An Holistic Approach to Lifestyle for Professional Technical Divers

By Aron Arngrimsson, Team Blue Immersion

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A topic often encountered and discussed is how well we should take care of ourselves as avid technical divers. To execute a deep trimix dive one must be in good physical and mental condition and this is sometimes easier said then done for dive professionals. Over the years I have learned that the keyword is balance.



As a technical diving instructor you are expected to maintain a good level of physical and mental fitness. You are not expected to be able to dead lift your own weight but definitely carry enough strength to be able to assist well in a hairy situation or just to be able to dive safely and comfortably, after all our profession is quite equipment intensive. We also need to constantly remind ourselves that our cardiovascular system needs to tolerate thermal stress and support muscle demand for oxygen during exertion. We are neither expected to be life coaches (although sometimes our job requires us to be) but we have to be able to block personal ailments and have absolute focus during courses.


There are areas of physical fitness and mental fitness we need to discuss and find the balance for if you are like myself and our team working in technical diving every single day.


Physical Exercise before and after deep diving 

Numerous studies have been done on this over the years. There are different recommendations from the different diving agencies and organizations like Divers Alert Network. The general recommendation from DAN is to avoid heavy exercise around 24 hours before and after dives. This is not good news for technical diving professionals as it pretty much bans them from exercising…so what to do?



Consider 98% of micronuclei vanishes after 6 hours. Therefore theoretically it should be safe to exercise during the same day 6 hours before or after a dive although that is not recommended. Research has shown that exercising 24 hours before actually prevents bubble formation. The most important thing is to listen to your body and look at the factors around you before you make your decision. Did everything on the dive go well? The profile was safe? Were you under any unusual stress? Act accordingly. Set a depth limit for yourself on when you cannot go. From my personal experience, I choose to never exercise following a hypoxic trimix dive, but shallower I give my body around 10 hours and then resume with moderate exercise. I must stress that this is based upon years of diving, building up good physical condition slowly and listening to my body. In the end there is a reason they call it decompression theory and all our bodies are different. We are at the edge of diving and have become the guinea pigs this research is based on. It is important that you slowly progress and find a balance, which is right for you.

We never exceed a single decompression dive per day and based on that I find that it is possible to find a balance between these two. Massages are often necessary as our job requires a lot of exercise, so try and find a time few times a month during off gassing days to give your muscles their deserved therapy. There is research that suggests mild massage therapy by increasing blood flow positively enhances tissue elimination or can even create problematic bubble behaviour, there is no conclusive answer at this point so it goes without saying that this practice is strongly discouraged following dives .




food pyramid

Technical dives often are surrounded by beautiful environments at remote places all over the planet. It might be in a sleepy Red Sea Resort town or in sub zero temperatures in a cave system in Russia far away from civilization. This does expose us to sometimes-restricted choice of diet or the easy wayout getting a pizza delivered home. It is however important to remember that as a predisposing factor to DCS it is important to eat a diet rich with whole grains, complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, protein, unsaturated fat and Omega 3 from fish. PLENTY of water should be consumed; around 4 liters at least per day and diuretics like coffee and soft drinks should be consumed in moderation. Eating fast food will simply not provide your body with enough energy to perform the dive ahead.


Drugs and Diving


marlboroIt is well known that these two words never have gone well together. It does however apply to the diving industry as it is a very social community and some divers enjoy a beer or cigarette following a successful dive. Nobody is perfect and neither are technical diving instructors. If you choose to smoke, the general recommendation is to avoid cigarettes 12 hours before and after diving to normalize your CO levels . To have A drink with dinner the night before a technical dive will most likely not be detrimental to your safety, but like everything moderation and frequency is key. The Federal Aviation Administration advises pilots to avoid A drink 8 hours before and the same recommendation should be prudent for a technical diving instructor although a much more conservative approach would be recommended . The best advice would be to be a non smoker and not a consumer of any drug, but its simply not realistic to expect everyone to be like this, and the best prevention is simply to change the mindset to be conservative and think about what you are doing. If you insist on rolling the dice, at least do so with your eyes open.

Mental Fitness



It is a popular statement that our profession is based over half on our mental fitness. The mental ability to deal with hairy situations is something that you usually adapt to with experience and with the environment you work in. There are however some things you can do yourself above gaining experience, which will enhance your mental fitness in and out of the water and is very likely to improve your overall life quality.



Sports Psychologist



This deals with the mental well-being of athletes and the mental and emotional factors that can affect sports performance. At the level you are at in your diving career you should certainly consider yourself at the same level. Inherently in your career there can be an enormous pressure to perform and succeed and they have specialized techniques to reduce stress and improve your overall performance so taking time a few times a month to meet and discuss with a sports psychologist can be enormously helpful. Also discussing any personal issues or ailments that occupy your existence can help you organise your thoughts and greatly enhance your focus and block out the outside world while you go perform these challenging deep dives.


Breathing Techniques


These exercises can be very helpful to reduce stress, improve focus and improve cardiovascular health. Try and incorporate a frequent routine during the week (or just when you feel particularly stressed) of inhaling through your nose for 5 seconds, holding it for 5 seconds and exhaling for 5 seconds through your mouth.



Meditation and Yoga


yoga-in-the-oceanThere are plenty of different ways to meditate and to do Yoga. It does help your mobility and flexibility, which are key when you find yourself surrounded by cylinders. Yoga can also help you improve your SAC rate by teaching you to control your breathing while your body is working, so you can calmly and efficiently deliver more oxygen to your muscles. Meditation is a powerful tool on the journey towards a peaceful mind and can do wonders towards your overall mental fitness. Another good tip is to turn off any electronic devices 1 hour before sleep, the brightness from our devices decreases the melatonin levels in our body (which we need to sleep!) and the last thing on your mind before a deep dive should be personal relations, business nor other. Use this time to practice what we preach, visualise the dive.


On their own these excercises might not feel like they are doing a world of difference when you start, but given some time and combining all of them and you will start feeling more in control of your body. On the matter of timing, wait as long as you can during the day before you do Yoga and on hypoxic trimix dives I would prefer to skip any strenuous exercise.


Lastly if you have not heard about DAN’s Diving Research Laboratory I advise you to visit the following link and get involved as a research diver, more deep diving data is welcomed and needed for further studies.


Dive Safe
Aron Arngrimsson

Team Blue Immersion





Summer is better at depth!



The last weeks of June and July have seen the summer hit Dahab. Beautiful but hot days have surrounded the shop and we had a lot of great people from all over the world come in to do some wicked diving and the team has done some exploration into new dive sites!




Mark Carmichael came to us for TDI Advanced Trimix with Erik and some deeper diving culminating in 130m in Bells with Adam. Mark also completed his MOD 1 on the PRISM II with Erik spending the last days of his stay loving the silent world.

July also saw another course being written by TBI, this time Aron had approval for the TDI Ocean Reef Technical Integrated Dive Mask. Now TBI can offer TDI Technical training on the T-Divers mask, which we developed to a depth of 100m.

Our instructor interns Tamara and Anna have been keeping busy doing their theory exams, deep guiding workshops and emergency scenarios during deeper dives with previous intern Huw joining in!


Our opera10553649_707112162689704_6316435467701197605_otional manager Adam had his father Keith D Miller and his wife Sandy stop by for some diving, and Adam surprised him with teaching him Tec Diver Level one. Teaching students is always rewarding but introducing your passion to close family members is always priceless.




Greg has been doing lots of exploration in July, starting with mapping and finding new places around Tiger Canyon, Abu Helal and culminating with a 90m dive at Canyons with Tamara where they explored Neptunes Ravine. Also there has been lots of Sidemount students coming in. Simon Gurney, Mansoor, Thomas and Dominika, Fatima and Freag all have been bitten by the freedom of sidemount with Greg during this month!



10530829_762544397135106_6851346722470924072_nThe last week has seen a lot of Hollis Explorer diving, with PADI Regional Manager Teo Brambilla stopping by and trying the unit, he will be releasing a blog soon on PADI Pro Middle East page. Fatima from Kuwait also had a go and loved the unit for its silence and presence with marine animals and photography.
Last but not least Adventurer Annelie Pompe came and tried the unit, a world record holder in freediving she found the unit absolutely amazing describing it like freediving, silent but for up to 2 hours at a time!


10498606_696698287064425_6347280392016261325_oMansoor, Artem and Bertie all started TDI Advanced Nitrox, Deco Pro and Extended Range with Aron teaching and Anna and Kathrine assisting having a great 10 days getting into the fundementals of technical diving culminating in some great decompression dives around Dahab.

Another great friend Toby stopped by right after and finished his Extended Range with Adam and Trimix with Aron.




Thomas has been racking up hours on the PRISM looking forward to his MOD 2, so everybody in the shop has flocked to buddy up with him for some exciting dives around Dahab.

All around a great summer so far and looking forward to the rest!

Dive Safe







Technical Diving and your Sub-Conscious

“I slept so badly last night, and I forgot to hydrate well… I don’t feel concentrated enough for this deep dive today”

Sounds familiar?

Technical Diving is a challenging sport. Before an exciting dive the diver is caught up in analyzing and marking gasses, setting up his configuration and making his dive plan. Usually, when a unique dive site and experience presents itself, there is even more pressure for everything to work perfect. It is often at these days your subconscious tries to communicate with you making you realize your stress or apprehension towards the dive ahead._H4A3764

Today technical divers follow a certain mindset and protocols to minimize errors, they are taught that Murphy’s Law is ever imminent and you should do anything to minimize the risk for an emergency scenario.

Here at Team Blue Immersion we have the rule of 3 strikes. If 3 things go a bit wrong before the dive, being someone forgot something; a regulator has a sudden leak from an O-ring or sudden environmental changes are apparent, the dive is called off.

This may sound a bit superstitious, but has ever so many times been proven right having dived after 3 errors and something having gone wrong during the dive. I believe that having a logical approach to things and having done any challenging dives in different environments, you automatically become more paranoid and systematic about your approach, but there is always that hunch some days even when things seem to be going right… what is going on there?

The subconscious has long been thought of as the source of our primal fears and desires, but scientists have discovered how the subconscious makes snap decisions that protect us from harm.Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 10.16.24

There is a great example of this from a radar officer aboard a battleship of the coast in Kuwait.

He is aboard one of the ships looking for incoming threats. All is quiet, until suddenly a blip appears on the radar. It could have been a friendly aircraft coming from a bombing run or an enemy missile heading for the ships. The Radar officer had a decision to make, he orders a counter measure attack eliminating the enemy target or possibly shooting down a friendly aircraft.

Hundreds of people’s lives are at stake, if it was the people on the ships, or the staff aboard the potentially friendly aircraft. The Radar operator has a decision to make within 60 seconds. He had a gut feeling, and ordered a counter measure strike. He sees the unidentified object fall off the screen only half a mile from the ships. It turned out to be a missile not a friendly aircraft. In the final review of the incident, researchers found that a friendly aircraft would have appeared on the first sweep on the radar for a split second faster then the missile would. The officer’s brain had picked up on this pattern, and warned him off imminent danger, although at the time there had been no manual, training or warning for these differences. He was not consciously aware of what he was doing, he was following his gut.”

180m BellsIn summary the subconscious is most valuable in life-or-death situations where a decision must be made now. It notices patterns that your conscious does not, which just might save you in a do or die dilemma. You can however make your subconscious work however you want and unleash the true potential.

How does this apply to technical diving?

Today with technical diving being more developed then ever, quality education never been more comprehensive and available and equipment being cutting edge resulting in a safety record unparalleled to our past.

However, as you progress as a technical diver over the years statistically you are more susceptible to make mistakes trough being malaise or just from the fact that you have done so many dives the 1 mistake that might kill you is mathematically becoming ever more plausible. We learn to accept this risk as technical divers, but how can we prevent them?

Here are a few steps you can follow to be able to listen to the invisible back-up brain that is always with you.

Listen to your gut

If you find yourself preparing for a dive and something seems off, may it be your equipment, your environment or the emotional levels with the team members around you, listen to it instead of ignoring it and act accordingly.

Do not let irrational fear take over
If you are attempting a deep dive and you feel the sense of fear, your body is trying to alert you. Analyze the difference; is it your nerves or fear? Never be afraid of calling off a dive, but if you decide to go ahead do not be afraid of going trough with it, be confident.

Especially as a professional, do not ignore the warning signals
Being a technical instructor requires good physical and mental health along with a healthy lifestyle. However life will throw things at you trough your carrier: emotional problems, working too hard or not taking care of yourself properly. Even though we feel the deep sense of having experience and that we can carry on, all these compounded will do damage to your health one day. Listen and do no be afraid to step back, it shows your responsible.

• Practice positive self talk
If you possess nervous fear saying, “I will fail, I cannot do this” you most likely will. Say to yourself “I can do this!” Affirmation can do wonders to your mental state before a deep dive.

• Visualize the dive
This can be one of the best techniques for a successful dive. The night before run the plan, the configuration and logistics trough your head and you will feel much more confident in the morning.

• Trust your subconscious to be able to turn everything around

In the end, you are the master of your actions, thoughts, actions, emotions and reactions.

Safe Diving
Aron Arngrimsson
Team Blue Immersion

Spring Round-Up 2014

Chris Haslam on the Hollis Prism 2

Chris Haslam on the Hollis Prism 2

The last few weeks have seen beautiful days in Dahab accompanied by the feeling that perhaps the Egyptian summer is here. Realistically, for an Englishman like myself summer feels almost never-ending anyway but now seems an appropriate moment to wrap up a great spring with Team Blue Immersion. The presence of 25m+ clear waters is giving us some fantastic dives that will get even better as the water warms further. It has been a busy time of late, so we would like to say a big thanks to all our friends, old and new for continuing to be drawn by the lure of Dahab’s beautiful canyons and bright blue depths.

So, just what has been going on? Where it is nice to have such variety in dive sites, we also have such variety in the people through our doors, the configurations they are diving and the courses they are taking. This year has already seen courses at every level from PADI Tec 40 through Tec Trimix, TDI Advanced Nitrox through Advanced Trimix. Our backmount and sidemount tanks are equally in use across all levels of courses with dives to 100m in both configurations and to 130m in backmount. We have had guests from America, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey…and I hope I have not missed any!

Technical Instructor interns gearing up for 75m Neptune's Cave

Technical Instructor interns gearing up for 75m Neptune’s Cave

But of course it does not stop with open circuit. Our Hollis Explorer and Prism 2 rebreathers join the fun having created nearly 15 new “silent-world” divers and certified existing ones to higher levels. We have seen Evos, Inspos, Megs, and rEvos, JJs and Optimas too. Some have come as divers and left as instructors in PADI and TDI with courses at the Tec Deep, Tec Trimix, Rec and Tec Sidemount, Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures and Extended Range! We continue to welcome external instructors from across the globe who teach their own students, in their own way while benefiting from the great dive sites and simple logistics to which we can serve them.


A proud instructor, interns and their students

A proud instructor, interns and their students

Our technical diver and instructor internship programs extend the TBI family by ensuring there are always long-term students in the dive centre. More than ten students have stayed with us for at least a month and most for two or three to make the most of the technical immersion that we are fortunate enough to offer in Dahab’s surroundings. Through this period they will cover all diving configurations, reach as deep as they should wish to go, explore all of Dahab’s best dive sites and generally focus on technical diving excellence in a way that few will ever get to experience.


Tamara hosting an academic presentation

Tamara hosting an academic presentation

The classroom is as important a location as in the water and each month sees a host of academic presentations on topics such as decompression modelling, deep stops, gradient factors, M-values, oxygen toxicity, isobaric-counter-diffusion to name a few. Big thanks to Andy, Anna, Ben, Carlos, Kerstin, Kostas, Luca, Mickey, Tamara, Yasmine for keeping us diving daily and challenging us to ensure we are offering the best experience we can to those who delay their normal lives to train with us!


Sam Ong achieving 130m at Bells

Sam Ong achieving 130m at Bells

New faces keep what we do such a fun, engaging and variable activity but it is with much joy that we welcome back friends from old. Good friend and wreck diving legend Jamie Macleod returned for some diving and sun with his daughter Vicky.

World deep diving record holder Pascal Bernabé had ditched open circuit and brought his JJ for some “shallow” 100m CCR diving with Mia Pietikäinen prior to their cave discovery expedition in China.

Former Advanced Trimix student Sam Ong cam back to push his skills to the limit with deep open circuit attaining a depth of 130m with Aron. Also going deep, Tsvetan returned for his dream of 100m in 5 tank sidemount config with Erik and Tamara and Geoff found himself at 115m with Aron as well as doing his Tec Trimix instructor course. Big congratulations to all!


Geoff showing just how to hang on deco

Geoff showing just how to hang on deco

Chris Haslam, old friend and founder of TBI Sweden arrived with brand new Prism 2 to start gaining some experience. After just 5 weeks he had opportunities to move on but managed to do so with over 70 hours gained on his CCR and certification to 75m with mixed gas, his time culminating in some awesome extended bottom times in the Blue Hole, at Neptune’s Cave and the persistently alluring Abu Helal canyon system.


Team Poland - Patryk & Rob

Team Poland – Patryk & Rob

We would also like to give mention to Patryk Salamon, who originally did his rescue course with Erik three years ago and this year ended a fantastic progression to full tec trimix with a 90m dive in the Arch, complete with all the laughs, excitment and dodgy-dealing that his visits tend to bring :-)

Speaking to any of us at TBI you wiil hear no end of endorsements of Dahab’s diving with much justification resulting from the convenience and easy logistics of its almost exclusive shore diving opportunities to the north and south. However, there can always be too much of a good thing and this year we felt a change was on the cards.

It is important for us to redefine what we offer and explore new places both near and far and a technical boat trip to the southern site of Gabr El Bint was a resounding success. With backmount, sidemount and CCR divers onboard, it highlighted many opportunities for further trips to deeper and darker places across all disciplines.

A day on the sea - technical diving at Gabr El Bint

A day on the sea – technical diving at Gabr El Bint

Where there are new additions there are also departures and this year marked a very significant one for TBI history. Founding member Jonas Samuelsson accepted a position as PADI Regional Manager for Denmark, Israel and Sweden marking an end to his permanent time in Dahab.

Jonas Samuelsson

Jonas Samuelsson begins a new role as PADI Regional Manager

It will certainly not be the last we see of Jonas, it is a fantastic opportunity and an evolution for him personally given his well commended and long history with PADI over the previous two decades. We wish you continued success Jonas!

So as the water continues to warm up, we look on to a promising summer with many courses already booked up through the months ahead. Anna Loznevaya continues her technical instructor internship and former intern Huw Rowlands is back for some deep sidemount diving with Erik. Old friends from the recreational world will be here to begin their own techhnical journeys. Mark Carmichael joins for a month of deep training and experience dives with Extended Range, Advanced Trimix and beyond and repeated guest and friend Tobias Wilkinson returns to raise his technical skill level with TDI Extended Range and Trimix courses in July. And this is just the beginning…

Thank you again for an amazing start to 2014 and we cannot wait to be in the water with you all for the amazing summer diving experiences that are on their way!


What Dahab Means to Technical Diving

Good reasons for Technical Diving in Dahab…

One of the reasons I found myself technical diving in Dahab was the result of reading the following excellent article by Jonas on what technical diving means for him:

What does technical diving mean for you?

Adam Miller

Adam Miller

I too felt that same desire for exploration, to evolve by pushing my own boundaries. Re-reading this recently I felt I would like to answer this question myself but with a slightly different spin. Not just to answer what technical diving means for me but to help share what Dahab means to technical diving. Having discovered it later in my life, diving is unarguably my all-consuming passion. Although some might say it was more obsession from the start, dedicating my time to technical diving has made that firmly the case. The inner child in me that looks at the world with awe and wonder was tantalised by the prospect of training that facilitated going deeper, to places that relatively few others have.

I shall never forget the experience of my deep adventure dive as part of my advanced open water…a deep reef at 30m, not yet visible from the surface meaning the initial descent was into the blue. Surrounded by penetrating beams of sunlight I dropped seemingly into the oceanic abyss and as the blue morphed into reef beneath me, a sense of discovering untouched places filled me from within. That feeling of discovery persists still with each dive that begins with a similar descent, of which there is no shortage here in Dahab!

On the East coast of the Egyptian Sinai peninsula, Dahab is a relaxed Bedouin town with diving a first-class citizen. Open sea and some decent winds mean that kite and wind surfing are sibling water sports but are certainly babies of the family. The shore lines the Gulf of Aqaba, a body of water stretching from the main mass of the Red Sea some 160km north separating Egypt from Saudi Arabia and briefly touching Israel and Jordon at its tip. The Gulf is 24km at its widest point and nearly 2km deep in parts!

gulf_of_aqaba_lakeThe generally narrow nature of the Gulf ensures Saudi Arabia is commonly visible across the water making for breath-taking sunrises, at times you could be excused for believing it a large lake. Behind Dahab the South Sinai mountains rise quickly in a variety of hues indicative of the mix of rock types with rich mineral veins and some of the oldest rock in Earth’s history. From a distance, the coast of Saudi Arabia looks remarkably similar, obvious when you realise they were once as one, approximately 40 million years ago before Africa and Arabia began to drift apart and create the chasm-like Gulf of Aqaba in between.

This dramatic event was perhaps one of nature’s greatest gifts to technical divers by sculpting a stunning underwater landscape as easily accessed as stepping from the shore. This accessibility means that Dahab’s charming and relaxed vibe permeates our daily diving as well. No boat schedule dictates our logistics, no off-shore currents control our entry times. We dive when we are ready to dive, when we have finished a thorough briefing and enjoyed a coffee, tea or banana shake with it. On the surface one minute and at 100m almost no time later, and the depth continues far beyond!

TBI Interns Sidemount at 65 m, Bluehole, The ArchTechnical diving is a means to an end and at its inception that end was largely driven from a desire to explore caves and wrecks. With neither present in Dahab’s popular waters, I am often asked what the point is for diving deep? Are we just number chasers, doing it because we can? I couldn’t disagree more and indeed on my first 100m dive, one of my dive computers clocked only 99.1m, the extra 0.9 was not something that bothered me greatly. However, the journey down there while short was spectacular. To be falling into the blue, in that same way I experienced on my first adventure deep dive, for 5 minutes was exhilarating.

But it isn’t for the mild adrenaline hit either; it’s for the visuals you are witness to on the way down, at the bottom and equally on the way up. Dahab’s diving fame is helped in no small part by the Blue Hole, formerly a large cave whose ceiling collapsed and subsequent rising sea levels created one of the most infamous dive sites in the world. Floating within this calm column of water is enjoyable in itself but traversing through the 30m long arch that connects this former-cave to the open ocean is inspiring. At 55m below the surface and extending down to 100m at its bottom, its scale is hard to appreciate second-hand. The humbling enormity of the Himalayan mountain ranges is similarly achieved by the topography of this dive site.

Ascending from 100m For me I believe this is the primary joy I get from diving here. Being the subject of a scene where nature makes you feel so small gives me a great sense of mental clarity and the Blue Hole is just the start. The towering wall at neighbour dive site Bells, the deep Canyon pathways of Abu Helal and Abu Talha, the myriad other smaller canyons carved into the coral and rock that hug so close to land. Collectively these provide for stunning beauty while simultaneously giving perfect conditions to train other would-be marine explorers in the proper techniques and procedures required to explore them.

Just as Jonas recalled himself as a boy, peering into a lake and wondering what was there, I find myself similarly captivated with the incomparable blue that is found in the depths off the shore and I look forward to many more enjoyable hours finding out what lies beyond :-)

Adam Miller – Technical Instructor & Operational Manager TBI


TecRec Principals.

TecRec Principals

In this blog we are reviewing TecRec40, perhaps the most important course for any technical diver. It’s here where the student learn the principal skills they need for further training and experiences. It’s therefor crucial that the TecRec Instructor review skills like proper trim, propulsion techniques and how to be correctly weighted in addition to other skills listed in TecRec Instructor outline. While teaching technical diving I use a few ‘on-land workshops’ that enables the TecRec40 student to understand these concepts and prepare them better for further training. Here i introduce some of those workshops.


trimHave the student to lay down in the classroom. Ask them to arch their backs. Their lower part of the legs should be in an upright position and the feet straight. Their head should be tilted slightly backwards with their arms in a similar position as if they were driving a motorcycle. In this position the diver should be able to see their gauges. When the student got a nice arched position start with the propulsion workshop. Demonstrate proper use of propulsion techniques like frog kicks, helicopter turns and back kicks. By spending some time practicing proper propulsion techniques and trim in the classroom will enable the students to perform better during the first water sessions is my experience.



Gas shut down/manifold drills

manifoldThis skill is conducting with the student sitting down while wearing the twinset fully assembled. Explain verbally at the same time as you demonstrate how, and most importantly why, you turn off the right and the left posts and the manifold. It’s important that the student understand why he/she react in a certain way to a specific situation to be able to react fast and correct in an event of leakage. Start by making sure the student can reach the posts and the manifold. If they can not reach simply adjust the students equipment. When you as instructor verified that the student can reach then demonstrate the drill and give lots of ‘What if’ scenarios. Useful tool for this exercise is an ‘airgun’ to simulate an air leakage from one of the first stages or the manifold. Have the student to identify where the air is leaking from and then react properly to that scenario.

Video the students during the training dives

Remember to video the students during the training dives. The student can then watch themselves after the training dive to see how they are position in the water and how they execute propulsion techniques and other skills. This will help the student to better understand the areas he/she needs to improve in. If the student performed well then post some pics on Facebook and let the student tag themselves. If they did not performed so well then repeat the dive. Another tip that will prepare the student for future technical diving is to conduct all skills in a trim position facing the instructor or another student while conducting all the exercises. These simple techniques worked very well for me while teaching TecRec programs and i hope they will benefit you and you students as well.


Dive well and Dive safe. Click here to find a TecRec Center close to you.

Jonas Samuelsson, TecRec Instructor Trainer

Meaning of ‘Principal’.
1. first in order of importance; main.

Finding the US Tang (SS306).

Tang (SS 306) – finding a missing Sub.

We know the approximate position, 25.06N, 119.31E, of the US Tang and we know at what depth, 40-50m, she is resting in. The depth is easy enough – the location is not however. She is in controlled Chinese waters and to get the permission to search the area is going to be the difficult part in addition to raise the substantial funds needed to locate and find the most successful US Sub in the US Navy history. But like USCGC Alexander Hamilton, nothing of real value comes very easy in life, but its all worth it. ‘The journey is the reward’ someone said and regardless what is going to happen the next few years this is a start of an exciting expedition which we all will learn from regardless what will happen.

Commander R.H. O’Kane, set out from Pearl Harbor on 24 September 1944, to begin her fifth war patrol. On 27 September she topped off with fuel at Midway and left there the same day, heading for an area between the northwest coast of Formosa, and the China Coast.

US Submarine US Tang

US Submarine US Tang

In order to reach her area, Tang had to pass through narrow waters known to be heavily patrolled by the enemy. A large area stretching northeast from Formosa was known to be mined by the enemy, and O’Kane was given the choice of making the passage north of Formosa alone, or joining a coordinated attack group (Silversides, Trigger, Salmon, under Commander Coye in Silversides) which was to patrol off northeast Formosa, and making the passage with them. Tang chose to make the passage alone and these vessels never heard from Tang, nor did any base, after she left Midway.

More pictures related to US Tang 306

The story of Tang’s sinking comes from the report of her surviving Commanding Officer. A night surface attack was launched on 24 October 1944 against a transport which had previously been stopped in an earlier attack. The first torpedo was fired, and when it was observed to be running true, the second and last was loosed. It curved sharply to the left, broached, porpoised and circled.

Men on the US Tang

Emergency speed was called for and the rudder was thrown over. These measures resulted only in the torpedo striking the stern of Tang, rather than amidships. The explosion was violent, and people as far forward as the control room received broken limbs. The ship went down by the stern with the after three compartments flooded. Of the nine officers and men on the bridge, three were able to swim through the night until picked up eight hours later. One officer escaped from the flooded conning tower, and was rescued with the others.

Men on the US Tang The submarine came to rest on the bottom at around 50m, and the men in her crowded forward as the after compartments flooded. Publications were burned, and all assembled to the forward room to escape. The escape was delayed by a Japanese patrol, which dropped charges, and started an electrical fire in the forward battery. Thirteen men escaped from the forward room, and by the time the last made his exit, the heat from the fire was so intense that the paint on the bulkhead was scorching, melting, and running down. Of the 13 men who escaped, only eight reached the surface, and of these but five were able to swim until rescued.

When the nine survivors were picked up by a destroyer escort, there were victims of Tang’s previous sinking’s on board, and they inflicted tortures on the men from Tang. With great humanity, O’Kane states, “When we realized that our clubbing’s and kickings were being administered by the burned, mutilated survivors of our own handiwork, we found we could take it with less prejudice.”

The nine captives were retained by the Japanese in prison camps until the end of the war, and were treated by them in typical fashion. The loss of Tang by her own torpedo, the last one fired on the most successful patrol ever made by a U.S. submarine, was a stroke of singular misfortune. She is credited with having sunk 13 vessels for 107,324 tons of enemy shipping on this patrol, and her Commanding Officer has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

On her last patrol Tang fired twenty-four torpedoes in four attacks. Twenty-two torpedoes found their mark in enemy ships, sinking 13 of them; one missed, and the last torpedo, fired after a careful checkover, sank Tang. This vessel was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation twice during her career. Commander O’Kane has been called the Submarine Force’s most outstanding officer; he served as Executive Officer of the very successful Wahoo before taking command of Tang.

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In her five patrols, Tang is credited with sinking 31 ships, totaling 227,800 tons and damaging two for 4,100 tons. This record is unexcelled among American submarines. In her first patrol, spending February 1944 west of Truk and Saipan, she sank three freighters, a large tanker and a submarine tender. Tang’s second patrol was in the area west of Palau, east of Davao and at Truk. She made no ship contacts worthy of attack, but at the latter island she rescued twenty-two Navy airmen during a carrier based strike at Truk on 30 April-1 May 1944. This vessel’s third patrol was in the East China and Yellow Seas. Here she sank six freighters, a tanker, and a large aircraft transport. She covered the waters along the southern coast of Honshu in August 1944. She sank a freighter, a large transport, a tanker and two patrol craft, while she damaged another freighter and small craft


Read Alex Kershaw exciting book ‘Escape From The Deep’ about submarine US Tang (SS306).

Check out our latest diving exploration. Here we locate and document the first US Navyship that sunk during WWII in the Atlantic.

Expedition Hamilton by Ocean Reef from Team Blue Immersion on Vimeo.

Hollis SMS75 Sidemount Unit Review.

TBI has been very lucky once again to be able to get a sneak peak at the new Hollis SMS75.

Hollis Sidemount SMS75 Review

Hollis Sidemount SMS75 Review

“Its the perfect new addition and compromise between those wanting the sleek design system and streamlining of the SMS50 with those that require the additional lift provided by the SMS100.

Hollis SMS75 more info/pics

The system comes in 3 sizes, SM/MD, LG/XL and XXL with an easy and adjustable strapping system making fitting and comfort easily obtained for divers of any size. The ‘standard’ back mounted holes allow for easy additions of the hollis sidemount weighting system with allocations for up to 12kg for those cold water dry suit divers requiring extra weight. The whole team has been diving the unit the past week with minimal adjustments between divers. The shoulder mounted dump valve is perfectly located, easy to reach, and allows optimal buoyancy control while remaining streamlined with a rectangular wing design for a perfect horizontal trim position.

For the deeper canyons systems we have here in Dahab, the SMS75 is easily the new unit of choice. It allows us to sneak through some tighter restrictions while also providing fit capable of carrying 4-5 tanks with comfort.

If you are an avid technical sidemount diver….then we can only HIGHLY recommend the new SMS75 from Hollis.”

Erik Brown & Greg DeSatnick

Recommended retail price: $629. Release date worldwide: April.

Also at Team Blue Immersion and Dahab Divers Technical right now:

The Hollis Explorer Sport Rebreather. from Team Blue Immersion on Vimeo.

HOLLIS PRISM II from Team Blue Immersion on Vimeo.

Filming a diving commercial. Impression from a TBI Intern…

During an Internship with Team Blue Immersion and Dahab Divers Technical our technical instructor interns gets invited on occassions to join on expeditions or filming commercials. This time around we had a photo shoot in Aqaba, Jordan for a recreational diving commercial for OceanReef. We decided to invite a few interns to be part of the team. The commercial is going to be broadcasted during the Dusseldorf Boat show in January 2014. The team was Gal Avital, Katy Fraser, Adam Miller, Huw Rowlands and Jonas Samuelsson. This was technical instructor intern Huw Rowlands impression from the trip. 

Film and diving crew. Filming in Aqaba, Jordan

Film and diving crew. Filming in Aqaba, Jordan

December 2013.

Our trip to Jordan started at 6am, with everyone meeting at the dive centre. After a final check that we had all the equipment we were off on the first leg of our journey to the boarder at Taba. With the amount of camera equipment, full face masks and comms, we were not very optimistic about the speed at which we would get through the four boarder controls that day. It turned out that our fears were correct as it took us a solid hour to be allowed out of Egypt. It looked a bit hit and miss with who they were going to stop though as myself and Katy were let through straight away, where Jonas and Adam were questioned about all the kit they had. We eventually got let through and had to carry our 300kg of equipment across into Israel. With a much easier crossing we were able to have a breather after lugging hundred of kgs of kit through customs. We were only going to be in Israel for 45 mins or so as we were driving straight to the Jordanian boarder. Jonas and Adam had a quick stop to pick up Gal, the final member of out team.

After meeting up again we had a very swift exit from Israel and a long 200m walk with all our kit to get to Jordan. we were anticipating this crossing to be fairly smooth as we had staff from the military intelligence on the other side as it is apparently illegal to us full face masks and large camera equipment in Jordan. Luckily we were able to get permission to use them. BBC and a few other networks had been stopped in the weeks prior to us arriving because they did not have the correct paperwork so another victory for the team. The customs checks started off fairly well. It looked like we were through so our military contact wandered off and then another customs officer need to look at our kit so the crossing took twice as long as needed.

Finally in Jordan we took our kit to the dive centre to get rid of the bulk of our stuff before heading to the hotel. We were meant to go filming that afternoon but the boat had already left. To be honest I think all of us were glad as we were all knackered and hadn’t eaten for 8 hours. After eating at a charming little Jordanian restaurant (Burger King), we checked into our hotel. After crashing for a couple of hours we wandered down to find some food in the hotel. Being in a 5* Movenpick we were spoilt for choice. We decided on the Italian restaurant which was totally empty and was apparently its opening night. Best choice we ever made. Best pasta I’ve ever had! Couple of free extras thrown in and all of us were very happy divers.

Film and diving crew. Filming in Aqaba, Jordan

Film and diving crew. Filming in Aqaba, Jordan

First day of diving. This was going to be a wreck dive for the Advanced Wreck course Adam and I were going to do. Katy and Gal were also planning on diving the wreck in order to get generic shots for the commercial. Jonas threw us in the deep end during this dive. Straight in with line laying and then out of air drills both with mask on and blindfolded. We ended up spending around 20 mins blindfolded out of a 60 min dive. Weirdly this was one of the most fun dives I’ve ever done. After the dive we couldn’t do a second as we only had one twinset each so we started trying to record the sound while the rest of the divers on the boat did their second dive. Due to the wind we weren’t able to get anything of use but we learnt a lot that we could use on later dives.

Read PADI Staff Trevor Sanfords blog on about his experience diving with Team Blue Immersion

Day two of diving was the first day of filming. We were going to attempt to get as many of the scenarios done on this dive, however we may have been a bit ambitious with the amount of air we will use. The first scenario was missing diver, where Jonas, aka Raymond, would get lost. we would then show how much easier it would be if I,as the ‘Master Diver’ had an Integrated Diving Mask (IDM) to talk tot he surface with. The first shot with all of us on normal masks probably looked hilarious with exaggerated signals and expressions. After a quick underwater mask change for me to the IDM we shot what would happen if I had the mask.

Next scenario we shot was what would happen if there was bad weather and the boat wanted to call us back. This just involved me playing with the buttons on the IDM a bit and then telling the other divers using the M101A, a handy little comm that you can hold up to a divers ear and speak to them.

The final scenario of the dive was swimming into a strong current as we needed to reach a predetermined point to get picked up by the boat. The dive without the IDM had Raymond panicking and shooting to the surface. With the IDM I call the boat to change direction to go with the current preventing any problems before they start. Were meant to do a second dive to pretty much complete the filming, but all of the batteries for the camera were dead and with no power on board we could only do a bit of sound recording on the laptop.

Interested in doing a technical diver or instructor internship with TBI? Read more here.

oceanreef commercial

oceanreef commercial

Day three was meant to be and Advanced Wreck day, however as we only managed to film during one dive the day before we had to film again. We finished the strong current scene and filmed a scene where Raymond is suffering narcosis and I have to tell Jane (Gal) to keep an eye on him. Without the IDM we struggle to communicate t each other, however with the IDMs I can get my point across well. After a quick change of tanks we jumped back in to film the final scene where Raymond is ill and needs to go up. Without the mask communication between us is bad and he panics and bolts to the surface. I have to go up rescue him, leaving Jane and Tim (Adam) on the bottom. Using the IDM and M101A I was able to speak to Raymond to calm him down while calling the boat and also tell Jane and Tim to stay on the bottom and wait for me to come back down. This was our last dive to film and thankfully we were pretty much able to get everything we needed. We also managed to finish the sound recording and Katy got all the surface shots she needed with the crew.

Read testimonials from others

Next morning consisted of packing and more packing. After several attempts we got everything to fit in their boxes and we started the long journey back to Dahab. Thankfully all the boarder crossing were easy this time. They boarder control officers at the Jordanian and Israeli boarders recognized us from last time and the Egyptians just didn’t really seem to care, so a pretty quick trip home.

This trip may have been for business and there were sometimes when things did get a bit stressful. However it was an incredibly enjoyable few days with some great friends and is definitely a major highlight of my Internship with TBI. Just want to say a big thanks to Dive Aqaba, OceanReef, TBI and especially Jonas, Katy, Adam and Gal for an amazing experience.

Huw Rowlands, Technical Instructor Intern 2013

TDI Instructor Courses, Dahab, Egypt

News January 2014.

TDI Instructor Courses @ Team Blue Immersion and Dahab Divers Technical

TDI is the leader in technical diving and has been since 1994. TDI offers a wide choice of programs available to continue your technical training.

The TDI Divemaster Course is the first professional level certification in the TDI Leadership levels. During this course you will be challenged and learn what it is like to work with divers as they begin or continue their technical diving experiences. You will learn how to manage divers, work the dive deck of a boat, and conduct enjoyable dives. Dive physics, physiology, how conduct pre-dive briefing, how to assist technical instructors as well as how to be a professional TDI Divemaster are all part of the course. Your skills will be refined to demonstration quality and your knowledge increased to that of a professional.

Should you decide you want to teach technical diver courses you will need to be a Open Water Scuba Diving Instructor, here you will learn more about academic and in-water presentations, conducting courses and diver management. Once you become an open water instructor you can expand your résumé and add the technical areas that interest you to teach.

Technical Diving Instructor courses available:

Intro to Tech Instructor (Euro 200)
Nitrox Instructor (Euro 150)
Advanced Nitrox Instructor (Euro 390)
Decompression Procedures Instructor (Euro 450)
Extended Range Instructor (Euro 650)
Trimix Instructor (Euro 720)
Advanced Trimix Instructor (Euro 890)
Technical Sidemount Instructor course (Euro 480)
Advanced Wreck Instructor (please ask, added cost for traveling)
Nitrox Gas Blender Instructor (Euro 250)
Advanced Gas Blender Instructor (Euro 350)

Not included: Helium, Instructor Certification Fees, Manuals

There are two options to become a TDI Instructor:

Option 1:

You complete TecRec Training with us and then crossover those ratings. To crossover takes approx. 3 days to complete for each Instructor Level. You are also required to show proof that you certified 5 divers for each level before progressing to the next level.

Option 2:

You decide to go straight from your SDI or equivalent Recreational Instructor level into the TDI System. By doing this we can teach you Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedure Instructor. After that you need to certify 5 students for each level to continue you training to become Extended Range Instructor or Heliox Instructor and so forth.

TDI pre reqs(1)