Full Face Mask vs Regular Scuba Diving Mask

You go up to a store where they sell scuba gear and equipment to get yourself a new diving mask. Your old one kicked the bucket, and it’s about time you have a new one. But oh, what’s this? The salesclerk seems to have diverted your attention from the shelf of regular diving mask and regulators to interest you in full-face diving masks.

Full face mask”But what’s the difference?”

You ask yourself. You’re sure that it just doesn’t differ in the looks, right? Right.

What exactly is the difference between a full-face diving mask and the regular diving mask? Well, there are plenty, and each one will be a factor on how your next dive experience will be like. Let’s first talk about the full-face diving mask.

It’s a diving mask that covers your whole face (obviously). Having your mouth free from biting on a regulator’s mouthpiece to breathe is a big relief to some people. People who have jaw problems usually stick with this mask as it provides them the comfort they need throughout the dive.

And since your mouth is not occupied by biting that mouthpiece, you can use it freely to communicate. If you happen to have a communication equipment installed in your full-face diving mask that allows audio communication, you can chatter away in the ocean depths to your fellow diving buddies.

Another advantage of a full face diving mask is that you can breathe with your nose. It’s not much, but it matters to some people. Hey, it’s not everyday you can use your nose to breath underwater, can you? Thought so.

Breathing through your nose lets you have a more natural respiratory rhythm. The very comfortable, yet very airtight seal around your face caters for a cozy diving experience too.

It ain’t perfect

Like other things of this imperfect world, the full face diving mask has its own set of disadvantages. Since the whole thing covers your whole face snugly, that “snugly” means that you’ll have an ugly time taking it off. This means switching to an alternative air supply will be harder, and using a snorkel becomes tasking.

The full-face diving mask is harder to maintain. And even if it seems impossible to flood, it sometimes does. And when it does, it’s more difficult to clear than your normal scuba diving face mask. But looking back at the advantages, will these shortcomings make a big difference to you?

On the other hand

The traditional diving mask makes all the disadvantages of the full-face one its advantages. It’s easier to put on and take off, and it’s easier to clear when it’s flooded. It also makes switching to an alternative source of air supply as easy as pie. And who doesn’t like pie?

In addition to this, regular diving masks are available with different styles, colors, and sizes depending on you. Now isn’t that splendid? Splendid, yes – but not perfect.

regular scuba diving maskSince I said it’s easier to clear when it’s flooded, you probably already had an inkling that I was implying that it floods easier compared to the full-face diving mask.

You also can’t use your nose to breathe, but most of us are trained to breathe from the mouth anyway.

On top of that, biting on a mouthpiece may cause jaw fatigue, and having an occupied mouth doesn’t give you a chance to have the ability to communicate audibly in any way.

Eenie Meenie Miney Mo…

There are plenty of things to consider with choosing between the regular or full-face diving masks. But since both of them have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, you decide. So long as they are true to their very purpose, it’s all the same to me. But right now, since the full-face is more expensive, I think I’ll stick with the regular scuba diving mask.

Though I’d love to borrow a full face mask as I go diving in Palau this season… Care to lend me one?

How Not to Get Lost when Scuba Diving

Ever played hide and seek when you were younger? I think every kid goes through hide and seek, don’t you? Remember the feeling when you find your playmates for the first time, earning the title of game-winner? How about the times when you spent hours and hours of labor trying to find them but you never really did?

Nothing beats a celphone when trying to get found

Nothing beats a celphone when trying to get found

Well, in the vast, blue ocean, hide and seek can be a dangerously horrifying game if you don’t know your way. So here are some tips for you on how not to get yourself lost while scuba diving.

Make a sound

As scuba divers we have to be prepared with the things that we might actually use if ever we get lost in the sea. Being an aware diver means bringing along anti-lost materials such as plastic whistles, safety sausages, snorkels and a light.

A plastic whistle is a big help for you because sound carries a real long way on water, especially at night. If you don’t have a whistle, you may use air powered horns that are also attached to the low pressure inflator mechanism.

The safety sausage – wonder why they didn’t make it a doughnut

The use of a safety sausage is also an option to consider. These sausages are mostly orange and can be easily spotted by the searchers since this colour is associated with danger and these can also be made to wave, which further increases the visibility. It cannot be clearly seen at night though so you’d want to place an LED pocket light inside the sausage for it to stand out as a beacon.

Light it up

Speaking about LEDs, the pocket light may also be helpful in allowing you to signal at boats, planes, and helicopters and perform the classic SOS (Save our Souls) – 3 long, 3 short, and another 3 long.

If you don’t have these three things with you, you can use other signalling devices such as a mirror or dive light may help you in asking help from the rescuers. And when you think these things ain’t enough for you – put your celphone in a waterproof container to make sure you get some rescuing when lost.

Just kidding with the last one. But it might just work – though I don’t think you’d risk your iPhone in a 30 meters deep dive. Haha! Make sure you bring these devices when we dive this season in Palau –  just in case you get lost.

The Right Time to Buy your own Scuba Equipment

Gentle little ripples of water tickle your feet by the shore and you’ve just finished another dive. The experience was wonderful, but deep down inside, you know you didn’t want that to end. You glance by your shoulder and catch a glimpse of the rented scuba gear you just used during your dive. You ask yourself, “When’s the right time to actually buy my own set of scuba diving equipment?”

maybe your own set of these?

maybe your own set of these?

That “Someday” will come

Learn from nature, and you’ll see that all things do not remain the same forever. The corals will someday die, and they will eventually be part of the sand of the beach you tread on. They can’t be something that exists to be admired forever. The time will come when they will be part of something to set your foot on.  The same thing is with your using of scuba gear. You can’t just rent them forever, can you?

But really, the question of “when” lies in a number of factors.  Are you committed to this passion? Can you afford it? Let’s say you already own one; are you able to maintain it? Will you make the most use of it? Well, there are even more to answer, but only you know them for yourself.

If you’re just a person who’s fascinated with the sport and only dives from time to time as a recreational diver, then I suggest don’t buy your own gear just yet. It’s more appropriate that you just rent whenever you have the urge to explore the wonders of ocean.

You’ll just put it in a corner somewhere in your garage, and perhaps take it out once or twice a year. Waste of good equipment. Waste of good money. But if you’re quite experienced, and you dive regularly, what’s stopping you? If you treat scuba diving not only as a hobby, but as a passion, you should seriously consider purchasing scuba equipment.

Advantages of owning your own set

Care to share my regulator?

Care to share my regulator?

Owning your own set of scuba gear has great advantages!

1) You don’t have to worry if the last guy who used the regulator ever brush his teeth.

2) You don’t have to worry about that something that tastes funky in your regulator – and no I don’t know what the heck it is either.

And best of all…

3) No more rental fees! Sounds fun to you? Sounds fun to me!

Can I afford it? To most of us, this is the most important question. A whole new quality scuba diving gear set can cost roughly around $2,000. Of course your bottle and air supply is separate.

Let me put it this way: Which is more of a factor to you, the $2000 OR the mysterious funky taste and smell of your rental regulator? You didn’t know where the last guy who used it came from. Now does the $2000 suddenly sound cheaper? Thought so. Besides, if it’s your passion anyway, money’s ALMOST not a factor.

So if you’re a regular scuba diver get out there and get your own! Scubaworld is one of the cheapest places to buy the best quality scuba diving equipment by the way – just so you know.

If you’re joining us for the Palau Trip this october – december season then I strongly urge you to bring your own equipment if you already have one. Or think of buying your own. If you’re not joining us for the Palau trip, maybe you’d want to consider joining our online contest for a FREE Palau liveaboard scuba diving trip. It’s easy and fun – and you get to be featured in this blog too!

Who said scuba diving was safe?

Yep. You don't wanna be this guy

Yep. You don't wanna be this guy

Every year we gather the statistics of deaths from different activities all over the world. People die every year – that’s the reality of it. In fact I have a news flash for you: You’re gonna die someday. And so am I!

So going over the numbers, I realized that scuba diving isn’t a safe sport at all. I’ve gathered a list of deaths per activities each year and noticed that highway accidents make up for more than 94% of all transportation accidents each year which is roughly about 41,000 deaths. Just like how Usher puts it “Oh my Gosh!”

That’s a whole lot of accidents for cars. Now let’s go on to a more biological killer – the flu. No one is exempt from the flu, right? Right. And that’s why we have 20,000 body counts from the flu each year. Yeah – cough and cold can be a mass murderer. Believe it.

How about murder? Murder accounts for roughly 15,000 deaths a year. That’s quite a handful. Wouldn’t want to be a victim of that.

And scuba diving? Well the fatality is roughly 150 deaths a year.

Dangerous sport? Hell yeah.

It doesn’t account for so many deaths a year. But that’s not the point. The fact that there are scuba diving deaths still says something about the danger of the sport.

That’s why there’s PADI certification and dive instructors to tell you how not to die in scuba diving.

Be a wise diver. Know your stuff. Death is not something to take lightly even when we’re all gonna go through it. Take your time living while you can.

Why Scuba Diving is the Best Sport

As I glance at the past, and browse through my previous posts, I noticed that scuba diving has a lot of risks and dangers. I have written about the wide range of sicknesses, diseases, and injuries which a scuba diver can attain. These mishaps, mistakes, and accidents can cause pain, retirement, disabilities, and sometimes death.

At times I experience great discomfort when thinking about these things. Am I scaring myself away from scuba diving as I write about these posts? Have I unconsciously developed a fearful attitude towards this beloved sport? Maybe there are other sports out there that I could try- sports that are probably a lot safer, sports that are more enjoyable, and sports that could take my mind off the dangers of scuba diving.

Maybe, I could use a little cycling every now and then…

Cycling Fail

And if I can’t afford a bike, I could just use my feet and try running…

Running Fail

Or I could give good ‘ol basketball a shot and perhaps even score with the ladies…

Basketball Fail

And when I’m tired, I could stay at home and play Frisbee with my gentle pet…

Frisbee Fail

Or maybe, I could aim for something more athletic like soccer…

Soccer Fail

And when I improve, I could even become famous like David Beckham…

David Beckham Fail

You’ll never know. I might even be good enough to participate in the Olympics…

Olympics Fail

Or maybe, I could start small by leaving out the “scuba” in “scuba diving”…

Diving Fail

Maybe I could try all these sports out so my mind could take a breather from all those potential hazards of scuba diving… but no. I take a deeper look at my previous posts, and eventually, I am reminded of the reason why I write about all these scary stuff. I write because I love scuba diving so much that I wouldn’t ever want to see anyone have a bad and painful time with it.

In sickness or in health, in pain or in pleasure, in accidents or in awesomeness, in embarrassment or in excitement, I am happy as I am. I am proud to be me. I am proud to be a scuba diver.

BONUS CLIP!

3 Health benefits of scuba diving

No scuba diving can't do this to you. But it still has its benefits

No scuba diving can't make you this big. But it still has its benefits

There are reasons why Scuba diving is considered a sport in our world today. And like all sports, scuba diving brings with it some health benefits for your body and physical condition.

Water is heavier

Obviously. It is heavier than air. And up in the surface we move and breathe and walk and talk in air. It’s normal for our bodies to be in the surface surrounded in air. But when you’re scuba diving, you’re obviously in water. And water means more resistance against your movements.

Water can build up muscles that are sleeping when your body feels the resistance. Scuba diving gives you a lot of time where your body is all in water – all the while you’re enjoying your time ‘exercising’ while watching marine life all around you and exploring the underwater environment.

If you’re a swimmer, you know that swimming builds up muscles in your shoulders and thighs as you go for laps. Scuba diving isn’t as intense as competitive swimming but it also includes repeated physical movements in the resistant body of water.

Iron lungs

No don’t take it literally. But your lungs would be pushed and pushed to be more skilled in breathing. Scuba diving has LOTS to do with breathing – because it gives you buoyancy control. And buoyancy is vital when you’re navigating your way in the bottom of the sea.

You won’t really feel a million bucks when you get out from the water after a good scuba dive. You won’t feel your lungs becoming healthier, no. But it sure will give you better lungs and better breathing.

Stress buster

Oh yes, this is the perfect health benefit for all of us. Who in the world today is not stressed out? I know I am. And I’m pretty sure you are too! This benefit alone is more than enough to have you go scuba diving for health.

Studies have shown that looking at fishes in an aquarium helps you relax and relieve stress. Imagine being in one big, humongous aquarium we apparently call the sea and swim with all the marine life you can possible imagine. Your stress will surely be busted. Yeah.

And since now you know that scuba diving is such a great benefit to your health why not dive with us in our next liveaboard scuba diving trip to Palau? There’s a $400 discount promo going on from October 2 all the way to November 20! We’ll be more than happy to see you there!

Why Nitrogen can Make you High

Yep - you'll see more than dogs when you're insane.

Yep - you'll see more than dogs when you're insane.

It is understandable that you might become addicted to the beauty that surrounds you down under. But getting insane? Is that even possible?

When you’re starting to feel something funky and suddenly things get a little brighter and you see Bob Dylan playing his Quasimodo song with an acoustic guitar, then there might be a possibility that it’s what scuba divers call nitrogen insanity.

Nitrogen Insanity

The air you breathe from the scuba tank contains approximately 79% nitrogen and 21% oxygen and the pressure of being underwater forces the nitrogen into the body’s fatty tissues.

The longer and deeper you dive, the more nitrogen is forced into your tissues. At around 10 meters, the partial pressure of each gas would have been doubled. So your tissue will absorb twice as much nitrogen as on the surface.

Sucking up too much nitrogen in your body can affect the way you think and feel. Diving too deep and too long can cause this insanity – and no, you’re not an exemption to this. Don’t even try.

Nitrogen insanityDecompression Sickness

In diving, you may be familiar with the term bends or decompression sickness. This occurs when the nitrogen bubbles in the blood lodge in certain parts of your body. This bubble that is caught in a vital organ can be critical for you. Sounds painful doesn’t it? Because it is.

And before much was discovered about decompression sickness, divers got bubbles lodged in their joints, which forces them to bend over in pain. Nasty!

Now, in order to eliminate the pain that you might be feeling, you should plan your diving activity through a dive computer and/or decompression tables. These tools will provide the time and depth for a decompression or safety stop for the particular dive.

A safety stop is a moment while you’re ascending wherein you stop in a certain depth in order for your body to cope and safely release the nitrogen inside your body.

The safety stop is vital if you don’t want unwanted nitrogen in your joints. It can make you feel worse than an old man with arthritis problems.

Decreasing the duration of the dive and increasing the length of the decompression or safety stop can also help you avoid decompression sickness. Remember a great dive is a safe dive. So plan your dive carefully with safety as top priority.

Decompression sickness and nitrogen insanity are serious diving illness. You don’t want to feel funky when you’re diving down deep. So you better make sure that you’ve planned your dive in such a way that nitrogen will help you live and think straight.

“Let go of me!” What to do when you’re entangled down deep

When you're down deep, accidents can happen

When you're down deep, accidents can happen

People say that no matter how careful you are with your actions, there will still be moments where you have to face danger. This is Especially true, when, as a scuba diver when you’re deep down under the sea.

One of the common dangers that scuba divers like you and I should be aware of is getting entangled or entrapped. What do we do in order to avoid these situations? How should we deal with it?

When you come to grips with the sea and it won’t let go

The first tip is that you should never dive a wreck or other overhead environment without the proper training and equipment. Common sense, right? Right. But some still do. Just like the soldiers who should not to go into battle without thorough training and suitable equipment, you shouldn’t dive without proper gear and training.

Second, you must approach those wrecks, cavern, fast-moving water, and other entanglement or entrapment hazards with extreme caution. Be wary of your immediate surroundings. Keep alert of anything that might entangle you or otherwise harm you.

Accidents happen

Now, even if you have kept those tips in mind, there may still be times that you will, for some stupendous reason, still get yourself entangled. Just in case, here’s what you do if ever you do get entangled:

The very first thing that you should keep in mind is that you have to stay calm and conserve your air. Be mindful of your breaths and try to make sure that you’re breathing out in minimum because you’d want your air supply to last.

During these kinds of situations, you should use all the possible means to draw any co-diver’s attention to your situation. You may bang on your cylinder with a metallic device like a knife or any metallic object you have with you to draw attention.  You should also use an underwater horn or rattle if ever you do have one with you.

Thirdly, you should also consider use a safety sausage or SMB to signal for help.

Your last option would be, if your air supply is already depleted, and you cannot disentangle your equipment, consider ditching your gear and making an emergency ascent to the surface. Do that ONLY when all other option seems bleak.

As mentioned earlier, there just those darned times when accidents happen. So it’s essentially important for you to always be careful of when you’re deep down under the sea. I’m sure that this would be taught by your diving instructor – if not already. And always keep in mind that you should first think of your safety before exploring the beauty of the sea.

Common scuba diving blunders

Don't make the same mistake

Don't make the same mistake

Way back in 892 A.D. before the wonders of electricity and the wretchedness of Rob Schneider films, was a man named Sigurd. I left out his last name, because Expedition Fleet does not promote tongue twisters. Anyway, Sigurd was a leader in a Viking conquest.

He was a very successful leader as he dominated foreign lands. He knew all that is to know in what he does.

In a typical day of land-domination, he beheaded a native ruler and strapped his head to his saddle as he rode home in victory. It was a bumpy ride, and the head, with its mouth open, kept bouncing off of Sigurd’s leg. One of the exposed teeth caused a small cut, which later caused an infection, which later caused a very sad thing called death. It is carelessness (and a little bit of tooth decay) that killed the confident and intelligent leader.

Scuba divers may not be prone to death by dead heads, but they are prone to carelessness, which may cause self-irritation, unwanted regrets, mild injuries, major injuries, or, if you’re unlucky enough, all of the above. Scuba divers need not suffer from carelessness. Below is a short list of mistakes- mistakes that are a product of willful ignorance or ignorant ignorance. Either way, they are mistakes that should not be.

Putting on too much weight- We love them weight belts. We put ‘em on correctly and with the right amount, and we sink to the ocean fast enough without any internal injuries. Put too much though, and we sink to the bottom faster than Chris Brown’s descent to infamy.

Forgetting to put on any weight- Unless you’re Justin Bieber who has an ego heavy enough to pull him down to the deepest corners of the Mariana Trench, you’re gonna need weight belts. You’ll need this if you want to explore the ocean depths. You ain’t no diver if you ain’t physically capable of diving.

Uncontrolled buoyancy- Buoyancy should be mastered by the scuba diver during his lessons beforehand. A diver who fails at this and dives anyway will, once in the ocean, become an assault on the corals, the fellow scuba divers, the marine life, and the common sense.

Straying away from the group or dive buddy- In a herd of sheep, when one separates itself from its fellow sheep due to bountiful distractions that are found at every turn, it becomes lost and terrified. Eventually, that sheep takes anxious breaths, and if it breathes from a scuba tank, things will get really bad. And if that sheep strays even farther, it may become prey to vicious animals. In this metaphor, the sheep is the diver, and the rest is handed to your imagination.

Aside from the possible pain and regrets that all these mistakes can cause, there is also a great chance of embarrassment. I have heard stories and read testimonials, but believe me, I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen Twilight. Speaking of embarrassment, there’s this time where a diver was careless and he was like… Ah, forget it. Just watch the video.

Scuba Diving Death and what you should learn from it

It's a terrible thing. So remember the rules

It's a terrible thing. So remember the rules

Over and over again, this blog has discussed topics regarding the safety of scuba divers. This is because safety is undoubtedly the most important aspect of scuba diving. It should be at the top of a diver’s priority list above fun, pictures, memories, and experience.

Accidents are never a good thing. And the saddest thing when an accident happens is the fact that it could have been prevented. I have written posts concerning the best diving practices, tips on how to prevent injuries, taking care of diving equipment, and more. Today, I hope that every diver out there will develop a deeper sense of importance of these facts and tips as we watch, observe, and analyze the video below where a fellow diver lost his life in the sea.

On April 28, 2000, Yuri Lipski passed away during a dive in the Blue Hole of Dahal, Egypt. The video contains the actual footage of his fatal dive as it is carefully studied by diving specialists regarding the cause of this tragedy. Below the video is the summarization of the specialists’ insights along with some observations of my own.

-Within a few seconds after Yuri entered the water, the specialists immediately noticed that he was descending in an unusually fast manner. There is a possibility that Yuri might have too much weight on himself.

-Yuri started descending without his diving buddy. No matter how good or experienced you think you are, never explore the seas on your own. Because if something bad happens to you, no one will be there to back you up.

-According to the specialists, Yuri was an instructor himself. Everyone is susceptible to risks and dangers. Being an expert does not make you less vulnerable from accidents.

-Before the video reached two minutes, strange noises occurred. It is not clear whether it was a cry for help or a sound made from broken or breaking diving equipment. When these noises started, Yuri was still in a shallow position. Divers, when you feel something is wrong with your equipment, head for the surface immediately. If you continue to descend and your equipment was indeed broken, a precautionary ascent may become too late.

-The recommended maximum depth for divers is about 30 meters in one full tank of air, any deeper than that would be considered a risk. Yuri descended at the reached the bottom at around 91 meters. Though it is uncertain if his descent was intentional or accidental, no one should ever reach this depth.

-One of the specialists claim that Yuri was descending at a speed of about 30 meters per minute, a rate that is way faster than the normal recommended speed. At this rate, Yuri could have already suffered other internal injuries, making a safe ascent pretty hard.

-When Yuri reached the bottom, he began to panic as he lost control of his actions, his breathing and his equipment. He never made it to the surface. Panic will never help. Especially when you’re deep down under.

When I was at high school, there was a rule enforced where no one should play basketball shoeless on the poorly cemented floor. I disobeyed and played barefoot. One day, I had an accident where a huge strip of skin got literally ripped off from my heel. There is a famous saying regarding rules. It goes like this: “Rules are meant to be broken.” I believe breaking a couple of rules is not worth it when it results in the slightest risk of your only life.

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