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Blog posts from Gareth, Imogen and Neil

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Posted by on in Equipment

The XDeep is a bottom timer, not a computer. However, there is a significant number of recreational and technical divers not using computers, so XDeep must figure the market is big enough. However, just in case, they are selling the concept of the unit being upgradable from a bottom timer to a nitrox computer and ultimately to a trimix computer, although these elements are still in development.

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Posted by on in Equipment

I while ago I wrote an article on standard hose lengths, explaining what went where and why on the standard GUE kit configuration. It has subsequently occurred to me, that taking a step back and explaining why the long hose has been implemented as standard for the primary regulator would be a better starting point.

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Posted by on in Equipment

GUE compliant fins are stiff bladed rubber types with straps that do not have a break point, i.e without plastic buckles.  Surprisingly there are an increasing number of manufacturers making fins which fall into this category, but this article reviews the 3 most common: XS Scuba (Turtle fins); ScubaPro (Jet fins) and Hollis (F1 fins).

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Posted by on in Equipment

What do we need in a dive timer? Very little in all honesty. Here I've outline what we need out of a timer, and what options are available.

We don't use computers, so that removes a significant proportion of the clever functionality that other divers might require. I guess that I have five elements in mind when selecting a dive timer:

  • Time Display in Seconds
  • Depth Display in 0.1 metre intervals
  • Large and Clear Display
  • Reliability and Robustness
  • Additional Features

So, let's look at those items in a little more detail.

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Posted by on in Equipment

As with all parts of the standardised kit configuration, even the five hoses which are used with the twin cylinder set up have standard lengths. This makes life simple as each piece of equipment will reach exactly to the right place on your kit without excess slack, preventing drag in the water or potential entanglement hazards. An added bonus is any hose can be swapped out with one of your team's in the event of a failure being discovered during the equipment match prior to the dive.

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Posted by on in Equipment

GUE divers use their primary torch as their voice underwater. It is the primary means by which we communicate with our team, particularly in reduced ambient light and/or visibility.

For this reason we rely heavily on the primary torch and consequently it remains one of the most expensive pieces of equipment we must invest in. It is important to understand what requirements the torch must have to fulfill to perform the function for which it is intended prior to purchase. As the torch is used for signalling as well as a light source, the beam should be focusable with adequate brightness and penetration ability for your chosen environment. Beams that are too diffuse may light up the environment superbly however, the ability to attract the attention of your team may be compromised. 

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Posted by on in Equipment

As a man, looking for a solution to provide underwater comfort breaks is fairly straightforward. However, anatomy leaves the female of the species with a more awkward problem to solve....

Moving from a wetsuit weather diving, into year round UK cold water conditions and dry suit diving, I pretty quickly found myself admiring the boys p-valves with a green tinged envy.

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Posted by on in Equipment

I like shiny things. And the nice people at Liquivision do make exceptionally shiny things. I reviewed their "Xen" as the ultimate bottom timer when it first came out. They even sent me unit number 13 so I really did get a very early unit to play with. I was delighted.

Until recently, the Xen really was the ultimate bottom diver, although it'll be interesting to see how it fares alongside the XDeep.

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Posted by on in Equipment

We have a section on equipment requirement, but haven't gone into why some of the items are so specific in their requirements. Often I suspect that people outside GUE think GUE are just trying to set a precedent and mandate every choice we make about our kit because they can. The more I dive in the standardised kit configuration, and speak to those who were and are instrumental in the design of the configuration; they more I realise every little detail has been thought about. This article gives examples of some of the reasons behind the specific configuration.

There's a separate article dealing with the long hose and primary regulator so we won't go into that. Here I focus on the thought" I wonder why that's designed/set up like that?" and investigate whether there is a valid explanation.

Posted by on in Theory

I thought I would clarify the GUE position on gas selection, both for bottom gas for reactional divers, and decompression gas for technical divers.

The simple answer is that GUE divers use the same gases. Gases are standardised within GUE for every dive we do. Ask any ten GUE divers which gas they will use at any given depth between 1 and 100 metres, and they will all give you the same answer.

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Posted by on in Theory

This is first of a series of two articles on buoyancy control. this first article explains what buoyancy control is, and why it is so important to us. The second article will investigate the techniques and tricks we can use to develop proficient buoyancy control.

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Posted by on in Theory

On a recent course I was asked what trim actually is and why GUE/DIR divers go on about it? 

Trim is not just our angle in the water, but also the position in which we hold our bodies. Visualise a line between our chest and our knees. If we are in "good" trim, then this line is straight between the two points. If we continue to visualise this line, and if this line is horizontal in the water, we can be said to have flat trim. But why all the fuss?

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Posted by on in Theory

So what is DIR Diving.  Or more precisely, what is it to me.

DIR stands for....ummm here we hit our first problem. Traditionally, DIR stands for “Doing It Right”.  However this name, quite understandably, got a lot of people’s nose out of joint. I never refer to “Doing It Right”. I just call it DIR.  In the same way I never say “let’s stop at the British Petroleum Garage”.  BP to me, just means BP. It might stand for something but I never think about it.  So DIR is just DIR. I never think about what it stands for. Which is probably just as well, as it’s a rather stupid name, bound to get people's backs up. If I could rename it, I would. 

Posted by on in Theory

I've touched on weighting in other articles, but decided it was time I write something a little more in-depth on the subject. I really don’t know why I haven't started ranting about it in the past to be honest, as it's my personal bug bear.

You see, I have no idea how many people I taught or coached last year, but let's say it was 50, which sounds reasonable. Going through the list I can identify three people that I considered to be correctly weighted. Three. Of the people who were not correctly weighted, 100% of them were incorrectly weighted in terms of carrying too much lead. 100%.

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Posted by on in Theory

At first this may not pique your interest, but please read it.  Even better download it, laminate it and put it in your dive kit. It could help save someone's life. 

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Posted by on in Theory

Of all the DIR subjects I get asked about, the one that demonstrates the most discussions seems to be ratio deco. I've written, somewhat extensively, in the past about how ratio deco is applied at the Tech 1 level; that is, for decompression dives between 30 metres and 48 metres.

Most people who are diving deeper than this know that a similar strategy can be applied when diving deeper. Tech 2 gives you so much more information that your certification card is limited by the depth you have been trained to, rather than any limitations in the tools you are given to plan deeper dives.

However, this is all well and good for the deep diving techie diver, but it’s not particularly useful for the shallow, recreational diver.  How we can make use of ratio deco at the recreational level, to make diving safer, or at the very least give us an extra tool to get out of the water safely.

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Posted by on in Theory

Divers do seem to make life difficult for themselves, and I’ve never really understood why. How often have you looked around a boat and seen people with equipment they are struggling with, or are sweating with exertion, or are actively complaining about something. People seem to forget that diving is supposed to be fun. With a little foresight, it can also be easy. So let’s kick off with the obvious question - why do we care about pushing the easy button.

Posted by on in Theory

In 1911, two men set out to be the first to stand at the South Pole. One man succeeded. The other became a hero. 

The reputation of these men has waxed and waned over the following one hundred years. Scott has been at times a hero and at other times a buffoon. Amundsen has at times been the world's most respected explorer, and at others an egotistical maniac with thought of nothing but his own legacy. Whatever your thoughts on the men concerned it's difficult to deny that the story is epic and has lessons for modern explorers. I have read about the race for the pole for the last thirty years, indeed have a talk that I give to dive clubs on the subject, but only recently have looked it at from a perspective of diving. Make no mistake; we are all explorers when drop beneath the surface.

Posted by on in Theory

I wrote this last year for another forum.  DIR diving used to follow certain rules.  GUE no longer teach these rules as "rules", but the ethos behind each rule still rings very true and elements of them are incorporated into our training.  So here they are in our all their glory. Discuss....

There are 6 rules of DIR diving - here they are: 

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Posted by on in Skills

This is an expansion on request of an earlier article I wrote about trim that now includes some images to try and explain what I was talking about, and also includes some tips on how to actually improve trim in the water. Let’s start with a definition: what the hell is trim anyway?

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