Technical diving not today!

Ms. Hook

2 technical diving courses are included as part the internship package. The first time I was scheduled to participate in the course I pulled out as it was at the time I was freaking out over dive theory (see Mathematics and Moods blog entry).

The second attempt I nearly bailed out again, but thought Id be better off giving it a try. As this was after my instructor course, I had a lot more confidence in my dive theory and diving skills.

The course started with an afternoon session with Leigh Cunningham, he introduced us (me, Katie, another internship instructor and Phil our videographer) to technical diving equipment and a little bit of theory. I was getting a bit excited about the kit and having a chance to try it out until the edge of the steel back plate connected with the end of my stump. Ouch! (Is saying it politely). After kit came a bit of dive theory and how it relates to technical diving, different gas blends and new depths wed get to by the end of the course.

The next day was on the boat. Dive one was a wobbly experience. I was now wearing a twin set (two tanks), a donut shaped bladder, different fins and regulator, a lantern with a power pack, a reel and smb as well as a harness thats just like safety/climbing rigging. Its all completely different to the usual recreational diving gear. I spent the whole dive just trying to find a balanced position. Not only was it new kit making me wobble, I also have to dive in a new position (think of some yoga move you do on your belly).

Ms. Hook Ms. Hook

The second dive was a lot less wobbly, but my buoyancy was pretty rubbish. The aim is to be able to stick to a certain depth and not rise above or below that depth. 50cm difference is acceptable, but not a few metres. The reason why this matters is all to do with the gas/air blends used and the depth you stop at to reduce the nitrogen in your system. You must do certain things at a certain depth or you could risk injury fun huh?

After the two dives it was back to the dive centre for more theory, a review of the day and a giggle looking at the photos and videos taken of us in the water and homework assignments!

Day three was another day on the boat. A new element was added to all the kit we were already carrying another tank, slung on our left side. So with three tanks and all the other gear on we jump into the water. Another adjustment to my balance, but it was easier this time; I was getting the hang of it. My (yoga) position was improving and I was doing ok on the buoyancy. Well that was until it was time to start messing around with turning the tanks on and off. If you see by the photos there are 3 on/off valves we have to play with, no problem for one hand if youre flexible like me!

Ms. Hook Ms. Hook

So, I was doing ok, but I wasnt really enjoying myself. I felt that I was turning a simple relaxing activity into a complicated one. I was not putting a 100% into this course like I did for divemaster and instructor, I guess i didnt want it as much. I started thinking during the dive that Id pull out of the course; another smack to my stump from the 3rd tank was the clincher for me. I decided not to continue with the second dive of the day and pulled out of the course.

I think I might look back into tech another day, but then again, why make life difficult for myself?

If any one handers out there are interested in doing technical diving, dont let me put you off trying it for yourself. If you are into physical and mental challenges beyond those of recreational diving, youll find this enjoyable many others do. I think Ill call you all geek divers!

Thanks to Leigh for his expertise and to Phil and Katie for their encouragement and the end of day laughs.

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