Prepare for the Perfect Plunge ‘Under the Sea’

 

 

Prepare for the Perfect Plunge ‘Under the Sea’

by Amy Lignor

 

Two thirds of the world lies under the sea. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Yes, there are massive skyscrapers, big cities to tour, historical landmarks and more up above, but under sea level you will discover hundreds of thousands of different animals and plants. Not to mention, more than a mystery or two when it comes to sunken pirate ships and even entire cities, Wonders of the World, and cultures that disappeared long ago…just waiting to be rediscovered by the avid scuba diver.

scuba diving, PADI, explore, important tips, gear, comfort, certification, open-water, wonders of the world

Gardens and white sandy beaches may be stunning, but being able to see and touch a brilliant coral reef is something that should be on absolutely everyone’s bucket list. Perhaps you have been one of those to avoid scuba diving, thinking that it would be far too hard to learn the ins and outs of how to begin. Maybe you’re one who believes that more bad things could happen under the sea than up above. Or maybe you’re like me and have just watched JAWS far too many times. Well…let’s get to the reality, here. JAWS was a book and a great movie by Spielberg, but that shark was awfully close to shore and wreaked way more havoc on the people there than some scuba diver out for a jaunt. In addition, bad things happen above sea level far more than under it (don’t believe me, just read the papers). And, third, it isn’t too hard to learn how to begin to scuba dive. In fact, below are very simple steps and tips on the road to becoming a diver who literally will never want to come up for air once they see the amazement that awaits them.

 

The very first step is to choose the learning style that best suits you. At the outset head to PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. At www.padi.com you will be given every resource imaginable. This is where you want to learn because PADI is the best of the best when it comes to aiding you on your way to becoming a scuba diver extraordinaire. You can attain PADI certification through a variety of different routes, such as; online, home study, or in the classroom, so you have the complete ability and freedom to choose which avenue best suits your schedule. When you’re ready for your confined and open-water dives, make sure the outfit you choose is sanctioned by PADI; then all that remains is deciding between private and group lessons – heading off to a major tropical location or even ones being held at a local dive center. PADI will have all the information available to you for your area.

 

Secondly, you must make sure to choose the equipment that best suits your needs. If you’re just beginning, it’s probably smarter to rent everything you need except for the “personal gear,” which would include your mask, fins and snorkel. For someone who will fall in love with scuba diving and never want to stop doing it (which is basically everyone who takes their first dive) you will want this personal gear to be all yours. Tons of brands in tons of price ranges exist for these items, so make sure to research wisely so that your choices are based on your fit and absolute comfort.

 

One of the most important things to note as well is never to dive alone. You must find and choose the right dive partner. If you don’t happen to have anyone you feel comfortable with, like a friend or family member, you don’t have to worry. Your instructor will never allow you to dive alone which means he or she will happily pair you up with someone who’s just as excited to become a scuba diver.

 

Other than never diving alone, there are two very important tips to remember at all times. One is absolutely the biggest rule in diving: Don’t hold your breath. Yes, this may sound silly and simplistic, however, many people forget to breathe through the mouth and not the nose while diving. Although taking that normal breath above sea level is a habit, below that stunning deep blue sea proper breathing, through the mouth, is necessary and will keep you both comfortable and calm.

 

Then…last but not least, get out there and DIVE! You do not need to be of Olympic gold medal stature to become an incredible scuba diver who just loves to be in that water. All you need is the willingness to delve into something new and the excitement to see that entirely new world that’s just waiting for you to arrive.

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Eat Well While Enjoying the Great Outdoors

 

Eat Well While Enjoying the Great Outdoors

 

The Great Outdoors is a stunning place to hike, explore, and commune with nature. It is also a haven where you can stop, take a breath, and inhale everything Mother Nature has to offer. However, the one thing many do not understand is that they can also ‘inhale’ come extremely good food, if only they had the right information and tips when it came to planning and preparing food for their backpacking trip. Even the backpacking fan knows that, other than water and some extremely comfortable shoes, food is something you have to have. It is a piece of the outdoor “gear” that must be taken into consideration before venturing outside, because your body needs that fuel to keep going in order to enjoy each and every step of your journey.

It is a fact that you can eat far more than oatmeal and granola bars out there. When it comes to nourishment, pack those food items that weigh the least but deliver the most calories. The market for these particular foods is growing each and every day, by the way. From pre-prepared soups (which are great for their water content) to freeze-dried and powdered foods that actually taste good and add minimal weight to your pack, stores like Whole Foods and others provide choices you never even imagined.

 

As you think about your outdoor menu, think about dumping the original container and cutting meals down into serving-size amounts that you can carry in sealable bags. Less bulk and less trash will be had.

 

If you take those fresh fruit and veggies along, make sure to eat those first to get rid of the weight as soon as possible.

 

Not to mention, always remember to pack just enough food to get you through your planned trip, plus an extra cold meal or two in case you run out of fuel. Packing too much can hurt the body.

 

Then comes the backpacking stove. “Stove” is a difficult word to deal with when thinking about what you need to carry. But a backpacking stove is perfect for those who want to enjoy a little flavor with their scenery.

 

The best method to use when cooking dried foods with your backpacking stove, is called boil-soak cooking. Not only is it extremely efficient for the backpacker, but it also allows you to conserve both fuel and water.

 

When using the boil-soak method, set up your backpacking stove on level ground in a location that’s insulated from the wind. Add the required amount of water to your cooking pot and light your stove. After putting the lid on the pot, bring the water to a rolling boil, then turn off the stove and insulate (a fleece jacket or pot cozy can be used) around the cooking pot to retain as much heat as possible. Leave it alone to rest at least 10 minutes (or as instructed on the meal pack). After that, simply lift the lid, stir in those beloved herbs and spices to make it taste absolutely delicious, and enjoy!

 

This method always prepares food the same way: with the lid on tight, the steam is absorbed into the food to help it cook, rather than dissipate away into the atmosphere. From soups to stews to pasta, you can practice before heading out on the trail and end up becoming a super backpacking chef.

 

There is also, of course, no-cooking backpacking for those who do not wish to carry the stove, or for those who have run out of fuel and the crackers and granola bars are long gone. Again, with the outdoor industry growing, there are more than a few dry foods on the market that supply a hearty meal for the backpacker. All you have to do is soak the food in cold water and enjoy. From rolled oats to couscous, there are definitely choices.

 

As far as snack foods are concerned, everything from pretzels to some hard sausages and cheeses will keep for several days on that exciting hike. In addition, peanut butter is a great backpacking supply. Just take it out of the jar, put it in a baggie, cut one corner off so you can squeeze the peanut butter on your bread, and then re-store in another baggie. And never forget breakfast, while on your hike. If you need extra warmth, make sure to take along a few flow-through coffee and tea bags, instant coffee packets or hot chocolate to really enjoy that sunrise.

 

Just make sure that your stomach never has to pay for your great day. When heading out on that trail, be safe, have fun, and learn that you can definitely have great meals while also having a great time.

Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle

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