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Yesterday’s Open Water Diver Class September 28, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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While the dive club goes off to Bala for some weekend fun and diving in Lake Muskoka to do cool dives like the Waome, I’m hanging around town. Because so many of the assistant instructors and divemasters are going, the shop (not to mention the instructor) was pretty desperate for some help with the Open Water class up at Big Bay Point, so I offered to help out on day 1 with Open Water dives 1 and 2.

Open Water Class Day 1 Sep 27 2008

Open Water Students with Instructor on Big Bay Point Dock

Eight students turned up instead of the five we were expecting, and apparently the divemaster candidate who was also supposed to help went off to Bala himself. So instructor Dave Dowling and I were left to contend with the students, several of whom were quite young (12, 13 and 15). Being concerned for their well-being, we decided to split the class into two groups of four. So we had four dives instead of two, not counting my 5 minute solo dive to set the flags.

For the most part, the students were just fine. Dave handled one panicky student during the mask flood exercise but kept her out of trouble and brought her straight up. I was on the surface with two of the four students when this happened, so I dropped down to retrieve the fourth student who was told to wait while he dealt with the problem. I found her searching under a log for crayfish, right where we left her 60 seconds earlier.

All in all it was a long day, and a bit hard on the ears with 7 separate descents to 30 feet or so, but I felt we did a good job teaching and keeping the students safe. While we had good visibility of about 20 feet, there was a strong current from the East on the surface but not at depth, so the most difficult part of the day was to keep the students from drifting away.

Oh yes, it was fun despite all the work. That, and learning to be a better diver, is why I do it.

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Comments»

1. deepstop - September 30, 2008

One thing about being old is that you collect obsolete knowledge like how to use a turntable or make calls on a dial phone. On this course I taught the young instructor about J-Valves. My experience with the J-Valve was exactly one dive, my first, made without the benefit of an instructor.
It just happened that he’d grabbed a tank from the shop which had one, so I told him to dive with the valve in down position.

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2. deepstop - October 9, 2008

In a Confession of sorts a woman describes panicking on the mask flood exercise of her open water training. This is really quite common in the open water course, and instructors and divemasters should also be ready to handle it.
I like to prepare students in advance for the shock of getting cold water on their faces, and tell them to take their time, and a couple of breaths, before trying to replace and/or clear their masks. I’ve never had a mask strap break or had the mask knocked off my head during a dive, but I had had it dislodged by another diver’s fin. It is wise to be prepared for the eventuality, which is, of course, why it’s part of the open water course.

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