Thursday, May 26, 2011

I had a BAD feeling about this...

You would think that as soon as Cindy and I finished our open water dives, and received our c-cards, I would’ve blogged about it. Hey, who wouldn’t want to hear about our dives at The Blue Lagoon and how much fun we had? Well, most of it was fun. I promised a certain someone I wouldn’t mention any of the more, ummmm, errrrrr, let’s just say less than stellar training attitudes exhibited during a couple of our dives. To quote Forrest Gump: “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

We did the Peak Performance Buoyancy class on Sunday after we finished our last open water dive for our c-cards.  Now those two dives were really fun! All of the pressure of having to meet very specific training objectives (for our open water certification) was now gone and all we would focus on was our buoyancy. We did some more “pin fivots” that we did in our open water training, but something just clicked in my head and they became so much easier to do. Yes, I know it’s actually “fin pivots.” I spelled it that way on purpose. The first time I heard it called “pin fivots” was when Cindy said it by mistake. We all got a good laugh over it, but what made it even funnier was when one of the divemasters said it during our pre-dive brief. We had a blast doing these dives and learned much about our buoyancy. After that, it was back to the surface and a LOT of paperwork to complete.

Our class photo


L to R: Watchara, Amber, Matt, me, Cindy, Master Instructor Bill Jones, background: Divemaster Ed, (Divemaster Jackie took the photo)

That was about 2 weeks ago. I had every intention, really, of blogging about such a milestone event in the week following our dives. How is it that I let so much time go by and let the “newsworthiness” of it fade? Probably the same reason I drag my feet on other things. It happens. I get lazy and put things off that I actually enjoy doing. Where’s the logic in that, huh? I promise to get back to you next week on that….or maybe the week after.

One of the really cool things about The Blue Lagoon is that it’s relatively shallow. I think the max depth at any point, at least for “Lagoon 2,” is 20 – 25 feet. Perfect for training divers, right? Before our trip to Huntsville, I bought two disposable underwater cameras which are good for a depth up to 35 feet. Hey, cool, these would be perfect for The Blue Lagoon! The problem with that particular weekend, though, wasn’t the depth of visibility (“viz” in diver parlance). Blue skies, lots of sun and good viz provided almost optimal conditions for photos. The task loading, on the other hand, pretty much prevented taking a camera on any of these dives. For once, I didn’t let my zeal for photography override my common sense. I kept the camera on shore, knowing I could always use it on another dive outing.

Which reminds me….

Our instructor has a fantastic attitude about new divers. When I saw his next OW class posted for mid June, I thought to myself, “Self, I wonder if we could go up there and just sort of hang out with his next class, doing dives with them, but not interacting with them?” I e-mailed him about this, and not only was he amenable to the idea, but actually encouraged us to do this! So, we’ve already reserved the rental gear we need and I’ve contacted the Blue Lagoon to reserve a spot close to Bill’s class. This time, though, Cindy and I will be able to do just what we want to do. There will be no pressure to complete specific tasks. We can work on our buoyancy, do pin fivots or whatever we want to. With minimal task loading, I will have the chance to take the camera down with us and hopefully get some good, or at least interesting, photos of us underwater. I hope the weather will be as clear and sunny as it was when we went up there a couple of weeks ago.

Another objective of this dive trip, besides having fun and practicing our skills, is to familiarize ourselves with our new dive computers. Dive computers essentially replace the printed dive tables and allow more flexibility in dive planning. One of the main rules about using a dive computer, though, is that they can NOT be shared. Every diver must have either their own dive computer or use the dive tables. Even buddy teams must have their own computers, as even slight variations in depth will change the remaining “bottom time” available to the individual diver. Unfortunately, dive computers aren’t cheap, which leaves us with two options: Save up enough for both of us to buy two computers at once, or both of us use the recreational dive planner (table). I won’t even consider the option of one of us using a computer and the other using a table. There’s just too much variability here to make it efficient.

Just for fun, I was looking at computers on eBay when I stumbled across a store that sells on both eBay and online. I went to their online store and found a very basic, wrist mounted computer, an Oceanic Veo 100. My guess is that this particular model will be discontinued before too long. The price was great, though, and low enough for me to buy two of them, with appropriate spousal approval, of course! At our level, which is pretty much COMPLETE newbie, this computer will work quite well for us. Naturally, I sought advice from a highly experienced diver (who thought it would be a good model for us) as well as read many reviews on it. Since most of our diving, at least for now, will be with rented gear, a wrist mounted, versus a “console” mounted computer would work best for us. This is especially true when we travel and dive. These computers should arrive in the next day or two, and I can’t wait to try them out.

As when I started geocaching, I figured the best way to keep my knowledge and skills sharp would be to meet fellow divers. Geocaching makes this easy, as there are organized events, read “parties,” called “event caches.” Not only do you get to hang out, eat, talk geocaching, eat, tell war stories, eat, and well, eat, you get to claim this event as a find. That’s right, you get credit for actually finding the event! Since diving doesn’t have event caches, I had to find another way to meet local divers. Lo and behold, I happened to find the Bay Area Divers club! What a cool acronym too, huh? I can belong to a BAD group, doing BAD things, and have a good time. From the outset, I could tell this club had their priorities straight. The monthly meetings are held at a pizza place…..oh, yes! So, last night just I attended my first BAD meeting. The group was very welcoming, very friendly and from my limited contact, very fun to be around. Cindy just happened to have a previous commitment, so she couldn’t be there. I talked to her on the phone, though, and she’s looking forward to the next meeting when she can attend. We’ll definitely be there, membership application in hand, ready to partake in all the fun (and for me, a pepperoni, onion, and extra cheese pizza).

Well, enough for now. While it would be easy to sit here, typing away, I’m sure most don’t want or need to know what I had for dinner, or what that funky little spot on my shirt is. OK, that funky spot is Imperial Citrus sauce from the stir fry.

I think…..

Until next time,

carpe cerevisi