Deep diving today!!!! oooo the thrill. As part of our divemaster training we headed out into the crazy waters of Manuel Antonio today with the intention of completing our deep dive training. With three intrepid divemaster trainees briefed, geared up and ready to go, we set out our objectives for the deep dives today. We have had the joy of a swell filled weekend after the "super moon" (really?!) which has been awesome for surf, slightly more challenging for the diving, but still fun. Seriously though, where else can you go diving in the morning and then 3 hours later be surfing decent waves? Not many places I’ll have you know!!!
So, deep diving, plan you dive and then dive your plan. With the deep specialty incorporated into our divemaster course, we love throwing challenges at you so add in some real self reliant, redundancy skills for good measure. Not just any old deep diving here I’ll have you know. So our first dive, technically dive 2 of the deep specialty, objective look at three pressure sensitive objects, check, now lets look at our buoyancy and navigational skills at depth, bit of surge and some tricky viz thrown in for good measure and this is your first challenge of the dive. Up the reef wall and then onto our SAC rate drills. The SAC rate is your surface air consumption, basically looking at how
much air you consume in cubic feet a minute (or litres a minute of you are from the "normal" part of the world ; ) ). The idea behind this is, so that you can calculate ow much air you would need during a dive, so allowing for your reserve if needed. This is a good practice to have an idea of your air consumption as a conservative diver and certainly as a professional dive when you are guiding or teaching other people underwater. You are constantly multi-tasking and having one less thing to be constantly concerned over is good. Whilst you must always monitor your air consumption, by you having a general idea of what you will be going through in a dive , this can ease the stress somewhat. So we worked on our SAC rates, a nice 10 minute swim at level, which with a little bit of surge can be tricky but everyone did fab. Finally we started our ascent , deploying surface marker buoys from reels at depth and then coming up to our safety stop at 5 m, hovering in a horizontal position. Method behind this madness is to keep all of your body at the same level so that you are decompressing at a level.
Interesting fumbling with the reels on this dive and some birds nests to unravel on the surface for sure!
Dive number 2 here we come, this time, utilizing our deco bottles for a simulated stop. Same drill as first dive, all three Divemaster trainees did a great free descent, communicating as a team on the way down. Once down , we practiced our hovering with the addition of the 30 cubic foot pony bottle on the side, followed by a practice of removing and replacing it. Now why as a recreational diver would you carry an additional air source ? Because you never know what may occur and you want to be as prepared as possible. When acting as a divemaster you may be leading a deeper dive when your divers will use their air quicker than normal, without maybe expecting that. By carrying an additional air source you will be prepared to aid a fellow diver, without having to expend any extra from your own air supply, once again, a less stressful option. So, tick the box for that skill, and onwards to exploring the dive site, some nice parrot fish, a few puffers, nice and tranquil before....drill time again! This time, deployment of the reel and SMB again , start ascent, followed by turing on and checking of the deco bottle. As we hit our safety stop, regulators in from the deco bottles and start the 8 minutes of emergency decompression. This time three very chill, hovering horizontally, deco reg in mouth, divemasters in training....nicely done guys. Up to surface and then back to the dive shop to work out our SAC rates for the plan tomorrow.
Tomorrow, recap and finishing the deep skills before staring onto the search and recovery portion....now where did we drop that weight pocket again?.....