Monthly Archives: December 2013

Indonesia – Island hopping … Rain, Hail or Shine !

So its rainy season here in Indonesia ! If you plan a trip to one of the islands its a gamble as to whether its going to be good or bad weather on that day. The best way to fix this problem is to simply not care and go anyway HAHAHAHA ! Take the good ole Aussie approach. “Yeah she’ll be right mate” …. :)

Rain hail or shine, if you plan to go on a trip be happy no matter what the weather is and your going to be sure your trip will be SCHWEEET ! :) I guess the only consideration you need to take is to ensure that its safe and that you aren’t putting yourself or anyone that relies on you in danger. I was somewhat worried about that because there were some new guys on our trip that might have had issues if the boat capsized but it wasn’t as bad as I thought and the weather and ocean was pretty good to us. If it was just me and mark, I could imagine that if the boat capsized we would have started laughing and started taking pictures LOL, then only after 2-3 hours if someone didn’t come get us we would probably start getting just a little worried (just a little :P )

The swell was big on the way to Pulau Harapan so we had to stop for about 1 and a half hours to avoid the big waves but other then that slight “waste of time” mishap it was fine. We had some chop on the way to the smaller islands but for the most part the small nelayan boats held up good.

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So the group this time was bigger then just the BUMS (me and mark) and it was fun having a slightly bigger group. We had Rafie join us, Widdy (Rafies work mate) and Vero (my work mate). We went to the usual dive locations but this time because of the choppy seas the silt was kicked up from the ocean bed and it made the visibility pretty bad and this did put a slight dampen on our expectations but … it didn’t matter cause we were in the water and some locations were much better then others and did have some slight visibility.

So in the group we had 2 light skinned guys Widdy and Vero and 3 dark skinned guys, Mark, me and Rafie. So as the 3 of us went black, Widdy and Vero got red. The biggest standout was Widdy, it looked like he had a red mask and vest on HAHAHA ! Thanks for being a good sport mate … hope you are now recovered and its not peeling to bad.

My skin started to peel after a day and I looked like two-face from batman, people at the malls probably thought I had a skin disease HAHAHA WHATEVER … The sun burn mostly occurred on the first day because the sun was out and strong. Come the second day it was a totally different story.

That night after we got home all painful and burnt we had dinner then played big 2 … yeah big 2 … I don’t really wanna talk about it LOL … dumb game … had to many issues with the cards I was being dealt so didn’t do too well (plus maybe i’m just shit I don’t know)

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So on the second day it was a completely different atmosphere. The weather was gloomy and it started to rain as well. When we woke up the rain was pretty strong .. BUT .. it didn’t matter. We went out and to our surprise pulau perak (where we went diving on this very rainy day) was still very nice and relatively clear. We were able to still have some fun, see some fish and rafie was able to practice his dives and managed to reach the first double digit mark of 10m which is his PB and only second time in open water training.

The boat ride during the rain is actually very different, the water splashing on you and the large waves moving the boat side to side makes for a very different experience. Either way it was fun and a change from the normal boat rides I have experienced when I went to pualu seribu.

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So … yeah … another successful weekend in one of the most awesome and cheapest countries to go for weekend trips I must say. Check out the video above to see a summary of our weekend !

… And thanks for coming to the new guys, hope to see you on the next outing :)

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Free Diving – Rafie down to 10m on his 2nd open water …

The goal was to get Rafie down to 10m. It’s his 2nd open water since he started diving 5 months ago when he did his first open water only after hearing about free diving 3 days before :P So if you look at it that way its really his first open water since he knew what free diving actually was !

Anyway Rafie has made some good progress since he started, he has a breathe hold PB of 3:23, dynamic of 50m with fins, dynamic 25m with exhale and not sure about no-fins (what is it ya ?)

One of the hardest things to practice when your in really shallow pools or even in pools that max out at 4-5 meters is

  • Equalisation (you might be able to do it at 3m, 4m, maybe 5m but after you start to get deeper and deeper things change because the pressure gets more intense)
  •  Kicking down – As kicking down is different to kicking horizontally (well not really) but because your orientation is different your mind plays games on you.
  • And the most important one is staying calm in the open water were you don’t know whats below you, and were your mind plays all sorts of games on you as you start to get deeper and the surface starts to disappear from sight.

I remember the first time ever that I went down to 15m, I did it with no-fins, I was standing barefooted on the bottom of the ocean, I slowly looked up and thought WTF … why am I here, what am I doing here, how far is it to the top, am I going to make it up swimming without fins and as you start to swim up, every time your not at the surface nervousness slowly sets in.

This simply goes away after the first time you do it and make it back to the surface cause you understand what 15m means, you understand that its not like all the previous experiences when your practicing in a pool and getting to the surface is a matter of pushing really hard from the bottom of the pool and your back to the surface to take in that air. You understand that you have to swim up slowly, calmly and just enjoy the ride up.

These are the things you get in open water and why sometimes you perform really well in the pool but when your in the ocean your kicking is messed up and your not equalising well (things you do easily in the pool). Seems like all these things are a function of how calm and relaxed you are.

So we bought Rafie into the ocean and it took about 6 dives to get him down to 10m. At the start equalisation was the problem but after we got over that and started to reach depths of greater then 5m it was more about staying calm.

On this particular weekend the visibility was terrible so you couldn’t see anything more then 3m or so ahead so it was dark, gloomy and kind of scary. After a while though he got more calm with the darkness and was able to get to 8.3 – 9.3 then finally 10m after almost running into some coral and then crashing into me as well (all in the video :P )

I think he should be able to get much deeper then 10m but first, on the next few open waters it will be good to do nice relaxing dives at < 10m (but up to and on 10m) and enjoy the scenery at that depth when the visibility is much better.

Next open water at the end of January ….. can’t wait :)

Free Diving – Exhale (FRC) in the pool …

I have been staying at my cousins place while working here in Indonesia for this 3 month period. This situation is a little different then in the past because at the moment I am working for my own company so I don’t get the lavish apartments and perks that a big company can offer.

It’s all good though cause my cousins place is nice and its good to have family around to talk to and to enjoy the weekends with. We also like to do the same activities so it makes it more fun. One of the bonuses also is my cousin has a pool in his backyard though one of the negatives is that the pool is extremely shallow, about 1.5m, and really short (about 10m) so its not really good for freediving practice in the normal sense.

However there are many great exercises you can do with a pool this size.  The first and most common one is static apnea, the second is you can practice your kicking by pushing up against the wall and simple kicking with or without fins. The next exercise you can do is your stroke, specially if you like to do no-fins.

The final one that I like to practice is the Exhale or FRC breath hold. There are many definitions of what an exhale dive is and I am by far not an expert in this as I will learn more about this in the advanced course however I practice this so that I can get better times on my normal static apnea and it makes me very negatively buoyant so I can stay at the bottom of the pool and do dynamic no fins without weights or without having to fight to stay down in such a shallow pool.

Since I practiced this method of breath hold I have been able to get basic breath hold times to mid 3 minute mark very easily, get to mid 4′s OK but have not yet been able to beat my PB of just over 5minutes. I think though this is more mental and probably just need to work on keeping calm more towards the end of a breathe hold.

I know that with exhale there is a lot of risk and hence I don’t forcefully exhale, I simple exhale just till my body gets negatively buoyant and I sink to the bottom of the pool. I have seen some of the diving champions reverse pack, and exhale to get complete empty lungs but because I don’t know the effects and haven’t officially learnt it I wont experiment to much other then to exhale enough to be negatively buoyant and swim dynamic and some not to deep < 10m dives. When I officially learn the risks and what to/not to do then I will experiment more.

Anyway, its a great way to train in a shallow pool and still get a lot out of each training session even though the pool is not deep or long.

Free Diving – Some equipment upgrades

So I am not one who likes to buy a lot of gear or merchandise, I am way to cheap for that BUT when it comes time to buying something that will allow me to enjoy my hobbies then I don’t have a problem. You can’t put a price on fun right so who cares when what you buy is related to FUN … :P

So I bought 2 upgrades and 1 brand new piece of equipment. So that equipment is listed below :

WP_20131227_004Equipment number 1: I bought a new Aries f10 dive computer. This thing usually retails for about $499 – $529 (prices I have seen) but I got it from the awesome guys at   http://www.spearfishing.com.au for a CRAZY $329 when they were having their christmas special.

It was insane, I been wanting to buy a dive computer for so long so that I can keep myself safe and gauge my progress but the prices were just way to much, so when the F10 was selling for $329 I bought it right away. I get most of my diving gear (fins, gloves, snorkel, mask) at www.spearfishing.com.au because its cheaper then most places and the delivery is 2 days MAX (even for large fins :P ) so this was the first place I searched when I was looking for this dive computer and man …. I wasn’t disappointed !

So I haven’t looked into the F10 in detail yet, I just haven’t had the time BUT using the basic features, average dives, depth alarms, depth gauge etc I train so much better and safer. I can’t really compare it to other diving computers but in terms of the progress I have made in performance with this kind of data at my finger tips its been really great.

WP_20131217_002Equipment upgrade number 2: I bought new fins baby. Pure carbon wave series from Leaderfins. I was using the Cressi modulars before and they have done me well for a while BUT when I started to try to do some serious dynamic distances and actually go all out I felt that my legs were getting tried faster then I was running out of breath.

This really started to get apparent when I started using “Fin Keepers/Holders”. When I started to use the fin keepers there was less movement between my fins and my ankles so most of the energy was transferred to the fin blades and much less got lost in the ankle/heel area with fin moving. Because the blades are so hard on the current Cressi Gara’s I could feel  that my thighs started to get tired much much faster so it was time to get blades that were softer and had more propulsion. Just to note, this isn’t the fault of the Gara’s, they are great fins, I think they are just not suited for my kick output :P Im a pretty short guy and skinny legs so in comparison to taller guys with more leverage my kick is weaker. I think the Gara’s are more suited to taller stronger kickers.

I looked at a lot of different kinds of fins but its really hard to go past the pure carbon leaderfins  at prices below $300 AUD including delivery, bag, blades and foot pocket ! At the end I chose the all carbon and finally gave them a go this weekend. Compared to my Cressi Modular Gara’s these babies fly. My legs don’t get tried and I can really feel the push. I can’t wait to try these out in the pool and try to go as far as I can and try to beat my PB’s.

When I bought these fins the guys at the shop made a mistake with my tracking number so my fins were at the post office for almost a week without anyone picking them up. Every time I went to check the location of my fins using the wrong tracking number it was stated as not yet delivered so they were just sitting there collecting dust. Other then that though, the packaging and delivery was perfect so great job to the guys at www.freedivershop.com.

GoPro-Hero3-2Equipment upgrade number 3: New GoPro ! Why, cause my old GoPro is in kind of a disabled state. When I went to Sangiang island a few months ago water got into my GoPro when the waterproof casing wasn’t 100% sealing. As a result something happened to the camera. It takes longer to charge now and sometimes the SD card can not be read when its plugged into the GoPro, however if we take out the SD card and plug it into another device it works just fine. The Camera still works but I am worried that because the camera is in this damaged state it could start to fail on a trip and that would suck.

Now if the camera fails during the trip it isn’t about the camera, you can just buy another one no worries … its more about missing the moment and reliving the experiences later, so I thought screw it, ill just buy one now and use the old GoPro silver as a spare, maybe put it as a head mount or attach it to my legs when i’m diving. If it dies during a trip then no worries.

So thats about it, oh I bought it all in one big hit so my pocket did cop the flak :P I bought it all in one big hit was so that I could get it delivered to Australia before I left to Indonesia as I will be spending the next 3 months here. I wanted to make sure I could order all my gear and take it all with me. I will be living in Indonesia for at least 3 months for work so I wanted to make sure I didn’t need any additional equipment whilst diving and travelling around Indonesia on my days off.