Scuba Diving

Having been a swimmer for most of my life, when snorkling the first time in the Maldives and getting to the outer edge of the island's coral, looking down into the deep blue was rather scary; but two days later I did my PADI Open Water Diver certification and it is one of the many things I heavily recommend to people: go scuba diving! If you enjoy the nature above the water, you will love the beauty that the blue offers with the added benefit that it is even more quiet than in the middle of a forest.

Even though I have been diving for a few years now and qualify myself as a good and safe diver, I am still learning a lot on every dive and try to keep on improving my skills: air consumption, buoyancy, movement, equipment use etc.

As a Divelog I use a good old paper log for the stamps but I also keep the records in Subsurface which gets fed from my Suunto EON Steel along with an Integrated Air Pod. Indeed, improving breathing techniques is an important thing: the less air one uses, the longer one can dive. The EON Steel along with Subsurface allows me to visualize these metrics as any other performance and metrics junkie would. Yoga helps a lot with controlling air consumption btw as it improves calmness and breathing style.

Logo of DAN Europe

I am a DAN Europe member and support all the magnificent creatures in the ocean, which includes the mighty sharks and beautful mantas and rays. Do note that I am just a vacation diver who likes proper equipment.

Amazing Locations and Dive Masters

Below I list a few of the special spots that I have had the honor of going scuba diving along with the people who have made those experiences very special.

One cannot thank the dive masters enough, not only do they show the beauty of their workplace, they also teach valuable diving techniques. Going diving with any of these guys or gals will guarantee a great experience and I heavily recommend them for a good dive.

Vilamendhoo, Maldives

Vilamendhoo, Maldives
Flag of Maldives

Location: Vilamendhoo, Maldives Flag of .mv
Year: 2009
Diveshop: Eurodivers Maldives
Dive Master: Christian Johnsen (PADI #505785)

I did my PADI Open Water Diver with Christian, who is a great teacher as is evidenced by my diving. Vilamendhoo and the Maldives in general are amazing place to learn to dive, warm water, right off the island for everything, great surroundings with many things to see above and below water

Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy

Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy
Flag of Italy

Location: Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy Flag of .it
Year: 2013
Diveshop: Il Grande Blu
Dive Masters: Enrico Forzanini (PADI #21962), Luca Zanzotto

Enrico and Luca trained me for the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy which is a must have for any diver as it teaches you to control your buoyancy much better which results in a smoother dive and less air used and consequently longer dive times. Il Grande Blu has a underwater playground that one has to navigate, without touching the sandy bottom and walking/jumping like on the moon are awesome ways to improve your skills. Thanks to Enrico and Luca I float the way I float and my diving skills have improved even more thanks to them.

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras
Flag of Honduras

Location: Roatan, Honduras Flag of .hn
Year: 2015
Diveshop: Subway Watersports
Dive Master: Osman Gomez (PADI #69150)

Of the many places we have been in the Carribean, Roatan takes the cake for diving by far. Subway Watersports operates out of Turquoise Bay which has beautiful snorkling and diving sites. They work together with the Coral Restoration Foundation to preserve the environment, which also means a much prettier dive site. With Osman's 17000+ dives (he has been diving in Roatan since childhood) he knows every nook and cranny of the reef, along with his calmness the dives we did there where amazing.

Athuruga, Maldives

Athuruga, Maldives
Flag of Maldives

Location: Athuruga, Maldives Flag of .mv
Year: 2016
Diveshop: iDive Athuruga
Dive Masters: Max Ihlow (PADI #798371), Luca Damoli, Patrick Peletti

In the 12 days we where on the island, I did 14 dives, do I need to say more about how I love this place? When going here, I definitely recommend doing a dive on Warren Thila, if one loves drift dives and some adrenaline. I did both my Nitrox (PADI Enriched Air Diver) and PADI Advanced Open Water certifications here and had an absolutely amazing set of dives here thanks to the team on the island. Thanks, especially Max Ihlow, for the many great dives and the techniques I learned and improved.

Matamanoa, Fiji

Location: Matamanoa, Fiji Flag of .fj
Year: 2016
Diveshop: Deep Blue Diving & Watersports
Dive Masters: Trevor Neal, Emma Neal

Trevor and Emma used to dive in the cold, no-visibility waters of the United Kingdom, but Matamanoa, Fiji is quite the opposite: nice warm waters with near endless visibility and lot s of sealife. As Trev and Emma did the UK diving for many years they are extremely well trained and keep a great focus on diving safety. When one wants to visit Fiji, definitely go say hi to the friendly group at Deep Blue on Matamanoa island, they will show you the beauty of underwater Fiji.

Tikehau, French Polynesia

Location: Tikehau, French Polynesia Flag of .pf
Year: 2017
Diveshop: Diving Safari Tikehau
Dive Master: Antoinette Thomas

Tikehau is an amazing dive location with lots to see. Antoinette takes you on a genuine diving safari: she guides you through the Tikehau dive spots so that you see everything Tikehau has to offer. In addition to the pure enjoyment of diving, I again learned a great deal more about discovering the bottom of the ocean, peeking into crevaces and remaining even calmer and breath shallower and be able to dive longer. Diving with Antoinette is an absolute pleasure and I can only recommend visiting and diving with hr. One day when I return to the other side of the world I'll look her up for another dive!

Dive Locations Map

Javascript is needed for the Map to function, please enable it

Scuba Certifications

Logo of PADI As a scuba diver one has to learn a variety of skills to make a dive safer. I've done the following scuba certifications:

  • PADI Open Water Diver [ISO 24801-2]
  • PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy
  • PADI Enriched Air (Nitrox 40%) [ISO 11107]
  • PADI Advanced Open Water Diver
  • SSI Dry Suit Diving

Logo of SSI Next to of course the base OWD certification, I personally think that the Peak Performance Buoyancy might be one of the more important certifications there is. When taught right it will make diving not only much more pleasant but more importantly safer.

While scuba certifications gives one a checkmark that one has made it through that certifications tests, many diving skills can only be learned by doing: the more one dives the more one learns.

From my experience, diving with different people is extremely valueable as they tend to give tips and tricks which makes diving safer and better. Thanks to the many dive buddies that I have encountered on my dive trips, you guys and gals made me a better diver which in turn made me able to enjoy it all much better!

Scuba Gear

Diving does involve quite some equipment and I tend to buy gear that can be trusted, is reliable, is easy to use and can stand the test of time and has the features I want. That does mean I tend to buy gear from the higher range of equipment, sometimes with features that I don't utilize fully yet as I am still learning a lot of things. The brand is not a primary factor in selecting equipment, but the ability to get gear serviced is.

Becoming familiar with gear is a good thing and learning to properly use it, is one of the many goals I have, proper research is done when acquiring a new component to know what it is capable of and what the pro/cons of an item are. Scubaboard can be a great help here.

While it is a long list of gear, most of it is clipped and/or hidden away in pockets or stays on the boat when suspected of not being needed. The less things that can snatch to something in the water, the safer the dive.

Following is a list of the items that keep me safe and comfortable. The list mostly exists so that the page auto-calculates the travel weight for me, quite important as I am mostly a vacation diver and the gear goes by plane which has restrictions as listed at the bottom of the table. The BCD ends up in the suitcase quite often due to space and other tech like my big camera that needs to go into my carry-on.

But it is als there as some people wonder what gear people dive with, this can serve as a reference for those who are interested in what I use. In case of questions about any of these items, don't hesitate to ask.

  Brand Model Weight Bag Description / notes
1st StageScubaproMK25 EVO Carbon Black Tech570 grCarry-OnProven and reliable, air-balanced flow-through piston, 5 Low-Pressure and 2 High-Pressure Ports, turret swivel, light weight, coldwater compatible; 300bar DIN edition
2nd StageScubaproA700 Carbon Black Tech228 grCarry-OnProven and reliable, air-balanced, light weight, VIVA, coldwater capable; breathes easily like one is on the surface
OctopusScubaproR195 Octopus178 grCarry-OnA classic proven and reliable 2nd stage in backup yellow; light weight, VIVA, unbalanced
SPG/DepthScubaproCompact Twin Console375 grCarry-OnAnalog air and depth, even though I have a dive computer, I rather be safe; compact model that can be snuggly hid away
Dive ComputerSuuntoEON Steel347 grCarry-OnClearly readable anywhere and even without optically corrected mask; Air Integrated, stores all the stats I want to see later
Tank PodSuuntoEON Steel Tank Pod103 grCarry-OnTransmits the pressure in the tank to the computer
BCDScubaproHydros Pro3900 grSuitcaseWith Bungees, Mini D-rings etc; Orange kit for high visibility
BCD PocketScubaproHydros Pro Cargo Thigh Pocket200 grSuitcaseFor storing DSMB reel and GoPro
BCD BagScubaproHydros Backpack300 grSuitcaseThe bag that comes with the Hydros, great for carrying all the gear around
DSMBDiveAlertSMB.LED550 grSuitcaseBig, bright and very visible; bungied at the back of my BCD
MaskScubaproZoom Black425 grSuitcaseWith optical lenses so that I can see clearly under water
FinsMaresX-Stream1700 grSuitcase1 pair: each fin weighs a whopping 850gr, but the weight is worth it for drift dives
BootiesScubaproSubgear Booties900 grSuitcaseHeavyduty, but fits great; also good to get back on a beach
GlovesScubaproSubgear D-Flex 2 mm75 grSuitcaseFor extra grip and to avoid any accidental cuts in my precious computer using fingers
Suit - UVMaresTrilastic Steamer - UPF50+380 grSuitcaseFor hot waters and for snorkling, so I do not get another burn
Suit - 3-2-2MaresFlexa 3-2-21000 grSuitcaseEven though it is warm where I typically dive, for more dives having a 3mm is more comfortable
LightConsidering a Scubapro Nova 230 or a L&M GoBe 700+
TankRenting, little sense in dragging it around planes
WeightsRenting/Borrowing; typically 2kg with the UV-Suit or 4kg for the 3-2-2.
SnorkelAqualungSnorkel150 grSuitcaseTypically stays on the boat/land but used for snorkling
CameraGoProHERO3 Black163 grCarry-OnHave had this since 2012; extra batteries in drycase
Camera LightLight & MotionSideKick Duo123 grCarry-OnFine lamp but it flooded once and that is not a good thing...
Camera PoleGoPoleReach250 grSuitcaseThe old 2013 version which seems to be better glued than the newer Reach models
Glow stickScubaproNi-glo34 grCarry-OnTwo little glow sticks so that I am easily identified
DryboxOtterboxDrybox 3500500 grSuitcaseFor keeping things safe and dry: logbook, certs etc
Misc. MaskScubaproPocketmask50 grSuitcasePocketmask to the rescue
Misc. StickyMetal Pointing stick / Tank banger50 grSuitcaseFor pointing, tank banging and stabilizing during picture taking
Misc. SnapsSnapcables100 grSuitcaseMultiple to be able to keep things close and streamlined to my body and not float about
Misc. Emerg. KniveEasycutTrilobite50 grSuitcaseFor when one gets stuck in a line and/or for cleaning it from the reef
Misc. Emerg. WhistleDANWhistle5 grSuitcase
10585 grSuitcaseCombined; Maximum airline allowance: 23 kg
2121 grCarry-OnCombined; Maximum airline allowance: 7 kg
12706 grTotal

Altogether that is quite a bit of weight. Fortunately one does not need many actual clothes in tropic environments...

To mark my gear, for avoiding any possible confusion, I use a 'Scubapro Gear Marker' in both Orange and Fluorescent colors in strategic locations. Those marks in combo with the Orange pockets on the BCD and the Red fins should also avoid confusion in the water as it gives a unique color combination.