As I have left the warm waters of the Bahamas for the cold waters of the Pacific I decided to do a drysuit course. I signed up with Bamboo Reef the only dive shop in San Francisco. The dive shop is affiliated with SSI, an agency I have never done any training with so I was quite excited to see how the course operated.
The drysuit course was in three parts. The first was an online course – which, although went through the main points of drysuit diving, felt like a sales pitch for a drysuit. In my opinion it would have benefited from a greater discussion of the common problems of weighting and their solutions.
The second part was a pool session. This involved watching a video about my responsibility as a diver, I think this is definitely a good thing. I have seen too many divers shirk their responsibilities and are surprised by the outcome when something goes wrong. After the video, we did a knowledge review and had a discussion of the what the plan was for the pool session and open water session. Bamboo Reef have their own heated pool, which is great as we didn’t have to go anywhere else. In the pool we practiced out of air drills, regulator recovery, a CESA, rapid ascent drills, and had some fun swimming around.
The third part was the open water session. This took place the next day in Monterey. So after an early start, a second breakfast at Carl’s Jr, we arrived at Bamboo Reef in Monterey. We quickly collected our kit and headed to San Carlo beach. After a dive briefing where we discussed what was happening on the two dives we headed in to the cold pacific waters. The first dive we repeated the skills we did in the pool and then had a shirt swim around the kelp. The second dive was just a fun dive where we went to the metridium fields.
I really enjoyed the course, and although diving with a drysuit was a new experience for me it is something that I plan to continue doing. I did have a few difficulties but I am sure that with time I will come to master them.