A student from Madison, Wisconsin, called to schedule his open water dives in South Florida. He and a group of friends were chartering some boats to tour the Bahamas and dive and he needed to finish his certification. That's fine, but he flew in Thursday night and needed to make his four dives before noon on Saturday. The weather, which had been warm and lovely, turned both windy and cold.
We aborted our first dive attempt because the surf was rough and the student froze in the breakers. He just stood there and tried to get his fins on with the waves breaking around and over him. Fortunately, he didn't lose his fins in the surf. We got out, dried off and warmed up. The second attempt got aborted ostensibly because the student did not have enough weight on, though in retrospect, it was probably that his Lizard brain wouldn't let him exhale. At the time, we blamed the inflator valve on the BCD and I disconnected the inflator hose, which solved that problem. I also put two more pounds on him: up to 24 pounds. He's a big guy, but he really shouldn't need 24 pounds of lead. Nonetheless, on our third attempt, we got onto the reef and spent 30 minutes underwater.
For the second dive, we swam out through the surf, then descended on the sand to the West of the swim buoys. We went through the skills, including the mask clearing and removing then replacing the gear. We hovered, too, but the student had some trouble. I think he is overweighted at 24 pounds, but he still has problems coming down at the start of the dive. I'm confident that as he gets more comfortable in the water and his Lizard brain relaxes he will be able to take some weight off. After doing the skills, we ended up at the Big Coral Knoll and met with two Green Sea Turtles, which was exciting. Unfortunately, I don't take my camera along with Open Water students so I did not get a picture for him. We turned back when the student had less than half a tank and he ended up at a little less than 500 psi by the time we climbed onto the beach. Difficult to believe this was the same student I started with this morning.
I was expecting another student to begin his classroom work at 2:00 pm, so I raced the referral student back into the water for the third dive. We went down in 10 feet, just after the sand bar, swam out to the edge of the reef, performed some skills and swam back. The dive was 33 minutes.