Intern as DMC for Rescue Class

May 07, 2006
I spent the 6th in the pool with the Rescue Class.

All day today (4/7) was at the ocean with the Rescue Class.

Last two ocean dives with an Open Water class as a DMC at Breakwater

April 02, 2006
I left home at 5:25am and got down to Breakwater at 6:30. I was an hour early--doh! The morning was beautiful. Partly cloudy and no wind left us with a smooth and quiet ocean. We were going to have good visibility.

Today we had two students and two Master Instructors (Ron and Bud). Each one took out a student so that all skills could be covered simultaniously. I worked with Ron and his student Angela. Bud worked with Daniel on his skills. As the students got suited up, Ron and I went out to set the float. Bud would bring the students out to the float while they performed their surface navigation skill. We set up the float in 20 feet of water. When Bud, Angela and Daniel arrived at the float, the students performed a free descent with reference (the tag line). At the bottom, they performed fin pivots and mask full flood and clear. They also performed underwater navigation (straight out and back from the tag line on a heading of 0). Finally, they performed buddy breathing stationary and ascending. Once at the surface, we all dropped back down for the underwater tour. Because the day was very calm, Ron lead Angela along the breakwater. On the tour, we saw a Loxorhynchus crispatus (Decorator Crab), many Parastichopus spp., many Cryptochiton stelleri (Gumboot Chiton), of course many Patiria miniata, a Syngnathus leptorhynchus (Pipefish), Cymatogaster aggregata (shiner surfperch), we also saw a Phalacrocorax pelagicus (Pelagic cormorant) underwater.

Dive two started after a debriefing during the surface interval (1:29 minutes). The students performed a descent without a reference, mask removal and replacement, and mid-water hovering. During the tour, we saw many of the same thing, but we also saw a Anisodoris nobilis, and Citharichthys sordidus. The first internship of two OW classes is now complete. I need to take 4 more written tests, intern on three more classes, and pass the physical skills tests.

First two (plus #3) ocean dives with an Open Water class as a DMC at Breakwater

March 18, 2006
Today I also finished my EANx specialty.

I signed up with Ron Angell as a Divemaster Candidate in February this year. As part of becoming a Divemaster, I must do an internship in two Open Water classes, one Advanced Open Water class, and one Rescue Diver class. As an intern, I am required to assist the instructor in a very limited fashion. My only function as a DMC is as a rescue diver. I worked with the instructor Chris Latam, DM Rolf, DMC Louis and two students (Chris and Jason). I was diving nitrox for the first time (pO2=0.353 MOD=99 ft.). I felt less tired when breathing nitrox, but I felt colder underwater--it may all be psychological, but that was my experience with nitrox.

The day was beautiful. The wave model predicted waves above storm level, but the morning was great. Rolf and I set out the float and tag line while Chris and Louis got the students to the water. When placing the tag line, make sure it runs parallel with shore. This first dive was the tour and getting comfortable with the gear in the ocean. No skills were performed. During the tour, we saw many sand dabs Citharichthys sordidus, some sea cucumbers Parastichopus spp., bat stars Patiria miniata, and a Sea Lemon Nudibranch Anisodoris nobilis.

Dive two was the start of skills. The students performed well. On the second tour dive, we saw many of the same biota as before.

The class decided that they could make dive number three and leave only one for the next day. The wind had picked up quite a bit and the ocean was showing white caps. The waves were much larger and the shoreline water was getting very turbid and brown. After getting out past the waves, the students dropped down and performed their skills. Louis removed the float and tag line and started toward shore while I followed Chris and the students on the last tour dive. When we surfaced and started heading in toward shore, Louis was being pushed into the breakwater by the waves. He had been near shore and removed his fins to carry the float out, but a large wave had pushed him off of his feet and pulled him back out into deeper water. I swam over and started a tired diver tow.

Rescue Diver Class Scenario #8 (Scene Management and Lost Diver Search) at MacAbee

October 30, 2005
Two divers signaled for help about 110 yards offshore. We immediately donned our gear because, we could not talk them into shore, couldn't reach them with a pole, couldn't throw a ring or buoy to them, and we didn't have a boat or other watercraft available. By the time John and I hit the water, both divers had gone underwater. We swam with our heads up to the last place they were seen. We met John #2 and Susan out there and we decided to do criss-crossing U-turn searches. They would make their way perpendicular to shore and John and I would move parallel with shore moving deeper. Jonathan and Susan descended and started their search. John was having trouble descending with an AL80 tank so we were about to head back in when another search team surfaced nearby. John assisted with the surface BLS and I partnered up with another diver and we started our search. We came up from behind the victim and proceeded with the reaction-test. When the diver did not respond to mask taps, we started a rescue assent. On the surface, we started the rescue breaths and gear removal. Our victim became alert after a few rescue breaths. We swam in together while maintaining contact with the diver.

Rescue Diver Class Scenario #7 (Scene Management) at MacAbee

October 30, 2005
I this exercise, we simulated the coordination of a search-and-rescue for a lost buddy. A dive came on shore without his buddy. He spent the 1 minute underwater looking before making a safe ascent. When he could not find any bubble trace for his buddy, he came onshore looking for help.

Rescue Diver Class Scenario #6 (Non-responsive Diver on Surface using Rescue Breathing and Egress) at MacAbee

October 30, 2005
Here was the physical test that sucked the energy out of me. We were about 85 to 95 yards off-shore. The skill-test breaks down like this: first I needed to turn John onto his back, dump his weights (Weights Away!), remove his regulator and mask. Next was a breathing check for 10 seconds (there is no circulation check while in the water due to the difficulty with the wetsuit)--no breathing, then give two rescue breaths and shout "HELP! HELP!". At this point, we are closer than 5 minutes from shore so the only choice is continuous breathing while towing and removing gear (there is no compressions given in the water--you need a hard surface behind the victim to make useful compressions). Now, every 5 seconds I must give a breath while unbuckling his BCD--one, one-thousand, two, one-thousand, three, one-thousand, four, one-thousand, breath. While counting, each snap, connector and strap are unfastened. While breathing and unfastening, I am kicking toward shore. After his gear is gone, I need to remove my gear while maintaining rescue breaths and moving toward shore. Near shore, I removed my fins so that I could carry John out. I gave two full rescue breaths (I now have 30 seconds to get him onto shore). I moved John into the Pack Carry and walked/jogged out. I laid John down carefully on the beach and gave two full rescue breaths. At this point, it is no different that normal Primary Care and Secondary Care.

Rescue Diver Class Scenario #5 (Tired Diver Tows) at MacAbee

October 30, 2005
How many Tired Diver Tows are there? Ten toes. Hahaha, dumb joke.

John and I practiced the three tired diver tows. First, I started with the Do-See-Do or Armpit tow. This is good for maintaining face-to-face contact, but it is not very speedy. Next I moved on to the tank tow; this is one of my fastest tows, but it lacks the face-to-face contact that is necessary to keep the victim calm. Last, I moved into the diver push (leg push). The leg push is also very quick and maintains some face-to-face contact.

Rescue Diver Class Scenario #4 (Non-responsive Diver Underwater) at MacAbee

October 30, 2005
This test was creepy. When I came upon John underwater, he was not moving, all I could think of when I looked at him swaying with the surge was the dead bait ball the shark divers use to bring sharks close to the boat.

I moved toward John while scanning the surrounding for clues to what has happened. I tapped John on the head and on his mask and received no response. I moved into a position above John and slid my right arm underneath his right arm and secured the regulator in place. I had no air in my BCD so I used his to compensate for both of us. That way both hands are connected to the victim (in some fashion). It takes quite a bit of air in the BCD to counter both of our negative bouyancies. We made a very safe ascent to the surface where I proceeded to remove his mask and mine for the breathing check.

Rescue Diver Class Scenario #3 (Distressed/Panicked Non-responsive Diver on Surface) at MacAbee

October 30, 2005
This involves a diver in panic mode. They will not respond to commands or verbal instruction. The victim will swim toward help only to climb on top of the rescuer.

John was not responding to commands and he started to swim toward me. I popped the reg in my mouth and descended. While underwater, I simulated the removal of John's weights and moved in behind him. To take control of the victim, I grabbed his first stage and cradled his tank between my knees. Then I inflated his BCD. After a successful rescue, John got his shot at me. I struggled when he had my first stage. I can tell you that the tank cradle is very secure.

Rescue Diver Class Scenario #2 (Distressed/Panicked Responsive Diver on Surface) at MacAbee

October 30, 2005
This involves a diver in panic mode, but the diver will respond to commands and verbal instructions.

Shouting out, "Inflate your BCD" to John was all that was required. He inflated his BCD and calmed himself.

Rescue Diver Class Scenario #1 (Distressed Diver Underwater) MacAbee

October 30, 2005
The first dive of the day required us (my buddy was John Callender) to slow down and calm a struggling/panicked diver underwater and then go into a simulated out-of-air situation. To calm John down, I pulled out my knife and jammed it into the sand for us to hold on to while calming him. Out-of-air went smoothly, John grabbed my octo and we made a "very" safe ascent (<0.5 ft/sec).

We descended and switched roles. I was the panicked diver underwater. John rescued me with ease. John has an integrated power-inflator/octo that was difficult for me to get used to. It is very different from my original training. I was given the primary and John took the integrated system.
Yes, I didn't dive for 3 years and 9 months (see Judo {ACL Tear})

Night Dive for Advanced Class at Breakwater

January 30, 2000
This was a cool dive. We geared up in the parking lot at Breakwater, strapped a glowstick onto our snorkle and waded out into the water at 6:55pm. What a dark and cold place. We got to see the biolumenescence made by plankton when we shut our lights off and waved our honds through the water. Then later that dive, we saw an octopus (the first live octopus I have ever seen). I like octopii, we pissed this one off by shining our bright lights directly on it (it turned red to show us it didn't like it). This was my third dive of the day so my enthusiasm was fading. Physically, the water wasn't any colder that the day dives, but I was tired and surrounded by darkness which psycologically made me colder. I gave the "I'm Cold" sign to our instructor who navigated us back to shore. Man, I was hungry after all this activity. Maybe I'll do more night dives with Dave (it was fun after all).

Underwater Natrualist Boat dive at Eric's Pinnacle for Advanced Class

January 30, 2000
This was my second boat dive. We had spent 1:45 on our surface interval which brought us into PG B. We geared up, dropped into the water, made our way to the anchor, then proceeded to descend down the anchor line to the base of Eric's Pinnacle (~55 feet). We swam clockwise around the pinnacle and corkscrewed to the surface (roughly 5 turns). On this dive we saw a couple of sunstars, lots of bat stars, kelp bass, kelpfish, etc. There is reported to be a wolf eel living in one of the crevases (marked by many discarded shells at the entrance), but we didn't get to spot the animal. Coryanactis anemones were prevailent through out the dive. Some faces of the rock were covered strictly by the brightly colored anemones. At this spot, we saw some large white metridium anemones.

Boat Dive at Augmentos Reef for Advanced Class

January 30, 2000
This was going to be a real test for me. I get seasick easily. I took Dramamine which helped. Once I was geared up and walking to the entry area, I was doing great. My buddies and I dropped into the water over Augmentos Reef and descended to 60 feet. I started the tour as lead; we went to the right along the reef. There were lots of interesting creatures. After 15 min. Dave took over as lead; he lead us to the right. When Charles took over as lead, I lost track of where we wer going which was really bad because Charles turn the lead position over to me for our return to the boat. I had a general idea of where the boat was, but Dave was runnig low on air. We decided to ascend to our deco stop. After 3 minutes, I realized I had plotted a direct course back to the boat (we came up 50 feet from the bow).

Deep Dive for Advanced Class at Monastery in the Canyon

January 29, 2000
This was the first time I went below 60 feet. I was not worried about getting nitrogen narcosis or getting bent at 100 feet, but I was worried that due to my excitement, I would suck down all of my air before I realized it. Well I had no problems, I spent 12 minutes at 113 feet and toured my way back to shore with the instructor. At a bottom depth of 15 feet, I did my 3 minute deco and then walked out to end this dive. What a great dive. I love to dive Monastery. While down at 100ft. we found no surge or currents. The bottom was covered in detritus and silt. Scavengers were making a good living down there (a large crab was eating away at the detritus). We saw a 3ft. diameter sunstar with blue flesh with purple and white raised bumps. I also saw my first large white metridium anemone. I need to come back soon.