Thursday, June 20, 2013

ECO: be a healthy diver

As I was explaining in the last post about Polynesia, I promised to spend more time writing about ecological traveling and the environment. A few days ago, I got my PADI instructor manual, so I am going to be an instructor soon, and I believe I should start to make steps to teach the (dive) community what I find important. I've always been very conscious about the environment, and I think everybody should be. This post will be about a being a good diver for the ocean, and a healthy diver for yourself!

Perfect dive conditions: ocean versus lake.

The Enviroment
Without the ocean every creature on earth is unable to survive. Here are some tips about making a deal as a diver.
- Most of you know this already; NEVER harm or disturb animals under water. And with this I include shark feeding! Sharks are known as agrresive animals, so every time a human will be feeding a shark under water for 'fun', this shark will always relate divers with food. Even when they don't have the bait with them. It also disturbs their diet. The shark will be less willing to hunt for the food itself, knowing it gets fed anyway.
- Never throw plastic, cigarette butts or whatsoever in the water.
- If you find something that doesn't belong under water, please take it with you and keep it in your bcd till you exit the water.
- If you find something that does belong under water, please let it stay there, for other people to enjoy.
- Try to stay neutrally buoyant, if you're not, you might kill coral by disturbing it with your fins. If you have problems with your buoyancy, which is understandable for a beginner, consider a Peak Performance Buoyancy training.
- If you want to be taking photos underwater, your buoyancy should be controlled perfectly. There are too many times I saw people sitting on living coral, taking a picture of that nudibranch.
- Some dive guides or instructors might pick up or touch animals underwater for the diver's pleasure. If you are not okay with that, you should tell him/her when you are up.
- Always respect the ocean, whether your swimming, diving, snorkeling, boating or on the beach. Even if the ocean looks calm on the surface, you never know what might occur underwater. Angry sharks for example...

Being in a good condition is always a good thing. Although people claim that diving is not a real 'sport', and I agree with them, being put under pressure asks a lot of your body. Here follow some tips about being in good health when diving.
- Drink a lot of water! When diving, you can lose two liters of water. You will notice you are dehydrated afterwards, so drink a lot of water before and after diving. It also helps you equalize better.
- And don't drink any alcohol before you are going to dive, and keep the alcohol consumption limited after and during diving.
- Don't eat heavy food or food that makes you gassy before diving. Try to eat a lot of fruits and take some snacks with you if you know you will be on a boat for some time.
- Try to exercise at least a little. Especially when you are a professional diver, sometimes you don't have the time to sit down. Swimming, mountainbiking, running or pilates or yoga are a good idea. Don't exercise too much after a day diving. This might increase the risk of decompression sickness.
- Be prepared for an emergency, not only the dive proffesional or boat captain has to know about stuff. When an emergency occurs, you could make yourself useful! Think about taking a course in basis life support and oxygen providing. If you want to go further in diving, go for the Rescue diver course.

I hoped you liked this more serious article. I'd like to see it in the comments!

Photo credits: Bert J.

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