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Old 07-23-2010, 01:26 AM   #1
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As per "request"by redbopeep, I will now regale you with the story of my first experiences in the diving/snorkeling realm.

I first snorkeled in '04 off the Recife de Fora (Outer Reef) in Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil. Lesson learned: Your back is facing the sun for hours as you gaze rapturously at all the amazing sealife, so wear some sunscreen, about double your normal SPF and make sure it's on early and reapplied!

For some people it's an issue to have your face covered in this mask, blocking your nasal breathing and then sticking your face in the water and breathing through a tube. Just take it easy, slow and steady will conquer this claustrophobia. I don't have this issue, but I've taught people who have, and the key is to be in a safe place, relaxed, not with huge swells tossing you up and down within poking range of a hundred sea urchins.

BIG RULE: Don't mess with the sea life!!! something like 90% of all human-sealife interaction/injuries occur b/c humans are poking their fingers or treading where they are not wanted. Observe the beauty respectfully, even if the thing you are looking at is something you know can't/won't defend itself.

A scuba diving course via PADI will consist of a indoor video/books/testing phase and a pool or shallow water session. You will learn about how the gear works, how your body works, various other things like neutral buoyancy, air compression/decompression at various depths. A full tank of air will last you 40+ minutes in 8m-14m of water, but only about 20 minutes at greater depth (20m-30m). This is because the pressure is increased as you go down, compressing the air in your lungs.

A single breath can expand to twice the size of your lungs by the time it gets to the surface! This is why one of the scuba diving rules "Always be breathing in or out" is so important. by always breathing in or out you keep your trachea open so if you are rising the air in your lungs has an escape route as it expands. Your epiglottis is strong enough to keep air in if you hold your breath, but the expanding air will find another way out through the walls of your lungs, causing overexpansion injury! But don't be scared, just keep breathing and you don't have to worry about it.

Once you finish the inside knowledge based stuff, now out to the pool for the fun stuff. Here is where you get hands on familiarity with your gear. Learn how to inflate and deflate your Buoyancy Control Device (BCD, it's a lifejacket that has air pockets in it and a holster for your airtank.) both manually with the air tank and orally. Your instructor will take you through a series of skill tests, showing you some of the sign language used to communicate underwater. Also included is regulator recovery, mask clearing, buoyancy control, sharing a regulator (the breathing mouthpiece), signaling that you are out of air, low on air, &c and more!

One of the more exciting and challenging exercises will be done at the end of your first or second dive in open water. It is called a Controlled Emergency (Safety?) Ascent, or CESA ("see-sah") for short. When you are at 5m or less and need to get to the top quickly (say you ran out of air) you swim upwards and the important part is that you are singing the whole way up. Think of yourself as Ariel in that one scene from The Little Mermaid where she sings that really long note. This will be the longest note of your life guaranteed! This is because as you ascend the air in your lungs is expanding so you have TONS of air to sing with! Pretty fun and exciting, and that is most of what you should expect in your Open Water course. This is of course one of the best courses in the entire series since you are so new to it everything is that much more exciting!
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Old 07-23-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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Thank you, That was quite interesting, I am one of those people who have a hard time putting my face in the water. It does not come naturally to me. I have consciously think it through each time. But you DO have something to contribute, all those crab pots and fishing nets say you do.
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Old 07-24-2010, 01:40 AM   #3
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Thanks! for the info. Though my hubby is a PADI certified diver with much experience, I'm a casual snorkeler myself. I've always had a hard time clearing my ears with changes in altitude (flying) or when in the water. Even while snorkeling, I get squeaky painful ears if I dive down very far. Now that we have a hooka (hookah?) diving set up for David to clean the hull with, I'm trying to get up the nerve to take a diving class simply to use the equipment properly. In the meanwhile, I focus on cleaning the waterline (always the dirtiest anyway!) and he does that which requires diving.

Have you used a hooka and do you enjoy it? David claims it's very nice not to have a tank on one's back!

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Old 07-25-2010, 03:31 AM   #4
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I've never used a hookah, and I also experience some problems with my ears. There are a couple methods I've seen people employ:

#1 Holding the nose and blowing (probably the most popular/well known).

#2 Swallowing (Which I finds works best for me, esp. in conjunction with method #1) You don't actually have to swallow the whole way, and there are more and less effective ways to do it. I'm doing it right now to try and figure out the process, all I can say is if you are doing it right you will feel and hear it a little bit in your inner ear area.

#3 and 3.5, yawning and chewing gum are pretty good, I thin yawning better, but I have yet to try to do this underwater! Good ones for flights, though. A closed mouth yawn is possible I think, and the feeling/sound is very similar to the swallowing technique.

#4 Head jiggling. I sometimes do this but not sure if it is the most effective of techniques for me. Simply move head as though to touch your shoulder to your ear, then shift to the other side.

One very important thing is to go slowly to avoid pain. If you are experiencing pain, go up a few feet and try to pressurize again, going down slowly.

Some people's Eustachian Tubes are just smaller and we have more difficulty, but I have heard from some divers that more and more diving "trains" your tubes or enlarges them after some time. But I think you have to do a lot of diving for your body to begin to adapt.
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:10 PM   #5
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The Hookah One of the most useful tools on a boat - especially where space on board may be a problem for the storage of the full equipment including Dive bottles and a Compressor. There is also issue of not being able to dive down to a depth of any much more than say 15ft because of inner ear limits.

The 3 types of 'Hookah' named after the Middle Eastern and Asian smoking Hookah - where one drew in the tobacco smoke through a water capsule - where it cooled the smoke.hookah.jpg

I copied one of the early types using a Briggs & Stratton Lawn Mower engine coupled to a small compressor - both were mounted in a car's inner tube (with which I could inflate with the compressor & pump up the dinghy) From the compressor an air line down to a mouthpiece regulator. With a weighted belt one could easily dive all around the boat - checking for prop problems and of course giving the hull a clean up. The floating tethered hookah unit would follow the diver. The depth if I remember was set by the airhose length (effectively no more than 11ft) The DANGER with this type was/is Carbon Monoxide poisoning where the compressor air intake sucks in exhaust gases from the engine and pumps them down to the diver.

The next Development was that the engine and compressor remain on deck and the airhose is fed down to the diver's regulated mouthpiece.The compressor's air intake is located far from the engine's exhaust. Depth set at 23ft.

And the one I like the most is driven off the boat's 12volt system, drawing 12 amps - so I guess one will have to run a charging system if the diver is down for a long time - again with this electric system, depth is limited to 23ft.
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Old 07-25-2010, 02:21 PM   #6
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We had one of the first hookahs, the Briggs & Stratton gasoline engine in the inner tube. The hoses provided with the setup were 20 feet each, so two people could dive together down to 20 feet, or one person could connect the two hoses together and go down to about 40 feet. We used it a few times to do some diving in the Caribbean, but it was mostly used for Peter to clean the boat, so we then just left it on the deck.

When that engine died, Peter would connect the air hose to our dinghy air pump (the hand pump, not the foot pump) and I would pump air to him as he dove on the boat. It worked somewhat, but it quickly got pretty old as I sat in the cockpit pumping for an hour or more while Peter cleaned the hull. Still, a whole lot cheaper than replacing the gasoline one we had.

Then Peter got the brainstorm to make his own hookah, using a 12V truck tire inflator. The compressor was high pressure, low volume, as you'd expect for a pump to inflate tires. The problem was that the low volume didn't provide enough volume for the deep breaths one takes. So Peter wandered around the little shops in Indonesia and found a couple of accumulator bottles, plastic, that he put in line between the pump and the regulator. The regulator is still necessary to prevent the lungs from being damaged by too much pressure from the pump. It worked really well and was much cheaper than buying a new commercially available hookah.

When we were using the gasoline hookah, I appreciated our SCUBA training and experience. Once, having gone down to the limit of one hose, the hookah ran out of gas and stopped. Of course 20 feet down you don't know until you exhale and try to take another breath that there's no more air. Experience had already taught me not to panic, and since I already knew how long I could stay under water without taking a breath I didn't swim frantically to the surface. I exhaled as I slowly rose and I was very conscious of the expansion of air in my lungs as the pressure decreased.

The point, is that experience is what kept me from making the mistake of rocketing to the surface without exhaling. That's one of the first things we were taught in diving classes, and we had had a lot of practice since then. I worried that anybody could buy this hookah and there were no instructions with it to caution users of the possible risks associated with its use.
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:41 PM   #7
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Hookah diving is not limited to snorkeling depths. One can use a hookah hose with regular diving equipment at great depth--commercial divers use such equipment regularly. I don't use our equipment because I am not a trained diver. David could teach me, but I'd prefer to take a class from a non-related diver!

We carry regular scuba equipment aboard, but our hookah is great for hull cleaning as mentioned. Ours in constructed of a Porter Cable (high pressure oil-less) pancake compressor (like you can buy for construction tools) along with a floating hookah hose, harness, and regular diving regulator. We have an accumulator tank that we can use to supplement the small tank on the pancake compressor, however, in order to use the hookah for more than just a few minutes, we must run the compressor. To do so we must either use an inverter, run the boat's genset, or have our little Honda EU-2000 running. Typically we run the Honda EU-2000 on deck (the compressor has a permanent location down inside the boat) and I try to do other things which take electricity at the same time to have an efficient use of the generator. The ideal combination is to use the icemaker at the same time as the compressor. Details, details.

Since I haven't taken a diving class yet...David does all the hookah-ing
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:15 AM   #8
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Good website with lots of info on different systems - C L I C K
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:14 AM   #9
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I've tried diving before but I have issues with eustacian tubes so end up with blood pouring out of eyes, nose, mouth and ears. It's not a good look. I do a bit of snorkelling and I have considered getting a hookah just for hull cleans and the such like around the boat. Am I likely to get the same issues with a hookah as I do with scuba gear?
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delatbabel' date='26 July 2010 - 08:08 AM View Post

I've tried diving before but I have issues with eustacian tubes so end up with blood pouring out of eyes, nose, mouth and ears. It's not a good look. I do a bit of snorkelling and I have considered getting a hookah just for hull cleans and the such like around the boat. Am I likely to get the same issues with a hookah as I do with scuba gear?
Hi Del,

Before you consider investing in a Hookah - suggest taking a specific course with a qualified professional - to become proficient in all the requirements to dive and work at no greater depth than your present boat. At first getting used to the regulated mouthpiece just below the surface - almost emulating your snorkel gear. Then gradually working down foot by foot until your breathing and ear clearing gets into 'sinc' with the regulated mouthpiece delivering pressurized air.

Here is the medical statement that a professional trainer might ask you to obtain from your doctor :-
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Padi Med Statement.pdf (275.5 KB, 22 views)
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