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Me diving

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Allison: Tech 2, Day 2

On Saturday, we were at 40 Fathoms Grotto. We got there a little early so we could drop our tanks at the fill station and relabel our bottles with our new roll of duct table. Then we did a little lecture while we were waiting (CNS clock and OTUs I think), and Dean briefed us on our dive plan for the morning. Taking all of our bottles down to the water seemed to take forever. There are quite a few steps down to the water. However, the facilities were excellent, so it could have been a lot worse. I had heard stories of this dive site and its horrible viz, but apparently it is under new management (by a commercial dive school), and they installed a filtration system, so the viz is not actually terrible anymore.

Dean made a small change to the plan at the last minute (which I think was designed to see if we got thrown off by it), but we ended up doing 3 practice ascents and a couple of super rotations. The first two ascents were from 33 ft to 10 ft, and the last was from 100 ft to 20 ft, each with switches and mock deco. We didn't surface between the various drills, the idea being that we should get used to staying underwater for a long time. After debriefing on the surface, we de-bottled and headed to the stairs out of the water. Rob was the first to get out, and as he got to the top of the stairs, he caught his foot on the top step, and tripped. He would have totally wiped out, except that a guy standing right in front of him caught him, and helped him gracefully down to his knees. (Just for the record, I asked Rob if this is one of those "what happens in tech 2 stays in tech 2", but he said it was pretty funny so I should feel free to blog about it.) Then the guy tried to help Rob stand up, and Rob was just like... that's not going to happen. He felt the need to sit down and regroup. Then when he sat down the people around all seemed really worried that he was hurt. I could tell that all that was hurt was his ego, and he confirmed that his main concern was how to get out of there quickly, so people would stop asking him if he was okay :P Unfortunately once you wipe out in a set of doubles, there really is no quick escape. He eventually managed to shimmy out of his rig and Kevin helped him carry it across the platform to one of the benches.

Then we had lunch, and probably more lecture, though I don't remember the exact topic. We shared another team sandwich (those $5 12-inch subs at Winn Dixie are quite tasty). It was my turn to pick our sandwich accompaniment, so we had pretzels (from Pennsylvania, no less). Then we were briefed on our dive for the afternoon. The plan was to go down to 100' and do a scenario dive, and then do a simulated deco. Dean provided us with the deco schedule. Happily, the deco schedule was almost exactly the same as the schedule we usually do for a 30 minute deco, so not too hard to remember :)

After another great bottle schlep, we got into the water. This dive was basically the equivalent of day 4 of tech 1 -- all sorts of failures both on the bottom and the ascent. It didn't get too crazy, but it did get a little silty on the bottom (and just to preserve Kevin's cave prowess... it was all me and Rob). This was our first time leaving the line on the bottom. It was very spooky down there -- super dark and super silty. But before long, we had to call the dive (those pesky regulators kept failing). Kevin was running the ascent, and Rob's gauge failed. As soon as that happened, I just knew Kevin's gauge was about to fail. I was pretty happy though, since I love running deco. The only downside was that every minute or two one of the boys would ask me how much time was left on the stop -- sooo impatient! 40 Fathoms has a bunch of platforms at various depths, for training purposes. The downside of this is that as we were ascending, we kept having to check that we weren't going to bonk our heads on the platforms. There were also all these cables and lines running everywhere to support the platforms. It was entanglement heaven :)

After the dive, Dean told us we would be planning two Tech 1 dives for the next day. So we had to drop our tanks off at the fill station to get the gas for that. We already had one set of stage and deco bottles for the experience dives, but we needed backgas and a second set of stage and deco bottles. Joleen, the fill mistress, broke it to us that they were low on O2, so we might have problems with the fills. But they had a huge bank of 32%, so we decided that she could use 32 + Helium for the mix, and save the O2 for the deco bottles, and hopefully it would all work out.

For dinner, we returned to Billy Jack's. In the parking lot, we met a neighborhood kitty named Stewy. We had an encounter with him on the way in, and then on the way out, we found him lounging under a car. It was good to get a little kitty fix. After dinner, we planned our two dives for the next day, which basically consisted of the same deco we would normally do for a 150 for 30 minute dive, except that the 10 foot stop was transformed into a 6 minute ascent.

During our dive planning, Ted texted to say that he had returned to our house to find a little present left by one of the cats (probably Oreo) -- a hairball. She had quite politely left it on the hardwood, and not the carpet, which made Ted's job of cleaning it up easier :) Poor kitty!

Our dive planning took a little longer than expected, so by the end of it, I was totally cranky and ready for bed.

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