Tuesday, May 31, 2011

So you Have Some Spare Cash to Finally Get Some of Your Own Dive Gear, But What to Buy? . . .

So you’re an Open Water diver. You’ve done quite a few dives now and are thinking about purchasing some equipment. Problem is diving is and equipment intensive sport. And good equipment doesn’t always come cheap.

People who are relatively new to diving often ask what equipment is worth investing in initially as very few people can afford to buy all the equipment in one go. Each diver who own their own equipment will have different opinions on that to buy first but the general consensus is that a mask, a dive computer and an exposure suit are probably the most popular and sensible choices.

To enjoy your dives you want a mask, and an exposure suit that fit properly. Rentals cannot always guarantee a good fit. If you’ve ever had a leaky mask because there isn’t one that fits your particular face shape or you have to wear contacts while diving because you can’t rent a prescription mask that will correct your vision perfectly it can put a bit of a dampener on the experience.

Having a wet suit that is too loose means you end up getting cold quickly. Not so much of a problem when diving in the warm waters of Malta but if your home means colder waters you want a good fitting suit to keep you warm. At the other end of the scale having a wet suit that is so tight it involves you holding on to a pole while your buddy lifts you horizontal in the air in an attempt peel the suit from your legs is a hilarious experience but a rather sweaty unpleasant one to be doing every time you want to dive!

The dive computer is just as important if not more important. Yes you can plan your dives using the RDP, however many divers have an instructor or divemaster plan their dives for them and just stay at the same level as them. Divewise do recommend that divers hire a computer for every dive if they don’t have one of their own as it’s much safer for every diver to have their own computer that records their exact dive profile as we are aware that many divers do not sit there before a dive working out their maximum depths and times for that dive and then working out their required surface interval after their dive. Having a computer makes planning a dive and diving the plan easy and makes you a safer diver.So this makes buying a computer a sensible first choice.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Steve Bogaerts Has Arrived . . .

Sponge Bob day was a success! Everyone enjoyed the Discover Scuba Diver course and we saw some promising talent within the group.

They’re now looking forward to diving the Maori one afternoon this week after they finish work.

Marco, Ian and Helen are off to explore the wrecks at Cirkewwa today now that the wind has calmed down up there. Helen is very excited to see the Squid egg sac’s on the Rozi.

Steve Bogaerts arrived yesterday to give himself plenty of time to settle in before the Side Mount course begins on the 4th. Jack gave him a once over before deciding he was ok to be let into the centre . . .

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Navigate the Faroud? Challenge Accepted!

Ian completed his deep speciality yesterday managing to plan and lead a dive to the Faroud successfully. He’s a born instructor he was even helping everyone get out of the water. Well done Ian! The whole group were good on air and managed to get to see the bow of the wreck which is spectacular. Marco stood on the front of the bow looking into the blue then dived off the front appreciating the sheer size of the wreck. It really is breathtaking.

Its Sponge Bob day today! Steve is brining all his work colleagues to Divewise, some already divers and some complete beginners who will be having their first dive experience. Once everyone is qualified to 12m with the Discover Scuba Course they are heading off to the Maori to see their first ship wreck.

Hopefully we will have lots of photos of Nev’s briefing for the Discover Scuba Divers . . . the skys the limit for the list of bad jokes he’s probably rehearsed!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Finish off your Open Water Course with a Speciality and Make yourself a More Competent Diver!

Congratulations to Giovanni who completed his open water course on Thursday!

A lot of people who finish their open water course out here often then head home to colder waters which means they don’t dive for a long time because the conditions are a bit less favourable. But you had so much fun on your Open Water course, why would you want to stop! The solution would be to learn about appropriate exposure protection and how to use it. Most people who learn to dive in Malta automatically learn to dive in a wet suit.

However there are a small few who have planned ahead and do their Open water dives in a dry suit which means they master their buoyancy skills in this suit which makes them much better divers to begin with as it is much easier for them to dive in a wet suit than to go from wet suit diving to a dry suit.

Also because they have done their Open water course in a dry suit they only need to do one more dive after to complete the dry suit speciality. So they get their Open water course and the speciality which means they can go and hire a dry suit back home and keep diving so they don’t lose all the muscle memory they have acquired during their open water course.

There’s not only the dry suit specialty that can be done this way. Lots of new divers comment that they struggle with their buoyancy as it is one of the more difficult skills to master. Doing the Peak Performance Buoyancy Speciality combined with the Open water course will give you more time to focus on these skills and will improve your diving no end.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Annual Bar-BQ

Busy day for the boat today. The sea has calmed down over night making conditions prefect for lots of boat diving. Justyna, Lieven and Marco kicked off their day with an early morning dive on the beaufighter and said it would be a great dive to do in the morning before they go to work . . .

Nev returned to work the other day after being really ill the past week. He’s not allowed in the water for a while so he’s been wandering around like a lost sheep looking for something to build, his other passion in life!

Not to worry Nev Alan has the perfect job for you . . .

On the 23rd of Sept we are holding our annual Bar-BQ that you’re all invited to. I know, this sounds like ages off but believe me it comes around fast! Nev’s new building project is going to be the most important feature at the Bar-BQ, the BAR! We are going to have a non-diving fancy dress theme. So we need your help with ideas to make sure we pick a good one.

So drop us an email or contact us on facebook with your ideas!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Atristic Entertainment at Divewise

The bad weather is starting to calm down gradually so divers are off for an adventure on the Um El Faroud, while some lucky new divers are doing their Discover Scuba Diving experience up at Cirkkewwa to avoid the rough water on the house reef.

Liam, member of Viv’s family have been sharing his artistic talents with the Divewise Staff, much to Jacks humiliation!

Jacks spent the other day expressing how he feels about diving and smoking ….

He’s now lying in wait for some gullible person to open the cabinet so he can get at Alan’s boots!

Nev is back on his feet after a week of being very ill but he won’t be getting back in the water for a while so he’s probably going to think of something new to build to keep him occupied!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nitrox Speciality Course – it’s a matter of time!

If you’re into wreck diving you may have already discovered that diving wrecks generally involves diving closer to your limits. You don’t tend to find great big tankers in 10m of water. If you did there wouldn’t be much point in diving them because most of the wreck would be above the surface! Wrecks tend to be found below 20m that way ships passing above them are not going to run into them.

Because our no decompression time decreases the deeper we go we don’t get to spend much time on the wrecks before we have to come up to avoid going into decompression which would put you at risk of getting the bends.

So for those of you who like to go deep and are fanatical about diving wrecks it can be quite disappointing when you only get to spend 7 minutes exploring the site before you have to head for the surface again.

The solution to this problem is to dive on Nitrox. Nitrox increases the time you can spend at a given depth and so allows you to spend more time in the deeper dive sites so you can really make the most of your dive.

However diving on Nitrox requires special training and no dive centre of filling station will supply you with Nitrox unless you are certified to use it. The Nitrox Speciality course teaches you about diving on Nitrox so that you can safely extend your bottom time and get the most out of your deeper dives.

Divewise is a Nitrox filling station and so we can train you and take you diving on Nitrox. After the course you can do all your dives on Nitrox if you like, like many others choose to do.

So for those of you who like to dive wrecks, dive deep and what to spend more time diving then the Nitrox course is certainly something worth considering.

Diving on Gozo

The wind has been picking up and so this means rough water on the house reef . . .

Pau and Ed are concerned that all the rocks they’ve moved over the last few days will end up back in the confined!

The rough weather meant that yesterday our pleasure divers had to go to Gozo to dive the Inland Sea, Blue hole and Azure Window. What a shame for them!

The Inland Sea and tunnel was first. For those of you that haven’t done this dive it is certainly worth considering on your next visit. The 3m deep Inland sea isn’t so impressive but once you drop down at the entrance of the 80m tunnel that leads to the sea you can’t not be impressed. The tunnel is so big a double-decker bus could drive through it. The dramatically shaped walls of the tunnel harbour lobster and a variety of other marine invertebrates, though you need a torch to seek them out. There is some impressive changes in the light in the tunnel especially when the boats pass through the tunnel which make for some spectacular photographs.

The long walk to the Blue Hole for the second dive was challenging in the heavy gear but it the dive made it well worth the effort! There were plenty of fish, groupers, a really big nudibranch and Jimmy and Frederick even saw a Conger eel in the Coral Gardens!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Digital Underwater Photography Speciality Course

Someone once said to me. Why go diving to experience this beautiful underwater scenery and not take photographs of it? The truth is a lot of people new to diving want to take photographs so they can remember what it was like and share their experiences with non-divers.

However the reality is that taking photographs underwater is a lot different to taking photographs on land. Buying a waterproof disposable camera and taking it underwater normally results in very blue or very green blurry pictures, which in no way portray the experience that you had underwater and are rather disappointing to look at. What’s even more annoying is the deeper you go the worse the pictures seem to get.

Learning some basic rules about taking photos underwater will help solve a lot of these problems almost instantly, and the people you’ve been showing your pictures too will finally start to see the underwater world they way you see it.

After you have learnt these tricks you just need to practice and play around. The DUP course teaches you the basic tips and tricks you need to learn to dramatically improve the quality of your underwater pictures and it also gives you the opportunity to play around with your camera and get familiar with the settings that work best with a given depth and water condition. It also gives you an opportunity to ask questions about Photoshop and other photo editing software.

So if you are interested in sharing your experiences with others or just creating nice memories for yourself this is a course defiantly worth considering.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Cowry Trade

While Pau and Ed were clearing rocks from the confined area the other day they decided to collect shells for the hermit crabs in the fish tank so the crabs have a greater selection of shells to choose from. They also tried to catch fish for the fish tank . . . trying being the operative word I think they managed to catch one but it managed to escape again.

Hermit crabs are plentiful in Malta and are not protected so it’s ok for us to keep some in the tank. However there are a number of species that you commonly see while diving in Malta that are protected. The sad reality is that nobody knows they are protected because there is no information around to make people aware of this and many new divers want to take shells as souvenirs when they go diving so we always have to remind them to look but not touch.

One species that tourists commonly like to take is the Cowrie. The Cowrie is a Gastropod Mollusc that has a very beautiful shell and is often sold to tourists as jewellery although this is illegal in some places.

The shell (cowry) has had many uses throughout history. Its most significant and long-lasting use was currency. The shells of cowries (especially Monetaria moneta)

were used for centuries as a currency in Africa, Asia, Australia, Oceania and other parts of the world. It was still being used in some parts of Africa up until 1921.

The shell has also been used for other purposes which give it additional value such as, in decoration, ornamentation (Egyptian tombs), divination, and in games (i.e. the pawn in chess).

The cowries were caught in nets, dried in the sun allowing the inner flesh to rot, piled into heaps and then transported across the Ocean in the ships ballast to be traded.

The Maldives were noted as the centre of the cowry trade over a period of 4000 years, from the earliest records of Arab merchants to the accounts of adventurers and later European visitors. They were even traded in Africa for slaves during the slave trade. In 1900 30-60,000 shells would buy one male slave.

These uses have endangered many species of cowries and so they are now protected in many places. In some countries it is now illegal to even pick up certain species of living cowrie.

In Malta the following species are protected:


Erosaria spurca

English Common Name: Spotted Cowrie/Porcelaine Juane

Maltese Common Name: Ba`bu`a Ttigrata

Luria lurida

English Common Name: Brown Cowrie/Mediterranean Cowrie

Maltese Common Name: Bahbuha tal-Ghajnejn

Schilderia achatidea

English Common Name: Agate Cowrie

Maltese Common Name: Bahbuha

Zonaria pyrum

English Common Name: Pear Cowrie

If you want to find out some of the other species of marine fauna that are protected see the link below:


Anyone Fancy a Rock Lifting Contest in the Confined Area?

Pau and Ed have a very important job to do today. No it’s not diving, or building. It’s much more important than that. Its rock lifting! They are clearing all the big boulders out of the confined area to make the bottom flatter and a bit deeper for the students as some parts of the pool are too shallow. They managed to move a grand total of 7 boulders yesterday. Let’s see if they can beat that record today.

Viv is taking a few days off because she’s not feeling too well. Although knowing Viv she’s probably still cleaning the house or something like that! She has kept Jack home with her so everyone’s shoes and socks are safe, for now . . .

A big welcome to Sascha arrived last night. He is originally from Austria but is now Swiss. He is going to be working at Divewise for the summer. His will mainly be helping out with Techwise, Divewises sister company however he is also a recreational dive Instructor so will also be doing some work with Divewise when we are really busy.

Giovanni from EC school did his first dive ever with us yesterday. He actually managed to hover in the confined area his buoyancy was that good! He enjoyed it that much that he is coming back straight after language school today to do his start his Open Water Course.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The PADI World Welcomes Two New Instructors!

Darrell and Sini both passed their IE on Saturday! It was hard work and very stressful for all involved but they did it and they will remember it as a brilliant experience. They went out to celebrate being new Instructors that evening. Darrell heads home today but will be back again soon and will no doubt be doing a bit of teaching on his return. Sini will be back in this week to start teaching.

All the stress of running an IDC, and the pressure of coming up with new jokes seems to have finally caught up with Nev so he’s not feeling too well and he’s taken the day off to recover.

Patrick Sartorius arrived from Holland on Saturday. He became an Open Water Scuba Instructor in November. Having done his training with Divewise he has come to work with Divewise for a month for a break from the colder waters of Holland. Now that it is getting busier we defiantly need the extra pair of hands. He speaks Dutch, English, French and German.

We had some guys in today to install the booster pump in the compressor making it more efficient.