09 July 2014

Solo Dive on the Big Coral Knoll followed by two Open Water dives with Students

I can't take my camera when I am diving with open
water students, so I got to the beach early to make a dive with the camera before the students got there.  It was a short dive.  I wanted to avoid getting a large nitrogen load before taking them to the Ledge for ascents.  Still, it was fun.  Got some nice pictures.

On the was to the reef, I spotted this Sailfin Blenny doing his little Dawn Dance.

 A Barred Cardinalfish was hiding in the reef.
 A Bluestriped Grunt posed in front of a large Sea Fan.

The Rock Hind was out sunning itself on the large rocks on the North edge of the Knoll.
Just North of the rocks, I spotted this Ocean Surgeonfish getting cleaned by a small Juvenile French Angelfish.
And lots of Green Sea Turtles.

This little guy came over to swim with me.

 Seemed to like having his picture taken.

The dive time was exactly one hour and my RMV rate was .52 ft3/minute, which is on the high side.  I was swimming hard instead of going slowly, and it showed.

I waited for my two Open Water students to arrive.  When they did, they set up their gear and we discussed what we were doing.  I explained that I wanted to swim to the Ledge on the surface to avoid any nitrogen buildup since we were doing two ascents relatively quickly.

It seemed like it took forever to get out to the Ledge.  One of my two student's feet were blistered and even though he wore his shoes inside the fins, he was hurting.  My computer showed 109 minutes of surface interval when we finally got to the Eastern Ledge and made our descent. I suggested that they go down slowly and equalize often since we would be doing several descents.

I tied off the flag line, to use as a brake when I took the first of the students up on an alternative air source ascent. At the surface, he inflated his BCD orally, as he would have to do were this really an emergency ascent.  Then I dropped and took the other student up the same way. At the surface, we discussed the CESA once he got his BCD inflated orally.  He and I went down to demonstrate the CESA for the first student's benefit.

We took three breaths on my count and then both myself and my student started up.  The student was with me the whole way, but I did have to slow him down some. He dribble air out slowly as he ascended and had gas for the entire ascent.

I went down and got the second student in position.  We went through the 3 breath countdown and started up, but he put his regulator in his mouth to breath after only about 30 seconds at 20 feet.  So we went back to the bottom and tried again.  This time, when he reached for his regulator, I shook my head and we made it to the surface. Maybe a bit fast, and the computer print out showed, but we made the surface.  So I retrieved the reel and flag and we swam North along the Ledge to the ravine leading to the Fish Camp Rocks, then down the reef and to the beach.

I was concerned that the student with the blistered foot would not want to make the final dive, but my concerns were unwarranted.  We took a 57-minute surface interval and then got back in the water.  We swam out to the Sea Rod and descended, then swam East to the Blocks, up the gun sight to the Cigar Rock and then the Gray Mid-way Rock, though we were a bit South because I and over adjusted for the current. We turned North to the Knoll and toured around.  While we were there, we heard a boat above us, though I did not see one come over.  Still, we were in 13-14 feet of water and both students lifted their heads up to look around while I was trying to get them to drop as low as they could.  Anyway, the boat went its own way and we headed for the English Garden.  The sky clouded over while we were underwater and it was getting darker.  We turned back when one student hit 1800 psi. I went free-form SW until we picked up the tipped coral head to the North of the Cigar Rock and then found Irish Thighs and went in.  One of the students indicated that he wanted to surface.  I tried to find out what was wrong, but nothing seemed to be wrong.  So we ascended.  At the surface he told me that he just needed to breathe through his nose. So we floated on the surface for a few minutes, then descended to complete the dive.

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