There’s nothing worse than having to cut short a dive because you aren’t able to ‘equalize’ on the way down, or you find yourself running out of air more quickly than you realized; or even wasting time keeping yourself level, and missing out on some of the spectacular undersea life in The Bahamas. Whether you’re a seasoned pro, or still “wet behind the ears”, there are a few hints and tips that can help you make the most of your Bahamas dive.
One of the most common challenges for inexperienced divers, equalizing can be painful if it’s left too late during your descent. For the best results, start on the surface; this will pre-pressurize the ear, and make the equalization process easier upon descent. While you descend, it’s generally better to go feet-first – though some beginners try to power themselves down with their flippers, it makes it harder to equalize if you’re upside-down. Anyone who’s taken a PADI course or other scuba-diving class knows how important it is to equalize early and often, but some novice divers can forget amidst the excitement of a dive. Bahamas visitors will have a lot to distract them! If you’re having problems clearing one ear, tilt the blocked side towards the surface for surprising results!
You don’t want to miss a moment of your dive – Bahamas dives are treasured memories in the making – maximising your time underwater is important. Taking lots of short, shallow breaths will only make you run out of oxygen quicker – take deep, slow breaths to keep yourself calm (and it’ll help control your buoyancy) and to extend your supply of air. Try to use a minimum of movement while under the water. Keep your arms folded at your chest, or by your sides. The more you move around, the more air you’ll use. Experienced divers and divemasters never seem to move, they just float around under the water – it’s one way to relax in the Bahamas!
It can be very frustrating, feeling as if you’re almost going up and down like a yo-yo while trying to stay level and take the time to enjoy your dive. Bahamas divers know there are many sights you won’t want to miss. If you add or release air from your buoyancy device, be aware that it may not take effect instantaneously. If you don’t give it a little time to take effect, you may have the tendency to over-inflate, or over-deflate. It’s also a good idea to add or release air in small increments, so you can measure your progress.
It’s important to remember a few guidelines for diving safety, and though any reputable diving course will make you aware of the proper safety measures, whether in The Bahamas or elsewhere, they definitely bear repeating on occasion. It’s important to make sure you’re in good physical shape before going diving – you don’t have to be a world-class athlete, but it’s important that your body can take the stresses and strains of movement underwater. Make sure you check your equipment thoroughly before embarking on any dive (Bahamas or otherwise) and it’s essential that you always dive with a partner.
One lesser-known adage is to ‘plan your dive, and then dive your plan’. Prior to diving, you should know the maximum depth you’ll descend to, the amount of ‘bottom time’ you’ll have, and the amount of air you’ll have when you start your ascent.