Air Consumption: stop sucking up your air
Everybody wants longer bottom time or not to be the first low on air when diving in a group ... what can we do to improve it ?
- Keep diving: practise and experience, this will give you more confidence and you will be more relaxed and also enjoy more !
- Stop moving: remember that water (its depends if fresh or salt water, but compared with air density there is no much difference) is about 800 times more dense than air, that means any moving in water will cost you energy = air.
- Breath Deeply and Slowly: in this way will fill your lungs with fresh air rich in oxygen, if you take short breath you will be breathing more CO2 (remember we have air death spaces) and bear in mind that the breathing is controlled by CO2 ... not O2 ! so your brain will tell you to breath more becouse your CO2 levels are high ! but as you are taking short breath, again you will breath more CO2 and you will be in vicious circle in the necessity of breathing more and more often !
- Weights & Streamline: use the right amount of weiths, if you are overweighted your bodie will be more vertical and not streamlined (stay horizontal), so will have more resistence to avance, this means ... you will consume more air !, if you have less weight than you need you will be fighting to keep you down and again ... you will consume more air !
- Stop leaks: pretty obvious ...
- Neutrally bouyant: try to be during your dive neutrally bouyant, if you go up and down ... you are moving too much
Stop raising up and falling down - achieve neutral bouyancy:
- Use the proper amount of weights: remember that at the begining of the dive you have a full tank, as you dive the air in the tank is being consumed, in result you gain more bouyancy ! so to be sure you can stay neutrlly at the safty stop, add 1 or 2 punds extra to compensate your tank. If do not have the right amount of weights at 15ft - 5m (safty stop) you will fighting to keep or mantaing yourself there (this if you dont go directly to the surface !). If you are neutrally bouyant at the safety stop with your bcd empty and your tank almost empty, if you sink you are overweigthed and if you go up, need more weight.
- Be patient: when adjusting the air in your bcd do it in small shots or increments, and "take time" to check it, breath normally and see if you need to adjust it again ... "Its not instantaneous !", so if you need to add or release air do it in small amounts, you can always repeat it as many times as you need. If you are like the unpatients who add large amounts of air, the result will be you ascending like a bouy, then you will need to release air and will sink so you add again more air and this one an other time (of course will you waste you air tank as well) ... yo-yo effect
- Adjust your weights: anytime you change gear (ex. from 2mm shorty to a full 5 mm wetsuit), change enviroment (ex. from fresh to salt water or bice), have not being diving for a while
How to get your ears to "pop":
- Valsalva maneuver: probably the most known or used maneuver to equalize your ears, pinch your nostrils and gently blow through your nose. You have to do it very often from the surface, every one metre of few feets, to prevent pain or disconfort, never wait to feel the disconfort ... its too late, descend feet first, if the ear/s is/are not clearing, stop descending and ascend a little, clear again and continue the descend. Very important, never force your ears !!!. Other method you can try is to move your jaw or / and swallow.
- When buying a new mask: the first thing you have to check is if the mask is confortable (try on different models), then choose the model or the color. Pick one made of sylicone (no plastic) and tempered glass. You will find thousands of different models, try to find one according to your face shape and remember that bigger the mask ( air volume) it will compresed more underwater !
- Before using your new mask: usually it has a film over the surface, so we need to remove it before using it. What happend if we dont remove it ? the mask will get fogged even if we add comercial defogs or we spit in it. So, how we remove this film ? its very easy ! we need to use a soft abrasive like toothpaste (dont use toothpaste in gel, just a the regular one). Put some toothpaste in the inside part of your mask (only on the glasses) and rub it over. Leave the mask overnight and then rise it in fresh water. If it gets foggy, repeat the procedure again. Other way to remove the chemical film is to burnt it with a lighter (do it very carefully !)
- Before a dive: remember to spit in your mask or add commercial defogs. Baby´s shampoo works very well
Remember that your diving mask is an air space that must be compensated ! during your dives.
- Know your own limits: never dive beyond your personal limits
- Work out, be on shape all year round
- Check and mantain your scuba gear (every one year or 100 dives)
- Stop, Think and Act
- Take a refresh if you have not being diving for several months
- Be physicaly and pscicologicaly ready
- Be a conservaty diver
- Check your air gauge very often during the dive
- Dive in buddy system
- Plan your dive and dive your plan !