Dive Tips

Practical Kelp Diving

California’s great beds of kelp are the single most important feature that makes diving here so interesting and unique. Throughout California kelp thrives on rocky reefs. In the north the predominant kelp is bull kelp, in the south it is giant kelp or Macrocystis. Both form the foundation for a healthy reef community and provide shelter and food for a cornucopia of marine life. In California the kelp bed is where most of the life is and where divers go. New divers sometimes have an […]

Lessen Your Lead

We divers wear lead on nearly every dive to counteract buoyancy contributed by dive gear (usually from thermal protection) or our bodies or a combination of both. If we are going to stay underwater to explore underwater, we need to wear lead. But less is better. Not only do you reduce the amount of sheer grunt effort in having to move the lead around, it is easier to dive with less lead. It is easier to balance your buoyancy and, most importantly, less lead makes […]

Pre-Dive Buddy Checks: Key for Diver Safety

We all know we are supposed to dive with a buddy, right? But you find yourself on a dive boat alone and having to pair up with somebody new that you have never dived with before. Sure, you can usually do it safely, but there are certain steps you should take to ensure maximum safety and for full enjoyment from both members of the buddy team. First, know and understand each other’s experience level. While this will definitely affect your dive plan, there is usually […]

Rip Currents: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

You hear a lot about currents as the extreme danger. Yes, this is true for the ordinary swimmer. But for experienced beach divers they can be used to their advantage. A lot of divers do not know this. First, let’s consider the mechanics and makeup of a rip current. What They Are Rip currents (sometimes mistakenly called “rip tides”) are, simply put, the net flow of water away shore resulting from waves pushed up on adjacent beach areas. As water is pushed up onto shore […]

Rocky Coast Entries

Most divers face the choice—beach or boat? While we would normally prefer to dive from a boat, this option is not always possible or practical. While sandy beach dives are often easy and accessible, many divers do not think fondly of them. They often require a long swim to an interesting reef, and—that sand—it gets everywhere. There is an alternative that many rarely consider—the rocky coast entry. Rocky coast entries and exits are often easier in moderate waves than on a sandy beach. Beach divers […]

Pay Attention at Dive Briefings

A few month’s ago something happened on a dive charter boat that I cannot seem to shake. I was by myself but had picked up a buddy onboard. It turned out to be a good day of diving, but what bothered me was those divers during the dive briefing simply did not pay attention. When I expressed my irritation to my newly-found buddy, he wanted to know why I paid careful attention to the briefing (he had learned that I had been on this boat […]

Better Air Consumption

Who would not want more dive time? In general, that simply translates to better air consumption. The slower you consume your breathing gas, the longer your dive. Let’s look at some ways to slow down your breathing gas consumption and thus prolong your dive times. STREAMLINE YOUR GEAR: All loose and bulky gear will create water resistance as you move through the water, slowing you down and making your movements more difficult, thus causing you to consume more air. Furthermore, loose ends, straps, lights, etc. […]

Diving in Currents

While most divers like to dive in placid waters, there comes a time when it is desirable and pleasurable to dive in a current. So why deal with a current at all? Why not exclusively dive calm sites? Water-borne nutrients support all marine life, and currents bring the nutrients to the reef. Simply put, sites with consistent or at least intermittent currents have a greater amount and more varied marine life than placid sites. So what does it take to obtain a level of skill […]

Practical Night Diving

We’ve all heard the excuse many times. It’s too cold, too late, or too close to dinner. Seems a lot of divers talk about a night dive, but when it comes time for the neoprene to meet the skin, many bow out. This is often their loss since night dives can be some of the most unusual and beautiful dives you will ever experience. Your dive light focuses your attention in a small area and encourages you to see things you would have otherwise missed. […]

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