First in the Water
Semi-Dry Wetsuit Diving – November in the UK
Hardened as I may be to all round year diving, I think I would need to have a lot more incentive to leap or wriggle into Stoney Cove in November. saying that there were the normal group of all year round swimmers there. However, driven by a quest to be qualified before she goes to Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands, remember Darwin and the Origin of the Species, Evie elected to forego the normal drysuit introduction and take the plunge. On Sunday 11th November at around 9am she was fully kitted in neoprene, ready to do her first Open Water dive. The water temperature was around 10oC not bad for this time of year.
Once full attires and briefed (SEEDS) we went down to the ramp and carried out our buddy checks (BAR). When asked how much weight did she have in the pool when John Finch took her through a pool session, she said 16. I took this to mean 16kg, not remembering that John works in ‘old money.’ That means 16lbs. Anyways she carried 12kg for the first dive, a little heavy but OK for the shallows. Once in she acclimatised well and got herself nicely, for 1st dive, tried. Neutral enough that she she never went up or down, we set off for a quick exploratory dive outwards the east of the lake. Around here can be found the Nautilus. Not a real undersea vessel but nice none the less.
A swim around the Nautilus and back towards the platform. picked a bad day because Rescue Diver Training was on and the platform was full of bodies and rescuers. We found ourselves a nice quiet piece of shelf and proceeded with the skills. As prescribed we did the following:
Regulator retrieval/BCD inflator disconnect and reconnect/Partial and full flood/mask removal and breathing with no mask/AS breathing and hand off/hover and buoyancy control.
Following the skills we did another free swim around the shelf before returning to the ramp for a weight belt jettison and exit up the ramp. The total dive time as 27 minutes.
The surface interval was spent preparing for the next dive. cylinder, although not empty needed to be refilled. The use of my dry robe kept the diver warm enough that removal of the semi-dry was not necessary.
The second Open water module was to include depth progression, more skills and the use of AS for ascent. All these skills have been covered in the pool, but in an Open water environment with cold and poor visibility they become a little more demanding. The surface interval was nearly 2 hours. again we had SEEDS and BAR. Entry this time was a ‘giant step,’ though because we were both small it was not such a big giant.
The attractions on this dive were the Viscount aircraft cockpit, the roadway, the blowout preventer. The Viscount Cockpit is a very good introduction to swimming through a wreck as it is fairly shallow and open. The roadway allowed us to progress with a bottom until we reached nearly 16m. At this depth we went and swam along the wall of the rock quarry, before coming back up for more skills. During this swim we practiced diving and swimming with a buddy on AS. This skill is necessary if it is required to get an out of air diver into open water for an ascent.
On leaving the wall and surrounding roadway we made our way up to the training platform again. Once more it was not possible to use so the shelf at 6m was utilised again. More regulator retrieval, mask clearing and removal and AS donation practice. From here we di AS ascent practice and a full ascent to the surface. Inflation at the surface and the a surface swim back to the quay. Exit from the water was via a vertical ladder. Fin removal and had off, weight belts in place and them exit via the ladder. Duration of the dive 29 minutes, maximum depth 15.4m, water temperature 10oC
Successful Days Diving.