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Uber Scuba Komodo Dive Center, Labuan Bajo


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Scuba Diving Tips for Men Divers

Uber Scuba Tips for Men

It doesn’t matter if you’ve done five dives, or five hundred.

Smart scuba aficionados know there is always room for improvement. There are new lessons to be learned, new experiences to be had, and new friends to meet. But there are a few tips that may make diving even more enjoyable for many men.

We’ve put together a few pointers that we hope make your dive experience with us at Uber Scuba Komodo even more magnificent.

 

Tips on What to Wear

There are men who have no problem strutting their stuff in a skimpy Speedo.

Then there are others who dread being caught dead in a fire engine red, shiny piece of material the size of a handkerchief. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes it’s not….

Many men choose to go with board shorts. While these are comfortable, and easy to get in and out of on the beach, they may present some problems on the dive boat. Shorts tend to bunch up underneath a wetsuit, and can lead to chaffing and skin problems. In a worst case scenario, bunched up shorts could restrict blood flow, especially to your legs.

If you’re still not sold on the Speedo, a good option would be bicycle shorts. They don’t bunch up underneath your wetsuit, and make getting in and out of it easier. While modern wetsuits generally have a lining that makes it easy to remove, the old timers likely remember when pantyhose were standard operating procedure.

You may get a few awkward stares, but you’ll slide in and out of your suit in a flash.

 

Or What Not to Wear….Going Komodo Commando?

It’s more common than you might think!

There is nothing wrong with leaving the swimsuit out of it all together. Just be sure you don’t forget you’ve only got your birthday suit hiding under the wetsuit when you climb back in the boat.

It has happened that following an especially exciting dive, a first time “Commando” diver got caught up in talking about a shark sighting at Batu Bolong.

So caught up that he forgot what he wasn’t wearing, and peeled off his suit as soon as he was out of the water. To the delight (and/or horror?) of the others on board….

 

Better Your Buoyancy

If you have hundreds of dives already under your belt, chances are good you’ve got no issues with buoyancy control. If, however, you are just starting out, or feel that you could be doing better, take a Peak Performance Buoyancy speciality course.

You’ll dive better, be more relaxed, and use less air. If you like wreck or cave diving, buoyancy control is critical for your safety, and that of those diving with you.

Other tips to keep neutrally buoyant include proper weighting, getting your BC inflation just right, and your body position in the water. Regular, relaxed breathing will help too. A perfectly neutral buoyant diver will spend more time enjoying all there is to see in the submarine world, and less time fiddling with the inflation hose, and crashing into the reef.

 

Slow Down and See More

Remember it’s not a race!

Obviously you need to stay with the pack, and be in close contact with your buddy. But too many divers (men and women) miss out on seeing the best creatures by speeding right past them. Divers with rebreathers are nearly silent, but most of us are still using conventional scuba equipment. Meaning that in the underwater world we, and our bubbles, are making a hell of a lot of noise.

Most marine life does not appreciate the disruption. Motoring into their backyard at top speed, bubbles billowing away, will make them even less likely to stick around.

Take your time.

You’ll see more, use less air, and you won’t piss off the photographers and other divers who may want to stop, not to smell the roses, but to admire the particularly unique and beautiful creatures across Komodo.

conserve air during a dive

Keep it to Yourself. Conserve Air on a Dive

You feel like you are just hitting your stride. The underwater environment around you is revealing itself in all its splendour. You flash a big OK to your buddy, and glance down to check your air.

What?

Impossible! How can you be down to half a tank just as the going gets great? Maybe you choose not to signal your buddy “half tank”. You think ‘who wants to be the loser that may force a dive to end early?’ No one. A big no-no my friend!

So work on reducing your air consumption. Don’t approach it from the perspective that you are breathing less, just that you are breathing more efficiently. Here are some tips to try out when attenmpting to conserve air that will make your future dives last longer, be stress-free, and even more spectacular.than they are now.

 

Conserve Air Simply by Relaxing and Breathing

If you are stressed out as you descend your breathing is very likely to be rapid and you will lose a ton of air. Take a few deep breaths before you head down, equalize your ears at the surface, and relax. Let yourself sink slowly down. There is no need to kick furiously, and orient yourself head down towards the ocean floor on a descent. This is not a race. Take deep breaths, and make minor adjustments to achieve neutral buoyancy.

When you have reached the desired depth, concentrate on continuing with deep breaths that are exhaled slowly. Start your dive relaxed, and concentrate on staying relaxed throughout the dive. Don’t rush the breathing thing. You’ll end up burning through your air faster than you thought possible

 

Keeping Warm is a Great Way to Conserve Air on a Dive

Be sure and wear a wet suit that is suitable for the waters in which you are diving. Our bodies lose heat and energy quickly when we get cold. We also may breathe faster as our bodies attempt to create energy for warmth. Remember that a deep dive will mean lower temperatures. Sometimes less is more. Not so when it comes to keeping warm. You don’t need to drag out your dry suit, but make sure you have adequate protection. At Uber Scuba we offer 3mm long wetsuits to ensure you are nice and snug.

 

Conserve Air: Neutral Buoyancy Will Never Let You Down

A wonderful way to waste your precious air is to continuously be emptying it into your BCD, and then spewing it out in an effort to achieve neutral buoyancy. When you have reached the desired depth, take a moment to relax, and see if you can hover. If so, all is well and it is unlikely you will need to make many adjustments as you continue the dive.

As you get more experienced, you will find that you will be able to ascend and descend simply by regulating your breathing. When you are comfortable and relaxed, take a deep breath and hold it for a moment. What happens? You rise. Let that air our and the opposite will happen. You’ll also be lugging around less weight on your belt.

If you have buoyancy issues, consider taking the SSI Perfect Buoyancy Speciality course. The better you can control your buoyancy, the better your air consumption will be.

 

A Streamlined Diver Saves Air, Energy and the Environment

Cars and aircraft are designed to provide as little resistance as possible to the air flowing around them. This increases their fuel efficiency, and the ease with which they move across the earth, or through the air.

Ditto for a diver. If you can maintain a streamlined, compact shape as you move through the water you will save energy. Using less energy means needing less air. Keep your body horizontal, stream lined, and your depth and air gauges close to your body. You’ll save energy and air.

An added bonus? You are far less likely to harm the underwater world you have the privilege of being a part of. There are few things more annoying than a diver who doesn’t bother to pay attention to his or her impact on the marine environment. Dragging your gauges across the reef, and picking up every underwater object or creature that catches your eye is a fantastic way to mark yourself as a disrespectful amateur. You are underwater to admire the life here, not disturb and destroy it.

 

Go with the Flow

The stronger the current, the harder we must work to make our way against it. Use the direction, and depth, of the currents, and the underwater environment to your advantage. If you find yourself in a strong current, try dropping down a bit. You will find it is weaker close to the bottom. Also, you can sometimes find an underwater mount to swim behind. This shelters you from the current and results in an easier dive.

You may find yourself in an especially strong current, and feel the need to anchor yourself for a moment to collect yourself, or stay in contact with your buddy. Be careful where you place your hands! Look for a rock or a dead piece of coral. Never forget that even touching live coral will damage it and may kill it.

Relax, breathe and enjoy your dive!

Mating Manta Rays in Komodo National Park

Manta Mating Magic. One Mother’s Story

The boys that fly through the Komodo waters like it a little rough.

Nevertheless, after a racy chase and a bit of foreplay. I always end up on top.

Now don’t go judging me. I’m not easy, and I’m certainly no submarine slut.

 

The men make their move under my tummy. The act itself doesn’t last long, and every encounter inevitably turns out to be a one night stand.

I’m actually quite picky, and it is the boys that are beating down the door to my bedroom. But I’m hard-wired the same way as they are. We get the job done, and we swim our separate ways. No strings attached, no nursery niceties, no planned parenting. Thank you and good night.

It’s all part of the magical manta mating game.

I’m packing a mini manta in my belly right now, as a matter of fact.

Mind you that doesn’t stop the boys following me around.

We mate year round, so love is always in the air. Or the water, as is our case. If you are lucky enough to have been diving some of the spectacular sites out here in the Komodo Marine Park, you may have seen a manta train.

 

All Aboard the Manta Train

A manta train you ask? Yup. It’s pretty much as it sounds.

The one out in front is the female (that’s me). You could say, in the sexual manta marine world we ladies “drive” the trains. The long line of suitors following the females form the “cars” of the train.

Round and round the reef we go.

There could be 10, there may be 20. I lead them on quite a merry chase. My reward? Usually I end up with several bites on my wings, as the boys fail to contain their excitement. It nice to be the object of such desire. But I mean really, the love bites and resulting scars are a bit much.

Eventually, one of the boys proves to be the best, and he’s the one I want. He’ll sidle up next to me, sink his teeth into my left wing, and slide underneath me. I know as soon as we stop swimming we’ll sink like a rock to the ocean floor (as we are negatively buoyant). So I try to get as close to the surface as possible before the actual penetration occurs.

 

Moving on is the Manta Way

Belly to belly we roll in the water.

Me quite still, while my beau beats his wings like a bat out of hell. Copulation complete, he releases me, and we swim our separate ways.

My wee one grows inside me first as an egg in my uterus. As the birthing day approaches, my pup hatches on the inside, and feeds on my uterine milk. When I think she is ready to roll on her own, I’ll head to a shallow bay or lagoon. Often I will perform a series of spectacular jumps out of the water, that may help trigger the birth. As soon as my mini manta makes her way into the water, she knows how to swim. And she must learn on her own how to survive.

My job is done, and I am out the door. Back to the open seas where the boys, and the breeding ritual await repeat. The wee ones stay in the shallows where they have a much better chance of survival.

 

Manta Moms. You Can’t Live with Them, so You Learn to Live Without Them

I’ve heard that human females and their offspring often suffer from emotional issues.

It has never been a problem for us mantas. Mother/daughter dynamics, protective son syndrome? Nope. We’re an independent lot.

Remember what I told you, that every night is a one night stand? It is the many millions of years of evolution on mother earth that has made us mantas who we are. It may seem strange to you, but it works just fine for us. And we’ve been swimming the seas a lot longer than you bipeds have been walking the woods…

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The Deadliest Animal in the Sea

Good (and Deadly) Things Can Come in Small Packages…

 

The blue ringed octopus is a relatively docile, tiny creature with spectacular colouring. They have pretty, pale yellow skin, marked with brilliant, bright blue rings. Should you get too close, and you notice that the octopus’s skin (like her mood) is darkening, it’s a signal to stay back. The blue rings may appear to pulsate. Seriously. Leave the beast alone, and swim away…

 

They say size matters. So too does strength. And the poison that one tiny blue ringed octopus contains is enough to kill approximately 26 adult humans. Don’t think that your wetsuit will provide any meaningful protection from a bite. Despite their tiny size, these cephalopods have a super strong beak to deliver an even stronger venom, should they feel threatened.

 

And for the unfortunate creature who finds itself on the receiving end of a blue ringed octopus bite, death is may not be quick, and it certainly won’t be easy. The venom of this octopus is very similar to the poison found on the spines of pufferfish. It’s called tetrodotoxin, and it is 1200 times more toxic than cyanide.

 

It works by causing motor paralysis. So while your brain may be fully functional, and your eyes wide open, you cannot speak, nor can you move. You are trapped in your own immobile body. Death usually occurs as a result of suffocation. Could take minutes, hours, or days. Not a particularly pleasant way to exit this world for the next.

 

Interestingly, this poison is nearly identical to the one produced by poison dart frogs. Tetrodotoxin from puffers is also rumoured to be used by witch doctors in Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean to turn people into zombies. It’s no joke. They say that if you can get the mixture just right, you can turn someone into a mindless, speechless robot that is easily manipulated into carrying out your evil deeds.

 

Get the mixture wrong, and you kill the person. Never mind, if you were trying to turn them into a zombie, you probably didn’t care for them much anyway…

 

Like other members of the species, the blue ringed octopus has multiple hearts (three in this case). Two are used to pump blood to their gills, and another one to move the blood through their body. Unlike members of the British Royal Family, an octopus truly does have blue blood. This comes not from breeding, but from a blue copper-containing protein that they use to bind oxygen in their blood.

 

Human blood is by contrast red, as we make use of hemoglobin which contains iron. While our ability to change shape is severely curtailed due to our rigid skeleton, an octopus has no such trouble. They are capable of squeezing through spaces far smaller than you would imagine. And they are smarter than you think. Perhaps we should not be surprised given that octopus have the largest brains of any invertebrate.

 

And they know how to use them. Researchers working in a lab with octopus and crabs were puzzled by the disappearance of several crabs from their aquariums. A video camera was set up to capture what was going on at night when they left the labs.

 

Turns out the octopus had figured out a way to push open the tops of their own tanks. They then crawled across the counter to the crabs tank and indulged in a midnight snack.

Satiated, they exited, and made their way home. Several species of octopus have demonstrated the ability to learn, and even to “teach” others their tricks. They can open jars to obtain food, and one diver reported having his camera grabbed by a large octopus that he appears to have gotten too close to!

 

Here in Indonesia, these fascinating marine dwellers can be found hiding in the cracks and crevices of tidal pools and in the shallow reefs. They are found in other areas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but due to their shy nature are rarely seen by divers. Take your time however, and keep your eyes peeled on your next dive with us. We know where they like to hide, and you may be lucky enough to spot one of the sea’s most spectacularly coloured, and complex creatures.

 

Happy hunting!