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Me diving

Saturday, February 24, 2007

GUE Fundamentals, Day 6

We met just before 9 in Monterey and started unloading our gear. We setup our gear on the beach, (re)analyzed our tanks and got a "site briefing" for the Breakwater (which we've dived many many times before).

I borrowed some HP100's to use for the ocean dives because I decided my head heaviness was probably a sign that I am just not meant to use HP80's.

Rob led on dive 1. The plan was to do a descent (stopping every 10' on the way down), hang out for a few minutes and then work on the 5 kicks swimming along a course laid out for us. Then we were each to do the basic 5 and a valve drill. The kicks went ok, and we set up to do the basic 5 on one of the corners of the course. My backwards kick was still asleep at this early hour, so the basic 5 took a while to run as we kept drifting horizontally off of the mark. The only infraction here was when I started to float off while replacing my mask and Beto had to give me some downward encouragement. Rob started his valve drill, and immediately forgot to purge his necklace. Worse, I forgot to remind him. I realized afterwards that the problem is that since I don't wear doubles, I don't usually purge my necklace before a valve drill, so I don't really recognize that something is missing. So I have started to purge my necklace before valve drills to get into the habit.

Rob restarted the drill, and when he turned his right post back on, air came gushing out because the first stage O-ring didn't seat. I sat there like a doe in the headlights (even though he had this problem once before during a valve drill, and I knew the solution was to tighten the first stage), and Beto swooped in and fixed it. I felt pretty silly. Rob signalled that he wanted to start the drill over from scratch and this time all went well. My valve drill was uneventful. At some point in here we had run up against our allotted bottom time, so we agreed on an extension. I suspect that the "bottom times" that were recommended were intentionally too short just to see if we would notice and not run over our time without agreeing to an extension.

After the drills, we did an ascent with stops at 20' and 10' and did some debriefing on the surface. We had enough gas left over that we decided to drop back down and swim in underwater.

After a surface interval, a drying period for my seriously leaked-on undergarments and a tank change for me (and some minor harness adjustment), we set out for dive 2.

I was the fearless leader for dive 2. Bob was to do another valve drill, I was to do another basic 5, and we were both to do some helicopter turns, S-drills and no-mask swims. We descended and I started to lead us on our 3 minute "dive" so that we could get settled before drills. Rob decided he wanted to go the other way and after a moment of confusion, we met back up and looked at some nudibranchs Rob had found (hermissenda). This was sort of a theme througout fundies, and perhaps our diving in general, where even if I am the leader, sometimes Rob just decides to take over. He was repeatedly chastised for this throughout the class. Beto asked if Rob always leads when we dive, and I told him that we used to take turns and now it is more based on dive site (I, for instance, always lead at the Metridium field, and Rob usually leads to Cannery Point Wall, but we split up the leading to Hole in the Wall). I don't think he believed me. I think he thinks Rob always leads. Hehe.

Anyhoo, we did all of our drills as planned (and they went pretty well), except that I signalled to Beto that I didn't want to do the no-mask swim. Rob did his which was ok except for the fact that cold water on the forehead fricken hurts. We did an ascent and regrouped on the surface. We decided to do some more work on ascents (I was having some floaty-feet problems venting on the 10' stop) and went through a few more cycles of descent and ascent drills before packing it in and heading back to the beach.

We packed up our stuff and headed to the hotel restaurant for some lecture, debrief, and most importantly, a large portion of food. We went over dive planning and gas management before calling it a night.

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