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Intro to Tech: What is it about?

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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

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

Blogs

The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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the ocean cleanup
  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Book Review: Plankton

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Plankton: A Worldwide Guide by Tom Jackson and Jennifer Parker

This is a book that jumps off the shelf at you. The striking front cover demands that you pick it up and delve further, even if you may not have known you wanted to learn more about the most diminutive life in our ocean, plankton!

Small it might be. Much of the imagery in the book has been taken under huge magnification. Revealing stunning beauty and diversity in each scoop of “soup”. There is lots to learn. Initial chapters include interesting facts about the different vertical zones they inhabit, from sunlight to midnight (the darkest and deepest areas). I loved finding out more about the stunning show that divers oft encounter on night dives – bioluminescence.

The black water images are wonderful. So this is a book you can have as a coffee table book to dip in and our of. But, these tiny organisms are also vital to our very survival and that of all the marine life we love. They provide half the oxygen produced on our planet. They are also responsible for regulating the planets climate. And for a shark lover like me – they are food for charismatic sharks and rays like the Basking Shark and Manta Ray, along with a huge number of other species. This book contains great insight into their biology, life cycles, migration, and how the changes in currents and sea temperatures affects them.

This is a book that is both beautiful and packed with information about possibly the most important group of organisms on our planet. Anyone interested in the ocean should have it one their shelves.

What the publisher says:

Plankton are the unsung heroes of planet Earth. Passive drifters through the world’s seas, oceans, and freshwater environments, most are invisible or very small, but some are longer than a whale. They are the global ocean’s foundation food, supporting almost all oceanic life, and they are also vitally important for land-based plants, animals, and other organisms. Plankton provides an incomparable look at these remarkable creatures, opening a window on the elegance and grace of microscopic marine life.

This engaging book reveals the amazing diversity of plankton, how they belong to a wide range of living groups, and how their ecology, lifestyles, and adaptations have evolved to suit an enormous range of conditions. It looks at plankton life cycles, the different ways plankton feed and grow, and the vast range of strategies they use for reproduction. It tracks where, how, and why plankton drift through the water; shares perspectives on migrations and population explosions or “blooms” and why they happen; and discusses the life-sustaining role of plankton in numerous intertwined food webs throughout the world.

Beautifully illustrated, Plankton sheds critical light on how global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and overexploitation will adversely impact planktonic life, and how these effects will reverberate to every corner of our planet.

About the Authors:

Tom Jackson is a science writer whose many popular books include Strange Animals and Genetics in MinutesJennifer Parker is a zoology and conservation writer and the author of several books. Andrew Hirst is a leading expert on plankton whose research has taken him around the world, from the Antarctic to Greenland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691255996

Published: 9th April, 2024

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