Tips for scuba diving the tropics
Enjoy your holiday to the fullest
Scuba diving in the tropics is mostly associated with warm & clear waters, healthy coral life and tons of fish. Topped off with white beaches, palm trees and amazing sunsets. While this is true for many tropical dive locations, especially in North Sulawesi where we are located, in some instances your idyllic scuba dive holiday in paradise can take a turn for the worse if you don’t take a few very simple precautions in mind. In this blog we will talk about 5 health tips for scuba diving the tropics that will make your holiday a memorable one.
Small wounds from scratching etc
In the tropics, tiny wounds and scratches on your skin, that you wouldn’t pay attention to at home, can quickly lead to infections if you don’t treat them properly. When you dive, the wound will probably be cleaned out, but diving daily also prevents it from closing. Be a bit fussy and put an adhesive bandage on it as soon as possible, preferably with some antibiotic cream. Keep the bandage on till the scratch has closed.
Practice proper buoyancy
Buoyancy is not a thing that you immediately associate with health. But if you think about it some more it makes a lot of sense to practice proper buoyancy while scuba diving. One of the first rule in scuba diving you learn is don’t touch anything. There is a lot of poisonous and/or irritable marine life around you while scuba diving in the tropics. If your buoyancy is not good you will have much higher chances of touching marine life. You might have to hold on to something to stabilize yourself to which you can hurt yourself. You can get blisters, rashes or worse injuries that can ruin your dive(s) by accidentally brushing against a coral. So buoyancy is key to an enjoyable & healthy dive holiday.
Take care of your ears
A diver’s ear is subject to more stress than a non divers ear. The constant equalization of your eardrums to the water pressure, the change in climate and the tropical sea water can sometimes lead to very painful ears.
Sea water can get trapped inside when they are dirty. Often it starts as an allergic reaction due to certain algae in the water which then, can lead to complications with infections. Setting the air conditioning too cold in your room is often the reason for colds, decongestion and blocked sinuses.
In general, it is important to have clean ears when you start diving and that you maintain them well during your stay. Rinse them out with fresh water after dives. Don’t start equalizing too late, or not frequently enough while you descend. There are many products on the market to keep your ears happy. Have a look around before you pack and come prepared. Don’t let your ears spoil your dive holiday!
Climate in the tropics is warm and humid. When you dive, you are breathing dry air. On the boat, you often lie in the sun with a nice breeze. All excellent conditions to become dehydrated.
Dehydration can cause problems like nausea, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. And do not forget it is an important contribution factor to the risk of getting decompression sickness. You do not always link these symptoms to dehydration and the problem gets even worse.
There is only one way to prevent all this and that is: “drink, drink and drink!” Drinking water (bottled) is free in the resort. There is water in your room and on the boat. It is plenty available all around so use it. Depending on conditions, drinking 4 to 5 liter a day is very normal.
Dive within your limits
By doing multiple dives a day, in a tropical environment, you open yourself up for a risk of decompression sickness. By drinking enough, as mentioned above, you already minimize the risk of getting decompression sickness. But by diving within your limits, using common sense and listening to your body you can prevent decompression sickness.
- Don’t dive when you are not fit. Be honest to yourself (and us..).
- Don’t push it to the limits.
- Dive relaxed. You want to fill your logbook with sightings, not covered distance!
- Make your 3 minute safety stop.
- Don’t make so-called ‘reversed dive profiles’ (jojo-dives).
- Drink enough water and take it easy after dives.
- No deco diving.
- Dive with a dive computer.
No bad day under or above the water during your dive holiday by following these 5 health tips for scuba diving the tropics. You’ll create unforgettable memories that will last for a life time.