Friday, February 26, 2021

Want to dive with your kids? 10 Things to consider

 

Want to dive with your kids? 10 Things to consider.

By Rebekah Kaufmann
Owner/ Instructor/Mom Kohala Divers, Kawaihae Hawaii

 

Many avid divers who become parents end up hanging up their fins when a baby enters their world. It can be challenging to keep up the sport while trying to raise little ones. Vacations tend to be more Disney themed than remote islands for quite a few years for most families.

As your family ages however, the adventures tend to evolve. You want to share adventures with your kids. 

Are you considering sharing your love of Scuba with your children? Want to know how to ease back into the sport yourself?  Here is my advice on things I’ve learned from working with diving families over the years and recently getting my 10-year-old introduced to diving.

When I had my daughter 10 years ago, I was thrilled to imagine my own little dive buddy someday. At the time, it felt like that would be a lifetime away and then blink, here we are, her 10th birthday and she is getting certified. Where did the time go? 

This is what I have learned from watching families who love to dive together and now being a dive family ourselves.

     1.First You

If it has been a while since you have dived yourself it is a great idea to get yourself refreshed on diving separate from your child getting certified. Your nervous energy can be contagious, and you will be a stronger support and ultimately better dive buddy if you feel confident in your own skills underwater.  Consider doing a refresher course which includes: Refreshing your academic dive knowledge online, followed by a pool session to refresh dive skills and to get reacquainted with equipment. This can be followed by boat dives with an instructor to practice your underwater skills while enjoying some great dives.

Sign up for reactivate online today

2. Ages and dive standards. When can kids dive?

PADI standards allow kids 10 and up to earn a junior open water certification. There are depth restrictions based on age even after certification:

10-12 year old are limited to 40 feet and must be accompanied by a certified adult while diving.

12-14 year old are limited to 60 feet (70 feet with continued education) and must dive with an adult certified diver.   

All divers under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign administrative forms and liability release. Many Dive centers require divers under 18 be accompanied by an adult. 

3. No Rush

The age for when you are allowed to dive and the best age to dive for your child may vary depending on the person. Diving takes multiple levels of maturity including ability to focus and study complex scientific theory. PADI training is delivered in an easy to understand and fun way to learn, but it does require focus, and comprehension.

Children’s size can make a difference in their ability to handle the gear for scuba. Dive gear comes in small sizes and is very adaptable to children but some may find it difficult to handle the gear in the way that’s required to get certified.

Another thing that can determine if your child is ready for SCUBA is their ears and equalization. If your kids love swimming and snorkeling have them practice freediving in shallow depths. My daughter would free dive to the bottom of our 10 foot deep pool from the time she was about 5 years old. I think this helped her ears adapt easier to the equalization needed in scuba.

If your child isn’t ready at a certain age don’t worry at all, you’ve got years to dive together! The less you try to rush it the more ready your child will feel when the time is right. If it’s not yet the time for them to start diving, try snorkeling with them. Also get your own dive lifestyle back in gear it will all change once you have that mini dive buddy by your side so enjoy the underwater me time.

4. What to Pack (Because kids need so much stuff)

Once your child is ready and enrolled in that PADI Scuba class don’t forget to set them up for success.

What to pack for pool lessons and boat days:

·        Snacks!!! Are kids ever not hungry? Add the excitement and underwater play and you had better double up the healthy snacks!!

·       Towel and layers on the boat. After being in the water even very warm air temps can feel cold so pack water resistant layers to bundle in. The best after-dive warmy is this boat coat from scubapro. It is an investment but so worth it. Better yet: get one for yourself and let them borrow it.. Purchase a boat coat here




·        Hair ties  – Diving leads to messy hair. A mid head ponytail or better yet braid works great for taming hair. If you keep the hairstyle in the middle of the head it leaves a nice shelf for the mask strap to sit on.

·       Mask comfort strap. This makes it easier to adjust where the mask strap sits and doesn’t pull hair, great for snorkelers and divers!!Mask Strap Wrapper



 

·       Reef safe sunscreen. Be sure to lather them in reef friendly sunscreen. Our boat Namaka has the stream to sea brand on board and sells it in the shop. A little but goes a long way so use only a tiny dab per area. Avoid applying to the face right before diving as it may get in the eyes if it hasn’t absorbed completely. I like the tinted version for everyday wear as you don't end up looking ghostly.  Purchase reef safe sunscreen



 

·       Rash guard Having a sun protection shirt is so helpful. You will use less sunscreen and kids won’t get sunburnt shoulders etc. Depending on the water temps they may be able to dive in just a rash guard? Otherwise they can wear it under a wetsuit or don it as soon as suit comes off.


.

 5.Everyone kicks to their own drum

Kids look at the world through a vastly different lens than adults. At times it comes across as annoying or “not the right way” but if behavior is safe for scuba let them enjoy what they enjoy about being underwater.  I’ve yet to see a kid in the water that doesn’t have more fun catching other divers bubbles then being serious swimmers. If they are taught that they need to be aware of buoyancy and not follow those bubbles up, hey it is pretty fun to bubble catch.

My daughter loves communicating above water and so she also needs to communicate a lot underwater. We’ve created our own little hand signal language. Sometimes we make each other laugh until our mask fills with water from our underwater jokes. The other day she surfaced with a hollowed sea urchin on her head and I fake sneezed parrot fish cocoon at her. Good thing she really learned her mask clear skill.

It’s ok to have fun above and below the water and kids are great at reminding us of that.

6.Energy, excitement and nerves

Learning to dive takes a lot of physical and mental energy and you may see your child’s behavior change when learning to dive. Kids often act hyperactive or change how they behave when they are stressed. Being nervous and being excited are such similar emotions your child may not know which they are feeling or how to channel it. Ask their feedback on what they are experiencing, this can help them recognize their feelings and channel nervousness into acting cautiously and thoughtfully.

Try to schedule some time to be a kid and get some energy out before lessons and then set expectations for times they need to be more focused on learning

Trying to be overly strict or expecting them to be able to be as calm as adults is unrealistic and will lead to frustration for you both. If they are feeling overwhelmed the pace and planned schedule may need to be delayed, that’s ok. Celebrate accomplishments and leave room for learning at the right pace for them.


7.Your instructor knows scuba, you know your kid

Parents and kids seem to enjoy diving more when the parent trusts the instructor and allows them to be the teacher. When signing up for a dive class ask if the instructor is good with children and choose an operation that specializes in family diving! Once you feel confident in the instructor try to be a support to your child. It’s best not to interrupt or tell your child to do things in a different way than the instructor recommends. There are reasons the instructor has your child do skills in a certain way as they are highly trained in helping new divers learn new skills. Underwater if you choose to dive with your child during instruction observe the process but certainly don’t try to correct behavior or scold your child underwater. (Yes, we’ve seen it all)

On the other hand, even if your instructor has the most experience in teaching diving you know your child better. If you notice unusual behaviors or see stress in your child or feel your child isn’t paying their best attention reach out to the instructor privately and voice your concerns so they know to help the student in the best way. If your child is misbehaving such as disrespecting sea life, equipment or others than certainly there may need to be some parenting involved but it can usually be done privately and in a way that helps your young diver know what’s expected.

8.Welcome to a whole new outlook

Once your kid makes it through to certified diver status it is like rediscovering a love for diving in a whole new way. Things you’ve experienced under water 100 times are all new when sharing it. Dive travel can expand to allow the family to dive together and make exciting memories. Try to keep your family active in diving by diving locally and planning dive vacations as often as possible. Keep learning together by taking Specialty classes as a team.


     9. Celebrate success

Whatever level your child makes it to in diving whether its just trying it in a pool, getting junior certified, or logging 10 dives, keep celebrating accomplishments together. Setting goals in diving will keep the sport fun and will likely keep their attention.

10. Congratulations you’ve raised an earth conscious adventurer who will make the world a better place!!

In this crazy world we live in, young people need more than ever a connection to nature and to others. Giving your child an opportunity to be part of scuba diving community builds confidence, instills a love of nature and adventure. Children who interact in a positive way with nature are more likely to care about it and get involved in helping to protect the environment. You never know where an early love of scuba will lead to for your child. A lifelong passion for the ocean? Future career? Great memories for sure!!  

 

 

 

Monday, October 19, 2020

What is a Honu?

What is a Honu?

By Dominic S. Romer

Dive Master with Kohala Divers


You’ll see postcards and tee shirts, mugs and candy bars, signage and

paintings all over the islands...the honu is one of the predominant symbols

of Hawaii.

Honu Stuffed animal in Kohala Divers  hoody




A honu is a Green Sea Turtle and this species ( Chelonia mydas ) is the

most common turtle you will see when you visit us in Hawaii. They have

come to symbolize endurance, long life & good luck.

Sea turtles are protected by law and so, remember to not harass or bother

any turtles that you are lucky enough to observe, either in the water or on

land.



Hawaii is one of the few populated places (especially the Kona - Kohala

coast of the Big Island) where these turtles like to bask on the beaches and

so, you will often see several turtles sunning themselves along the

shoreline.

The adults are herbivores that live on seagrass and algae (limu) and you

can often find them resting underwater, on ledges or in caves. While they

are reptiles and need to breathe air just like us, they can “sleep”

underwater for up to 2 hours without surfacing! If you do spook one by

accident, you’ll see them shoot away at up to 20mph!




Most of the nesting beaches for these turtles are in the Northwestern

Hawaiian islands, away from the main centers of population. As with other

types of marine turtles, the females will come onto land to lay their eggs (up

to 100 at a time) in a deep pit which they will dig under the cover of

darkness. About 2 months later, the juveniles will dig their way out & make

their way to the sea, living primarily (as omnivores) on jellyfish for the first

few years of their lives.

These turtles can reach a weight of 300-400 lbs and a length of 3-4ft..

While they can have some algae on their shells (carapace) giving them a

greenish hue, these turtles actually get their name from the green color of

their fat. While we are still learning much about the honu lifecycle, it’s

believed they can live to be over 100 years old (and they take 20-50 years

to reach sexual maturity).

Threats to these turtles include their natural predators tiger sharks but, they

are suffering from more modern problems these days such as loss of

secluded beaches for nesting (due to coastal development) and ingestion

of plastics (how easily a discarded plastic bag or deflated balloon could

appear like food to a hungry young honu, scouring the open ocean for

jellyfish). Our oceans are also full of fishing gear, a major risk to turtles who

can drown in nets. Some honu are suffering from a herpes type disease

(fibropapillomatosis) which causes tumors to grow on their bodies.

Scientists are trying to find out what causes this disease - which can impact

the foraging & digestive abilities of the honu - but it’s thought to have

something to do with the overall degradation of their marine habitat.

Other turtles that can be observed in Hawaii include the Hawksbill and less

frequently seen leatherback, olive ridley and loggerhead turtles.



The honu of the Big Island look forward to making your acquaintance!


Book a snorkel or dive trip with Kohala Divers to go to areas where Hawaiian Green Sea turtles are often encountered! Book Now! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Welcome Back

 Welcome Back

Written by:  Rebekah Kaufmann

Owner operator Kohala Divers

Kohala Divers is cautiously optimistic about welcoming visitors back in a couple of weeks. So far the state of Hawaii is saying as of October 15th 2020 it will allow visitors to travel to Hawaii, present a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of flight and avoid a 2 week quarantine. Airlines are beginning to present testing options that can take place at the airport. 

2020 So Far

2020 has not been easy on anyone. Mother nature rang in 2020 with crashing surf that destroyed the break wall in the North Kawaihae harbor in early January. Kawaihae North is home to Namaka, our brand new beautiful Newton dive boat. Thanks to our swift and capable crew she was spared damage and safely relocated until the storm receded. Unfortunately the damage the storm did to the 30 year old dock was more than could be repaired and it was condemned by the state and removed. 

Namaka was able to get temporary mooring in Kawaihae South and we made it work logistically for the beginning of the year. Our time was limited there and we had to be creative to come up with a solution if we wanted to operate going forward. Then, Covid came to the worlds attention and Hawaii was put on lockdown to protect the fragile healthcare system and get a plan together. 

We have used our time being mostly shut down to reevaluate everything. It gave us time to reflect on what's really important, what is worth fighting for and why we do what we do. 

I've realized Kohala Divers is more than a business to me. It is a passion. A passion for the people I've met and been lucky enough to call dive buddies for the last 20 years. A passion for the Kohala Divers team that is ever evolving, but has felt like family throughout the years! A passion for the high fives and  celebration of newly certified divers coming through the PADI system with us to discover their new favorite adventures! The Kohala Coast is where I feel the most connected to and I can't imagine feeling as fulfilled in any other corner of the world. 

The challenges we are up against getting through 2020 are many! Finding the laser focus needed to get through them is challenging. For me realizing why I do what I do has provided the strength needed in taking on each new challenge the year brings. Instead of giving up we decided to get even better!

Where we are Now- The Shop

We used our down time to do a remodel to the dive shop. We had always dreamt of a new layout and design  but couldn't imagine being able to have the time or ability to work around regular operations. The hard work put in by Greg, Brent and Tyler made the results better than I'd ever imagined. 

The new and improved shop is just what we needed to welcome our guests back in an environment that is easy to socially distance and keep clean. 

Other improvements for the shop:

  • We have improved technology and offer touchless payment options. 
  • Liability release waivers that can be done on your own device
  • Newly expanded gear sanitation area
  • Large PADI training area in open air
  • Extra cleaning throughout the day of high touch surfaces
  • As always private pool with lots of room to spread out
  • Selection of PPE masks available for sale that are comfortable breathable and show Aloha

Where we are Now- The Boat

Namaka is back in the North Kawaihae basin. We are tying up at the same spot as before and bringing her over to the finger pier to pick up guests. 



It's easy for you to get on board and we are happy be to home in the North!! 

Once on board we've set social distancing practices into place such as:

  • Masks on when not in dive gear
  • Space between each dive group set up
  • Operating at half of our COI (certificate of inspection allowed passengers) 
  • Individually sealed snacks
  • Hand sanitizer on board
  • Temperature checks daily for crew and guests
  • Extra cleaning of high touch spaces




We know there is a long ways to go for all of us to feel like we've fully achieved a new normal. We are hopeful that new travel options will slowly open paths for all of us to enjoy what divers enjoy most, getting to our favorite dive locations!. We want you to know that we are ready to welcome you back in the safest way possible when it is right for you! 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Learn about the Crown-of-Thorns Star

The crown of thorn Starfish are found on nearly every site we visit on the Kohala Coast. Divers often ask us after a dive "What was that cactus looking thing" or "was that a weed on the coral?" Read on for some info on these interesting invertebrates. 




By  Dominic S. Romer

Dive Master

While enjoying the reefs of Hawaii and all their marine life, spare a thought

for the corals on today’s menu!

The diner is Acanthaster planci , Crown-of-Thorns star (COTS) and his

favorite meal is coral polyps, especially those of Pocillopora meandrina

(Cauliflower coral).

The body is disc-shaped, up to 18” across, with as many as 21 arms, it’s

usually red/green in color and the whole thing is covered in venomous

spines. Don’t get too close...many divers will tell you of their discomfort

having inadvertently got too friendly with this star (burning pain, numbness

and possible discoloration of the area for a couple of days)!







They are impressive creatures, using all of those arms to climb atop coral

colonies where they then extrude their stomachs and secrete enzymes to

liquify & digest individual coral polyps. Just the white coral skeletons

remain, when they absorb the available nutrients and move on. True horror

movie stuff!



While these stars have wreaked havoc on some reefs around the world

(including the Great Barrier reef), here in Hawaii we don’t appear to have a

big issue with them yet and usually, one won’t see more than a few at any

one site. In places where they have become a real issue, divers can

physically remove the creatures or inject them with household vinegar to kill

them...although either option is time consuming & costly.

There are some in Hawaii who believe that this predator may in fact be

doing some good for the reef, feeding on some of the faster growing corals

(such as Cauliflower & Rice corals) and increasing coral diversity on

Hawaiian reefs.

In Hawaii, their main natural predator is the Triton’s Trumpet snail; also

Harlequin Shrimp, Stripebelly Pufferfish and Lined Fireworms will feast on

this star.



We hope you will get a chance to observe this impressive star, when diving

with us at Kohala Divers in Hawaii!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Divers Who Defog: Your Glasses!

Is this you?!?! Do you exhale in your socially-distant mask and fog your glasses? Well, the people who de-fog your scuba mask have some advice:


1) Start with a clean pair of glasses. This goes for your scuba mask, too! Use your dish soap: It is a fabulous de-greaser! Clean both inside and outside lenses, nose-piece, ear wands... all of it. Leave to dry or dry with a soft micro-fiber cloth.

2) A close fitting nose piece on your mask will reduce the fog exiting the top of the mask onto your glasses. Re-bend your nose wire (if it has), use a buff, situate it a little lower on your nose bridge (but still wear it properly! Cover those nostrils!)


3) When I know I will spend all day in glasses/mask combo, I clean my glasses that morning!


4) Our goggle/eyewear defog spray is made for this purpose: Spray both sides and clean dry with a cloth. DO NOT USE concentrated scuba defog, meant to be used with water! Check the print on your defog: Goggle defog is already watered down for use that close to the eyeball.

5) Hey! While you are at it, get your scuba mask out and give it a clean! Use that same dish soap! Then allow to dry and store in it's box. If you have a neoprene mask strap, remove it from the mask while in storage: Neoprene off-gasses and discolors silicone mask skirts. We will be back using that spotless and non-discolored scuba mask in no time at all! Promise!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

In the market for a warm wetsuit? A testimonial by a picky, temperature wimp, of a diver.


Testimonial on my New ScubaProEverflex Wetsuit -by Rebekah 




I love getting new dive gear! But I have to admit when getting into the territory of wetsuits it is not as easy as liking the features and picking a color. It's almost like bathing suit shopping but maybe worse. There are so many different body styles that fit differently in wetsuit styles. Then there's the warmth factor which is the whole purpose. 

Staying warm underwater is my #1 priority in a suit. I like to do long dives and not move much so I can take in all the hiding little critters and feel totally relaxed when diving. A 3mm won't cut it in my world so for me I am always shopping for a 7mm. Over time and deeper dives a suit compresses. I begin with a thick suit and by the time it retires, it is maybe 3mm to 5mm. With a thicker suit comes the awkward trade off of being incredibly hard to put on and usually feels as if a boa constrictor is wrapped and ready to squeeze out your nitrogen bubbles. Hardly pleasant! That's where my testimonial on this suit begins.

  When my women's size medium arrived I was pleasantly surprised when it slid on like satin. Very comfortable and I could even walk and raise my arms above my head! "Uh-oh", I thought, "This is too comfortable! It won't keep me warm!". My next dive day I suited up and was glad Captain Stephen gave me the pro tip to fold the glideskin leg and arm seams in to trap water as it came in. When I checked my dive time at an hour 5 minutes and realized I hadn't even shivered or felt that chilling trickle of icy water down the neck. I was impressed. 


Features I Love 
The warm 2016 blue liner that traps body heat. 
Neck zipper to give comfort when suited up and waiting to get in.
Ankle and wrist zippers.
Easy to put on glide skin.
Fits true to size (See size chart below).


WETSUIT SIZING
MEN
SIZE
CHEST
(IN)
WAIST
(IN)
HIPS
(IN)
HEIGHT
(FT-IN)
WEIGHT
(LBS)
2XS - 44
32 - 34
27 - 29
35 - 37
5'3" - 5'5"
131 - 156
XS - 46
34 - 36
29 - 31
37 - 39
5'5" - 5'7"
142 - 167
S - 48
36 - 38
31 - 33
39 - 41
5'7" - 5'9"
153 - 188
ST - 94
36 - 38
31 - 33
39 - 41
5'9" - 5'11"
153 - 188
MS - 25
38 - 40
33 - 35
41 - 43
5'7" - 5'9"
164 - 189
M - 50
38 - 40
33 - 35
41 - 43
5'9" - 5'11"
164 - 189
MT - 98
38 - 40
33 - 35
41 - 43
5'11" - 6'1"
164 - 189
LS - 26
40 - 42
35 - 37
43 - 45
5'9" - 5'11"
175 - 200
L - 52
40 - 42
35 - 37
43 - 45
5'11" - 6'1"
175 - 200
LT - 102
40 - 42
35 - 37
43 - 45
6'1" - 6'3"
175 - 200
XLS - 27
42 - 44
37 - 39
45 - 47
5'11" - 6'1"
186 - 211
XL - 54
42 - 44
37 - 39
45 - 47
6'1" - 6'3"
186 - 211
XLT - 106
42 - 44
37 - 39
45 - 47
6'3" - 6'5"
186 - 211
2XLS - 28
44 - 46
39 - 41
47 - 49
6'5" +
197 - 222
2XL - 56
44 - 46
39 - 41
47 - 49
6'3" - 6'5"
197 - 222
2XLT - 110
44 - 46
39 - 41
47 - 49
6'5" +
197 - 222
3XLS - 29
46 - 48
41 - 43
49 - 51
6'3" - 6'5"
208 - 235
3XL - 58
46 - 48
41 - 43
49 - 51
6'5" +
208 - 235
4XL - 6048 - 5143 - 4551 - 536'5" +219 - 244
5XL- 6251 - 5345 - 4753 - 556'5" +230- 255

WOMEN
SIZE
CHEST
(IN)
WAIST
(IN)
HIPS
(IN)
HEIGHT
(FT-IN)
WEIGHT
(LBS)
2XS - 0
31 - 33
25 - 27
31 - 33
4'11 - 5'1"
93 - 118
XS - 2
32 - 34
27 - 30
34 - 36
5'1" - 5'3"
106 - 131
S - 4
34 - 36
28 - 30
35 - 37
5'3" - 5'5"
115 - 140
ST - 4T
34 - 36
28 - 30
35 - 37
5'5" - 5'7"
115 - 140
MS - 6S
35 - 37
30 - 32
37 - 39
5'3" - 5'5"
126 - 151
M - 6
35 - 37
30 - 32
37 - 39
5'5" - 5'7"
126 - 151
MT - 6T
35 - 37
30 - 32
37 - 39
5'7" - 5'9"
126 - 151
LS - 8S
37 - 39
32 - 34
38 - 40
5'5" - 5'7"
137 - 162
L - 8
37 - 39
32 - 34
38 - 40
5'7" - 5'9"
137 - 162
LT - 8T
37 - 39
32 - 34
38 - 40
5'9" - 5'11"
137 - 162
XLS - 10S
38 - 40
33 - 35
40 - 42
5'7" - 5'9"
148 - 173
XL -10
38 - 40
33 - 35
40 - 42
5'9" - 5'11"
148 - 173
XLT - 10L
38 - 40
33 - 35
40 - 42
5'11" - 6'1"
148 - 173
2XLS -12S
40 - 42
35 - 37
42 - 44
5'9" - 5'11"
159 - 184
2XL - 12
40 - 42
35 - 37
42 - 44
5'11" - 6'1"
159 - 184
2XLT- 12T
40 - 42
35 - 37
42 - 44
> 6'1"
159 - 184
3XL -14
42 - 44
37 - 39
43 - 45
> 6'1"
> 181
3XLT - 14T42 - 4437 - 3943 - 45> 6'1"> 181
4XL - 1643 - 4538 - 4045 - 47> 6'1"> 181

If you are in the market for a suit give us a call or come in! We can help you decide what thickness and size would be right for you. Because these come in so many sizes and thicknesses, they will be special order. We are happy to get the right one for you, and these ship fast!!

                                                               Happy Warm diving!!



Monday, June 22, 2015

Womens Premium Boat Dive Day



Kohala Divers is very excited to be a part of PADI's 1st annual Women's Dive day!! We have a fun boat day planned as well as a chance for new divers to sign up for class discounts. Click the link below to find out more details. You can sign up on our website www.kohaladivers.com


Calling all Women who love the ocean whether your certified yet or not! Lets go diving!!