The 5 Best Scuba Diving Tips

Scuba Diving 2

You have completed your diving course and you have booked your ticket to one of the premier destinations from a vacation packages brochure.  You are so excited you cannot sit still, with thoughts of cruising through crystal blue waters, surrounded by brightly coloured tropical fishes, and possibly a sand shark or two.

But, you’re nervous. And, so you should be.  Swimming under water, never mind breathing under water, is as natural to humans as walking on land is to a whale.  We are not meant to be able to be one with our sea friends, yet, many do.

To ease your understandable worries, you need to be prepared.  Your course has given you the basics, and you should repeat those rules over and over in your head, until they are part of you like breathing (above the water, that is).

But, we have a few tips for you that will have you entering the water with confidence and coming out the other side in one piece. Okay, that was a bad joke!  No, really, you paid a lot of money to learn to scuba dive and get to that island holiday; so best you make the most of it.

  1. Equipment Savvy

You may have all the skill under the sun, but if your equipment fails you under the water, you will be in serious trouble.  From your wetsuit to your tank, from your goggles to your flippers, you want to know that, when you’re 20 feet under, you can rely on your equipment.  You don’t necessarily have to spend all your savings, but you also don’t want to be replacing gear over and over again.   There is something to be said for quality when it comes to scuba diving equipment.

  1. Safety First

Much like a skydiver will check his equipment before blasting off out of the plane, so should you be doing the same before blasting into the water.  Check for possibly-tearing belts, broken buckles, odd smelling air from your tank, if your air gauge is acting out in any weird way, and that you have enough air in your tank.

Besides your equipment safety, check the weather conditions, the sea conditions, and that you are feeling good yourself for a dive.  Most diving accidents are because of bad weather conditions, and divers not paying attention to this. There are many online weather sites as well as apps that will give you a few days and even hours ahead as to what the sea and outside conditions will be up to.

If you are not feeling 100%, like you have a cold, are tired, or even if you have muscle aches from previous sport activities, it is best not to go out and dive, unless you are quite experienced.  Rather spend the day relaxing in your comfortable manor house. As being under the water is unnatural for us humans, it is best to not put the body under too much extra strain.

  1. Never Dive Alone

No matter whether you have scoured the seas many a time, or you are a real newbie, it is always best to dive with at least 5 other divers, and to ensure that at least one of you have many dive hours behind you. If that’s you, great, but then prep your fellow divers, to make sure they are aware of the basic safety rules, as well as whether they are all in good shape.  Diving with the locals from where your vacation packages deal got you, is always a good call.  They will know the ins and outs of the terrain, where the sharks hide, and what areas are no-go’s.

  1. Communication is Key

As you are in a world where you cannot use your voice, it is ultimately important to learn to communicate in another way.  And, that other way is via hand signals. There are very specific hand signals that divers are taught in the beginning, and some even go as far as learning deaf hand signals, so they can have more than a cursory conversation.  They can talk about the sea life around them, as well as the vegetation.

Another way in which some divers chat to each other is via a slate board.  If the visibility is good, then this can prove to be a great way to get your message across, especially if you are not good with hand signals, or are a real beginner.

Besides being able to communicate with your diving companions, you need to be constantly checking in on each other, and making sure that everything is okay.  They will do the same with you.  A simple thumbs-up can put their mind at rest, and then everyone can enjoy their dive.

  1. Keep Calm and Keep Diving

Again, as being under the water is a foreign habitat for us, it is very easy to get into a panic, and fast.  The sight of a fin, or a black “something” passing across your visible periphery, can have you set into a flat spin.

And panic + water = disaster!

As you may be diving in close proximity to the others, there are chances you could kick their regulator out of their mouths, or sucker punch someone in the face or gut, simply because you panicked.

The most important part of feeling like you are going to lose it, is to focus in on your breathing.  Never, ever, stop breathing.  In fact, try to keep your breathing quite deep and slow, much like you would if you were having a panic attack outside of the water.

If you are in a situation where you feel less than comfortable, other than the obvious out-of-comfort-zone feel from being in the deep blue sea, then notify your dive master, or fellow divers.  It is best to listen to your gut and end the dive there and then.  There will always be other dives.

Scuba diving is a great sport and there are many magnificent dive sites around the world.  Being fit and confident is an important factor to taking on the world of diving, so adhere to general water safety rules, and remember to have fun.

South Africa: A Top Destination in 2015

The Garden Route is one of the most precious treasures in South Africa ... photo by CC user dlbezaire on Flickr

After hosting the World Cup successfully in 2010, South Africa’s profile has been elevated in the international travel media, which has been transitioning to a respected nation in the world after the trouble filled times that defined much of its 20th century.

Below, we profile several South Africa multi centre holiday ideas that will help you make your trip there as good as it ought to be.

Go on safari in Kruger National Park

One of the activities that South Africa is best known for are wildlife safaris, as they enable foreigners to see animals (like lions, rhinos and giraffes) in the wild that they have only ever seen within the bounds of their local zoo.

There is no better place in the entire country to see these majestic animals then in Kruger National Park, which has protected the massive mammals located located therein since 1898. In addition to the safari tours that are widely available, visitors can also observe a restored village from the Iron Age which sheds light on human life in Southern Africa many thousands of years ago.

Explore the many wonders of the Cape Peninsula

Many tours begin or end in the Cape Town area, and there many things to do within the city and in the rural areas that surround it.

Colorful neighborhoods, outstanding restaurants and views from high atop Table Mountain are all great side attractions to the major historical sight in the area, which is Robbin Island, which is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades during the days of Apartheid.

Outside the city, there are many vineyards that produce some of the world’s best wines, and along the coast, lucky explorers can get to see penguins waddling along the beaches on the Cape Peninsula.

Discover the Garden Route

If you feel like going on a road trip after puttering around the Cape Peninsula, then perhaps driving the Garden Route should be a quest that you should undertake, as it is one of the places in this nation that make it such an outstanding destination.

Named for the abundant vegetation that grows due to plentiful rains throughout the year, this road takes you along a route that is sandwiched between mountains and the Southern Ocean, with plenty of hidden sandy coves to discover along the way.

Whale and dolphin watching tours are available in many of the towns and villages on the route, so be sure to take a day to discover South Africa’s marine wildlife.

UPDATE: For more information on South Africa and other destinations across Africa and around the world, be sure to check out for the hottest places to travel in 2017.