Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Hurghada, Egypt, April 2003

¤ TDI Decompression Procedures
¤ TDI Semi-Closed-Circuit Rebreather Diver

trip blog

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

TDI Semi-Closed-Circuit Rebreather Diver

InstructorWessam El Sebai (academics, set-up, skills + training dives)
Dive centerDiver's Lodge, Hurghada, Egypt
Duration2-3 days
Dives4 training dives with a Dräger Dolphin
Price350 USD
CommentsIt's fairly easy and straight-forward to put a Dräger Dolphin semi-closed-circuit rebreather together, but it does require attention to detail during assembly and safety checks. And compared to clamp-screw-plug open-circuit scuba, it is indeed a lot of hassle.

However, it might be well worth the extra effort in order to get that little bit closer to marine life, when not blowing out those rather noisy bubbles.

In my case, rebreather diving turned out to be much easier than anticipated. I had no buoyancy problems whatsoever and plenty of air even when finning hard over short distances. Actually, the only annoyance I had was too much saliva, the recycled air being pretty moist.

I could definitely get used to diving with a rebreather. And I'm looking forward to the day I can try it out in a school of elusive hammerheads...

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Practice dives

Just a couple of shallow deep air dives around Abu Ramada to practice my newly learned decompression procedures. The reef's not really worth it, but it doesn't really matter, as I'm still too busy anyway with the actual execution of my dive plans.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

TDI Decompression Procedures

InstructorWessam El Sebai (academics, skills + training dives)
Dive centerDiver's Lodge, Hurghada, Egypt
Duration3-4 days
Dives2 confined water sessions
2 training dives on air to max 45m with 50% nitrox as deco gas
Price270 USD
CommentsMore than just some theory about decompression, the course also includes underwater skill sessions with doubles, emphasis being put on the handling of 1 or 2 deco bottles and the deploying of an SMB. For the latter, I can really recommend the use of a spool in stead of a jam-prone reel.

With actual bottom times of less than 15' during the decompression training dives, my focus was pretty much fixed on my computer most of the time in order to accurately follow the planning. Sight-seeing being reduced to the occasional glimpse around to make sure my buddy's still ok.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Diver's Lodge

Diver's Lodge is situated on the premises of the Intercontinental Resort, just south of Hurghada town. The dive center offers both recreational & technical diving courses at competitive prices and also has a limited stock of Dive Rite equipment for sale. Having enrolled for more than one course, and it being low season, I get 20% discount on the listed course prices and 10% on the gear.

Wessam El Sebai, TDI Instructor Trainer, is the very sympathetic & charismatic manager of the dive center. The crew is friendly enough, but without him the dive center wouldn't be worth mentioning.

One night at the Intercontinental Resort, including buffet breakfast & dinner, costs 32 USD/person, based on double occupancy. The rooms are very comfortable with full amenities, but rather expensive compared to 12 USD for a single room, including basic breakfast, at the Andreas Hotel in town, only a 10' minibus ride away from the dive center.