Travel Notes for Scuba Divers

What to Pack
Diving facilities vary widely, depending where you are. Tanks and weight belts can be rented. Always bring your own mask, snorkel, fins and boots. For more serious diving, pack your BC regulator and torch. Torches and other portable electric equipment should run on AA and D size batteries. Any other size is hard to get, or bring your own.

Pack spare bulbs, O-rings, straps too. Spares for photographic equipment is especially important. Also pack your gloves and a dive suit. A 3-mm suit is recommended, both against hydroid stings and the chill thermoclines you may encounter. Upwellings can mean cold water. If you expect to dive where they are, you will need something heavier than a 3-mm suit.

Visitors from temperate climates should be aware of tropical health considerations. A thorough medical check makes good sense, followed by a blood and stool test when you return. Tetanus and cholera shots are good basics. You may wish to consider a hepatitis shot. Although largely stamped out, it is recommended that you guard against Malaria if you are going to Nusa Tenggara, Kupang and Roti, or Irian Jaya. If you are pregnant, it is safer to avoid Nusa Tenggara altogether. Do not neglect minor cuts and scratches in the tropics. Disinfect and treat any broken skin.

Beware of the tropical sun, especially on long, cool boat rides in the open. Always use a hat, a long sleeved shirt, long pants and a sunscreen. If you must tan, do it gradually. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and salt to replace that lost by perspiration. Drink only bottled water, which is widely available and safe, and avoid ice.

Pack a basic first-aid kit. Include IMMODIUM AD, something for hydroid and coral stings (Sting Stop works great), tweezers to remove wooden boat slivers and sea urchin spines, oral rehydration salts, insect repellent and a salve to soothe insect bites.

Should you need a doctor, alert your dive operator immediately, then your Consulate or Embassy.

For dive emergencies requiring decompression, you may need to be prepared to go to Singapore or Australia, although a number of decompression chambers are installed with the Indonesian Navy. It is recommended therefore that you establish emergency evacuation procedures with your dive operator before diving in any particular area.

As with any third-world country, not all boat and dive operators are licensed. Make sure the operation you are diving with is. Before you get on that boat, check to see that they have Oxygen, drinking water and a working radio. Don't assume!

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