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Upcoming Diving Season in the Maldives

November 8th, 2009 Comments off

A new diving season has arrive in the Maldives…

For more information on diving holidays, visit Maldives Dive Travel now!

The Maldives, an island nation located in the Indian Ocean and comprised of over 1000 atolls, features some of the world’s best scuba diving sites

Maldives Diving Season

Iruvai, the North-East Monsoon, brings with her the Maldivian dry season, ushering in a distinct diving season.

Maldives Weather

The Indian Ocean has a great effect on the climate in Maldives by acting as a heat buffer; absorbing, storing, and slowly releasing the tropical heat. The temperature of the Maldives ranges between 24°C and 33°C throughout the year. Although the humidity is relatively high, the constant cool sea breezes keep the air moving and the heat mitigated.

The weather in the Maldives is affected by the large landmass of South Asia to the north. The presence of this landmass causes differential heating of land and water. These factors set off a rush of moisture-rich air from the Indian Ocean over South Asia, resulting in the southwest monsoon.

Two seasons dominate Maldives’ weather: The dry season, associated with the winter northeast monsoon “IRUVAI,” and the rainy season, brought by the summer southwest monsoon “HULHANGU.”

According to the traditional Maldivian calendar, the IRUVAI begins in December with typically strong, unsettled winds and rough seas that gradually travel down the Maldives from the north. It is divided into nine “Nakaiy,” or periods, with the last “Nakaiy” finishing in April. The “Iruvai” brings the driest weather period to the Maldives, where the air possesses a comparatively short sea track compared with that during the remainder of the year.

Diver hooked on the reef using a current hook. Upcoming Diving Season in the Maldives

Diver hooked on the reef using a current hook

Currents in the Maldives

The exposure of the Maldives to the vast Indian Ocean ensures that an immense body of water is constantly flowing across the plateau on which these atolls are built. Oceanic currents are largely influenced by the direction of the trade winds. They flow from the NE to SW during the Iruvai and from SW to NE during the Hulhangu. They are of great strength, where currents in the channels near Male’ have been recorded at four knots or more.

Tidal currents flow according to the height of the tide and the direction of the prevailing winds, and are said to be much weaker than oceanic currents, though they causes velocity variations in the flow. At the atoll passages, current streams can be quite irregular due to the islands, reefs and sandy shoals.

Best Time to Dive in the Maldives

The North-East Monsoon is considered the best period to dive in the Maldives, as a result of continuous flowing of water into the atolls, especially the channels the feature clear water and lots of food for the pelagic creatures, such as the gray reef shark and the whale shark.

Due to the continuous flow of the North-East Monsoon current, the visibility becomes crystal clear, which is why this is one of the best times to go scuba diving in the Maldives.

Felidhu Atoll

The Felidhu Atoll, within the range of liveaboard diving, is often visited during the North-East Monsoon due to the high possibility of spotting some larger marine life.

Almost all the dive sites are channels in local “Kandu” based dives. The incoming current attracts lager fish and channel crossing has become a common way of performing dives in these channels. The entrances of the channels are at a depth of 28 to 30 meters and the width of these channel are no more than 150 meters.

 Upcoming Diving Season in the Maldives

Gray Reef Shark

Maldives Fish Life

Due to the North-East Monsoon‘s currents, the channels’ entrances are attractive to bigger fish, such as gray reef sharks, white tip reef sharks, schooling silver jack fish, tuna, schools of eagle ray and many more.

Early morning dives to hammerhead shark point “Fotteyo Kandu” is also a highlight during this season. Hammerheads are not only seen during the early morning hours here, but have also been seen by divers during the day.

Channels like Miyaru Kandu, Devana Kandu, Diggiri Kandu and Alimatha Dekunu Kandu are also well known among the liveaboards.

In addition to Felidu Atoll, other atolls, North and South Male’, Ari atoll, Meenu atoll and Baa atoll are also considered to be excellent diving sites during the North-East Monsoon.

If you are booked for a diving holiday this season, I strongly recommend that all the divers possess a current hook, have your scuba gear tuned up and get ready for a new season of diving in the Maldives!

For more information on diving holidays, visit Maldives Dive Travel now!

Preventing Hypoxia while Scuba Diving

August 19th, 2009 Comments off

How to Prevent Hypoxia while SCUBA Diving

Hypoxia is a medical condition wherein a certain part of the body is deprived of a certain amount of oxygen. This condition can lead to various tissue damages and can affect even the most experienced diver. Divers usually experience hypoxia during altitude dives. It is caused by a decrease in air pressure in deeper waters, hence providing less oxygen for the diver to breathe. What can a diver do in case of hypoxia? Have no fear because here are some safety tips you should consider.

Symptoms of Hypoxia

Symptoms of hypoxia include:

  • fatigue
  • shortness of breathing
  • light-headedness
  • exhaustion

If you ever experience any of these symptoms it is best that you stop diving immediately. You should then rest until you can breathe normally again and you have resumed normal respiration.

What to do Before going underwater to prevent Hypoxia?

In order to prevent hypoxia, make sure you are resting before the dive.  Try not to exert yourself too much while hauling your diving equipment. Once you get into the water, be sure to catch your breath before descending into the water. Resurfacing slowly prevents your body from getting shocked by the sudden change in pressure, and this will help prevent hypoxia or decompression sickness from occurring. If you live at a high altitude, then it is best that you try to familiarize your body with the sudden change in air pressure by staying in lower places for a while before scuba diving in the ocean.

Altitude Diving Safety Measures to Avoide Hypoxia

Before going altitude diving, it is important that you go through the proper training in order to avoid Hypoxia. You can get the required training from certified diving centres. In addition, you also must have the proper gear for it, and make sure that your equipment is in good condition. If you are an experienced scuba diver, but you haven’t done it for a while, then it is recommended that you take a review class to refresh your skills before the dive. Finally, it is important that you always dive with a buddy. Even the most experienced divers do not go into the water without having a dive partner with them. There is always time for safety, so don’t take it for granted!

Scuba Diving World Record Attempt

August 17th, 2009 Comments off

Scuba Diving World Record Attempt

On October 10-11, brothers Declan and Paul Devane will be attempting to break the current Guinness World Record for the longest open water scuba dive at Scubadive West dive center, Renvyle, Co. Galway. The current record is held by Jerry Hall, who achieved it on September 2, 2004. The dive lasted for 94 hours and 9 minutes.

Scuba Diving World Record Logistics

The two scuba divers will be assisted by 40 support divers throughout the dive, which will be coordinated by Gary Jennings, a close friend, on a specially built platform on the surface.

What to Expect from the Scuba Diving World Record Attempt

The brothers are currently training for the event – and they really need to – since this is their first ever attempt to break a Guinness Record in their entire diving career. The two scuba divers will be submerged in cold waters – about 15 degrees Celsius or less — and will not be allowed to break the surface throughout the whole attempt.

Their Scuba Diving Gear

Given the fact they the two scuba divers will be submerged in really cold waters for a prolonged period of time, they will be using special SCUBA gear to keep their body temperatures at normal levels and prevent hypothermia. Their scuba gear includes: drysuits, dry gloves, and heated undervests. They will also be using full-face masks that will allow the scuba divers to communicate with each other and their boat. As for their breathing apparatus, the two will be using independent twin cylinders and then shift to 100 percent oxygen towards the end of the dive. Finally, they will also be bringing electronic games in sealed bags and underwater speakers to keep them entertained through those long hours.

The Scuba Diving World Record Goal

Aside from breaking a scuba diving world record, this dive also aims to raise funds for the children’s ward of Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, and the Helping Hands children’s charity. It will also be done in memory of Declan’s late son, Cillian, who died of a brain tumour last February. He was two years old.

Scuba Diver Motivation

According to Declan, his main motivation to endure the whole dive attempt is his son. He said that he will be bringing a picture of his late son with him into the water to remind him that cold waters and fatigue is nothing compared to what he went through with his son’s passing.

The dive will be done in October, one of the coldest months of the year, and the divers will not be allowed to take breaks, meals, even toilet stops. So these two will definitely need all the motivation they can get!

How to Refill a Scuba Tank

August 14th, 2009 Comments off

How to Refill a Scuba Tank

scuba tnak How to Refill a Scuba Tank

Scuba Tank

When it comes to diving, everyone knows that a scuba tank is an essential requirement. These tanks provide the oxygen we need to function while enjoying the underwater world and all the marine life that lives beneath the waves. You need a fresh tank of air every time you go scuba diving. Renting a tank every time you go is an option, although it can be costly. If you’re going to dive frequently and not always at a dive centre, you might consider purchasing a scuba tank and refilling it yourself. Although refilling your own scuba tank involves installation costs and a rather pricey investment in the equipment initially, it will help save you money in the long run. Operating a compressor, the main piece of equipment required for refilling scuba tanks also requires training and a certification. The certification you require is a Professional Scuba Inspector (PSI) or other DOT- or OSHA-approved certification in order to legally fill any cylinders. Once you have the certification, follow these simple “How To” steps:

1. Start the refill process by checking the hydrostatic testing dates on the scuba tank. It is imperative not to fill scuba tank that do not comply with this requirement.

2. Empty the scuba tank until there are only five to ten pounds per square inch (PSI) of air. Pay attention to sounds of loose objects or water inside. Cylinders that sound damaged or flooded must not be filled. Before placing the scuba tank in a cool-water tank at a compressor facility, you must also inspect the valve for damage, rust or debris.

3. Once you have performed the preliminary inspection of filters, gauges and the compressor itself to make sure they comply with the operational specifications, as well as set the compressor to shut down automatically at the specified rating for the scuba tank, you may begin the actual work of refilling the scuba tank.

4. Make sure you have wiped the cylinder valve and compressor yoke clean and dry, fasten yoke to the cylinder and open the cylinder valve completely. Start the compressor cycle in order to fill the scuba tank.

5. As a precaution, you must monitor the automatic shut off, and be prepared to shut off the compressor manually if need be. Remember, the compressor must never be left unattended while filling the cylinder.

6. Finally, be sure to take steps to ensure your safety of that of those around you, as unexpected accidents may occur.