Diving the med

Reports on our previous club dive trips and some of our day diving activities
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Paul Johnson
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:02 pm

Diving the med

Post by Paul Johnson » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:08 am

My first sea and wreck dive was this year while on my hols in Turkey. It was a mix of elation and despair!

The good parts - obviously the water. Lovely and warm (23 dC) with vis of around 10m+. The lead diver was apologising for the low vis and temperature. He was somewhat taken back by my reports of the Delph being around 1m vis at 20m and temps of between 6 and 16dC depending on the time of the year. He thought me somewhat mad (as did my dive buddy from Dortmund).

First dive was a 45min, 14m max dive looking at bits of rock, sea life and a rock mummy. On the way back, we were caught in a rip tide. A nice challenge which by going as deep as we could, were able to pull ourselves back out and to the boat.

The wreck dive was to WW1 ship (complete with unexploded munitions) called the Paris. Top of the boat was at 21m with the gun turrets at 25m. Base of the ship was between 31 and 33m, so just within reach for a sports diver. Lovely clear vis again.

It was also only 53UKP for 2 dives and lunch thrown in (included insurance and kit). Couldn't complain at the weather either. Glorious sunshine!

Roughly 80 minutes between the dives, so degassing was observed. There was a lack of fluids on offer unless you put your hand in your pocket.

Bad parts

This was a mixed ability ship with try divers and those who have dived before. It was also a PADI organised dive, so they were completely unaware of the existence of BSAC. Thankfully, they called to land and verified it was a genuine organisation. Listening to the try dive talk, I was amazed at some of the utter crap they were giving as part of the talk - but as you'll read, this was most prophetic. A good example was the secondary was only for use by experienced divers (such as the instructors) and the not for them. The try dive instructor to diver ratio was around 1:6 and in open water. I've heard things about PADI before now and this may be just that dive organisation, but in any case, it's not good.

No buddy checks. Get kitted up and get in the water.

Care of the kit left something to the imagination. 4 tanks had faulty taps and mine had a dodgy inflator (I didn't know this to start with). During the wreck dive, the inflator failed to close (guessing it salted up), so it was leaking air out of the mouth inflator. It was in such a position that the air bubbles from my reg masked the bubbles coming out. As the dive progressed, the air leaked so the dive was cut short. Prior to the safety stop, I was at around 60 bar, during the stop, I ran out of air.

Having had Tim ram the importance of clear signals, I did the throat salute to the dive leader. He gestured something to the assistant leader. I went for the assistant's secondary and he pulled away. Thankfully, the dive lead was aware and gave me his. This (the assistant) is the same chap who told the try divers that only experienced divers should use the secondary. No harm done, returned to the ship without a problem. The assistant leader was yelled at for not recognising a standard gesture and the regs put to one side for cleaning and repair.

If I exclude the inflator sticking, the dive was enjoyable. I'm not put off by the experience and the depth didn't cause any narc problems.

Geoff Roberts
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 7:11 pm

Re: Diving the med

Post by Geoff Roberts » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:33 am

Hi Paul,
I’ve dived in quite a few places around the world and I’ve never come across a place that didn’t know what BSAC is.
There has on the odd occasion been some confusion between BSAC Advanced diver and PADI Advanced diver but not by qualified instructors.
I’ve also dived with loads of PADI centres and had few issues with just the odd exception like a now defunct liveaboard in Sri Lanka.
It does rather sound from your description that you may have come across a bit of a dodgy outfit. It happens in the best run organisations.

Chris Blackburn
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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:32 pm

Re: Diving the med

Post by Chris Blackburn » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:06 pm

The PADI outfit I'm diving with in Italy don't recognise BSAC either. They looked at my PADI OW card and my BSAC Nitrox card with "Technical" written on it and got very confused.

They don't do buddy checks, everyone is diving different kit config's, I haven't seen anyone check their back up regulator. They hit the bottom like a handful of dropped marbles. This is what I would assume the PADI money train to be.

There are some excellent Italian divers and dive centres. This isn't one of them. I would normally use dive centres linked to a different agency. This is my first time diving with PADI. I'm using my own kit and twin-set regs which is reassuring.

The dive on the WW1 warship sounds really interesting. There a story there somewhere if you can find it. Something to fire the imagination.

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Ian C
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:30 am

Re: Diving the med

Post by Ian C » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:24 pm

Paul Johnson wrote: I went for the assistant's secondary and he pulled away. Thankfully, the dive lead was aware and gave me his. This (the assistant) is the same chap who told the try divers that only experienced divers should use the secondary.
I could tell a few tales about some of the PADI centers I have had the pleasure of diving with.
Not all bad, but some leave a lot to be desired.

Maria H
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:05 pm

Re: Diving the med

Post by Maria H » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:30 pm

Commercial centres vary in quality, regardless of agency.

I've generally found the instructors and divemasters on liveaboards to be good, but centres have different challenges, with a different group of divers every day.
Ged and I traipsed round Playa del Carmen last year, chatting to dive centre staff before settling on a centre that had been recommended by someone I know who goes there most years. We'd taken some of our own kit, but we looked at a number of factors: did the staff seem knowledgeable? Did the hire kit look well maintained? Did the centre look clean and tidy? Did they ask about our qualifications and experience, and tailor their plans accordingly? The one we chose ticked all those boxes, and also said they appreciated that we asked informed questions. It gave them some confidence in us, which was particularly important as we were planning cavern diving with them.

I remember chatting to a dive centre owner in Greece, and he was honest enough to tell me that I'd be bored, and the diving they did was geared up for try-dives rather than experienced divers, but he'd let me know if he was doing any private diving during my stay. He was correct that I'd have been deeply unhappy if I'd found myself with a bunch of try-divers kicking up the seabed in 10m!

We're all responsible for our own diving, so you can insist on doing a buddy check and agree a rough plan with your buddy even if no-one else on the boat is doing one.

Some of the confusion re your out of air signal might have been because PADI teach a different signal (hand across the throat, as though slitting your own throat). They also do hand on head as the OK signal on the surface https://www.thoughtco.com/common-hand-s ... ng-2963222 . It's generally better to avoid needing the out of air signal though 8-)

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