Tekstreme “The Tour”.

Did you know, that one of the most common questions that I get asked when guests are enquiring to me about Tekstreme and wanting to do some diving with us is, “Are Tekstreme located in other countries?” To date, I have had to reply that the answer is no.

Another black shirt for the team copy

Tekstreme have, since establishment, concentrated their time offering technical services throughout Egypt. As a technical company we are one of the largest in Egypt with operations, through the facilities of Emperor Divers, in Sharm El Shiekh, El Gouna and Marsa Alam plus offering multiple specific technical safaris throughout the year. I guess personally for me, before taking Tekstreme to other destinations I want to be sure that we have the right attitude, approach, business plan, commitment, audience and of course the desire. Right now I believe we can easily tick all of those boxes. However, these things are not to be rushed. Much research needs to be done on destinations, availability, profitability, demand etc etc. We see in our industry too many technical operations opening up around the world yet one year later they close their doors. As a reputable technical diving company we need to ensure that if we take on such a project outside of Egypt that our customers can be assured that we will be there to stay.

Tekstreme Wings

Now don’t get too excited, this blog is not Tekstreme announcing a new location, not quite yet, but what we are doing in the meantime is to take Tekstreme “On Tour”. Beginning in 2016 we are going to be offering technical diving trips to multiple other locations outside of Egypt. This way, our customers who want to have the benefit of diving multiple locations, but staying with Tekstreme are going to be very happy. Tekstreme will be organising diving trips including accommodation in various European destinations to begin with, before expanding to worldwide destinations. We will only be using the facilities of highly reputable dive centres in each location who we know will maintain high standards that our customers demand. On each trip one of our highly trained technical team members will be there with our customers to ensure that our high standards are kept and of course to offer technical courses on each trip.

For each trip, we are keeping them quite exclusive, small groups only. We plan to take a maximum of around 8 – 10 divers on each trip. For us, it has always been about quality, not quantity and this philosophy will not change. We want to have a more intimate group of divers that we can care for on a personal level, rather than a conveyer belt of divers!

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For us, these are really exciting times and we cant wait to take kick start Tekstreme “The Tour”, we hope that we are going to see many of our technical diver friends come and join us and make this the best technical tour ever.

Cat Braun

Tekstreme Diving Manager

info@tekstremediving.com

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Who is the leading PADI TecRec dive centre in Egypt……Tekstreme Diving is!

The new year could not have got off to a better start than to receive a phone call from Reto Moser, the PADI regional manager for Egypt, to inform us that Tekstreme had the most PADI TecRec certifications in Egypt in 2012. What an awesome achievement. This  achievement is only possible due to great team of PADI TecRec Instructors that we have here at Tekstreme. The technical manager of Sinai Chris Armstrong, along with Duncan Spenceley and Steve Parry continue to provide thorough, safe, fun packed PADI TecRec courses which keeps our customers returning back to us. Now we would not be able to offer this level of service if it was not for the fantastic work of Emperor Divers. From the very first email reservation enquiries, to the quality of the dive centres, the boats, the transfers etc it makes for a complete high quality package.

 

award

 

If you would have come to Tekstreme four years ago you would have struggled to find any reference to PADI technical diving courses,  so what has changed? Why are these courses now so popular?

 

The PADI TecRec debuted in 2000 with the launch of its Tec Deep Diver and Tec Trimix Diver Programmes.  Although TecRec is not the first tec diving program (cave diver training has been around for decades), it repeatedly receives accolades for its merits. TecRec courses are integrated into an instructionally valid, seamless course flow that takes you from beginning tec diver to one qualified to the outer reaches of sport diving using different gas mixes. Each level introduces you to new gear, planning and procedures appropriate to extend your diving limits.

tecbannere3

 

The Tec Deep Diver course is a nine day course and successful candidates upon completion would be certified to make decompression dives with the use of two eanx decompression gases for accelerated deco to a maximum depth of 50m. As much as the course was designed very progressively, it was very intensive and for some students proved to be too big a jump in a single course. If students could not achieve the performance requirements by the end of their holiday they would not have any certification to go home with. Of course referral forms were readily available for continuation of training in the future. Also, from the holiday makers side, it was often not possible for them to complete the Tec deep diver course in its entirety if they only had a single week holiday and so the numbers of students enrolling in these courses were relatively low. Similarly, the Trimix Diver course was also a nine day course with successful students being certified to 80m using the full range of trimix gases available. Both courses were perhaps not as user friendly as they could be due to the durations and intensity. Maybe partly for these reasons potential technical students were looking elsewhere to other technical training agencies that had more bite size courses and as a technical diving centre we were obliged to offer the other agencies to satisfy the customer. (Can I make a note at this point that I personally teach through PADI, TDI (technical diving international) and BSAC (British Sub aqua club) and actually enjoy teaching through all three agencies equally. This article is not meant to put other agencies down, far from it, this is an article to simply examine the growth of PADI TecRec)

 

 

PADI responded well to the challenges that were presented against their technical courses and sought to rectify this problem; hence the breakdown of the Tec Deep Diver course and the Tec Trimix diver course. The Tec Diver course is now an integrated sequence of three sub-courses: Tec 40Tec 45 and Tec 50.  You can complete them continuously, or you can complete each level separately with a time span between them.  This gives you learning efficiency, instructional integrity and schedule flexibility. The Tec trimix course is also now an integrated sequence of two courses; the Trimix 65 and the The Trimix diver. Similar to the Tec Deep diver you can complete them continuously or you can complete each level on its own.  With these crucial changes PADI had created a much more use friendly sequence of courses that had a strcuture similar to other technical training agencies. Low and behold with a push on the marketing of these new courses the result was effective and immediate…the numbers of divers entering into the PADI technical training route was rapidly increasing.

 

tecrec-chart

 

 

Tekstreme recognized the effort that PADI had made and responded by reinforcing the marketing for these new courses and look where we are now! I personally feel that not only are the PADI courses very thorough in their content but the reading materials that accompany each course are the best in comparison to other training agencies. Now yes, I do admit that PADI do love their multiple acronyms which some people are not a fan of, and yes, the manual does have a lots and lots of pretty colorful pictures, but from my experience as an instructor I can only report that these are beneficial to the learning curve of the student not detrimental. The manual is idiot prove, how can that be a bad thing!  The other bonus is that the Tec Deep Manual was designed for the complete Tec Deep Diver course and so the result of this is, is that you only need one manual for the Tec 40, 45 and 50. I do think that in the future that this may change and that PADI will break the manual into three parts to go in partnership with the three sub courses, but for now you get the all in one.

 

PADI have taken some criticism by many over their technical courses. Some people would categorize PADI as only a holidaymaker recreational agency and what place do they have in the technical diving world, but slowly this stigma is being overcome and PADI are standing up tall and defending their courses, as they rightly should.

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It has been a pleasure to join PADI on their journey of technical diving development and we can only hope that it continues to grow in the future.

 

If you are interested in any of the PADI TecRec Courses then you can click on the following link http://www.tekstremediving.com/tecrec-courses.php or email to us directly at tekstreme@emperordivers.com.

 

Cat Braun – Tekstreme Technical Diving Manager

PADI TecRec recognises Tekstreme’s hard work.

It has been as a result of continued hard work, perseverance and commitment that Tekstreme have been recognised by PADI EMEA TecRec and have been award a certificate for “Outstanding Development in Technical diving”. This award has been given not only for 2010 but also for 2011. This reflects continued efforts by Cat Parfitt, the technical diving manager and all of the PADI technical instructors working for Tekstreme past and present. 

The award marks a significant change within Tekstreme over the past two years which was previously just primarily a TDI centre. Tekstreme responded to the publics demand for more availability of the full range of PADI TecRec courses and in all resorts over the Red Sea. Tekstreme are proud to currently have 6 PADI technical instructors working within their team to be able to fulfil the demands of the ever growing PADI technical community.

Cat comments “We are very proud of our accomplishments within this sector over the last 24 months and we are committed to keep the standards to the highest level that we can achieve”

Brothers & Safaga Technical safari

So the dates have now been released…. 

Tekstreme will be offering a fully equipped technical safari to include the Brother islands from the 8th June – 15th June 2012

The itinerary (weather dependant) should include:

 

Abu Kafan Reef in Safaga

Panarama Reef in Safaga

Giftun Wall in Hurghada

The Wreck of the Numidia on Big Brother Island

The Wreck of the Aida on Big Brother Island

The Wreck of the Salam Express in Safaga

The Wreck of the Gulf Fleet in Hurghada

 

There will be only 15 places available, and these spaces are available for all levels of technical diver. Trimix certification is not  a requirement but would be of benfit. Trimix courses and Gas Blending courses can all be run on board.

 

The boat will once again be the platinum boat of “Elite” from Emperor Divers. Check out http://www.emperordivers.com/liveaboards-fleet-elite.php for more details and specifications of the boat

 

For a more photos and information contact me directly at tekstreme@emperordivers.com

 

The price for the trip is only 1300 euros.

 

This price includes:

7 nights accommodation

Food and soft drinks on board

All Marine Park fees & Fuel surcharges

Transfers to and from the airport

Twin set hire or CCR tank hire

2 x Decompression / Bailout tanks

All Oxygen fills for CCR

 

Dont hesitate to book yourself and join us on some of the greatest tech dives in the Red Sea.

Cat & the Tekstreme Team

 

Remember, remember the 5th of November….!

Well, the month of November literally started with fireworks, well maybe not in Egypt but I am sure where ever you were you had a good bonfire night! As the old phrase would go “Remember, remember the 5th of November….” Unfortunately for us we don’t remember, as we have once again been very busy teaching, guiding, guiding, teaching and filling tanks!!!

 

 

Starting this time in Sharm we welcomed Jaana Nystrom who came out to make her TDI Advanced nitrox course with Sarah. Jaana came out with her son and friends who were also making some days of recreational diving. Unfortunately Jaana had been very busy in her work before she came on holiday and decided that she needed more “chill time.” After having an introduction into twin set diving, Jaana continued with some dives with the family. Hopefully Jaana will return to us again when she has more time and can relax to complete her course. We wish you all the best Janna.

 

At the same time in Hurghada, Mark Hewitt came to join me to make his PADI Tec 45 course. Mark had some great dives and the finale dive was a fantastic wreck dive on the Rosalie Muller, which has been a teasing factor for him to go on and continue in the future with his PADI Tec 50 course J

 

 

 

 
Following shortly behind Jaana in Sharm came Claire Evans, Mike Robertson and Peter Scarlett. All three guests are previous

friends and clients of Red Sea Snapper, a specialised photo operator. Duncan Spencely and Steve Parry took them through their paces when they were completing their PADI Tec courses. They finished their courses with dives around Dahab, where a certain instructor may have flooded his dry suit!! We wont mention how it came about that the suit was flooded but I think that a certain individual brought Duncan a few beers! Well done to all three and I am sure they will be back for some more!

 

 

 

Heading back over to the mainland we welcomed John Miles. John who is a fully qualified trimix CCR diver on his Megaladon, came out to make a week of Trimix CCR diving before heading out with us on a technical safari. John, a very relaxed character had dives with Shaun and myself all around the Hurghada area gradually increasing depth ready for deep dives on safari.

 

 

 

At the same time we had John Hunt back to join us at Tekstreme. John has been diving with Tekstreme for as long as I can

remember. I actually was only an instructional assistant when he made his first TDI courses!! John was back to make the BSAC Advanced Mixed Gas course with me. John is such an organised and meticulous character and it certainly shows in his diving style. After a week of diving together, John passed his course and can now make deeper mixed gas dives all over the world. Once again John it was such a pleasure to spend the time with you.

 

Moving up along the coast to Emperor divers El Gouna, the centre welcomed a diving club from UK who were making recreational dives. However, as experienced technical divers, two members of the group Liam Hoey and Geoffrey Roberts could not resist diving the Rosalie Muller “tech style”

 

Road trip style up I came to El Gouna, not on my own but also bringing tech guide Shaun, newly qualified PADI Tec 45 diver mark Hewitt, BSAC mixed gas diver in training John Hunt to come and take the boys on a tech dive on the wreck. The conditions were fantastic, good visibility (for the wreck!), very little current and not another boat in sight. Happy diving days.

 

 

Heading back over to Sinai we Tekstreme welcomed back our good ol’ tech diving friend Aude Beliard. This time she chose to make technical dives around Sharm with Mark and Duncan. Aude very much enjoyed the dives around Ras Mohammed and Tiran putting all of year trimix experience into practise. Hopefully she will soon head back over to the mainland to come back and visit us soon J

Soon after Aude left us, we saw the return of Andrew Grundy. Andy has been diving with Tekstreme since his very first PADI Tec 40 course early last year, and it was quite fitting that he has now made his final PADI trimix course also with us. Well done Andy it has been great to be able to take you through the levels and see you come out the other end as an established safe technical diver. I hope soon that I get chance to dive with you, as it seems as though I am the only one who has not yet!

 

And finally…

 

We have literally just got back from our northern technical safari. On board were; Erik, Christian, Andreas, David, Florin, Claire, John, Csaba, Stella, Rohan, Susan, Maria, Russell, Shaun, Louise and Simon. It was a bit windy to start with but calmed down by the end of the week. Dives that we made included; Rosalie Muller, Shark & Yolanda Reef (no comments from anybody about why I did not see the toilets!), Thomas Canyon, the wreck of the Lara, Jackfish Alley, Abu Nuhas, Small Giftun Wall, the Gulf Fleet wreck and many more shallower reefs. A good time was had by all and many successful dives. David was kind enough to get some video footage of the Lara and has made a small clip for all to see. You can see it by heading to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL0_CJdl6n4 Many thanks for that David.

 

And so as we draw toward the end of the month we take a deep breath and get ready to begin all over again In December!!!

 

Until the next update, take care and happy tech diving

 

Cat & the Tekstreme team.

New PADI TecRec Trimix Distinctive Speciality course now available from Tekstreme.

Tekstreme are proud to announce the launch of the newest PADI Trimix Distinctive Specilaity courses; TMX 45 and TMX 50.

PADI Technical Consultants have written a TecRec Distinctive Specialty to introduce the use of trimix when diving shallower than 50m/165 feet. The primary reason for using trimix at these depths is to reduce narcosis. Whilst many divers are happy to dive on EANx or air to 50m/165 feet, others are not. In challenging diving conditions reducing narcosis can be desirable to almost all divers.

This is an optional course which can be taught to PADI Tec 45 and Tec 50 qualified divers to enable them to use trimix with a minimum of 21% Oxygen and a maximum of 20% Helium to make dives within their current TecRec certification depth limit with a planned decompression not exceeding 20 minutes.

The course utilizes existing PADI course materials and content to introduce divers to trimix use within the limits described above. Students complete some self-study, a short knowledge development session, practical application and two dives using trimix.

Prerequisites

You must:

  • Be a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (or hold a qualifying certification from another organization)
  • Be a PADI Rescue Diver (or hold a qualifying certification from another organization)
  • Be a PADI Enriched Air Diver (or hold a qualifying certification from another organization)
  • DSAT Tec 45 Diver (or hold a qualifying certification from another organization)
  • Have a minimum of 100 logged dives, of which

20 dives must be enriched air dives

25 dives must be deeper than 18 metres/60 feet

20 dives must be deeper than 30 metres/100 feet

Tekstreme have a special offer of only 199 euros for the speciality taken during 2011.

Northern Technical expedition is confirmed.

Attention all technical divers, we are now pleased to announce that the northern technical expedition of wrecks and reefs has now been confirmed.

Our boat for the week

The boat that we will be traveling on is the platinum boat by Emperor Divers “Elite”. You can see more details on the boat by heading to http://www.emperordivers.com/liveaboards_fleet_elite.php

We will be departing from Hurghada marina on the morning of the 27th November and returning on the 2nd December. With only a maximum of 15 divers on board it is promising to be a trip to remember.

The boat currently has a mixture of open circuit technical divers and closed circuit technical divers. Variety is good.

CCR diver on wreck

As we already have the minimum numbers, it only leaves a few remaining places.

Contact us at tekstreme@emperordivers.com if you fancy joining our trip.

Summer has arrived!!

Summer time in Egypt has finally arrived and with it comes the increased problems and risks of dehydration for the divers. With air temperatures now varying between 34 -43 degrees, do you really know if your body is fully hydrated and ready for a dive?

You cant get enough of it!

Fluid intake is one of the most important (but neglected) aspects of diving physiology and is something that you, the diver, have full control over. Hydration is one of the major players in the prevention of both DCI and soft tissue injury, so it is in your interest to understand what your body needs to perform to the max. There are few, if any references in the training manuals (entry level, advanced or technical) about fluid regulation and unless you have prior knowledge or a particular interest in fitness many divers remain blissfully ignorant about the importance of being properly watered. So here it is, the complete definitive guide to optimum hydration.

Seven tenths doesn’t only apply to the water covering our planet, we have coincidentally the same ratio of fluid in our body. In fact between 69% and 72% of our total body mass comes in the form of fluids. Physiologically we have two types of fluid compartments, intracellular (inside cells) and extracellular (blood plasma, transcellular and interstitial fluid). Much of the water in our body is found in lean muscle mass. Interestingly, nitrogen appears to have a much lower affinity for water saturated tissue than for fat. Fat tissue holds five times more nitrogen than water permeable ‘aqueous’ tissue (such as muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue).

We lose fluid through sweat, respiration, urination, diuretic action, stomach upsets and if you are female, menstruation. In sports physiology, sweat loss is considered to be the most important aspect of fluid regulation. This is a factor that can be misunderstood and underestimated by divers. Our body fluid levels are intrinsically linked with our ability to sweat. Sweat is excreted as a result of heat production. Heat is a by product of muscular activity with about 75% of the energy expended during exercise being converted into heat. This extra heat has to be dissipated in order to keep our core body temperature a constant 37 – 38° C. Sweat is produced  by some 3½ million sweat glands, when water from our body is carried via our blood capillary network to the skin, where cooling takes place as sweat evaporates.

Keep drinking!

We perspire in two different ways. Sensibly and insensibly. Sensible perspiration is sweat that is excreted in large amounts and is noticeably moist on the skin.  Insensible perspiration is sweat that evaporates from the skin before it becomes moisture and we are therefore unaware of it. Normally, we start sweating on our foreheads first, then our face followed by the rest of our body with palms and soles of the feet last. Conversely, emotional sweat occurs in

the palms, soles and armpits first. Incidentally, emotional sweat is relied upon in lie detector tests as even the smallest amount of perspiration contains sodium chloride which acts as an electrical conductor and therefore lowers the electric resistance of the skin. Both types of perspiration are important to a diver.

A ½ litre of water equates to about 1lb or ½ kg of body weight. It is possible to lose as much as 2lbs (about 1kg) of body weight through sweat in one hour performing normal aerobic type exercise, which in fluid terms amounts to about a litre. During high impact workouts or if you happen to be a person who sweats profusely, as much as 2 litres of sweat per hour can be lost.

I hope that when you read these statistics it may bring the reality of dehydration home to you. Even if you think you are drinking enough water, for most of you… drink more! Don’t spend your holiday in the recompression chamber due to something so simple to prevent!

Happy Safe diving

New Course by TDI

For those of you that have not been keeping up with the news within the Technical diving world, you will be pleased to find out the Technical Diving International (TDI) have launched a new distinctive speciality course. The course is called the TDI Helitrox Course.

The course has been designed to introduce divers to the uses of helium at an earlier point in training and subsequently allow divers to use Helium in their breathing mixtures for dives between the depth ranges of 30m-45m.

Trimix Gas analysis

The new course has been introduced as a potential alternative to the TDI Decompression Procedures course for anyone diving beyond 30m who would prefer to use a Helium based breathing mixture rather than Air or Nitrox. Similar to that of the Decompression procedures course, the course can be taught either on its own, or combined with TDI Advanced Nitrox. For those of you that already have the Advanced Nitrox and Decompression procedures ticket, the new course can be taught as an upgrade too.
The Helitrox course examines the theory, methods and procedures for planned stage decompression diving utilizing Helium in the breathing mixture. The main objective of this course is to teach and prepare divers how to plan and conduct staged decompression dives not exceeding a maximum depth of 45m.

The certification does have certain restrictions. Divers are permitted to utilize Enriched Air Nitrox and Helium mixes with no greater than 20% Helium and no less than 21% Oxygen content as well as up to 100% Oxygen for decompression diving if combined with Advanced Nitrox. It is almost like a stepping stone before reaching the full normoxic trimix course.

It is very apparent that training agencies like TDI are strongly pushing for increased safety in technical diving by trying to eliminate the nitrogen issues as much as possible.

Tekstreme will very soon be able to offer to you this new course. Watch this space for more details.