Today was my first actual dives since I arrived in Malta; I successfully completed my Peak Performance Buoyancy speciality.
Do what does this speciality entail?
Two open water dives that help you maintain your trim, hover, improve your control, and hopefully remove some of the additional weight that has been added to help you sink.
A word about some of the equipment that I am using. Firstly, I am renting the wetsuit, BCD and regs. I have my own dive computer (SUUNTO VYPER), my own mask (Aqualung Favola), and my own fins (Hollis F1 Bat Fins). The kit from the dive shop is good, I can’t fault it. It is well maintained and is up to the task. However, my fins are just too heavy to hover stretched out. They keep pulling me down. My trim, when I am moving, is perfect. I have no real problems that greater experience and more dives won’t fix. However, because these fins are so heavy, they stop me from hovering how I want. Perhaps when I try the dry suit things will be different.
So the two dives today were at Ghar Lapsi. It is on the South-West coast of Malta, about 30 minutes from St Julian’s.
So after the briefing, we kitted up, walked down the steep hill to the dive site and got in. We started the dive with a neutral buoyancy check. To do this you go to a section of water that is too deep to stand in. Empty your BCD of air while holding a normal breath. You should remain at eye level, otherwise add or remove weight until you do. Then exhale and you should slowly descend. I am happy to say that worked well for me. So we both descended and went off for a dive. We swam around, moving between different depths and avoiding obstacles. We then attempted to hover. This is where a came a cropper. Suffice to say it resulted in me sitting like a pixie so that that my fins wouldn’t disrupt my trim.
We then went off for another swim, this time we entered some caves. The main section of the cave is at 4m underwater so we did our safety stop there. Then we exited the cave through a small opening. We then had a short surface interval before the second dive.
During the surface interval we discussed and practised different finning techniques, such as back finning and helicopter kicking. We then descended back through the caves, we took a different route and then practised some more hovering, buoyancy controls – he passed me a 1kg weight, I took it and my depth didn’t change, I am sure I looked at him quizzically asking if he wanted me to keep the weight. We then did some more back finning drills and then went for another swim.
It was a good dive. The water, although 15°C, didn’t feel too cold and I enjoyed diving. I am sure that I will practise the skills that I have just learnt on each of my subsequent dives.
A good first day’s diving. Tomorrow Navigation.