To get the most out of a scuba diving holiday, there are many things a diver can do. Checking equipment, spares kit, travelling with scuba gear all need to be considered.
Scuba dive holidays are great, but before you jet off to some exotic dive site, there are a few preparations you should make, apart from the obvious like passports, visas and inoculations.
First Aid and Spares Kit
A small first-aid kit is a must. Bandaids, antiseptic, seasickness pills, headache tablets, eardrops and sunscreen. Anti-diarrhoea and anti-vomiting medication are handy as many locations have suspect water supplies. Usually it is best not to drink anything unless it comes from a bottle.
You should take a spares kit with you. A few ‘O’ rings, mouthpiece, tools, spare mask strap. The list can be as long as you like. It depends on where you are going and what condition your gear is in before you leave. Remember that spare bits and pieces are always handy if your buddy breaks something. You’ll have a friend for life if your spare mask strap means they get in a unique dive.
Check you’ve got fresh batteries in everything that needs them. Cameras, flash units, watches, dive computers. And take enough spares. In some obscure places you might not be able to find all types of batteries.
Make sure your scuba equipment is in good condition. After spending a small fortune for the dive vacation it’s tempting to save a few dollars on a regulator service. Don’t! Think of it as insurance. No use getting to a great dive site in the middle of nowhere with a split diaphragm in the regulator and no spares.
What Equipment to Take
It’s a good idea to take as much of your own gear as possible. Tanks and weights excluded of course. You will be more comfortable in your own gear. This extends to taking your own weight-belt webbing. For example, French style weight-belts are a strange wire arrangement which could create a problem if needing to operate the buckle in an emergency. Every small thing you can do to make yourself more relaxed underwater helps make the holiday more enjoyable.
Pack scuba equipment carefully. Put a dive boot over the first and second stages of the regulator, place fins and wetsuits along the edges of your suitcase to take the brunt of hard knocks. The mask should go in its own case or even carried with hand luggage; especially if a prescription mask.
Travelling with Scuba Gear
Most of the better diving locations are not close to international airports and require small commuter trips. For example, to get to Gizo in the Solomon Islands (a great place for diving World War Two wrecks), requires an international jet to the capital, Honiara, followed by a succession of smaller planes. Whenever you change planes or board a bus or boat, check that your luggage is coming with you. International flights are usually good, but smaller airports where loading of the luggage is left to the locals can result in baggage going astray.
For the camera buffs, take spare ‘O’ rings and the other bits and pieces to keep the underwater camera maintained while travelling. If you’re still using film, it’s best to buy enough before leaving. If only going for a short time, wait till you’re home before developing the films.
Respect Local Customs
While in a foreign country always remember to respect the different culture and remember you are only a visitor. Respect the dive sites as some may be sacred spots or even war graves. Remember there will be many other divers following you in the years to come. Have a good trip and keep on bubbling!