14 February 2015

Finn and Jerry make their first two Open Water Dives off Tower 3

Finn and Jerry, my students, were late, but the parking lot had been taken over for some festival or other. Ryan O'Connor showed showed up. He and Luis buddied up, which was a good thing.

Leo helped me with the students. Weighted them heavy and planned on putting air in their BCDs to adjust the buoyancy. Before we got in, I noticed Jerry's tank was really low, so I took that opportunity to discuss and demonstrate the loose tank band skill.

Despite being at least 4 pounds over-weighted , both Finn and Jerry had trouble getting down and staying down, but neither of them seemed light. As we were grouping on the bottom, Jerry headed to the surface. I went after him trying to slow him down. We surfaced together and I asked what happened. Jerry said that he got soap in his eyes from the anti-fog he put on his mask. He washed it off and we went back down.

Finn initially swam head up suggesting he was over weighted. Jerry did a little better, but he was dragging in the sand at the beginning of the dive. When I got to 2500 psi, I checked their air: both of them claimed to have 2000 psi left. Leo had the flag and was with Jerry just behind Finn and I. At 2000 psi, I checked again, and Jerry was down to 1300 psi, so I turned the dive and we headed back.

We moved a little faster on the way back and Jerry shared air with Leo part of the way back. On the Algae Patch we found an Atlantic Guitarfish which Finn claims not to have seen but Leo, Jerry and I watched it for quite awhile before it swam away. We swam into 4 ft of water and stood up, walked to the beach and up to the parking lot.

Water temperature was 69 degrees; Dive time was 65 minutes; consumption was 31.02 psi/minute at an average depth of 17 feet; SAC rate was 20.47 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

We were out of the water for almost 2 hours trying to warm up. The sun felt really good, but I wasn't really getting warm. Reluctantly, we decided to gear up and get back in the water for the second dive. Neither Jerry nor Finn wanted to change weights. I'm not sure it would matter. I think they are still getting comfortable and learning to breath to adjust their buoyancy.

Anyway, we got back in and swam out on the surface to a sandy spot and went down. Finn was slow getting down, but he did make it. We then went through the various skills. Both Finn and Jerry were having problems hovering, so I inflated their BCDs until they could perform the skill.  We would have a conversation on the surface about their being too light to descend yet too heavy to hover. After we had gone through all of the skills, I checked on their air and we headed East. At about 24 ft we turned South and headed up towards the Jacks, but along the way, Jerry signalled that he was down to 1600 psi, so we turned the dive and headed back.

Again, we went faster on the way back and Finn and I lost Leo and Jerry at one point, so we surfaced and I chased the flag, getting to it just as Leo and Jerry surfaced to look for us. We went back down to swim in. I had trouble getting up the step onto the beach and Finn kindly came back to give me a hand. I popped my knee-cap loading the truck and it swelled up during our dives. I was limping on the way back to the parking lot.

Water temperature was 69 degrees; Dive time was 56 minutes; consumption was 33.75 psi/minute at an average depth of 18 feet; SAC rate was 21.84 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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