So holiday time has arrived and you have a week of technical diving or a technical course booked. With the airlines these days clamping down on weight allowance here is what we recommend as the Top 10 items that you need to fit within your quota.
Being able to plan your decompression dive is a critical part of your diving day.
There are many varieties of deco planning software available on the market for desk top computer, I pad, smart phone or Android. Some programmes are free to download but may have limited features; others are available for a small fee. Examples can include V Planner, MV Planner, Baltic Planner, Deco Planner, Z Planner, Pro planner. Have a few practise runs on your new software before you arrive for your diving to ensure you have a basic understanding of the program.
After analysis of your gas you will need to clearly mark and label your cylinders with their contents and the maximum depths of the gas. Marker tape like duct tape is a perfect option for this. Thick permanent marker pens are essential for clear labelling.
Nothing cleans the pencil off your slate better than good old fashioned nail polish remover. A small amount goes along way so just bring a small bottle and it will last the week, or alternatively go back to school and bring a pencil eraser! Another option is to use marker tape on your wrist slate and write the plans on top with a permanent marker pen.
Be prepared for most equipment related issues by having a few specific tools in your box. Its handy to carry with you a set of Allan keys, a couple of small adjustable spanners, a small screwdriver, a cutting device of some kind, and a handful of cable ties go along way.
It does not matter how many times you check the battery life in your computers, rebreather electronics or cameras, you can guarantee that at some point a battery will die at the most inconvenient time. Be armed and ready with spare ones to hand. In some countries specific rebreather batteries may not be readily available so be organised and bring a few with you.
Attention all rebreather divers out there, oxygen cells are not that easy to come by once you leave home, especially if travelling abroad! Even if you have new cells for your trip take a spare one or two just in case. Worst case scenario you wont need to use them but your CCR guide may be more than happy to buy them off you to lighten you load on your return leg home!
Most of these days most mobile phones can provide a calculator facility and it is a very useful tool to have around. Each time you need to work out the maximum depth of a gas, or your breathing rate, or gas volumes for a few examples a calculator will come in very handy. For sure if you are making a technical course your instructor will be throwing calculation questions at you left, right and centre, so be armed and ready!
During your technical diving there may be other technical divers that you meet who have cameras or video cameras recording footage of your diving experience. What better way to easily keep the memories of your dives by supplying a storage device to save this evidence. You may also find that your guide or other technical divers may have some technical related articles or interesting information that you would like to have. Supply a memory stick and now the information is yours to keep. (you may to make a deal with your fellow divers over some beers to obtain these things!)
After a longer decompression dive there is nothing better than off gassing with a good book or looking at the back of your eyelids in the sun!
10. An open mind and a relaxed temperament