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Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship Blog – Cameron’s First Week!

Hola a todos!
My name is Cameron and I am Paradise Divers next victim… I mean…. Divemaster Intern!DSCF4206 I have been in Tenerife just over a week now and it has been an amazing experience. Dan and Carly have been very welcoming and have made my transition to island diving life very easy. It has been a very steep learning curve the first week on the job, from learning the ins and outs of the dive shop, to knowing my way around the boat, and the various dive sites on offer in Tenerife.

The marine life is abundant and very diver friendly here. My first dive at El Puertito I got to meet with some of the local turtles including Jose and Julio who gave me a friendly welcome to the island. I came to Tenerife with only 4 dives under my belt and have almost reached the 20 dive mark already. By the end of summer I will have well over 100 dives and a wealth of diving knowledge to share with others. I have already completed my Advanced Open Water course and will be completing my Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver course by weeks end.

I am looking forward to a fun and challenging summer completing my Divemaster course. You will be hearing a lot more from me in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Hasta el proximo tiempo ,

Cam J

Paradise Divers – Marine Life – Cuttlefish

I think Cuttlefish are among one of the most unusual  species found in our ocean.  We luckily see them at most of our dives sites here in Tenerife, its always interesting to watch them change colour and pattern so rapidly depending on their mood and to become camouflaged to match their background.   I have not yet witnessed them when they feel threatened, but they are known to release ink to try and confuse their predator.

They belong to the same family as squid and Octupus, in turn

Cuttle Fish Alcala August 12th 2014they  are among the most intelligent invertebrates and have one of the largest brain-to-body size ratios of all invertebrates.

They have a unique internal shell, known as the cuttlebone, which is gas filled and the cuttlefish use this to assist with their buoyancy control. Today, cuttlebones are commonly used as calcium-rich dietary supplements for caged birds, chinchillas, hermit crabs, reptiles and snails. 

Cuttlefish eat small molluscs, crabs, shrimp, fish, octopodes, worms, and other cuttlefish.  They use their camouflage to hunt and sneak up on their prey. They swim at the bottom, where shrimp and crabs are found and shoot out a jet of water to uncover the prey buried in the sand. Then when the prey tries to get away, the cuttlefish open their arms and shoot out two long feeding tentacles to grab them. On the end of each, a pad covered in suckers grabs and pulls prey toward its beak, where it gets paralyzed by venom and then eaten.

Cuttlefish are also known to rapidly change their colors to achieve an effect of hypnosis to stun their prey before catching and consumption.

Their predators include dolphins, sharks, fish, seals, seabirds, and other cuttlefish. The average life expectancy of a cuttlefish is about one to two years.

Male cuttlefish challenge one another for dominance and the best den during mating season. During this challenge, no direct contact is usually made. The animals threaten each other until one of them backs down and swims away. Eventually, the larger male cuttlefish mate with the females by grabbing them with their tentacles, turning the female so that the two animals are face-to-face, then using a specialized tentacle to insert sperm sacs into an opening near the female’s mouth. The male then guards the female until she lays the eggs a few hours later.

The most successful  methods to acquire a mate is camouflage; smaller cuttlefish will use their camouflage abilities to disguise themselves as a female cuttlefish. Changing their body color, concealing their extra arms (males have four pairs, females only have three), and even pretending to be holding an egg sack, disguised males are able to swim past the larger guard male and mate with the female.

As I mentioned, they are very intelligent!

By Carly Pickford.

Paradise Divers – Marine Life – Moray eel

The moray eel is a large species of eel found in warm and temperate waters all around the world. Despite their snake-like appearance, moray eels are in fact fish and not reptiles.

Moray eels are found in both deep and shallow waters in tropical and sub-tropical regions at depths of less than 50m.  At our dive sites here in Tenerife, you will commonly see three different types, the brown, the black and the fang tooth moray.

They vary in size, but grow averagely up to 100cm in length.  The fang tooth moray can be distinguished from the other morays by its bright yellow and black markings. It’s elongated jaw and large number of sharp glass like teeth, give it a more aggressive appearance. 

They don’t see very well but they make up for it with their very excellent sense of smell. They tend to do their hunting at night and rely on smell to help them get their prey. Some types of fish will follow them to be able to avoid predators themselves.

The moray eel is a relatively secretive animal, spending much of its time hiding in holes and crevices amongst the rocks on the ocean floor. By spending the majority of their time hiding, moray eels are able to remain out of sight from predators and are also able to ambush any unsuspecting prey that passes.

Like many other large fish, the moray eel is a carnivorous animal surviving on a diet that consists of only meat. Fish,  including squid, octopuses, cuttlefish and crustaceans such as crabs are the main source of food for the moray eel.

The moray eel is often one of the most dominant predators within its environment but moray eels are hunted by some other animals including other large fish like grouper, barracuda and sharks.  Moray’s normally grab their prey using an element of surprise, then they wrap their body around it until it becomes flat enough to swallow.  Alternatively they take a bite at a time, tearing their prey apart.  They have two sets of teeth, one located in the jaw and the other in the throat to facilitate digestion.  They keep their mouths open constantly in order to assist with breathing and provide constant circulation of water towards the gills. 

Moray eels tend to mate when the water is warmest towards the end of the summer.  Moray eel’s fertilisation process occurs outside of the womb, in the surrounding water. More than 10,000 eggs can be released at a time, which develop into larvae and become part of the plankton. It can take up to year for the moray eel larvae to have grown big enough to swim down to the ocean floor to join the community below.

 

At many of our interesting sites in Tenerife, you will find cleaner shrimp providing a cleaning service to the moray eel. They remove parasites from their bodies, mouth and in between their teeth, providing a good source of nutrition to the shrimp.

I find Moray eels fascinating to watch, they may appear frightening to look at but they are not aggressive and would only react in self defense if we make them feel threatened…. or you wave your fingers near them and they mistake them as food!

By Carly Pickford

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Paml mar Cave (3)

Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship Blog – Carrie’s 10th Week!

It’s now on my 10th week and time is near the end.  I have a handful of skills and such to complete as well as a few of my specialty courses as well.  These last few weeks will be crunch time.  Mapping project of Punta Maravilla is done.  I didn’t think drawing a map was even possible or within my skill set, but it turned out to be not so bad after all.

I’m rounding out 90 dives now and should have surpassed 100 by the end, which was a goal of mine when coming here.  Another thing that I am able to check off of on my list.  I also played an unresponsive diver this week and that was an eye opening experience.  I was no longer in the driver’s seat that I had been in during my rescue course; I was the victim.  It was a great experience to know and see how someone else reacts in the same situation.  You aren’t “alive” to give them pointers or help them in getting off your gear.

In the past 2 weeks I have noticed significant changes in the ocean.  The high winds and rough seas have passed and with it the low visibility.  The last couple dives have been calm and visibility has been spectacular to say the least.  In doing the wreck, El Condesito, I felt like I could see so many more parts of the ship and could see the ship from a ways back and it was much easier in my mind to reconstruct what the ship looked like previously.  El Puertito has never looked so alive since much of the sand has settled out of the water.  The amount of fish seems to have tripled there simply because you are able to see more clearly.  The clear water also helped me spot an electric ray at Punta Maravilla as well.  They have an amazing camouflage and I think I may not have spotted them had the visibility not improved.

As for me personally, I have traded my days off during the week for the month of March to go spend a few days with friends in Munich.  I am really looking forward to going as a few of my friends meeting me there I have not seen in 2 years.  It will be a great chance to not only see what Bavaria has to offer, but catch up as well.  This also means going back to the cold weather.  I am pretty far removed from the lower temperatures at this point and presume it will come as a big shock.  I have been very spoiled here on the island with fantastic weather all the time.  This is truly an ideal place to live and dive all year round.

I am looking forward to finishing up this next couple weeks and be the Divemaster I came here to be.  I’ll be excited to attend the next dry dive for my Grand Rapids Scuba Club and report on my time here.  I know many have seen the pictures I have posted online, but I haven’t had much chance to catch up with anyone to tell them of my progress and my divealicious adventures.

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Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship Blog – Carrie’s 8th Week!

Time is flying here. I’m on week 8 of this trip and I can’t believe it.  I have a lot to report in this blog so hold onto your hats; it is going to get windy.

I have begun the mapping project of Punta Maravilla with Carly.  I have completed the necessary slides for the dive briefing, we just need to collaborate and put together a comprehensive underwater map of the area. I have done the site only 2 times so right now formulating a sketch seems impossible.  I know that with more time and maybe bringing a slate with me to sketch underwater will be a big help.

Emergency action plan for El Condesito has also been completed and I have successfully put together a template for an emergency that may arise at this particular site. The plan is comprehensive and contains information on the coordinates, a list of actions to take, dialogue information for calling EMS as well as emergency phone numbers and a map to the nearest hospital.

I have now done a few dive briefings and am comfortable in doing them as well as leading dives.  I have a few sites I am comfortable with and would be able to lead in the event I am needed.  I enjoy being in the lead, every time I make it back to the anchor it’s like a little pat on the back… you made it Carrie.

I finished watching the PADI Divemaster video and have read the Divemaster manual and completed all the knowledge reviews.  A bit of study and I am ready for the exam!  I have a now put effort into the water skills such as a timed 800 meter snorkel and a 100 meter tired diver tow.  I also need to prepare for the underwater assessment of the basic open water competencies.  There are 24 to be exact.

On the more personal side, I went and enjoyed Carnaval this last weekend in Santa Cruz.  It was not a Rio de Janeiro size celebration, but it was a great time nonetheless.  The amount of effort that everyone puts into their costumes was incredible.  Everyone was there to enjoy themselves and it was apparent by the amount of empty alcohol bottles, smiles and people dancing in the streets until the wee hours of the morning.  I highly recommend that everyone goes at least once in their life to see the effort put into the festival.  I also went rappelling down a valley here.  Now that was intense.  It looks much easier than it actually is.  I was holding on for dear life over a 100 foot drop and caves the size of a two-story house.  I finally got the hang of it on about the 3rd drop of 5.  It was a wonderful sense of accomplishment to look up from the bottom and see just how far down I had gone.

Next week my intentions are to finish up a few more specialty courses and plug along with the water skills. I had better get off the toilet now…. Dan is probably wondering where I am.  I’ll catch back up with you in 2 weeks time.

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Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship Blog – October – Harrison

 

Hello again,

Finally I’ve reached the required number of dives (60) to be passed off as a Divemaster. Although unfortunately I’ve been stuck at this number now for a few days due to catching a cold, and not being able to equalize below 2 meters!!! Very annoying.DSCF0341

On the other hand this has given me time in the dive centre to catch up on the theory side of things.

Oliver and I, another Divemaster in training, have been doing our mapping project for a site called ‘Los Arcos’ recently too, which involves drawing a detailed map of the site after diving it a few times, including depths, distances, compass bearings, and presenting it all onto a power point presentation ready to use in an actual briefing, And the leading the dive too.map of los arcos

Everything so far is going great and I recently purchased a new Scubatech wet suit from the paradise divers shop so I really look the part now. It’s hard working in a dive centre which sells so much good gear; I just want all of it!suit

Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship – April – Benjamin


Two weeks ago we finished our Rescue Diver Course and we immediately started our Divemaster Course. We received a large bag with two books, a couple of training guides, the training log book with Instructor manual and the Divemaster dvd. The dark blue booklet is my dive log, which I purchased on my own.

Divemaster Package
A picture of the Divemaster package with my logbook at the top.

This is definitely a different type of  course. Erin and I started right away, reading as fast as we could. Paula was already ahead of us, as she started the internship a month ahead of us. The first half of the book went quickly, PADI Divemaster professionalism, responsibilities, etc., but the second half goes into more complex ideas of pressure, volume, density and dive related injuries, like Decompression Sickness. It’s quite a bit more challenging than the first part.

Training

We have to meet certain challenges to become a Divemaster: 800m snorkel, 400m swim, 15 minute float with the final 2 minutes hands free, 100m tired diver tow (literally dragging a person in the water), and the big one is a complete exchange of equipment, underwater, sharing one regulator. These are all timed depending on how fast you are, you get a certain amount of points, of which you need a certain amount to pass the course. We have finished all of them, with the exception of the equipment exchange. I came in first on the swim, Paula was first on the snorkel race, and Erin was first on the tired diver tow. It was nice that we all got the best time on one challenge each. The float isn’t a race, you have to do fifteen minutes; the grade is based on how well you tread water.

Diving

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Above: Tara gets the Open Water Divers ready with their skills and on the right, we are relaxing with some coffee and lunch between dives.

We had a very busy two weeks here. We started on April 20th with an Open Water Course that turned out to be challenging, as two of them had trouble with some of the course and one ended up leaving; diving was not for him. The others did great and passed the course very happy, one is even thinking about returning as an intern. Then we started mapping out a site called the Crane. Every Divemaster has to map one site and ours is huge since there are three of us: Paula, Erin and I. It is IMG_1052also covered in Sea Urchins and the depth can very from 9 meters to 20+. We have found it challenging to say the least. Mapping involves literally drawing the most detailed map of the site possible, marking the route with bearings, depths and finding every point of interest possible and then putting all of this information into a presentation so that we can present it, and dive it with our instructor as he grades us. We have dived it four times thus far and we still have several more to go.
Later in the week we were hit with lots of divers, so it was up to Erin and I to go on the dives with them because Paula hurt her ears and has been out of the water. I did 13 dives in seven days, which is a record for me, and I am up to 94 dives total. Coming up is the special 100th, where tradition has it, you dive naked. We will see how that goes.

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Above: On our way in the dive van to our last Open Water Dive.

 

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On a non-diving day we helped clean and repaint cylinders to meet a new Spanish standard.

 

Living
IMG_1063Things have been good at home. Erin and I have become more productive now that we have a solid goal in front of me. We have spent hours on our days off studying and learning. The cat has made one smelly return since I put out the sensor air fresheners, but I have been checking every morning and I haven’t see any sign of him. So hopefully he is gone for good this time.
The weather is beginning to warm up and so is the water. It’s gone up a degree and the sun is coming out more. Luckily our apartment gets the morning sun so our place doesn’t get too warm.

IMG_1055This the hardest part of our commute to work. We have to go up and down this gorge twice a day. In the back is a bridge that they are building. They were talking about it for six years and they have been building it for four months. In any other modern country it would have been finished in a month.

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Our commute has grown more beautiful as summer approaches.

 

Paradise Divers Divemaster Internship – Week 2&3 – Paula

 

DIVEMASTER INTERNSHIP-PAULA

Hello!! Welcome to my blog from Paradise Divers Tenerife.

These past weeks I have finished my PADI Advance Open Water course, I choose: deep dive, buoyancy, navigation, wreck and photography. For the wreck dive we went to Tabaiba, I enjoy it a lot and we got to see little pink nudibranch, called flabelina, awesome! For the photography dive we went to Las Eras, I really liked an immersion, which we were looking for nice things to make picture to. However take pictures underwater is not that easy, because everything is moving all the time. Yet, after some editing I end up with some cool pictures.

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At Paradise divers we had an 8 years old kid doing Discover Scuba Diver, I assisted Tara at the instruction. It is amazing how fast they understand and learn how to use the scuba diving equipment. For this kid it was his first time using even the fins, and it was incredible how confortable he was under the water. We had lots of fun playing with underwater toys –A rocket, Frisbee and even golf balls.

 

I also get to know some new dive sites (new for me) like “Cueva de los cerebros”, which is a very big cave with white sponges that look like brains. In side the cave we found 2 very big Atlantic stingrays and at least one medium one. It was amazing; we stay quite long time looking at them closely.blog2

I am about to complete the emergency responder course, which I found extremely interesting and useful.

One friend of mine, Claudia, came to dive with us one day to celebrate her birthday. We did two pretty wonderful dives at Alcala and El Puertito. We spotted ayellow snake eel at Alcala and we play with the group of roncadores.blog3 Claudia got to meet the turtles at El Puertito, Jose came to see us couple of times. We had a very good time!blog5

 

 

I am already studding for the rescue diver course. It is fascinating learning about the possible problems, which can occur while diving and how to solve them. I am looking forward do the practices.

 

Keep diving and see you next week!!!blog4

Divemaster Internship blog – Alvaro week 4

Hi everyone again.
This has been the first week without Gabor in the dive center. Another week leaves us without realizing it, and soon I’ll have my first month in Tenerife. This week we did just a few dives, partly because of the weather wasn’t good at all (even the boss Tara had the flu due to so many climate changes, and is still recovering herself slowly) but nevertheless we hadn’t less work in the dive center. There has been time for everything, and so many new things.DSCF2278
We had several Discover Scuba Diving, and I began to give lectures to students by myself, one in English and one in Spanish fully taught by me, the English one with a guy who had a really bad experience some time ago and was scared to try again, but I’m glad he left so happy and thanking us a lot after 1 ½ hDSCF2227ours in the pool. He’ll be ready to keep learning in the future. We had two dives in El Puertito, the first one, with Jose and Julio sooo friendly, even hungry I would say, after so many days of bad weather, no divers around them, they would miss us I guess. In one of the Dive Try we found a Butterfly Ray of about 2 meters, even Gabor (who came to DSCF2311dive with his girlfriend and her brother) touched it unwittingly due to its camouflage on the sand.
The days of bad weather we had jobs in the dive center, order, cleanliness, and Dan teaching me to service regulators. Oh my god!! Disassemble, clean everything, acid here, antiacid there, now washing, change this piece, now everything perfectly dry and reassemble it piece by piece (a real puzzle, and surprisingly no part was lost), introduce myself in the infinite world of O-Rings (used for absolutely everything! And there are some O-ring even in the most unexpected places), then assemble it all, Dan testing everything, checking everything works perfectly, calibrate, test them in the water to confirm that everything is perfectly assembled. This really would not be part of a Divemaster internship, but I find it super useful, both as a general knowledge of the world of diving, and to better understand how everything works inside, the importance of maintaining all equipment, having them serviced and reasons make them fail (sand, salt, threaded that are lost, etc).DSCF2446
Finally to end the week, we have two groups of certified divers who will dive with us several days. Graham and Charlotte (they did their Open Water Divers with Paradise Divers earlier this year and enjoyed it so much they returned just to dive) and 3 guys more popping up, 2 Advanced Open Water, and a friend of them for a Discover Scuba Diving.
On Sunday we had dives on Marazul Pinnacle (not sure if you remember but is the dive Gabor and me made for our Mapping Project), and in which Graham had to give up because he felt a little sick during the dive, and I ended up leading with the remaining 3 divers. Then to finish the Sunday we went to El Porís (my first time there), a shallow dive, where we saw an Angel Shark quite large (my first time with them too).
So far my fourth blog.
I hope next one comes with many more experiences and things I’ll tell you next week

Green Sea Turtles Tenerife

I thought that the turtles we see on a regular basis deserve a blog of their own – so this is for:
Jose, Juan (Mohicana) and Julio in El Puertito
Juan (Alcalá), Javier and Bob in Alcalá

Green Turtles: Chelonia mydas

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The green turtle is one of the largest sea turtles and the only herbivore (Although we do know they also like a bit of dead fish as other divers/Snorkelers/Day boats use this to attract them) among the different species.DSCF2642

Green turtles are in fact named for the greenish color of their cartilage and fat, not their shells. Like other sea turtles, they migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches from where they hatched. Classified as endangered, green turtles are threatened by overharvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults, being caught in fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sites.

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Wakey Wakey Jose

When born, green sea turtles are only 5 cm (2 in) long. But they grow up to 1.5 meters (5 ft) in length and can weigh over 300 kg (700 lbs), making them the largest of the sea turtles.

 

peek a boo
peek a boo

Green sea turtles are able to hold their breath for up to 5 hours at a time.  Most sea turtles can only hold their breath for 30 minutes. Green sea turtles slow their hear rate down to one beat every 9 minutes so therefore can stay submurged much longer. Pretty incredible!

The Green sea turtle is very inquisitive, they will often approach us while diving – My favorite time on a guided dive is when I check around to ensure everyone is OK and the turtle (normally Jose) is just swimming happily behind them joining us on our guided dive, without them even noticing!

Bob in Alcala
Bob in Alcala

A few of the local turtles are being tracked by seaturtle.org a conservation group to determine the origin of these individuals, know their distribution in this area, determine the habitats that they are using and define if they are linked or not to protected areas.

Juan (Mohicana) in El Puertito
Juan (Mohicana) in El Puertito

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the data by clicking the link below or on the name of the turtle at the top of the page

http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?project_id=988

 

Happy Diving all