Have you ever considered swimming with sharks, observing the colors of the sharks in the first person? Coral reefs Or watch a school of fish make its way around you? Thanks to diving you can make these thoughts come true, and the way to achieve it is not as complicated as it seems.
In today's post we will tell you some things and curiosities about diving that will be useful if you are hesitating between starting or not in this sport.
Since prehistoric times, humans have been attracted to know what the sea hides, what it can bring us and how we can reach the most remote corners of its waters. Diving was born as a practical activity that man has carried out in order to fish for food and to discover what is beyond the known, and little by little it has evolved into all possible branches: leisure, research, science ...
The first major breakthrough in the world of diving was made by Augustus Siebe in the early XNUMXth century, who contributed greatly to the development of the diving suit.
The model that Siebe developed was modified, becoming lighter and details were added, being at the beginning of the XNUMXth century when the suit began to have a practical utility. Diving fins, snorkels and goggles were designed and patented throughout the first half of the century. The French researcher Le Prier was the one who patented the definitive diving suit (of that moment), which gave more autonomy to the diver.
Technological advances that have gone by leaps and bounds have also had an impact on the specialization and optimization of diving suits, which, today, continue to be improved.
Diving is a water sport considered extreme, which consists of diving underwater, with or without equipment for as long as the equipment, or the lungs allow.
In this activity that combines nature and sport, it takes us out of our comfort zone and allows us to know places that, otherwise, would remain among the fish and the darkness of the sea forever.
We find several types of diving depending on the material required or the characteristics of the specific dive.
In the first place, we find apnea or free diving, which consists of diving with no other equipment than diving goggles, fins and a tube or a wetsuit. You will stay underwater as long as your body can endure after taking a deep breath before sinking your head into the sea.
This is the most common and is practiced, as the name suggests, for fun. It is not necessary to have a professional or technical certification, but to have taken a previous preparation course. The deepest point that can be reached during a recreational scuba dive is 40 meters. Normally this activity is carried out accompanied by an instructor and the equipment that is needed, apart from the wetsuit, fins and diving goggles, is an oxygen bottle, a diving vest and a weight.
Recreational diving is not an extreme sport, to compare it to a land sport, it could be synonymous with a moderate hiking route in the mountains or a bike ride. Although it is advisable to have a physical shape, not athletic, but healthy.
Leaving diving behind as a leisure activity, we focus on technical diving. When it comes to this practice, it is no longer enough to have a course that makes us suitable to immerse ourselves, but it is necessary to develop certain theoretical and practical skills that are essential to be able to perform this sport, in which it is possible exceed 40 meters in depth and you can access areas such as caves and caverns or dive under frozen surfaces, which are restricted to recreational divers. In addition, a technical diver knows the exact point where he is going to dive, the time he will be underwater, the environmental conditions and the characteristics and limits of his equipment. Therefore, another difference with respect to recreational diving is the autonomy available to technical diving.
Professional diving requires training and a very specific and technical training routine, since this modality is considered risky. To exercise this practice you need more complex and specific diving equipment, cameras, gas regulators, specific tools that may be needed in the depths of the ocean ...
Among the professions that require being a professional diver, we find the one that involves the construction or reconstruction of the underwater environment, research activities, rescue or maintenance of the aquatic environment.
Once you have made the decision to enter the world of diving, in any of its modalities, you will have to follow a few steps before diving fully into the sea. First of all, you must choose between taking a diving baptism, or a diving course, (or both) very different concepts between them.
The baptism of diving consists of making a first contact with the sea depths. It has a theoretical part, after which the practical test is carried out, in which you will submerge a few meters below the surface. This baptism takes place in a few hours, and you will discover if you are really interested, or not, in the world of diving.
Baptism does not offer you the possibility of being able to dive independently anywhere in the world and limits the depth you can reach outside your country. You do not acquire the diver's license.
The diving course is not achieved so easily, because you need to pass certain theoretical and practical tests that, once passed, become a certificate that accredits you to dive freely, and makes you a diver. The classes and tests that take place during the course are not always in the sea, sometimes dives are also made in swimming pools to acquire the necessary knowledge in a completely controlled environment.
In Spain, a medical check-up is mandatory to confirm that you do not have any health problems and that you are fit to dive.
You can train in the diving sector as much as you want, there are several levels of specialization and the first is the baptism of diving, which as we have mentioned before, will help you to really see what diving consists of.
The next step is to get certified. The most basic level to be certified as a diver is called Open Water, a course that lasts a few days and that will provide you with the theoretical and practical skills necessary to be able to dive into the sea independently. The depth limit that you can reach once you are accredited with an Open Water level is 20 meters. The level that follows the Open Water is the Advanced Open Water, lasting two days and with which you can dive up to 30 meters and practice night diving.
It is advisable to take both levels in a row, since they do not involve more than one week of involvement and are valid for life and worldwide. Both levels are within the recreational diving category.
The next step to Advanced Open Water is specialization. It can also be achieved through courses from which you can choose what you want to train in specifically. There are many types of specialization in diving, you can focus on cavern diving, in the conservation of Coral reefs, in the production of underwater video or photography, in diving under icy surfaces ... But the most common are those that specialize in rescue and First Aid and diving with Nitrox, which has the characteristic that the oxygen bottle also carries nitrogen . (20% oxygen and 80% nitrogen).
The highest level that can be achieved in diving is Dive Master, or professionalization. This level accredits you to be a teacher of diving courses, and can be reached after a few months taking a specific course of the type of diving that you want to teach.
The wetsuit is important to keep us at a bearable and comfortable temperature under the surface. It is made, as its name suggests, of neoprene, which is a material that conforms very well to the body and insulates us from the cold. In addition, it allows our body to be less exposed and sometimes works as a protective layer against impacts or unforeseen events that may arise. It is always used in water activities such as surfing, windsurfing and of course, diving.
Also known as diving glasses, its function is to offer us good visibility of the environment, which, otherwise, would be unfeasible. Protect our eyes from the salty water of the sea.
In diving we use the fins to move underwater with greater speed and dynamism. They provide us with extra help when descending or ascending towards the surface. They fit like a normal shoe or bootie, but have a long, flexible extension.
This material is essential in diving. The bottles contain compressed air that we will supply ourselves to have oxygen during our dive. They are usually accompanied by a regulator, which works to reduce the pressure of the air in the bottle.
The ballast is an element that gives us weight to submerge. The vest is the object that carries the regulator, the ballast and the bottle.
It is vital to know the importance of communication in diving, especially in recreational diving. The exchange of information under water is carried out as is logical through a non-verbal language, which is expressed through signs that the two partners must understand, so we speak of a specialized communication that consists of certain basic rules that favor a good understanding between the two parties since the safety of both depends on it.
There are certain standardized manual gestures such as joining the index finger and thumb to indicate that everything is fine (the famous OK shape), placing the palm of the hand horizontally and turning it to the right or left to indicate that something is not going at all Either make a fist and raise your thumb to convey to your partner that you are ready to move up.
Sometimes the environmental conditions or the appearance of unexpected problems make it difficult to communicate through gestures, so many divers choose to incorporate a team of specialized microphones into their diving suits to carry out this practice. However, the most important thing is that you are aware at all times that there is a person by your side and that you depend on each other.
When you start scuba diving it is normal for your mind to focus on making sure your equipment is in good condition at all times and on observing the marine species that surround you. But there are many factors that surround divers that can affect their safety if not taken into account. Currents, for example, are double-edged weapons because on many occasions, although they resemble the sea breeze that ruffles us a bit on the surface, under the sea they displace us and move us away from the group almost without realizing it.
It is important to bear in mind that as we go into the depths of the ocean and we have more volume of water on us, the pressure increases exponentially. Alterations in pressure are not something common in our day to day, so it is difficult for the human body to adapt to them. For this reason, especially in ascents, you have to control the rate of ascent to regulate the pressure and not go up in a hurry, because if this is the case, we could develop decompression syndrome, which is characterized by the accumulation of nitrogen in the blood It comes in the form of bubbles and can make us feel fatigue and muscle pain, even causing dizziness, breathing problems or numbness.
A good tip to know if you are controlling the pressure and the rate of rise, is to mark as a reference the bubbles that you release when you exhale oxygen underwater. If you always stay below them and do not exceed their speed and do not reach them, you can be calmer.
Spain is an ideal country to start diving, since it is practically surrounded by water and the generally good climate makes it possible to practice this sport at almost any time of the year, although perhaps the best place to start diving in Spain is the Mediterranean Sea. The good temperature of the water, the calm currents and waves with favorable characteristics for simple dives aimed at beginners, although that does not mean that the Cantabrian Sea or the Atlantic are less attractive destinations; not at all, what's more, we recommend that you dive in as many areas as you can and see what each sea has to offer you.
Although there are wonderful diving spots along the entire Mediterranean coast, we recommend the Medes Islands, in Girona. This area is declared a Marine Reserve and fishing is prohibited within it. So the diversity and health of the seabed are unbeatable. When we dive we are surrounded by life, coral, groupers and barracudas, starfish ...
Another very interesting Marine Reserve located in the Mediterranean, in the community of Murcia, is Islas Hormigas. Under the surface we find a great mountain chain in which we can see among many others, tunas or moon fish.
In the waters of this sea we find spectacular places of immersion, such as the waters that bathe Hondarribia or Zarautz, which are spectacular both seen from the surface and from the depths. The environment is surrounded by nature and mountain ranges very rich in vegetation and fauna, and they are places where diving is widespread.
In this ocean of colder waters than the previous ones, we can highlight El Hierro, in the Canary Islands, an island well known by divers from all over the world who come to dive in the Canarian waters, and it is not surprising, since the temperature The water could not be more pleasant and the color of the sea is almost transparent.
Also known as the father of diving, he has gone down in history as the best oceanographer in the world and the great explorer who invented the first Scuba equipment.
At the age of 20, Cousteau broke both arms in an accident and his dream of becoming a naval pilot was frustrated. Instead, they recommended swimming as a rehab practice. This sport changed his life completely as it was the vehicle that led him to discover his passion for the sea, which he accompanied with his love for film and photography. Cousteau developed extensive knowledge of diving and began conducting underwater archaeological expeditions. A great breakthrough in the world of research and diving that Jaques made was to design an autonomous diving device by the hand of engineer Émile Gagnan. With this mechanism, the diver could breathe independently, without having to depend on a team to supply oxygen from the surface. As a result of that moment, Cousteau, decided to disassociate himself from the French navy, to which he belonged until that moment and with which he carried out the vast majority of his expeditions, to organize his own.
Cousteau became a benchmark in sectors such as marine biology, helped to raise awareness in society in the conservation of life in the sea and spread the knowledge that he was acquiring about the sea for years through film, photography and photography. literature.
We hope that this post has helped you to get started in the world of diving and we have given you some keys so that you can start practicing this sport with some basic guidelines. The sea is waiting for you and we are sure that you will love to discover it!
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