Avoiding Ear Infections

Beauty & Aesthetics

Choosing a Liveaboard

Common Bathrooms

Mandi-Style Bathing

Periods & Boats without Toilets

Staying Warm, Gloves and Blisters

Choosing a Wetsuit


Climbing into Boats without Ladders

How to Stay Stationary Underwater

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Staying Warm

Are you the type who gets cold easily?

1) Invest in a hood. I did, and I absolutely love it. At first I was embarrassed because I was worried it made me look fussy and particular and leceh. But it keeps me very nice and warm and being nice and warm makes your dive that much more enjoyable. Plus, since wearing it, I don't even have to braid my hair because its texture provides the necessary friction to hold the mask strap in place. I just tie a low ponytail, twist it into a loose bun and pop the hood over it and everything is neat and snug. My Ralf Tech hood is my favourite piece of equipment and worth every cent. If I look leceh, so be it. I'm a girl, we're entitled to do leceh things.

(Leceh, pronounced lay-chay, is Bahasa Melayu for troublesome or fussy, eg. "getting to that remote part of the country is very Ieceh - you have to take a bus, then a ferry, then another bus ride". Or to describe a person - "his wife is very leceh when it comes to eating, her food must be done in a certain way, and the tablecloth has to match the napkins.")

2) Wear layers. For example, you could wear a shortie over your long wetsuit. Or you could invest in a neutrally-bouyant skinsuit to wear under your wetsuit. My default attire is my trusty hood, a Polyolefin suit from Aeroskin and a 3mm wetsuit. (The skinsuit is available from Richmond Supplies. The Richmond lady is mightily helpful too!) For water that's between 26-27 degrees Celcius, I throw on a third layer, a Ralftech 2:3 vest under my wetsuit and over my skinsuit. It adds a bit of bouyancy, like any new neoprene item, but I'd rather add on a weight than freeze.

3) After or in between dives, especially on a boat where you can't possibly curl up in a duvet, take off your wetsuit and put on a dry surfer's top (preferably long-sleeved). The material will keep you nice and warm.

4) Sheer desperation after a 26-degree dive and surfacing to 24-degree temperature, rain and biting wind, led me to this next discovery. Pour warm water down your wetsuit after or in between dives. I promise you it will make you stop shivering, close your eyes, and go 'aaaaaah'. Kind of like going to the toilet after a long wait.

But note that I say WARM water, not hot. Hot will burn you. If it's in between dives and I'm on the dive boat, I hold a cup of hot water (from the thermos flask) between my hands to warm up. When the water cools down, then I pour it down my wetsuit. If you're not sure if it's cooled down enough to pour down your wetsuit, take a sip. If you find yourself slurping it down, or blowing on the water, then it's too hot for your wetsuit. Wait a bit longer before pouring it down.

Warm, Not Hot!

Obviously, this is only possible if you have access to hot water. See, this is an example to hold your own against those snooty roughing-it types who laugh at you for having too high standards. If you followed their advice and went to a really basic place which can't even offer a hot water thermos flask on the boat, then you freeze to death. Girlfriend, is that what you really want???


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If you have odd-shaped feet or booties that don't fit very well, and end up with blisters after 5 consecutive days of hardcore diving, wear a pair of socks under your booties. Ever since I started wearing a pair of good, thick sports socks, I haven't got a single blister and my luggage space previously taken up by bandages and plasters is now freed up for other things.

For purely aesthetic reasons, I'd advise a black pair rather than white.

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Should I Wear Gloves While Diving?

The advantages of wearing gloves while diving are:


The disadvantages of wearing gloves are:

So, if you want to wear gloves, go ahead, but you MUST discipline yourself and resist the temptation to touch every single thing. (And if you want a recommendation, get a pair of Ralftech gloves... they're like luxury gloves for underwater.)

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