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Jump into… Guided Dives

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Just passed your Open Water course and not sure what’s next? Of course your diver training will have prepared you for diving out with your buddy, but it’s sometimes a daunting thought. Just like when you passed your driving test… remember that first time behind the wheel when the instructor was not there? I totally get it! 

When I first started diving, ALL of my training was done in quarries. Not that there is anything wrong with quarries… I mean, I own the best one in the world! Only joking, other quarry owners… they’re all good in their own way. But, there is nothing like diving in the sea. The thought of literally jumping into the unknown, a place where you cannot purchase the map at the front desk, or know where you need to go down to see the boat and that resident sturgeon. You have the opportunity to potentially see any of the 170,000 marine creatures that the UK is home to and possibly an area that nobody else in the world has dived. That sense of adventure is what we all, as divers, long for. 

With that in mind, I totally get that the flip side of this is scary: being a brand new diver, or a diver with no sea experience, and that’s fine. We all need a hand to start out somewhere. I was not that lucky; the people that I dived around with, all dived at the same time and place each week, and so when I started up alone, I began exploring the UK waters. Learning what times were the best to dive, what spring and neaps meant, where the best entry and exit points would be… and it took a lot of work to become competent in this type of planning. And still does each year that we check out new sites!

That’s the reason that I have made sure that we keep our theme of small, guided dives. Little Viv is coded for a lot more divers than the 4 that we take, but it’s all about that personal touch of being able to take divers to an area that they are all comfortable with, whether they are new or experienced, and guide them to the best locations to witness North Wales at it’s best. The guided dive aspect is one of the main things I love about our centres and probably always will be. Opening up new sites to divers where they don’t have to feel like it is impossible and giving them a helping hand to witness some of the most stunning sites under the UK waters. That’s what it’s all about.

So, if you haven’t done so yet, and I am not just saying this as an upsell for my own business… Wherever you are in the UK, make sure you put at least 1 sea diving location on your tick list for 2022. You will definitely not want to turn back!


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

Clare Dutton, is a PADI Course Director and Director of Duttons Divers and Vivian Dive Centre. At the age of 25, Clare was one of the youngest to be accepted on the PADI Course Director course. Her work in the industry has involved promoting cold water diving, putting sites such as the Menai on the map for divers, and assisting others to chase their ambition as a PADI Pro. Get in touch with Clare at www.duttonsdivers.com

Blogs

Diving redefined at TDEX Bangkok 2024: NovoScuba and Siam Diving Enterprises join forces to bring diving education to the next level

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TDEX

NovoScuba, a ground-breaking diving agency based in the UK, is preparing for the global debut of its innovative subscription-based training platform that is set to redefine the way diving education is provided. The much-anticipated launch will take place at TDEX Bangkok 2024, marking a significant milestone in NovoScuba’s journey to reshape industry standards.

As part of an important initiative, NovoScuba is pleased to announce a partnership with Siam
Diving Enterprises (SDE) and their renowned Ocean Store. SDE, as one of Thailand’s leading
suppliers of diving, freediving and snorkelling equipment, brings a wealth of expertise and
resources to this collaboration, furthering NovoScuba’s mission to elevate the diving experience for enthusiasts worldwide.

tdex

NovoScuba aims to revolutionise the way dive shop owners, dive professionals and dive
enthusiasts engage with diving, making it more accessible and profitable for the entire diving
industry.

tdex“NovoScuba is not just another certification agency; it’s a transformative force built on
innovation and accessibility,” said Mark Spiers, founder and CEO of NovoScuba. “Our
partnership with Siam Diving Enterprises reflects our commitment to redefining diving education and empowering the diving industry at all levels.”

Siam Diving Enterprises, known for its extensive range of premium diving equipment from leading brands, will host NovoScuba at stand A74 during TDEX. This strategic collaboration offers divers a unique opportunity to experience first-hand NovoScuba’s groundbreaking approach to diving education.

NovoScuba’s platform offers state-of-the-art training programmes, including recreational and professional diving courses, designed to meet international standards and ISO certifications.
With a subscription-based model, digital learning materials available in 13 languages and
multi-platform accessibility, NovoScuba ensures that diving education is within reach for
everyone.

“We are inviting all dive enthusiasts, professionals and shop owners to join us on this
revolutionary journey,” added Mark Spiers. “Together we can redefine diving as we know it and
make a positive impact on the planet.”

tdex

Visit Siam Diving Enterprises and NovoScuba at stand A74 during TDEX Bangkok 2024 to
explore the future of diving education and discover the latest innovations in diving equipment.

About NovoScuba: NovoScuba is a pioneering dive training agency committed to making
diving inclusive, accessible, and enjoyable for everyone. With a focus on innovation and
positive impact, NovoScuba offers state-of-the-art training programs, digital learning
materials, and a subscription-based platform designed to redefine the diving industry
worldwide. To learn more about NovoScuba’s innovations, go to www.novoscuba.com.

About Siam Diving Enterprises (SDE): Siam Diving Enterprises (SDE) is one of the
largest suppliers of scuba diving, freediving, and snorkelling equipment in Thailand. With
warehouses in Bangkok and a team of industry experts, SDE offers a comprehensive range
of premium products and exceptional customer service to diving enthusiasts across the
country. To learn more about SDE go to Ocean Store Thailand website.

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Blogs

Wrecks’ Curse – The World of Wreck Diving

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wreck diving

By Pablo Mir

We all enjoy those unexpected encounters that come with wreck diving, no matter how small, during our open water scuba dives. Exploring those nearly vanished remains of a ship scattered across the ocean floor is frequently the climax of the otherwise regular dive.

What is Wreck Diving?

Wreck diving involves exploring underwater shipwrecks while scuba diving. Sometimes, the wreck we encounter is more than just the remnants of a small and forgotten old vessel. Or perhaps we didn’t deliberately choose it, but the charter we boarded had that destination planned that day. The Benwood, less than 14 meters or 45 feet deep, in the clear waters of the National Marine Sanctuary in Key Largo, Florida, or the Copenhagen of Fort Lauderdale, also Florida, are good examples. Divers, many beginners who haven’t even devoted half a second to thinking about wreck diving, enjoy exploring their remains and the fauna that inhabit them. In some way, and at different levels, we all seem to potentially be wreck divers, even without a higher and explicit intention.

First Encounters: The Unplanned Dive into Wreck Exploration

But the trek is long and has many branches. Wrecks present themselves in vast possibilities, from shallow and clear waters to deep and dark ones. The Ancient Mariner, Captain Dan, U352, Great Isaac, Grecian, Lady Luck, Hyde, Aeolus, Hydro Atlantic, RBJ & CC, Algol, U869, and the Andrea Doria -the Grand Dame of the Sea- are some of the names that resonate among thousands in the minds of many wreck divers on the East Coast of the USA. For many of us, getting ready to traverse that path of increasing challenges, increasingly demanding environments, and more astonishing, transcendent dives is a life goal in terms of recreation.

A Diverse World: The Spectrum of Wreck Diving Experiences

Now, it is well known that the label of wreck diving is not only applied to shipwrecks. It is common to extend it to any artificial structure or piece of it that can be explored during our dives. For example, Texas Tower #4, an Air Force radar station off the coast of New Jersey, toppled in 1961 by a storm, is frequently visited by numerous local technical divers and visitors who want to test their skills in those demanding waters. Similar structures of different natures and purposes exist in many other places, with the most different levels of certification and experience requirements we can imagine.

Is Wreck Diving Dangerous?

Wreck diving is not inherently dangerous, but proper training is required. Describing with words the feeling of wonder and the adventure involved in wreck diving is not easy. In the same way that regular open water diving is the entry point to another world, a unique, fascinating world, wreck diving is also an entry point to one of the additional levels of enjoyment and fascination the world of recreational diving poses. Wreck diving, we live the adventures others just dream or fear. We are there, explorers of a distant land. Often, we witness the remains of real human tragedies; other times, we are visitors to the most wonderful amusement park we can imagine.

Learning Curve: The Path from Novice to Experienced Wreck Diver

Sometimes, watching groups of recreational divers exploring a wreck might seem like witnessing a scene from a pirate movie. Two or three divers here, two or three more there, ascending and descending along its sides, from bow to stern, sticking their heads in to look inside compartments and passages. In some cases, entering and exiting the bridge or any space allows penetration in areas with abundant natural light and generous access points. Their expressions and body language make it easy to notice that they are having a great time. There is no doubt they are enjoying it, and it will be an experience they will vividly remember.

If they are a group traveling together, an instructor or divemaster may be there to ensure everything goes well. The passion for exploration, for discovery, and that thirst for adventures we all have within us can sometimes hinder us in making our best decisions. Therefore, to become actual wreck divers, we must not only desire to do so but also have the will to learn and gain experience, slowly and safely, in everything this specialty implies. While it is true that exploring the exterior of a wreck may seem like something that doesn’t require specific training, the reality is that it does. Fishing lines, sharp surfaces, parts that can easily come off, suddenly disappearing visibility, disorientation, etc., are dangers we must have learned about, developed strategies to avoid, and implemented procedures to solve with the proper tools.

And so it will be; many will traverse the paths of wreck diving by starting with proper training. Sometimes, the first step is part of the regular advanced diver certification many divers take; other times, it is going straight for a wreck diving specialty. They will learn and start practicing, gaining experience and ease in their procedures. They will fall more and more in love with those twisted iron environments and proudly display the rust stains on their diving suits as if they were scars from a well-fought battle.

Deepening the Dive: Advanced Wreck Exploration Techniques

But the journey continues. Sooner or later, some will want more than just hovering around the wrecks. Crossing well-lit passages with the exit in sight will no longer be enough for them. What they recently may have told themselves they wouldn’t do will begin to intrigue them, and they will want to continue training “just in case.” They will want to start moving away from those open corridors and see with their own eyes what lies beyond. They will no longer see wrecks as enemies to overwhelm in large groups but as a mystery to unravel slowly, passage by passage, room by room. They will split into small groups. They pursue a specific goal, have a specific plan, and seek to minimize unexpected situations, and this is more controllable and achievable when done by two or three rather than four or five.

They will keep learning, venture through narrow passages, dodge cables and pieces of metal hanging from what is now the ceiling, and proceed cautiously to avoid stirring up sediments. They will use different methods to establish positions at crossroads, place strobe lights, carry multiple penetration reels, and carry substantial knives, the kind they used to laugh at not long ago, thinking they were unnecessary exaggerations.

The Wreck Diver’s Journey: A Path of Endless Discovery

Over time, they will penetrate deeper and deeper into larger, darker, gloomier, more frightening wreck structures, simply because they can. They will descend to greater depths because that’s where they are in better condition and farther away from the boarding hordes.

They will transition from Air to Nitrox, later return to Air, and later delve into the world of Trimix. They will start planning and executing dives with decompression stops, as otherwise, their bottom times will be insufficient for their intentions. From one decompression gas cylinder, they will move to two, and in some cases, three or more. Those who can afford it will buy rebreathers; those who can’t will stick to open circuit, carrying multiple large cylinders.

The Eternal Call of the Deep

But genuine amazement will hit them hard on the day they, thinking carefully about all the steps they have taken and accounting for the time and effort dedicated, conclude without a shadow of a doubt that it was worth it. It will be too late for them; they will have fallen victim to this curse of shipwrecks that has trapped so many. There will be no escape for them; from now on, they will be wreck divers without cure or remedy. They will be condemned to spend the rest of their vacations and days off among twisted irons at the bottom of rivers, lakes, and oceans. Cheers buddies! And a warm welcome to all those newcomers to recreational diving who, unknowingly, may be destined to wander among old wood and rusted metal, seeking to put out that thirst for real-life adventures.

To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

Main Image: William Drumm/International Training

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