How To Descend Quickly

I hate wasting time (and precious air) descending slowly to my dive depth. Fortunately, the only real limitation when descending is how fast you can equalize. Here are five steps for reaching the bottom quickly, and safely.

  1. Be properly weighted

    Do a proper weight check to make sure you can actually sink, but don't overweight yourself.

  2. Cross your legs

    I learned this from a divemaster during my open water certification. Take one of your fins and cross it behind the other ankle. This keeps your legs from flailing around and slowing your descent.

  3. Take a breath and let all the air out of your BCD

    If properly weighted, this should allow you to sink until your eyes are level with the water.

  4. Pinch your nose

    With a free hand, pinch your noise in preparation to equalize as often as necessary during descent. You may look like a newbie, but keeping your hand on your nose lets you reach depth quickly.

  5. Release your breath

    Breathe out slowly for as long as you can. You should steadily descend as you release your breath. Your descent will slow down when you take in more air, so let it out for as long as you reasonably can. By the time you must take another breath, you should be deep enough where wetsuit compression and other factors allow a continual descent.

Of course, keep an eye on your depth gauge and anything you may plummet into. Be ready to put air into your BCD as you approach your desired depth.

Mask Problems When Wearing a Hood

I think everyone has trouble with their mask when wearing a hood. It's hard to get a good seal around your face and water constantly seeps in.

Next time, try putting your mask on first, then slipping your hood over it. With the mask under the hood, you can get a proper seal without your hood messing it up.

Thanks to the awesome Gabe Scotti, of Kaimana Divers for the tip. If you're ever in Oahu, Hawai'i, be sure to give Gabe a call.

Homemade Swimmer's Ear

Repetitive multi-day dives can take its toll on your ears, with your eardrum feeling like it's marinating in sea water. While a lot of dive shops will be glad to sell you a bottle of a drying solution such as Swimmer's Ear, the discomfort of paying high prices for those little bottles can be worse than the discomfort in your ear.

Here's a quick and easy "recipe" that does the same thing with cheaper ingredients that should be accessible in whatever country you find yourself diving in:

  • 1 part white distilled vinegar.
  • 1 part isopropyl alcohol (preferably 100%, but use …

Two Equipment Uses Every Scuba Diver Gets Used To

Back when I was in the process of getting my basic certification, a diver friend told me there are two things every diver gets used to:

  • Spitting in their mask
  • Peeing in their wetsuit

I am told by my spouse that this is something familiar to swimmers as well (substitute goggles for mask and swimsuit for wetsuit).

Update: Peeing in your wetsuit makes it smell absolutely horrible after a while, unless you periodically rinse it in diluted chlorine water, for example, in a pool.

Marine Parks Save the Planet

Last week, the New York Times published an op-ed piece entitled To Save the Planet, Save the Seas. The article addresses shortcomings of the recent climate talks in Copenhagen. One result from these discussions is an incentives program encouraging countries to preserve carbon dioxide-absorbing land.

The author points out that while this is a move in the right direction, it neglects an important consideration: in addition to producing oxygen, oceans absorb ~25% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Thus countries should be encouraged to establish marine protected areas to preserve coastal habitats from human interference. Doing so is far less …

10 Reasons to Start Scuba Diving Now

Interested in diving? Need a good reason to get certified? Here are 10:

  1. It's an activity for everyone

    Grandparents, children, paraplegics, and even quadriplegics can dive (the latter two are a subject for a separate post). There's no excuse for anyone not to dive.

  2. The reefs are dying

    It's true. At this rate, 60% of the world's reef systems will be dead by 2030. Do everything you can to help at home, but don't hesitate to get out there and see what you've been missing!

  3. It motivates travel

    There is great diving to be had all over the world. Diving …