Scuba dive Cape Town - 7 Questions (with answers) you are yet to ask your divemaster

Whether it’s because of our inability to speak underwater, insecurity, or merely because the question seems inappropriate at the time, some questions regarding scuba diving often go unasked.  For this article we decided to put the technical questions aside and focus on those not covered in diving theory.  How should we deal with finding treasure whilst scuba diving in Cape Town? Or the awkwardness of post-dive boogers?  Is defog even a thing?  What if my appointed scuba dive buddy is a jerk?

Here’s what our dive leaders at Into the Blue Cape Town had to say.  

Baby shampoo, spit, or defog when you scuba dive?  Why?

“Definitely spit.  It’s free, and besides, I’d probably always forget my defog.  Spit will also never let me down, literally.” – Robyn Russouw

What is the politest way to inform a fellow diver of a post-dive booger on his/her upper lip?

”Divers are quite fluent in communicating with hand signals.  Most of the time pointing to your buddy and then to your nose should convey the message.  If all else fails, just do the ‘you watch me’ and proceed to vigorously wash your face.  He/she should get the idea.” – JP Nathrass

I’m a terrible swimmer.  Will I be able to scuba dive in Cape Town?

“It’s not necessary to be a particularly strong swimmer to enrol in PADI’s Open water course.  As long as you can swim for 200m and tread water/float for 10 minutes, PADI deems you a capable enough swimmer.  Besides, once you’ve donned your scuba dive unit and are under the surface of the water, all the swimming skills you’ll need are covered by a simple kick of your fins – something you should be able to master quite easily.” – Alexis Currin

What if I can’t swim at all?

“If you don’t think you’ll be able to swim for 200m, or tread water for 10 minutes, you can also go for the Discover Scuba Dive Experience.  It’s done in pool-like ocean conditions and you don’t have to pass the swimming requirements before making your way to the ocean.  By doing this you could experience the thrill of the underwater world without having to pay for swimming lessons –  Definitely worth a try!” – Alexis Currin

In the scuba dive world, is it considered good manners to have your female dive buddy brave the swim-through before you, or after?

“I would prefer the more experienced to go first, independent of their sex.  But being a gentleman, I would brave the swim-through first.” – Max Felix

My appointed scuba dive buddy looks like a jerk. How do I go about it?

“If your dive buddy shows signs of irresponsible behaviour before the dive, like disregarding diving regulations or showing little interest in performing a thorough safety check, it might be best to ask the dive leader for a different buddy.  Approach the leader on the specific dive and explain your situation.  The dive leader will likely do his/her best to make you feel as safe as possible and appoint you another buddy, or at the very least have a talk with your current partner.  If said buddy only seems like a jerk, but don’t show signs of irresponsible behaviour, bear with him/her and try to enjoy the dive.  Everyone is there to have fun after all.” – Ruann Weidemann

We wander a bit off course and find an old treasure chest.   What do we do?

“Twisting my face towards the bow of the boat, I take in the vast expanse of ocean rolling for miles before me. The skipper glances back at me, his stance relaxed as he smiles wide - it’s the perfect day to scuba dive in Cape Town.

We reach the dive site just as the sun is squarely overhead, and I stand up to face the divers whose faces are filled with eager anticipation. I grin broadly at them and start handing out weight belts, decidedly keen to get into the water myself.

“Three, two, one!” I hear the skipper yell, and I roll back into the rhythmic pulse of the Atlantic.

We’re 30 minutes into the dive, and both of my clients are low on air. The SS Moari wreck has been an incredible dive, 21 meters of pure enchantment as we explore what was once a cargo vessel in the 17th century.

Signalling to the other divers to begin our ascent, I make a final check that everyone is with us. Glancing from person to person, I perform a mental roll call, first Sam, then ben, and then the other Dive Master…

He’s signalling something to me; frantic, urgent gestures that are hard to exactly interpret, but easy enough to guess for I see what he’s seen - there’s a half buried chest on the floor!

I reply to my colleague’s frenzied signs with a simply ‘okay’, but my mind is far from clear!

What should I do? Who should I tell? Visions fly through my head with an increasing frequency. I could open it and become rich, famous even! Or the news could get out and my Dive Master status could be in jeopardy if I touch that chest my career as a scuba diver could be over. But aren’t the potential benefits worth the risk?

Throughout our safety stop I can’t stop thinking. The responsible professional side of me is urging me to follow standards; I must alert the skipper and relevant authorities, record the exact location and depth, but images of adventure and excitement; a movie like scene of returning for this long-lost treasure, dance and spin through my brain as though their life is carefree.

My computer reaches zero. Our dive is over. We surface, and signal for the skipper to pick us up. My clients’ eyes are alight with vivacity; pure enjoyment, oblivious from what could be the discovery of the century.

I hand up my weight belt and BC, leaving on my fins to kick myself into the boat. The skipper smiles and asks me how my dive was.


I know exactly how I’m going to answer….” – Alexis Currin


What do you think?  Do you agree with the answers from our Into the Blue scuba dive masters/Instructors above? Feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.