Category: Alba News

Taking our DPVs for a spin

The most fun you can have underwater

There are so many reasons why scuba diving is a lot of fun, seeing a shipwreck, exploring a dive site for the first time, hanging around weightless. Add into that diving with different people and learning other methods of diving, and it never gets old. But the icing on the cake has to be doing any of the above whilst whizzing around on a DPV or Dive Propulsion Vehicle, also commonly known as underwater scooters. They are so much fun. In fact they are so much fun i’ll repeat that, they are so much fun!

At Alba we have five, yes FIVE DPVs. Of course you need to be qualified to use one, but luckily for you we also teach DPV courses. You’ll learn how to charge the batteries, set them up properly, operate them safely and generally take care of them. The course normally takes two days to complete but can be done in one super long day if required.

The first thing you’ll notice is just how fast you can go. The second thing you’ll notice is just how far you can travel, and the third thing you’ll notice is just how little effort you are putting into it all. Put all that together and you can have around 70 minutes (that’s how long the battery will last on full power) of seeing whatever you want, however far away it is. There are huge advantages to diving in currents, and, for the dive sites near Alba you could potentially visit two separate dive sites in one dive. It’s common for our divers to be driven to the Liberty wreck to start their dive, and then they just make their own way underwater back to our house reef. Or if you’re really feeling adventurous you could start the dive at drop-off and make your way back to Alba- the batteries can just about make it.

We have three Divextras Sierras, and two Suex XJoy 7s. Just be warned, once you have dived with a DPV, you will want to have one on every single dive you do.

For more information on DPV diving at Alba Dive Tulamben, click below.

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Servicing our Tanks

Maintaining our diving cylinders

As a diver, you maybe don’t put too much thought into the diving cylinder you are using. Unless it looks obvious that it’s seen better days, you’ll just get on with the job of setting your equipment up with it. But all diving equipment at any dive centre gets a lot of use, and behind the scenes everything needs constant care to keep it in good condition. Cylinders are no different. On a daily basis, cylinders should be rinsed with fresh water after each and every dive. Saltwater is corrosive and gets into everything. Keeping some air in a tank prevents the water from getting inside it, but how many times have you tried to turn on your tank and the plastic wheel is really hard to move? That’s saltwater getting into the stem. Washing with freshwater helps stop the salt from accumulating, but every so often the valves should be serviced, usually every six months. Another way for water to get into a cylinder is through a compressor that is not properly maintained. They have filters that need to be regularly changed. This is also the reason why your air may smell a little oily- this is not a good sign!

The cylinders themselves should undergo a visual inspection every year by a qualified service technician. This involves taking off the valve and looking inside the tank to check for corrosion and ensure the integrity of the metal. Any build up of salt means that the tank may need to be “tumbled”, which means putting pebbles inside and constantly rotating it to scour the insides clean again. If everything is ok with the tank, it should have a sticker that shows it has passed the inspection.

Every five years, tanks need to be hydrostatically tested. This involves pressure testng the cylinder with water to check the strength of the metal. Cylinders should be stamped to show that they have passed the test.

At Alba Dive Tulamben, we do the annual inspection ourselves, as our staff are ASSET trained technicians. When we need to get our tanks hydrostatically tested we get the testing company  to come to Alba to do all the tanks in one go. You will see visual inspection stickers on all of our cylinders, and all tanks older than five years will have a hydro-stamp on them. Our compressors are also very well maintained to ensure that the air you breathe is always very clean. We pride ourselves on having the best air in Bali, possibly even Indonesia.

So whether you are fun diving on a single tank, technical diving using decompression mixes, or using our 3L CCR cylinders, you can use our cylinders with confidence that they are well looked after. Just ensure that when you dive anywhere else you check the general condition of the cylinders and look out for the visual stickers and hydro stamps. If they are not present, it’s time to talk to the dive operator or maybe dive with another operator.

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Training our dive guides

It’s incredibly important for any dive centre to employ competent and capable staff that put safety first at all times; that should really go without saying. Our dive guides and instructors are very good at showing the local marine life, but they do so whilst constantly ensuring that their customers are safe at all times.

As with most things, there is more than one way to skin a cat (hopefully hypothetically!). Sharing air is just one example, and our tech instructor recently spent a morning with all of our dive guides to show them how to use a long hose. The idea behind the long hose is that in the unlikely event of a diver being low or out of air, you donate the gas that you have been breathing from, as you know it is working and is good to breathe. The hose is usually 2m long (6ft). Once you have donated the long hose your back up regulator is sitting under the chin on some bungee, and is imaginatively called the short hose. Once the out of air diver is breathing from the long hose, you have more room to ascend or swim to an ascent point. It is a very efficient method for donating gas, and is a good configuration for recreational diving, but does takes some getting used to. Our local dive guides had great fun learning all about it in the pool, and now do all their dives using this configuration.

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Villa Alba Staff Photo 2018

We are pleased to share our staff photo for 2018! We have over 50 members of staff working with us, and would like to thank them for making Villa Alba such a special place. Our great customer service is all because of their professional attitude and friendly smiles. Here are a few of the faces (including our dogs!) who will look after you during your visit.

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