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PADI Dry Suit Diver – Finishing it off November 25, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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3 weeks after the Scuba party at Innerkip, I had my brand new dry suit, of the trilaminate type and made by Northern Diver. I chose a model that zipped across the back, although a front zip model was also available, because I thought the fit would be more snug, and thus require less weight. This disadvantage, as mentioned before, is that it is less obvious if the suit isn’t zipped, and I did manage to jump in the water with it wide open. This was more embarrassing than anything else, and of course there were plenty of witnesses who remind me of it to this day.

I arrived at Big Bay Point at the usual time, and was surprised to see noone there from the shop, even though an open water class was going on. After waiting a while I called the shop and found out they’d gone to Johnson Beach, on the North Shore of Kempenfelt Bay and about 30 minutes drive. Finding my way there, it turned out to be a small beach at the bottom of a hill. Everyone was there including sunbathers. After dropping my gear off I drove up to the parking lot at the top of the hill and walked back down.

My first dry suit dive was pretty good. I hadn’t much on under it, as the water was a balmy 10C (50F). We swam out, did a fin pivot, then I was spun upside-down while my inflator button was held down. On the first attempt, I was almost at the surface before restoring my neutral buoyancy, although I was able to get right side up quickly and without difficulty. The next two attempts were much better. Another dry suit diver, Andrew Prestwich, with whom I’ve dived several times since, went through the same routine.

There was an advanced course going on as well, and Brad signalled Andrew and I to swim away so the student could search for us. Unfortunately we thought the “10” signal was 10 kicks, not 10 feet, and it was 20 minutes before we were found in the 10 foot visibility. That 40 minute dive concluded the formal part of the dry suit course, although we didn’t get to the second open water dive which is required by PADI for another month. That dive was also part of another course which I’ll save to a later post.

I had now finished my second specialty (the first was Enriched Air Nitrox), and was on my way to 3 more, qualifying me for the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating which I never bothered to apply for.

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