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The Thrill of Deep Diving: A Beginner’s Introduction

June 23, 2024

By Scuba Legends

PADI 5 STAR IDC CENTRE IN LANZAROTE

The Thrill of Deep Diving: A Beginner’s Introduction

For many scuba divers, the allure of the deep blue is irresistible. Deep diving allows you to explore the parts of the ocean that remain a mystery to most. If you’re intrigued by the idea of diving deeper than the usual recreational limits, the PADI Deep Diver Specialty course might be your next adventure. Here’s a beginner-friendly guide to what deep diving is all about and how you can safely dive into this fascinating underwater world.

What is Deep Diving?

Deep diving is defined as diving to depths beyond 18 meters (60 feet), with the recreational limit typically being 40 meters (130 feet). These depths reveal a different aspect of the underwater world, including unique marine life, geological formations, and even shipwrecks that aren’t accessible to shallow divers.

What to Expect when Deep Diving

Unique Marine Life:

Deep dives often bring you face-to-face with species that prefer deeper, colder waters. You might encounter large pelagic fish, unique coral formations, and other deep-sea creatures. When diving in Lanzarote you can encounter fantastic black coral when diving to 40m.

Less Light, More Color:

As you descend, the light fades and colors change. Red and orange hues disappear, leaving a palette dominated by blues and greens. It’s a visually stunning experience, and a good dive light can help you appreciate the full spectrum of underwater colors. However, just because you are diving deeper, it does not necessarily mean it is dark. Playa Chica for example, one of our main spots when diving in Lanzarote, offers loads of different routes to descent from the shallow plateau into the blue. But since the visibility is mostly around 20-30m the sunlight can also be seen at depth. Therefore, no worries, you will not need a torch. Though, it is impressive to put light on the marine life at depth to see the actual colors.

Wrecks and Geological Features:

Deep diving opens up the opportunity to explore shipwrecks and fascinating geological formations like underwater caves, caverns, overhangs and wrecks. There are three wrecks just in front of the port of Puerto del Carmen, whilst one is accessible for beginners with a depth of 18m, the other two require more experience at a depth of 30-40m. In Playa Chica there is also a small wreck at 30m and below the plateau one can find many caverns and swim throughs like the Blue Hole & Cathedral, as well as plenty of overhangs covers in sponges.

Preparing for Deep Diving

Local Regulations:

Especially when diving abroad you should be aware about the local regulations for recreational diving. Recreational scuba diving depth limits vary slightly by country, but they generally adhere to international standards to ensure safety. Most countries, including Spain, follow the general standard, setting the maximum depth for recreational diving at 40 meters (130 feet). This ensures divers’ safety, allowing them to stay as long as possible whilst diving within the no decompression limits to decrease and prevent decompression sickness and nitrogen narcosis risks. However, other countries might be more restrictive, e.g., Maldives with 30m (98 feet), or more flexible, e.g., France with 60m (197 feet) for highly experienced divers with advanced certifications.

Training and Certification:

Deep diving requires special training to handle the challenges at depth and ensure you are equipped with the skills to dive safely and confidently. However, it is not only about the depth, but also about the conditions. When diving in Lanzarote, we can start from the shallow plateau in Playa Chica and follow the sandy bottom towards the reef. The reef forms like a mountain and offers different slopes to descent and follow.

Considering fairly warm water temperatures, a protected reef with a slopy bottom and good visibility, it can be quit easy even for an experienced diver to reach 30-40m. In our case, we can reach shallower depths of 15-25m within just a few minutes of swimming and adapt the dive routes easily to experience level and air consumption.

However, when facing currents, cold water, poor visibility or a direct drop down to 30-40m in the blue, deep diving becomes more difficult. These conditions would effect your air consumption dramatically, change the dive planning and require excellent buoyancy control, confidence and self-efficiency. You should always be precautious, conservative and most important, honest with yourself.

Equipment:

Deep diving requires specific equipment, including a dive computer to monitor your depth, time and no-decompression limits underwater accurately, and possibly a redundant air supply for added safety. It might be also useful to store emergency air and spare weights at the safety stop zone. Due to less light and loss of color a torch is recommended. Depending on the location, the water temperature might crop at depth, leading to the need of a different exposure suit. Ensure your gear is rated for deep dives and in excellent condition.

Dive Buddy:

Always dive with a buddy who is also trained in deep diving. This ensures you have someone to assist you in case of emergencies and makes the experience more enjoyable and secure.

Tips for a Successful Deep Dive

Take it Slow: Descend and ascend slowly to allow your body to adjust to pressure changes and to avoid decompression sickness.
Be Neutrally Buoyant: Take only the weight that you really need. Being neutral buoyant decreases your air consumption, helps protecting the environment and is more safe.
Understand Your Dive Computer: Having a computer is crucial for your safety. However, it is only helpful if you know how it functions. Familiarize yourself with the settings and warning before diving!
Monitor Your Air and Depth: Keep a close eye on your dive computer and air supply. Deep dives consume air faster, so it’s crucial to manage your air efficiently.
Stay Within Limits: Respect your training and experience limits, as well as the no-decompression limits. Don’t push beyond what you’re comfortable with, and always plan your dive and dive your plan.

The PADI Deep Diver Specialty Course

The PADI Deep Diver Specialty course is designed to equip divers with the skills and knowledge necessary to safely explore deeper waters. Within 4 course dives (of which one might be credited from your AOWC) you will learn to a maximum depth of 40 meters. Whilst touching your personal limits this course covers important topics such as:

Planning and Organization: Learn how to plan deep dives within no-deco times, including determining the best times and conditions for diving, and how to manage your air supply efficiently.
Procedures and Techniques: Gain hands-on experience with deep diving equipment, techniques and procedures, including proper buoyancy control, descent and ascent methods, and how to manage nitrogen narcosis.
Emergency Protocols: Understand how to handle potential emergencies, including simulating a emergency decompression stop, dealing with the effects of nitrogen narcosis and learn to control your behaviour under direct supervision of your instructor whilst ensuring proper safety protocols.

Conclusion

Deep diving offers an exhilarating glimpse into the hidden depths of the ocean, where mystery and adventure await. Most divers, including myself, enjoy the feeling of the water pressure and the slight kick of nitrogen narcosis. When experienced, at depth the mind often feels more focussed, enjoying just the actual moment. With proper training and preparation through the PADI Deep Diver Specialty course, even new divers can safely explore these fascinating realms. For more information on deep diving and other exciting courses, click here. Dive deep, stay safe, and enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the underwater world!

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