Wednesday, June 29, 2011

With Summer Comes Taster Dives . . .

So the Mapping project has begun . . . Jenny and Phil have been attempting to map the House reef for Jenny’s Divemaster course. It involved a lot of planning and forward thinking. They have now spent numerous hours snorkelling and diving the reef to familiarise themselves with it and have started drawing their map. Let’s hope when it comes to Jenny leading dives she can follow it!

Another person who has been familiarising himself with the house reef is Alex Gwerdener.

Nev’s technique of now you can see . . . now you can’t seemed to be helpful in getting Alex to depends soley on his compass so he knows what it’s like to navigate in low viz conditions. Luckily he didn’t have to do the Navigation dive with the towel on.

Yesterday afternoon we had our first 7 Taster divers of the summer from EC language school. They all got a T-shirt to wear,

and scuba gear of course . . .

Then they had a quick run through of how to use the gear,

then it was off to the confined area

where they were let loose to get used to using the equipment . . .

Monday, June 27, 2011

Anne Japan's Back!

Congratulations to Lawrence who qualified as an Open Water diver yesterday! It only took him a year! After his Open Water Dive 4 at Zurrieq yesterday he has said he’s not going to take such a long break from diving again and is going to be back after his holiday to do his Advanced so then he can start to explore the bottom of the reef at Zurrieq.

We have had lost of Japanese trying diving the last week. Izumi, Miho and Yui did their first diving experience the other day. Luckily for all the Japanese Anne Japan has just arrived back in Malta so everything will soon be clear for anyone who's a bit lost because of the language barrier.

Nev’s been spending more and more time in the water. I actually think he spent more time in the water than out yesterday when him and Gary did a wreck penetration of the Um El Faroud. Warren had the challenge of planning and leading his deep 4 dive to the Faroud dive which was a complete success he even managed to deal with the current that started picking up on the way back to the reef.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Alan has been encouraging everyone to branch out with new ideas to make our customer service even better. Jack has decided along with his many other roles (see a previous blog) he is now going to offer an expert grooming service, which will solve the problem of the tangled mass that is diving hair!

The only down side to this service is that you may have to squat down so he can reach you with the brush and he does have to replace the brush regularly because of the damage he does to the handles!

Before the night dive on Wednesday Phil ran up to Huggins to grab Pizzas for everyone to keep them going. For those of you who are not familiar with Huggins, shame on the instructor who forgot to tell you about it! Chances are though if you were here just for diving you have spent many an evening in Huggins. Huggins is a Pub located about a 5 minute walk from the Dive centre. If you have been diving with us we will give you a card to take there and you will get 25% discount off the bill, yes that does include your pints of Cisk!

More often than not the staff will come and join you once they finish up at the centre, especially Nev, Alan and Pau when the football's on!

Friday, June 24, 2011

New addition to the Divemaster Crew

We have a new addition to our Divemaster crew for 2011. Marec is going to be running around like a mad man helping customers with their gear and instructors with logistics during the busy summer period. And there’s no rest for him under the water either as it will be his job as much as the Instructors’ to make everyone has a good and safe dive, which will mean keeping track of everyone’s air consumption helping people with equalisation problems and retrieving any equipment that might not have been attached properly. It’s a hard life, but he will get plenty of experience from it!

Simon Williams has returned for another week of diving to escape from the real world, bringing with him Marmite!

With us being so busy the last week I don’t think I’ve had introduced Phil to you all yet. Phil is a rescue diver and is going to be working here all summer. So if you are coming out soon this year then he will probably be one of the first people you meet as he spends a lot of time in the kit room getting peoples equipment and tidying up the centre. He also does some diving getting in with the instructors and seeing how courses and pleasure dives are run so that he will fly through his Divemaster course when he turns 18 next year.

Night Dive with the Film Crew

It was man vs dog in the office this morning as Jack managed to stealthily nick Alan’s undersuit just as he was putting it on . . . Jack won initially but then Viv came along and got them back no problem! Progress is being made!
Tom and Derek are here doing some pleasure diving at the moment. They are living proof that underwater photographers do come to Malta. They love taking photos of wrecks and spent yesterday exploring the Um El Faroud. Sini is taking them on a tour of Anchor bay today so they should get some good shots of the cave and marine life there as well as the picturesque film set Popeye Village which is situated on the water edge.

The Film crew came for a night dive on the Maori on Wednesday. Because they are still filming world War Z on the road down to the Maori there are green screens, truck loads of equipment, dusty cars and loads of other props all over the place. Luckily they arranged for the film set security to look after the vans while we were all in the water.

The staff attached strobe lights to the back of their cylinders to make sure everyone stayed together. Mori and Phil completed their Night Speciality while Ken did his first ever night dive as part of his advanced course.

There was lots of life with, rays, cuttle fish and flying gurnards hanging out on the sand, shrimp peering out through portholes with their glowing pink eyes, sea hares moray eels and disputing octopus on the reef, also plenty of bizarre looking fish. Let’s hope the next night dive is just as good!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Say Hello to the Divewise Divemasters for 2011

Conditions on the house reef have been perfect the last few days. The water is glistening and the visibility is great. So perfect conditions for our new divemaster Jenny who arrived last week. She has just completed her rescue course and started Divemaster yesterday.

She is living with Fran Pau and Steph and will be working hard for the next month. It's going to be a steep learning curve for her and a brilliant experience. She may also be learning how to use a dry suit so she can continue diving when she goes back to Scotland.

Mori is also going to be starting his Divemaster as soon as he has enough dives. As are Justyna and Lieven whenever they have some free time away for the Westin front desk!

Part of their training will be to help out with the Discover Scuba and Open Water Courses, and we have lots of them going on all the time to keep them occupied.

Speaking of DSD’s, Sarah and Jan enjoyed their DSD so much the other day they decided to squeeze in another dive to the world war 2 shipwreck in Valetta Harbour, the Maori before they flew home a couple of days later.

ID My-Gear

Working in a busy dive centre I have come across a recurring problem . . . My gear always seems to go walkabout. Whether someone has mistaken it for their own and put it in their box, or it has ended up being hung up among the school equipment. Sometimes it even ends up in the store cupboard! Don’t get me wrong it always turns up again but the inconvenience of having to hunt around for it and borrow other equipment if the search takes a bit longer than expected can be a pain.

Some of you may have also had this problem when you’ve taken your gear abroad and someone’s been in a rush and has packed something of yours for their dive thinking it was theirs. This causes a problem for you when you come to do your dives for the day.

I have discovered a neat solution to this problem. It’s called ID My-Gear. I’d never seen it until I came to Divewise and I have to say it really solved the problem of my forth element top keep disappearing and it made it much faster for me to find when it was misplaced.

I may have gone a little over the top with the BCD though!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Search and Recovery Speciality

The water is glistening today, good dive conditions? I think so! Jilia is doing her 4th dive since her Discover Scuba Diver course at Qwara today. Her buoyancy is getting better and she’s getting more and more confident with every dive. Lots of divers are off to the Maori for training and pleasure diving, let’s hope the seahorse is out and about.

Irina and Ross both had their first underwater experience yesterday with a Discover Scuba Course. They were both naturals in the water. Let’s hope they keep going with it now they’ve had a taster . . .

Andy and Mori completed their Search and Recovery Speciality last week. They also got some additional practice searching for a real lost object on the house reef – Alan’s Reel!

The skills they and other divers have learnt in the course proved very useful to divers during the beach Cleanup on Wednesday. They learn various different search patterns and when to apply them during a search on the course. This made planning how to cover their cleanup area most effectively much easier for those who have done the course. They also knew the safe way to raise objects when they were dealing with some large/heavy objects they came across during the cleanup.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Divewise Annual Beach Cleanup

We had a very bizarre morning yesterday. Staff, pleasure divers, divers here doing courses and snorkelers from the Hilton, Intercontinental and the Westin Hotels all grouped together in a big team effort to clean up Dragonara reef, Casino Reef and the Roman Baths.

After another of our “expertly” drawn maps was constructed everyone volunteering got split into groups with an Instructor to guide them.

Everyone was briefed on where they would be collecting rubbish and they were each given a bag.

The snorkelers headed off out on the boat with Phil. Their job being to collect any floating rubbish and - if they are good at duck diving – some rubbish off the bottom.

The divers went off to their allocated section of the Reef with their guide and collected want rubbish they came across along the bottom.

Dragonara reef seemed almost void of rubbish, probably because our divers pick up rubbish they come across as they dive.

However there is always something that needs clearing away that can't be tackled on a normal dive . . .

No prizes for guessing who brought back the biggest piece of litter . . .

After all the hard work . . . everyone involved was rewarded with a buffet of sandwiches, cakes, fruit and every non-alcoholic drink you can think of, courtesy of the Westin Hotel.

Naturally Nev made sure anything left over was stored safely in the fridge for later . . .