How to Start Scuba Diving

The world below the sea is stunning.

Just try scuba diving once, or even snorkeling, and you will realize just how beautiful this world really is. You will come face to face with corals, a stunning array of colors, and amazing marine life in all sizes and shapes. The underwater world is more beautiful and peaceful than you can ever imagine.

You will experience weightlessness like you can in the space. You can visit underwater caves and caverns, and even lost cities, and shipwrecks. You may even end up discovering new marine species and corals.

Did you know that only about 5% of the underwater world has been explored?

But you need training and preparation before you can go down there.

Step 1 – Improve Your Fitness

Full face snorkel masks, other advanced diving and snorkeling gear, training, and modern medicines have made diving and snorkeling safer. However, at least basic physical fitness is still necessary. So it always helps if you improve your fitness. You should also know of the few medical conditions that don’t allow diving. Fill out the questionnaire before joining a training class.

Step 2: Join a Training Class

You need to join a training school to learn the techniques, gestures used by divers, and what you should do when you face a situation. Typically, you start off in a swimming pool or shallow water. This is followed by a few “try dives” before you are ready for the deep blue sea.

Step 3: Get Your Gear

Equipment is always very important. You can rent the gear always, but it’s always best if you have your own stuff. Sometimes, the price of rental gear is included in the diving school cost. Make sure to get only the best equipment that fits you well. Plus, you will feel more comfortable too if you are diving or snorkeling with your own gear.

Step 4: Learn the Theory

The underwater world is different in many ways. The environment may affect your gear and even you in ways you didn’t expect. You will never know before. It is thus important that you are prepared for anything. Good training will give you this preparation.

Step 5: Practice with Your Instructor

Always get adequate practice with your gear. Swimming is one thing, and diving or even snorkeling is another. Wear your regulator, mask, fins and everything else and try diving with your instructor in a controlled environment till the time you gain more knowledge and experience.

Can You Use a Side Sleeper Pillow While Pregnant?

Pregnancy is a special time in life, and this special time requires special care. You have to be extra careful at all times, even when you sleep. For instance, you have to look into your position in the bed, the mattress, and even the pillow you are using.

What kind of pillow should you use when pregnant? After the first couple of months, you should never doze off on your stomach. It’s simply too risky. And of course, your doctor will tell you never to sleep on your back after about four months. So what is the safest position? It is side sleeping. To do this, you should use a recommended best side sleeper pillow. So the answer to your question is “Yes”. You can use a side sleeper pillow.

But should you sleep on your left or right side? Is there a better side?

The Best Side for Sleeping

Doctors and midwives have traditionally advised pregnant women to sleep on their left, and there are good reasons for this. Most doctors agree that sleeping on the right is good too, but the left side is always best.

Your liver, which is one of the most vital organs, is on your right, in your abdomen. You don’t want to apply too much pressure on your liver, particularly at this stage, when you are getting bigger. You allow better blood circulation too by sleeping on your left, and this will bring down swelling on your ankles. On the left, you put less pressure on your vena cava, which is the big vein that brings blood from your body’s lower part to your heart.

Why a Side Sleeping Pillow Is the Right Choice

A side sleeping pillow will protect your neck, shoulder, and back and keep you comfortable. You are more likely to have back pain in your pregnancy as your bigger belly will be putting pressure on your spine. And sometimes, this pain can travel all the way to your arms and legs making you feel very uncomfortable. Your spine and neck may not align correctly. The right pillow will prevent this from happening. A side sleeper will ensure that there is no gap between your ears and the mattress and will keep your spine in the correct line.

Just make sure to use a big pillow. You can use a second pillow between your legs too.

Don’t Sleep On Your Back

Never sleep on your back after 20 weeks of pregnancy because this might compress your vena cava, aorta and other organs, and this might cause nausea, high or low blood pressure, dizziness, breathing problems, abdominal pain, heartburn, and a clammy feeling in your skin. Your growing baby may also receive less blood, oxygen and nutrients. You will certainly not want to take a chance.

If side sleeping is not your natural position then try to get your body adjusted to it. Start using one of the best pillows for side sleepers from the early stages. This will make it easier for you when you become bigger. Pregnant women have sleeping problems anyway due to sudden movements of the baby and insomnia. They have less energy too.

Make your life a bit easier.

Finding the Best Waterproof Camera

When you are diving, the one thing you will always want to carry is a waterproof camera so that you can click all those incredible pictures. There are quite a few of them. Which one should you buy? I’m reviewing four of the best waterproof cameras brands to help you decide.

Let me start by saying that I’ve owned many, many, many cameras. I am mostly a Nikon person, with my primary camera being a Nikon D7000. In the past, my point and shoots have been Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic, so while I am brand loyal to Nikon, I will branch out if it means getting the best photos possible.

For this review, I picked two Olympus brand cameras, one Nikon and one Pentax. The Olympus and Nikon both received top ratings in the underwater category on Amazon, but I wasn’t sure if that was based on user reviews or sales, so I did what any nutty photographer would do. I tried them all. They’re waterproof cameras, so I headed out to the beach and put them through a variety of tests. For each photo, I set all the cameras to the same settings and stood in the same spot and took one photo with each camera.

Wide Angle

I was testing how wide angle each lens was, as they all claimed to have a wide angle lens. The Olympus TG-2 and Pentax are both the widest. But the Pentax takes wider than normal photos (at an HD aspect ratio). The Nikon seemed to be washed out.

Macro Capabilities

All cameras have a macro and a super macro setting. I set each on the super macro setting and got as close as I could to the caterpillar. The Pentax out-performed all three other cameras in focusing distance.

Zoom Capabilities

Next up was the zoom capabilities. I stood in the same spot, and zoomed in as far as I could to an object in the dunes. They all appeared to be similar, but the Pentax has a larger digital zoom (which I’d rarely use because it decreases quality).

Underwater Mode

Last, I put all four onto their underwater mode and got down on the level of the waves. For the first time in all my tests, I think the Nikon performed the best. The water seemed the most “crisp”, followed closely by the Pentax. Both Olympus cameras produced images that were too soft for my liking.

So at this point, I was down to liking two cameras – the Pentax and the Olympus TG-3.  With the Olympus, I can attach two different lenses, and they both are waterproof, but for a point and shoot camera, seemed expensive to me. The Olympus also had great color renditions, as opposed to the cheaper Olympus and the Nikon. And last, the Olympus has some fun features called magic art filters (fisheye, tilt shift, dramatic, etc) which can be fun to play with, but aren’t anything I can’t do in Photoshop.

Even with all of that going for it, I went with the Pentax. Why? For one reason – the Pentax does one thing that not one other waterproof camera does. It has bracketing, meaning I can take a series of 3 photographs, one overexposed, one properly exposed and one underexposed and merge them later into a properly exposed photograph.