Buddy Dive's Tech Connection

On any given day, the docks at Buddy Dive Resort are busy with groups prepping for a boat or shore dive. Most are kitting up the with familiar recreational scuba gear used around the world. But every so often, you'll spot something different. It might be someone hanging a pair of tanks under their arms and clipping an oxygen bottle to a harness festooned with D rings. Or, it could be a completely unfamiliar rig fitted with a double-hose mouthpiece and multiple small tanks positioned around some sort of canister. You've just met a technical diver.

A rebreather diver and a side mount diver cruise the upper crest of Buddy Dive's house reef.
A rebreather diver and a side mount diver cruise the upper crest of Buddy Dive's house reef.

At first glance, technical diving might seem to be about a fascination with wearing extra gadgets and gear. But the hardware is really just the means to an end, which is expanding your diving possibilities. This could mean going deeper, staying underwater longer, or simply adopting new technologies like diver propulsion vehicles or underwater communications systems that enhance the underwater experience. And though technical diving is often associated with deep wrecks and dark caves, the clear waters and bright reefs of Bonaire are also a favorite with techies, and Buddy Dive is where you'll find them.

Buddy Dive Tek includes a gas blending station for custom nitrox, oxygen and tri-mix fills.
Buddy Dive Tek includes a gas blending station for custom nitrox, oxygen and tri-mix fills.

To support advanced diving practices such as decompression diving, rebreathers, and extended range diving, Buddy Dive TeK was founded in 2007 and has since grown into one of the Caribbean's premier technical diving centers. A gas blending station was created to provide custom nitrox blends, pure oxygen and helium for tri-mix blends. Rebreather divers are supported with sorb and an assortment of supply tanks, and the extensive array of rental equipment includes double and stage tanks, backplates, side mount rigs and more.

The calm waters of Bonaire are ideal for learning to manage the additional equipment of technical diving.
The calm waters of Bonaire are ideal for learning to manage the additional equipment of technical diving.

Buddy Dive TeK is also a training center, offering courses through both NAUI and PADI 's technical programs. In 2017, the operation also became the only facility in the Caribbean to offer training through Global Underwater Explorers, with courses supervised by veteran instructor German Arango. Known as “Mr. G”, German and his staff provides a full range of courses from introductions to tech through instructor ratings. These options allow Buddy Dive TeK to serve a broad clientele. Divers who simply want to get a bit more bottom time, or dive a bit safer, can begin with an advanced nitrox class that teaches the use of custom blends optimized for depth. More adventurous divers looking to explore below standard recreational depths can learn decompression protocols and the safe use of oxygen for decompression, or take their skills to the next level with training on the use of mix-gas blends. An increasingly popular program is the use of side mount gear, which provides a more comfortable and easily managed alternative to traditional back-mounted double tanks.

Buddy Dive Tek German Arango demonstrates a SubGravity DPV.
Buddy Dive Tek German Arango demonstrates a SubGravity DPV.

A relatively new addition to the course roster that has even broader appeal is Dive Propulsion Vehicle training. Also known as underwater scooters, DPVs propel dives to new levels of underwater freedom and enjoyment. Buddy Dive Tek trains divers in the use of SubGravity DPVs, which are among the most advanced units on the market. And scooter diving isn't just for hard-core techies. During a one-day course, open water divers and even junior open water divers can learn to pilot a DPV safely and embark on flight-like explorations of the reefs.

The annual event known as Bonaire TeK is an ideal time to meet like-minded technical divers and learn new skills.
The annual event known as Bonaire TeK is an ideal time to meet like-minded technical divers and learn new skills.

Tech diving is a year-round activity at Buddy Dive, but October is special, as divers, instructors and equipment manufacturers from all areas of the technical diving community gather for Buddy's annual Bonaire TeK week. This event gives participants a chance to try new equipment, mingle with industry professionals and attend demonstrations, workshops and seminars. Dedicated boats are provided for daily dives, including trips to Bonaire's premier deep wreck the Windjammer. Bonaire TeK 2019 will take place from October 5 to 11. Companies including SubGravity, Dive Rite, Halcyon and KISS Rebreathers will provide equipment demos and try-out possibilities, while training organizations including GUE, NAUI Technical Diver Training, TDI and IANDT gave educational presentations and dive training.

There's still time to get in on the activities of  Bonaire TeK 2019, and we can make all arrangements, from flights to accommodations and on-island activities. To learn more, contact your agent at 800-329-9989 or send a note to sales@caradonna.com.

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