It’s back into the bay for me to do a check dive (just like last week – this job can be repetitive!) for two repeat guests who have requested me as their instructor. It’s always really nice when someone requests you because it means they are making a conscious choice to have your time to themselves over and above anyone else. It makes us instructors feel special, and is a testament to how much your guests trust you to guide them in their diving career.This couple have been regulars for years, and normally come back a few times a year. However, pesky things like growing up and having to buy houses and all that responsible stuff gets in the way of holidays sometimes, apparently, hence the need for a check dive.
After some initial catching up with life in general, it’s time to kit up. A quick check of the log book lets us know what weight they had last time. It’s a great habit to get into, making a note of this. It makes weight checks much easier and quicker if you have a bench mark. If one element changes, it’s a still a pretty easy calculation, whether you are changing from lakes to the sea or from a shortie to a long suit. Large weight gain (or loss!) will also have an effect, so please be honest!
So, a quick dash (ok, more of a meander) across the sand and we are in the water and finning out on the surface, avoiding the huge amount of snorkelers. It turns out our weight calculation was good, and before we know it we are descending into the clear blue.
Correct weighting is so important, as it means that you can get the most out of your dive. By carrying minimal weight you are reducing the actual weight that you are propelling through the water, thus reducing drag. Add to this that you will need to make less adjustments to buoyancy as you have less air volume to keep constant in your bcd, and you will see you dive time leap up.
After the usual couple of skills, which ironically I first taught these guests when they did their Open Water Course, it’s all about the dive. Our destination is Movenpick Reef, but we have a small detour to see what the artificial reef has to offer. It’s normally home to the schooling banner fish, and today is no exception. Ducking and diving, they seem to have a comfort zone of how far from the blocks they will stray, and when they reach it they dart back into the shelter. And so it carries on. We find it slightly hypnotic today, so stay there a little longer, watching natures show.
After a while, I have a quick scan around, and in the distance I can see what looks like a small but rapidly moving plastic bag. My years of experience tell me that bags can’t move that fast unaided, and that was I am actually looking at is a baby eagle ray. The bay has long been a breeding ground and nursery for these beautiful creatures and they are a relatively common sight, but that doesn’t take any of the joy away when you spot one. Having signalled the guests, we move slowly towards the little guy and he seems either unaware or unfazed by our presence. As he digs in the sand with his eagle like head, he suddenly spooks, and off he goes with a few flaps of his wings in to the distance.
Having made it no further than the artificial reef, air consumption (theirs.. not mine!)sends us back to the beach and out of the water.
I’m out guiding tomorrow so will be with same guests again, which will be great. If I can get a group of like-minded divers tomorrow, maybe I can get one of those weeks where the boat stays together and by the end of it, some real lasting friendships will have been made. Here’s hoping!