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Our team review the new Aqua Lung AquaFlex 5mm wetsuit

The NEW Aqua Lung AquaFlex Wetsuit reviewed

 

We were pleased to see our Aqua Lung Rep come to the store last week to show off the new range of wetsuits.

Traditionally Aqua Lung have had very comfortable wetsuits that tend to be a good fit for most divers, particularly the female shape. However despite there being nothing wrong with their wetsuits they’ve never really had a top-of-the-range to compete with the likes of Bare, Forth Element and Waterproof…until now!

The new AquaFlex 5mm full length is a great addition to the Aqua Lung range of wetsuits. It comes in a mens and womens cut with a good range of sizes. The key difference is that the neoprene used is super-stretchy, in fact they claim it is 3 x as stretch as standard neoprene used on most wetsuits. This therefore helps to keep the wetsuit snug against the body minimising the flush through of water and ultimately giving better warmth retention and comfort.

As it is soooo stretchy it is really easy to put on and take off, even over Paul’s dinner baby bump! The well designed cuffs help minimise water movement and are designed to reduce the chances of any fraying. They’ve event thought of putting a special pad on the left sleeve to stop your dive computer sliding around.

Much of traditional heat loss comes from the kidneys so they’ve added an extra layer of insulation here and pre-bent the arms and legs for extra comfort and reduce strain.

Even though it possibly not as funky looking as a Fourth Element, for the price it is pretty good value and definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a new 5mm wetsuit. I would say that what makes your final decision is down to your personal taste.

For more information or to purchase your AquaFlex wetsuit visit our online store.

The 5 Best Diving Locations in the World

It’s time to get your diving gear on because these locations simply can’t be missed. Divers have scoured the world and explored some of the most unique, beautiful and stunning undersea environments on the planet. So, we thought we would share with you 5 of the best diving locations the world has to offer.

The Galapagos Archipelago

Galapagos diving

Recently featured on The Blue Planet, The Galapagos Archipelago is home to some of the most beautiful diving in the world. If you love beautiful views, diving with sharks, and a huge variety of colourful marine life, The Galapagos Archipelago is the ultimate diving location for you!

If you want to see sharks, it is best to dive The Galapagos Archipelago between May and November when the sharks are frequent visitors. However, it’s worth noting that Hammerheads are prominent in The Galapagos Archipelago all year round. If you enjoy diving and you’ve never been to The Galapagos Archipelago, you should definitely add it to your list!

2. The Philippines

Philippines Diving

The Philippines is a popular holiday destination for backpackers and round-the-world travellers and it’s easy to see why. With truly beautiful landscapes, unspoilt wildlife and every underwater experience you can imagine, the Philippines is the ultimate divers paradise.

Made up of over 7000 islands, the underwater world of the Philippines is full of flourishing coral reefs and explosions of colourful fauna. Stunning blue waters give clear visibility for divers and the reefs, marine life and rock formations make for some incredible underwater photography opportunities. So, if you’ve never been diving in the Philippines, it’s definitely a dive site to add to your bucket list.

3. The Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Great Blue Hole, BelizeThe Great Blue Hole is one of the world’s largest natural formations of its kind and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for divers to experience world-class diving. The Great Blue Hole offers divers an incredible 30m of visibility and a reef of brilliantly vibrant colours that leave anyone in awe. What’s even more amazing is that the deep blue hole makes an incredible transition from salt to fresh water at about 15m down and this changes the kind of ocean life divers see, too.

Diving in the great blue hole, divers can come up close to giant tuna and octopus. And it’s possible to dive even deeper and explore the giant ancient caverns that are hidden below. An extremely unique diving experience, The Great Blue Hole is one of the most incredible dive sites in the world.

4. Manta Ray Diving in Lanzarote

Lanzarote DivingDiving in Lanzarote is one of the best diving locations in the world – you simply have to add this destination to your bucket list. If you love diving with manta rays, there is no better destination than Lanzarote. A Spanish Island, Lanzarote is the easternmost of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and is 125km off the coast of Africa. The temperature is warm all year round and the underwater paradise is full of stunning marine life, including rays! If you’ve never been to Lanzarote before, you should definitely add this destination to your diving bucket-list because it is definitely not to be missed.

5. Inhambane Province, Mozambique

Mozambique DivingThis dive site is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but what lies beneath the surface is even more incredible. The reef presents a huge variety of stunning marine life and divers have even seen whale sharks and humpbacks in season. The beautiful Inhambane Province is one of the best places to see giant Manta Rays. In fact, the Manta Reef is known as the Giant Manta Ray cleaning station! This dive location is best for experienced divers as it features strong currents and deeper sites. If you would like to increase you diving experience, sign up for diving lessons in London to learn everything you need to know about diving.

Have You Been to These Dive Sites?

So, there you have it – 5 of the best dive sites in the world! Have you dived in any of these locations before? We would love to hear all about your experiences, so leave a comment below.

Time to tick one off your bucket list!

How many of you out there have wondered in awe at the marvels seen on the blue planet and similar tv series? How many of you have thought to yourself I would love to have a go at scuba diving so I could get a little closer to the underwater action? How many of you have thought to yourselves ‘’ I’m going to have a go at that one day’’?

It has never been easier to have a go………………….so what’s your excuse. I have been diving since I was a young school leaver but had always dreamt of turning it into a profession bút never thought the opportunity would ever crop up. To be honest it never would have all the time I had the mindset of ”I’ll do that one day’’. In the end I just did it and have never looked back since. I love my job and all that it encompasses. So, if I can do it then so can you!

All of our Pools are easily accessible either by public transport or by car and we have schedules to suit even the busiest of timetables so it doesn’t matter how busy you are, if it’s on your bucket list, then you need to give us a call. The oceans cover almost 80% of our planet so there is quite literally a whole new world out there waiting to be discovered. Don’t let time slip by with easy fixes on your bucket list.

The oceanic world is out there waiting to be enjoyed by everyone and it’s just a simple call or email away. Many also think it’s about the money and it is a very elitest sport. Well you couldn’t be more wrong. There are many affordable ways of learning to scuba dive and it is considerably cheaper than a new set of golf clubs or bicycle and what’s more is that the license then lasts a lifetime. You can, with PADI, literally go anywhere in the world and experience the true beauty that our oceans have to offer.

Astronauts use Scuba diving to train to go to the moon and beyond because the weightless feeling you experience whist scuba diving is so similar to the feeling experienced on the space station or face of the moon it allows them the opportunity to practise skills they will need when exploring space. How cool is that? You actually get the chance to feel like a spaceman too!

Age is no excuse either, our youngest students are only 8 years old and our eldest club members are almost 80, still diving regularly. In fact they have just returned from an amazing dive trip to Tanzania where they were still able to experience things they had never experienced before! (see earlier blog about their adventures.)

So, what are you waiting for? Get that ‘bucket list out’ and tick it off. Call us anytime to book your discover scuba diving experience.

Everything You Need to Know About World Turtle Day

Everything You Need to Know About World Turtle Day

The 23rd of May is an important day for divers, environmentalists and animal activists around the world. It’s World Turtle Day! This special day has been created to raise awareness and respect for turtles and tortoises, encouraging people worldwide to take action and care for their environments. World Turtle Day recognises the struggles turtles are experiencing daily and how they are almost on the edge of extinction due to environmental hazards, pollution, and the hunting and harvesting of their eggs.

So, what better way to raise awareness of turtles than by celebrating World Turtle Day and reminding ourselves that there is more we could be doing to protect these wonderful creatures.

How Do People Celebrate World Turtle Day?

World Turtle Day is celebrated globally in many ways. Some people will dress up as turtles, clean beaches, or raise awareness in the classroom through craft projects and education. It is important you do everything you can in your area to promote the protection of turtles. If there are no immediate activities or initiatives being taken in your area, why not coordinate some activities with local aquariums, pet stores or nature groups to raise awareness for turtles and the protection they need?

However you celebrate World Turtle Day, make sure you do it in style and you understand why these incredible creatures need our support, protection and care.

The Environmental Risks Turtles Face Daily

Although many species of turtle are at risk of extinction, none are so acutely in danger as sea turtles. Just as their name suggests, sea turtles live in the sea and spend most of their time cruising around in the water. However, unlike other turtles they cannot retract their heads or legs into their shell, making them more vulnerable.

Sea turtles suffer numerous threats, but they aren’t necessarily from other fish. The main threats sea turtles face are from humans! We use their eggs, meat, skin and shells for food and making money. All parts of the sea turtle are valuable and therefore, they are frequently victims of poaching and overfishing. What’s more, their safe havens on our beaches are being destroyed by global warming and these turtles are finding it increasingly difficult to find a safe place to rest and lay their eggs.

It is difficult to count just how many turtles have been hit by automobiles in the past few years as they cross roads and beaches to find safe places to nest. Beaches that used to provide them an uninterrupted sanctuary are now heaving with people and are situated close to main roads.

Close to Extinction

Many species of turtles are in danger of becoming extinct due to their rapidly dwindling numbers, inability to find suitable breeding environments, and lack of pollutant-free spaces. In light of this awful wake-up call, May 23rd has been dedicated as World Turtle Day.

Founded in 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue, World Turtle Day focuses on raising awareness of the daily troubles turtles face. As the American Tortoise Rescue co-founder, Susan Tellem declared:

“World Turtle Day was started to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures[…]These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, global warming and the cruel pet trade.”

She adds that the ultimate goal of World Turtle Day, “is to stop the illegal trade in turtles and tortoises around the world.”

And slowly but surely, by raising awareness and educating people about turtles, we are all playing our part in helping this incredible species thrive and flourish.

Find Out More

If you would like to find out more about turtles, click here. Alternatively, if you would like to find out how our team at Oyster Diving are doing their bit to save the environment and educate others about turtles, click here.

We hope that on the 23rd of May you will remember it’s World Turtle Day and you will do everything you can for turtles around the world! If we all work together, we can make a huge difference. 

Who are PADI and what does it stand for?

What is PADI and what does it mean?

This is a question we are frequently asked. PADI stands for the ‘Professional Association of Diving Instructors’.PADI are the world’s largest diving membership and scuba diving training organisation. They were founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson. They decided to have a diver training course that allowed divers to get in the water as soon as safely possible and to break it down in to several modules.PADI offer scuba courses from beginners to professional level. The PADI Open Water course is the world’s most recognised diving certification. By March 2017 over 25 million people had learn ’t to dive under the PADI centre.There are over 6,300 PADI dive centres worldwide and there are over 136,000 members, most of whom are instructors and divemasters.Certification LevelsChildren:
  • PADI Seal Team (Age 8 and above)
  • PADI Bubble Maker (Age 8 and above)
  • Skin Diver (Snorkelling)
  • Junior Scuba Diver (Age 10 to 14)
  • Scuba Diver – subset of the PADI Open Water Diver course, must dive under the direct supervision of a PADI Professional
  • Junior Open Water Diver (Age 10 to 14)
Adults (aged 15+)
  • Open Water Diver
  • Adventure Diver – exposure to three elective scuba experiences
  • Advanced Open Water Diver – expanded scuba skills through “adventure” dive experience: a “deep” dive (18–30m), an underwater navigation dive and three electives from a large choice
  • Rescue Diver – Basic skills in stress management, self-rescue and buddy rescue for recreational diving.
  • Master Scuba Diver – recognition of selected set of certifications and experience: Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, 5 elective specialties and 50 logged dives.
Recreational specialty courses AWARE Coral Reef Conservation [23]
  • AWARE Fish Identification
  • Boat Diver – Boat terminology, boat diving procedures and etiquette, boat entries and exits, and basic boating safety.
  • Cavern Diver
  • Deep Diver – open water diving to maximum depth of 40 metres (130 ft)
  • Digital Underwater Photographer
  • Diver Propulsion Vehicle (underwater scooter)
  • Drift Diver
  • Dry Suit Diver – introduction to dry suit diving
  • Emergency Oxygen Provider Course
  • Enriched Air Diver – Recreational open circuit diving with Nitrox
  • Equipment Specialist – Routine care and maintenance procedures and scuba equipment storage. Basic repairs and adjustments.
  • Ice Diver
  • Multilevel Diver – plan and execute a multi-level dives.
  • National Geographic Diver
  • Night Diver – buoyancy control by feel, low light communication and buddy skills, entries, exits and navigation in the dark, and handling a dive light.
  • Peak Performance Buoyancy – trim correctly and maintain neutral buoyancy in mid-water.
  • Project AWARE
  • Search and Recovery
  • Rebreather (Semiclosed)
  • Advanced Rebreather
  • Self-Reliant Diver
  • Underwater Naturalist
  • Underwater Navigator – navigation using natural clues and by following compass headings
  • Underwater Photographer
  • Underwater Videographer
  • Wreck Diver
  • Professional certifications
  • Divemaster
  • Assistant Instructor
  • Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)
  • Specialty Instructor
  • Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT)
  • IDC Staff Instructor
  • Master Instructor
  • PADI Course Director
  • Technical diving
PADI have developed courses for those divers wishing to dive beyond 40 metres (130 feet), use stage decompression, dive in an overhead environment beyond 40 linear metres (130 linear feet), use accelerated decompression or use variable gas mixtures during a dive. Open circuit scuba
  • Discover Tec (non-certification) – a short confined water experience that allows the diver to try out technical diving equipment under supervision.
  • Tec 40 – limited decompression dives to 40 metres (130 feet) using backmount or sidemount cylinders.
  • Tec 45 – diving using air or Nitrox to 45 metres (145 feet) with repetitive accelerated decompression dives using a single decompression cylinder using either backmount or sidemount.
  • Tec 50 – diving using air or Nitrox to 50 metres (165 feet) with accelerated decompression using up to two gases, using backmount or sidemount with up to two decompression cylinders.
  • Tec Trimix 65 – diving using trimix to maximum depth of 65 metres (210 feet) with accelerated decompression using two gases, using backmount or sidemount and two decompression cylinders.
  • Tec Trimix Diver – diving using trimix to 90 metres (300 feet) during training (no limit specified after training) using backmount or sidemount, and more than two cylinders with decompression gas
 Closed circuit rebreather 
  • Tec 40 CCR – no stop or limited decompression dives using a Type T CCR (PADI approved technical CCR) to a maximum depth of 40 metres (130 feet)[51]
  • Tec 60 CCR
  • Tec 100 CCR
  • Tec CCR Qualifier
  • Tec CCR Refresher
Specialities 
  • Tec Gas Blender speciality – blend nitrox and helium-blend breathing gases using one or more blending methods.[52]
  • Tec Sidemount speciality – dive with four sidemount cylinders.[53]
  • Professional certifications [54]
Professional
  • Tec Instructor
  • Tec Deep Instructor
  • Tec Gas Blender Instructor
  • Tec Trimix Instructor
  • Tec Sidemount Instructor
  • Tec 40 CCR Instructor
  • Tec 60 CCR Instructor
  • Tec 100 CCR Instructor
  • Freediving
  • PADI Basic Freediver
  • PADI Freediver
  • PADI Advanced Freediver
  • PADI Master Freediver
At Oyster Diving we offer a full range of PADI courses where local sites and conditions allow us. If you would like to learn to dive or carry on with your underwater adventures please give us a call 0800 699 0243. 

PADI SCUBA DIVING AND HOLIDAY CENTRE

0800 699 0243
01273 420790
  07920 516006
info@oysterdiving.com

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Oyster Luxury Travel and Diving: S.E. London & Kent, Soho Central London, Brighton & Hove, Surrey & Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Our main facility is at Marshall Street Leisure Centre, 15 Marshall St, Soho, London W1F 7EL

PADI Trained and Certified