Exceptional – Become the Best Diver You Can Be - the follow-up to his best-selling Scuba Confidential, is available now in paperback and e-book versions from Amazon stores worldwide. Find out more about Simon and his books on

Dive Training Blogs

Should I Switch Scuba Diving Training Agencies For 2021? (Watch Video)



Thousands of Dive Instructors are out of work, due to Covid-19. Many will not return to scuba diving. And this has the dive training agencies very worried.

For the first time in my career, instead of the usual ‘don’t forget to re-new your membership!’ emails, the main Dive training agencies are aggressively pursuing dive instructors and trying to convince them that life will be better if they cross over to their agency.

I decided to pick up the phone and call around the different agencies to get their best offers. It didn’t go well….

Thanks for watching! D.S.D.O, James

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Dive Training Blogs

Jeff chats to… Matt Slater of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust (Watch Video)



In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Matt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust about their Diving and Snorkeling programmes.

Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

For more information, visit

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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