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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Diver Stress & Rescue

Bainbridge on TwitpicSo, we took SSI's Diver Stress & Rescue course at our Local Dive Shop. It went really well. I had wanted to take it to be sure that I knew what to do if someone (especially Todd) had some sort of emergency under water. The course taught stress management, as well as rescue techniques.

First, last Wednesday, we had a class night, where we did the general class / textbook stuff. We'd done homework in the books before the class, as well as watched a DVD. Then, a test (I hate the tests), but then once that was over, the real stuff started.

Tuesday, we went to the pool and did a bunch of exercises. Classes always seem to start by going over your basic scuba skills (regulator purge, mask clearing, regulator retrieval). We also did a bunch of tows - towing a diver from front, side or back. Ugh, I hate doing a lot of swimming on the surface with all of my gear on, and then I'm towing Todd with all of his gear on. I got a workout. We went over some other emergency scenarios - sharing air, dealing with a panicked diver, emergency ascents, etc. Then, we did a test of trusting your buddy, where one diver removed their mask and handed it to their buddy, and the other diver led them around the circumference of the pool. It seemed like it took forever when I was the diver without the mask, but it was not so bad when you were the one leading.

Yesterday, was our open water session. We went up to Bainbridge. I had been somewhat dreading it, since it's so miserable in the quarry and it was supposed to be chilly and raining, but it turned out to be a perfect day. Temps were just right so that I was not too hot on the surface and not too cold when I was out of the water with no wetsuit. I still hate wearing a 7mm wetsuit, though, and we're hoping to both get dry suit certified within a reasonable amount of time. Vis was terrible as usual, but we weren't too cold. Then again, we didn't spend any time below the thermocline either.

While we were in the quarry, we went over skills again, this time doing it with neutral buoyancy rather than doing it on the platform. We dove around and then did a series of dives where we went over certain emergency scenarios. One buddy would simulate something being wrong, and the other buddy would rescue them. For example, I once had to pretend to go unconscious and later I tried to take Todd's regulator from him. Another scenario had Todd panicking while I rescued him, and in another had him going unconscious on the surface and me needing to save him. We practiced towing and search patterns, etc. It wasn't nearly as bad as I expected it to be and we couldn't have asked for a better day. I always feel like I'd do better with classes in the Caribbean, just because I feel so uncomfortable in that wetsuit.

So, good times in the quarry.

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