Archive for the ‘Scuba Diving’ Category

Surface Watch   Leave a comment

Part of the role of dive crew is to act as surface watch on a dive. We all taken it in turns, helping with kit up and water entry, taking the details for the dive roster, watching divers progress while underwater by tracking bubbles, being ready to recall divers in a diver emergency and assistane or supervise in the event of a rescue situation. Attached is a link to a brief video I captured this weekend while on the bow of the diveboat doing surface watch. The sea was totally flat. So flat it looked like dodgy 90’s CGI water. I was tracking bubbles towards the end of a dive in which some 12 divers where beneath the surface, including Kerry.

Here’s a link to the video

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer.

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We are Divemasters   5 comments

That’s it. Kerry and I are officially Divemasters. We are now qualified professional scuba divers. Ace! What it also means is we can get paid to do something we love doing.  The picture below shows blue dots for all our skills.  Our diver nicknames are Dolph and Huck.

All told the course as taken us nine weeks. With seven dive weekends to Pelorus Island and six pool sessions helping to teach open water students taking their first tentative breaths as scuba divers. In my interview to start the Divemaster course I said I wanted to be a DM to help other people discover the amazing underwater world. I’ve already started doing that while in Townsville. I can’t wait to do it some more as a Divemaster and an instructor for many years to come. Infact this weekend I was diving with a lady ,who until the weekend trip, hadn’t dived for a while so was lacking confidence in the water. At one point on the final dive she just knelt on the sea bottom at 13 metres and looked around mesmerized at the sight. Colourful coral gardens extending into the distance, a huge divesity of fish exploring their surrounding, massive coral bommies soaring towards the surface and clown fish darting in and out of anemone. I reckon she’s hooked again……..

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Open water, turtles, sharks and challenging conditions   Leave a comment

Another weekend on Pelorus Island.  This one started with blue sky and mill pond conditions.  I lead an advanced diver dive…and what a dive.  A white tip shark and a dozing sea turtle which decided to gently lift off the ocean bottom when it saw us and leisurely swim away.

Overnight we heard plenty of thunder and had quite a light show in the distance with the lightning…but no rain.

The next morning…wow.  Huge waves and surf making it extremely difficult to get kit back out to the boat.  Cuts, scrapes and plenty of salt water was swallowed during that hour of loading.

Thankfully the weather improved and allowed us to dive a site called Brambles.  There we saw white tip sharks on four separate occasions and beautiful coral gardens awsome!

Photographs courtesy of Kerry, thanks Kerry.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

Yongala   1 comment

Drafted 29th October 2011.

We have been in Townesville a tad over a week and today we went for a little trip down the coast….. to dive a shipwreck! It was nice to get out and about exploring the area. We borrowed a car and drove the 80 km route on lovely open, smooth and easy roads. It was like driving in America only in Oz they drive on the left. I did feel a bit naked without my tom tom to guide me though.

Ok the diving. One word awesome. The Yongala is a 100 year old wreck in which all crew and passengers perished. Click here for a link to more info about the ship. Because their remains are still onboard it is classed as a Maritime Grave, so no one can enter it. It is an amazing colourful artificial reef full of coral of all varieties and huge fish. Rays, batfish, eels (with big sharp teeth), sleeping sea turtles and a dozing shark. The wreck sits at 28 metres on her side and due to the cyclone in February this year some coral was stripped off revealing the ship again. We have dived many wrecks in the Seychelles and the UK but this was something else. You divers out there, you have got to dive it! As is expected there was the usual Pom bashing from the boat crew due to a few of us being from the ‘Mother country’. The crew were professional and knowledgable about the site. For our second dive of the wreck Kerry and I dived as a buddy pair without a guide (same wreck, same route at a shallower depth.) It felt really weird. We are more than qualified to do that now but it was still weird for the first time.

We will be diving the Yongala again before we leave… guaranteed!!!

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer


Stefan Palmer

How to become a Scuba DiveMaster   Leave a comment

I have now been studying for my Dive Master certification for four weeks. If you have been following my posts, you will know I’ve been to the nearby Pelorus Island on three dive trips assisting instructors conducting Open Water, Advanced and Rescue Diver courses. I have also assisted in many pool sessions as well. O2 administration and first aid courses have also been completed (see info dump post here).  I thought you would like to see to exactly what the whole course involves.

Here goes……….

* Knowledge Reviews 1-9.
* Exams 1 & 2 based on knowledge Reviews.
* Emergency Assistance Plan.
* Stamina Exercise 1 – Timed 400m swim.
* Stamina Exercise 2 – 15 Minute Tread Water (last 2 mins with hands of of the water).
* Stamina Exercise 3 – Timed 800m Snorkel.
* Stamina Exercise 4 – Timed Tired Diver Tow.
* A Full Diver Rescue With No Mistakes.
* 20 Dive Skills at Demonstration Level.
* Skill 1 Mapping a Dive Site.
* Skill 2 Equipment Exchange (Under water of course and sharing only one air supply)
* Skill 3 Dive Master Conducted Programme #1 Full Discover Scuba Diving Course.
* Conduct Discover Snorkeling and  Discover Local Diving courses.
* Conduct Scuba Review or Skin Diving Course.
* Leadership Evaluation.
*5 Confined Water Training Sessions (pool) Including 1 Open Water.
*5 Open Water Training Sessions (in the sea) Including 1 Open Water.
*1 Supervisory Situation With Certified Divers (lead a dive).

Basically by the end of it I will have developed gills and webbed hands and feet. Anyone remember the 70’s TV series called The  Man from Atlantis?  That will be me. We plan to leave Townsville on the 5th January…so lots to do before then.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

Stars   Leave a comment

On completing my second night dive I surfaced from seeing many wonderfuls sights to see another. It was 19.30. The sun had long dissappeared and it was pitch black apart from the one dim light we had left on in the cabin on the boat. As we surfaced, settled on our backs for the brief swim to the boat the stars were out. Not just a few but a whole totally amazing sky full. You know when you look at the stars and the more you look the more stars you see, well it was like that the instant I looked at the sky. The more I looked the more mind boggling the heavens looked. It turned into a very slow leisurely swim to the boat. It made me think…isn’t nature brilliant, what a wonderful planet we live on and an amazing universe we exist in.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer

Spookiness at 10 metres.   Leave a comment

Drafted on 11/11/2011

Tonight for the first time ever I did a night dive.  I’ve wanted to do one for ages and been so close on a couple of occasions only to be disappointed due to lack of divers.  Tonight I was not disappointed.  Our merry band of divers started to kit up at sun set and entered the water just as the sun had disappeared below the horizon.  With our torches on we striding stepped into the water and descended down the anchor line to the bottom at 10 metres.  It’s a whole new world down there in the dark.  I swear the fish look sleepy and the coral waves less!.  There are some additional things you have to do when night diving.  You ensure your hand signals are performed in front of your torch been, otherwise your buddy as no idea what you are trying to say. You also need to keep an even eye sharper eye on your dive buddy otherwise they will be lost to the darkness.  If that happens its pretty much dive over.  You do a standard one minute search, then surface if you can’t find them.  Being in a larger group and because neither my buddy or I knew the dive site it would have meant dive over for the night.   The group of six struck pretty close together.  Even so we still didn’t see all the same things.  Some saw a fleeting glimpse of a shark, others didn’t.  Some saw a lazily cruising sea turtle….others didn’t.  At one point I was bringing up the rear of the group.  I took a look behind me to see nothing but darkness.  It was spooky and eerie, but very very very cool indeed.  I got back on the boat buzzing from the experience and inside shouting to myself  “again, again!”

In a way night diving, in Oz, is like day diving in the UK.  The visabiliy is zero and you need to use a torch to see anything, however in Oz a night dive is lovely and warm (I wore a wet suit not a dry suit) and there is so much more to see.

A selection of my favourite images from this blog are available to buy at stefanpalmer.photium.com

Stefan Palmer