A week later and its time for Ocean Dives of the Open Water Course. I missed Saturday’s session because I had family in town. On Sunday, I woke up at 5:30am and drove down to Monterey, CA. The popular dive spot for open water courses is Breakwater Cove. It looked like there was about 4 different classes going on. Any Water Sports (AWS) had 7 divers. Diver Dan’s had 16 divers. I don’t know the ratio for Diver Dan’s, but we had 7 divers, 2 instructors and 2 divemasters. Claude (the DM that lent me tanks) was hanging out before his tech course. oh la la, tech course anyone?
The AWS folks are in the center of the grassy area. Everyone in good spirits. Well Kinda. The students had minor complaints about the wetsuits still being wet and geese poop everywhere. It was about 7:30am on a Sunday, so I would be cranky about goose poop and wet wetsuits as well.
Green Eyes. Dry Suits.
I felt pretty bad wearing my sweatpants and putting on my drysuit. The students were a pack of seals eyeing a sweet piece of fish. Every now and again they would look over at the instructors and DM. Sigh, drool, yelp. Yoga posing to get into the wetsuits. Did I mention how much I love my drysuit?? I pull on my suspenders a bit and take a step back to hang out while waiting for the students to suit up.
Dive 3 Navigation and More
The instructors did a quick briefing on compass navigation and I walked around and helped out turning the bezel and explaining where “N” goes. Then the instructors went over what we all needed to do for Dive 3. Surface Navigation, 5 point descent, followed by under water navigation, demonstrating Hover, Safety Stop, and 4 point ascent. Boom. End Dive.
In the water, the students all did surface navigation pretty well. When we went under, the visibility was about 10 feet. It all looked rather murkey compared to other times I’ve been at this site. Up. Down. Up, Down, Drift, Repeat. That’s how the students look in the water. The students nailed all the tasks and we pop up after about 30mins. No issues to report here. The courses here are a bit different than Iceland, but I liked it. Very relaxed. I felt a lot more stressed out in Iceland. I think Dive 3 was almost an hour and one person almost quit. A couple of the students felt dizzy coming out of the water. Probably from drifting up and down so much during the dive.
Dive 4 Dive Planning
Dive 4: Plan your dive. and dive your plan. I paired up with one of the students and let him do the planning. He wanted to go as deep as possible. Max depth for open water is 60 feet. I felt more comfortable if we dove to about 45ft. So we compromise to 45ft, divemaster wins. The student led the navigation and the dive . Every now and again I would tap him on the shoulder. Signal some pointers. He got a wee bit lost. (maybe about 10-15 degrees off from the intended route) No biggie. Eventually when we hit 45 ft, we turn around. Before going all the way back to the shore, I tugged on his fin and pointed him back to the wall. We did our 3 minute safety stop at 15 ft around the wall area. Lots of fishies. Lots of crabs.
Good dive. Pointers: Slow Down. Take time to enjoy the dive site. Since he deviated from the path, and got a little lost, there’s no shame in popping up to get your bearing straight. Don’t feel like the surface is hot lava. Do a 5 point ascent and relax. Figure out where you want to go and then do a 5 point descent back down.
All in all, I was really happy to participate in this course. It happily erased all the bad memories from the Iceland Open Water course. Ha ha