You’ve made up your mind. You’ve worked hard and you deserve that vacation. You’re excited and can’t wait to go Kona Diving. BUT WAIT, before you dive head-first into the beautiful waters of the Kona Bay, you’re wondering what gear you will be using underwater and what exactly all this equipment does. It’s not paranoia, it’s doing your due diligence. Well, Good news, we’re here to tell you! Whatever dive you go for, whether it’s an evening dive with the manta rays, or a friendly visit to the Naked Lady (it’s a sailboat wreck), you enter the open ocean: leaving the human comfort zone, the place of constant air supply. This is a new setting that requires multitasking, and the single most important task to master (besides knowing how to swim) is to be comfortable with the equipment. Knowing what you’re working with will not only help you have a more free and independent experience, but also make the whole experience much more safe.
The survival ‘Rule of 3’ states that humans can go 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. However, the brilliance of the human mind is such that we have created equipment that enables us to be continuously underwater for durations ranging from 30 minutes to even up to hours, and literally swim like a fish in the deep oceans. This gear is what makes Kona Diving possible. The diver’s gear is a piece of genius, designed for science, sport ergonomics and even aesthetics. Enduring high underwater pressure, allowing for water resistance, being lightweight and compact for the diver to easily navigate with, and additionally give the diver the advantage to swim like a fish.
Here’s your Introduction to Scuba Diving Gear. Pay close attention as you will be using most of these while Kona Diving:
1. BCD aka The Buoyancy Control Device
The BCD is a piece of equipment that is specialized to scuba diving. It provides a way to tie all of your gear together and acts like a life vest and an anchor all rolled into one. BCD’s are one of the most forgiving pieces of equipment when it comes to fit but it is nice to have one that fits, functions, and feels good to dive. One of the most important aspects of modern BCD’s are their ability to hold your weights for you. There are many systems for doing this. There is also an air cell that creates lift to counteract the weights. This means you will have to do less work to reach the bottom or the surface making your dive easier.
2. Diving regulator
The aqualung or first regulator created in the 1950’s enabled the formation of the sport of scuba diving and allowed divers to stay underwater while breathing compressed air. Without the regulator there would be no scuba. The word SCUBA is an acronym meaning self contained breathing apparatus. The very first regulators were a 1 stage design taking compressed air and delivering it into the diver’s mouth at ambient pressure. Modern regulators use a 1st stage to take tank pressure of 2000-3000 psi to around 140psi. Then the 2nd stage (the part that goes into your mouth takes the 140psi and reduces it to ambient pressure depending on the depth you are underwater. The deeper you go the more pressure the regulator will release. At full pressure a scuba tank could allow you to go almost 7,000 feet deep!
3. Mask and Snorkel
The mask is one of the first things that you will be putting on while gearing up for your Kona Diving adventure. To see the underwater world around you a mask is necessary. The most important consideration when getting a mask is fit. If the mask doesn’t fit your face properly it can leak. This means you will constantly be clearing the water out as it comes in. This can get really annoying. After fit we recommend selecting by other features such as price, color, and style. A snorkel is not necessary for scuba diving but it can come in handy if you get stuck in a current and need to surface swim back to the boat or shore.
Fins turn your feet into efficient propulsion devices. They are typically made from a combination of materials like rubber, plastic, fiberglass, and carbon-fiber. If you’re on the market for some fins you can start with some inexpensive plastic ones and upgrade later to something more efficient and powerful. The key with getting the right fins is making sure they fit right. This means trying them on before buying them. Poor fitting fins will either be too tight causing pain or too loose causing blisters or falling off of your feet. In Kona diving we often use freediving or long blade fins to move about the reef.
5. Diving Cylinder/Tank
Without a tank the regulator would have no air to deliver to your lungs. Having a tank pressurized full of air is the first step. To get one filled with pressurized air you will need a scuba diving certification. Typically a diver will have a gauge attached to the tank telling her how much air is left in the tank using units of pressure like psi(pounds per square inch) or bar. Tanks are constructed from aluminum or steel with very thick walls.
One of the most important pieces of gear in term of fit. The wetsuit serves many functions. Wetsuits keep you warm, protect you from getting scratched up on the reef, keep the sun off your skin, and provide positive bouyancy on the surface.
Alright, so those are all the basic equipment and gear that you will be making use of while Kona Diving. Now that you’re familiar with them, What are you waiting for? Come over to us at the Kona Honu Divers and we will fulfil all of your diving needs with your safety and satisfaction as our top priority. Hope to see you by the coast soon!