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Dive Newfoundland Bell Island Shipwrecks July 2022

Dive Newfoundland Bell Island Shipwrecks, Humpback Whales, Bell Island Mine and more!

Join us July 17 – 24, 2022 as we dive the majestic Bell Island Shipwrecks and historic Bell Island Mines in beautiful Newfoundland. This trip also includes options to Snorkel with migrant Humpback Whales, Kayak through Sea Caves, Stand Up Paddle Board, go Cod Fishing or take a Bike Tour on land! There’s always the potential to still see Icebergs in July as well. Join this amazing and memorable trip to the east coast of Canada and see why we love Newfoundland so much.

Newfoundland is home to some impressive WWII shipwrecks that were sank by German U-Boat’s in 1942. This is the only place in Canda you can see WWII history up close and intact. The Bell Island wrecks are time capsules that feature some beautiful and colourful soft corals and many of the original artifacts including a Marconi Radio Room. With five days of diving, you’ll discover the secrets of all four of the famous Bell Island shipwrecks. Intact and upright on the bottom, over 400 ft long, and in virtually the same conditions as the day they were sunk by German U-boats in 1942, these wrecks are sure to have you coming back again.

DDS is so impressed with Newfoundland that we have booked it over 5 summers in a row now!  Join us for a phenomenal week of diving with our friends at Ocean Quest Adventures . One of the reason’s we keep going back is because Rick and his staff provide outstanding east coast hospitality at their Ocean Quest Dive Lodge. When you dive Newfoundland you realize that this place is special and the diving is some of the best in the world.  It’s worth every penny of the cost and then some.

Torpedo hit from a German U-Boat on the starboard side of the PLM. Photo by Aaron Speare.
The second bow anchor on the wreck of the SS Saganaga. Photo by Aaron Speare.

The Logistics:

Saturday (check in) to (Saturday check out). All packages includes 7 nights accommodations and 5 days activities. This includes your choice of two dives per day or 1 on land activity. It also includes all transportation on activity days, airport transfers and twin or king shared accommodation at Ocean Quest’s luxury dive lodge.

Choose Your Own Adventure Packages:

Diver Package Includes Divers can choose single tanks, twin back mount, side-mount, or rebreather. Stages, Pony’s, and hardware included at no extra cost. Ocean Quest provides the following gas options: Air, Nitrox 28% and 100% O2.

Adventure and Dive Combo For those travellers who want the BEST of both worlds. Pick 5 days of activities diving or non-diving

On Land Adventure Package for Non Divers 5 days of non-diving activities. Perfect for the non-diving partners. Land lubbers can choose from any of the tour options available during the time of stay. See the Tours section of the Ocean Quest Adventures website for more details.

2022 Rate: All packages are $2699.00 + NL HST

Add On: Mine Quest Diving in the Bell Island Mines $300.00 + HST additional. Requirements: Minimum 4 divers per group with FULL CAVE or MINE DIVING Certification. BI Mine Diving will replace 1 day of Wreck Diving.

Prices do not include flight, meals, spa facilities.

Divers need a minimum Advanced Certification, and at least 25 cold water dives. Drysuit is recommended.

Deck of the SS Saganaga. Photo by Aaron Speare.
Photo by Aaron Speare.

Trip Arrangements Provided by:

Ocean Quest Adventures

40 O’Leary Ave, St. John’s, NL A1B 2C7

www.oceanquestadventures.com

Ocean Quest
tobermory dive dan's dive shop

Tobermory Dive Extravaganza September 2021

Tobermory Dive Extravaganza with Dan’s Dive Shop

Join us in Canada’s Dive Capital for one of our most popular dive trips, the Tobermory Dive Extravaganza! Nestled in the Northern Bruce Peninsula, Tobermory is known as one of the most beautiful places in the world- above and below the water.

Explore Fathom 5 Marine Park and the many beautiful shipwrecks, rich walls and drop-offs that only Tobermory’s crystal clear deep blue waters can offer. Dan’s Dive Shop hosts dives for the Advanced Open Water Diver to Technical, Trimix or Rebreather diver on each of these trips.

Popular sites include but are not limited to: Arabia, Forest City, Dufferin Wall, Niagara 2, Grotto, James C. King, Philo Scoville, Wetmore, Bad Neighbour Rock, Flower Pot Island Wall and many more.

Included: 2 nights shared accommodations , 2 days of boat diving to some of Tobermory’s best known sites and some maybe not so well known, as well as a meal plan with continental breakfasts, bagged lunches and a bbq dinner (usually steaks the size of your head) Saturday night.

Not included: Gear, training, gas fills & gratuities.

**NEW FOR 2021- ADD MANASOO CHARTER on FRIDAY for $125. (Trimix Cert Required) 

Join Us:

September 24 -26, 2021 at Trails End Lodge.

Boat dives begin Saturday morning. DDS divers will be there and diving from shore on the Friday so contact us if you would like to join the fun.

Cost is only $450+HST based on double occupancy.

DDS TRIP POLICY To reserve your spot all guests are required to fill out a DDS Reservation & Liability Form and pay a $100 non-refundable deposit. Final payment is due 60 days prior to trip departure.

DDS TRIP CANCELLATION POLICY ALL TRIP PAYMENTS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. If the trip goes full, or you are able to fill your spot, you will be reimbursed for everything except your non-refundable trip deposit of $100. To protect yourself against pre-trip cancellation or travel emergencies, we highly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance. Travel Insurance is available from Flight Centre Independent.

 

2021 COVID-19 UPDATE

Dan’s Dive Shop has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19; however, participating on this trip could increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.

All participants will be required to respond to an online COVID 19 assessment at least 24 hours before your trip to determine your eligibility to participate.

The health of all the divers and staff depends on your honesty and diligence in completing this screening tool and following public health recommendations.

If the trip is cancelled by Dan’s Dive Shop due to Covid-19 restrictions a store credit will be issued for all monies paid.

We appreciate your co-operation and support.

tobermory dive dan's dive shop

Tobermory Dive Extravaganza July 2021

Tobermory Dive Extravaganza with Dan’s Dive Shop

Join us in Canada’s Dive Capital for one of our most popular dive trips, the Tobermory Dive Extravaganza! Nestled in the Northern Bruce Peninsula, Tobermory is known as one of the most beautiful places in the world- above and below the water.

Explore Fathom 5 Marine Park and the many beautiful shipwrecks, rich walls and drop-offs that only Tobermory’s crystal clear deep blue waters can offer. Dan’s Dive Shop hosts dives for the Advanced Open Water Diver to Technical, Trimix or Rebreather diver on each of these trips.

Popular sites include but are not limited to: Arabia, Forest City, Dufferin Wall, Niagara 2, Grotto, James C. King, Philo Scoville, Wetmore, Bad Neighbour Rock, Flower Pot Island Wall and many more.

Included: 2 nights shared accommodations, 2 days of boat diving to some of Tobermory’s best known sites and some maybe not so well known, as well as a meal plan with continental breakfasts, bagged lunches and a bbq dinner (usually steaks the size of your head) Saturday night.

Not included: Gear, training, gas fills & gratuities.

Students can complete their PADI Advanced Open Water Course, Dive Specialty Courses or request a course and we’ll see if we can fit a specialty class of your choosing in.

NEW FOR 2021- ADD MANASOO CHARTER (Trimix Cert Required) on FRIDAY for $125 

Join Us:

July 9 – 11, 2021

Boat dives begin Saturday morning. DDS divers will be there and diving from shore on the Friday so contact us if you would like to join the fun.

Cost is only $450 +HST based on double occupancy.

DDS TRIP POLICY To reserve your spot all guests are required to fill out a DDS Reservation & Liability Form and pay a $100 non-refundable deposit. Final payment is due 60 days prior to trip departure.

DDS TRIP CANCELLATION POLICY ALL TRIP PAYMENTS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. If the trip goes full, or you are able to fill your spot, you will be reimbursed for everything except your non-refundable trip deposit of $100. To protect yourself against pre-trip cancellation or travel emergencies, we highly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance. Travel Insurance is available from Flight Centre Independent

2021 COVID-19 UPDATE

Dan’s Dive Shop has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19; however, participating on this trip could increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.

All participants will be required to respond to an online COVID 19 assessment at least 24 hours before your trip to determine your eligibility to participate.

The health of all the divers and staff depends on your honesty and diligence in completing this screening tool and following public health recommendations.

If the trip is cancelled by Dan’s Dive Shop due to Covid-19 restrictions a store credit will be issued for all monies paid.

We appreciate your co-operation and support.

 

Cave Explorer Matt Mandziuk retrieving line in a Florida Cave

How Did I Get Into Cave Diving?

A Look Back at how I Helped Re-Shape Dive Training in Canada
by
Matthew Mandziuk

A lot of people ask me how I got into cave diving, and the truth is that it wasn’t on purpose. It was once upon a time when I was in Mexico doing some instructor updates for TDI. I was looking for a trainer that could teach me more than the people I had met or worked with in North America. 

The Internet was relatively new to me…well most of us 20 years ago, but I had found a few trainers who kept coming up on WebCrawler and whatever other search engines I used…I think AOL. What drew me to Mexico was that the Instructor was seemingly offering something different in concept. His emails were more detailed even though English wasn’t his first language and the pictures looked like the gear was a lot tidier than my setup, which in those days was a very old school New Jersey Wreck Diving configuration, so I took a chance, hopped on a plane and went to Mexico.

We reconfigured my gear, as I was fascinated by how much cleaner and more streamlined the setup we were training new students on was and I embraced it all 100%. It was knowledge that made sense and it made the diving so much more functional. (See the example of how my gear may or may not have looked at one point further down the post).

One day we were out in the ocean boat diving in 14′ waves, when I got thrown from the boat by with all my gear on. Here was as good of a spot as any to drop on the wall, so we decided to drop right were I did and we conducted a nice 300’ trimix dive. As we entered the decompression phase of the dive shallower, the surge was very strong and I started getting a little queasy. After the stops were clear, we got tossed back onto the boat by the waves and we powered back to shore, I crawled tanks and all up the sandy beach on all 4’s and and kissed that unmoving ground. I likely even told it I loved it. When my face wasn’t green anymore my Trainer started thinking about other less windy options and one of the ideas that popped into his mind was to do a deep sink hole, something I’d never seen before. I was in.

I remember the site well, Cenote Angelita. We drove into the jungle and parked a car, walked down a dirt pathway through the jungle of beautiful big trees, and we happened upon what looked like a tropical oasis in paradise. There were some tree roots we could use to walk down to the water way a little more safety and you could see down quite a ways into the water as the sun was peaking high in the sky just before noon.

When discussing the dive plan, we were briefed on the site and I got to discuss the dive with the dives I was diving with.  

We walked our decompression cylinders down to the water and tied a line off a series of strangler fig tree roots to clip the tanks to so they didn’t slip off the ledge down to over 200’.

We put our suits and double tanks on and on the surface we conducted our s-drill and bubble checks, clipped our additional cylinders on and away we went.

I remember looking into the air clear water and I could see all the way down to the bottom at 90’ where there was a hydrogen sulphur cloud and a beautiful reddish coloured rock in spots around the basin. We explored the sink which was very reminiscent of Yoda’s planet Dagobah with the steam on the surface unearthing the trees sticking through the cloud, except this was now happening underwater and was one of the most mind-blowing and interesting things I’d ever seen in my life.

After taking in my new favourite site above the cloud, we decided to go in through the cloud. As we descended through the hydrogen sulphur cloud, I could actually taste through my regulator a flavour of sulphuric “rotten egg” which is a flavour everyone talks about. As I descended, I came into the darkness 40’ deeper and into a night dive like environment environment. HID Lights were just starting to come onto the market and it was my first time seeing a Halcyon 18w HID light in action. the blue light was so amazing. I was still using a 2 section car battery pack powering a 50w Halogen lamp, so my beam was yellow.

As I took the time to take in this new environment, I noticed a lot of branches, roots, a massive hour glass shaped debris cone, just like I’d read about in the many books I’d read on the Yucatan Peninsula and the water was even clearer below the cloud that above, which we could easily see the entire length of the basin above and below over 300’ of clarity on this day.

We kept following the debris cone downward towards the bottom which I could see getting closer and closer and we stopped at a cavern entrance with a beautiful speleothem hanging and all of the divers lit up the entrance with their high tech HID lights and my halogen lamp.

I was mind blown and the entire dive had eclipsed all of my best dives in quality, uniqueness, clarity of water, cool things to see. I’d gone from never diving a sink hole to never seeing spelotherms, to being thrown into a new world of let’s discover what else is out here and a trip that was only supposed to be 1-2 weeks lasted a month, as I so excitedly and enthusiastically ascended after our decompression ended and smiling ear to ear they asked how I liked that site!? My reply was that it was the best dive ever. They later replied, if you like that we have some even bigger and better treats for you “Farmer” (in response to being seasick and kissing the sand the day before).

We did a second dive at Angelita was just as good, but a bit shallower as we broke 200′ of depth on the first dive. We had even more time to swim around and play in and out of the hydrogen sulphur cloud. It was very memorable.

An Example of full columns in a Cave Photo by Matt Mandziuk

Upon feeling renewed and excited, we did a bunch of other fun dives in the area and all these big deep sink holes just made me more curious about what else was inside them.

One day I was asked to teach a decompression lecture for a bunch of cave students and was convinced to join on the open water skills dive on day 1 of these students working on their cavern skills. It was pitched to me that I could learn how to use a reel better and it would help make the best wreck diving class in the world.

The day we did the class, then we started working on dry land drills and having never actually been taught to run line and only reading from the old NSS-CDS and NACD cave books, I was excited to see how they did things, so I sat and watched and when the students were done, I too had a chance to play with the reels and line following and then I joined the group during the simulated air sharing while blindfolded and communicating during “touch contact” and I thoroughly enjoyed being blind and feeling the way the line in my hands moved left and right and up and down and how I could use the sense of touch to feel the plastic navigational markers as a way of knowing roughly where I was and what direction was out.

I was done all of my TDI Technical Instructor upgrades and lectures by this point and it was time to immerse myself into something new. Cavern Diver Training!

My first cavern training dive was in 20’ of open water at a cent called Car Wash. It was the most intense dive of my life because I was taking everything so seriously. We have a great Cave 2 Skills Video summary of some of the skills online if you’re interested CLICK HERE.

For those who know me, I’m a pretty OCD and very thorough person when it comes to diving. I’m hypersensitive to things and usually very very aware and I liked this because it was challenging me in a new and different way.

For those who have done a Wreck Penetration, Intro to Tech, Cavern or Cave class with me, I’m sure you’ll remember our 20-30’ dives too. The shallow skills development dives set the bar for things to come.

On my Cavern Training it was not different. We spent 1.5 hours in 20’ of water doing air shares with and without visibility, with and without a buddy, we simulated a lost guideline deploying a safety/backup reel and had to relocate the line, tie-off our safety line and follow the mainline until we found an arrow marking our exit and make an exit in the proper direction. 

DDS Divers Working on Line Handling and Awareness

While many people find a dive like this to be intense or intimidating, it just made me want more. As a matter of fact, I took the next dives so seriously that it took me 20 minutes to even realize we were in a cavern because I was so focussed on the team, the communication, the line placements and etiquette, among the other pre-dive rituals we had ahead of the penetration into the cavern.

Once we tied into the main guideline I was able to break a sigh of relief that we found it and then I was able to stop and take it all in and this cavern became something that allowed my body and mind to slow down and take it all in as the stillness was enhanced, my breathing rate lower than the last 20 minutes had been and and I heard every heart beat, the sound of every breath flowing through my long hose towards my mouth and the lights all cascading a beautiful array of light patterns around this magical limestone paradise that were created millions of years ago.

As the divers began to signal the turn and exit and somehow one at a time had “equipment failures” with masks being removed, primary lights failing, people running out of gas, etc., I was watching and waiting for my time to exit and don’t really remember if/what the problems I would’ve encountered were, but again after sorting our gear back out when the scenarios were over, and our safety stop completed, we ascended into another monumental emotional diving bliss moment as we were all smiles and ready for the next challenges.

The thing I loved most about the cave diving training were the beautiful caves we were training in. Seeing the ice-age looking formations that resemble the frozen icicles at a waterfall were hypnotic, as were the stalactites and full columns (once I was able to start enjoying them and paying less attention to the main guideline or the equipment that I knew was going to “fail” on the exit).

The skills that we had to do on the class were addictive and I even “died” on my lost line drill, which is a survival skill we do as we simulate losing the primary line and having to tie off our safety spool on a rock and blindly feeling for the primary line, hoping to hook it with our reel, or even our equipment or body. 

Skills that like were very sobering and they drove home the importance of paying attention to the team and surroundings at all times.

Learning to navigate a jump from one line to another cave line was another wonderful skill too, as it extended our range into these cave passages.

What I loved most about cave diving were the rules and how organized cave diving made me feel. I used to always say Wreck Divers used brawn and Cave Divers used brains. I’m a big advocate of diving smarter, not harder and Cave Diving was something that just made sense.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Mexican cave sites was the haloclines, a phenomena of waters of different density and temperature that can create a visual disturbance like mixing fresh water into a glass of saltwater resembling how a road shimmers in the hot summer heat.
Here you’ll notice the fresh water layer on top pushing, mixed water in the middle with the salt layer along the bottom.

Halocline Formation in a Mexican Cave During NAUI Cave 2 Class

A thermocline can get more brackish as your pass through the layer and it creates a greater mix of the salt and fresh water which can obscure view of the main guideline. Learning how to dive in Halocline Formation is important.

I learned some valuable lessons on the cave class as well and helped reconfigure my equipment, as I maybe had some “wreck diving” equipment, but not stuff gear that was as streamlined or as functional as the gear I ultimately embraced. Even a little think like the importance of a good pair of fins. I was an advocate of Mares Quattro’s for years, they were a fantastic pair of fins, but couldn’t figure out why I was having to kick to keep up with some of the other divers, given I was running 5 km’s/day, my friend Nick said to me straight up “it’s your fins. They’re too big, bulk and too inefficient”. I switched to Jet fins after I got to try them minutes later and never looked back.

Technical Diving at DDS Looked Reminiscent of this in the ’80’s and ’90’s. Lots of Gear and Task Loading with hoses ,tanks and gauges galore. Be Blessed You’re Learning the Right Way from Open Water On. This is Why Divers Come From All Over North America to Train with DDS.

The importance of the right equipment that suits the team’s mission and members best is very important and another favourite aspect of cave diving, as those team members can help with the line tension, retrieving arrows or cookies if asked, while having their gear rigged the same way in the same location always.

I remember on one of my first cave trips back to Mexico, I got to dive in one of my favourite Mexican cave, where we navigated through 3 different cave systems on 1 dive! Now of course each cave once it’s connected becomes part of the biggest cave system, but once upon a time they were 3 separate cave systems.

With proper dive planning, great gas consumption and the right safety gear, cave diving can be one of the most enjoyable and stimulating styles of diving ever.

Cave Diving is Not Dangerous. Breaking the rules, exceeding your level of training or experience is. The caves have been here for thousands and millions of years before divers started exploring them, they’re not the hazard, human error is.

In Cave Diving they use the expression “There are Old Cave Divers and There are Bold Cave Divers, but No Old Bold Cave Divers”. Having lost friends diving, it’s not fun, but at some point a rule was broken or a training limitation in the majority of the losses I’ve had to endure. Thinking of your friends and family first will act as insurance in wanting to return home safely, so that you don’t make unnecessary risks and you can keep your mind in the game.

Don’t Make Unnecessary Risks, it’s not worth it.

Diving at the Cenote El Pat (The Pit) a Deep Sinkhole with several
caves including one over 300′ deep we were diving in 2015.
Sun lit Jungle in Mexico on the trail topside to the world's largest underwater cave system. Sun light beaming like subtle lasers through the tree branches
The Sun light beams gently kiss the jungle as we make our way to the dive camp during the World’s Longest Underwater Cave Expedition in Mexico.

From Student to Teacher and Explorer

My cave training opened me up to a lot of amazing adventures, but the faster approach to the training was something I wasn’t as keen on. 

Many divers do a “zero to hero” cave class in certain places, it’s not to say it can’t be done, I did it, however, I was the only diver who knew how to frog kick, turn or fin backwards along with 2 students who’d done open water and advanced with the same instructor in a backplate/wing, but reverse frog wasn’t a required skill, nor was any previous experience in doubles and this is still the case in a lot of the more mainstream agencies.

I really felt like the other students could’ve benefited from a foundational skills class which really was just starting to become a thing 20 years ago. It was rare that divers would have learned the foundational skills and have proper horizontal trim. A Cave Instructor in Florida one day told me they are there to teach a student as much as they can in a week so they don’t die in a cave. Many have never worn doubles, been horizontal or frog kicked, so they do the best they can and they offer them the opportunity to re-take the course within 6-12 months of they practice and get the diving in, but what they really should do is teach them the foundational skills first and then focus on the cave skills/training next. On my cave class the others were new to all the gear and techniques and the open water dives we had done prior to the cavern dives were designed to try and teach them the basics of modern diving.

Cave diving was a lot more mental for me than physical, having to think of the procedures to lay a clothes pin (now we use cookies) or when to arrow and where, as I felt we were hit with a series of navigational decisions and there was a lot of additional gear thrown in like stages and so on.

Complex Navigation involves multiple navigational decisions, entering and exiting in different places, doing circuits, T’s, traverses, set-up and clean-up dives to execute the dive properly.

It wasn’t until I got out on my own exploring new caves, some known, some undiscovered cave sites that I started to gain or retain the knowledge and apply it. I had the skills, I could do the drills, but putting them to practical use was really what made me feel like a cave diver and made me a better diver.

Many divers are quite content just following the main guideline in and out, it’s enough for some people and definitely how you’d want to start off if you haven’t done a cave dive for a while. Ease yourself into the dives doing easy navigation or what I often call diving like a “pedestrian cave diver”, as the simple tour is a nice way to reacquaint yourself with the caves and running the reel and tying into the main guideline, you can assess the conditions and note the navigational jumps or places of interest for future dives.

When it came time for me to be teaching Cavern Diving, I had no interest in teaching Cave Diving. I had a few friends in Florida and Mexico who I’d send friends to dive with and train and that was good enough, but none of them really stuck with it and my local divers were getting more and more keen to go to see these amazing springs and cenotes.

All of the years I spent in Florida and Mexico started mounting up, I started seeing the masses who were cave diving and they were destroying the fragile stalactites in Mexico or breaking the limestone features of the Florida caves.  My favourite decoration in Ginnie Springs got destroyed last year I named it “Scooby Doo” Rock and one day someone decapitated Scooby likely with Doubles or a Run Away Scooter.

scooby-doo-rock
Scooby-Doo Rock before some ass decapitated him. Below is the after math of a beheaded Scooby

As more years went by, I started seeing people flutter kicking even in a no flow cave in Split Fins destroying the visibility, hand swimming and vertical diving habits, along with people pulling hard on the cave guidelines which should never be pulled or heaved on, and only held with caution letting the line slip effortlessly through your fist as you grip it in a touch contact hand position. Most divers didn’t know how to run line properly or at all, while some people were just running a single long line for 200’ into the caves and tying in to the main line with no regard for the other lines, divers, teams or anything.

During those days, it was our Divers loved ones who were telling me that they didn’t trust anyone random person to train their loved one’s and they insisted when their loved one was ready to step it to the next level that I’d be teaching them because if I was the only one they trusted 100%, which was flattering and I accepted eventually, which turned out to be a great move.

For the last 13 years I’ve enjoyed teaching caverns and caves, but finding a cave agency I could relate to and enjoy working with was a serious decision too. I teach for 5 different agencies, but what I wanted out of an agency was a brand that suggested divers get more diving in between each level, much like I had wished I’d done vs the “Zero to Hero” approach, so I looked at all the agency standards and all of the prerequisites that each agency insisted on and none of them were requiring experience in doubles, or a foundational skills series of skills such as fin kicks or horizontal trim, posture, buoyancy, which is why I looked at NAUI as my preferred Cave Diving agency. Seeing the NAUI Standards was a game changer for me.

NAUI allowed divers to dive a 1/3 of their gas in, out and exiting with 1/3 for reserve, while the majority were doing 1/6th in/out and 2/3 let for exit. No jumps off the mainline, or 1 at best. Being able to participate in multiple navigational decisions was also a great offering, as was the depth limit of 100’ max, no stop limits and insisting certified Cave 1 Divers had to log 20 logged Cave 1 dives after their certification above and beyond their cave training dives, obtain a technical certification before engaging in Cave 2.

There were gaps left in my basic cave training that I saw as a bit of a short coming with some of my dive buddies on my cave class not knowing how to fin using a modified frog kick, not having experience in doubles, trim, reel handling or line awareness prior to a NAUI Intro to Tech Class, no experience with stage/deco/ bottles prior to being handed them in a cavern/cave setting, lack of familiarity with canister lights and back-up lights, rescue diving scenarios dealing with oxygen toxicity and more.

Cave Diving has given our Divers another way to keep their skills sharp during the winter months and while most divers fade in and out of the recreational diving spectrum, I do find that those who commit to an Intro to Tech/Cavern course and actually pass, never stop diving, as Cave 1 and Cave 2 become their next classes and then as it’s been now 11 years later many of those Cave 1 and 2 divers are still joining us on our trips today.

Cave Diving offers some amazing exploration opportunities, some great personal challenges and some different opportunities for photography and other offerings too.

Cave Diving Explorers Nick and Matt Mandziuk assemble a decompression habitat on a deep cave diving expedition on Cenote el Pat in Mexico
Setting up a decompression habitat as part of a cave diving expedition project in Mexico

Avoid Trying to Rush Through Training and Into The Trendy Toys

There is never a substitute for experience.  Getting your skills in place and your hours up are the only true way to become a proficient diver.  It doesn’t happen easily or overnight.

Surround yourself with a group of Divers you can learn from.  We use a mentorship mentality that helps prepare new DDS Divers who aren’t trained in the DDS philosophies and we encourage our “home grown” Divers to stay as active as they can and to get involved as much as they can.

We are trend setters and people that were responsible for helping establish many of the protocols and procedures now taken as the bible of diving.

We innovated the most modern Sidemount Configuration before anyone started diving long hoses and embraced the most modern CCR Rebreather Configuration with back mounted diluent and off-board O2 before it was the norm.

A lot of divers jump into certain concepts because the wrong people are promoting the wrong progressions, maybe it’s because they themselves couldn’t dive the right gear for a physical reason like shoulder surgery or bad back, but nothing is better off a boat or driving a scooter than doubles.

Sidemount is a tool to get you into a place you can’t fit on singles or doubles or for shore diving. It is better suited after Cave 2 when the divers have extensive cave experience, the ability or desire to do tighter passages or “no mount” passages even. Sometimes caves are not accessible on doubles, so Sidemount is the Correct Tool Here.

There are many caves that are simply too tight to get into with doubles, so once you’re familiar with all the cave diving has to offer, Sidemount becomes another tool you can use for expeditions where you don’t know if the cave will widen or narrow further.

Sidemount is a horrible choice when diving off a boat, especially if people are diving an unrefined Sidemount configuration which is typically what we see locally from most shops/instructors/divers who are not cave divers.

Sidemount is for places where doubles aren’t available for rent, doubles don’t fit, doubles, or for those who medically can’t reach their valves due to spinal or shoulder injuries.

Rebreathers with small little 2-3 litre cylinders are also an issue we have. Most Cave Divers Do Not Carry Enough Bailout Gas. A Cave Level 1 Dive = 140ft3 bailout minimum. A Cave Level 2 Dive = 225ft3 bailout Minimum. This means said Cave Diver Needs to be excellent with multiple Decompression Cylinders. In NAUI Cave 2 Divers Learn to use 3-4 additional bottles plus doubles.

Get Good on Stages and Doubles Before Venturing into Sidemount or Rebreather. Once you’re proficient in those styles of diving You can do DPV Overhead/Cave Course which may be safer on a CCR for gas time and efficiency as you’re travelling further back in the cave, but you should always swim it first on Open Circuit First and See how many cylinders it takes for if/when the DPV fails and you may swim on out of it for real.

Taking the right training, buying the right gear, putting in the right amount of time practicing is essential for any divers success. Don’t Rush into caves, technical diving, rebreathers, sidemount diving.  Don’t Take Shortcuts in Your Training.

There are so many amazing dives sites at every depth level and ever training level you succeed at. There is always a next deepest, and next best as well.

Don’t even attempt to dive a Rebreather in a Cave unless you can hover motionless for 5 minutes no skulling horizontally, Knees Up, Fins Up, Arms Out in Trim and complete all the Foundational Skills with 2 Stage Bottles On. I say this because several people have been unsuccessful in Intro to Tech with us and jumped into a Rebreather and somehow got Normoxic Trimix certified standing and kneeling on the bottom, ascending holding the anchor mooring lines and flutter kicking silting out the ships just like their Instructors do.

Your Best Option for a Rebreather is Manual not electronic, so you’re in charge of your PO2 and can control your ascents easier without the set point screaming at your as the PO2 reduces on an automatic unit as it goes shallower while still trying to achieve it’s constant PO2. Run it at a .6 PO2 on ascent or manually. On Deep Cave Exploration a constant mass flow valve or needle valve modified from the original KISS Rebreather design is another great option.

Matt Cave Diving in Mexico with the White Arrow Explorer CCR Rebreather
Matt after a CCR Cave Dive in Taj Ma Ha Puerto Adventuras, MX

Cave Diving is for Divers Who Have Elite Skills and Discipline and a Desire to be the Most Polished Divers They Can Be.

Spending a lot of time in Florida, Dominican, Mexico and enjoying the recreational and exploration aspects of cave diving have been very fulfilling. I throughly enjoy expedition style diving, having been featured in magazines, YouTube videos, agency and personal expedition projects, including helping friends map the largest cave system in the world, just a couple of years ago, in a land so far away from this Covid pandemic are what keep me motivated and keep me going forward.

If Cave Diving Interests You, Do it Right. Take a Foundational Skills Class with DDS. If you’re curious about doubles, take a NAUI NTEC Doubles Workshop with Us, which will start you down the right path in equipment configuration basic foundational skills, while our NAUI Intro to Tech Course is the best Foundational Skills Class there is. It offers the right skills, information and adventure. Intro to Tech dovetails seamlessly into Cavern/Cave 1 too, so do it right and take the best training path. Don’t leave gaps in your training. Don’t Rush and Never Accept a Certification Card You Yourself Do Not Feel You Earned.

Our Cave, Wreck, Overhead and Technical Diving Courses are The Best in the industry! No other training agency offers a more through and complete Cave Diving Education and having such a small number of Cave Instructors keeps the quality high and the demand high.

Going from a Left Post Breathing Hose Stuffer to one of the First DIR Based Diving Instructors was the best move we made as a shop. Divers come for the best training offerings from around the Canada, the USA and other countries. I’ve been a Top Certifying Technical Diving Instructor over the last 20+ years and with your help will continue to offer the Highest Calibre of Recreational, Cave, Technical, Sidemount and Rebreather Training Possible.

Seeing the benefits of Divers learning in backplate/wing from open water, encouraging continuity in gear configuration, improving team diving communication and functionality and being able to up the game whenever possible are just some of the ways we’ve helped set the standard higher.

I am frequently involved in cave and shipwreck and other random dive expeditions of known and unknown entities and we continue to challenge myself and others through new environments and equipment whenever possible.

empty_spools_of_cave_line
There is nothing more fulfilling than running new line through a virgin cave emptying your spools Sistema Sac Aktun Expedition 2017

If You Want to Learn More About our Modern and Progressive Training Offerings, CLICK HERE

Thanks For Reading, Let’s Go Diving Soon!

Matt Mandziuk

Follow Me On Instagram @divesith and @dansdiveshop

 

DDS Divers Swimming Over the Reef in Roatan

Challenges Will Reward Your Longterm Scuba Diving Goals

Challenges Will Reward Your Longterm Scuba Diving Goals
by
Matthew Mandziuk 

In life nothing good comes easy without a fight or working to earn it, unless you win the lottery.  The same can be true moving through a more Progressive Scuba Diving training philosophy where the divers are taught a higher level of knowledge, skills and techniques. Your Personal Challenges will reward your longterm scuba diving goals.

At DDS we pride ourselves on staying ahead of market trends and instead we lead the charge forward towards better diving.  For nearly 20 years we’ve taught our open water divers about the benefits of learning and buying the right gear and the right skills and techniques after over 20 years of doing it the old school way.

We pride ourselves on teaching divers a different (better) way to do things at the open water level where they can move forward with better skills, finesse and discipline allowing them to struggle less, maintain the visibility of even the siltiest environments or most fragile coral reefs, while continuing forward progressing successfully into deeper, more advanced courses, environments and experiences with more comfort and efficiency as they challenge themselves with training that is more exciting, more disciplined, more regimented and more rewarding than some of the “more traditional”  courses which have become stale or outdated as we power ahead into a new age of diving.

As human beings we can always learn more and the same is true in scuba diving, except most dive training has become outdated and boring.  All divers should be more aware of their dive profiles, gas requirements with proper gas reserves built in, no stop time limits and what is happening within their bodies as they spend more time underwater and as they ascend or descend.

Many of these common concepts are lost on the masses because theory is passed over quickly as we tend to suffer from a condition that demands “instant gratification” and dive shops that depend more so now on eLearning doing the work of the instructor for the shops and instructors, so the personal element of sharing stories and experiences with the students is lessened (or in some cases completely lost as there is no classroom sessions), so the students don’t create an emotional bond with their instructors, classmates or Divemasters.

Bad Diver Lots of Silt
A poorly trained diver in silts out the bottom as they have no buoyancy, trim, awareness or cares in the world. Don’t Be Like This Diver.

 

Train Hard

If divers took more time to learn about dive planning, gas calculations, gas consumption, decompression theory and dive sciences, they would be much more ready to take diving to the next level.  This knowledge can help us not just in diving, but also in every day life.

Divers who are taught to manage stresses underwater are more able to handle the every day curveballs life throws at you on a daily basis, as well as how to focus better on challenging tasks, yet the number of divers who progress through Advanced and Rescue diver courses drops as students seem less engaged in some graphic regions than before.

Where a diver can go training wise and the training opportunities available to them make or break the likelyhood of creating a “Lifetime Diver”.  If a diver only dives once a year or 3, they’re better off just doing Discover Scuba Diving Experiences.

A certified diver who goes from Advanced, Nitrox, Drysuit  to Rescue is doing things better, but the key is to find a trainer who can teach you what you need to really know.  If as a diver they tell you it’s okay to be standing, kneeling on the bottom, to rely on holding onto an ascent line and be vertical on an ascent or safety stop as you take up 6-7′ minimum of line with your fins dangling down kicking the divers below you, that’s okay to overweight yourself so you sink or that violating thirds (your gas rule you should be ascending at), that it’s okay to flutter kick and silt out the bottom, wear flimsy floaty plastic fins, split or hinge fins and have stuff dangling off you like a Christmas Tree, it’s time to find a new instructor.

A diver who progresses towards more foundational skills classes like our NAUI Intro to Tech program will have the chance to perfect themselves better than any recreational diver, regardless of if they ever become a tech diver or not, as Foundational Skills Development courses like “Intro” offer the most through and engaging training possible with a combination of dry land drills, confined water drills and open water dives.

Divers who learn the foundational skills to make themselves a better diver and put the time in to become proficient in all aspects of their diving often become a much safer, more aware diver with superior team diving skills, refined buoyancy, flawless horizontal trim, proper ascents and descents, better fin techniques (utilizing a modified frog as their primary kick, modified flutter, ability to turn 360 degrees and do a reverse frog kick to go backwards) rather than flutter kicks, and exceptional problem solving skills.  You even master surface marker deployment, rescue techniques, valve or regulator failures and more.

Your biggest assets in diving are TIME IN THE WATER and BUOYANCY, BUOYANCY, BUOYANCY.

DON’T try and fast track your way through training.  Learn the foundational skills, start diving in the proper gear, train and dive with divers who are better than you are.

NAUI offers the highest standards of any training agency in foundational, technical, cave and overhead training, which is the reason they’re our primary agency for those courses, but we offer training from several other agencies too.

A Properly Trained Diver with Good TrimA properly trained DDS Diver working on trim and buoyancy during a NAUI Cavern/NAUI Intro to Tech Foundational Skills course.

Fitness in Diving

Some new divers complain that lead weights and tanks are heavy, while more Technicall Advanced Divers dive with sidemount or back-mounted double tanks.  Diving with a drysuit also creates more buoyancy, drag and resistance while swimming through the water, so there is an element of fitness required to dive.  Carrying tanks to the water, stage bottles, rebreathers, camera systems, scooters, all these things have weight to them.  Its part of diving, so get fit and get ready to handle the gear you’ll be using.

To get more comfortable handling these items a strength building program to strengthen arms, legs and abs are very beneficial.  30 push-up’s a day, 100 ab crunches and a light jog even 1-2km a couple of days a week will help make a difference in your strength and overall well being, while also improving cardiovascular health.

Swimming will help give the body a resistance free total body workout too and if you can’t take the impact from running or rowing, may be a better option for you and its fun!

Some dive courses require a specific distance to be swam before a specific time, don’t lose out on some great diving because you can’t make the cut.  It IS worth it and it WILL take time.

How Did We Get Here?  It Wasn’t Over Night

Dan’s has become the go to shop for recreational, advanced, technical diving education over the last 20+ years. DDS was established in 1974.  We are Canada’s Oldest PADI Dive Shop and 2nd oldest worldwide currently.

 With the help of a Canadian Diving Pioneer John Reekie (passed away several years ago) we helped introduce the Canadian Diving Market to Technical Diving and Cave Diving gear and procedures as early as 1986!  We were one of the first North American Dive Stores to offer Nitrox as an alternative breathing gas in 1992 when the traditional agencies were anti-nitrox and causing riots at dive shows because they honestly believed Nitrox to be Voodoo Satan Gas!  True Story!

By the mid 1990’s we were offering old-school technical diving and rebreather courses.  By 2000 we were introduced to more progressive diving and upgraded our training, which allowed us to see a different side of diving, one that was less limiting and more progressive.

DDS Divers enjoy a cleaner, more streamlined gear body, gear configuration and ability to share air more effectively than traditional short hose divers

We began offering Progressive Doing it Right based (DIR Diving) training and equipment, including the offering of backplates to new open water sport divers a part of basic training and introducing recreational divers to the long hose/short hose regulator configuration or the Hogarthian method of diving.

In 2007 we began offering more modern and progressive Sidemount training.  We are happy to be offering training on several different rebreather configurations, especially the modular and most vesatile machine on the market, White Arrow Explorer Rebreather System, capable of any configuration.

Every recreational diver can benefit from our experience, the new skills that we offer and every day diving techniques that we introduce from basic open water programs. Horizontal Trim, Buoyancy, Team Awareness, S-Drills, Bubble Checks, SMB Deployments, Air Sharing horizontally in neutral buoyancy with a long hose regulator, Team Diving Protocols and more.

backwards frog kick intro to tech
Learning your foundational kicks without fins or gear on is the first step to perfecting your forward, turn and backwards kicks during an Intro to Tech Course

While not every diver is introduced to this from every instructor around the world, we also offer Foundational training to start experienced divers off right as well, as many of the concepts we teach aren’t taught elsewhere unless the divers have been taught by a certified cave or technical instructor. At the end of the day we want everyone to learn to be better and dive with more confidence, comfort and awareness, so we offer workshops like NTEC which is a great way to prime yourself to learn the foundational skills you should know in a class and pool setting showing you a better way to do things in the right gear.  This also prepares you for a glimpse into your diving future should you want to progress towards Wreck Diving, Cavern or Cave, Ice, Technical and more.

Our experience in expeditions and exploration projects have also helped shape our divers into the best divers in the water.

Get More Technically Correct

When a diver starts to get more “technical” it helps them become a more complete diver.  It doesn’t mean they have to aspire to achieve a new super deep world record sort of depth where they hang for hours on decompression stops, however, it does break through the misconceptions, boundaries of conventional training and opens you up to a lifetime sport with the ability to go anywhere with your diving.

We believe Technical Diving is simply extending your range both with respect to knowledge, but also extending the scope of your abilities beyond what is known and offering new challenges along the way.

Our NAUI Intro to Tech Course has been called the “Best Dive Course” by nearly everyone who’s taken this amazing foundational skills class.  Regardless of whether a student completes the course successfully the first time or not, “Intro” is where better diving begins.

Our Intro course begins with the tightening up of the divers buoyancy and trim, cleaning up and streamlining the entire equipment configuration, introducing new surface protocols and pre-dive regiments like safety drills, SADD checks, Bubble Checks and Heat to Toe checks which improve safety and awareness.

Intro also begins to stress the team concept of diving, which is something talked about but rarely enforced in traditional recreational diving.  We introduce the benefit to 3 person buddy teams, which are often taboo in traditional training as well, as we believe a second set of hands to help and eyes to see are very important should a diver require assistance.

NAUI Intro to Tech Students Air Share
NAUI Intro to Tech Students working on trim and buoyancy while sharing air during their confined water session.

After classroom sessions are complete students are introduced to a combination of dry land surface drills that allow the instructor to demonstrate skills such as trim, fin kicks, flat horizontal body posture, air shares, valve shutdowns, diver rescues, lift bag deployments and many other skills topside as they can talk about each skill attribute and show it off before the students are expected to demonstrate it both on the surface and then the skills are executed by instructors and students under the water in a shallow pool or confined water area suitable for this sort of training.  Upon successful completion of the pool sessions candidates are then taken to open water and will complete all skills in a shallow open water environment where No Stop Times are not an issue.

During Intro to Tech a staff member will video record the students skills throughout the program so they can break down their progress frame by frame and discuss thoroughly throughout the course dives in debriefing sessions.

Students love the fact that this style of training is done intensively as repetition helps them improve and learn at a quicker rate, especially upon review of each dive during de-briefing when we break down all of the skills done that day with video review.

Through clear and concise de-briefings the students know exactly what it is they need to work on and how to improve as we take corrective action with them and continue to show them how to properly execute each skill breaking down the skills as clear and concise as possible.

Just the Beginning

Many divers love the challenge that Intro brings and those divers who work hard and succeed will enrol in their next challenge.

Divers will be using more equipment which creates a need for better fitness, stiffer fins, stronger dive abilities and confidence.

Imagine being perfectly neutrally buoyant without a bottom below you as you stare below into the abyss without any fear or concerns

Intro to Tech is a stepping stone to bring divers more safely into the realm of deeper diving or overhead environments as the foundational skills and trim learned here ensure that those divers are going to be able to perform the rudimentary skills like horizontal buoyancy, frog kick, modified frog kick and to be able to fin backwards for 10′ without hitting the bottom or silting out the dive site because Zero Impact Diving is such am important skill to possess as it saves the reef, fragile clay patterns, maintains the water clarity (especially in a wreck or cave where a diver will have to navigate safely back out of a zero visibility environment) and makes the diving more pleasurable for all.  The other important skill is something we teach at Open Water and again at Advanced Open Water and Intro to Tech, which is being able to deploy and send an SMB up to the surface ascending on a reel stopping every 10′ and then ascending to 15′, 12′, 9′, 6′, 3, surface many of those divers will engage in their next adventure.

Intro to Tech is simply the holy grail of recreational diving because you see what is lacking when you compare it to someone who’s been coaxed into taking a different more traditional Master Scuba Diver sort of approach.  Rather than being taught to dive properly, most divers are taught to pay for an instructors time, a paper manual and a plastic certification card.  While there are some phenomenal recreational specialty courses (Nitrox, Equipment Specialist, DPV, Cavern, Drysuit) most dive stores don’t have the talent or the ability to teach some of these more useful classes and favour a quick payout instead of committing their divers to more in-depth training.

The most popular courses Intro graduates challenge themselves next with range from Wreck Penetration to a Cavern/Cave 1 class, DPV class, Technical Decompression with Helitrox (Tech 1) Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures.

Growing Your Experience

Regardless of the certification level a diver achieves it requires regular diving to maintain that level of proficiency and regular dives to that highest level of certification.  We usually recommend 20-25 dives annually at that level before moving to the next level.

At DDS, We are NOT a certification factory that tries to push our divers from Intro to Tech to Trimix Rebreather in a month.  It’s not about numbers, its about the quality of the diver and those divers that are making poor choices have no real world underwater dive skills and often lose buoyancy, panic or are a complete embarrassment to the sport.

DDS Divers are some of the highest trained divers in the country and they show a lot more finesse and discipline than most.  Those divers who choose to work hard and grow their diving abilities are often asked to join in on bigger, better dives, as well as for support projects both local and abroad.

Expedition projects are conducted yearly and its always great when new members can be integrated into the Divers Edge family, which is our training and exploration group.  We have partners worldwide through several organizations that we do international projects with for caves and shipwrecks.

Get Involved

Regardless of your goals the key in anything is to keep involved and dive with divers who share the same views and the same goals in training and equipment.

We have taught and continue to teach divers from around the world and are more than willing to put on a presentation for groups, clubs, other shops as we’ve been doing for decades.

If you’d like to get involved and benefit from better training, equipment configuration and future diving opportunities, reach out and let’s get you involved with DDS Today.

We have trips, charters, training year round. Your first step is to reach out and make contact, the rest comes easily from there.

NAUI Intro to Tech Course July 2019

NAUI Intro to Tech Course July 2019

The Naui Intro to Tech Course July 2019 is a game changer, changing the way recreational divers think about diving and offers the recreational diver the ultimate challenge as well as a window into their diving future, as it begins unlocking doors to the right skills, the right information, the right techniques, the right knowledge and the right equipment configuration.

Our NAUI Intro To Tech course presents new challenges for recreational divers, while taking a  fundamental diving approach to buoyancy, trim, team diving, underwater and above land problem solving that requires sound solution thinking and finesse, while refining and mastering the rudimentary skills that most divers tend to lack at the recreational diving level.

Many divers consider this course to be the turning point in their diving career because it opens divers up to the more exciting challenges ahead like Technical Diving, Wreck Penetration, Trimix, Cave Diving, Technical Sidemount, Ice Diving and Expedition Diving for future dive explorers.

Our NAUI Intro to Tech Course is available to recreational divers in a single tank with H-valve configuration or for those divers wishing to move into Tech Diving with back mounted doubles.

Our program will help you develop better buoyancy, fin techniques, propulsion methods, all the while Improving Trim, Breaking BAD Habits, Diver Communication, Problem Solving abilities, Risk Management, Dive team Planning, Dive Equipment Streamlining, Horizontal Out of air sharing and more in backmounted doubles.

This course is available privately for individuals or groups locally or wherever you are located.

We are happy to offer this course locally or anywhere else in Canada.  DDS is a mobile shop with the ability to teach anywhere you need us.

This Program has become one of the scuba worlds Most Popular Courses for good reason. We feel Intro to Tech is the BEST Diving course on the market today, designed to challenge the diver with new skills, techniques and awareness. Step up to the plate and challenge yourself to be the best diver you can be.

Pre-requisites

For divers of all skill levels
Must be 18 or Older
Open Water Diver or Equivilant
Minimum of 25 logged dives
5 dives on EANx
400 Meter Swim
50′ Underwater Breathold with Gears

Training Agency

NAUI TEC

Additional Information:

Our Naui Intro to Tech program offers the candidate a Fundamental approach to refining and mastering the rudimentary skills such as Buoyancy, Fin Technique/Propulsion Methods, Improving Diver Trim, Breaking BAD Habits, Diver Communication, Problem Solving abilities, Risk Management, Dive team Planning and Team Communications, Dive Equipment Streamlining, Rescue Techniques, Horizontal Ascents/Descents, Valve Manipulation drills, Air Sharing and more.

The Naui Intro to Tech program also offers divers a look deeper into diving science, physics, physiology and decompression theory using zero calculation tables, the 120 Rule and NAUI RGBM decompression model which is the most validated decompression algorithm in recreational and technical scuba diving.

Divers will be introduced to a safer, more versatile and more user friendly/beneficial equipment configuration (NTEC) allowing divers take advantage of the benefits of diving with a long hose (5-7ft), a streamlined back flotation buoyancy system which is the heart of the system, a reel and lift bag for mid-water ascents and drifting decompression stops, proper light requirements and more.

All gear is designed to be streamlined using a Hogarthian approach revolving around the KISS principal to give divers the freedom to improve their skills. Keep It Simple and Streamlined.

This course is conducted only over a period of 4 days making it a rather intensive program. Students must understand that these skills might not be able to be mastered without practice outside of the Naui Intro to Tech program.

All training dives are filmed so divers can see themselves in the water and see the learning curve from pool to open water training sessions. Dives are conducted in shallow water which affords us maximum bottom time for skill development.

This course is intended for divers of any skill level from Open Water Diver to Open Water Instructor and will benefit all who take it, especially divers wishing to progress into more serious aspects of diving requiring this type of discipline, comfort and finesse in the water.

Graduates of this program will also be able to enroll in more advanced programs with the skills and confidence to succeed in those programs including technical diving courses like Technical Decompression Diver, Helitrox, Trimix, not to mention it goes hand in hand with Cavern, Wreck Penetration and our Cave diving courses, which will build on the foundation started with Intro to Tech.

We believe NAUI offers the best scuba diving course progressions offering a little bit more than your other agencies with regards to more theory, more diving and higher standards, while our instructional staff are the countries leading technical diving educators and active explorers.

If  you want a challenging course that will test your skills, knowledge and abilities, NAUI Intro to Tech is the course for you.

Cost: $650+HST (based on a minimum of 3 students) includes NAUI NTEC Workshop, NAUI Intro to Tech CD, Intro to Tech Student Skills CD, Certification fees.

FREE Divers Alert Network Student Member Insurance

Intro to Tech is also available privately for the diver who has limited availability for time. Cost is $950+HST local and includes the above materials. Private instruction out of town may bear other additional expenses for travel, meals, fills, etc.

If you’re interested in this program a CD is available with a wealth of information.  Start changing your diving habits for the better today with Dan’s Dive Shop and our exceptional progressive dive training.

If you can’t make this class in Niagara, we can present this program to you anywhere else you may be in Canada or other graphic regions.

Dive Truk Lagoon with Dan’s Dive Shop

Dive Truk Lagoon for the Adventure of a Lifetime

Join DDS with an amazing group of divers for this once in a lifetime dive experience in Micronesia. We’re heading to Truk Lagoon to dive the numerous wrecks from the Japanese WWII fleet, which were sunk by the US in retaliation for Pearl Harbour.  This world class haven for wreck diving beckons the advanced diver looking for some of the best diving in the world.

Truk Lagoon March 9 – 19, 2016

Dive the historic WWII wrecks and beautiful marine life in Micronesia’s Truk Lagoon. Spend 3 nights at the famous Blue Lagoon resort, and 7 nights aboard the world’s largest dive liveaborad, the SS Thorfinn.

What’s Included:

–          3 nights accommodation in a superior room at Blue Lagoon

–          7 nights accommodation onboard SS Thorfinn

–          all hotel & gov’t taxes

–          Roundtrip Airport transfers

–          3 days of 2-tank diving at Blue Lagoon

–          Onboard Thorfinn up to 5 daily dives from comfortable 32 ft. dive launches. Free Nitrox EAN 32 to single cylinder users. Optional Multi-cylinders with custom blends. Oxygen aboard supplied from twin oxy generators at 93% +or- 3% purity

–          7 actual dive days onboard Thorfinn

–          Valet system onboard Thorfinn for dive gear stowage, including cameras rinsed/delivered to C deck camera tables.

–          Tanks and weights

–          All meals, snacks, teas, coffee, soft drinks, juices onboard Thorfinn.  Beer, wines, spirits, at low bar prices.

–          Free Fleet BroadBand 500 wi-fi Internet on Thorfinn, within bandwidth limits.

–          Final Friday night barbecue buffet, cultural party by select local crew members.

Cost: Recreational diver: $4330CAD; Rebreather Diver: $4660CAD*, Tek Diver: $4930CAD** All cost is based on double occupancy.

Not included: flights, meals at Blue Lagoon, Nitrox at Blue Lagoon, tek-diving options at Blue Lagoon, dive gear, possible additional nights hotel, gratuities, travel insurance.

*Rebreather Diver:

  • Free twin custom rebreather cylinders, filled with oxygen and air diluent.
  • Free air-filled 12 ltr bail-out bottle.
  • Custom dispatches for extended deep diving desires.
  • Free 20kg Sofnolime 6-8 grain size to each diver, weekly. Helium available optionally.

** Tek Divers:

  • Up to 5 dives per day on TWINS with unlimited AIR fills and free Nitrox EAN 32.
  • 50% discount on O2 mixes above EAN32 for stages and backgas.
  • Custom schedules for extended deep dives with double rigs, stage bottles, and personal guide.
  • Free isolation manifolded doubles, or 2 side-mount cylinders, plus 1 free stage cylinder or pony bottle.

Trip is being organized through DDS and booked through Fly and Sea Dive Adventures.  

For questions and booking, please contact our travel partner:
Fly and Sea Dive Adventures
8528 123 St.
Surrey, BC
1-888-995-3483, diving@flyandsea.com

Matt Cave Diving in Mexico with the White Arrow Explorer CCR Rebreather

IDREO Rebreather Explorer Course RB1

IDREO Rebreather Explorer Course RB1

The IDREO Rebreather Explorer Course RB1 is designed to teach experienced technical or cave divers looking to utilize rebreather technology in all types of diving environments.

We will be covering modern procedures and techniques applied to safe preparation, operational management, efficient maintenance of the rebreather, as well as proper diving techniques.

We have a number of configuration options available including SCR, pSCr, ApSCR and mCCR. 

We will introduce divers to the style and configuration of the unit most interesting to them, followed by shallow confined/open water sessions that will build on comfort, buoyancy, trim, followed by intense skill mastering and real world experience which are the basis of the program.

Divers DO NOT NEED to purchase their own rebreather to take the IDREO Rebreather Explorer Course, as you will have a chance to rent a White Arrow rebreather and learn the various ways to configure the unit to best suit your needs.  From there you can purchase the unit of your choosing , knowing what you want and how you’d like to setup your system, rather than blindly pursuing this endeavor like so many divers do.

Learn the best configurations, modern skill and philosophies that apply to making technical dives on the unit.

Duration
The Rebreather 1 class is normally conducted over a 5-day period. It involves a minimum of 40 hours of instruction encompassing both classroom and in-water work.

Course Limits

  • Student to Instructor ratio is not to exceed 4:1 during any in-water training.
  • Maximum depth 100 feet / 30 meters.

Course Content

The IDREO Rebreather Explorere RB1 course is normally conducted over a 3-5-day period, involving a minimum of 10 hours of instruction and 25 hours of diving experience designed to provide a working knowledge of rebreather diving, including history, design, function, failures, tables, and operational considerations.

Course can also be combined with RB2 over an additional 3-4 days and utilizing additional configuration options like Sidemount, pSCr, pASCr. 

  1. RB Technology :
    1. All Types SCR, pSCR, CCR, ApSCR 
    2. Efficiency vs Injection
    3. O2 drop
  2. Problem Solving : 
    1. Flooding
    2. Lost gas
    3. Volume loss 
    4. Failures 
  3. Accident Analysis. Current up to date
  4. Mixed Gas RB Diving. 
    1. Nitrox and Trimix 
    2. Single gas injection
    3. Multiple gas injection management
    4. RB Decompression Procedures
  5. Advanced gas management & Planning
    1. Stage use, 
    2. RB Sidemount 
    3. Bailout Rebreathers
  6. Decompression techniques 
    1. Decompression rebreathers 
  7. Course Examination

 Required Gear:

a)  Backplate with Harness & Crotchstrap

b)  Backmount or Sidemount Wing

c)  Backgas Reg. set up with 7’/2mt long hose with backup first & second on short hose, as well as Stage Reg (balanced) 40″ LP hose.

d) 1 Safety spool (30mts/100′ open water or 50mts/150′ cave)

e) 1 Primary reel (100+mts)

f)  1 Back up light (4hr each)

g)  knife mounted on waist strap or wrist strap of computer

h) Bottom timer and compass

i)  Back up mask

j)  Wetnotes with pencil

k) SMB with 30mt spool

l) RB Bottles

m) Bailout Bottles & stage rigging

n) Shearwater Petrel 2 EXT dive computer (rentable)

o) Exposure suit suitable for diving environment

Join Cave Explorers Nick Toussaint and Matt Mandziuk for this once in a lifetime learning adventure.

What’s Included?

eLearning Pin Code, Classroom and Open Water Instruction, use Sofnolime CO2 Absorbant and Disinfectant.

dive-bikini-atoll

Dive Bikini Atoll 2022

Dive Bikini Atoll with DDS in 2022!

This trip is currently wait listed. Contact DDS or Fly & Sea about options for booking Bikini Atoll!

Have you ever wanted to dive the best shipwrecks in the world?  Dive Bikini Atoll with DDS  and you’ll see some of them!  2 years from the posting of this event we embarked on a magical trip to Truk Lagoon and had the dream trip, only to ask ourselves how could we top Truk?  Well we instantly thought Bikini Atoll, so after missing out trip in May 2020, we jumped at a chance to do it in 2022 and you should too!

About Bikini Atoll

Bikini Atoll is located in the Marshall Islands in Micronesia.  This area is home to some of the biggest and best shipwrecks you’ll ever see.  Pristine ships that were retired from war service and were sunk during atomic bomb testing in 1946 as part of  Operation Crossroads where they were evaluating the effectiveness of these weapons against battle ships.

Below is a list of ships courtesy of Wikipedia:

After the Second World War, the USA collected a ‘mock’ naval fleet for the purpose of testing the impact of different atomic bombs on a large fleet. These nuclear bomb tests were performed in several remote locations in the South Pacific Ocean, known as the Pacific Proving Grounds. Bikini Atoll was appointed one of the designated testing areas within the Marshall Islands. Between 1946 and 1958, not less than 23 atomic bombs were tested at Bikini Atoll, which resulted in a unique selection of shipwrecks from the US, Germany and Japan consisting of war battleships, cruisers, and an aircraft carrier.


More than 60 years later, the shipwrecks remain equally as impressive while they have become home to many kinds of corals and fish species. As a result, Bikini Atoll has become the ultimate wreck diving for the true fans! This exclusive and unparalleled diving destination is undisputedly ranked first on any serious wreck & technical divers’ bucket list. This is well justified; nowhere else on earth you will be able to dive into such a unique collection of historic battleships, cruisers, as well as the world famous USS Saratoga aircraft carrier with its 270m (888ft.) flight deck. For this reason, Bikini Atoll was declared the first UNESCO World Heritage site for the Marshall Islands archipelago in 2010.


Exclusivity guaranteed when you Dive Bikini Atoll the charter is cut to a maximum of 11 guests over 10 or 11 nights per cruise. The Truk Master will offer on those itineraries a choice of 6 a/c en-suite single, double or twin bed cabins on the lower deck and main deck. The yacht has a dedicated camera set-up and charging station with plenty of additional storage for all your extra lenses, strobes and batteries.

Communal relaxation areas are split between the middle and upper decks comprising of a spacious indoor dining area, lounge bar with comfortable bench seating and plasma screen, shaded outdoor seating area and a sun deck.


Tech divers will find on board all the latest technical diving facilities and equipment to explore these ultimate wrecks at leisure when you dive Bikini Atoll with DDS:

  • Deco bar for stage/deco stops under M/V Truk Master
  • Booster pump for gas blending & rebreather tank fills
  • Manifold twin-tanks (DIN & Intl. available)
  • MKVI filters (upon request)
  • Sofnolime for rebreathers – Dependent on Use
  • Rebreather tanks
  • 12l Deco stage tanks (band, sling & clips) – 40cuft/80cuft stage/bailout cylinders
  • Oxygen
  • Helium

Most wrecks in Bikini Atoll are located beyond recreational diving maximum depths; therefore technical diving skills and wreck experience are required, which is perfect, as DDS offers the most progressive, modern, comprehensive and challenging technical diving courses in the business.

For questions and booking, please contact our travel partner:
Fly and Sea Dive Adventures
8528 123 St.
Surrey, BC
1-888-995-3483, diving@flyandsea.com