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Back to the Business of the Divemaster February 5, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log, Training.
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After finishing the Tec Deep course in Brockville, I returned to the task of getting my Divemaster certification. The diving season in Canada was drawing to a close, at least for open water training, and I concentrated on the open water classes rather than signing up for pool weekends.

September 22nd & 23rd, 2007: Len was our instructor that day at Big Bay Point in Lake Simcoe, just north of Toronto. OW Dive #1:  Lots of Divemasters showed up so we each took a pair of students. My charges were a couple – Jim and Barb. Jim was fine but Barb got a severe leg cramp once she was on the bottom. I stretched her calf muscle like it says in the book and massaged it for about 5 minutes but she couldn’t shake it. Len finally signalled to me that we should ascend and I towed her to shore. Water temp 17C (63F); Max depth 27 feet;Bottom time 8 minutes. OW Dive #2: Buddies with Jim as Barb sat out the dive. All the students did well. 25 minutes, 29 feet. OW Dive #3: 28 minute dive to 34 feet with tour to the speedboat which is a couple of minutes swim east of the ascent line. OW Dive #4: 36 minutes to get the students through their skills – Mask remove & replace, fin pivot, then the controlled emergency swimming ascent.

October 6 & 7, 2007: The first day, a Saturday, was a beautiful fall day and unseasonably warm at 26C (78F).  My often-time dive buddy Roger and I started the day with a 3 minute dive to set the dive flags. I was with a newly-minted instructor, Chris. OW water dive #1 went without a hitch and was 21 minutes at 32 feet. Looking back at my log book, I broke PADI rules by going too deep on dive #2. I knew about the 60 foot restriction overall, but dives 1 and 2 aren’t supposed to go deeper than 40 feet, which I didn’t know until I picked up an instructor’s manual with my AI course. On the positive side, as Chris was a new instructor and trained at a different shop, I had the opportunity to participate more in the preparation of the students, and helping the instructor with the logistics specific to the dive site. I warned the students as I always do that when they do their mask removal in the colder water, that they should prepare themselves for the shock of cold water on their face. Every once in a while a student will bolt for the surface when they suddenly feel the cold water.

Unfortunately, after the second training dive I noticed my dive computer was no longer on my wrist. So I went under for a fourth time that day to look for it. I searched all around the area where we trained the students, and didn’t find it, then back up towards the dock in shallower water. The shallows at Big Bay Point have more sand and less silt, but lots of weeds grow there, so I was getting discouraged. But after 23 minutes, I found it lying in about 10 feet of water not far from the dock. I was very happy, although in the less than a year the computer failed anyway. I’ve got to admit that although the outcome is the same, I’d rather it break than lose it.

The second day of the Open Water course was colder at 18C (65F) both in and out of the water. We ran through each of the dives in just under half an hour before calling it a day. This was the weekend I started logging multiple dives on a single page of my log book, going 1 page per day instead of 1 page per dive. I had logged seven dives in two days.

The final Open Water weekend in 2007 was October 21 and 22, also with Chris instructing. It was much cooler with both the water and air temperatures now at 15C (59F). While I was comfy in my dry suits the poor students in their wet suits were getting chilled, so I towed Stephanie back to shore after a lengthy (40 minute) dive #2. The strong wind, waves and current didn’t help things, but all students completed their skills and were satisfied with the day.  All them were planning to dive in some warm place over the winter, and having endured the trials of late-season Canadian diving, they should have been well prepared. By the Sunday, the temperature had dropped another degree, and we hurried our way through the remaining dives. With only 4 students, we got through things quickly and kept everything under 40 feet.

My open water internship requirements were now complete, with only 2 more pool weekends and my mapping project to complete – both of which could be done over the winter. The instructor told me at the shop where he trained, Divemaster Candidates would get credit for each day of an open water weekend, rather than one signoff for both days. Our shops practice ensured though that there was lots of help every time we had a class, which ensured things ran safely and smoothly as possible.

Chris, the instructor in my last two weekends, is a paramedic and was hoping to get into a firefighter job. He became a Scuba Instructor to put something extra on his resume to try and differentiate himself from all the other candidates (I guess kids do really want to grow up to be firemen). He’s now flying around in Northern Ontario as a medevac attendant, and quite happy with his new found occupation. We’re still in touch through Facebook.

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Comments»

1. Naples Scuba Diving - February 6, 2009

With temps so cold (warm to you) in Florida, open water dives are out for most right now. Hopefully it won’t last long.

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2. deepstop - February 6, 2009

I remember long ago when I was in Ft. Lauderdale one of the locals I got to know thought I was crazy going out in shorts when the temp was about 65F. Thought I would catch my death of cold! Go to Winnipeg some time in the Winter and if it’s sunny and gets up to 32F, you’ll see people sitting outside chatting and having a coffee.

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