From Blue to Green can be a rewarding transistion

Queen TriggerLiving in the Midwest, I have often wondered about the divide between divers who hold steadfast to being only blue water divers and those that dive in anything remotely wet be it  blue, green or somewhere in between.

Perhaps for those of us that were introduced to this awesome activity while on a beautiful tropical vacation it is possible that we relate our diving to the way we felt when we were on a vacation.  We were relaxed, stress free and far removed from the day to day grind at home.  So blue water diving returns us to that same environment time after time and there we have stayed.  I will go on record that I was introduced to this activity in the Cayman Islands and it doesn’t get much bluer than that and for a long time I considered myself a die hard blue water diver and didn’t get the local diving (green water) that people did here in Ohio.  But I soon discovered that I enjoyed diving too much to just wait for the annual or biannual vacation and so I dove into quarry diving………..literally.  Along the way I discovered that green water diving (quarries, lakes and rivers) have a lot to offer divers and it is in our back yards.  Oh, I still love to dive in beautiful blue ocean waters but I love to dive green too.

For those of you that have never dove in fresh water I would suggest you try it.  You will see many diQuarry Diversfferent varieties of fish, invertebrates and even freshwater jellyfish grace our Ohio waters.  We have artifacts that are placed in the water by both man and nature.  The great lakes offer some of the coolest wreck diving to be found anywhere.  The next time you drive on interstate 75 through Ohio think about the fact that the limestone that built that highway came from the same quarries we dive in now.  Once mined out they filled with spring water and mother nature reclaimed the quarry. And one more thing, quarry diving is not dark water with zero visibility.  We can have 50 feet plus viz on any given day at many of our quarries.

Ready to try diving in green water? Here are a few suggestions to make the transition easier.

1.  Consider yourself a good navigator in the ocean?  Taking the PADI Underwater Navigator specialty in a quarry is an excellent way to take your navigation skills to a whole different level.  Low visibility sharpens and enhances your other dive and compass skills.  I can honestly say that some of the best navigators I have dove with have been quarry divers.  The specialty offers more than just compass use, it also teaches natural navigation techniques.

2.  Have you mastered your buoyancy in the ocean and think there is nothing more to learn?  Taking the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course in a quarry prepares you to dive in any body of water.  There is more to buoyancy that hovering.  How you use your fins and hands determines how close you can get and what activities you can dive in.  When I was in the Indo-Pacific for the first time I was introduced to muck diving (very silty bottom composition) and I thanked my lucky stars that I was a quarry diver because all of the techniques that I used at home to stay off the bottom made my muck diving experience awesome. And we received cudos on our skills from the locals.

3.  You have to dress for success.  You need to layer your thermal protection and with the newer materials on the market today they are flexible and not bulky.  You need to cover your head.  If you don’t want a full hood then wear a dive beanie or look at a hooded vest or a wetsuit with the hood attached.  You can add a vest or thermal top under the suit (Aqualung makes a great one) and stay nice and toasty.  You need gloves and good soled boots.  Now before you complain about having to buy something to dive locally in and never use any other time, let me say that the thermal rash guard and beanie go on every dive trip.  They add just that added comfort for the end of the dive week chills or night diving.  And I have taken my 7 mil suit on many of my pacific diving locations and been grateful for it.  And the heavy soled dive boots, I just have one word on that subject:  Bonaire.

4.  Finally, find a seasoned local diver to introduce you to their back yard diving.  They have invaluable information to share to make the experience fun and enjoyable.  They would love to show you their favorite quarries, lakes and rivers.

For more information about diving with us in the local waters visit our website

And what ever color your water is just get out and go Diving!


Let’s take a look at Air Consumption

Welcome to our first Blog.  One of the segments we will talk about from time to time is addressing questions that our dive staff answers on a regular basis. We will title those “Let’s take a look at”.

So let’s take a look at high air consumption.  Nothing is more frustrating to a diver, new and old alike, than paying the same money for a long awaited dive trip to some exotic location only to have to return to the boat long before everyone else due to an air consumption situation.  First let me say, cudo’s to the diver that recognizes their air levels and safely ends their dive instead of sucking the condensation from the tank in lieu of acknowledging the issue.  This not only is dangerous to the diver but it jeopardizes the people diving with them.  That being said, the most common question we get is ” I need to buy or rent a larger tank because I use a lot of air”.  Believe me when I say that in most cases there is always a reason for using a lot of air and it rarely deals with your size or lung capacity.  A bigger tank is not the fix!

High air consumption can usually be attributed to one or more of the items below:

  1. Nerves or comfort level
  2. Improper or Inefficient fin kick
  3. Too much or too little weight
  4. Improper weight distribution
  5. Profile while moving underwater
  6. Unfamiliar Dive Gear

Being nervous or uncomfortable about or during a dive is normal if you haven’t dove for a while or are unsure of your skill level for the dive requirements. But if it happens every dive then you need to take steps to overcome the stress.  Stress sucks air!  Some suggestions……… 

  1. Enroll in a Scuba Refresher every few months to keep your skills sharp and then one right before the trip.  At ARSC we include a complimentary refresher with every trip.
  2. Take a PADI Continuing Education Course.  It’s not just about getting another card it’s about obtaining more confidence, getting guidance and support from an ARSC professional while having fun diving and learning new skills. 

An improper kick is one of the biggest culprits to high air consumption.  Just like an improperly maintained car has poor gas consumption; improperly kicking during a dive will do the same thing to your air.    Try these tips………..

  1. Are your fins in good condition for the best possible performance?  Materials have become lighter, faster and quite simply better. Fins are not a lifetime purchase, upgrade you won’t regret it.
  2. Do you still think diving is a speed sport and the faster the better?  Slow down, kick and then glide as far as you can before your next kick.
  3. Have you had your fins fitted and evaluated by a dive professional to ensure they match your kick and your style of diving?

Too Much, Too Little or Distribution of Weight = Underwater profile problems and all contribute to air consumption problems.  New divers want to wear more lead for a certain comfort level, like a security blanket. But more lead means pushing more volume through the water and using more energy creating less comfort, it’s a cycle.  Not enough weight is usually because a diver has failed to account for the buoyancy of salt water or the thickness change of their suit; whichever it is they struggle.  Even a seasoned diver will consume more air if they are under-weighted and constantly trying to control their buoyancy. Some divers become obsessed with dropping weight but this is never a good idea.  Learn to dive with enough weight to compensate for tank changes at the end of the dive. When you distribute your weight properly you will create a profile that allows you to move effortlessly throught the water (yes, you hear that in your entry level class but it’s still true). Try moving the lead forward, to the tank band if possible or on your ankles.  There are lots of options so experiment.   If you want help from a professional…………..

  1. Enroll in a PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Course.  It’s like having a private counseling session with a professional to custom tailor your diving style for your weight needs and profile concerns.  Lead placement is unique to each diver and this course finds the perfect place for you to wear the perfect amount of weight.  At ARSC we offer PPB pool clinics all year around in our heated pool so fine tuning your diving is a call away. 

And finally have you ever noticed that you may not drive a rental car with as much comfort and ease as your own.  Or that you play your other sports better with your racket, skis, or golf clubs than the ones you borrowed?  The game is OK but not as good as it could be. Diving is no different.  Owning your own gear makes that much difference in weight distribution through integrated systems and proper fit for streamlining and comfort. It removes the stress from having to figure out how everything works or doesn’t.  If you purchase the right fitting gear for your type of diving along with a custom pool dive to learn how to weight it and use it properly, you will probably pay for the gear with the new dive time you are going to get back underwater because you have fixed your air consumption problems. 

Now that we have looked at Air Consumption, you don’t have to pay to sit on the boat ever again.  Happy Diving From Aquatic Realm.