Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

scuba monkey rescue breathing accident article

Sometimes, sadly, things can go wrong.

 

Social media is and always has been a double-edged sword. It can be used to spread good ideas, spark discussion and facilitate friendships. It can also be used for trolling, posting an infinite number of ‘cats falling over’ videos or inciting racism and hate. It led Stephen Fry to leave Twitter due to the a constant barrage of bile and vitriol he was receiving. You pay your money, you take your choice.

 

Scuba diving posts and videos are becoming more prevalent over the internet. Most of this driven by the affordability of technology. Every budding diver now buys an underwater camera before they hone their dive skills. This, again, is driven by social media.

 

That means that sometimes horror diving videos are posted on the internet. Is that a good or a bad thing? Is it better to show these things so people can learn from them? Or is it an invasion of privacy for those involved? Can we justify restricting these scuba accident videos when you’re only a couple of clicks away from road accident footage? How should it be monitored or policed? That’s a whole debate to be had.

 

Rescue Breaths

 

However, for the purposes of this article I thought I’d give my comment on one video that went viral and appeared to spark a lot of interest – eventually arriving on my desk. Just to be clear, this is simply my feedback and risk management advice as an Instructor that has spent over 10 years in pretty most diving environments. This isn’t an endorsement or comment from any training agency.

 

The video you’re about to watch took place in 2012 and is of an ‘Advanced Training Dive’ in South Africa. It’s what appears to be four divers; two students (Waseem and Doug), who we assume to be a Divemaster/Divemaster Trainee (called Niki “who keeps everyone calm”) and an Instructor.

 

The video is around 7 minutes long, so grab a coffee, sit back, relax and take a look:

 

 

Now, what was wrong with this dive? Well, pretty much everything. Ok. Firstly, it’s lucky that everyone survived (as far as I’m aware) injury free. That’s good. I’m pleased. Now let’s look at the negatives or, at least the things that stand out to me as issues.

 

Before we even enter the water, why was the student (the cameraman, who I believe is called Doug – student 2) even filming in the first place?? Cameras are a distraction even with experienced divers on a simple dive, never mind a student on their first deeper dive. Even if Doug had the camera strapped to his forehead or wrist with one of those straps it still, psychologically, leads divers to consider the footage they’ll be getting first and their safety second. It’s like driving a car round a series of cones while on a mobile phone: neither your driving or your conversation is at it’s best! It subconsciously effects their decision making. Had it been my class I would have had a polite conversation with the diver and explained that this was ‘…a training dive and full attention is required. Perhaps, if all goes to plan, the camera can come in on subsequent dives.’ The camera would have remained on the boat.

 

Taking the overall picture of the dive, ask yourself as an observer – do these two students look ready for the deep dive? Does the dive site and the conditions appear conducive to the skill and comfort level of the two divers? One of the tell-tale signs of a novice divers is ‘wafting’: the bad technique of waving hands and arms around in the water as the diver has inadequate control and skill. These two guys are flailing around like they’re dancing the Charleston or auditioning for a production of Riverdance. Had they been adequately pre-assessed, a Peak Performance Buoyancy course instead of a Deep Adventure dive may have been a preferable choice at this stage in their diving. They lack control and it’s this lack of control that acts as trigger for the series of events that follow.

 

Yes, telling someone that perhaps they need to polish their skills before progressing to the next level of their training is a difficult conversation to have, but a necessary one. As dive professionals, that’s what we’re paid to do – give professional advice and use good judgement. No, some customers may not like it. But that’s the job. Although some recreational divers may believe otherwise, Instructors know some things they don’t.

 

While we’re on the basics, we’ll give the instructor the benefit of the doubt and assume that the dive has been planned correctly with depth and time considerations. We’ll also assume that buddy checks were completed, but who is buddied with who exactly? To be at this stage in their diving the divers must be qualified divers. This means they should be aware of the buddy system and that it is their responsibility – the students – to stick together. Under some training agencies they would have signed their agreement to this. Doug and Waseem should have been together from beginning to end of dive, no more than a handful of fin kicks away from each other and, preferably on their first deep dive, right next to each other. This is a failing on both their parts.

 

Next is the descent. This is a wreck dive. Look at 0:44. There is a shot line leading down from the surface. And this is the first ‘deep dive’ these guys have done. Again, we’re back to good judgement. There’s a line, make use of it! There may be water movement, anxiety issues or ear problems with the students. Plus, as someone who coaches instructor candidates, I always emphasise control criteria on training dives. The instructor should have briefed the dive accordingly and positioned himself so that each diver is next to the line before decending. Then, and only then, the group should leave the surface in formation: the instructor leading the group to set the pace and assess conditions. The two student ‘buddies’ behind communicating with each other, staying level and adjusting buoyancy to descend slowly and not exceeding the instructor’s pace. The DM should have been just above the students – sandwiching them – and able to monitor their comfort, safety and progress. And ALL should have been grasping the line in their RIGHT hand and (initially) descending feet first before leveling off and easing into a nice controlled diving position as they progress away from the surface.

 

Using the right hand to hold the line serves multiple purposes:

 

  1. It allows the student divers to stop their descent should they encounter ear problems.
  2. It allows the Instructor below to act as a barrier to prevent the students exceeding a safe decent/ascent rate.
  3. It allows the students to make buoyancy adjustments, equalise and communicate via hand signals with each other with their left arm – where all buoyancy adjustment takes place – while simultaneously monitoring their depth on their dive computers – which should be mounted on their RIGHT wrists for that reason.
  4. The knock on effect of taking these steps is that it may increase student diver control and decrease student diver anxiety mid-water.

 

Then, finally, when all four divers together arrive at the wreck below the group can then make a final adjustment for neutral buoyancy and check their buddy(s) are ok before releasing their grip on the line and beginning the dive proper.

 

So what actually happened? 0:46 student 1 decides to (wrongly) duck dive head first from the surface and head deeper at an alarming rate leaving the rest of the group. Was Student 1 crazy? Had he lost control? Had he not listened to the briefing? Let’s leave to one side these questions. The fact remains he has irresponsibly abandoned his buddy and shot off on his own. By 1:17 he’s several metres below the group, on his own, with the Instructor appearing to be chasing after him as quickly as his ears allow.

 

Taking students on their first deep dive can be a very focusing experience. One good rule of thumb as an Instructor is to always position yourself so that you or your DM can make immediate physical contact with your students – you need to be in a position to assist your students if required. However, regardless of what the instructor had briefed, Student 1 had taken it upon himself to ignore his group and head down on his own. It is at this point, for me, the dive would have also taken a different course.

 

Presented with this situation, the Instructor has essentially two ‘safer’ options, again depending on his professional judgement. One, he signals to his DM to stay with Student 2 and that they should (together) surface while the Instructor apprehends Student 1 and aborts the dive. Or, two, he signals to the DM to stay with Student 1 and slowly follow down on the line while he, the instructor, apprehends Student 1, checks he’s ok, and waits for DM and Student 2 at the bottom of the line for 1 minute. Then, if DM and student 2 do not appear, abort and begin a safe ascent up the line together.

 

What happens, in contrast, is Student 1 is on his own, being chased by the Instructor. The DM (for some reason) has abandoned Student 2, who is mid-water. This leaves Student 2, by 1:30 into the footage mid-water, with a burst ear, breathing like he’s Sepp Blatter in a FIFA investigation room – out of control and teetering on the brink of panic. And ALL are too far away from their one control point, the shot line, except the DM who is on the line with her back to Student 2.

 

2:19, Student 1 finally realises “Hey, I have a buddy!” and flaps over to his side. Finally, at 2:30, on the wreck, Student 2 signals to Student 1 he has a problem. Good. He’s communicating. This is the first positive thing so far. However, sadly, both Student 1 and 2 have insufficient skill or focus to maintain their buoyancy. They’re both so busy ‘wafting’ that Student 1 knocks Student 2’s reg out of his mouth at 2:43. It’s not clear where Instructor and DM are at this point.

 

Between 2:50 and 3:00 things start to take a turn for the worse. Without looking at their computers which, ominously, neither seems to do – Student 2 either goes up (which seems more likely based on later events) or, alternatively, Student 1 begins going down. Either way, neither has the presence of mind to take the line and stop, think and breathe.

 

At 3:10 the Instructor appears in shot. He’s waving his finger at Student 2. This would seem to indicate that Student 2 has ascended and is close to group separation at best, rapid ascent at worst. The Instructor appears to gain control of Student 2 and by 3:33 Student 2 is on the deck of the wreck again and his breathing rate is restored to something more normal. The Instructor, to his credit, is at this point trying to get his group together, despite his students’ best efforts. At 3:50 he identifies the DM and Student 1 away from the site in the deeper water and tries to gather the divers in the same place to regain control. And, just when you think he’s finally, FINALLY, got things almost resembling a proper Deep Adventure Dive class, Student 2 begins to go up AGAIN! And, again at the same time, the DM turns her back on Student 1 who has lost control of his buoyancy in the deeper water behind her. At 4:12 the Instructor appears to make the decision to cut his losses and abort the dive. He signals Student 2 that the group will be going up.

 

4:24 and Student 1 grabs the DM’s alternate air source and is in active panic. I would assume that, due to excessive negative buoyancy, rapid breathing and dead air space combined, Student 1 has begin to feel overexerted and air-starved and jumped to the conclusion it’s a regulator problem. The DM and Instructor are trying to calm Student 1. Meanwhile Student 2 watches and continues to film while they begin the ascent.

 

The DM turns to Student 2 at 4:51 and, rather than instruct him to calm down and stay with her, she gives a shrug and a ‘What’s going on?’ signal. They begin an ascent, mid-water. Ascent rate unknown.

 

OK, so at this point there has been a whole catalogue of cock-ups. Some from the Instructor and DM, some from the Students. The group has become anxious and is having to abort. They are mid-water and away from the line. Options are running out.

 

At this point as an Instructor (if I was transported into his wetsuit) my initial duty of care is to ensure that Student 1, who is panicking, makes a safe ascent. Student 1 is not being rational and this is the priority – the danger point. I would then expect (and instruct) a good DM to take control of Student 2, who’s currently unattended but rational and (if possible) launch an SMB to alert any boat traffic that we’ll be ascending mid-water – possibly in boat traffic – and try to keep the whole group together.

 

5:30, we’re back on the surface. This, of course, means NO safety stops were made. No oxygen is provided but we’ll assume that the Instructor has assessed the whole group and asked about their well-being and any signs or symptoms of DCI and has O2 on standby.

 

The video ends with the rolling text that both students are ‘…soon going to be divemasters. But nothing you can learn from a text can prepare us for what took place that day!!. That’s where I disagree.

 

Everything that’s goes wrong here is discussed in all the training up to that point; whether that’s something as simple as maintain buoyancy and buddy contact. Or, alternatively, using an ascent/descent line for control and how to deal with vertigo. Both are studied within the Open Water training.

 

Or, from the perspective of a DM or Instructor, group control, assisting with student divers in training, control criteria and risk management are all studied within DM and Instructor training.

 

It’s easy, sat here with a cup of coffee watching the footage and with the benefit of hindsight, to be smart. The Instructor lost control in the opening seconds of the class and spent the rest of the dive chasing his tail. It snow-balled out of control from there. However, this is all stuff that has been presented in black in white earlier in their training and – had the training been followed – there are a several things that could and should have been done to prevent this even occurring in the first place:

 

  1. Pre-assess the student divers’ skill level. These two guys should not have been on a Deep Adventure Dive based on the evidence presented. Their skill level and general dive procedures were poor.
  2. Don’t allow students to take cameras on a training dive. Training dives are for training.
  3. Thoroughly brief the student divers on the dive plan and refresh them on the buddy system, which was disregarded here.
  4. Remind them about contingency procedures and what to do if there is a problem such as separation, ears, vertigo or disorientation.
  5. Thoroughly brief the DM (if Niki was a DM/DMT) that no student must be left unattended. Always be in a position to make contact and offer assistance. Don’t turn your back on the group unless necessary for minimal periods.
  6. Use the risk management tools at your disposal. In this case go up and down the shot line to maintain group control.
  7. Be clear with your students in the water. Give them clear signals and take control of the group.
  8. If unsure, abort the dive. Do it another day or at another site when they are ready.

 

None of the above is a personal criticism of the DM and Instructor in this video. I’m sure they’re nice people. And a large proportion of the blame for the cluster-f*ck you’ve just watched lies with the students – who seem to have abandoned the basic principles of recreational diving learned in training up to that point in search of their next qualification – or some good footage on their GoPro camera to post on Facebook or YouTube.

 

Professionals, help protect your students and yourself by briefing your DM to do their job. Put any risk management procedures in place that you can to help with diver safety. And brief your students to follow the plan. You can only do so much. But we have to do our best.

 

How do I feel about the footage having reviewed it again? Well, I hope that recreational divers or non-divers don’t view this as a ‘typical’ dive. Diving is a great sport. And, statistically, it’s very safe. Let’s keep it that way. Play it safe. Refresh before your next course, hone your skills and be ready to take the next step – don’t run before you can walk or you won’t be doing yourself or the group you dive with any favours.

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‘Paradise’ is often used to describe tropical diving locations, however, the Maldives encapsulates every sense of the word.

Manta Ray Maldives

Mantas are visitors to The Maldives

 

A group of 1,200 islands located south west of India and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives hosts an abundance of diverse marine life and offers some of the best dive sites in the world. Whether it’s exploring the lagoons and shallow reefs or flowing through fast currents on challenging drift dives, the Maldives appeals to divers of all abilities. In fact its actual name has the word ‘dive’ in it!

The Maldives offers diving throughout its wet and hot seasons. Due to its location you can expect the air temperature to be between 26-32 degrees and the sea temperature remains at a very pleasant 25-30 degrees all year round.

For the best visibility underwater visit between December and April. During these months the weather is very hot and sea conditions are generally good.

The wet season in the Maldives runs from May to August. There is a higher likelihood of rain, high winds and storms during this time. Water visibility can be reduced down to around ten metres during the wet season, although high levels of Plankton increase the chance of spotting Whale Sharks and Manta Rays!

Here is a selection of some of the best places to dive in the Maldives!

The Kuredu Express.

Maximum depth 27 metres.

Better suited to confident and experienced divers, the Kuredu Express is an exhilarating dive site so called because of its fast currents! Situated in the Lhaviyani Atoll and only a ten minutes boat ride from the island of Kuredu, this famous site offers a great opportunity to dive with larger marine life.

The pretty reef, teeming with small lagoon fish, sits at five metres. Most divers prefer to casually drift off the sloping reef and drop down to a sandy channel at around twenty-five metres. It is here, past a corner and amongst some alcoves in the reef, where the action really begins!

It is wise to hold onto the rocks in an effort to maintain your position with the current whizzing past! Here you will see dozens of Grey Reef Sharks taking advantage of the small marine life (food!) flowing past in the deep water channel’s current. Napoleon Wrasse, Morays, Eagle Rays, Large Tuna and Stingrays are also regular sightings.

 

Kureda Express

Kureda Express

 

Okobe Thila.

Maximum depth 33 metres.

Okobe Thila, or Barracuda Giri as it is also known, is a unique dive site situated within the North Male Atoll.

The site is made up of three stunning coral covered pinnacles and divers have two choices as to how they explore the area depending on how strong the current is.

The first option is to drop down to the main reef at twelve metres via a shot line, then continue down the slope to 25 metres where small overhangs and caves harbour inquisitive Moray Eels.
The second option is to begin the dive by drifting on the current before gradually descending down the sloping reef and navigating the pinnacles.

A bright sandy slope reaches up to around five metres and divers can spend their safety stops amongst Gorgonian Sea fans, soft corals and Anenomes.

Divers are almost guaranteed to encounter some (very friendly!) Napoleon Wrasse, Lionfish, Anthias, Scorpionfish, schools of Oriental Sweetlips and Bannerfish. Big Eye Trevallies, Barracuda and Dog Tooth Tuna can often be seen hunting for smaller fish during dawn and dusk dives.

 

Kandooma Thila.

Maximum depth 30 metres.

Found in the South Male Atoll, this unusual pinnacle, shaped like a teardrop, exhibits a stunning amount of marine life.

This dive is best suited to divers of an advanced level due to the strong currents and a rapid negative entry is advisable. Stretching for three-hundred metres, the pinnacle plays host to Barracuda, Big Eye Trevally, Triggerfish and Grouper. At the west point is ‘Jack Corner’ where Dog Tooth Tuna, White-tip Sharks, Eagle Rays and Jack Fish are likely to buzz past.

Overhangs sit along most of the pinnacle and these provide some protection from the current. Many divers prefer to reverse into the strong current and ascend gradually to the top of the pinnacle around twenty metres where Grey Reef Sharks and Eagle are common sightings.

Kandumma Maldives

Kandumma below the surface – fish life is abundant.

 

Broken Rock.

Maximum depth 30 metres.

Divers in the South Ari Atoll can take advantage of this beautiful reef which offers a myriad of exotic marine creatures.

Just a twenty-five minute boat journey from the island of Vakarufalhi and divided into two parts by a rocky canyon (hence it’s name), this site displays acres of soft corals.

Scorpionfish, Moray Eels, Napoleon Wrasse and thousands of small reef fish bustle around the huge fan corals and Anenomes adorning the sides of the canyon. Schools of Bannerfish, Triggerfish, Pufferfish and Anthias are also attracted to the colourful reef.

Divers can expect to experience some strong currents whilst swimming through the canyon, although their hard work is likely to be rewarded by the company of some charismatic Green Turtles on their safety stop.

Oriental Sweetlips

Oriental Sweetlips hanging around the reef!

 

Hammerhead Point.

Maximum depth 30 metres.

Also known as Madivaru Corner this world famous dive site sits within the Rasdhoo Atoll.

Whilst it is only a five minute boat ride from Kuramathi island, Hammerhead Point is mostly favoured by livaboard divers hoping to catch sight of Hammerhead Sharks early in the morning.

The best way to navigate Hammerhead Point is to drop down and follow the reef’s ridge at around ten metres. Underneath the ridge is a series of coves and overhangs stretching to twenty-five metres, where scores of Surgeonfish, Moray Eels, Anthias and Triggerfish can be found.

The elusive Hammerhead Sharks, some up to four metres long, often appear around the outside corner of the ridge and are a breathtaking sight as they emerge from the blue abyss. Some fast currents can occur around this point, so be prepared to fin a bit harder whilst awaiting the arrival of the scallop-headed wonders!

Large schools of Black Snapper and curious Dog-Tooth Tuna are also frequently spotted here.

Hammerhead Maldives

Cross your fingers, you may stumble upon one of these!

Like what you hear? Want to dive the Maldives? Click here for deals on liveaboards!

http://divezone.net/diving/maldives

"If you don't let me use my strobes I'll scream and scream until I can't scream anymore...so there!"

“If you don’t let me use my strobes I’ll scream and scream until I can’t scream anymore…so there!”

In breaking news at The Scuba Monkey’s top-secret research labs (next to Nangtong Supermarket, ask for Bob, the guy with the red beard and glasses) new research has revealed that that boarding a diving vessel can have an adverse effect on mental age and cognitive ability.

In a sample of average holiday divers from Australia to the Red Sea it was found that normal, rational, adult humans who normally hold down responsible jobs in day-to-day life transform into mentally challenged 8 year old children on boarding a diving safari boat.

Sally Arseface, a 31 year Financial Advisor, from Toronto, Canada, said “In my normal working life I can manage to set an alarm clock, get washed, dressed AND catch my bus to work like a normal adult – where I then manage a team of 8 people.” “However”, she said shaking her head, “as soon as I set foot on the boat I appear to have morphed into a petulant 7 year old girl who eats Haribo and chain-watches ‘Frozen’ on DVD. I can’t manage to wake up when scheduled without a wake up call from my Dad, sorry, Instructor. And I can’t arrive on time for a dive briefing despite normally catching a bus twice a day in the ‘real world’. I really have no idea what has happened to me…baffling.”

"Ok, so you've eaten now. Now they'll be a briefing in 30 mins ok?"

“Ok, so you’ve eaten now. Now they’ll be a briefing in 30 mins ok?”

Mike Weaselface, a 47 year old IT consultant from Norway and complete prat said “Back home in Norway I work in the corporate world and am able to follow simple instructions, guidelines and rules without any problem. I drive my car within the rule of the road. I work in my business within the professional guidelines set out, I’m polite with colleagues and yet… as soon as we arrived at the dive centre myself and my wife inexplicably began behaving like a pair of complete twats. My wife threw her cert cards at the instructor like a petulant teenager who’s been told she’s grounded. And then when advised to dive as instructed within local guidelines and not flash delicate marine life, touch coral and follow local ecological guidelines we both began stamping our feet on the boat and throwing a hissy-fit to the tour leader like a pair of toddlers denied ice-cream. It’s embarrassing really.”

Rene Bignose, 53, from Lyon, said “I’ve regressed so far back to infancy since arriving at the dive centre I can’t even manage to dress myself on the boat and have to have a team of local staff put on my wetsuit and fins. I’m like some sort of retard. I even went so far as to leave all the windows open in my cabin when it was raining so that the electric fan would catch fire because I have the mental age of a 4 year old now.”

"Put my fins on! Put my fins on!"

“I don’t know where I left my weight belt!”

Arlene Cousteau, 35, a local instructor, said “It’s strange seeing grown adults not even be able to keep track of where they left their towel or t-shirt. It’s like a temporary lobotomy on check-in. Some days we’re left with 20 Forrest Gumps on the boat. Still, you have to humour them or in this day and age they’ll write a snotty review on Trip Advisor if the water is too salty or the fish don’t look fishy enough for them. Bless ‘em.”

In breaking news at the Scuba Monkey’s top secret research labs it’s been revealed that working full-time in the diving industry for a period in excess of 2-3 years may result in an affliction known as ‘Instructor Tourettes’.

We only asked him where a nice place to get pizza was - now we've got a full briefing.

We only asked him where a nice place to get pizza was – now we’ve got a full briefing.

Sufferers of this condition display several signs and symptoms. If you notice any of the following in your diving colleagues or yourself, please notify your dive centre manager and seek medical advice:

  • Inability to communicate without using hand signals (ask your colleague or friend to say ‘moray eel’ and see if they can keep their hands still)
  • Sufferers usually speak in a slow, broken, grammatically incorrect form of generic non-regional English although they’re talking to a 5 year old.
  • Faint aroma of salt-water at all times.
  • White band on arm where dive computer would normally be present.
  • Collection of well-worn and slightly aromatic fake quicksilver/billabong flip-flops.
  • Collection of salt-stained and faded dive centre t-shirts.
  • Bags under eyes due to sleep deprivation/nitrogen loading.
  • Disproportionately small bank balance and/or large overdraft.
  • No socks.
  • Panic attacks in big cities/crowds.
  • In acute cases sufferers may turn every conversation into a dive briefing.
danger_scuba_diving_signal

Help me…I can only talk in hand signals. No-one warned me about this on my Divemaster course.

Mike, 42, from Ipswich, said “I used to be a professional in the corporate world. Now, after several years working in the diving industry, I can’t hold a normal conversation without discussing fish or using my hands to signal – even ordering a beer at a bar I start talking like I’m a childrens TV presenter. It’s embarrassing. My friends just take the piss out of me.”

Emma, 37, from York, said “I’ve been an instructor working in Asia for 8 years. When I landed back in London and was faced with the modern world I was like Crocodile Dundee or some sort of caveman who’d been thawed out from the ice-age and never seen civilization before – I could barely cross the road without freaking out.”

The best treatment should you have a friend or colleague suffering in this way is to provide them with lots of cold beer and a comfortable bed for a few nights.

Please help these poor unfortunate souls to rehabilitate into normal life.

With time and effort these people can regain normal behaviour and speech patterns and become useful members of society again.

Invisible to most novice divers.

Invisible to most novice divers.

In breaking news today at The Scuba Monkey’s top-secret research labs (just off the A12, near the Texaco Fuel Station and Wild Bean Café, ask for ‘Bob’, red-beard, glasses, you know the bloke…) groundbreaking new evidence has been uncovered regarding novice divers.

Previous schools of thought has assumed that completing your introductory one or two scuba diving courses had no bearing on the students’ eyesight or powers of perception. However, recent evidence has suggested that being a novice diver in the 10-100 dive range can drastically impair vision and memory.

Dr. A Hedgehog of Scuba Monkey Labs commented “…in recent tests these new divers went through a transformation following their basic training. Not only did they, seemingly overnight and for no reason, develop an over-inflated sense of their own diving ability – which in today’s narcissistic society is perfectly normal – but more surprisingly appeared to lose a large proportion of their vision or memory when diving.’

A narcissistic idiot earlier today.

A narcissistic idiot earlier today.

Asked to elaborate, Dr A Hedgehog said “As you’re aware, an experienced diver can usually enjoy the full underwater experience regardless of environment; the topography, the ambience, the water movement, the variety of life from small hermit crabs, dancing shrimps and nudibranchs to schooling fish and beyond, the history of the wreck, the interaction with fellow divers, the peace and tranquility and the sheer wonder of simply being underwater all are enough to keep the experienced diver amused…usually for the whole duration of the dive.”

“However”, he said shaking his head sadly, “this 10-100 logged dives demographic seem unable to focus on anything in-water aside their own, personal, diving needs and bragging rights on the boat – and are only able to physically see something if it is aquatic life greater than 3-4m in size that is physically pointed out to them with the accompaniment of a repeated ting-ting-ting sound – a bit like Pavlov’s dog. Astounding.”

Beautiful...they'll never see them.

Beautiful Bluefin Trevally…they’ll never see them.

We caught up with a diver just surfaced from a dive in the Indian Ocean. Boarding the boat from a stunning dive where Turtles, Peacock Mantis Shrimps, Trevally, Moray and a school of over 100 barracuda were present, Fabrice Crotch, 27, an enormous twat from Switzerland who works in accounting said “I’m an Advanced Open Water diver with 25 dives and I didn’t see a Whale Shark on that dive. In fact I didn’t see anything. Boring. I did manage to kick the other members of my dive group on the head several times and set off the ascent alarm on my computer though, so not all is lost.”

The crowned-prince of twats.

The crowned-prince of twats.

Asked by our research team if he had any other recollection of the dive he rolled his eyes threw his mask randomly on the floor in with someone else’s equipment to cause delays searching for it prior to the next dive, before picking up his iPhone and standing in the middle of the dive deck obstructing everyone else.

We next managed to catch up with Terry Balls, 42, a Carpet-fitter, UKIP voter and irritating arse from Barnsley, UK, at Scapa Flow, Europe’s premier wreck diving site. As he was lifted back onto the boat from a dive on the historic German Battlecruiser, SMS Dresden, we managed to grab Terry’s first words: “It was a bit cold… The instructor said something about a gun or anchor capstan or something, but I didn’t see it…pretty boring.”

"I can't see a Barracuda - how can you expect me to see a fan coral?? Don't worry a new one will grown in a few decades."

“I can’t see a Barracuda – how can you expect me to see a fan coral?? Don’t worry a new one will grow in a few decades.”

This phenomena is still being investigated by the world’s leading Ophthalmologists and Neurologists to decipher causality but there appears to be a strong link between being an inexperienced diver in combination with being an enormous idiot.

Instructor Carlotta Gonzales Fernandez from Tossa de Mar, 33, said, “…these new divers seem to have an uncanny ability to filter out anything smaller than a large eagle ray. I once took my group through a school of dozens of hunting trevally and afterwards they said the dive was boring and they’d seen nothing. Yes, they were idiots.”

Are you a recreational diver? Are you off on holiday soon? Doing some diving? Will you have a diving professional guiding you during the dives? Here’s a few really great ways to get on their nerves, make their life difficult and generally compromise the safety of yourself and the rest of the dive group courtesy of Scuba Monkey diving research labs.

Diving professionals are employed globally to lead dives and offer local diving safety advice and diving tips to certified scuba divers. Each diver paying for this service is, therefore, a qualified diver with an autonomous diver qualification seeking the underwater guidance and dive planning of a diving professional.

However, in this lesson (and it is a lesson) our team of recreational diving experts will show you how you, too, can liven up their dull lives and annoy your diving professional to the brink of a nervous breakdown.

So, sit back and learn some key techniques that will mark you out to experienced diving professionals as a enormous bell-end and someone they can’t wait to see the back of.

 

1. Equipment Savvy

Tom Perkins, 46, of Berkshire, an IT professional and Open Water qualified diver with 32 dives, said “I like to irritate my dive guides by having no clue about diving equipment set-up. I find the best way to get on my Divemaster or Instructor’s nerves is to either a) stare blankly at my scuba equipment for 20 minutes before each dive like a caveman who’s been thawed out of ice after 7000 years and has just seen scuba equipment for the first time – holding up the rest of the dive group – or, b) claim I know what I’m doing before connecting up the hoses incorrectly and leaving the tank band loose to ensure there’s an in-water incident. The key to this annoyance technique is to not be prepared for a diving trip and – certainly – not to take a diving refresher session before the holiday.  And, additionally, ensure you omit a buddy check before entering the water for maximum annoyance. Divemasters and Instructors like nothing better than securing a loose tank by man-handling the cylinder back into a BCD band at 18m in my experience. Livens up their day.”

Annoyance Score: 6

Wrong regulator in? Check. No computer? Check. No Clue? Check.

Wrong regulator in? Check. No computer? Check. No Clue? Check.

 

 

2.  Weight Clueless

Sarah Jones, 35, a HR manager from Bolton says “I trained with BSAC, so naturally my favourite trick on safari boats and day trips is to absolutely insist that I need about 6kg more on my weight belt than I actually need for the dive. It’s a great tactic. This means my buoyancy is completely screwed and I move around beneath the surface like a chimpanzee riding an invisible unicycle, guzzling my air at a rate of knots and compromising the length of the dive for everyone else. On a good day I can have my dive group back at the surface in 25 minutes and my dive guide still with 150bar in his or her tank. Brilliant. I might also ask the guide to carry spares in their BCD for me, like some sort of underwater ‘pack horse’. Then for an added annoyance I complain about the length of the dive as if it’s their fault. It’s great watching their blood boil. The key to this technique, like many you’ll hear, is to be absolutely unwavering in your belief that you know more about diving than someone who does more than 500 dives a year for a living and is trained in dive management.”

Annoyance Score: 5

No, I usually dive with 33kg. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

No, I usually dive with 33kg. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

 

3. Fashionably Late

Tammy Lawrence, 24, from Baltimore, USA, has this fantastic way to grate on your dive guide and group “I like to be late for each dive briefing despite knowing exactly when the next briefing will be and then, while everyone else is getting ready for the dive, f*ck around with my camera or decide that this moment – at the end of a 2 hour surface interval – is the ideal time to start a conversation with someone else in another group. If I do it right the captain and crew can be circling the boat around the dive site for a good 10-20 minutes burning fuel waiting for me – or, for bonus points, I can have the rest of my group standing waiting in full equipment and getting increasingly hot and tired with the weight on their backs. They love that! For a full score on this one make sure you’re late getting ready and, at the 11th hour when you’re nearly ready, find you’ve left your computer in a personal bag in the cabin meaning you have to de-kit and repeat the whole process. After all – the dive is all about me!”

Annoyance Score: 7

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Take your time…we’ll just stand here fully kitted and circle the island while you grease the o-ring for your camera.

 

 

4. Computer Crashing

Bill, 39, from Montreal, a car salesman and Advanced Open Water diver with nearly 46 dives says “I like to always arrive for a day’s diving with a brand new diving computer I’ve bought online that I’ve never read the instructions for – or even taken out of the box until the day – and then expect the guide to know each individual brand of dive computer’s functions intricately. For real impact and maximum irritation you’ll approach your dive guide 3 minutes before the dive with lots of questions about the computer and no sign of an instruction manual. Then, and you’ll like this, I like to ignore common sense and put the computer on my left wrist instead of the correct right wrist so that every time I wave my left arm around on ascents and descents making adjustments to my BCD or drysuit it starts beeping and giving me warnings. It’s particularly good doing that on ascents so I can’t read it with my left hand moving up and down in a venting position. It then begins beeping repeatedly – that way my dive guide thinks I’m having a rapid ascent or crashing straight through a safety stop – and has to keep spinning around to check. Which sometimes I also like to do to keep them on their toes!” said Bill grinning.

Annoyance Score: 3.5

We're jumping in 2 minutes. Can you just show me how to adjust for a different gas mix on this? and how to change the algorithm? Thanks.

We’re jumping in 2 minutes. Can you just show me how to adjust for a different gas mix on this? and how to change the algorithm? Thanks.


 

5. Mutiny Beneath The Waves

Frank Wilson, a 51 year old quantity surveyor, from NSW, Australia offered this top-tip. “I particularly like to ruin my dive guide’s day by completely ignoring that he/she is supposed to be leading the dive and lead the dive myself by swimming off like a torpedo, unannounced, in a random direction until I’m out of vision. Have I been to the dive site before? No. Do i know where I’m going? Not a f*cking clue. Am I keeping an eye on my depth, no-stop limits, my buddy, currents or air consumption? Don’t be bloody stupid! That just adds to the fun! The secret of making this look plausible – and that I’m not simply taking the p*ss – is to be holding a camera; that gives you licence to behave like a crazed triggerfish underwater. Or, another method is to swim directly in front of the dive leader, kicking them in the head, before flutter-kicking sand and silt in their face so they can’t see where I’m going. But that takes a little more expertise to pull off. The more variables and problems you can throw at the dive leader, the better.”

Annoyance Score: 8.5

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See you later, I’m off! catch me if you can!

 

 

6. Gas Consumption Poker

Henry McTwatt from East Kilbride, a 33 year old bar manager and massive tit, said “My party piece for causing problems while away on diving trips is ignoring my gas consumption or, when I’m ‘in the mood’, to blatantly lie about it. Most diving instructors always ask me to let them know at 100-120 bar so they can safely bring us all shallower or to our ascent point. The sheer cheek of them! I like to ignore all that and make it a big guessing game. When I’m really on form I’ll manage to ignore requests to confirm how much air I have until I’m at 50bar at 28m. Just to see the whites of their eyes! Sometimes, for a laugh, I also like to lie about how much air I have left too . I’ll say I have 120bar when actually I only have 70bar a-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!”

Annoyance Score: 9.5

No regulator, no watch, no computer, no limits!

How much air do I have left? That’s a secret that I’ll tell you when I’m ready. It’ll be a nice surprise.

 

As you can see, there is a real art to this. The experts assembled above are masters of the craft.

To begin annoying your diving instructor, divemaster or guide, start slowly and build up to these bigger skills.

At first you may wish to leave a dangling/unattached hose or SPG that you can snag on a wreck or coral, lose a fin at depth and flap around like a chicken, take off your mask on the surface before you’re back on the boat to facilitate struggling to remove your fins and head-butting the ladder. Also, touching coral and wildlife when told specifically not to can get you up to 8 points depending on the gravity of the offence or, alternatively, even just be so incompetent at even getting ready for a dive that you need a team of people to dress you.

With time and effort you can be one of the greats like the experts assembled here.

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“ok, I admit it, it was me…”

 

In breaking news at the Scuba Monkey’s top-secret research labs (just south of Nangtong Supermarket, near the massage parlour on the road south from Ranong) it’s been revealed that Satan, Prince of Darkness, is the entity responsible for GoPro Hero cameras.

Long suspected to be the case by Scuba Diving Instructors worldwide, this latest information confirms their deepest suspicions and fears.

The Dark Lord himself told The Scuba Monkey’s research team about his evil bidding in a telephone interview yesterday afternoon.

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“There’s just too many humans in the world. Too many. Why can’t they stop rutting, just for a second? They’re not even my favourite primate. I like the Orangutans – that ‘Clyde‘ especially. And we need to sort out this food/air deal. Anyway, him upstairs – y’know him with the white flowing beard – commanded I do something about it. Said I was the demon for the job. After all, Satan’s the name, capturing souls is the game!”

“So, I appeared to (founder and CEO of GoPro) Nicholas Woodman in an apparition. You should have seen his face!! I snuck into his bedroom at 4am and planted the idea in his brain. So, go easy on the guy – it’s not all his fault.”

Laughing almost to the point of tears Satan said “I filled him full of a load of crap about how it ‘helps people capture and share their lives’ most meaningful experiences with others—to celebrate them together’…a ha-ha-ha-ha…”

“The reality is it’s a great way of culling the most shallow, self-centred, egotistical and narcissistic fleshlings for my evil kingdom. These f*ckwits are like lambs to the slaughter. First I give them Facebook – the ultimate tool for the mentally ill who post ‘selfies’ under the misapprehension that anyone gives a shit. And then, my masterstroke, was as to create simple to use, easy to buy, small boxes that takes 1080p footage which they can stroke their egos with and post on social networking sites. The poor buggers can’t help themselves! They’re like lemmings! Spending their whole life from behind a small box on a stick nearly killing themselves in the hope of becoming more popular, instead of actually having a life… I mean, what a great idea: Foolproof. Simple. Effective. Much like the camera. Add Scuba Diving Equipment and these idiots are like an accident waiting to happen and ‘boom’ – we cull the idiots and make some more space on the planet. Job done. The boss will be pleased. ”

Sam Worthington, 33, a PADI Instructor presently working in South East Asia confirmed Beelzebub’s account of human behaviour. Clutching his head in his hands he said “I deal with Scuba Divers on a daily basis. At best most holiday divers are average in the water. But, add a GoPro and…they behave like headless chickens. Swimming up, down, left, right….everywhere except with their buddy or the group. You can hear their computers screaming as they ascend like polaris missiles. Or beeping like a faulty doorbell as they blow through their 1.4 ppo2 using nitrox as they don’t have a scooby what depth they’re at…”

Shaking his head Sam added “Watching someone dive with a GoPro is like watching a car-crash. These people can barely dive without a camera. Then giving a novice diver this evil piece of technology is like asking a new car driver to drive through a city centre while juggling like Penn Jillette – doomed to failure. And, in the process, they kill most of the aquatic life in their path and risk the safety of the whole group. They’re like human wrecking balls. That Devil guy is not as daft as he looks y’know. I’ve seen a dozen incidents this year already watching some pituitary retard chasing a Whale Shark. And if I see one more of these knob-jockeys kick the coral I’ll kill them myself before they manage to kill themselves…”

Dorianne, 30, an Instructor in the Red Sea, said shaking her head “I once saw a customer – a daft traveller/trustafarian type with ‘ethnic tattoos’ and dreadlocks – shoot up towards the surface chasing footage of an Oceanic Whitetip with a death-box on a stick. Luckily, we managed to slow her down on her journey from 30m to 5m before she hit the surface – despite her kicking and punching. Her Suunto was beeping like morse-code machine having a seizure. When we got back on the boat she was more concerned with uploading her footage to improve her popularity and get ‘likes’ than being connected to the emergency oxygen. Idiot. She’s presently in a chamber just outside Hurghada taking ‘selfies’ of herself with the facility staff.”

Before departing Satan chuckled and said “Soon every diver will have one of these devices before they even finish their Open Water course or know how to hover, monitor their air and depth, or fin correctly. I love it when a plan comes together…business is booming down here in my Evil Kingdom!”