Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting Yourself Diving Ready

Before you dive head on into the water, you have to first prepare how to go about with it. Since you will be immersing yourself into a totally different environment, you have to make the right preparation to make sure that you enjoy it the best and safest way possible.

The first thing that you have to look for is a good diving instructor. This is very important because you cannot get all the essentials just by reading alone. There needs to be a hands-on training in addition to other additional instruction that a diving instructor will give you. For instance they can give you which sites are best for beginners and which ones are appropriate for seasoned divers.

The next thing that you have to do is to do some research on the specific diving site that you are interested in. Check to see whether the area can give you an interesting and is the weather generally good for diving. These can make you ensure that you can have the most out of a dive, because you will be shelling out some bucks for it so you might as well choose a good site. An interesting site should have a rich wildlife or attractions. Good weather also allows safe waters and better visibility while diving.

After choosing the diving site, you now move on to looking for the right gear for you. In choosing the perfect diving gear, you can do some research by going on the net, asking your instructor or read some reviews about the various brands available. Having the right and complete set of gear will make your dive fun and safe.

Among those that you have to look for is a wetsuit, scuba fins, weight belt, a Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD), mask, snorkel, regulator, scuba tanks, a knife or shears. After you have your equipment ready, you now have some basic training first. And remember that when you dive and are still new at it, always have a reliable diving buddy with you. In addition to this you must know ahead of time any communication signs and signals that you will be using underwater.

The next thing that you will be deciding on is how you are going to go into the water. Are you getting to your dive site by walking from the beach, or are you diving in through a boat. This way you will also know the formations which you can find in the water and how you are going to avoid damaging them. If you are walking, you should avoid stepping on corals.

You must also know how to perform basic life support should any emergency arise during the dive. You should also have an emergency plan to make sure that immediate medical help will be available. For instance what you would do when someone goes missing, what to do when someone is injured, or the nearest hospital.

Always have a dive plan because this will give you more structure with your activities and you can ensure your safety better. You should also remember to take your scuba lesson first especially if you are a newbie. With these simple instructions you are well on your way to getting yourself diving ready.

Seamanship School - One Way to Dock Down Tide on an Inside Berth

This is a hairy manoeuvre the basic seamanship schools usually avoid, but I'm describing a real live experience that we repeated daily throughout a whole Cowes Week Regatta in the 1970s.

First, let's make it clear that the boat we are talking about was a racing sailing boat 34 feet long, whose auxiliary motor drove a folding propeller. Now let's look at the potential causes of problems.

* * * *

All single screw boats suffer 'prop walk' - going ahead, they turn tighter one way than the other, and going astern the stern is kicked to one side. Normally, you do your best to take advantage of this when planning an approach to a berth.

When you switch from 'ahead' to 'astern', the boat takes some time to stop. The rudder has no effect unless the boat is actually going backwards through the water, and even then it has far less effect than when going ahead because it isn't in the fast-moving slipstream of the prop.

When switching from ahead to astern, folding props sometimes fold flat. When you go ahead, the natural screw action assists centrifugal force in opening both blades again smoothly, but occasionally only one blade will open when you go astern, causing severe vibration and possible damage to the bearing seal. The only option is to return to neutral and try again. Not a joke if you are heading for the end of the dock at the time, with a two or three knot tide helping you.

Our berth was a small pontoon with a gangway from the mid-point to the shore. On the shore side, there were two berths upstream and two downstream of the gangway. We had an upstream one, next to the gangway.

Shallow water began less than half a boat length in from the pontoon, so there was no room to approach the berth from the shore side and turn back out towards it.

We were all racing, so sometimes the berth further from the gangway was already occupied by the time we arrived.

The classic approach to this problem is to face up-tide, get into line and slow right down until the tide walks you very slowly backwards into your berth - with or without the other boat in place, a crew member hops on to the pontoon and warps you in.

Because the shallow, muddy shore was so close, this was risky. Also, on several days there was an erratic, gusty wind.

The technique we ended up using wasn't very kind to the pontoon's moorings, but it worked - just. We went in head first down tide and used a spring to help stop the boat (and once, when the prop didn't open, as the only means of stopping).

A trusted and nimble crew member (sometimes me, but we took turns because it was so scary) took the stern line and a spring, tied to the mast and led through the jib fairlead block (slid up to its foremost position for the occasion). He stood outside the lifelines ahead of the shrouds, and jumped onto the pontoon as early as he could, slipped the spring round the most uptide mooring cleat he could reach and surged the line out, braking the boat's movement as quickly as possible, then tied off the spring and pulled in the stern line.

Sports Nutrition and Fitness Awareness

Hydration is your best friend

Quick Fact: Did you know that you can survive the hostile environments of the world without food for a month but can only last three days without water? Water is one of the most active nutritional requirements for people to maintain the natural balance of hydration and nourishment. When you perspire, you reduce the amount of water in your body and it needs to be replenished. If you are planning to exercise then it's important to stock up on your body's water supply, during and after you finish your routine. Water is the best choice for liquid replacement during a workout. If you are planning to exercise continuously for more than an hour and a half, you may want to replace your water with an electrolyte rich liquid supplement such as a sports drink.

Aside from water, sports drinks are very helpful in restoring your body's electrolyte and carbohydrate needs during an exercise regimen. "Sports water" as what they are called are rich in nutrients that your body requires to avoid dehydration and replace the energy lost during a workout burn and can help you replenish lost minerals lost for the day. The carbohydrate contents in sports water provides you with the C6H12O6 you lose when you burn. As you exercise your muscles produce lactic acid which makes them ache, sports drinks reduces the production of lactic acid by providing a constant supply of carbohydrates to burn. When checking out sports drinks, make sure that they contain anywhere from fifteen to 18 grams of carbohydrates for every eight ounces.

Maintain your levels with good Nutrition

Your body draws its energy from the carbohydrates that you consume. A simple definition of what comprises carbohydrates is your simple sugars and starches that are found in food like cereals, bread, pasta products, lactose products and the most common source which is white sugar.

These simple sugars are metabolized by your body and converted to a compound called glucose (C6H12O6), which the body burns to produce energy through the organelle in your cells called the mitochondria. If you are planning to start your day with a workout then you must remember that your caloric intake should comprise of mainly carbohydrates at an average of five calories per gram. Having a stable diet of carbohydrates should ensure that you can function well with no need for an energy stock up as your body will use up the fuel reserves from previous meals. To be sure that you don't end up burning muscle tissue (in the event of energy scarcity the body produces lactic acid to resynthesize chemical byproducts so they may be converted to fuel called anaerobic glycolysis)