Sunday 18 July 2010

Low Vis But Good Dive

Dived again yesterday, my first in a while! Which I nearly missed due to my being thick and failing to comprehend that we were meeting at the stop at 7.30 in the AM not the PM.

The phone call at 7.45am was a bit of a surprise.

Luckily, I a) had my phone on, b) had the car's petrol tank half full, c) always keep my dive gear stacked and ready to go and d) we were going to Beadnell.

I threw myself plus dive bag and some hastily-made toast into the Toyota, and beat my personal speed record from my house to Beadnell to arrive in time to dive.

I suspect that even if I make it all the way to Divemaster, I'll never be allowed to forget this. It's a funny thing about life. They tell you you'll need to work hard and be determined, but they never tell you that one of the most important qualities you'll need is the ability to rescue yourself from your own fuck-ups.

Other than that, it was a good dive - two dives actually. First was me plus four other divers, just a fun dive around the bay. Unfortunately the visibility was really, really low. (The photo here wasn't actually taken yesterday, but it gives you a good idea of what it was like!) It was hard to see a diver even two metres behind you, and seeing fish or any other life was even more tricky. Good practise of the old compass navigation skills. I think I'm going to do the Underwater Navigator course next! and also buy a couple of torch and a shoulder strobe. I had a minor problem when my right ear wouldn't clear, but managed to get it equalised in the end.

I hadn't been expecting to go back in - I was de-kitting at the van - when one of the instructors hurried past and asked if I was going back in. Never one to pass up an opportuity to dive, I immediately said yes! Luckily I hadn't taken the tank off my jacket. (MY jacket. My new, shiny - well, secondhand - buoyancy jacket. It worked perfectly and may well be the best £45 I've spent in ages.) I went in on what was the first pleasure dive of a very newly-qualified Open Water diver. She had literally just passed her final qualifying Open Water 4 dive, and this was her first dive! We buddied up, with an instructor leading the way, and swam around Beadnell Bay for half an hour.

It was kind of humbling when the instructor remarked that, unlike the new diver, I didn't need to change my tank for a full one, because "[CyclingDiver] has been diving for a year". I'm really not that great a diver, yet, despite how much I go on about it. My air consumption is definitely getting better; I managed both a 50-minute and 33-minute (quite shallow) dive on on tank of 230bar, and still had 50bar left yesterday. But it was a reminder of how far I've come, and how far I still have to go.

Incidentally, the new diver was - to my still quite inexperienced eyes - really good. Good buoyancy control, checked instruments regularly, gave and understood clear hand signals, didn't freak out in the low vis... I'm sure it won't be long before she's taking her Advanced Open Water in Bute!

Here's to the next dive!

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