Mask tips and tricks

Following our earlier post about what to look out for when choosing a mask to purchase. Here’s a follow-up article with a few tips and tricks that you can follow to take care of your mask.

  • If you’re new to diving and have purchased your brand new mask, we all know the feeling of excitement until you actually get to use it…..New masks usually need a good scrubbing of the lenses before use since it could get dirty with other materials from the manufacturer.
  • There are different things that can be done, which can be recommended by either the manufacturer or your chosen dive centre staff.20170504_095716100_iOS
  • Consider changing your lenses from normal to prescription lenses or invest in some optical inserts if you have glasses.
  • To prevent fogging, scrub your new mask lenses with toothpaste or a defog solution.
  • Make sure that you don’t tighten the strap of your mask too much, since that will cause leakages. Also try and familiarize yourself with the adjustment lock on the end of your mask strap so that should you need to change its tightness in a hurry while you are on site, you won’t have any problems.
  • Rinsing after each and every time you use your mask is an essential tip if you want your mask to last you quite a long time. Sunlight is not it’s friend either unfortunately so, have yourself invest in a diving bag and keep most of your gear stored in a cool place. In addition to this, it’s better if you isolate your mask and put it in it’s plastic covering since bugs could get to it, or if it touches other materials like Neoprene, as it will cause discoloration.

We hope these tips help you take care of your mask. Don’t forget, it’s an investment for the long run!

 

Masks – What Comes First? The Colour or the Fit?

15293329_10154758401505879_36981876_o

A mask is one of the most essential pieces to diving gear. A great quality mask is what you should be looking for, which can give you the best vision and visual perspective possible. Since obviously, you don’t want to have missed anything during your dives. So….there are some decisions that need to be taken.

(more…)

Apeks Regulators

15271574_10154758394660879_811719063_o

 

Apeks have been around for quite some time, providing the military with over 20 years of service. They have recently developed a brand new regulator with military specification…..one awesome benefit, is that it is solely supplied to the consumer market.

What makes this regulator an exceptional one, apart from it being tried and tested by the US Navy Experimental Dive Unit, is that the regulator performs in freezing water for up to 60 metres without ice buildup. Very few regulators out there are as rugged and expoloration ready as this!

 

 

Here are a few features to make you want one even more:

  • Environmentally sealed to avoid ice buildup and gives maximum thermal performance even at depth.
  • Ribbed diaphragm clamp on the 1st stage ensures improved heat exchange in cold water conditions.
  • Angled HP ports and turret ports allow for improved hose routing.
  • Extreme protection from impact damage on both the 1st and 2nd stage.
  • Simple to use 2nd stage with no dive adjustment controls.
  • Double swivel hose for greater freedom of movement and comfort.
  • Developed in accordance with the United States Navy Experimental Dive Unit extreme cold water test.
  • Tested Octopus use to 60 metres in cold water.

Currently we have the XTX with Octopus as a package, however, we will also be supplying the new MTX-R range soon!

original-7

What to do when the weather is bad?

Even though The Maltese Islands are blessed with such great weather throughout the year, there are a few months where the weather is just too unpredictable and planning a trip to Malta during these months might mean that you won’t get all your dives in the week that you’ve planned. (more…)

Dive Computers – Why do we need them?

While you are doing your Open Water Course you were most definitely taught how to use Dive Tables. Truth be told, how many of us use these tables today?

suunto-zoop-2094

Suunto Zoop

That’s because dive computers exist today, which does all the calculating for you. Mind you, the tables are still largely important should anything go wrong with your dive computer DURING an actual dive….

The worst thing you can do, is literally not have a computer at your disposal, or even worse, not use a dive table at all, even without a computer and solely relying on your instructor, Divemaster or buddy, which is seriously frightening stuff and we highly think that this is definitiely something you should not do!

Everyone has their own opinion on what to use and at what stage of diving, however, today dive computers have become so common and so easily purchasable that it doesn’t make sense not to have one.

sunto zoop novo computer

Suunto Zoop Novo Dive Computer

Computers aid you in diving longer – when you dive, and calculate on the dive tables you’ve learnt, these assume that you will stay at the same depth during the entire dive, which we all know is rarely the case. A dive computer constantly recalculates, following you everywhere you go, including your profile, how deep, shallow, how fast you move, and your time at those depths.

p.s – When diving with Nitrox it’s even more important to have a computer of your own. This is because it will help to calculate the best mix for your dive or give you the maximum depth for the particular gas you are using. Notwithstanding the fact that when using Nitrox, you are able to dive for longer, meaning it is even more important to track your depth and time precisely. We are a Nitrox only dive Centre. Don’t have a dive computer of your own? Don’t fret…..you can hire one from us. 

500

Suunto D4i Dive Computer

Safe Dives – eliminating human error through dive tables make computers all the more worthwhile. We’re not saying that dive computers don’t have glitches, but if there are other divers with other computers it’s highly unlikely that other computers will have wrong readings at the same time. It’s also important to make sure that you change the batteries of your computer before a holiday or have a spare battery in your tool box.

Logs Your Dives –  almost all dive computers today, store and log dives. Hook them up to a PC to save all the information of each individual dive for later use. The software also gives you other information such as tissue absorption, and your breathing (SAC) rate if your computer has an optional transmitter that transmits the pressure in your cylinder.

No longer costly – as mentioned earlier, dive computers today are more reasonably priced. Obviously there are different ranges of dive computers, so it depends on the cost and rather what features you would like. If you’re going on the technical route, technical computers will also do recreational. Buy the right one first! Have a good look-around to find the right price for the right computer that suits you.

suunto-d6i-all-black-steel-4324

Suunto D6i Dive Computer

We strongly recommend everyone uses a computer, even if supplied by the dive centre, however, fundamentals of learning the Dive Tables are immensely important as well. Having knowledge of both and using them to facilitate you in have a safer, longer dive is what we strive to achieve.

Some dive computers we stock are most of Suunto’s dive computer range including:  Zoop Novos, D4I’s and D6I’s Vyper Novo.

OSTC

For those intersted in Technical Dive computers our bestseller is OSTC which can
be used with Open Circuit and Rebreathers. We also have a small stock of Ratio Computers. 

 

 

 

ratio computers

Ratio Computers

Have Diving Blues? Here are a few ways to keep yourself busy.

 

Going home after a wonderful dive trip, you might find yourself having Diver Blues. If you are one of those people that feel more at home in the water than you do out on the surface…we feel you! However, no need to fret…..don’t waste your days waiting for your next dive to come along as soon as possible. Take action and make most of your time on the surface. Here are a few ideas to keep you busy.

 

  1. Have your logbook entries up to date

apart from the fact that having your logbook up to date is an vital activity that needs to be done at some point. So why not do it as soon as you get back, since it is still fresh in your mind, so you can log your dives from your experience. Think of it as having a journal to capture memories from your recent trip. Also adding any dive statistics and equipment logs that might come in handy for your next future dives. In addition, maybe adding some small footnotes, photos, dive profiles from your dive computer and printouts.15311489_10154758400860879_464702085_o

 

2. Keep learning new skills with above-water diver training

There are loads of courses that you can get certified in that don’t require you getting into the water. This is a great way to keep you occupied while you don’t have any actual dives planned in the near future. This way your addiction to scuba diving is still fulfilled in different ways. Here are some non-diving courses we offer at our centre – click here

Project-AWARE-logo

3. Have your equipment checked

You know what they say…..SAFETY FIRST! There is no better managed time checking that your equipment is preserved and managed in good condition so as to avoid any accidents on your next dive trip. Here are some tips for you to keep in mind while checking your equipment:

  • Check your cylinders, BCDs and regulators and make sure to have them all serviced. On another note, be sure to clean your cylinders with oxygen if you plan on using Enriched Air Nitrox.Enriched-Air-Diver
  • Have a look at your dry suit and make sure all the zips are in working condition and that the suit is sealed off completely.
  • Check your regulator hoses and O Rings for wear and tear
  • Observe your SPG and your compass for any signs of pressurized cracks.
  • Have a look at your clips to make sure none of them are covered in rust.

These are some of the essential tips you should know when checking out your gear. It is of most importance that you know what to look out for before diving again. If you want to know more details on how to repair your own kit, have a look at our Equipment Specialist Course. Also another great way to keep your dive blues at bay.

bkpam257356_24360faca7ba4feb9f251b12ff23b254 (1)

4. Organize photos from your trip

If you are an underwater photography enthusiast, make sure to organize your photos. So make the most of your time above the water to categorize all the images gathering dust on your hard drive! Tag them, edit them, put them into individual albums and maybe print and publish your favourite ones. One way to get your photos out is find a diver photo community on an online platform or social media site to share with other divers. Another way of getting exposure is to enter into photo contests.

landing_banner_organizing3

5. Plan your next trip!

Instead of just dreaming about when you’ll be diving again, use this time above water to plan your next diving trip. Sit down, relax and do some research on where you’d like to dive and what course is next for you. As you are well aware, there are endless wrecks, reefs and caves around the world for you to explore. So the longer time you have to plan the better for you to make the most out of your next trip and the more detailed the trip can be!

1

If you’re thinking of planning your next trip to Malta, we would love to hear from you! Get in touch with us and we’ll set up the best dive tailored to your next certification.

 

What is Nitrox and why we use it?

In diving terms Enriched Air Nitrox indicates a nitrogen and oxygen mixture. Having higher oxygen levels than the usual 21% found in natural air. You can easily spot a nitrox cylinder with its green and yellow band. Which usually has the mix percentage of nitrox and oxygen written on the tank.

It is this high percentage of oxygen and low percentage of nitrogen that allows divers to elongate no-decompression limits, lessen surface intervals and an added security for decompression sickness in some diving situations.

We all learnt through our certifications that water pressure makes nitrogen get absorbed into the bloodstream when you dive.  When there is higher pressure the more the nitrogen gets dissolved. It is important to remember that when nitrogen reaches certain levels, you must start to prepare to go back up to the surface slowly, so as to avoid two things:nitrox1

  • mandatory decompression stops
  • or a bad case of decompression sickness

There is another way to go about it however, and this is called Equivalent Air Depth (EAD). This is when you replace some of the Nitrogen with more levels of Oxygen. Having obviously less Nitrogen means that it will not be absorbed into the bloodstream as quickly, leaving you with a longer no-decompression limit….and more time underwater.

Be careful, however beneficial this might be – breathing in high concentrations of oxygen has its own downfall. This could lead to oxygen toxicity, which can cause distortion to your vision or seizures which can possibly lead to drowning.

Dive centres usually have the right mix, which is usually about 32%. This makes everything a little less complicated. This way your chosen dive centre can just adjust the mix to your own dive plan respectively.

Want to know more? Check out our web page for: Enriched Air Diver

Meet the Dive Team – Jasper

Jasper Mulda

 

Jasper, originally from the Netherlands, came to our Dive Centre and enjoyed diving with us for a Summer. He then decided he wanted to come back and do his Divemaster Internship with us. He stayed on and joined the other candidates on the IDC and passed with flying colours! 

After spending the winter in Thailand he came back to Divewise to join the team again….so he comes in handy with Dutch clients and speaks some German too.

With that lovely mop of blonde hair and big smile he has become our “Cool Diving Dude” and is a pleasure to have around.

We asked him a few questions so you could get to know more about Jasper…..

Who are you and what do you do? 

My name’s Jasper Mulder and I work at Divewise as a Diving Instructor.

When did you start diving?

Oh…..I started out in 2014, and haven’t looked back since!

What made  you start diving? 

I have been doing water sports since I was very little, about around the age of 5 actually……then at the age of 10 my father took me for a little dive in Greece and that was that….I was hooked! I wanted to become a diver.

How long have you been working with Divewise? 

Well this will be my third season actually…..Time flies!

Where and when was your last logged dive / dive related experience? 

This morning at Cirkewwa, We went to the P29 (patrol boat)

What keeps you diving and how do you keep the passion? 

One of the things I like to do is to teach, share my knowledge and experience with other people who share the same love for the ocean as I do…..apart from obviously the silence, peace and tranquil feeling the underwater world gives you.

Favourite Dive Site? 

Santa Maria Caves

Whats your favourite Wreck in Malta? 

I would have to say, the Um El Faroud and the SS Margit

Favourite Piece of Dive equipment and why? 

I guess I’d say, my mask….reason being it’s what allows you to see the beauty of underwater life clear as day.

Favourite Course to teach? 

Open Water or Wreck Specialty 

What’s next for you? To further your dive certifications…. 

I really want to learn Freediving…..I can image the freedom one feels when having trained your body to last a long time underwater with no substitute of air!

Name one experience that you’ll never forget while working with Divewise.

I remember when I was ready from my Divemaster Course. I was assigned to do a Discover Scuba Course in Dutch, which is my native language. But since I had learnt everything in English, I found it hard to translate what I had learnt and explain it in Dutch! It was a very weird situation indeed. 

If you could have any one super, what would it be? 

Teleportation

Give us a short sentence that describes you and your relationship with diving….. 

The quieter the better!!!

What is free diving?

In the easiest form of putting it, Freediving is basically breathold diving. If you’ve ever swum underwater and held your breath, even for a few seconds, you have already experienced Freediving.

This sport in it’s early days was only practiced by expert divers and/or photographers. However, it has now become an increasingly popular hobby within the generic world of sports activities.

Now, to explain what freediving is in the simplest way; diving without any aid of breathing apparatus in turn not leaving any harmful effects on your surroundings. In order for freedivers to execute this task, they must learn special techniques to hold their breath without resurfacing for the duration of a whole dive! Fascinating….

Different Types of Freediving 

While the technique of freediving is the same in any environment, it does not look the same in every case.

Competing freedivers practice 11 different disciplines. All of which include the breath hold technique but are subjected to different circumstances and environmental changes.

Furthermore, whilst training, generally most freedivers learn to practice holding their breath while staying in the same place, while another person times them. This is called Static Apnea and forms part of the Padi Basic Freediver Course.

Freediving opens up a new world where marine life tends to get closer to you – no noise and no bubbles!

 

The Azure Window

Over these past several days, The Maltese Islands have experienced gale force winds and yesterday Gozo suffered a great loss to it’s natural environment.0d281630217147.563bf1296047b The Azure Window in Dwejra, has collapsed.

There are some who were lucky enough to have visited, however it is a shame our future generations will not be able to witness one of the most iconic landmark and tourist attraction our tiny islands had to offer.

The reason for the collapse of this natural structure is due to the weather we’ve had these last few days, battering the rocks with no mercy, further weakening the structure. However it is fitting to say that natural erosion over many many years was the main cause the window collapsing. There are other speculations however about why the window gave way. Authorities recently tried to protect the arch from 12071130_1658233761132958_1954641529_ntrespassing tourists, not only for the dangers and fearing for peoples’ lives but also because we already knew it was inevitable according to a geological study conducted back in 2013, that it will succumb to the forces of nature.

Through that study it was said that the structure was in no immediate danger and should not have fallen so soon. The prediction that the structure was supposed to last for another few years was basically correct however, no one knew the condition of the base of the pillar, so once that had moved, it literally took everything with it.

Apparently the Government of Malta wishes to have the Azure Window memorialized and has issued an international call for suggestions. See more info here.

dwejra no window close up

Click here to view a video commemorating our lost landmark that was loved by many.

With regards to diving, little is know until weather conditions have improved.

On another note, people are still hopeful. We might have lost one window, but be rest assured that Gozitans always have a plan B.  There is a similar window situated in the Village of Gharb in Gozo. The valley in which it is situated is called Wied il-Mielah, where one can find said the second window. Click here for the exact location.

Below is a photo of the window in Wied il-Mielah. Not that it should substitute in any way the Azure window which we lost so recently. One could only hope that NGO’s, or government will preserve this rock formation in the near future so it won’t suffer the same fate.
9e8f9e30217147.561859a0af994

 

EDIT: The Azure Window collapsed and created a new Dive Site which is now known as the Azure Rocks and is now one of the attractions when visiting the Blue Hole in Gozo. This is fast becoming a must visit site when scuba diving in Malta.