Monday, April 12, 2010

Rec 2 Class - Dive 1 - The Train Wreck Begins

The worst part was this train wreck was self-inflicted.

So we meet Sunday morning at Union Lake and do our pre-dive briefing.

A simple dive plan - kick out to the solitary far boat on the north east line rather than the boats and pontoons on the near east line. Do modified frog kick, modified flutter kick and Frog kick. Then at the boat do the Basic 6 drill (1. Reg out and replace, 2 regulator exchange, 3. Regulator thrown over shoulder and recovery, 4. Modified Air share drill, 5. Mask flood and clear, 6. mask remove and replace.) then do back kicks and helicopter turns and then do a 7 minute ascent drill stopping one minute at 18 feet, 15 feet, 12 feet, 9 feet, 6 feet and 3 feet).

Easy right?

Not so much.

So we head out into a fine cloud of silt that another group of divers had created and visibility sucks. James the instructor is coming along, as is Chad working the video camera and Reichy and Skip just for giggles to watch the approaching train wreck.

Of course, we're all off buoyancy wise - Wes and I are too negative, Keith too positive so we're a little staggered in our formation and already beginning not at our A game.

So we get through the silt cloud, and head for the boat. And of course two other divers are hanging around just where we're about to set up. Thankfully they head off.

Wes ties off the flag and we start the drills. Of course we start backwards - doing the back kick and helicopter turns first. We need practice on those and my trim is terrible - very knees down, I've got a lazy left foot, and pretty negative too boot.

On with the Basic 6 - not bad until we hit the lovely mask remove and replace.

Keith goes up on removal - once you lose visual orientation its hard to tell where you are in the water column. So we pull him down, he gets his mask on and life is good.

The Wes goes and hits the bottom once his mask goes off. He gets it back on and we're ok.

My turn.

Thump. There went my buoyancy.

Knees hit the bottom. My face really isn't enjoying the 46 degree F slap in the face it just received. I get the mask back on, clear it, get my buoyancy back and we're A-OK.

Then we do the ascent drill and we truly mess it up. It takes much longer than 7 minutes. I of course begin the goof up as I start it from the current depth of 35 feet as we had moved from the originally planned 21 foot location to this one - that was my mistake, I should have confirmed that and not assumed. We should have went immediately to 21 feet and started there. Of course we have trouble holding our spots on the way up and it is a mess.

James is not happy.

So we set to dive back and get the flag and swim back to the entry point. We're swimming along happily and then James throws Keith out of air. Keith skips Wes as he's busy with the flag and comes to me. I get him a reg and then watch as up he goes. And up he goes. Then my long hose comes flopping down, with no diver attached to it.

That just can't be good.

Keith is gone, up on the surface.

As the long hose comes down, it catches the flag line as Wes also went up but had a ton of line in the water. The line in addition to getting on the long hose had also fallen on me and I get wrapped up like a diving turkey, ready to be stuffed. This sucks. Keith comes down and unwraps the line - off the reg, off the arm, off the legs. Given I was face down midwater and stuck, the help was appreciated.

Line lives to tangle divers and this line was laughing and snickering all the way back to the end of the dive.

It was not our finest hour by any stretch of the imagination, and we did far worse then in our preparatory dives.

So we get out of the water then watch the video and James carefully and thoroughly critiques our every misstep and error. Many of which we didn't even consider to be problems until they're pointed out, and many where we knew they were errors. In either case we need to fix them - most especially my #!@#! trim problem.

Basically you gotta check your ego at the door in these classes and keep working on making improvements as you go as you're gonna get beat on constantly until you improve. Then you'll get beat on some more.

Dive Number 2 is set for Wednesday and we plan to do a heck of a lot better. We've got the team that can do this and we will.

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