Category: Technical

Tech Fun Diving

Tech Fun Diving at Alba

Our local dive sites are perfect for both tech training and tech fun diving. The volcanic topography that is synonymous with Indonesia is very interesting to explore. As you venture out from the shore, the volcanic sand undulates as it slopes off deeper and deeper. Around 5km offshore the depth of the water is 1,400m, and although we don’t have any walls here, we can very easily find 80-100m depth quite close to shore. But that doesn’t mean that anything shallower than that is not worth a dive. On the way down to 80m you will see rock outcrops, fissure, cracks, and valleys.

In terms of marine life, apart from barrel sponge, you never really know what you might see. Reef sharks are fairly common, but there is always a chance of seeing thresher or hammerhead sharks, as well as mola mola depending on the time of year.

Our approach at Alba

Most technical diving facilities place such a huge emphasis on diver training, that fun diving barely even gets a mention. This is all too common, but doesn’t reflect what many divers want; most people don’t undertake tech training just for the sake of it, they do it so they can go fun diving at that level afterwards. We offer a range of tech fun diving, and offer guided decompression dives from 40m, down to 100m. If you are qualified to use a DPV then we can take those as well! As technical diving often includes numerous ways to achieve the same ends, discussions about dive planning and diving procedures can be as interesting as the dives themselves. Our tech instructor will provide thorough briefings to ensure that everyone is on the same page with regard to these before getting wet. Post dive de-briefings are also important from a safety point of view, and this is something that we also ascribe to.

Equipment rental

There is no substitute for having your own dive gear, and this is especially true of technical diving. But we know that having to carry all that gear around is annoying and expensive. We can provide all equipment for technical diving, from backplate and wing, to regulators, deco regulators, fins, and spools. But we do recommend that you bring your own fins, masks, DSMB, and tech shorts.

If you would like more information or have any questions about Tech Fun Diving at Villa Alba, please get in touch.

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Combined Tech Courses

Combined Tech Courses at Alba

Generally, it’s a good idea to get more experience between tech courses, in order to be properly prepared for the next one. However, depending on how much time you have, some courses allow you to progressive very effectively if combined with others. With some agencies, this is factored in to their core programs, such as the Raid Deco 50 course. However, the TDI equivalent of Deco 50 involves three courses; Intro to tech or Sidemount, advanced nitrox, and decompression procedures.

According to which level you are already at and how much time you have available, we can teach the following combinations of courses:

TDI 

  • Intro to tech and/or sidemount + advanced nitrox
  • Advanced nitrox + decompression procedures
  • Intro to tech and/or sidemount + advanced nitrox + decompression procedures
  • Advanced nitrox + decompression procedures + extended range

Raid

  • Sidemount + Deco 50
  • Deco 50 + some tech fun dives + deco 60

IANTD

  • Sidemount + technical diver

Continuation with courses to the next level will be dependent on performance during each level being trained, e.g. if you found it very challenging to achieve the requirements for advanced nitrox for example, you may not be allowed to progress on to decompression procedures. This will be at the instructor’s discretion. If you have a lot of time and feel that you need practice between courses, we can price up some fun dives in between.

If you would like more information or have any questions about Combined Tech Courses at Villa Alba, please get in touch.

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Gas Blending Courses

Gas Blending Courses at Alba

If you ever intend on working in the diving industry, you will be expected to be able to fill scuba tanks and blend nitrox. If you are involve in technical diving this may extend to blending trimix as well. If you only intend on diving for fun, you may still wish to blend your own gases at home (this is very common amongst technical divers in the UK).

The gas blender course includes theory on handling high pressure gas, safety considerations for using pure oxygen, and how to calculate the gas blends you require manually, or using software or via smartphone app. Much of the course is practical, showing you how to use a compressor safely, and giving you gas blending practice.

The advanced gas blending course includes the necessary requirements for mixing trimix. We can teach these courses through TDI and IANTD.

If you would like more information or have any questions about the Compressor Operator and Gas Blender course at Villa Alba, please get in touch.

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Trimix Diving Courses

Trimix Diving at Alba Diving Tulamben

The deeper you dive on air beyond 40m, the greater your level of narcosis. Narcosis reduces your awareness and reaction times, impairs your judgement, and clouds your decision making. The deeper you go, the worse it gets. The gas density of air also becomes an issue beyond 40m. It increases your risk of hypercapnia and immersion pulmonary edema (IPE). Similarly, you must also carefully manage your exposure to oxygen. Basically, deep diving on air is not a good idea.

The solution to this is trimix diving. Trimix contains oxygen, nitrogen and helium to reduce narcosis and work of breathing. Similarly, the amount of oxygen may also be reduced. Trimix is the optimal gas for deeper diving, and a trimix course is the next step for decompression divers.


Raid Deco 60

The Deco 60 course is a natural progression for anyone certified at the Deco 50 level or equivalent. You will learn to use two optimised decompression gases to a maximum of 60 metres/200ft. Your decompression obligation is limited only by the amount of gas you carry. Trimix with a minimum oxygen contend of 18% may used, and helium percentage is based on a 30 metre/100ft EAD/END. The course can be completed using a twinset or sidemount. The Raid materials are extensive and very up to date. You can complete the theory online.

Prerequisites for Deco 60 diver:

• You must be 18 years old or older.
• Be certified as a Deco 50 diver or equivalent.
• Have a minimum of 65 hours or 100 dives on open circuit.
• Undertaken 10 decompression dives.
• Logged 20 hours between 30 and 50 metres.


IANTD normoxic trimix & normoxic trimix+ diver

As with most IANTD programs, the materials for these courses are very comprehensive, with a lot of emphasis on physiology and decompression theory. You will learn to use two decompression gases to safely dive to a maximum depth of 60m (200ft). Normoxic+ involves undertaking additional dives to become qualified to dive to 70m (230ft). The maximum END is 39m for both courses.

Prerequisites for normoxic and normoxic+:

  • IANTD Advanced EANx Diver or higher or equivalent.
  • Must be a minimum of 18 years old.
  • You need to have logged 100 dives, 30 deeper than 27m (90ft).

If you would like more information or have any questions about Trimix Diving Courses at Villa Alba, please get in touch.

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Solo Diver Course

Solo Diver Course at Alba

Within the diving community, solo diving can be a very polarising topic; it’s either fine, or under no circumstances should you ever do it. We are a little in between these two positions at Alba. When we think of normal recreational diving with a buddy, the reality is that if you might well be the most competent and experienced diver in a group, and end up taking on the role of “babysitter”. This is because many divers are often bad buddies who don’t look out for other divers, or they simply don’t have the awareness or skills to look out for or assist others during a dive. If you are physically fit, and plan on undertaking a shallow no decompression dive at a known dive site with few hazards such as currents or boat traffic, we think that is your decision to make, as long as you have the training to do so. We also recommend that you have boat or shore support available.

Solo diving is not just a case of going off on your own with conventional scuba gear, you need to be completely self-sufficient, and have a good understanding of the gas you will need, plus a redundant supply. You should also be conversant and competent with a variety of emergency procedures. Solo diving is most commonly undertaken by underwater photographers that need to spend time in one place to compose their shot, without feeling pressured to move on by the group. Yet, even if you never plan to go off for a dive by yourself, undertaking a solo diver course will make you a better buddy. For this reason alone, it is worth doing.


SDI Solo Diver


The SDI Solo Diver course goes through the equipment, skills, gas planning and management, and diving procedures associated with solo diving. It is very comprehensive, covering the following:

  • Why solo dive?
  • History of buddy diving
  • Pros and cons of buddy diving and solo diving
  • Legal liability assumed by buddy diving
  • The solo diving mentality
  • When not to solo dive
  • Equipment for solo diving
  • Planning and conducting a solo dive
  • Navigation
  • Management of solo diving emergencies

The course is normally conducted over two days, and consists of some theory, an equipment workshop, and two open water dives. The second open water dive is a solo dive, with the instructor agreeing to expect you back on the surface at a previously agreed time, near to your descent location. During your dive they will be acting as shore or boat support.

Prerequisites:
In order to enrol on the course, you need to:

  • Minimum age 21
  • Certified SDI Advanced Diver or equivalent
  • Provide proof of 100 logged dives

For more information on the SDI Solo Diver course, please click here. 

If you would like more information or have any questions about the Solo Diver Course at Villa Alba, please get in touch.

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Decompression Courses

Decompression Courses at Alba

Decompression diving involves intentionally going beyond your No Decompression Limits (NDLs) to achieve longer bottom times. This has many advantages and does not necessarily mean diving to great depths.

It all depends on the kind of diving you want to do. There are lots of wrecks in the 30-40m range that can be frustrating to explore when staying within your NDLs.

Going beyond your NDLs on a single tank is not a safe way to dive for a variety of reasons. Gas supply is inadequate, you have no redundancy of supply or back up in case of equipment or buddy failure, air is an inefficient decompression gas, and any emergency or situation that occurs during a dive must be dealt with underwater, which recreational training does not prepare you for.

Similarly, nitrox is not normally an option because you will likely get low on air before you get the chance to take advantage of longer NDLs at depth. Decompression diving in a twinset or sidemount will give you the time you want to properly explore during the bottom portion of your dive.

Learning decompression diving builds upon the foundational skills learned in the sidemount or intro to tech courses, and teaches a variety of skills, procedures, equipment use and theory that includes:

  • Decompression theory
  • Gas planning and gas management
  • Risk management
  • Team protocols- roles, fault-finding..
  • Equipment selection and use
  • Diving procedures
  • Managing decompression cylinders
  • Oxygen management
  • Emergency skills and procedures
  • Dive planning using software
  • Decompression model choice

Decompression Dive Training at Alba

Technical training at Alba is always incremental. We also have a policy of doing more dives on courses than are normally required. There is little point whizzing through the theory, skills and diving procedures, and then only giving you the chance to practice over 3 or 4 dives before deciding whether you meet the requirements or not.

Keeping it simple

The knowledge and procedures necessary to undertake decompression diving safely take time to develop, and our philosophy is keeping it simple increases safety. For example, if you are writing down extensive dive plans on a slate, this is hardly keeping it simple. Devoting most of your brain during a dive to refer and stick to a bunch of numbers on your slate is an unnecessary distraction from the dive at hand.

For decompression diving in the 40-60m range, your dive plan should be in your head and written only as a back-up in your wetnotes. There are numerous other examples. Task fixation and loss of situational awareness are proven to reduce safety in the airline industry and medical profession. Diving is no different, and our approach is all about Safety, simplicity, streamlining, and optimal equipment.

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Raid Deco 40/TDI Advanced Nitrox Course

Raid Deco 40 and Advanced Nitrox Course at Alba

If you have already completed TDIs Intro to Tech/sidemount, or the Raid sidemount course, the next step is to undertake either TDI advanced nitrox, or the Raid Deco 40 course.


Raid Deco 40

The Deco 40 program was written with recreational divers in mind. You can complete the course in a single tank with a stage cylinder. But in our opinion this it is better to undertake the course in conjunction with sidemount, or learn to dive in a twinset first. Then you have consistency with any further training. After completing the course you will be qualified to undertake 10 minutes of decompression using a single decompression gas.

Course outline: 4 days

  • Equipment and dive planning workshops.
  • Dry land skills practice (land drills).
  • 6 dives.
  • Max depth- 40m.
  • Maximum of 10 minutes of decompression.

Course schedule

  • Day 1- Equipment configuration, theory, land drills, and pool session.
  • Day 2- Theory, 2 skills dives.
  • Day 3- Theory, 2 dives.
  • Day 4- Dive planning, 2 dives.

Prerequisites:
Requirements for this course include:

  • The diver must be a minimum of 16 years old and a certified diver for at least 3 months.
  • They should be a Certified RAID Explorer 30 or RAID Advanced 35 diver or equivalent.
  • Divers must be certified as RAID Nitrox and RAID Deep 40 diver or equivalent and at least 20 logged hours underwater or 40 dives using open circuit.

For more information about the Raid Deco 40 Dive Course, please click here.


TDI Advanced Nitrox

This course follows on from the intro to tech or sidemount course to introduce the diving methods and procedures that you will use for decompression diving. A lot of emphasis is put on use of a stage cylinder, and undertaking dives according to a plan. You then have a good base to start the decompression procedures course.

Although TDI allows you to take this course without any previous experience of diving in a twinset, we require that you are already certified as an intro to tech or sidemount diver, or have a lot of diving experience in these configurations. Otherwise the learning curve is just too great in the available time.

The course covers the following:

  • Optimal equipment use.
  • Stage setting up, rigging, and handling.
  • Dive planning using software.
  • Ascent procedures.
  • Diving procedures associated decompression diving.
  • Gas switching procedures.
  • Emergency procedures and fault-finding.
  • Risk management.
  • Oxygen tracking and management.
  • Team roles and responsibilities.
  • Gas planning.

Course outline: 4 days

  • Theory sessions
  • Equipment and dive planning workshops.
  • Dry land skills practice (land drills).
  • 6 dives.
  • Max depth- 40m.

Course schedule

  • Day 1- Equipment configuration, theory, and land drills.
  • Day 2- Theory, 2 skills dives.
  • Day 3- Theory, 2 dives.
  • Day 4- Dive planning, 2 dives.

Prerequisites:
Pre-course requirements include:

  • Minimum age 18, 15 with parental consent.
  • Minimum certification of TDI Nitrox Diver or equivalent.
  • Proof of 25 logged open water dives.

For more information about the TDI Advanced Nitrox Diver Course, please click here.

If you would like more information or have any questions about Advanced Nitrox Diving at Villa Alba, please get in touch.

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