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Wilburt
07-26-2011, 09:26 AM
Scuba is something I have always wanted to do. So I did it. Just recently got certified and now have 6 dives under the belt. Going to the Bahamas very shortly to dive with the sharks, wrecks and reefs. I am really excited about the shark dive. Anyway, any advice for a new diver making the most out of life? I want to pursue Advance Open Water, but going to Colorado soon. Do you guys have any tips on diving near middle Colorado? So far all I can find is dive holes 5+ hours away.

Another thing in my mind is the SI Amphibious Assault Class? Anyone?

Allen
07-26-2011, 10:27 AM
Read, read, read. Not forums but books on diving, history (wrecks and caves) and physiology. Most of the dive forums are full of people who will tell you to do it their way, or not do it all all because (insert agency here) says so. Same thing as not using wolf cause it'll destroy your gun barrel. Listen to the people who actually do the dives you want to in the future.

Forums are worth using to find a local diving club, which usually put trips etc together cheaper than shops because your not paying for 1-2 people from the shop to dive + profit margin.

Have fun, I've been diving for 3 years now and love it.
Allen

RDog
07-26-2011, 11:39 AM
When I lived in florida I dived often, the gulf, the keys and down in the bahamas as well.

The basic advice I have is this:
1) know how to swim.
2) Don't be a gear nut and buy everything you can imagin. Enjoy early dives as much as possible without the burden of bringing half a dive shop with you.
3) bring plenty of drinking water/gatoraid/and beer in a cooler for the boat. You will be thirsty after long dives, and its nice to be able to share with the others. (simple snacks as well).

The less you hit the water with the more fun it will be in the begining. (those new gopro cameras could be an exception to this...)
My advise is based on diving in the early 90s...gear has got smaller, I just remember people still on single digit dives with so much gear they looked like they were shooting movies, and some had such problems.

Tank50
07-26-2011, 12:21 PM
I haven't gone diving since the 1980s but have about 80+ dives in my log book. I took a Blackbeard Cruise out of Miami and we dove the Bahamas. If your experience is murky quarries or New Jersey you're in for a treat. Unlimited visibilty and 80-81 degree water temp. I second RDog's advice as diving is thirsty business. My best advice is to spend sufficient time in planning your dive. Some wrecks can be deep (110feet+) which limits your bottom time. My most memorable dive was in only 15 feet of water. We anchored over a wreck that was teeming with wildlife. Baitfish teeming on the wreck with scads of barracuda circling. I ended up 3-4 feet away from two rays and watched the fish scatter as a shark put in an appearance. Just a beautiful dive. And yeah I do miss it.

HamburgO
07-26-2011, 12:31 PM
Dive, dive dive... with good local dive-masters (talk to them, check the state of their gear, and their attitude - I've met some operators that think they're the cat's meow, but are a danger to themselves and others!) and under varying conditions. Get your buoyancy control down to a fine art. I've slacked off over the last few years (too much shooting!), but was very much into it before, got the PADI AOW and Rescue Diver certs, with a few hundred dives in CA, FL, HI and Costa Rica, Pacific and Carribbean side. Still on my bucket list to get my nitrox cert., and a few locations I want to dive or dive again. Rebreather fascinates me, but oh, the $$$ involved...

The advice on not being a gear-head is good. On the other hand, you do want good and reliable equipment that fits you well, and that you become as familiar with as the back of your hand. This is an area where reading is helpful. There are some very good forums out there, e.g. Scubaboard.

As a big believer in backup systems, I also always have an xtra mask, an xtra second stage + hose, and a save-a-dive kit with various parts and tools. A good computer is dandy, but also know how to work your dive tables and watch to calculate dive/surface time. Underwater navigation skills come in really handy, especially when you're in 5-10 ft. of vis, and they need to be practiced.

Some more thoughts on gear: Being both big and tall, getting a good BCD fit for me was not easy. The Seaquest Diamond worked out okay for me, but always had a tendency to ride up on me in the water. You'll have to try it out for yourself, but my recommendation is to get one that at least has an option for a crotch strap, which will help to keep it in place. When I get ready to do more diving again, I'm going for a harness/wing setup, and I think a pony bottle will be another addition to the rig. I also prefer diving with a steel 90 (although I may not buy one, too much to schlep around on flights). More air than the aluminium 80, I can use it with nitrox, and it helps with buoyancy control, requiring less weight on belt and in pouches.

Diving's a beautiful thing, and I don't know many other activities that promote relaxation (look up mammalian dive reflex) and clarity of mind in quite the same way. Even the worst dives I've had (0-5 ft. vis in the 80ft. thermocline and strong surge off of La Jolla shores), have made a good day! Have fun, and be safe down there!

Teckomando
07-26-2011, 03:18 PM
I would suggest you subscribe to Dive Training magazine. Its inexpensive and full of good information for both new and experienced divers. You can get free copies from dive shops.

Haunt local dive shops. The information you can glean from their experience is invaluable and they will know every wet spot in the area.

Don't get discouraged. Inland diving can be awesome. I'm a PADI certified Rescue Diver working on my Dive Master. I live in Utah and I dive regularly. Any body of water can provide a good scuba experience. Even if it's only a learning or training experience. Buoyancy control is the best skill to master. Water reservoirs make for great spear fishing and diving. So do lakes, rivers, and streams. (Be familiar with current diving before attempting a river dive.)

Continue your scuba education formally and informally every chance you get.

Check online for local dive locations. See http://www.rmdc.com/local_diving.htm

Another good piece of advice I received when I was new to diving was: find a good dive buddy or two. You learned to never dive alone. Its more than a good rule to follow.

It may take a lot of effort to dive in Colorado but it will be more valuable to you than to those that have dive spots more easily available. Make an effort to drive 5 or six hours to dive for a day. Also, make sure you are familiar with Altitude diving. Altitude diving is scuba diving where the surface is 300 meters (1000 feet) or more above sea level. It is not the same as diving at sea level. Most of Colorado is in the Rocky Mountains. See Altitude Diving Tables here: http://www.utahdiving.com/divetabl.htm

Finally, if you are ever in Northern Utah and I am available, I can take you to some unique dive locations. We have an interesting little man made "geothermally heated, salt water, high altitude mini ocean with colorful marine tropical fish" called Bonneville Seabase (http://www.seabase.net/). We have an inert volcano to dive, a glacial lake, several water reservoirs, some great rivers, and even a volcanic hot spring fed pond called Blue Lake (http://www.utahdiving.com/bluelake.htm) just two hours from my house. I live in a desert and I have several dive opportunities within two hours drive.

Kolt
07-26-2011, 04:56 PM
Scuba is something I have always wanted to do. So I did it. Just recently got certified and now have 6 dives under the belt. Going to the Bahamas very shortly to dive with the sharks, wrecks and reefs. I am really excited about the shark dive. Anyway, any advice for a new diver making the most out of life? I want to pursue Advance Open Water, but going to Colorado soon. Do you guys have any tips on diving near middle Colorado? So far all I can find is dive holes 5+ hours away.

Another thing in my mind is the SI Amphibious Assault Class? Anyone?

I've been certified since 1992.

When I lived in Colorado Springs, we went down to the Blue Hole in NM. You mentioned CO, but 'near the middle' could mean a lot of places.

Keep at it. Talk and dive with experienced divers that will help you out.

Take care,
Kolt

TennDECA
07-26-2011, 05:50 PM
I'm a PADI Master Diver. PM me with any questions you may have. One thing regarding diving in Colorado: depending on the elevation of any body of water you'll be diving in, you may need to get a Altitude Diver cert.

m18
07-27-2011, 12:23 AM
Shoot me a PM when you get to CO. I'm a little south of Denver, been in CO most of my life, got certified here and even taught a scuba class at my old high school. There are a couple places around here one can dive in, but there's not much in the way of scenery (below the water anyway, above is a much different story), and the water is COLD. The lake I got my Open Water cert. in was 50something degrees with 5ft visibility. The local guys around here add things to "spice up" the underwater landscape (think lawn gnomes, a toilet with a mannequin on it, etc.), but its nothing compared to a wreck in the tropics. Though there is a big aquarium in Denver that lets you dive with fish or sharks, and that's pretty fun.
As for altitude, just learn the basics of it (calculate for 10 feet lower on your dive table... that's basically it) and you'll be fine.
If you want to go out of state, the Blue Hole in NM and The Crater (think its real name is Homestead Crater or something like that) in Utah are the closest options.

Pict
07-27-2011, 03:12 AM
Be very careful. Pressurized air is highly addictive. I used to work in a scuba shop and would fill tanks for the junkies. Some of these guys measured life itself in psi.

Wilburt
07-27-2011, 06:10 AM
Thanks for all the replies. Lots of good info. I think I will be there by end of year in Colorado Springs.


There are a couple places around here one can dive in, but there's not much in the way of scenery (below the water anyway, above is a much different story), and the water is COLD. That is pretty much what my research has shown. I think Blue Hole, NM is on my list while I am there. The aquarium sounds like fun too. I'll try to be in touch when I get there.


Don't be a gear nut and buy everything you can imagin.That won't be a problem as my budget is tight. I'm kinda concerned about the cold water diving up in CO and the extra cost of a dry suit for not much to see? That is why Blue Hole/Aquarium sounds like fun.

All in all, I appreciate all the help and glad to know I can pm some fellow divers here at WT.

vlazlow
07-27-2011, 11:10 AM
I'm a rescue diver and have been diving since 1986.

Get your own gear if you plan on staying with the sport: fins, mask, snorkel, booties, regulator (primary, octopus, spg and lp inflator), BCD, weight and belt if not integrated, light, cylinders x 2, in your AO go ahead and get a 6 mm wet suit. I found a dive computer to be a great investment.

Basic gear is fine; I still dive w/ weights and a belt. A lot of time dive shops, including online, will have clearances or sell their training / rental gear, sometimes a deal can be found by being patient.

If you vacation, look for opportunities to dive. E.g. did you know that at WDW you can dive in the EPCOT Living seas exhibit, I’ve done it twice. Cruises or beach vacations provide excellent opportunities to dive.

Find a local dive buddy and go out and get wet!

austin
07-27-2011, 11:32 AM
Don't dive and then drive over mountain passes nor get on a plane or helicopter - without waiting the correct amount of time.

You will get the bends.

I know from personal experience.

Its very easy to be in the military training mindset or get caught up in doing something and forget you spent time at depth that day.

Teckomando
07-27-2011, 12:18 PM
did you know that at WDW you can dive in the EPCOT Living seas exhibit, Iíve done it twice. Cruises or beach vacations provide excellent opportunities to dive.That is awesome! I am so going to do that. Thanks for the info.

JPourciau
07-27-2011, 01:22 PM
I have been diving since 1998. I became a certified commercial air diver and never worked in the industry, but instead pursued SCUBA as a hobby, and have worked my way up to full trimix certification and technical wreck diving... So with that said, here is my advice.

By all means, take AOW, AND a Rescue class. The Rescue Diver class will teach you not only about helping other divers in trouble, but also about self-rescue. It is an invaluable class regarding proper mindset.

Never ever be afraid to thumb a dive if something doesn't feel right. There is no shame in going home safe and sound instead of bent or dead.

Never, ever, ever panic. There are very few problems that occur underwater that can't be fixed by either redundant equipment or an emergency ascent. Equipment failure doesn't kill, panic kills.

Strive to learn to breathe in a relaxed manner. As part of that, learn every thing you can about achieving proper bouyancy, trim, and weighting. That alone will make you a better diver than most out there. I can recommend a very good book if you're interested...

A subscription to Dive Training is a good idea. I also like Scuba Diving Magazine and Wreck Diving Magazine. There is a free online magazine called Tech Diving Mag, which is directed at technical divers but also has several general interest articles each issue.

I would suggest finding a dive shop you're comfortable with and seeing if they sponser or associate with a dive club that you can join.

Remember, 3/4 of the earth's surface is covered by water! There is diving almost everywhere, and failing that, there's tons of dive travel.

Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions... Diving has been a big part of my life for a while now.

Have fun in the Bahamas! Who are you diving with?

m18
07-27-2011, 03:01 PM
I'm kinda concerned about the cold water diving up in CO and the extra cost of a dry suit for not much to see? That is why Blue Hole/Aquarium sounds like fun.

My go-to dive shop will rent you a tank, BCD, and wetsuit for under/around $100. You can get a dry suit if you like, but I haven't been in Colorado water that a thick wetsuit didn't do the trick for. In my Open Water cert. I mentioned, I had a 2-piece 7mm wetsuit (=14mm on torso, 7mm on extremities) and it kept me comfortable.

Tyler
07-31-2011, 01:14 PM
I dove Epcot twice,it was a fun dive. All kinds of fish and also you get to watch people eat lunch.

slingador
07-31-2011, 06:16 PM
Get a DIVE ALERT!!!! Well worth it's weight in gold if you ever need to hail you boat from 1/4 mile away down current.
http://www.divealert.com/what-is-da.html
Be careful to put your head underwater so you don't blow your eardrums before blasting the horn.
A safety sausage and signal mirrior are also good things to have in your bcdu pockets, you just never know.

Multiple easy to acces blades are good insurance.

I also don't believe in chasing bubbles from a boat, either dive from an anchored boat and go down the line, or dive with a long thin rope on a reel generally, to a buoy on the surface, it's a pain in the neck but makes the job of the people in the boat much easier.

Some take it even further and dive with a waterproof VHF and or plb epirb in a sealed canister.

The ocean can be a very unforgiving mistress but her allure and warm embrace can make you feel so alive and connected to nature, there are many good lesson for warriors to be gleaned from water sports, like the similarities of dealing with large toothy predators and 2 legged predators.... Good luck be safe