I apologise for the silent treatment that I’ve given the blog lately, it’s just so difficult to blog while being underwater but I’ll try to keep my head above water for long enough to write this post (and also not much exciting new stuff has happened so don’t worry you haven’t really missed out on anything just because I’ve been busy breathing underwater).
Although I was planning to do it a lot and it was one of the reasons I chose to do my divemaster course at Buddha View instead of a small diveschool I had gotten so caught up in just fundiving with the other DMTs that up until last sunday I hadn’t assisted much. I think it’s safe to say that has changed now (but that doesn’t mean that I’m done assisting, there are new things to learn on every assist). The short version is that in 10 days I have assisted on two fundives, three full Open Water Diver courses, and what corresponds to two full Advanced Open Water courses. Unfortunately for you guys all this assisting means no new awesome underwater pictures (and generally only completely unrelated pictures in this post).
Do you want the long version? Well I’m going to have to assume that you do because the alternative is to tell you about either that night I got really drunk (that could possibly be a good story but I don’t remember) or how I just packed up all my belongings and moved all the way to a new (and smaller) room approximately 20 meters from the old one.
So let’s start last sunday where I assisted on a couple of fundives in the morning and then spent the afternoon in the pool with four students and two instructors. The four students were doing their Open Water Diver course and the first in-water part of that is done in confined water which means in either a pool or in a confined shallow part of the sea. During the confined water session there is a number of skills both underwater and on the surface that the students have to do after having seen them demonstrated by the instructor. I love performing the skills on a demonstration level (which means doing them slowly and exaggerating all the small but important things) and lucky for me one of the girls on the course had difficulties doing some of the skills so I spent a lot of the time in the pool helping her by redemonstrating the skills se had problems with and watched her do them. It was an absolutely awesome afternoon in the pool.
The following morning I managed to tick one more thing off on my list of DMT duties as we had a deep dive scenario workshop. It basically means that me and four other DMTs together with Chris (who’s in charge of the DMT program) and Laura (who’s a new instructor and sort of training to conduct the DMT program) came up with a reasonable dive profile (how long to stay at what depths e.g. go down to 30 meters and stay there for 8-10 minutes, go up to 22 meters and stay there for 15-17 minutes, go up to 16 meters and stay there for 18-20 minutes, go up to 5 meters and do a safety stop for three minutes and then end the dive) and then we had to do our best at following the profile in our buddy teams. Afterwards Chris and Laura checked out our actual dive profiles on our divecomputers to see how good we did at staying at the intended levels without too much going up and down. I buddied up with Scott and we nailed it! It was a different but fun way to go diving as I normally don’t pay that much attention to staying at the exact same level – as long as I stay within the no decompression limits then I usually just pay attention to what I see meaning that if there is something exciting at 25 meters one minute and at 22 meters the next minute then my diveprofile will be a bit curvy.
Later that day it was time for the first two open water dives for the four students. It was a couple of good dives but definitely also a bit of a challenge for me. To be honest I felt quite unprepared for how to deal with students with buoyancy problems. The first part of dive one I basically spent trying to keep one of the students from floating up all the time because I had no idea of how to get her to stay horizontal and relax instead of being vertical (it’s up to you to imagine what happens if you kick while being vertical..). Towards the end of the dive it got a better but I still felt a little in over my head. The next morning the group did their final two open water dives and it was a great experience to see how much better they had gotten from the confined water to their last dive.
On most Open Water Diver courses a videographer comes along on the last two dives to film the students and then make a short video for them to buy. The videos are shown in the bar every night. It was a lot of fun to do the video as we did an underwater pyramid, a piggyback race, a bubble ring contest and other stuff.
Last thursday two Swiss sisters did their confined water dive and I got to demonstrate a lot of the skills to them which was absolutely amazing. They were really great in the pool (yeah they might be reading this so I have to be nice but I was actually really impressed with them!) and it was such a nice afternoon. The following day we went out to do open water dives 1 and 2. The first went really well but unfortunately only one of them could do the second dive as the other was suffering from pretty bad ear problems that are still keeping her out of the water. So the next day the other girl and me joined another group of Open Water students and did open water dives three and four with them.
Two days ago I spent yet another afternoon in the pool doing confined water with three girls and Laura as the instructor (well the instructor Jesper was also there but he stayed mostly in the background). I didn’t do any skills this time but I still think a learned a lot just from watching. For all of the open water dives I was buddied up with one of the girls who started out being very nervous but changed a lot over the four dives. I definitely had my hands full on this course but it was such a good feeling to see how much she improved with just the four dives. As soon as I publish this post I will be heading straight to the bar to see our awesome video which has James Bond entries (doing a forward somersault off the boat), a bubble ring contest, a pyramid, throwing Laura around as a ball underwater and then just lots of girlpower!
I have assisted on three different Advanced Open Water courses. On the AOW course the students have to do a deep dive (where they’re introduced to how both color and pressure changes at depth and to how nitrogen narcosis can affect the speed of thinking), a navigation dive (where they’re doing more compass skills and also get to try navigating around the divesite alone – or well I was right behind them all the time but I didn’t help) and three adventure dives they choose themselves (e.g. underwater naturalist/fish ID, photography, night dive, peak performance buoyancy).
I have assisted on three navigation dives, two night dives, two underwater naturalist dives, two deep dives and a peak performance buoyancy dive. Generally when I assist I pay a lot of attention to the students which means that I don’t really see much of the divesite or the fish. While this is all fine by me on the day dives it’s a bit boring on the night dive where all I really see is five to seven torches in front of me.
My favorite dive to assist was the peak performance buoyancy dive where I got to practice more buoyancy stuff myself. I love the feeling of control it gives me when I’m good at my buoyancy and I’m completely amazed by how some divers can just stay perfectly still midwater for many minutes.
Last week I finished my knowledge reviews and a couple of days later I sat down to get the final exam done. I felt pretty well prepared and it also turned out to be no problem at all. The only allowed aid is the instructor manual which is only useful for one or two questions. But I absolutely smashed the exam with only one wrong answer out of 120 questions! Yay!
Just as I didn’t think I had anything special to tell about in this blogpost something a little out of the ordinary happened today after the morning dives. When we came back from the last dive big boat had engine problems so they had called for medium boat to come pick us up. Luckily we weren’t on one of the divesites too far from the pier so shortly after we could see our rescue boat in the horizon. Since the sea was quite choppy at the divesite we started out by being towed by medium boat to one of the quieter divesites and then we all made our way on to medium boat that then took us safely back to the pier. So now I’m just hoping that they will fix big boat as fast as possible because it’s so much nicer than medium boat.
That was all I could possibly come up with for this blogpost. Hopefully something extraordinary will soon happen so I have material for another post (otherwise I might just have to do that post on the boats that I promised long ago..).