What Not to Do After You Go Scuba Diving in South Africa

There are plenty of "what to do" guides out there, but for divers, there aren’t a whole lot of "what not to do" lists.

When scuba diving in South Africa, you will need to have some experience. Just about any dive in South Africa is quite tough on the body. You need to have the stamina to handle the dive and you will need to have some deep diving experience. Our waters are not shallow, like those of the Caribbean. Diving here can take quite a toll on the body, but every dive is certainly worth it!

While it is very important to have the knowledge of how to handle the dive, you also need to know how to take care of yourself after the dive. When booking your scuba diving trip to our nation, you are more than likely going to partake in a few days of diving, rather than experiencing a once off kind of trip. Our diving includes various exciting destinations, which are home to all kinds of marine life as well as coral reefs and shipwrecks.

With this in mind, it is important to know how to come down from the “high”. Your body will be going through all sorts of things, and sometimes the safety process surrounding the after effects of dive is somewhat overlooked. It can be difficult to determine how best to take care of your body, especially since our bodies react differently under different underwater stresses. Allow our quick guide to help you best to care for yourself in the hours after your dive.

So let’s dive right in! (Pun intended)

  • Don’t go overboard with the drinking

There is nothing quite like finishing a day’s diving with an ice cold beverage. But when you get really hammered, you could be doing yourself a painful injustice. Your body might have a certain amount of excess nitrogen after diving and heavy drinking can make you very dehydrated. What does nitrogen and dehydration do to your body? It leaves you with decompression sickness. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of decompression sickness and sometimes when drinking heavily, you could even end up masking the other symptoms of decompression sickness.

You can avoid this by either limiting your drinking or by drinking as much water as possible while diving and after diving.

  • You might want to give the massage a skip

The verdict is out on this one, with some saying that you should give it a skip while others say go ahead. For interest sake, let’s break this one day. Again it has to do with the nitrogen in the body; some believe that a massage will increase the blood flow in the body which results in the massage possibly having the opposite effect of what you are aiming for. A massage is to relax the body but massaging when you have excess nitrogen in the body can actually cause a lot more soreness than you would have otherwise expected.

  • Wait before you fly

Many divers are from overseas and as our country is almost at the “bottom” of the world, travelling here makes for one really long journey! Because of the extra nitrogen your body will have after you dive, you should wait at least 18 to 24 hours after your dive to get back on the plane. The reason for this is the pressure inside the cabin of the aircraft. Decompression is something that needs to be done slowly, and when you climb on a plane too soon after your dive, you will experience a drop in pressure. And when ascending quickly, the nitrogen can cause bubbles in the blood. If you wait the appropriate amount of time before you fly, you can stay safe.

  • Wait before mountain climbing

Should you be having an adventurous holiday that includes diving and mountain climbing, you again need to take pressure and altitude into consideration. The change in altitude can leave you feeling the effects of decompression sickness. To stay on the safe side, why not plan your mountain hike before your dive?

Before you panic, keep in mind the effects of the massage can vary from person to person, so it’s not to say that you will definitely experience negative side effects.

At Dive the Big 5, we offer divers the best locations in South Africa. Browse through our website to find out more about our dives.


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