I walk in and find myself in a very calm state as I am on day 3 of an Open Water course and it’s a really easy one (so far… nothing like jinxing yourself!). My student is staying local, so I can start my day with a coffee and a relax while he enjoys a lie in, 9am start seemed fair. As he wonders in looking refreshed, remember 9am is a ‘late’ start in divers terms, I slowly start to get everything sorted. It seems the extra sleep has left me in a less than enthusiastic mood.
But then, as I start briefing, the mere act of talking about diving perks me up. Just mentioning the fish makes me smile and as I go into details about the characteristics of some of the fish life, my guests enthusiasm levels go into overdrive. We did manage to get in the water yesterday but as we were running a little late (my guest had booked an afternoon excursion) we didn’t get as much ‘free’ time in the water as I would have liked. With conditions as nice as ours, it’s great to be able to offer the guests a long dive, without fear of serious cold. I appreciate that in some places around the world it’s a struggle to get a student to remain underwater for the required minimum of 20 mins, as even with the buzz of excitement, chills soon set in!
As I said, not a problem we have. One we do have to address is the issue of dive planning. As our students can easily exceed a No Decompression Limit on the table, with topography of the bay where you can reach depth easily but spend the majority of a dive in the shallows, we must ensure our students are diligent when it comes to dive times.
We have a lovely dive, doing the skills at the beginning means we have plenty of time to see fish life, and yet again, we are not disappointed. We are even treated to a sighting of the big grouper, appearing to be ‘hiding’ in the underwater climbing frame.
After an hour surface interval, the serious lesson begins. On a day where I have two open water dives to do I like to replicate a day on the boat as much as possible (minus the delicious boat cake!). So we look at our last dive depth and time and consider the surface interval we are going to have – one hour. My student quickly realises the importance of planning, figuring out that if we did the same profile again, we would exceed our NDL and end up spending the evening visiting a doctor!!
I give him two options, we either do a shorter time at the same depth, or we can shallow up the next dive and get a longer dive. He goes for the shallower/longer option so we plan the dive slightly differently to make sure we always have something to look at and don’t spend time mid-water for nothing.It’s an easy job in the bay and our second dive treats us to another sighting of the grouper, he’s moved shallower, almost as if he knew our plan.
Some fish are such attention seekers!