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Open Water Training September 20, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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The date, September 11th, 1982. The place: A quarry near Innerkip, Ontario. Entering the water at 1:17 PM, my log book says “Getting ready, entry, surface swim, line descent, reg and mask clearing, sharing air on bottom, sharing air on ascent, safe SAM, buoyancy check, exit”. I had to look up Safe SAM on the web, and found out that SAM stands for “Scuba Ascent Method” in NASDS terminology. Can’t remember what it entailed, and I lost the course book long ago. Looking at this and the other certification dives there was much less in the diving part of the training than today’s PADI open water course. Yet we were certified to dive to 130 feet.

We used 72 cubic foot steel tanks (we were taught to say “cylinders”), and my starting pressure was 2600 PSI exiting at 1700 after 15 minutes with a maximum depth of 20’. Exit from water was at 1:59 PM. My buddy was Steve Parker, who I’d dived with several times afterwards but haven’t seen in 25 years.

I did several more dives that weekend, and the following weekend did a trip up to Georgian Bay to do some shallow wreck diving. Steve was my buddy some of the time, Owen Thomas other times. By the end of 1982 I had a total of 3 hours and 50 minutes dive time.

I don’t have any distinct memories of any of the open water training except the out-of-air ascent. We were taught three of the five PADI recommended procedures for an out-of-air emergency. They were (1) Sharing air with the backup regulator, known in NASDS-speak as a Safe Second, (2) Sharing air by buddy breathing, and (3) uncontrolled emergency ascent by dropping the weight belt. In the course we only pretended to drop the weight belt, then the instructor and divemaster lifted me to the surface, as I flared for the last several feet. Blowing bubbles as I was taught (PADI teaches you to make an aaah sound), I was feeling quite starved for air when I reached the surface. Undoubtedly that’s why that part of the course is imprinted in my memory.

We didn’t have buoyancy compensators then. We had the orally-inflated “horse-collar” life vest style of buoyancy control. The wetsuits were “farmer john” style with a jacket with a “beaver tail”. I still have a Nylon II wetsuit in this style in great condition, if anybody wants one.

The final tidbit from my early log book is that my height is 5’11” and my weight is 160lbs. Despite my age my height hasn’t changed but the weight’s been up a bit, although now I’m only 8 lbs heavier than then. I might even be able to get myself into that old wet suit without too much trouble….

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1. SDI Comes to Town « Chronicle of an older diver - March 17, 2011

[…] Advanced Nitrox Course, but switched over to PADI Tec Deep mid way through. All my certs except Open Water Diver are PADI, although I did the SDI Solo Diver course but the card is lost in process […]

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