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Discover Technical Diving

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech took out some eager and lucky divers on an afternoon of discover technical diving in the ocean around Koh Tao Island.

Technical divers are elite scuba divers in a league of their own and tech diving is surely not for everybody.

But if you are a sophisticated and adventurous diver who is looking for a challenge with calculated risks it might be just the thing for you.

However, before you go on a shopping spree and buy all this exciting tech equipment and enroll in a thrilling tech dive course we give you the opportunity to conduct a DISCOVER TECH DIVING program with one of our experienced tech dive instructors.

This day includes theory, equipment introduction and 2 dives around Koh Tao from our dedicated tech boat.

 

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Scuba Technician Course

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech recently completed the training for Janine Tate from her Compressor Operator, Gas Blender, Service Technician and Oxygen Service Technician Course conducted over several days at our technical diving school at the resort on Koh Tao Island.

The compressor operator course trains scuba divers in the s operating and serving of a scuba diving compressor for filling scuba tanks. After that course came the skills for filling scuba tanks with nitrox or enriched air nitrox. This method includes many different skills with partial pressure, continuous flow, oxygen handling and operating.

After all the hot and sweaty compressor work was completed Janine moved on to servicing and cleaning scuba diving regulators and further regulators designed for use with technical diving including oxygen cleaning.

The service technician course introduces students to trouble shooting, stripping and fixing regulators.

Janine, who is already a Divmaster took this training to learn more about the back of shop skills and how to service her own regulator after having poor servicing in the past. Undoubtedly these skills will enhance her employment and her resume/cv in the future.


TDI Advanced Nitrox and TDI Deco Procedures Course

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech celebrates the graudtaion of Arul Sakthi Sankar form his TDI Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures course conducted by TDI Instructor Ash Dunn over 5 days on Koh Tao Island off the coast of Thailand.

The focus of these combined courses is to train students to be successful in technical diving. These classes are taught as if they are a small piece to a much larger picture, not as entry level technical diving. These courses build the foundation for sound technical diving. What you will learn will be utilized in higher level trimix courses.

This is not a course to learn or re-learn fundamental diving skills. Students will be held to a higher level of performance not found in many technical diving courses.

Students are taught and evaluated, not only on skill proficiency, but control, leadership, situational awareness, teamwork, and judgment. Successful students will have a finesse that few divers have. You will finish this class with the confidence, competence, and comfort to be able to complete dives at this level of training prior to receiving a c-card.

This course requires a minimum of 5 days with 10 or more dives and involves a minimum 40 hours of instruction. Expect to dive every day with lectures in the afternoon and evening for each day. The majority of dives will be conducted in shallow water for critical skill evaluation. However, each day will get deeper as the class progresses. The final day is reserved for experience dives that will be at depth with a real decompression obligation.
Course content will include, but not limited to: enriched air Nitrox usage, decompression mixtures, diving physics & physiology, dive tables, advanced decompression theory, oxygen exposure/management, team diving procedures, and contingency planning.

more pictures can be found on our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/technicaldivingthailand


Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech celebrates the graudtaion of Anna Flam, Cameron Dunning and John Miles form their TDI Advanced Nitrox and Decomrpession procedures course conducted by TDI Instructor Ash Dunn over 5 days on Koh Tao Island off the coast of Thailand.

The focus of these combined courses is to train students to be successful in technical diving. These classes are taught as if they are a small piece to a much larger picture, not as entry level technical diving. These courses build the foundation for sound technical diving. What you will learn will be utilized in higher level trimix courses.

This is not a course to learn or re-learn fundamental diving skills. Students will be held to a higher level of performance not found in many technical diving courses.

Students are taught and evaluated, not only on skill proficiency, but control, leadership, situational awareness, teamwork, and judgement. Successful students will have a finesse that few divers have. You will finish this class with the confidence, competence, and comfort to be able to complete dives at this level of training prior to receiving a c-card.

This course requires a minimum of 5 days with 10 or more dives and involves a minimum 40 hours of instruction. Expect to dive every day with lectures in the afternoon and evening for each day. The majority of dives will be conducted in shallow water for critical skill evaluation. However, each day will get deeper as the class progresses. The final day is reserved for experience dives that will be at depth with a real decompression obligation.
Course content will include, but not limited to: enriched air Nitrox usage, decompression mixtures, diving physics & physiology, dive tables, advanced decompression theory, oxygen exposure/management, team diving procedures, and contingency planning.

This completes the training on Koh Tao for this group as we depart for Khao Sok National Park for their Trimix and Cavern course.

more pictures can be found on our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/technicaldivingthailand


Mixed Gas Trimix Diver Course in Thailand

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech would like to congratulate Paw Mullit and Phill Clegg from their BSAC Sports Mixed Gas and Explorer Mixed Gas diver course conducted over 5 days on Koh Tao Island by BSAC Explorer Mixed Gas Instructor Ash Dunn.

The BSAC Sports mixed  course introduces divers to mixed gas diving using open circuit dive equipment. It teaches experienced divers to use mixed gas to expand their current skills to be able to dive a maximum depth of 50 metres using the most appropriate gas mix. The course uses gas mixes of oxygen greater than or equal to 20% and helium up to 30%. This course is designed for diving in conditions where complex air based diving isn’t recommended beyond 40m and provides a great foundation for further exploration. After completing the sports module the divers progressed on to the explorer module which allows the divers to be exposed to the standard normoxic mixes.

The BSAC Explorer Mixed Gas; You can extend your mixed gas diving skills and depth certification with this course. It teaches experienced open circuit divers to use mixed gas to expand their current o be able to dive a maximum depth of 60 metres.  The course uses gas mixes of oxygen greater than or equal to 18% and helium up to 35%.

The BSAC curriculum is current as these courses have been revamped this year with up to date manuals, theory and academics which are relevant to todays trimix diving. The 8 dive combined course exposed the divers to a varied amount of conditions which was the culmunation of effort applied since their Advanced Nitrox and Decompresssion Procedures course from TDI.

Well done guys, welcome to the club!


SSI Twinset Specialty Course Launched!

SSI (Scuba Schools International) launches signature course for twinset bound divers


Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech recently certified new SSI Twinset Specialty divers during a combined course with a Nitrox, Wreck and Deep specialty for Divemaster interns by SSI TXR Instructor Helen Artal over a 4 day course on Koh Tao Island off the coast of Thailand.

The SSI Twinset specialty is a signature course written by Helen Artal and approved by SSI. The course was launched in the new year and this is the first time it has been conducted.

The SSI Twinset Specialty is about building confidence and skill perfection in a twinset which is the broad term for two cylinders connected by tank bands and a manifold most commonly used in technical and cave diving applications.

The course was also combined with Nitrox, Deep and Wreck diving specialties to enhance the students knowledge of the application of twinset diving.

The students were exposed to wrecks in the 30-40m range while comfortably diving on 29% nitrox in their twinsets which gave them ample bottom time and breathing gas.

You can view more pictures on our  Big Blue Tech Facebook Fan


Mixed Gas Advanced Wreck Diving

Helium induced breathing mixed creates focused environment for extreme wreck penetration.

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech is proud to certify Graeme Scott from his TDI Advanced Wreck , TDI Helitrox and TDI Trimix course conducted over a week long period of progressive training by TDI Instructor James Thornton-Allan off the coast of Thailand on Koh Tao Island.

The TDI Advanced Wreck course is unqiue in diving as it takes a certified technical diver and exposes him to the challenges of wreck penetration while juggling the stress of technical decompression diving. The advanced wreck course is designed to expose the students to elements of hazards, risk and thrills associated with wreck penetration diving including emergency decompression, entanglement, line skills and penetration techniques from progressive penetration to freestyle line work.

The TDI Advanced Wreck course is often taught of depths upwards of 55m, in this case the breathing mix was changed from convention air to helium based mixes to keep an equivalent narcotic depth above 30m allowing the student to have a clear head for the more challenging penetrations at narcosis depth levels.

After combined dives on trimix Graeme finished off with an air based dive post certification to gain appreciation for the difficulties of narcosis induced wreck penetration which includes many errors in judgement, confusion and general over confidence.

This course culminates Graeme’s training as part of his month long internship and he now returns to England where he will continue to practice his skills and certification at his local dive club.

You can view more pictures on our  Big Blue Tech Facebook Fan


Deco and Advanced Nitrox Course

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech recently completed a TDI Decompression Procedures and Advanced Nitrox Course for Kathryn Julia conducted over 5 days on Koh Tao Island by TDI Instructor Ash Dunn.

This training course combines the Advanced Nitrox and Deco Procedures Diver training courses to maximum training depths of forty-five meters (45msw) or one hundred fifty feet (150fsw) using Oxygen Enriched Air for bottom mixes and 50%O2 mix for decompression gas. The “built-in” 10 – 12 hours of theory time provides the diver a better grasp of Decompression Illness and Oxygen Toxicity concepts and be able to confidently come up with dive plans that further reduce risks of DCI and O2 Toxicity. The in-water skills and exercises introduce the student diver to innovative techniques in survival, self-sufficiency, and proper decompression management.

Divers often refer to decompression as a glass ceiling. Decompression diving is about passing this ceiling at the right time and doing so in a safe and competent manner. Below is a brief description of what decompression diving is, and some tips on for safer and better decompression diving.

Decompression diving refers to a dive that exceeds the usual decompression time/depth limits. The ourpose of decompression diving is really to allow divers longer on the bottom of where they are diving. It releases the diver from many of the restrictions that divers face. But the limiting of these restrictions also means the dive is open to greater risks, and requires the diver to be experienced and competent.What this means is that on the ascent the diver will need to make one or more decompression stops. If the diver fails to make the decompression stops then they can suffer from decompression sickness, or the bends.

Decompression diving isn’t for the occasional diving amateur, nor for those who do not wish to accept the risks that decompression diving can have. But for those who are experienced and able enough, below are some tips for making the most from decompression diving.

* Keep it simple. If you are beginning decompression diving, or this is your first dive don’t do anything complicated. No decompression dive should be planned with more than one stop on your ascent until you are completely comfortable with your own ability to maintain depth etc. Never do anything which you cannot control, or which exposes you to risk.

* Imagine every dive is a decompression dive. There is some evidence to suggest that every dive is really a decompression dive, or should be treated as such. Safety stops should be a part of any ‘normal’ dive as are slow ascents. Therefore many of the techniques that make a good diver, also make you a good decompression diver. That is a very good way t improve, and extend your diving abilities by ensuring you always following the best practice in every dive, which means you will be a safe decompression diver.

* Make sure you have the hardware. Most dive computers will allow you to plan some form of decompression dive. Start small, and trust in your computer as it isn’t going to cheat, give you a few more seconds, or just let you see whats round that rock! Oh. And please make sure you know and understand all of your computers decompression functions. You don’t want to


The Mega Specialty Mix Course

4 courses mashed together for an advanced technical related diving bonanza

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech celebrate the graudtion of Jennifer Brogan, Regine Petersen, Anthony Mure, Jamie Hyde from their TDI Nitrox, TDI Intro to Tech, SDI Limited Penetration Wreck Diver and SDI Deep Diver Specialties.

These courses were combined in to various diving activites over the course of 6 days to complete a higher level of training for the Divemaster Interns enrolled in a 2 month internship to become certified divemasters, dive leaders and Dive Cons.

The course began with theory and Intro to Tech course so they could complete the future training in a twinset with technical equipment configuration.

The course continued onto using custom mixes of 29% for the wreck dive and deeper depths to 36% for shallow skills and line work. The wreck penetration skills were completed on the “Trident” wreck located off the coast of Koh Tao near shark island which was purposely sank to provide an environment for overhead training.

This mash-up of diving courses is only available to our divemaster interns however these courses are offered individually on request.

More pictures can be found on our facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/technicaldivingthailand


Sidemount – Not Just For Cave Divers Anymore

More recreational divers are discovering the advantages of sidemount scuba cylinders.

Koh Tao, Thailand

Big Blue Tech Congratulates Graeme Scott for completing his SDI Sidemount Course on Koh Tao by Diverite Nomad Technical Instructor James Thornton-Allan conducted over 2 days on Koh Tao Island off the coast of Thailand.

Historically, sidemount diving was for extreme, technical divers who used the configuration to penetrate small sections of caves. But its adaptability and advantages have been discovered by divers of varied experience levels, and that, coupled with advances in equipment and greater availability of training, has made sidemount diving an increasingly common application. It’s not just for cave divers anymore.

Sidemount is a gear configuration in which a diver wears a tank on each side of his body instead of mounted on his back. Sidemount tanks lie parallel to the body, below the shoulders and along the hips. Since the tanks are not connected by an isolation manifold, as they are in a backmount configuration, the diver has two separate and redundant sources of gas and will breathe first from one tank and then the other, switching back and forth between two independent regulators throughout the dive. The clips on the bottom of the tanks are attached below the hip, and the top of the tank is secured with a bungee system, which allows the tanks to ride along the side.


The advantages of sidemount diving first resonated with advanced and technical divers who realized that wearing tanks on the side of the body created a lower profile in the water than traditional backmounted tanks, thereby allowing access to, and the exploration of, small spaces without disturbing the environment. Less silt equaled greater access. Wreck divers discovered they could push a tank ahead of them into a small hatchway by simply unclipping the bottom portion of the tank from the buttplate. Cave divers saw the same benefits when working their way through low, overhead passageways. Reef divers, too, implemented sidemount diving to improve the navigation of tight coral canyons while hopefully reducing unintentional coral contact.

But whether diving a wreck, cave or reef, every specialty recognized the safety benefits of sidemount diving. A sidemount configuration gives a diver easier access to tank valves in an emergency. Some divers carry sidemount “bailout bottles” specifically for this purpose. Sidemount rigs make it easier when divers need to swap out extra tanks staged along a tagline or the floor of a basin. The position of the tanks also gives the diver’s head greater range of motion for enhanced vision and comfort.

One final advantage for sidemount enthusiasts is simply the management of what can be a heavy load. Considering the average technical rig weighs approximately 130 lbs., it’s easy to see the appeal of a system that allows for the placement of tanks in the water ahead of the diver, allowing him to enter the water in nothing more than a basic harness system. The tanks then clip in, but with the weight burden significantly reduced through buoyancy. Of course, when the dive is done the process is easily reversed, allowing divers to exit the water with the same ease. Older divers and petite women are two dive demographics increasingly embracing sidemount diving for these very reasons.

Sidemount configurations are proving a good fit with the increasing popularity of rebreather diving. Because of the cluttered front presented by rebreather hardware, the sidemounted “bailout bottles” provide an unobtrusive way to carry an emergency air supply. The sidemount tanks also provide a ballast of sorts, creating a more streamlined profile and manageable center of gravity.

To Train Or Not To Train

Like all forms of specialized diving, divers should seek training to learn about sidemount diving. Experienced technical divers already accustomed to gas management and dealing with multiple cylinders and the rule of thirds will likely figure out how to sidemount with the help of a good workshop emphasizing the ergonomics of the system. Even then, it will likely take quite a few dives to balance the rig just right and to make the operation intuitive. Every diver must decide if these adjustments are a puzzle to solve on his own or a special skill set to hone with the help of an instructor.
Divers who are not technically trained yet want to get started in advanced diving with sidemount should take a structured course. Proper training will include removing a bottle underwater and swimming while pushing the tank in front of the body, donning tanks while floating at the surface, air sharing, gas management and deploying a surface marker. Working with an instructor will help the diver configure the finer nuances of the rig, set up the tanks properly and make sure the trim is correct in-water. Courses are typically run over two days.

Divers should choose an instructor who is familiar with their intended dive environment. There are differences between sidemounting from a boat or a cave or a wreck, and the best instruction is scenario-specific. Divers come in a variety of shapes and sizes with a variety of needs; ensure your instructor is knowledgeable on the various sidemount options and can teach you what you need to know.

How To Choose

There are dozens of sidemount rigs on the market; the diversity can be bewildering. As with all diving equipment, it’s important to define your own needs and fit your unique body type. What works for one diver won’t necessarily work for another, so do some homework before buying.

To find the rig that works best, a potential sidemount diver needs to do a thorough assessment of his dive environment and understand how personal body type and buoyancy characteristics affect a rig. Don’t try to squeeze custom needs into a “one-size-fits-most” configuration. What are your rig lift needs? Do you need your rig to be easily adaptable, or do you need one highly specialized for a specific environment? A cold-water diver may wear heavy steel tanks and need a rig designed for that environment, including a wing with enough lift for the tanks, materials that are cold-water friendly and adjustment points that can be handled with thick gloves. Cave divers in Florida may need something entirely different, and deep wreck divers off New Jersey may require something else again.

Pay attention to safety features: Do they meet the needs of your dive environment? If you plan to sidemount from a boat, you should make sure your rig is designed with the proper safety clips in case you have to enter or exit the water with the tanks attached to your harness. (This can happen when a boat encounters rough seas and transporting the tanks one at a time, unattached to the diver, can be difficult or dangerous. Rather than stress or snap the bungee system, the diver uses the clip located on the neck of the tank to clip into something more robust, like a harness D-ring.)

Divers planning to squeeze into restricted spaces with protrusions need to pay attention to the placement of the inflation hose and bungee system, along with other potential snag points. A buttplate tucked beneath a wing would be a potential problem, and the inflation hose should have a protective sleeve and a low profile. A continuous, one-piece bungee system is not necessarily considered the safest alternative; the prevailing trend these days is two separate bungees. That way if one bungee is sheared, you won’t lose control of both tanks. Keep in mind that safety and redundancy in advanced diving is critical.

Both recreational and technical certification agencies now offer sidemount training, making it easier to find an instructor. More and more sidemount divers are seen on boats and at dive sites; as part of your due diligence, ask their opinion on why they choose to sidemount and what safety features are critical to the dive environment. There’s a wealth of information eagerly disseminated amongst those early adapters of the equipment. For while it’s not necessarily mainstream just yet, sidemounting has definitely come out of the cave and into the light of day.