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Blog Tags: scuba
Sep
02
2014

Some dives are just so good that you can't help but think, "holy guacamole, this is why I dive." I just got back from a two day trip to San Clemente and Catalina Islands, and god damn was it beautiful. One site off of San Clemente, Seven Fathom Reef, featured bright purple coral, giant tresses of kelp, and immense schools of fish shimmering in the sunlight. It was a nearly psychedelic experience, a sensation only being sixty feet underwater can produce. Summer may be ending but conditions are still gorgeous, so be sure to sign up for some of these upcoming trips!

Views: 1174
Posting: 09-02-2014
Tags: san clemente islands, scuba
Sep
02
2014

What's better than having a sea lion visit you during a dive? Lots of sea lions, of course! Santa Barbara Island's rookery is a pinniped lover's paradise, a nursery for many female California Sea Lions and their pups. For those who haven't dived with sea lions, they are very playful and aren't shy about approaching divers. I've felt them buzz by overhead and zoom around to take a quick peek at you before ducking through a frond of kelp, only to reappear when you least expect it. Sea lions are very rarely aggressive towards humans, and make for great photo opportunities.

The dive sites on Santa Barbara islands are worth visiting in themselves, home to vast marine biodiversity and purple hydrocoral. The sandy bottomed Arch Point is the ideal spot to get some video of sea lions playing in the kelp. This dive leaves from San Pedro with the Pacific Star, making it an easy drive for those living in the Los Angeles area.

 

Be Sure to Check out our Events Page

There is a lot of information coming at you via e-mail, and we know it's tough to keep your calendar straight in our busy lives. If it ever gets confusing when that Scuba Shindig BBQ might be or where the dive clean up is, all the information can be found easily on our Events Page.

Anyone who has attended our events can tell you that it's not only a good way to meet other scuba fans (or maybe run into that cute dive photographer you dove with last weekend) but it's a fantastic way to expand your scuba knowledge, give back to the ocean community, and even win prizes and free boat tickets. It's always worth your while, so make sure to stop by the events page and see what you can make it out to.

 

Views: 1050
Posting: 09-02-2014
Tags: dives, scuba
Aug
26
2014

We all know that drinking and driving is a bad idea but what about drinking and diving? Grabbing a bite, a beer and some good conversation seems like a great way to spend a surface interval to me. But before opening a beer when diving, we first need to understand the unique effects that alcohol presents to us as divers. When our mental and/or physical capabilities are impaired due to alcohol consumption, there are specific things we must consider that are irrelevant to nondivers and nondiving situations, such as heat loss and decompression.  

Water pulls heat from our bodies 25 times faster than air does so heat loss is an obvious concern when diving. While a stiff drink may “warm you up” on a cold night it definitely won’t do that for you when diving. Alcohol is a peripheral vasodilator, it causes blood vessels in the skin to open up more than normal and cause that warm, flushed feeling in our body. The blood flow responsible for that warm feeling is diverted from our body’s core and this loss of blood saps heat from more vital areas of our body and makes us more - not less - prone to hypothermia. Alcohol also delays shivering, our body’s warning sign that we’ve lost too much heat. How much sense does it make to spend hundreds of dollars for an exposure suit only to reduce its effect by having a few drinks?

Another issue with drinking and diving is that alcohol causes the vessels supplying our muscles with blood to constrict. This constriction causes an increase in blood pressure and can place significant stress on the heart. Some doctors believe this stress on the heart could be a contributing factor in the increasing number of diving accidents involving those with underlying heart disease.

And what about decompression sickness? While a direct relationship between drinking and an increased risk of decompression sickness hasn't been recognized,  a little bit of common sense tells us that such a connection might exist. It’s thought to work like this: alcohol consumption increases peripheral circulation (blood flow). The increased blood flow could cause higher levels of nitrogen absorption than predicted by your computer or the RDP. This possible increase of nitrogen might raise your susceptibility to decompression sickness, even if you dive within the no-decompression limits. Other ways that alcohol can make divers more susceptible to DCS is alcohol's diuretic property, i.e. dehydration. The decreased fluid in your blood makes it "thicker," reducing its circulatory efficiency and further altering the absorption and elimination of nitrogen from your body.

 Dehydration can also put divers at risk for DCS combined with neurological symptoms (often known as "Type II" bends). This is caused by the brain’s susceptibility to dehydration from alcohol consumption, and explains why a headache is the most common symptom of a hangover. You must also realize that dehydration lasts longer than the headache you sometimes experience. This is why it's extremely important that anyone drinking alcohol the night before a dive, even if they feel well the next morning, drink plenty of water prior to diving.

If you do decide to consume alcohol, follow these guidelines:

- Avoid drinking to excess anytime, but particularly before diving or while on a diving vacation.

- Avoid alcohol for at least 8 hours before diving

- If you drank the night before and feel hung over, don’t dive.

- If you drank the previous night, you may still be dehydrated so drink plenty of water.

- Avoid alcohol completely for at least one hour after diving, or even longer if you were diving deep (below 80 feet) or near a no-decompression limit.

Views: 1063
Posting: 08-26-2014
Tags: booze vs diving, scuba, sober divers
Aug
21
2014

Having grown up around the ocean, saltwater is in my blood. Whether it was catching a wave, snorkeling, skin diving, or just hanging out at the beach, the ocean is always where I wanted to be. I first discovered Scuba while traveling in Thailand in 1996 and fell in love.

 

But eventually, ”grown-up life” caught up with me and I found myself in an office in front of a computer screen, and then playing stay-home dad for my 2 kids. Getting to the beach got harder and harder.

 

I finally found my way back to the ocean and into diving in March 2013 and haven’t looked back. You could say I dove in head-first: after open water certification I couldn’t wait to take the next class.

 

When the time came to think about going back to work, I didn’t want to go back to the office so I decided to get outside and do something I truly enjoy. Naturally I chose to teach scuba and am now working towards my instructor certification. I have had a great experience learning to dive with Eco Dive Center and I hope to pass that experience on to yJeff Hoogs scuba manou.

Views: 1053
Posting: 08-21-2014
Tags: eco dive center, jeff hoogs, scuba
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