You might feel confused by the different kinds of masks available the first time you walk into a scuba diving shop. There are single-lens options, double lens options, and a whole host of features and price tags that might make you wonder, “What’s the actual difference between these?”
When it comes time to take your scuba diving experience to the next level, it isn’t just going to new locations to see the underwater scenery. Changing how you dive and interact with the ocean can provide you with a new appreciation for the sea. Utilizing a rebreather on your next dive can give you that newfound experience in the ocean you have been seeking.
Scuba diving requires the right tools for the job, which means ensuring that your equipment meets safety standards, is fully operational, and is best suited for the task at hand. For more tropical climates, a wetsuit, fins, a mask, and a tank might be all the tools you need for an enjoyable underwater adventure. However, once the water starts to get colder, and the environment becomes more adverse, you have to adjust your equipment accordingly. The first step towards getting you ready for a cold water dive is getting your drysuit. But what exactly is a drysuit, and why is it essential?
When people hear “scuba diving,” they may think of Caribbean adventures or cruise activities, but rarely do they think “healthy living.” Still, if you’re looking to get involved with scuba diving, it can be a fun first step to developing a healthy lifestyle because scuba diving comes with many benefits.
Scuba diving is a fun and exciting activity that can be enjoyed by just about anyone - as long as they have the proper certifications. If you do not have your Certification card or C-card, you should not attempt to dive on your own for the sake of your own safety. If you are interested in receiving your certification, Scubadelphia Diveseekers is a PADI 5-star instructor development center, offering courses for anyone ages ten and up in the Greater Philadelphia Area. The process involves a few steps, all of which are important for ensuring that you are safe and adequately skilled when exploring the underwater world.
Before we get you into the open water to start diving, we need to make sure you are trained on the ins and outs of scuba safety as well as some of the theory behind diving. Typically, this information can be covered throughout the course of a few days. The PADI e-learning course will explain the theory behind scuba diving, the practical skills you will learn in the water as well as the reasons for each of the skills you will be taught. There will be an exam, so make sure you are doing your homework so you are prepared!
Confined Water Pool Sessions
The practical part of the course will be working in the water. Every student is required to have their own quality mask, snorkel, scuba diving fins and booties. Our staff will assist you in picking out and trying on these items so you can purchase the equipment that best fits you. During the pool sessions, we will teach skills such as mask removal, regulator clearing and donning gear as well as ensuring you are comfortable using all of your equipment. There is also a swim test, which requires students to swim 200 yards and tread water for ten minutes. There is no time limit for the swimming portion, and you can use whatever methods you want for both swimming and treading water. If you successfully complete all confined water skills and meet the swim test requirements, you will be able to move forward to your training dives!
Once you’ve passed your confined water and e-learning, you’re ready to get certified. You can do this anywhere; locally at Dutch Springs lake in Bethlehem, PA, or somewhere else. If you’re going on vacation to an exotic location, such as the Caribbean, you can arrange to get certified during your time there! These dive sessions typically span over 2 days. Over these 2 days, you will need to complete four Open Water dives, all supervised by our team. These dives are the final steps you need to take before obtaining your C-card and being able to go diving whenever you want!
Scubadelphia Diveseekers has been helping Philadelphians receive their scuba certification for years, and we can do the same for anyone interested in exploring the underwater world and discovering new experiences. To learn more about how to sign up for our certification courses, contact us or give us a call at 267-343-5590 today!
Diving in New Jersey
So you are a certified diver in Philadelphia. You are tired of lakes and quarries. It’s time to step it up to New Jersey wreck diving. There are thousands of wrecks up and down the coast and most are dive-able. With that being said NJ isn’t for everyone. It is chillier then most people are used to (45-60 degrees) and the visibility can vary from 5 feet to 50 feet but expect 10-15 average viz and darker then you may be familiar with.
Equipment is a little different too. You’ll need a heavier duty BCD to hold lights and wreck reels and you should be wearing a redundant air system such as a pony bottle or a double tank set up “doubles”. You should be familiar with these items and the 7mm wetsuit or drysuit system, hood and gloves and the amount of weight it will take to make you sink.
Taking all this into consideration thousands of people enjoy local diving in NJ. The wrecks can be semi intact like the Stolt Dagali or a pile of rubble and twisted plates. Either way there is something for everyone…artifacts, lobster grabbing, spearfishing or even picture taking. At Scubadelphia we have a copy of Herb Segars book “Beneath the Garden State” with excellent pictures of local sealife. Gary Gentile penned the books “Shipwrecks of New Jersey”. Another source of info is njscuba.net. It’s a well maintained website with great pictures and maps of Jersey waters.
If you are still not sold on the idea of North Atlantic wreck diving give us a call or stop by the dive center. We run 15 charters a year on many different experience levels. Let us show you the fun in NJ Shipwreck Diving!
We all learn some form of dive planning in our original open water class. Years ago it was with Navy tables, then moved into the PADI recreational dive planner (RPD), then someone came up with the wheel...which sucked, then the eRPDml which is a digital calculator and finally we all have dive computers now with a planning mode. But I still teach my students the basics with the PADI tables. If you want to learn about dive planning or want to refresh your memory check out my links at the bottom. These videos will hopefully make you a safer diver. -Dave
Basic dive planning: http://youtu.be/HG5oeWMQo0I
Calculate minimum surface interval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn8pSYLULA8
People email and call us all the time with questions on where to start their scuba career. I have put together this 6 minute video showing you exactly what I show to new students who come into the store. And the best way to get started is to come into the store so we can meet you, find a schedule that works best for your busy schedule and fit you for the proper gear you will soon use to get your certification. Here is the link to the video:
Learning to dive in Philadelphia and South Jersey is actually pretty easy. We have a fully stocked store with an on-site classroom and our pool is about a 15 minute ride closer to center city Philly. Public transportation can drop you in front of the shop if you don't drive. We do our certification dives at a Scuba lake in Bethlehem, PA about an hour away from Northeast Philly. You can camp there or get a motel room for the weekend. (4 dives are done over Saturday and Sunday) Please call us if you are interested in signing up or stop in to begin your diving adventure!
We can also certify you on a trip to places like Bonaire, Utila, Cozumel or even Canada! We do Ice Diving at Bainbridge Quarry in the winter. We love diving all year!
Some of the staff was recently interviewed for Temple University’s newspaper. Jack asked each of us our favorite dive destination and to my surprise 3 of us said “North Carolina”. This is kinda weird since we’ve been all over the world including Ireland, Croatia, Australia and all over the Caribbean including whale shark encounters and giant manta rays. Rand just hasn’t been to NC with us yet to pick it as his favorite!
The gulf steam bounces off the coast of NC bringing tropical fish and warm water across the Graveyard of the Atlantic off of Morehead City-the southern part of the Outer Banks. There are many wrecks that were tossed and broken by hurricanes but most of the wrecks that we dive were sunk in WW2 by close patrolling German U-boat subs. These wrecks by themselves are awesome because of the great visibility but made even greater because of the sand tiger sharks that live on most of them!
The deeper wrecks which start around 100ft are the Papoose and Spar where sand tigers are usually found and the Aeolus which is my personal favorite. It’s like an aquarium without glass or cages. These beautiful animals, well other than their ugly protruding teeth, are very docile. They will swim near you for excellent photo and video opportunities. Look at my Youtube video called “Peter’s Sharks” under Scubadelphia for a glimpse.
We also dive the U-352 which was sunk by a US Coast Guard cutter. This wreck is deteriorating from the salt water and weather conditions of the area. You can swim up and down the wreck on a single dive noticing a torpedo still in one of the hatches.
Sometimes the weather is a little to rough to visit the deeper off-shore wrecks. We will stay inshore and have some fun on the Hutton and Indra. We get more bottom time on these shallower wrecks.
I think the reason why we enjoy North Carolina so much is it’s an 8 hour drive to a diver’s paradise. I love wrecks and big animals and they are close. You also can bring all your own gear without worrying about baggage fees. I love my steel 100 doubles and they like giving me extended bottom time in the Graveyard.
Scubadelphia visits Olympus Dive Center in Morehead City, NC every year in August. We drive down Friday and dive Saturday-Monday then drive home. Please join us on our favorite summer adventure this year. Make sure you are advanced and nitrox certified to enjoy the deeper wrecks.
For the holidays this year you may have received a brand new mask! One very important thing you'll need to do before using your new mask, is to clean the lens or lenses. There is a thin film on the glass of every mask. If it is not cleaned off your mask will fog when you use it, even if you use de-fog. To clean, take a liquid with some grit in it like toothpaste (the paste kind, not gel), soft scrub or Sea Buff and rub it all over the lenses of your mask then rinse off. You can repeat this several times to be sure the film is off and you have a fog-free mask experience!