…is Fun, Being Cold While Diving is Not!
As winter approaches and I talk about scuba diving here in Vancouver, people shiver slightly and stare at me wide-eyed in disbelief. “How on earth can you handle the cold?” they ask. “I wear a dry suit.” I reply nonchalantly.
For those of us who have grown up in British Columbia, we are used to swimming in the chilly waters surrounding us. That being said, even the toughest people can get cold when plunging beneath the surface. This is why come winter, most people have converted to dry suit diving.
Dry suits are exposure suits that are sealed at your wrists and neck which essentially keep your body dry by protecting you from the outside water. They have an inflator valve, much like a BCD, which you use to add air. This air not only insulates you but it also compensates for the squeeze as you descend. In a dry suit, you have the option of wearing however many layers of warm, fuzzy fleece as you please depending on the season and temperature. Dry suits are not only meant for the winter; they can be worn at any time of the year and are favored by those who dislike the hassle of squeezing into a wet suit.
Every Thursday, we have a new group of students that come to the Diving Locker to get trained in dry suit diving. The usual consensus is that students are excited to experience the novelty of coming out of the ocean warm and dry. These students start out their dry suit training at the pool where they learn the fundamentals of having another air space to equalize underwater. After completing the basic skills necessary for safe diving in a dry suit, we take them out into the ocean on the weekend to get the full on experience.
Some people get into the ocean and are naturals at controlling their buoyancy in a dry suit. For others it can take a bit more time and practice but once you do get the hang of it, you wonder how you could ever go back to a wet suit. The benefits of dry suit diving are plentiful; dry suits allow you to take advantage of sites you might normally not be able to dive, they increase your bottom time as you don’t tend to end a dive due to being cold, and best of all they help extend your dive season, as winter time is when the visibility is at its finest! This means you won’t miss out on seeing those special little critters you might miss during the occasionally murky summer months.
So for all of you cold water dive skeptics out there, come to the Diving Locker and learn how to dive in a dry suit with our friendly, well-trained staff. Then join us on an adventure to the beautiful, emerald seas of British Columbia that are just waiting to be explored. Dive with massive Ling Cods, hundreds of Giant Plumose Anemones, Pacific Giant Octopus, crabs, sea stars, nudibranchs, ship wrecks, and much, much more!
Put on your dry suit and jump into our spectacular coastal waters with both feet. I can promise you it will change the way you dive forever. For upcoming drysuit orientation dates please visit our online calendar here
Happy Diving!~Melissa Cunanan