As a small Dive Centre with no online shop, sometimes it is easy to overlook us when purchasing or looking for a new piece of dive equipment, so we thought we would do one post a week showcasing what we have in stock.
Today it is the Pandora Multitool
The Pandora Lab Regulator Steel Multitool is a compact and handy gadget for any diver to adjust and repair their regulator and other scuba equipment. Laser cut from a single piece of stainless steel the multitool is strong, light and most importantly rust resistant. Also available in a Titanium Version.
15 in 1
The multi-tool has over 15 applications specific for scuba divers to remove hoses, port plugs and adjust regulators
For limited time a FREE Pouch worth £9.95 is included
This was our penultimate day and our "dry" day to allow our dive computer "no fly "times to reduce. This would enable us to start our journey back home the following day with our computers showing zero "No fly" time, even though the group would quite happily have stayed here for an extended period.
We started with a very early breakfast so that we could be on the road by just after 5am for the drive up to the port at Sibulan. Here we could catch the ferry across to Cebu island and then carry on our road trip along the coast to Barangay for the Whale Shark watching. We had the briefing for this tour the previous evening and had been told about distances required to stay from head and tail where possible, do not intentionally touch the Whalesharks but if they touch you its ok, no flash photography, no video lights, watch out for the canoes, keep clear of the feeders boats etc etc.
Once we arrived at Barangay we changed into our swimwear, gathered our snokelling gear and boarded our banka armed with our cameras ready to move off to the area. We were all offered snorkelling vests on the boat, if we wanted to use them was down to personal choice, but as wearing a wetsuit that provides a level of buoyancy no snorkelling vest required.
Now I have to admit that this is probably the hardest blog I have had to write as I have personal issues here due to my own beliefs and values. But I also felt that I needed to experience first hand how this whaleshark experience is run to give a fair and objective opinion.
Our Banka moored up in an upwind position outside the roped off area that could easily deliver us to the viewing area once we entered the water. Our brief was to enter the water by giant stride and then swim towards the rope marking the outer edge of the viewing area to regroup, so we hit the water and swam the 100m to the rope and regrouped.
First impression was that the area was busy with the small philippine canoes of the feeders moving around the area being closely followed by juvenile whalesharks eagerly sucking up the offerings that were being scattered into the water. Also in the area were larger philippine canoes paddled by two men loaded with tourists mainly Chinese wearing floatation devices and no fins. These were doing shuttle runs from the beach to the area and once over where the whalesharks were feeding proceeded to dump these guys over the side screaming and kicking wildly as most apparently couldnt even swim, before hauling them back onto the boats and ferrying them back to the beach to reload with another group and do it all again.
Art told us all to move into the area so we swam over the rope and entered the viewing area but always being vigilant of not only what was below us but also what was above us. Almost immediately a 6 metre plus whaleshark swam deep below me and I was able to get a great top down shot as it swam by, then my spidercrab sense tingled and I looked up just in time to be able to swim out of the way of one of the larger canoe outriggers that was on collision course with my head to shouts of "Mister Mister" coming from the guys paddling the boat! Do they not realise that ears immersed in water do not hear sound very well from the surface let alone from above the surface plus 2 guys with oars should be able to steer a canoe around a group of objects in bright orange flotation vests well before a point of collision not just paddle straight through the middle.
The next 45 minutes were a mixture of wonder at the amazingly beautiful whalesharks with some stunning up close experiences, multiple times trying to keep the required distances of 3m from the head and 4m from the tail when surrounded by three or more feeding whalesharks is impossible when you just have nowhere to go so I just floated in the water watching them with my fins up clear so as not to hurt them and they just pushed me out of the way gently as they passed by, magical.
But then the other side was the carnage above the water line with the constant flow of canoes from the beach ferrying people to and from the viewing area, injuries were apparent to some of these tourists from the boats but luckily not to anyone from our group or the whalesharks. I can only describe this above water part as being like watching a film and waiting for a car crash you know is going to happen.
I know that Atlantis Dive resorts have no control over anything that happens here at Oslob and that the complete experience is outside of their control hence the disclaimer forms we all had to sign prior to participation. I can also understand the importance of tourism and the revenue that this brings to the local people and the local area but at what expense to these juvenile whalesharks? There was evidence of damage to the tail of one where the top of the tail had been severed possibly by a propellor, now is this attributable to the fact that the juvenile whalesharks have learnt to associate boats with food and got too close or is there another reason for this I don't know.
What I do know is that there is and has to be a better and more environmentally friendly alternative to this car crash carnage.
Yes this is just my opinion and not that of Dive Rutland or anyone else but basically what we have here is an aquarium that uses food instead of glass!
On Tuesday lunchtime after months of looking for a secondhand shop counter, a potentially suitable counter came across my Facebook feed, on making contact it was SOLD. But then the seller came back and said as long as we could collect it on Wednesday it was ours.
A few phone calls and managed to get Paul and Rick to agree to come and help me... So Wednesday morning you found us at Rick's picking him up at 08:30 and off to Bulwell we went.
We knew that the counter was up a set of stairs and was heavy but what we didn't know was it was still attached to the wall! But we got it out in a few bits, loaded and back for a bite of late lunch. Then to the shop to offload.
So, after picking up a whiteboard for the classroom (free, as part of our recycle, reuse, reduce philosophy), you found Paul and I at the shop ready to clean and put the shop counter together.
But first, I got to play with a power tool - yes really.. being a Diving professional is really a multi-talented occupation and one you never stop learning in... Today it was sanding..
Then a few layers of linseed oil
whilst Paul, put the inner shell of the counter together with a little help occasionally
Final result - well nearly... have some shelves to put in but it looks good we think.
As a small Professional team, providing a high level of training with small groups our team members are best placed to be in the water with students or our club members and not undertaking Service Support.
So, we have enlisted the help of one our own junior divers. Although we have to say he’s just not so little anymore.
Many of you will know Sam already but for those that do not, here is a potted history.
Sam learnt to dive with Dive Rutland back in 2013...
Working up to Master Scuba Diver in 2017
He completed a week of work experience with us back in 2017
Sam has always lent a helping hand when on trips (he has been mistaken by boat skippers as a DiveMaster!)
joining us for a days diving and being the body for various rescue courses. In fact on one he had purchased some new RK3 Fins but in YELLOW, yes really YELLOW... well I'm sorry we laughed so much, he looked so like a duck.. so daffy it is then!
Sam is a great addition not only for logistics but also because he can be someone you can talk to when you’re frustrated with that skill or just talk diving, after all there is no such thing as a diver who can not or will not talk about diving.
What is Surface Support?
Here in the UK all Dive Centres and Dive professionals must work under the Training Frameworks of their chosen training agencies as well as the Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety – Diving at Work Regulations 1997, approved Code of Practise and Guidance. This document covers both the instruction and guiding of people diving for recreational purposes where at least one person taking part is at work, for example as an instructor
This regulation applies to all recreational diving projects within the 12-mile limit of territorial waters adjacent to Great Britain.
It applies to us here at Dive Rutland and is fully embedded into EVERYTHING we do.
Where Surface Support is concerned, they say that when a dive professional is working in open water and in the water, that the minimum training dive team should be three, consisting of Surface Support, The Instructor and a Certified Assistant.
The definition of Surface Support is A person who does not have to be diver but should be familiar with the Dive plan and the arrangements for obtaining assistance in the event of an emergency
This person should be present throughout the time that an instructional team is in the water and ready and able to raise the alarm, if required OR assist with managing any dive incident.
For us here at Dive Rutland, Surface Support: -
Fancy joining our small team be that Surface Support or our Professional Ranks then get in touch
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE