My first Open Water Course (100th post)

Cassidy and Natalie on Confined Water Dive 3 Photo taken by Cassidy's father

Cassidy and Natalie on Confined Water Dive 3
Photo taken by Cassidy’s father

So I finally found some people to teach how to dive. I have to say that I was very nervous and rightly so. With only two weekends available before the Christmas vacation it was looking as if I wasn’t going to get anyone to sign up. But as luck would have it 2 signed up and were keen to get going.

Confined Water Dives (30th November)

I met Cassidy and Natalie at 9am and went straight to the pool, their parents came too. Their parents asked if they could come and watch, I said it was ok as long as they didn’t interfere in the training and that they girls didn’t mind. Cassidy’s father asked if he could take some photos, again I said it was fine as long as they didn’t distract the girls from their training. I am not going to go through all the 5 confined dives in excruciating detail but suffice to say the girls really pushed themselves hard. I am so proud of them they really worked hard to get all the tasks completed. At times I had to work one on one with them, but we got through it and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Classroom Sessions (12th and 13th December)

I organised a few classroom sessions to go through the knowledge reviews and to teach them how to use the eRDPml. Unfortunately Cassidy became ill and was unable to attend the final classroom session but Natalie passed all the quizzes with flying colours.

Open Water Dives 1 & 2 (14th December)

We met at 12.30 at the pool and Natalie completed her 200m swim and 10 minute tread. Unfortunately the pool isn’t heated and I can only imagine that it wasn’t that much fun for her. That took 20 minutes so that left us with some time to talk about the plans for the two dives. I like the idea of spending time talking clearly about what is expected and dry running the exercises. It makes for a much easier dive. So soon we were all checked in at the dive shop and we headed out to our dive site. Bahama Divers only do one dive in the afternoon so we would make two 20 minute dives with a short surface interval in between. Natalie did really well on the dives and should that she was a calm and relaxed diver. We completed 3 of the dive flexible skills at the start of the second dive (cramp removal, snorkel-regulator exchange, and the tired diver tow).

Open Water Dives 3 & 4 (15th December)

After the success of the dives the day before, Natalie was excited for the final two dives today. Her mother, sister and brother joined us on the boat. We would be going to two distinct dive sites today. The first was Delasalle which was a wreck. The plan was to complete the remaining dive flexible skills on this dive so that the fourth and final dive could be more enjoyable. The wreck sits in about 18-20m of water. We descended to 6m and grabbed on to the descent line so that we could do the CESA. She performed it beautifully. We then went down and did the mask flood and clear followed by the compass navigation. We then bimbled around the wreck looking at the fish and practising our buoyancy control. We got to the 20 minute mark and it was time to ascend and do our safety stop. We waited the 3 minutes and then surfaced. Time to do the remaining dive flexible skills. She expertly removed and replaced her scuba unit and her weight belt. She then did the 50m compass swim. This proved to be a bit more difficult as there was a small current which meant that she had to swim hard into the current. We got out and then went to our next dive site.

It was time for the last dive at the Lighthouse Wreck and Reef. Only two skills to perform on this: mask removal and replace and the hover. As Natalie’s mask doesn’t have a neoprene strap so it gets caught in her hair  I lent her my mask (which is unfortunately a little too big). She did the skill with no hesitation at all. However, due to the ill fit of my mask on her she wanted to swap them back so we went to the surface and swapped them. Girls with long hair definitely need to wear some sort of hood. We quickly descended and tried a hover. She managed a good 25-30 seconds with minimal sculling. Pleased with this we went for a bimble around the wreck and the man-made reef. At the reef we tried another hover and this time she managed to get almost a full minute with out any kicking or sculling. It was very impressive (there is even some video footage). As we had completed all the skills required I gestured to Natalie what she would like to do, either spend some more time diving or we could ascend. She wanted to go up.

In conclusion

I think that I have been lucky with Natalie, she is a good student and has a fantastic aptitude for diving. She has good trim, her hovering is great, and she is very calm. Because of this it made my job very easy. It was unfortunate that Cassidy became ill and was unable to take part in the diving this weekend, but I think that it was better for me. Having two students would have made this weekend a lot more difficult, so it worked out for the best. I am really proud of both Natalie and Cassidy (who will complete her OW course in 2014 with her dad). But I am also really proud of what I have accomplished so far. I have learned so much and have made a few mistakes (nothing major). I can’t wait to teach my next course.

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