Great diving experience this week!
I’ve been at Crystal Divers for almost 2 months, I’m having really great time, meeting very nice and interesting people and the best scuba experience ever! At this moment I’m about to complete the Dive Master course. Part of the courses are, theory lessons which gives you the mandatory knowledge to be a professional DM, water skills and practical application which make you getting confident with what will be one day my daily duty and last, but not least, assisting Dive Instructors during their courses and sometimes we just go for fun dives as well!
I have been studying and diving almost with all the instructors and the divemasters, any day spent with each of them it’s always been fun, safe and professional. I spent the pass two days diving as assistant with two legends of Crystal Divers…
and probably two legends of diving in Bali!
They’re the only two Crystal’s instructors I never dive with before: but this moment came! I was really excited to finally spend the day with them! These guys have thousand and thousand dives logged in their logbook: if counted together it’s more than 15.000!!!! They basically spent more time of their life underwater than on-land
I was really looking forward to see how these guys behave underwater, what’s their approach with costumers, how they spot fishes…basically how they do the thing they most love to do, scuba-diving!
I’m talking about the two “living legends” Magic Toto & Amin!
Destinations of the two days were: Tulamben, wreck dive to see Liberty (US Navy cargo ship from WWII, sank in 1963 after been torpedoed by Japanese submarine in 1942) and Padang Bai the next day to see some cool underwater creatures!
Both days started with a nice ride to the diving sites: during the trip Toto and Amin entertained our guest whit amazing stories about their diving adventures and about life in the beautiful Bali. Me and the costumers were extremely entertained by them I was impressed about the passion and joy they’re transmitted us!
All the dives went very well: we seen many different type of fishes and coral, met Mr.Frank the Barracuda, white tip sharks octopuses, dozens of tiny nudies and many others beautiful creatures….oh…and I’ve finally seen pygmies!!! YEAH!!!!
During the dives I was almost their shadow underwater. I wanted to stay close as much as possible to them, learning from their movements and their behavior. I was totally amazed by them! They look like fishes: it seems they’ve got gills! They know each dive site we’ went diving like their own pockets.
Diving with these amazing guys was an experience that I recommend to every diver: both experienced and beginners! They transmit you love for diving, for underwater life and for life in general. Their smiles are very contagious…and that the best way to start every day!
…oh….and watch out for special fish when you’re next to Magic Toto….you might be able to see the Picacku fish 😀
//Roberto Divemaster trainee, Crystal Divers
What a day! Can’t believe how much fun learning can be.
A couple of days ago me and Jill (not just a great divemaster trainee but also an amazing friend) helped Andre with a rescue course in Sanur. An experienced diver called James had decided it was time to learn about taking care of others in any kind of dive emergency. Me and Jill were being the victims for all the skills he needed to learn.
I’m telling you: so much fun!
The day started out when I, Andre and Jill arrived to Crystal Divers at 08.30.
Andre made a briefing for us, so that we would know what was about to happen later.
Basically it was more or less panicking and being tired, being out of air underwater, cutting ourselves or being overexerted.
James would had to recognize the situation and handle it the best way he knew.
Half an hour later James arrived and we all packed ourselves to a cozy green bemo, and drove 5 minutes to the beach.
A small taxiboat took us to the real boat, where all of our gear was waiting for us with another divegroup from Crystal.
Me and Jill checked so that everything was on board, and afterwards started setting up our gear and weightbelts.
Because the other group was doing 2 dives and we were only doing one, we let them enter the water first.
While waiting them to get ready, Andre briefs James about the skills.
Me and Jill help the other group find their fins and other small stuff, so things would be as easy as possible for them.
When we got in water, Andre keept signaling us how to act.
We were practicing panicked diver and overexerted diver for several times, and me and Jill really started running out of air for
real as we needed to breath so shallow and quick.
But I’m telling you, it was so much fun seeing how he managed the situations with both Jill and me.
Before we were done with the underwater skills, James needed to organize a find-a-missing-diver-situation.
We all went up, and Andre told me and Jill to go down to a certain spot we had decided earlier.
We went down near to a Jackline on the bottom, and when James and Andre arrived, I was acting unresponsive.
James needed to get me to the surface, and with a little misunderstanding the skill was getting too realistic…
When I did my own rescue diver, we did Rescue 7 skill right after this one. That skill is the one where the rescuer keeps giving the victim rescue breaths while taking off his/her gear off and towing him/her back to the boat. Once James had got me to the surface, I kept on acting unresponsive, evenhtough we were supposed to be done with the skill. After a few moments I started hearing worried voices ”Lumi? Lumi, are you okay?”, but first though it was part of the game.
When I finally response Jill was pretty horrified and said that it wasn’t a funny joke. Yeah, sure, but I wasn’t trying to be funny. Sorry Jill!
Once everyone was okay again, it was time for surface skills. Mostly same as underwater, but much more exhausting!
Definitely no need to hit the gym after all the jumping in water…
After all we all were so to say okay. I might have fallen off the boat just by being clumsy, normal me, but no big injuries done.
In any case, we had our amazing rescue diver James taking care of the ”small” leg-covering scratches!
Amazing day and 4 smiling, happy divers coming back from the dive!
//Lumi Divemaster Traine Crystal Divers
Even though I needed to wake up at 05:45 to be at Crystals by 06:30, I woke up feeling happy and enthusiastic about the coming day.
I had been helping Magnus with Open Water Course for 2 days, first in the pool for the confined water exercises and the diving in Sanur Channel the previous day.
Now it was time for Tulamben and the amazing wreck we were about to see.
When I arrived to Crystal I first made sure all the needed equipment was packed.
Right size BCD’s, eno
ugh fins and wetsuits for all the divers…
Nothing really complicated once you figure out the system, just a routine we make to be sure everybody will have a great day diving.
As soon as the customers were there, we all hop in a minibus and head to the Northeast part of Bali.
The drive took around 2 and half hours, and we had a lot of time to chat and laugh and also sleep a little, as it has been an early morning for everybody.
Once we arrived I started setting up Magnus’s equipment, as that is the way we work.
Divemaster trainees always do the equipment setting up, as it is good practice for themselves, and also that way the instructors will be free to help and guide their students.
In a normal fun dive i would had set up also the guest’s equipment, but now that it was part of their learning, they needed to do it them self.
When everybody was ready, we walk to the beach for the dive.
Magnus gave a briefing for the dive: maximum depths and things we were about to do and see.
Then we get in water and dive for about 40 minutes.
During the dive I kept on counting the divers, so no one would be separated from the group.
There was absolutely no problems with that, as the new open water divers were pretty good on following the leader.
After the dive we change the cylinders, once again the students made their own and I did both mine and Magnus’s.
Then we walk back to our car, have a little snacks and check the menu for lunch.
We needed to wait for an hour to be able to enter the water again, but we didn’t waste time just by sitting bored.
The next dive the students needed to do couple of compass exercises, and they were practicing the use of compass along with me and Magnus.
As soon as our dive computer beeped for us to be able to dive again, we went down to the beach, put our gear on, do the buddy check as in all the other dives and walk in water.
Magnus made the students do their exercises and I took care that the other student felt confident as the instructor focus on the other one doing the skill.
When they were finished, we just continue the dive in Coral Garden, dive site right next to the wreck.
We have a dive pretty much as long as the first one, and during that time we saw a huge range of different fish and coral species.
Always a great feeling getting under water and just focusing on your breathing, not worrying about anything you would at the surface.
After the dives we have a tasty lunch, little ice cream from the shop near by, before starting the journey back to Sanur.
Once back in Crystal we all sat down to have a drink and do our logbooks.
Remembering all the small things from the dive, logbooks are a nice way of going back to the dive for a moment.
Then we waited for the transport for the guests and said goodbye to those new certified divers.
As they left it was also the end of our working day.
I’d say it is a pretty good way of spending a day!
//Lumi Divemaster Traine Crystal Divers
As part of my continuing education in diving, not just the gaining of experience, I decided that I would rather enjoy undertaking the Self Reliant Diver Course, a relatively new course from PADI. My aim being that once qualified, I could complete the necessary qualifying dives to undertake the instructor qualification.
First let me say that self reliant diving is not Solo Diving. The self reliant dive training provides you with another skill set that increases your ability for self rescue, identify and anticipate problems before they become life threatening and equip you with the skills to extract yourself from a situation should it arise.
Diving without a partner requires you to be willing to make the required commitment to train and equip yourselves properly and to accept the added risks involved. You must have the right attitude and ability to dive independently. This is true in other adventure sport activities such a solo rock climbing.
Diving without a partner requires the right attitude and equipment. This includes, but is not restricted to redundant air sources, specific dive planning and management of independent diving problems and emergencies. However, no amount of redundant equipment can effectively back-up a diver’s brain better than another individual
In simple terms, responsible independent scuba diving is not for everyone; however it does have a place. So, who should develop self –reliant diving skills and why? The course will appeal most to photographers, videographers, traveling divers, wreck divers and TecRec Divers. This is by no means an exhaustive list and will appeal to anyone with the necessary course pre-requisites.
Having completed the necessary pre diving study and knowledge reviews, we traveled to Tulamben on Monday 10th October to complete the three qualifying dives. Having gone through some very thorough pre-dive planning and briefing we kitted up ready for the first dive. We were certainly carrying much more equipment that normal; redundant equipment that is either critical for survival or critical to the dive objective’s success. This included a backup 4.7 ltr cylinder, complete with regulator and SPG. This would allow us the opportunity to initiate an emergency exit from a life-threatening situation without undue stress and with a minimum of confusion in the event of a major equipment malfunction.
During the first dive we were required to complete a number of skills, which were, with all standard and specialized equipment, conduct a buoyancy check at the surface, complete a 200m surface swim, demonstrate neutral buoyancy by hovering for one minute, perform a relaxed, nonstop 200 meter surface swim, demonstrate the ability to switch to a redundant air supply system, simulating a regulator free flow and breathe from the redundant air source for at least two minutes, perform a SAC rate swim by swimming for approximately five minutes at a level depth, recording the appropriate information for later calculation and deploy a lift bag or DSMB from the bottom. All skills were completed without issue and one skill that was practiced a great deal was switching to our alternate air source, which had to be done one handed and within thirty seconds.
After our required surface interval, we kitted up again for dive 2. During this dive we would have to complete further skills, comprising of demonstrating time, depth and gas supply awareness by writing the depth and cylinder pressure on a slate at 10-minute intervals, swim at depth for at least two minutes covering a distance of at least 18 meters without a mask. We would also have to whilst continuously swimming, simulate an out-of-air emergency and change from our primary air supply to our redundant air supply system within 30 seconds, then breathe from the redundant air supply system for at least two minutes, complete two navigation exercises, perform a SAC rate swim by swimming for five minutes at a level depth recording the appropriate information for later calculation and deploy a lift bag or DSMB from the bottom. Again, one of the key components and something practiced repeatedly throughout the dive was switching from our primary to redundant air supply. Again, all skills were completed and there was even time to interact with the aquatic life, especially the turtle that seams to have taken up residency on the wreck.
After lunch, we began our third and final qualifying dive. For this dive we were truly diving alone but it was not just a fun dive. The instructor gave us our briefing for the dive and set us our tasks. This was to demonstrate time, depth and gas supply awareness by writing the depth and time on a slate for each 20 bar of gas consumed, demonstrate turn around pressure and time limit awareness when either the pressure or time limit established during the briefing is reached by writing the time (if pressure limit reached first) or the pressure (if time limit reached first) on a slate, demonstrate navigational control and return to the exit with no assistance from the instructor and while continuously swimming, simulate an out-of-air emergency and change from your primary air supply to your redundant air supply system within 30 seconds At the conclusion of the dive we then had to deploy a lift bag or DSMB and ascend to the surface, stopping at 5 metres/15 feet for a three minute safety stop and most importantly surface from the dive within the established time frame and with no less than the planned pressure remaining in the cylinder.
The third dive was a new experience, diving alone and with no buddy. We have all no doubt at some time or other been alone for a short while but to do a whole dive alone was something new. What was noticeable during this dive was that you checked your dive computer more often than usual and you became more aware of your surroundings and where other divers were, just in case.
At the end of the third dive we had completed all the skill requirements and were now qualified as Self Reliant Divers. Twenty more self reliant dives and instructor qualification beckons. The benefits of completing this course are not about diving alone. It is about being self reliant, equipping you with the skills and knowledge to be a better diver, able to self rescue if the need ever arose. These are certainly skills that anyone should have and teaches you how to manage situations where you may be separated from your buddy for extended periods of time.
If you want to do the Self Reliant Course, then there is no better place than Crystal Divers. Take a look at the Courses Section and see what is entailed.
As part of the Interns and Dive Master Trainees (DMT) continuing education, one requirement is to undertake the Skin Diving Course. It is one of the many skill sets that form part of every Dive Masters training. Here at Crystal Divers a little fun is injected into the training and every participant is assigned with coming up with a skill or game that can be used during the course. Any number of games are thought up and whilst fun, they do have a great deal of added value.
The ideas for the games are varied and diverse and it never ceases to amaze the ingenuity of those that come up with them. Games vary from the simple to the more inventive. Examples of the games were swimming from one end of the pool to the other, swim through a submerged hoop and collect as many weights as possible before returning to the other end; diving from one end of the pool to the other, exchanging masks underwater, writing your name on a slate before returning underwater to the other end.
Other games played were swimming around the edge of the pool whilst keeping one fin out of the water. No easy task and if you don’t believe it, try it. Another popular game was two skin divers battling underwater to try and remove the others mask whilst keeping hold of your own. More often it would be a draw as each of the players lost their own mask. One skill game that brought out the competitive nature of those taking part was the longest breath hold, with some showing themselves to be as near to fish as possible.
But by far the most inventive game was one thought up by Wulan, combining ‘aquatic life trivial pursuit’ questions with skin diving tasks. She gave each diver a clue as to the identity of an aquatic life form and then the diver had to swim underwater to the far end of the pool and find the weight with the correct answer. Some wrong answers meant the diver returning with the wrong weight and an early exit from the game.
Whilst the games and skills were fun, there was added value, from breath holding techniques, finning techniques to buoyancy control when navigating though the submerged hoola-hoops. All skills that are important to the skin diver but also the diver in terms of buoyancy. Not breath holding of course as all divers know the most important rule of diving;
”NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATHE”
In all it was a most enjoyable experience for those partaking and is testament to the internship at Crystal Divers. I have no doubt that the interns will go from strength to strength, becoming amazing Dive Masters and Instructors.