18 October 2014

First two Open Water Dives off Tower 2

One of my two students had a bad cold when he showed up at the apartment, so we stopped at Walgreen's to buy some decongestant, then drove down to the South Beach Lot and parked next to Luis and Leo's cars, where we geared up. The thinner student carried two 2 pound weights and heavier student carried four 2 pound weights. I would carry two 2's and two 3's so I could trade. Ended up trading with the thinner student, who couldn't get down with only 4 pounds, but did well with 6. Go figure. The heavier student had trouble with his BCD. He kept filling it with the pressure inflator and complained when the emergency release valve would activate and he heard the air hissing. He thought there was a leak, so he would press the inflator button again. He had problems getting down, as well. His ears were a bit of a problem, but the real problem is that he can't control his breathing. He's all over the place and when he tries to adjust his BCD, you never know what he is going to do. When he grabbed the inflator and tried to take air out, he pressed the inflator button and filled the thing up. We swam out past the algae patch and the heavier student was getting low on air, so we turned the dive and came in. We came up just past the swim buoys because he was really low and I didn't want any problems. Thought I was breathing well, but ended up blowing through 1200 psi.  Dive Time was 43 minutes; my air consumption rate was 28.49 psi/minute at 20 feet; SAC rate was 19.59 psi/minute; and my RMV was 0.51 ft3/minute. Really poor control.  

I had hoped to work through the table problems during our surface interval, but one student did not bring his problems. Maybe he didn't do them. In any event, they re-took the quizzes they had not passed and each of them failed this second time.

The thinner student stuck with six pounds and we brought heavier student down to 6 pounds for the second dive. He looks to me like he has more body fat than I do, but he is apparently more muscle. Once he learns to breath correctly, he could probably lose another 2 pounds. We swam out past the swim buoys and went down. The heavier student started down then swam frantically to the surface and thrashed about. He had forgotten to turn his air on after Luis helped him with his regulator. He could have orally inflated his BCD then either reached back to turn on the air or even taken the BCD off to turn on the air, but he was too busy pressing the inflator button and treading water in a panic to solve his own problem. When he calmed down, we descended again. This time, he could not get the air out of his BCD.  He was horizontal in the water and not holding the deflator hose up so he could not deflate his BCD.  He may have been pressing the inflator button, as well.  I just couldn't see well enough. Finally got him down and he joined us and we set off to the East.  Saw a Loggerhead Turtle, at least I think it was a Loggerhead.  Its face looked vaguely like a Green turtle, but the shell was large and smooth like a Loggerhead.  I don't take pictures any more, since I flooded my camera.  Luis may have gotten the shot but hasn't downloaded, edited or posted his photos. We were a little South of where we should have been and maybe a bit West, still.  Never saw the Jacks but we were on the tiered reef.  Maybe too far South for the Jacks.  When the heavier student signalled that he had only 1200 psi, both students and I turned the dive and headed for the beach.  Leo and Luis stayed to finish their dive.  This time I did better with my breathing.  RMV was 0.41 ft3/mintue and the dive was 77 minutes.  Not bad for their second dive.  

17 October 2014

Another Solo Dive on the Algae Patch off Tower 2

Up early, but didn't make it to the beach until about 8:45 am. Went to the South Beach lot. It's just easier than fighting for one of the five spots available on A1A. Geared up and got in the water. Air was cooler than it has been; the water, too, but it was warmer than the air: 80.6 degrees. My tank pressure increased when I got in. Descended to about 14 ft just at the swim buoys and moved slowly across the algae to the sand and then onto the reef. Didn't see anything familiar. Probably got set to the South. Saw a Goldspotted Eel, though I had to look it up when I got home. Really do miss my camera. I liked having photos of the fish I spotted and I enjoyed reliving and reexamining the dive as I edited pictures after the dive. I miss that. Air Consumption rate was 21.64 psi/minute at a maximum depth of 23 feet.  My SAC rate was 14.57 psi/minute and the RMV was 0.38 ft3/minute.

14 October 2014

Solo Diving off Tower 2

Took Monday off.  Just stayed in bed and and enjoyed my own little pity party. Between the stress of finding parking and the fact that I can't get to Tower 17 and the Big Coral Knoll, I just don't feel the same need to dive. I got to the South Beach parking lot around 8:00 am, but took my time gearing up and getting in the water. The beach was windy with odd cross-currents. Still, I got out okay and descended over the algae patch. Visibility was terrible:  less than 2 ft over the sand and not much better until I got into 18 feet of water. Visibility never got good. Maybe 5-8 feet at best. Swam due East not really looking for the jacks, but wouldn't mind knowing where I was. I never found the Jacks, think I was too far North because of the current. Once I got to the reef, I found some fish and things got a little more interesting, but there really isn't that much life there, at least not compared to the Big Coral Knoll.