Option 2: Learn the most advanced Dry Suit Techniques from the professionals
at Don Stevens's Atlantic AquaSports, Rye, New Hampshire.
Training will take place in the North Atlantic,The Gulf of Maine.
This training program will give divers the confidence, and prepare them
for the opportunity to participate in diving programs to: Antarctica, South
Georgia Island, The Beagle Channel, The Outer Hebrides, Alaska, British
Columbia, and The Falkland Islands.
During training all participants will stay in the Sea Port City of Portsmouth,
New Hampshire, in the most beautiful Sise Inn.
Your stay in this part of the United States will be a joy.
Contact us for more information.
Cold Water Diving Techniques Class Outline
6 Hours of Class Room Training ­p; 3 2-Hour Sessions
1: General Diving Principals (Cold Water Emphasis)
2: Heat Loss ­p; Retarding the Heat Loss Dry Suit Theory
3: Equipment Requirements for Extreme Temperature
6 Hours of Confined Water Training
1: General Diving Skills
2: Dry Suit Introduction
3: Full Face and Dry Suit Skills
6 Hours of Open Water Dry Suit Training
3 Open Water Dives (minimum) from:
In the contract we would guarantee a minimum competency level, regardless
of the number of dives.
Equipment Requirements for Cold Water Diving:
Cressi Full Face Mask
Undersuit Scubapro XL Jet Fins
Poseidon CS 5000 Regulator
Training includes use of all equipment.
All Cold Water Diving Equipment may be purchased at a total cost of $2,600.
For the Cruise ship diving expeditions, the following applies:
Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic Islands are some of the last truly unspoilt regions of the world. The mysterious White Continent, with its multi-colored ice caps, glistening glaciers and towering snow-capped mountains, offers unparalleled scenery and photographic opportunities. Enormous numbers of penguins, whales, seals and seabirds congregate in the food-rich waters along the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic shores. The future of Antarctica is crucial to the climate and ecology of the world and on most of our cruises we have an opportunity to visit one of the many scientific bases.
On board, there are five zodiacs with strong out-board motors, ensuring comfortable zodiac cruises (approaching beautiful fjords and the pack-ice) and safe shore landings. We usually organize one morning excursion and one tour after lunch. The duration of the excursions may vary, but they normally take 3 to 4 hours. On land, it is very important to follow the guidelines of the tour leaders. It is not allowed to leave the group (in the Arctic we must take the Polar Bear danger very seriously, it can show up everywhere and attack without any warning!), touch, remove and, or take plants, stones, feathers etc. Disturbing the animals is naturally forbidden.
Please be aware of the fact that some birds nest on the ground. Be careful where you walk, do not approach the nests. Be aware of the fact, that when such a bird's nest is disturbed, it's extremely vulnerable. Glaucous gulls, Skuas and Arctic foxes are quick to grab the opportunity to feast upon unprotected eggs or chicks.
Our expedition team consists of one expedition leader and two guides / lecturers and dive guides. All members of the team are experienced and worked with us for many years. Every morning after breakfast the passengers will be informed about the day's program (position of the vessel, general information regarding the area, itinerary and the expected wildlife during the excursions). The excursions will be evaluated in the afternoon and after dinner. Occasionally, the expedition team will organize lectures, sometimes supported with slide shows to inform the passengers about various interesting features of the Arctic and the Antarctic.
The voyages in Spitsbergen are organized in the northern summertime, so it is not really cold. During this period, the sun shines 24 hours a day. Temperatures are between 0 and 6 Celsius.
The same temperatures can be expected in the Antarctic, where we sail during the southern summer. Although temperatures in the Falklands can be around +15° Celsius, temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula will drop to +6 to - 2° Celsius.
You can find more detailed information in the Expedition Manual, which will be sent to you after your booking is confirmed.
Our thorough knowledge of the Polar areas enabled us to develop voyages combining nature cruises with diving expeditions, offering you the best dive sites in a fascinating world of ice. These polar diving cruises are still true expedition style.
Do I have to be an experienced diver?
These voyages are not for beginners, you'll have to be a very experienced diver and must be familiar with cold water diving and dry suit diving (at least 20 dives). Before departure you will have to show an internationally accepted diving certificate, diver's logbook and insurance policy.
The first dive of the trip will be a 'check' dive to try out your gear and weights and for our dive master to see if all individual divers have enough experience to dive in the Antarctic waters.
If our dive master feels that the diver does not meet the necessary experience, he can decide to exclude the diver from the dive program (this decision will be made for your own safety). We cannot be held (financially) responsible and does not grant any claims. All divers are required to follow the instructions of the dive master and guides at all times. All participants are diving 100% at their own risk, which is also the case while on land during the excursions.
A combination of nature and diving!
During the voyages, experienced dry suit divers have the opportunity to explore the wildlife from below the surface. Diving in Antarctica and the Arctic is fascinating indeed. However, the topside is as exciting. During the trip, with the prior approval of your expedition leader, you can choose to participate at any time in our thrilling land excursions and zodiac cruises instead of diving. This combination characterizes the uniqueness of our voyages. It will certainly be the ultimate experience for you!
What will you see while diving?
The dive sites will vary from shallow ice diving, diving along a wall, from a beach or from the zodiac. The maximum depth is around 20 meters / 60 feet. The combination of sunlight and the often-extraordinary formations of ice cause an overwhelming, ever-changing specter of colors, with a fantastic variety of shades and brilliance. While snorkelling or diving along the ice floes, you will be amazed and never forget these deep blue colors. In the Antarctic and Arctic waters we may observe typical marine life such as sea squirts, squat lobsters, many species of starfish, spider crabs, soft corals, anemones, peacock worms, and dogfish. Diving in the Polar areas does not only offer ice, but also an interesting marine life, such as kelp walls, sea-snails, crabs, sea butterflies, various Arctic fish, shrubby horse-tails, jelly-fishes, sea-hedgehogs and starfishes. In Spitsbergen we may dive with seals. Near the Island Moffen (Spitsbergen) we may observe many walruses approaching the zodiacs. When they are within close proximity of the zodiacs, we may even try to observe these animals from under the surface with your snorkel and mask. Because of the possible danger we will not dive with the walruses.
Diving in Antarctica does not only offer ice, but also an interesting marine life, such as kelp walls, sea-snails, crabs, sea butterflies, various Antarctic fish, shrubby horse-tails, jelly-fishes, sea-hedgehogs, starfishes, krill and giant isopods. You may have the possibility to snorkel or dive with Fur Seals, Leopard Seals and penguins.
Number of dives
We plan at least one to two dives per day (except for days at sea), but an exact number of dives cannot be given. It all depends on ice and weather conditions.
Our dive masters are highly experienced polar dive masters and instructors, being assisted by one or two dive guides. The main language of the dive operation will be in English.
Diving in these remote Polar areas is no more dangerous than normal scuba diving as long as one important rule is adhered to: Safety First! All divers looking for dangerous stunts or wanting to make deep dives are kindly asked to stay at home!
There is no decompression chamber in Antarctica. Medical care in these Polar Regions is almost non-existent and there is hardly any infrastructure. Although we have a doctor on board the vessel for first aid assistance, we cannot accept risky ventures from any of our divers.
The voyage will start with a check-dive so all divers can get used to the cold water and try out their equipment and the number of weights they need. Before each dive, there will be a briefing about the location of the site, the weather and ice conditions and the procedure of the dive.
You don't need to store your dive gear in your cabin. Upon arrival our dive staff will show you where you can leave your dive equipment. Only take your regulator with you in your cabin. Every diver is expected to prepare his own equipment well in advance prior to each dive. Bring your own spare parts for your regulators and dry suit in case of leakage or damage.
The divers are expected to set up and carry their own equipment in and out of the zodiac and sometimes up and down the gangway.
The dives will be done on a 'buddy system' basis. The dive guide will not be in the water to accompany and lead the divers. The guides will stay on the surface for the divers' safety. The divers are expected to be experienced enough to read their compass, depth gauges and look after each other in order to have a safe dive.
What to pack for your Diving
Please contact your airline about their luggage restrictions and request a special allowance for your dive equipment prior to departure. All excess baggage is at your own expense.
¢ Dry suit with hood
¢ Thick and warm underwater garment (2 sets), dry gloves or adequate thick wet gloves (make sure they will keep your hands warm in sub-zero waters)
¢ Freeze protected regulator
¢ 2 separate regulators, because we dive with special bottles with two separate outlets. The tanks we are using are 10L steel tanks. They are fitted with a “Y” or “H” valve configuration, with DIN or Yoke (INT) adaptable connections.
¢ Pressure gage
¢ Stabilizing jacket or some kind of BC with quick release - divers without BCD trusting only their dry suit for buoyancy control will not be allowed to dive.
¢ Depth gage, watch or computer
¢ Knife and a torch
¢ Mask, fins and snorkel
¢ Weight belt (weights available on board)
Please note that the snorkel is a vital part of the safety equipment and will often be used when snorkeling with seals and such.
IMPORTANT: Do not bring any new equipment on this expedition that you have not already tested in the water and you are not very familiar with. The Polar Regions are not the place to test out new equipment.
It is required that you complete a few dives with all the equipment you will be using before coming on the trip. This will also allow you to fine-tune your buoyancy and trim characteristics, and make a note of how much weight you will need when diving with all your equipment.
Equipment on board
On board we have a Bauer compressor (200 litres), 35 steel bottles of 12 litres each, 200 bar, with DIN and Yoke adaptable connections and two separate outlets. This will allow for the attachment of a primary and a secondary backup regulator, which allows for either regulator to be independently isolated if there is a malfunction or a free flow.
You will be provided with hard led weights and a belt. There are no ankle weights available. We do not have any rentals on board. Please make sure you check out all your dive gear before leaving. Bins are available for storage.
Setting up your gear
You need two sets of regulators:
1st set includes: Freeze protected First stage
Second stage (incl. hose)
Hose for BC
Pressure gage / computer
2nd set includes: Freeze protected First stage
Second stage (incl. hose)
Hose for Dry suit
Ice and weather
Please note that the itinerary in the Arctic, Antarctica, Falklands (Malvinas) and South Georgia is always weather and ice permitting. It is always possible that because of the pack ice and drift ice, we have to change our sailing schedule. It is possible that certain bays or fjords are closed because of ice. In such a case, we have to re-route our voyage. Possible alterations that relate to weather and ice conditions can never be a reason for claims, reimbursements or whatsoever. When changing the itinerary, we can assure you that the captain, expedition leader and dive master will do their utmost to provide an alternative program, along the same lines as the originally planned cruise itinerary.
These diving voyages are true expeditions. Although we know the destinations in detail, each dive will be a surprising event. Please note, that ice is not static but always in movement.
This means, that the actual situation (colours, marine wildlife) under the surface, always depends on the conditions and formations of the ice. Not achieved personal expectations in reference to the diving cannot be grounds for claims, reimbursements or whatsoever. However, our experienced dive master will do his utmost to offer the best dive sites in the Arctic, Antarctica, Falkland Islands (Malvinas) and South Georgia.
USEFUL TIPS FOR SCUBA DIVERS
Diving is an equipment intensive activity. Ice diving requires an extensive amount of additional equipment because of the cold weather and water, and the remote location involved. Diving is not fun if you are cold. Divers in cold water may have a higher air consumption rate, expend more energy, and can become more fatigued. Cold water also decreases a diver's ability to perform complex tasks that require manual dexterity.
The only adequate protection from thermal exposure in the Arctic and Antarctica where the water will be as cold as - 1ºC/30ºF is a dry suit. The type of dry suit you use is not important so long as it fits you, is waterproof and you are comfortable using it. Neoprene dry suits have the benefit of having good stretch and extra insulation. Shell suits provide no extra insulation but are lighter and dry more quickly. Shell suits serve only to keep the diver dry and require extra layers of garments to be worn under the suit. If appropriate, bring a small dry suit repair kit.
The function of the undergarments is to trap air against your body to be warmed. The colder the water, the more (or thicker) layers of undergarments are required. It is recommended that you wear two or three layers, depending on your suit. As the first layer you should wear a set of polypropylene liners. This type of material helps wick any moisture away from the body. As the second layer you should wear thick insulating material, such as fleece, synthetic pile, thinsulate or similar. As the final and outer layer you may wish to wear a windproof shell. The one piece jump suit style is the most common and comfortable configuration of dive wear and is available in a variety of thickness depending on your dry suit and the water temperature.
Dry Suit Accessories
If a hood is not attached to your dry suit you will need to bring one. A 7 mm neoprene hood with face and neck seal is recommended. Regular 7 mm neoprene semidry gloves or mitts may be used with any dry suit and are relatively easy to use. Three finger mitts are warmer than five-finger gloves. Special dry gloves that deal against rings on the arm of the dry suit are available in the market. To prevent glove squeeze, and to promote warmth, short pieces of surgical tubing, or straws can be inserted under the wrist seals to provide a conduit for air to exchange from the suit to the gloves. This type of glove requires additional practice to use, as they can come off your hand if not used correctly.
It is important to bring a warm hat and some warm wind and waterproof gloves to wear before, and especially after the dive. You may also wish to bring wind and waterproof spray jacket and pants to keep the cold wind off your wet dry suit.
Normal regulators will not function in sub-freezing water as both the first and second stage will freeze. You are required to bring two sets of regulators (1st & 2nd stage), suitable for cold-water/ice diving. Some regulators can be fitted with an environmental seal kit, others come environmentally sealed from the manufacturer.
To avoid regulator malfunction, regulators must be cared for properly before, during and after diving. Regulators should be kept dry and warm before the dive; store them in your cabin. Avoid breathing from the regulator before submersion, except to briefly ensure it is functioning, but when doing so; exhale after removing the regulator from your mouth so as to avoid freezing the second stage with moisture from the exhaled breath.
If during the dive your primary regulator freezes up and causes a free flow, you should switch to you back-up regulator, and turn off the valve to the primary regulator to stop the free flow.
Tips on keeping water out of your regulator:
o Always open the cylinder valve briefly before mounting the regulator, to blow out any moisture from the orifice.
o When purging the regulator for removal, hold the second stage lower than the first stage so that water cannot drip back to the first stage after pressure has dropped.
o Remove the regulator carefully, so as not to allow ice or water to fall into the filter of the regulator.
o Dry the dust cap thoroughly before attaching it to the regulator.
o The dust cap must fit snugly before rinsing the regulator.
o Do not press the purge button while rinsing the regulator.
o Shake excess water from the second stage before hanging the regulator to dry.
The type of mask you are using is not critical, we recommend using a standard mask and regulator. You may use a full-face mask if you prefer, but keep an extra facemask handy in case your regulator free flows. It is best to avoid spitting into the mask for defogging, as this can freeze onto the inside of the mask. Commercial defogging agents work well for ice diving. Straps can also become brittle in cold weather, and it is highly recommended that you bring a spare strap and a spare mask.
Instruments, Gauges and Computers
You must have one tank pressure indicator for each regulator set-up. Some electronic instruments will not function well in sub-freezing temperatures. Liquid crystal displays may be slow to display and batteries will also run low sooner.