Chances are that when you overhear a group of Scuba Divers talking about the most memorable dive trips they made that you’ll hear the word ‘deep’ mentioned. Of course there is a whole group that loves to come up with ‘big’ too, referring to sharks, manta rays, or ship wrecks perhaps, but there are certainly a whole lot of ‘depth junkies’ out there.
Of course, the deeper the dive the shorter the bottom time and less time to observe marine life and sea beds, so why do Scuba Divers have the urge to go deep? Sometimes it is simply because there are new things to explore at depth, like caves and wrecks. And sometimes it is purely for the thrill of it…
Diver's Cemetery Perhaps the most talked about deep dive is the Blue Hole in Egypt. Many divers are infatuated with this coral lagoon and attempt to dive its 26m ‘Arch’ through the reef, which starts at 52m depth and comes out in de deeps of the Red Sea at a whopping 120m. Of course those thrill-seeking divers do not always know what they’re getting into and so many accidents and fatalities have occurred over the years that they dubbed the Blue Hole the ‘Diver's Cemetery’.One of those deaths was actually videotaped when a diving instructor named Yuri Lipksi died in the deep hole at 91.6m in 2000 with a camera on his helmet. The cause? Most likely lack of proper equipment as Lipski was diving on air and had only one air tank with him.
So is deep diving unsafe? Not necessarily. If you are properly trained, well-prepared and have gradually built up your level of experience you should be fine. You should be aware of the safety issues that may arise and take the proper gear with you.
We’ll discuss the frequently asked questions about deep diving here: 1. What you can do to dive deep safely? 2 What equipment is essential when going deep?
What you can do to dive deep safely The risks of oxygen poisoning and nitrogen narcosis increase beyond 30m (100 ft) and for any dives deeper than 40m specialist training is needed to learn how to use gas mixtures such as trimix or heliox and other more sophisticated technology. For recreational diving, just remember that the recreational diving limit is 40m, which is the depth limit set by Diving Associations Worldwide.
Nitrogen Narcosis, or ‘being narced’ is a change in consciousness.
Some symptoms of being narced are: 1. A drunk-like euphoria, including laughing 2. Delayed response 3. Affected memory 4. Illogical reasoning, which results in wrong decision making 5. Idea fixation 6. Anxiety
Decompression sickness (DCS), or having ‘the bends’. Dissolved gases come out of solution into bubbles inside the body on depressurisation when changing depth. DCS is the reason why divers have to do safety stops. During such a safety stop, which on a standard dive is held for 3 minutes at 5m depth, but increases with deeper dives, the body rapidly eliminates the nitrogen.
Symptoms of having the bends are: 1. joint pain 2. a rash 3. paralysis
This can lead to death in some individuals who are susceptible, but immediate treatment in decompression chambers and other after treatment most often can cure the illness.
You can also consider hanging a spare scuba tank at 5m to provide extra air during a safety stop or emergency decompression. - A high-quality regulator set. - A safety sausage, to warn others of your presence. - When diving in currents consider bringing a dive reel, so you can position your safety sausage ahead of your ascent, which guarantees that the boat will be ready for you when you surface
Other tips: - Check you air and depth more frequently, as you’ll use more air - Be aware of symptoms of nitrogen narcosis, both with you and your buddy - Be aware that deeper waters are usually colder and darker, bring proper protection and a torch if needed
When things go wrong during a deep dive, the surface is far away, so being well prepared can save your life!
HAVE YOUR SAY
Comment on this blog on our Facebook page and tell us What was your deepest dive? We at Adreno are really curious which deep dives you have done and which equipment and techniques you use.
Do you have deep diving questions for other divers, or tips? Share them here!