BWRAF! What does it mean?

bwrafBWRAF, sounds like a sound from the bathroom after an all night party, ok try and get that out of your head.  BWRAF, what is it? Maybe just the most basic and first safety skill you learned in your open water class, ok after never hold your breath and always breathe.  But what is it and why if it is so basic are we talking about it?  I know too many questions so let’s start with what it is.

BWRAF is the buddy check that you should be doing before every time you hit the water, no matter if it is a pool, the lake or the ocean you should be doing your buddy check.  I hear too many stories of well “the crew set up my gear” and other such nonsense.  It is your responsibility to check yours and your buddies gear.  So let’s take a look at the BWRAF and a few ways to remember.

B- BCD (begin or big) First is the BCD on the tank? Is it adjusted to the comfortable height? Is the strap tight and does the BCD hold air for at least a minute so you know it isn’t leaking and it will be able to hold you comfortably on the surface? Do the dump valves work?

W- WEIGHTS (with or white) Diving a weight belt? Integrated? Are the weights in place and secure? Do you have the proper weighting?

R- RELEASES (review or rabbits) are the releases on the weight system a quick release? Do you know how to operate yours and your buddy’s releases in case you have to get your buddy out of his gear?

A-AIR (and or are) really? Yes, is it on and all the way open?  So many times people just get the tank half open.  Open the valve oppsuntil it stops and then leave it alone, no need to turn back a quarter turn. Do you have enough in your tank to make the dive? Are all my purge valves and regulators breathing smoothly.

F-FINAL OK (friend or fluffy) if all systems are go then let’s go diving

BWRAF (begin with review and friend or big white rabbits are fluffy) is right up there with the most important safety skill in scuba diving, but unfortunately it is one of the most overlooked and ignored of them all as you can read here and here and well you get the idea


Don’t be an Ugly Scuba Diver

swim thruAre you an ugly scuba diver? Do you know an ugly scuba diver? I know you have seen them.  Ugly scuba divers are the ones that everyone laughs at and shakes their head in amazement.

What is an ugly scuba diver?  Well, let me tell you a little story that happened on a dive trip to Cozumel.  We were going along on a nice little drift dive and I was about half way through a little swim thru when this other diver just came right underneath me and pushed me to the top of the little tunnel.  Of course my tank hit the reef and did some damage, but I didn’t say anything as I thought the guy probably didn’t see me after all he was carrying a camera.  But on the very next dive he did it again this time crashing on top of me.  That my friends is an ugly scuba diver.

The ugly scuba diver is not aware of  their position in the water in relation to you or the reef.  They have if you will tunnel vision.  All they see is what is right in front of them and then some times they don’t even see that.  So how do we prevent and help the ugly diver?  Short of going all Sea Hunt on them and cutting their air hose?  The ugly diver can use a peak performance buoyancy course or even the PADI advanced open water diver course for starters. They will also need help in becoming aware of where they are in relation to the reef and other divers.  These are people who on land understand spacing and standing in a line and all the nice little common curtesies that we extend to our fellow human beings, but in the water they forget.  The forget that their feet are now up to 3 feet longer because of their fins.  We can help them by having a private talk with them and then role modeling the proper behavior and if that doesn’t help; then go all Sea Hunt on them.


Do your underwater pictures POP?

Juv Drum Uncrop juv drum cropAt some point during an underwater photo class we are asked how we make our images POP. The answer is many ways, from our equipment to our positioning in regards to our subject to our photo editor. Yes, even the best photo pros use a photo editor. So let us take a look a few things that we can do to enhance our underwater photos.
First, our equipment, are we using a light or strobe to bring out the colors? You might remember from your open water class or your advanced open water class how all the colors disappear as you descend deeper. By using a strobe or a light you can add the colors back to your images.
Next, our body positioning, are we level with or better yet slightly below our subject and shooting into the sun? When we get low and shooting up we can help or strobe or light by using the natural light of the sun to bring out the colors. On land when we take a picture directly into the sun we generally get a shot that is not very pleasing to our eyes, but underwater due to the way the light is filtered and absorb we can get some very dramatic and pleasing images.
Take a look at some of your underwater pictures. Is your subject centered? Is your subject easy to see or is there other things happening in the picture that distract from your subject? This is where our photo editors come in to play to help us enhance our images. There are many free photo editors out there that you can download to your laptop or mobile device. I have 2 on my IPad that I will be playing with on our next trip. Now, I am not talking about adding things to the subject, but simply cropping the picture to bring our subject to us and making it the center of your picture.

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Yes, there is an app for that

saba queen angelWhile teaching dive planning at Colorado Mesa University the other week, one of the students asked if there was an app for dive tables.  Well, there is an app for everything, so we looked and sure enough there are 7 for IPAD and 24 for IPhone and a few for Android.

While the free ones are not awesome by any stretch of the imagination and the ones that work well such as Dive Plan Lite, which does appear to mirror the PADI Dive tables, will only do one dive then you need to upgrade for $6 to plan more. 

There are even dive log apps.  There are 13 for IPad and 42 for IPhone.  One of our dive buddies Christine has one on her IPAD and it works really well. I want to say she paid like $30 and she has been using it for a few years. She likes to take a picture of the dive briefing map and then add in the dive site coordinates, longitude and latitude.  After the dive she can load some of Martin’s photos from the dive and finishing logging her dive.

Looking for a dive site on the islands or even maybe in San Diego or Bonaire?  There a few apps that have the coordinates, tide info and more. Some locations like Bonaire and the Maldives even have their own dedicated app. There are even boating ones that have some really nice maps and a ship wreck locator.  Wonder if the treasure hunters developed that one?

There are apps for dive signals, fish id apps (of course the Fish ID books are more complete).  There is even an app to turn your I Phone into your dive computer and dive light and even your dive camera, and yes the app is free; but the housing for your phone is over $300.

Just doing a little search for scuba diving at the app store returned over 100 apps for the IPad and over 200 for the Iphone.  Magazines, Certification Agencies, Manufacturesregal angel FIJI

Yes, my friend there really is an app for that!

Welcome to Scuba Joe’s Blog

After many months and a little work we have a new look to our web page and a new addition to our page, Scuba Joe’s Blog.  Here we will try to post some wonderful pictures from our adventures and offer a few tips and pointers that you have enjoyed over the years in our newsletters, although on a more regular basis than our newsletter and a little more in depth than the newsletter allows.

scuba joe's blog turtle In this space we will try to feature all the happenings at Western Colorado’s only PADI 5 Star IDC.  All the fun local dives and social events that are happening such as our upcoming customer appreciation night on December 12, where we will have chair massages and other fun things.  Make sure to mark your calendar for a fun night of socializing with your fellow divers in Grand Junction.

Of course the Scuba Joe’s blog will cover all things scuba. New gear and specials.  Classes and trips and social nights.  We will even have a guest blog, writing about their scuba adventures.

We hope you enjoy our new page and Scuba Joe’s blog.  If you have any suggestions for tips and pointers send Scuba Joe a message or even better leave a comment