We recently spent a week on the island of Gili Trawangan hosting our GTS day where 48 girls dived together in an attempt to make a World Record, and while we were there we also wanted to try something new so jumped at the chance to head over to Trawangan Dive to try out rebreathers for the first time! We are all super interested in technical diving here at GTS and our sub group Girls that Tech Dive is aiming to bridge the gap between tech and rec diving and encourage more women to get involved, so this was a great way for us to introduce you all to one of the best parts of technical diving; diving on a rebreather!
What is a rebreather?
Rebreather diving is underwater diving using rebreathers, which recirculate the breathing gas already used by the diver after replacing oxygen used by the diver and removing the carbon dioxide metabolic product. Rebreather diving is used by recreational, military and scientific divers in applications where it has advantages over open circuit scuba, and surface supply of breathing gas is impracticable. The main advantages of rebreather diving are extended gas endurance, and lack of bubbles.
Rebreathers are more complex to use than open circuit scuba, and have more potential points of failure, so acceptably safe use requires a greater level of skill, attention and situational awareness, which is usually derived from understanding the systems, diligent maintenance and overlearning the practical skills of operation and fault recovery. Lucky for us we had one of the best instructors in the industry - Sam Mason from Trawagan Dive
Rebreather Course prerequisites
We didn't have time to do the whole course this time, so just spent the day trying it out in the pool first and then doing one dive with a maximum of 9m in the ocean, but if you are looking to do the course you'll need:
- Minimum age 18
- Provide proof of 20 logged open water dives
- Provide proof as a Nitrox Diver
Why dive on a rebreather?
Let us just list off a few reasons to dive on a rebreather: you get longer no stop limits, reduced gas consumption (because you reuse most of your exhaled gas) and unmatched wildlife encounters because you don’t release bubbles! But, be warned, once you go closed circuit you wont want to go back! We explained it like getting a first class upgrade on a flight and then having to sit back in economy on the way back!
Open circuit we do still love you, but rebreather is just so damn cool!
It took us a little while to get to grips with breathing from a rebreather - it is a completely different technique from open circuit and super strange to not see any bubbles being released. BUT as soon as we got used to it we fell in love!
Buoyancy? What's that?
We had no idea how off our buoyancy would be - it felt like being an Open Water student again! And that's what we LOVED - Dive pro's, when was the last time you felt challenged doing a skill? Well, get a rebreather on and everything you've ever known about scuba diving will be challenged.
With a lot of up's and down's in the pool we started to learn how to control our buoyancy - without using our lungs - in a new way!
Star in your own underwater documentary
When it was time to head into the ocean we had a few worries - buoyancy mainly, but our nerves were outweighed by excitement! All the staff at Trawangan Dive were telling us how much we were going to love it and how it will completely change our diving lives - so we kind of had high hopes.
And those hopes certainly came to life when we got comfortable and starting diving in the ocean on a rebreather for the first time ever! JUST WOW.
It's incredible how close the fish come to you , how much more you can hear, how clearer the ocean looks without streams of bubbles. It truly is like you are living in a David Attenborough documentary - and you are the main character!
True love FOUND
Many young diver falls in love on Gili Trawangan and little did we know on arrival that we would too - with a chunky bit of equipment!
Do us a favour.. go to TDC, tell Sam we sent you and ask him to open the door for you to the first-class dive lifestyle! We think you may just become addicted!
Shout out to Trawangan Dive for inviting us to come and try rebreather diving - we will be back soon to complete our course - and to Technical Instructor Sam Mason for introducing us to rebreather diving and leading us into the first step of the journey!
If you want to try it too we have lots of GTS girls diving and working from TDC including Laura Kazimierska (pictured) who will be happy to talk you through her experience and show you technical diving doesn't have to be intimidating.
Thanks to another GTS girl Karola Sztaba for these awesome photos and all the other photos you are capturing while working in Gili T, you can check out her Instagram here.
Girls that Tech Dive
If you are interested to learn more about technical diving join our private female only Facebook group Girls that Tech Dive here. We aim to encourage more women to take the first step into technical diving and bridge the gap between recreational and technical diving. We're not experts, but we are learning, we are challenging ourselves and we are meeting the real experts along the way and sharing it all with you! See you over there!