Bottom Time E-Mail News Archives


Edition 8 

Diving has improved with vis being the best on Pickerel Lake averaging 15 to 20 feet. Thermocline is at about 19 feet with surface temp at 65 degrees. For those students that have not yet done their open water checkouts yet, let's get you in the water so you will have more of the summer to enjoy the diving.
  The used BCs are selling well but we do have a few left. There are still a number of rental regulator and consoles/computer setups also for sale. We just got in four used Al tanks so if you want us to hold one
or more let me know.
  As of yet we have had only one sign up for the Rescue diver course so we are going to set if for a later date.

Following is the second in the series of articles on Free Diving. Fred would be interested in running a class for anyone interested in free diving.

Freediving: diving free?

I must say there is nothing FREE about freediving. It's easy to end up with over a $1000 in freediving equipment and that is not much compared to some of the breath-hold diving extremists I know. If we were in warmer waters a person could try to forego the wet suit but here in Minnesota you just do not have that option. A
person might think you can get by with mask, fins, and snorkel - still not free, but somewhat reasonable. Here is
one of the problems: If you have no trouble equalizing your ears and are generally comfortable under the water, your first time freediving there will be no problem meeting the thermocline and of course, after that first freedive you'll be hooked and a good wet suit will become a necessity, and pretty soon, just like scuba, a
depth gauge is nice - a dive computer is nicer, your wide view mask works good but, a low volume mask works
better, your force fins are the best for cruising around with tanks but,  if you want to get to 60' or more and back efficiently you'll want a good set of long blades.
  Soon you learn the misnomer of the word freediving. Super long full foot fins, super-stretch, low resistance wet suits, special weights and rubber belts, etc., etc., the list never ends. But it could... with mask, fins and snorkel.
  My first updated piece of equipment: the Mask
I got by on my el-cheapo wet suit that I used for everything from swimming to water-skiing to jet skiing for a long time because granted, when you're holding your breath, 40 minutes at or below the thermocline just isn't happening (I hope) so you can warm up during surface intervals. But the mask is a different story. The first mask I bought was a real nice tri-pane, with a wide field of view which was super for scuba, but when I started freediving I found that equalizing that mask at 30' + was not where I wanted to be putting my air, it was very discomforting. Fortunately, I heard about low volume masks. I purchased a good low volume mask and that greatly increased my comfort at the 25'+ depths.

Extra Note:
Equalizing Techniques:

I have said many times that if you can equalize your ears and hold your breath you can freedive to unbelievable depths. Equalizing during a freedive can be a bit more difficult because you are usually inverted rather than prone or upright as you are while scuba diving. When I am with someone who is freediving for the first time if
there is one thing that can restrict a dive it is the inability to equalize and to equalize quickly. Sometimes colds, sinus trouble, or other conditions (see last link at end of article) can make it impossible or very difficult to equalize. If you can equalize but have trouble doing it you can practice, practice, and practice and eventually the Eustachian tubes will become easier to stretch and open. Fortunately, there are several techniques that can be learned to make equalizing easier on a breath hold dive and they are also much more efficient for freediving. The one that works for me is the called the Frenzel technique. There is no reason for me to re-write the book so here is a link to a well-written article on it by Eric Fattah. 

  Basically it is using the soft pallet of your mouth and back of the tongue to work as a piston. Some people have trouble understanding it but one thing that might help you master the technique is when you plug your nose and use the Frenzel technique, your adam's apple will move up. This is a much more efficient means of equalizing than the Valsalva that you were most likely taught during your scuba training.
  A very good article on 8 or 9 different techniques to equalize and more on the subject of equalization and diving by Edmond Kay, MD can be found at the following web address:

Fred Johnson



Specials this week are the Pegasus Full Face mask. Retail is $110, sale price is $77 dollars.

Don't forget about our Tuesday night tailgate dives. They are a good way to get to know other divers.