First up, whats the difference between recreational sidemount and technical sidemount? Technical sidemount or the SSI XR sidemount program is an add on to the recreational sidemount course. On top of using the complete sidemount system, XR sidemount prepares divers to handle additional tanks also known as stage tanks. This sets the foundations to pursuing advanced tech programs such as the Extended Range 45M on a sidemount configuration. Generally, the XR sidemount course is an excellent entry level to technical diving. It's a prelude to the vital skills one will acquire in their pursuit of being a tech diver.
The XR Sidemount is extremely popular with those who have completed their Advanced certification and eager to explore other dive configurations other than the single tank back mount. The advantages for using the complete sidemount system in open water is extensive and strengthens dive basics such as buoyancy, redundancy and trim.
When it comes to diving, Bali offers one of the most well known wrecks in the world - The USAT LIBERTY. However, the Liberty is mostly an open wreck and offers little for penetration. In comes the Boga Wreck - Situated 10 Mins from Big Fins, the Boga provides a great opportunity for wreck penetration. With its box holes and station Jeep, the Boga is the perfect obstacle course for the XR Wreck program.
The XR Wreck program is designed to give divers the right tools to safely penetrate wrecks up to depths of 40m. Popular with both Advanced certified and XR certified divers, the XR Wreck program trains divers to plan and execute wreck dives within certified levels harnessing the knowledge of mapping, entry & exit procedure and guide lines. Advanced certified divers are able to plan 40m wreck dives without decompression whilst XR divers are able to undertake decompression to certified limits.
Often overlooked but an all important training is the Gas Blender. The gases divers breathe underwater is THE vital life sustenance. Having the ability to perform gas mixes, gives divers the peace of mind and precision for technical diving. This is especially true for decompression dives where composition of gases such as Nitrox 50, Nitrox 80, Trimix 18/35 become key features of dive planning. To have the ability to understand these and other mixes is a skill much sought after by team divers and dive centres.
Popular with Dive Master candidates, the gas blender gives a much needed value added skill to those who seek to pursue professional careers in the dive industry. However, the importance of this skill cannot be overstated when quality of what we breathe should never be understated.
XR NITROX 40M
The XR Nitrox program is popular with underwater photography enthusiasts who often wished for that extra time needed to capture that one moment. Setting up that perfect underwater shot is never easy but running out of No Decompression Limit is. Thus, the XR Nitrox program allows divers to plan a non-accelerated decompression dive with the available “back” gas with required staged decompression stops of no more than 15 minutes. We highly recommend divers to package the XR nitrox program with the XR sidemount course giving photographers a more balanced and perfect trim for setting up those arduous shots.
It is also popular highly with divers who are pursuing a Deep Specialty and sets up as the perfect Dive+. The Deep Specialty program trains divers to dive to 40m on a recreational level. Divers will often find the No Decompression Limit at 40m is highly restrictive. Thus, the XR Nitrox program expands on these limitations and serves as a critical continuity to training. Deep dives with staged decompression adds an additional level of safety and continuity that enable Deep Specialty students to fully experience 40m dives. Thumbs up to all divers who have combined their Deep Specialty with XR Nitrox program.
EXTENDED RANGE 45M
Alas, with effects of global warming, marine life increasingly seeks shelter in deeper waters. Naturally, however, larger marine life such as the Mola Molas, dwell deeper than recreational dive limits. And, there are some of us who simply want to get tad bit deeper to be away from other divers and experience the serenity of coral beds with close mates in their own space and time. But regardless of preference, the number one reason divers train to become Extended Range certified is to plan and execute longer, safer dives at depths till 45m. This course arms divers with the critical knowledge and skills to conduct decompression dives. It is important to note that even though divers will be certified up to 45m, the program is a lot more than achieving depth. Divers are able to conduct decompression dives even at shallower depths with staged decompression of up to 25 minutes. This is especially beneficial to completely experience a dive site such as the USAT Liberty in Tulamben Bali. Most divers are unaware and unable to experience corals beds in the “Liberty Garden” to its fullest because they are untrained to conduct decompression dives even at depths of 27m. This dynamic course will prepare divers with interesting physiological theories and leave divers in amazement as to what an amazing “machine” our body is.
We highly recommend, based on latest medical findings that candidates opt to use Trimix for this program. Helium is an expensive gas, however understanding the benefits of Helium in relation to gas density would mean trainees have adopted better dive practices early in their technical dive journey.
TECHNICAL EXTENDED RANGE 50M/60M
Dive sites in Tulamben have been known to have a little bit of everything - Fom the most sought after Nudis to elusive thresher sharks and hammerheads. The issue is, these sharks often dwell deeper than most divers care to go. But at Big Fins we spend big time training so that we can sight these big fishes. The thrill of even glimpsing marine life of this magnitude makes the training all worthwhile.
The Technical Extended Range gives trainees an opportunity to build on their knowledge and skills acquired at the Extended Range program. With 2 stage tanks means additional safety considerations such as gas MOD are in order. The 60M program is a compulsory trimix course where candidates utilise helium on decompression dives to reduce the impact of nitrogen at depth. Again, with the progress of medical science and current knowledge of Gas Density and its impact, Helium plays a pivotal physiological role in enabling divers to reach to depths with higher safety margins.
This program is highly popular with those who have completed their extended range and want to explore famous wrecks around the world that are resting deeper than 50m.
Every diver has a different SAC (Surface to Air Consumption) rate. Generally, males, larger individuals and task loaded (e.g marco photography) divers tend to breathe down their tanks faster than others. Shorter dive times mean under utilised dive holidays. Introducing the Horizon SCR - A semi-closed rebreather that boasts REVO technology designed to give novice divers more dive freedom.
Promised to improve dive durations 3-8 times more, the Horizon SCR is our latest addition to our training programs. The simplicity of use means new divers who have completed Open Water and have added specialties of Nitrox & Deep can begin training on this revolutionary unit. Though we suspect it is going to be highly popular with many divers, the ergonomical design means divers pursuing photographing macro life will reap the benefits the Horizon the most.
Unlike CCR units, the Horizon is far more economically prized and can be certified for both No Decompression Limit and limited Deco dives.