The Group, makes it fun.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Packing up your dive gear

While I was getting ready to take my open water students out for their first open water weekend, I started thinking about what it takes to get ready to go diving. As a diver who owns my own gear the checklist is a bit easier. Those who are renting equipment, need a few more extra steps to make sure their diving day goes well.

When packing to get ready to go diving, I usually start the night before. Since I dive almost every weekend, I am familiar if my gear is working or if I need to recharge my batteries or replace my batteries. Knowing that my computer is still of full battery life and my tanks are full and analyzed for my dives. I have all my dive gear located in one spot, so it is easier for me to go through my check list and pack my bag at the same time. I pull everything aside the night before and have everything ready so when I get to the meeting time, I just grab my stuff and go. In the morning, I just pack a thermos full of hot water, make sure I have enough hot chocolate and apple cider. Grab my directions and the dive posse and we are off.

As for a diver who is renting or borrowing their equipment, they need to make sure they do a extra go over their gear. With the regulators, make sure it is a yoke or din that works with your tanks that you will be using. Check the mouthpieces on the second stages and alt air, making sure that the mouthpiece is secure and the the bite tabs are in place. Checking your BC's low pressure inflater hose connects to the BC. Make sure the low pressure hose connects to your drysuit that you will be using. You have hoses for each. Be familiar with how the primary second stage works and how the alternate air source works and will be secured. Check to see if the BCs weight pockets are connected and how they work. Check to see what kind of cam strap the BC has to make sure you are familiar with how it works. Checking that the air gauge or computer works. No broken needles or low batteries. If using different boots, make sure they work with your fins. Before taking your tanks out, verify that the tanks have pressure.
A quick double check on all these little things really will make or break your dive when you get ready to jump in the water.

When you take the time the night before to get all your equipment put together and ready to go. You show respect for the other divers you are meeting and are all ready to go. Usually, time is sensitive for tides or currents, so making sure you are all set before you get to the dive site is an essential step.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why continue your diving education?

As a scuba instructor, I am asked a very common question among beginner and advanced divers. Which is, "Why would I want to continue my diver training?"

When we certify our newly open water students, we give them 2 free days of rentals to go out and experience diving outside of the classroom environment. Us pesky instructors like to constantly tell you what to do, where to go, how long to be there. It is nice to be able to take what you have learned from your open water class and just go diving. If you are not comfortable yet to go by yourself, you can always join a group dive outing. Diving with a group of enthusiasts divers helps you to learn and practice your newly acquired basic scuba skills: BWRAF, making a plan, following the plan, neutral bouyance, ascents and descents in controlled manner, monitoring air supply and good buddy communication, all while remembering to breath!

Once you feel like you are comfortable with the basics, it is now time to expand your dive knowledge and challenge yourself a bit in a controlled environment with a qualified instructor. Remember, your instructor has taken the same class you are taken AND has taken another class on how to teach it, plus taken another class how to teach to all different levels and experiences. The knowledge and experience that instructors have gained in teaching many different levels of divers is priceless.

The PADI Advanced Open water class is a great stepping stone after your open water class. The two out of the five required advanced intros are underwater navigation and deep diving between 70-100ft. The other three dives will be optional on environment, instructor and student requests. Gone Diving likes to take you out for a boat dive for your deep intro. If you have only been shore diving, this is a great opportunity to get to see other areas that are accessible by boat only. Once out there, you might find a new interest in diving that you never even considered. Learning Underwater Navigation gives you the confidence to be able to know where you are at on a dive and how to return back to your starting point.

As a newly certified diver, you may be having a heck of time when you go diving. The gear being to heavy, you feeling awkward under the water, running through your air to quickly. This might not give you the confidence to want to take an Advance class. You can take the Peak Performance Bouyance class first and learn how to properly weight your self. Learn different weighting options that you might not have learned or used in your open water class. Getting properly weighted helps you gain bouyance easier under the water, using less air inflating your BCD or drysuit, learning proper breathing techniques to extend your enjoyment under the water. You will find diving much more enjoyable and excited to continue on with your diving education.

You may be an older diver that just got open water certified or has been certified for years. You may find the Enriched Air Nitrox class is what you need to help your dive planning to be safer. This is class session only, going over why Oxygen and Nitrogen can be good and bad for you. Learning how to reuse our Air Tables and Nitrox tables for safer dive planning. Most of all, why computers are necessary.

Every class you take helps you in becoming a better diver. I guarantee you will come out of every class learning something and challenging yourself to a new diving milestone! Education never makes us dumber but makes us ask more questions. The questions we keep asking, we can keep learning from. Diving is a vast area of learning and I know that I make an effort to take a continue education class each year. I am amazed at what I learn by taken a class, going out and practicing what I learned and finding a new interest to take another class and learn some more. Continuing education, that is why it is called continuing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Diving in colder weather

It is officially cold outside. That does not mean it is time to put away your dive gear. The good thing is that the water is warmer now than the outside temp! Now you are thinking that there is nothing stopping you now, huh?!

Here are some things to remember about diving in colder surface conditions.

Make sure you pack extra clothing for you to change in to if your drysuit develops a leak. Hot hands or hot toes are great to have in your toes between socks in a drysuit but remember. Hot hands/toes are activated by Oxygen. If you are diving Enriched Air, they may tend to burn a bit hotter. Do not put directly to your skin. There are hot warmers that you can get that can be reused by reboiling and be used when wet.

If wearing a wetsuit, bring extra clothing or blankets to put on over your wetsuit in between dives (and wear it). Extra hats and gloves are really nice so if they do get wet while you are setting up your gear, you have another pair to wear when you are headed home from your dive.

Free Flowing Regulators:
When turning on your gear, make sure you minimize the purging of your second stage. When getting into the water make sure you have control of your second stage to prevent it from free flowing in the water. With colder air temperatures the second stage has a more likely hood of freezing up the first stage if left free flowing for to long. No big deal top side, just turn off the first stage to stop the free flowing. Wait for it to "unfreeze" or pour hot water over the first stage. The extra outside cold air and the free flowing of the second stage causes an ice up. If this happens under water, no big deal. You will calmly switch to your back up octo, go up to your buddy to switch to their alternate air source. Have them turn off your air supply, if they are comfortable with that (must be comfortable with oral inflation of bc), if not, of course end your dive in a safe matter headed to the surface where you can than turn off your air. If the air drains out past 400psi make sure to bring your tank in right away to make sure there is no water inside your tank. Preventing any other possible long term problems. Do a "dry run" on the surface on how to react to a free flowing regulator under the water.

Bring a big thermos of hot water for beverages or cup of soups in between dives or after dives to a quick warm up. Choose a shore diving area that has hot water showers after a dive. Most of all, do NOT wear cotton under your wet clothing. If you are cold after your dive and unable to warm up before getting back in, it is time to call it a day. Once you are cold and shivering you must take off wet clothing, get dry and stay out of the water. It is not like you will "warm up" in 50 degree water!

Fall/winter is our BEST diving months around here. Just ask anyone who has been in the water around this time. Lack of sun (boooo) means less algea blooms in the water. Freezing temperatures in the mountains means lets silting run-off into our waters.

Make a plan with your buddy talking about what to do if you have a free flowing regulator top side or under the water. What to do if you have a dry suit leak. What to do if you are just to cold to continue under the water. Always remember why you are scuba diving. It is for fun, if it is not fun anymore, what are you doing?

Make sure you are diving the appropriate gear for your dive conditions. If you have any questions, that is why Gone Diving is here. Helping you get the training and proper equipment for our environment.

If anyone has anything else that they would like to add to help offer advise for colder surface temperatures, please do.

Happy and safe warm diving to you all!

Friday, May 7, 2010

I love me a sunny weekend.... and diving!

Alright folks - this is going to be one spectacular sunny spring weekend of the finest Pacific Northwest variety!
Sunday will find Group Gone Diving headed to Langley Tire Reef. Meet at 8am behind the shop to carpool. Please have all gear and tanks ready, as the shop will not be open. We are open 11-6 on Saturday if you need anything. :)
And if you wanna hang out after diving and enjoy the sun and some food, please feel free to bring a potluck offering.
And a very happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there. Yeah, y'all rock. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Check it out....

Howdy and happy spring, friends! All sorts of cool things are happening around here, so here's the update.....
Group Gone Diving had a great time in Mukilteo, on the dive and at the Diamond Knot Brewery. Grey skies and strong current didn't stop us from a super cool meet and greet with the resident wolf eel at the T-Dock dome, and what delicious beer and food and great service at the pub!
The underwater egg hunt and photo contest at Langley last weekend was a huge success as well! Our group won some amazing prizes (to the dismay of the other dive clubs present) and had a wonderful time despite some minor inconveniences like a lost car key and a forgotten wetsuit. :) We totally have to go again next year!
Charlynn has returned from an amazing trip to the Bahamas, and will have great pictures and stories to share. There's still room on Blackbeard's next September if you want to see for yourself!
Earth Day beach clean-up at Bloedel-Donovan on Saturday, April 24th - free rentals for volunteers!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Your Own Personal Seamstress

Hello divers and non-divers...

I have surfaced from the depths of recent obscurity to do a little shameless promotion... Haley, favorite non-diver extraordinaire and shore support diva deluxe, has started her fashion business/interests blog!

Check it:

She will update periodically with great design ideas she finds as well as wonderful designs of her own! Follow her blog for the fashiontastic updates. In addition to fashion design, she also does, as the name implies, seamstress work FOR YOU! Amazing, I know... Alterations, let it in, take it out, flip it around... whatever your clothing/fabric/lifestyle changes or needs, she's got it sewn up! If you like a design of hers, she can make it personally for you!

Tell your friends!

(She's sew rad!)

Thanks, yo.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Diving this Saturday

Break out your passports and meet me at the shop 8am or a bit earlier if you need rentals. We will carpool up to Porteau Cove.

Friday, March 12, 2010

S'up, divers?

What a busy week! Sorry I didn't post sooner, friends - Last weekend's dives were great, with an octopus sighting at Keystone on Saturday and some huge fish at Edmonds on Sunday. Thanks all!
This Sunday (March 14th) were heading down to Langley. Meeting at the shop at 7:30 for some awesome local diving and perhaps some of Jason's famous chili dogs after! Super sweet. Come check out some green water in honor of St. Patty's Day.
Also, there has been some interest in getting some weekday diving going, so if you are looking for a weekday dive buddy let us know... We can help you get together! Nice.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oh, Puget Sound and the San Juans! How I love you.....

So I missed out (has to work) on what I heard was way too fun of a bench dive at Rat Race Karting in Burlington last week. Apparently there are some crazy drivers amongst us... And Kyle, you are forgiven for not knowing there was going to be a surprise party for you. (It's a terrible problem to have so many friends!)
We live in one of the most beautiful, amazing, diverse places! Last weekend in Friday Harbor on Banditos Charters we had some excellent dives, and a wonderful time topside... Nice weather, good vis, tons of life! I saw: a Pacific King Crab 12" across, schooling Pacific and Copper Rockfish, Lingcod, Sculpin, shrimp, a huge clown dorid, a massive Monterrey Sea Lemon, Alabaster nudibranch, a basket star, big barnacles, kelp/rock/decorator crab, pretty anemones and cloud sponges, lovely sunflower stars and bright blood stars, bald eagle, golden eagle, heron, cormorants and kingfishers, Dahl's porpoise, deer, harbor seal, piling worm, and otter....not to mention a bunch of friends having fun! Thanks everyone! We're going out on the boat again on Saturday, March 27th. Wooo hoooo! Do come along if you are so inclined....
This weekend we have some awesome shore diving planned - Saturday the 6th we are heading to Keystone and on Sunday the 7th we're off to Edmonds. Both days we will be meeting at the shop at 7:30 am. I hear it's supposed to be 60 degrees and sunny! If you need gear or more info please contact/come in to the shop. As always, all are welcome and shore support is appreciated. Tell your friends!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bench Dive

Hey non-divers and divers -
Let us get together and go racing.
Thursday 7pm, February 25th @ Rat Race Karting in Burlington.

We will meet at Gone Diving 6:30pm to carpool and caravan down together for those that live up here in Bellingham.

There is mini golf also. We are renting the place out so there is a fee. $100 for the karts and $20 for mini-golf for the whole group.

Please let us know if you would like to join us.