Dive Against Debris Specialty

Dive Against Debris with Project AWARE

What’s New? ANOTHER FIRST FOR US!!

We will be doing a Dive Against Debris in the upcoming weeks:

How is this good for you?  We will be giving away some 38th Parallel Diver Swag to participants.

More Good News? We will also be requesting that you ask family, friends and local businesses to help us by donating dive’s and other support.

Dive Against Debris

How are 38th Parallel Diver’s Supporting the effort?  38th Parallel Diver’s will be donating the processing fees costs associated with the Dive Against Debris Certification to each diver who meets the criteria for the specialty (for our 1st Dive Against Debris dive event only)… It get’s even better for those that are trying to earn their PADI Master Scuba Diver rating because this specialty counts toward the Master Scuba Diver specialty requirement.  This means a free specialty!!

Our interest started because many of our divers recently helped out with a beach clean-up (hosted by Aquatic Frontier last month).  We pulled a few hundred pounds (many kilos) from the harbor water and beach.  At first it doesn’t seem like much fun to spend a dive (money and time) in 1-5 meters of water getting pushed up against rocks in poor visibility.  However realizing that a few of us can actually make a difference does help.  At first I think many of the Koreans were wondering what type of animals we were stealing from their waters because they kept inspecting our bags as we came ashore.  After a few rounds they discovered we were  pulling tires, plastic, fishing line and other abandoned debrisfrom the environment.  Seeing the looks on the locals’ faces as the foreigners cleaned up their

2014_11_08-09_035waters was reward enough.  This small gesture let’s the local Korean’s and local divers know that we are a friendly and positive impact on the environment and local dive community.

This good feeling left most of the dive club wanting more; this made our instructors want to be able to contribute a bit more to the local community as well.  But how?  Thankfully I attended the 4th Quarter update and listened to the brief overview of the PADI Dive Against Debris Specialty.

Still not convinced?  Check out the Project AWARE Dive Against Debris Website

 This specialty contributes in a few ways:

  • Instructor application fees go directly to Project AWARE
  • Dive Site Survey pre and post Dive Against Debris Cleanup, assists with monitoring the local environment (is it improving or declining)
  • Student Processing Fees assist Project AWARE
  • last but most important…less debris in your local waters

This is a 1 dive specialty that teaches divers the importance of local conservation, it is a great practical follow-up to the search and recovery and/or navigation diver specialties.  This is because navigation skills are critical to survey the area accurately and search and recovery skills may be required to lift certain objects safely from the bottom.

Self-Reliant Diver (aka Solo Diver) Specialty

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Why in the world would any diver go into the water knowing that there would be no one around to help them in the event of an emergency?  That person must be crazy, reckless or have a death wish right?  I would say most agencies try to force us into this belief by creating a mentality that solo diving equals death.  This is simply not the case.  I believe the answer to this one simple question will explain why the Self-Reliant diver is a great specialty to hold.  Here is the question:

If you are trained in proper gear configuration for self-reliant (solo) diving and possess the necessary skills to safely recover from an unexpected emergency underwater wouldn’t that make you are more desirable buddy and more competent diver? 

If you answered “NO” then please stop reading and continue to be brainwashed into thinking that you should always rely on another person for you safety; I truly hope that you never become separated from your buddy and your buddy can (and is willing) to assist you with your problem.

If you answered “YES” then please read on, watch Mark Powell’s excellent video and contact us to take this unique specialty.

Mark Powell goes into some great statistics on the buddy system and why “buddy system is not the panacea that some people think it is” (Powell, 2012).  That doesn’t mean that diving alone doesn’t have increased risks, it simply means that we are learning what the risks are and we are attempting to reduce and manage those risks as much as possible.  This is a great video and WELL worth the watch.

How many times have you been on a dive where you are simply teamed up with random people that you have never dove with before (probably EVERY dive if you are an instructor)? cropped-90-feet2.jpgNow on that dive were you within arm’s reach of your “buddy” at all times?  What if your buddy is a photographer….did you wait for him/her to move onto the next subject or did you just bounce between the group figuring that everyone is my buddy?  What if you were traveling between the group and had a low pressure hose rupture at 30m (100′)?  What if it happened and you were the last person in the group in a drift dive?  Could you possibly make it to a buddy? Is this safer than diving with a self-reliant mentality?  I don’t think so.

I have been spoiled early on as I have adapted technical diving even in my recreational dives.  By keeping the “tec” mentality (planning, conservatism and redundancy) I am better equipped and prepared to self-recover.  A great example of this is in sidemount diving.  Redundant gas supplies, 1st stages, 2nd stages and SPGs.  Now add on some other required equipment like reel, DSMB, backup computer and you are on your way to understanding what it 984167_393100834136364_455003793_ntakes for self-reliant diving.

Who wouldn’t want the skills to dive more safely with a buddy?  I would.  I would also love having buddies who were trained to be more self-reliant.  This is even a good choice for instructors because now you are even more prepared for underwater emergencies that could occur.

Want some more information?  Check out the X-Ray Magazine,  Solo Divers and Risk Management.  

The course is designed for experienced divers who want to take their training to the next level and become better, more self-reliant divers.  This is a great course for Photographers too… we all know that the underwater photographer patiently waits for the perfect shot.  Not having a second diver hovering and swimming right next to you should increase the odds of seeing more underwater life.  Looking at Sidemount Diving?  This is a great configuration platform for the Self-Reliant Diver course.

Divernet.com did a rite-up of the Self-Reliant Diver Specialty course.

Prerequisites:

  1. Be certified as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or have a qualifying certification from another training organization.
  2. Have a minimum 100 logged dives.
  3. Be 18 years of age or older.
  4. Successfully complete a dive skills assessment by a PADI Self-
  5. Reliant Diver Specialty Instructor.

Equipment Requirements:

  1. Standard dive equipment as outlined in the General Standards and Procedures Guide of the PADI Instructor Manual:
    • Fins, mask and snorkel
    • Compressed gas cylinder and valve*
    • Buoyancy control device (BCD) with tank mount or separate backpack, and low pressure inflator*
    • Primary regulator and alternate air source*
    • Breathing gas monitoring device (e.g. submersible pressure gauge)
    • Depth monitoring device
    • Quick release weight system and weights (if necessary for neutral buoyancy, or if required for skills practice)
    • Adequate exposure protection appropriate for local dive conditions.
    • At least one audible emergency surface signaling device (whistle, air horn, etc.).
    • Dive computer or RDP (eRDPML or Table)
  2. Surface marker buoy, such as a delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) or lift bag with at least 30 metres/100 feet of line.
  3. Redundant gas source – pony cylinder, twin cylinders with isolation valve or sidemount configuration. Redundant gas supply must be configured so that the diver can access it with one hand.
  4. Redundant depth gauge and bottom timer, or dive computer.
  5. Redundant surface signaling devices (both visual and audible)
  6. Knife/cutting tool (except where locally prohibited)
  7. Slate and pencil
  8. Back-up mask (recommended)

**compass highly recommended

PADI Touch Courses (Apps)

IMG_2146So after attending the 4th quarter PADI update webinar I decided to drop a few dollars on the PADI Touch apps, Equipment Specialist and Open Water.  At first I couldn’t figure out where to get them or how to make the purchase.  All online searches led to the PADI Asia sites which couldn’t help me (I am not a PADI Asia member).  So how did I get the apps?  Well I didn’t…not exactly.

First of all I looked on the PADI website and and found that I could easily find the Open Water touch on the normal PADI eLearning portal then choosing touch options.  The only one that came up was Open Water though.  So digging a bit further I found this helpful link to the step-by-step guide to touch products.  It was a good thing that I did because I would say it wasn’t intuitive.  This is because PADI Pros can purchase Touch credits for their students.  Big deal right?  Well maybe it is…

This means that, as a PADI Pro who is independent of a shop, can purchase Touch products at a member rate versus paying full PADI retail.  One way to increase profits or offer better discounts.  This also means that you as the PADI Pro won’t miss out on eSales and can actually stand behind the new products.  Currently (and please correct me if I am incorrect) only PADI centers (shops, retailers or whatever other name they can go by) are the only one’s who see returns from e-sales for eLearning (via a check/deposit of the student’s original online purchase).

Ok back to how it all works with the new Touch Products (specifically for independent instructors)… under your PADI Pro account go to Online PIC Processing and choose the NEW Processing.  Then choose add Touch credits.  Once they display on your account you assign them to a student (email is sent to student for activation).

Email sent after PADI Pro sends touch credit to student

Email sent after PADI Pro sends touch credit to student

Email to Student after Registration

Email to Student after Registration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The student will now open the email and click on the link adding their information and it is automatically linked to their PADI Library.  The student WILL have to have a compatible device and operating system and will have to install the PADI Library app on that device.  Once it’s installed the courses should automatically display and the student will be able to download the content for offline use.

Here’s what happened in my case…I received the email (from myself as an instructor to myself as the student) and registered the Equipment Specialist Touch.  I then opened up my PADI Library App and the Equipment Specialist course popped right up in my library.  I clicked download and waited for it to complete.   Once it was downloaded I was able to use it and see all the animations/videos etc.  Too easy.

Since I also purchased the Open Water Touch I went through the same process…email sent, email received, product registered with my PADI Library.  However this time I only saw the eRDP(ml), RDP (imperial) and RDP (metric) applications display…no Open Water information at all.  This was frustrating because I had spent s decent amount of money.  I logged out, logged in, restarted my “i device” and still nothing. I triple verified that my “i device” was supported and current in iOS (it is).  I will admit I was a bit angry…if this was a student this would not be good…what if this was a student that was not an expert user on mobile devices?

Not satisfied with not having access to my course I pulled out my iPad and low and behold my Open Water Touch course was available; it seems that even though the Equipment Specialist is fully available via iPhone the Open Water Touch is not. This will change starting 01 January 2015.  Last night I spoke with a PADI representative who was nice enough to field a few questions for me regarding several topics as well as why I couldn’t see all of my Touch courses on my i-Device.  He confirmed that Open Water touch is only available on the iPad (for iDevices) but it will be available for all (compatible) iDevice platforms (i.e. iPhone) come the first of the year.

After looking at the Open Water Touch product I can understand why PADI chose to make this limitation initially.  The screens on iPhone 5 and previous models are simply to small for primary learning but what if a student just needs a quick reference?  I think that this is why the change is occurring.  The new iPhone 6 and 6 plus will provide a better viewing platform for the Touch series.

In conclusion (based on the Equipment Specialist) app PADI has done a lot to make learning fun, entertaining and modern.  The Touch series are going to be the future and they are good however I would say that the Equipment Specialist is lacking a bit substance.  I would have hoped that PADI would have put more information into the course since it is in fact meant to augment a Specialty Course.  I could be biased after  years of researching on my own and reading highly technical books like regulator repair and oxygen cleaning, so take what I say with a grain of salt and know that I am not saying it was a bad purchase or regrettable…I just want more.  Perhaps I would request for an Advanced Equipment Specialist Touch course.

With all that being said I would still recommend the Touch products to any instructor as a great way for students to learn.  This is especially true now that the Open Water touch product includes the PIC fee, and the student can complete all quizzes and final exam on their own as well.  Let’s not forget another great asset the eRDPml. Having this on your smart devices and that you now can carry one with you no matter where you are. No batteries to worriy about and one less thing to buy. The interface is almost identical, only difference is with the ease of which a diver can change between metric and imperial, no more battery compartment to break with a small screwdriver…just click the change. This is a definite plus!

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Cold Water Diver Survivors

This past weekend was one of the busiest weekends that we have had in a long time.  Our days were packed full of training: Open Water, Adventure Diver, Advanced Open Water, Enriched Air Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Dry Suite Diver, Sidemount Diver and dives toward the Rescue diver certification.  We told you we were busy!

First of all CONGRATS to all the 38th Parallel Divers on becoming new and more experienced divers, excellent job this weekend we know we asked a lot of you!

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 21.56.10In between all of that training we managed to even do a large beach/coastal water clean-up.  We pulled several hundred pounds of debris from the local environment, pallets, tires, rubbish even an anchor and pipes.  There was some friendly competition to gather the most poundage which resulted in several of our divers winning some sweet Oceanic and Hollis gear courtesy of Aquatic Frontier.  Our divers walked away with a Hollis Mask, Oceanic Viper fins and an ultra dry snorkel…. not too bad for a few hours of work,  congrats divers!

2014_11_08-09_008_1Saturday was less than ideal for ocean conditions, we had an totally overcast day with a moderate surge on the beach but our divers truly are a tough bunch because they showed up with smiles on eager to start training.  Despite visibility ranging from 2-7 meters everyone was able to knock out almost all their dives.  We dove from sun up to sun down on the east coast on Saturday so it was no surprise that everyone was eager to wash up and eat some cheese burgers, grilled sausages (and even some veggie burgers).  Once everyone was full and paperwork was processed we sat around and talked about diving all over the world and what could be next… for some the only “next” they looked forward to was a good night’s sleep in preparation for another busy day.

2014_11_08-09_002Sunday came early with a planned boat dive at 0830.  Everyone met at the diveshop and grabbed some fruit and pastries for a breakfast appetizer before dive 1.  On dive 1 we had 2 groups conducting different training (deep and sidemount).  The deep dive went off without a hitch and the sidemount divers entered the water and donned equipment.  On descent the sidemount divers went into their skills and mid gas sharing a diver’s mask strap came off.  I was extremely impressed that my student reacted in the perfect manner.  He effectively communicated the problem, didn’t panic, held the mask on his face (all while holding a good trim position and constant depth).  Situations like these, while irritating, are excellent learning experiences and litmus tests.  Unable to correct the malfunction we ascended (ensuring to complete our safety stop) and ended the dive.  Great job Austin!  Once back on the boat we fixed the mask and prepped tanks for another dive to makeup skills.

2014_11_08-09_013After the first boat dive everyone came back to get some FOOD!  Sarah, Mandy and I cooked up the bacon and eggs for the divers to slap onto some sandwich bread (or just scarf down) and fill their bellies.  With everyone full we extended our surface interval a bit and prepared for the remainder of the day.  The remaining dives would finish up Advanced Open Water, PPB and Sidemount.  We even managed to get some of our divers their first non-training fun dive.

As we cleaned up and prepared to leave for home George and I processed the student’s certifications.  When I had entered in the last certification that I had completed I was finally able to apply for and obtain my Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) rating.  I would like to personally thank all of the students this weekend for being great and being a part of my new PADI rating!  I would also like to thank George for allowing me to certify his students, couldn’t have made it this quickly without you, thanks!

2014-11-09 19.22.49 2014-11-09 18.39.07As we were heading out we decided to go into Gangneung and eat before we leaft for home.  It was a great way to end the weekend, with bellies full of fire grilled bulgogi and kimchi jigae (kimchi stew).  Of course because that wasn’t enough we all snuck over to Mango Six for some dessert…now it was time for the long ride home where everyone could fall asleep and be driven home (thanks dive buddies;)).

Stay tuned because now that I have reach MSDT I have met the requirements for some really exciting things that will shortly be available for our club members!!

Advanced Open Water – Namae-ri, Nov 1-2

This past weekend we conducted the PADI Advanced Open Water diver course and several nitrox dives.  While this weekend didn’t give us warm, sunny beautiful days we did have some great diving and good visibility (for the most part).  We were pretty lucky on the way to the coast because we didn’t hit much traffic at all.  We arrived at Namae Dive shop early and immediately prepped for diving.

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 15.08.52On Saturday we conducted 3 dives: Underwater Navigation, Search and Recovery and then finally Peak Performance Buoyancy.  Saturday gave us some good visibility and we wanted to take advantage of it because Sunday was predicting 40km/hr winds around noon.  This weekend we decided to skip the BBQ and go into Gangneung for some great BBQ pork and beef with delicious sides.

Sunday we woke up really early to make sure that we got in on the first dive for the day.  Wake-up call was at 0600.  We met downstairs around 0645 to grab some quick pastries before our 0730 dive.  Going out from the harbor the seas were flat and the air war fairly warm.  We hopped in the water and completed our Deep dive.  On the way up we noticed that the seas were getting rough, our safety stop required some good buoyancy skills.  The wind had definitely picked up meaning that we would have to push up dive two.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 16.07.04Once we were back at the shop we took about a 2.5 hour surface interval to make some breakfast sandwiches…MAPLE BACON, eggs and cheese!  Yes, maple bacon!  After a proper breakfast we suited up for our last dive of the weekend and the last dive of the day due to weather conditions.  We hopped on the boat and got in the water…finally the egg made it to depth.  After some tricks with an egg at depth we explored around some massive rock formations and saw a school of small fish, some nudi’s and even a shrimp (not too bad for Korea).  We had to put our navigation skills to use this dive because the seas were so rough that the line had snapped while the boat was moored.  We swam to the pre-determined direction and launched an DSMB to begin our ascent.  On the surface the waves had really kicked up and we were glad to get back into the boat instead of be on the surface in the water.

Once back we cleaned our gear, hit the warm showers to clean up and packed up.  Logging dives as we cleaned up and conducting final checks we finally left for home.  Traffic wasn’t too bad until we were about 1.5 hrs from home where we hit deadlocked traffic.  So we took several detours and definitely the scenic route home.  All-in-all this was a great weekend that definitely put those Advanced Open Water diver skills to the test…congrats to Andy for completing his certification, well deserved!