I found it! – Completing the Search and Recovery Speciality

Expanding Square

Not one of the search patterns that we used on the final day of the Search and Recovery course.

Today was the final dive of the Search and Recovery Speciality.

PADI requires that by the end of Search and Recovery Dive Four, the student should be able to:

  • Organize, plan and conduct a search and recovery dive with a dive buddy.
  • Choose an appropriate search pattern and lifting method based on facts gathered about a lost object prior to a dive.

Yesterday, Sarah had hidden a cylinder on the house reef and today it was up to Howard and I to find it. All the information we knew about the object was that it was 30m from the shore (we obviously knew what the object was seeing as I had used it the day before).  He asked what pattern of search that we should use and I suggested the U-Shaped pattern because we were covering a large area and we didn’t know exactly where it had been dropped.

Howard also said that there was another object we were going to find. It was half a cylinder filled with concrete. He had a rough idea where it was so we would use a Circular Search pattern to find it.

So we donned our kit and went into the water. I noticed right away that something wasn’t right with my buoyancy. No matter how much air I put into my BCD I kept sinking. I gestured to Howard that there was something wrong with the dump valve on the right shoulder and he checked it. It was stuck, allowing any air that I put into my BCD to immediately escape. He unscrewed it and screwed it back on. That seemed to do the trick. We proceeded to search for the half cylinder. I stayed as the pivot in the centre of the circle and Howard swam around looking for it. We found it on the third circle. We secured the lift bag to the half cylinder and lifted up and towed it back to a mooring buoy, where we left it.

Now it was on to find what Sarah had left. We started at the entrance to the bay and beside the shore. There is a natural valley which is approximately 25-30m from shore, so we used this as our boundary. We completed the U-Pattern for several turns before we found it. Again we attached the lift bag and safely brought it to shore.

I have to say that I enjoyed this course immensely. I like having activities to do underwater, rather than just looking for fish and marine life. However, I did see my first octopus! Howard pointed him out to me. He was hiding under a rock near the entrance to the bay. I also saw two scorpion fish, nestling in the rocks.

Plans for tomorrow are varied, it could be one of the following:

  1. Complete the deep dive speciality
  2. Complete the wreck speciality
  3. Start the side mount speciality

I’m actually hoping to start the side mount speciality, that way I can use the side mount to complete the remaining dives of the other two specialities. Fingers crossed!

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