12 March 2015

Ricther's first two open water dives

Ric met me at the South Beach parking lot after he got off work, and we walked down to look at the surf and discuss the dive. The Lifeguards had gone from a yellow flag to a red flag with the rising wind, but the currents actually looked less complicated. We decided to dive.

We geared up and got in the water together. We walked out through the surf, going over some waves and under others. When we got to chest deep water, we were out past the breaking waves and we finned up, put air in our inner tubes and swam out past the swim buoy line. We descended in about 14 ft of water. Ric paused a bit at the surface  before descending and I was afraid he was holding his breath since we put 14 pounds on him for the dive, but he came down just fine. I somehow managed to leave my compass at the truck, but the sun was low on the horizon and it was pretty easy to navigate East or West. We got to the 3-tiered reef and were only in 19 feet of water, so I went North to go around and look for 24 feet of water. I did not find it, but I got into 23 feet and I signalled Ric that we should surface. He came up by changing his buoyancy with his breathing.

Water temperature was 76 degrees, dive time was 31 minutes; consumption was 32.58 psi/minute at an average depth of 16 feet; SAC rate was 21.94 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

During the surface interval, I reeled in the flagline, but still got in tangled behind my tank and was struggling to untangle myself before we went back down. Ric saw, evaluated and assisted without my directing him. We then descended to 22 feet of water after. We swam South looking for the Jacks, but we must have drifted well North during the surface interval. We swam SW until we found the reef and then went due West. Swam easily but slowly West across the sand and over the Algae Patch to the white sand before the beach. Surfaced in about 8 ft of water to warn Ric about getting out of his fins and to try to control the flagline. Put a gauge on Ric's tank when we got to the truck, and he had 1500 psi left.

Water temperature was 76 degrees, dive time was 31 minutes; consumption was 28.87 psi/minute at an average depth of 14 feet; SAC rate was 20.27 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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