( Just read this – a little longer than most – but I think you’ll enjoy it)
Another day of class room training and LOTS of underwater application today. I had to complete my wreck dive book section….. dive has already been done…. I had to test on diving in Deep Water and test on Peak Performance Buoyancy (in a nut shell – how well you can control your sinking and floating) — Book work was a little tougher than I thought but passed them. Went out on first dive to field test on operating in deep water (deep water is 60′ – 130′) — swam out and descended to just below a 100′ and sat down on the sea floor. Instructor handed me a small clip board and I had to write my name down – backwards. (nieH mailliiW) The pressure and oxygen you’re breathing at that depth can do some funny things to you, but after thinking about it briefly, got it done with no issues. Clip board returned to me with a math problem on it…. 5 + 2 x 3 = ? I returned the clipboard with my answer of 30….. yea, yea, yea…. I know, that is not correct – but in my defense, it was dark, I couldn’t focus all that well on the clipboard and was holding the clipboard a little bit sideways and the “+” looked like a “x”. Instructor believed me when I explained my ‘old man’ eyes and answered the equation correctly (21). Then a board was produced that had 6 colored squares and I had to write the color of each underneath the squares…… really messed up how red colors change under water. This was not really a pass or fail test as everybody’s eyes are different. Just shows you the effect of what your eyes see underwater.
After an hour and a half surface interval, we went to second dive site for the Peak Performance Buoyancy underwater application. I think my instructor had some fun with me on this one, as he really put me through the paces, plus I also think the little turd was showing off as well…. ; ) I didn’t have to do the hover, as I unintentionally did that on the previous dive during our 3 minute safety stop (you have to ‘hold’ at 15′ for 3 minutes before coming up to cut down on your chance of getting the bends) – so this dive started out by touching the tip of my fins on the sea floor and floating my body at a 45° angle. Instructor then pulled one of his weight pockets off and handed it to me. I had to maintain that 45° angle while holding the extra weight. I had to regulate my floating with air in my lungs – I was not allowed to use my BC (Buoyancy Compensator). He then took those weights and I had to maintain the angle, and he handed me even heavier weights, then keep the angle when I handed them back (by exhaling) – next came kissing the bottle. He had an empty water bottle suspended by a string to a weight. Bottle was suspended about 3′ off the bottom. I had to approach the bottle and touch my regulator to it, without moving the bottle. Easy peezy~~! Then he lowered the bottle to 2’off the bottom. Had to do it again (without touching the bottom, or anything dangling off of me touching the bottom) Not quite so easy, but got it. Then he lowered the bottle all the way down to where it was touching the weight. Yeeesh…… Gathered everything (that dangles) and eased in. Not so easy peezy~! Proud to say I got it though….. It’s a good feeling to pull something like that off ~! Next was hoop diving…. about a 3′ circle and a 3′ x 3′ square had been mounted on the sea floor close to where we were kissing the bottle. Swam over and had to swim through the hoop without touching it. Nailed it! (I have done this a couple of times in freefall, so I was familiar with the concept) Swam out and turned around and done the same thing through the square…Nailed it! Then smart ass instructor, swam up to the top of the square, leaned over and did a flip and came through the square upside down and on his back. Then turned around and smiled……. so away I went….. I did it, wasn’t as smooth or polished as his version and I bumped my tank on the bottom coming through…. but I did it. (found out later that was not required – but what the hell) Next we started passing a small missile shaped thing through the water while swimming around in circles. He would throw it high, low, out of range and I had to catch it. That was fun but I kinda felt like a dog chasing a ball – but caught all of the throws….. Last test…. There was a long stretch of rope (guesstimating it to be 4″, the size they use to tie up cruise ships in port) laying along the bottom. I had to take my fins off and ‘walk’ about 25′ down the rope, then turn around and ‘walk’ back. I say ‘walk’, you’re actually hovering over the rope and touching your feet as you use your arms to move you along the rope. MUCH tougher than I would have thought.
FINALLY finished testing and got to explore a little bit, exercising some of my newly tested skills….. Got out of the water and headed back for the truck. Instructor said my buoyancy skills are pretty good for someone at my level… yay me : ) As we approached the truck, he held a fist out for a bump – and said – Congratulations – you are now a certified Advanced Open Water Diver~! I guess he’s not that much of a turd~! 😉
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, but the one most responsive to change.