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Guitar Blues + tec addition

March 21, 2010

Congrats to Matt for his victory in the Name That Fish! competition.  And a high five to all remaining participants, Cam.  Tom’s first draft came out in German, but we’re working on that.  I’ll let you know.

It’s Ko Tao festival right now and the island is mad.  Traffic is precarious and the mechanics are as busy as ever.

I bought myself a guitar a couple weeks ago.  The only thing is it’s the hardest guitar in the world to keep in tune.  This section is for Scott because sometimes my diving talk doesn’t make any sense.  The problem with the tuning is the pegs on the bridge at the back of the guitar don’t fit properly in the holes.  Therefore, whenever you tighten the strings the back ends get pulled out.  To fix this, I took the low E-string (the fattest one) from the old set of strings and ran it through the eyelet of all the other strings after I feed them through the bridge.  This caught the strings on the underside of the soundboard (the top) and allows me to fully tighten the strings.  The pain-in-the-ass of it all is whenever you increase or decrease the tension of one string, it usually affects another, or all others.  This means there is a very particular combination of individual string tensions in order to achieve a proper (or as close to possible) tune.  That and I have to do it by ear since you can’t find an electric tuner on this island.  But I love the guitar and it’s definitely nice to have something else to do in Diving Village (my home).

Work is good and I’m busy most days, but class sizes are real small.  It should stay busy for another couple weeks, but things are expected to slow right down sometime in April.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  I have some money saved, incredibly, and I was thinking of trying to get in some other diving elsewhere if there is no work to be found on Ko Tao.  I thought about a live-aboard, where you go out on a boat for several days and dive more remote locations.  But it’s expensive as hell and I’ d probably just think to myself I should have tried to get hired instead.  I was thinking the other day it’s sometimes just as well my French is hardly ‘instruction quality’ because otherwise I think it might be too easy to keep up this diving racket.  There is a lot to love to about diving and living like this and I know I’ll miss it as soon as it’s over.  It’s hard not to think about what I might want to do next.  But I’m sure you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s never quite ‘home’.  One way or another when I’m back home in Canada I can see myself getting seriously into tec diving should I have the money to afford it.  One dream at a time I suppose.

Tec Diving

Essentially, tec diving is a style of diving that exceeds the typical parameters of recreational, or no-stop diving.  In recreational diving, depths are capped at 40m and you are only permitted a long enough dive time to allow yourself a direct ascent to the surface without having to make decompression stops (pauses at particular depths during ascent).  This is due to high levels of nitrogen absorption through the breathing gas and over staying your depth or time limits can lead to diving injuries.  In tec diving you train to manage these gas levels so you may dive to much greater depths and allow extended bottom time over conventional recreational practices.  Tec diving includes higher training and diving concepts, additional and more ‘technical’ equipment, often different types and blends of breathing gas from 100% oxygen to tri-mixes of nitrogen, oxygen and helium.  In some cases you may find argon as a gas for inflating dry suits.  Cavern diving, ice diving or solo diving may also be considered tec diving.  As I’m sure it sounds, tec diving typically requires greater levels of experience from recreational diving – it’s also expensive as hell.  There’s a cargo shipwreck near Phuket that requires numerous gas blends as the ship itself is over 300′ deep.  The gas alone costs over $300.  Yikes.  I find it all quite fascinating though and I hope I can arrange some tec experiences for myself during my diving career.

For a little more info, the Wikipedia page is probably the easiest and most free resource for some more insight –

Technical Diving International (TDI) has a fantastic introductory manual to tec diving.  Check it out.


From → Posts

  1. David Tolton permalink

    Hi Ben, quick question, whats tec diving, thanks

    • Hey Dad,

      I added a note at the end of my last post about tec diving. There’s a website as well you might be interested in. Thanks for the letter the other day, I need to get caught up on some personal correspondence. Talk to you in a couple days.

  2. Scott permalink

    Thanks man – I basically understood all of that. Sounds like a helluva guitar.

    FYI – the film went over really well at the festival…all sorts of compliments, praise, etc. We were nominated for a people’s choice award as well, but got robbed by 1%. All in all, a great time though.

    Hope everything is still peachy.


  3. Sue H permalink

    Hi Ben. Love your blog. Your Uncle Doug and I have become certified recreational divers just recently. We did all our schooling in London and then did our 4 open water dives in Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. Great fun! They do say it’s addicting, but I’m sure we’ll never go deeper. That’s okay, still lots to look forward to. I’m off to London next Monday to meet up with Bec and then together we’re going to India. Really stretching my comfort zone. Stay safe, make bubbles. Sue

  4. Cam permalink

    Hey Ben, that was me as Dad as he was also interested in tec-diving and was beside me as i wrote it, good thing i used his name though, because after he got mad at me for using poor punctuation like a missing question mark. Meh.

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