Pool and Ocean… another round of interning.

Intern Sessions # 2 and 3 check! Last weekend I worked with Instructor Jessica as she took a group of brand spanking newbies on their first SCUBA adventure. The weekend started on Saturday with the first round of confined water dives. These dives introduce the students to breathing underwater. We went through a ton of skills from regulator clearing, mask flooding and clearing, snorkel regulator exchange, fin pivot, giant stride and many more. This was my first pool (confined water) intern session. I met up with Jessica prior to the pool and we went over the flow of the class, what she’d like me to do, etc, which was great and I went into the day feeling prepared and ready.

I helped demonstrate proper equipment set up and break down, going over all the steps involved in setting up the SCUBA unit, things to make sure to check, how to make sure your tank is full and you’ve got good quality air. Afterwards we got the students into the water in the shallow end getting all the gear on and kneeling on the bottom. Immediately there were a bunch of weighting issues to aid with, making sure everyone had enough weight to keep them down. Once settled we started in on the skills. Myself and another DMC Morgan were at each end of the line of students ready to assist and help where needed. The students were pretty good, everyone was able to get through the skills with only one really struggling with some mask skills.

The second part of the pool session was over in the deeper water where I demonstrated the giant stride (a method for entering deeper water from a boat or dock or ledge of some sort). I did well, though forgot to mention one of the most important aspects – LOOK DOWN and make sure the area you’re jumping into is clear! OOPS! (I laugh because while Jessica was prepping the students I was looking into the water noting that there was a class below us that was moving out of the way and making sure everything else was clear, so I knew to do it!) We reminded them after I strode in so no harm no foul. In the deeper water we practiced buoyancy skills with the fin pivot and I learned that I need to pick up a pair of ankle weights before my test on skills demonstration this coming weekend. I practiced my fin pivot (something I don’t really remember doing with my open water class….) and discovered that my feet and fins kept wanting to float up which ruins the demonstration. I demo’ed mask removal, replacement and clearing successfully and Morgan and I demo’ed the use of your buddies alternate air source when low on air. Being at the pool before jumping into the ocean with the same group the following day really helped me because I felt I knew the students a bit better and was able to identify who might need help with various things out in the ocean.

Sunday we went out on the Island Time. This time with a real breakfast in my stomach I had no issues with the bumpy ride out and with everyone properly weighted and into the water. The visibility was great, until everyone settled on the sand. I was amazed at how quickly it went from great to crap with all the sand and silt getting stirred up, I could not even see all 7 students who were sitting within arms reach of each other! Dive one is just a tour, so I took up the rear and helped to keep the students going the right direction and fairly close together. Everyone seemed to do fairly well with buoyancy and were enjoying themselves. In the middle of the dive we paused before making another loop around some rocks and kelp and I noticed  the students were drifting a bit, so I did a quick head count. Coming up with only 6 I quickly searched for the 7th and could not find her. Crap. Then I thought to look up, and there she was floating on the surface after having a bit of trouble with buoyancy. I looked back to Jessica who was doing the count as well just before she looked at me and held up 6 fingers and questioning shrug. Happily I pointed up to the missing student and Jessica relaxed. Not going to lie, I felt good being on top of that one. Dive two included skills similar to what we did in the pool on Saturday and luckily the second site was more of a larger grain sand / rock bottom so visibility stayed okay. We finished the dive with another short “tour” then were back on the boat heading home.

The day ended with a stop at the crab pot for some clam chowder and a liter (yes…someone *ahem* Laura *ahem* had that great idea and we all went with it) of beer. It really not that bad, just a little more than 2 beers, but it looked huge in 1 big stein. Exhausted from the weekend I crashed early that night feeling like I did well and excited to continue on throughout these next couple of weeks.

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