Reef Report for Wednesday, March 21, 2001
Scuba Safety on the Reef: Dive In!
Cairns has been blessed again with a week of sunshine and idyllically flat and clear conditions on the reef.
Crew on board Scubapro reported visibility at Milln and Flynn reefs as 20 metres or more, and under the Atlantic Clipper on Norman Reef, crew had 20 to 25 metres.
Wind has been minimal, and it looks like conditions should stay perfect for the duration of the weekend. Life is grand in Cairns!
The weather people predict east to southeasterly winds to blow 10 to 15 knots and mainly fine conditions.
One of the most important steps in having a safe scuba diving experience is taken before you even get into the water in what is known as "the buddy check." This must take place once you and your buddy are geared up and are about to enter the water. Most boats that depart from Cairns have a giant-stride entry to the water, so it is vital that the buddy check is performed and your air is turned on.
The buddy check involves checking your diving buddy’s equipment and airflow, as you may have a problem underwater and need to share air or equipment. This procedure has evolved over the years into a fun acronym, BWRAF.
Though traditionally translated as Begin With Review And Friend, some folks like to call it
Big White Rabbits are Fluffy or Beer Wine Rum And Fun. The wildest interpretation is Big Willies Really Are Fun. Whatever your personal favorite, what the key letter prompts you to do is what is important.
-B stands for Buoyancy Control Device, your BCD. You must ensure that it is correctly fitted (right size) and that all the parts of it are in the right position and correctly attached.
-W stands for weight belt. The weight belt must have a right hand release, and the correct amount of weights should be on. Not too many, not too little.
-R stands for releases. Releases are buckles and clasps that hold the BCD together, and hold the tank to the BCD. Familiarization and ability to open and close and adjust should take place.
-A stands for air. The air should be turned ON. Both regulator and spare air (octopus) should be breathed from to make sure airflow is not hard to get and that it doesn’t smell or taste funny. Funny smelling air could mean that the air is contaminated.
-F stands for Final OK. Make sure that everything is in place and tangle free. Mask, snorkel, and fins should be in hand, or on if you are about to enter the water. Don’t forget to spit heartily into the mask and then rinse well so that fogging does not occur. Give the "OK" signal to your buddy, checking that they are ready to go, and then you are away!!!
This is a brief overview of the buddy process. If you need to know more, check out your local dive center for an update, or better yet, undertake a refresher session with a qualified instructor and tune up your scuba skills for safer diving.
The weekly reef report is written by Sue-Anne Chapman of Pro Dive Cairns, who compiles them from the many conversations she has with divers, dive instructors, captains, and others in the Cairns dive community. The report is published weekly in the Cairn Post, the local daily paper and appears here thanks to the courtesy of Pro Dive Cairns.
Index of all reef reports.