Friday was an all-day boat day… and it was glorious!
Too many dive classes do all of their training sessions at plain sandy/rocky-bottom dive sites, where it’s easy to test skills, but not really that interesting to look at. Fortunately, our divemaster Alex is not prone to boring dive sites.
In fact, our first site Friday morning was on a shipwreck. I’ve wanted to dive a wreck since I first got certified in 2005, so hopping into the water and seeing the Dredger was an amazing moment for me. Now, I’ve spent a good part of the last few years on boats, but I was still struck at the size of the 171-foot, King George Dredger. It was covered in coral and there were all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore while we were down there.
At about 60 feet down, our actual task was to use transects in pairs to measure parts of the ship and to practice getting our buddy’s PSI and depth every four minutes (something that’s hard to focus on when there’s so many interesting things going on around you). The measurements took only a fraction of our 40-minute dive, so we got to swim around and explore the ship after that. It sunk in 1930 and apparently, if you look far enough in the hull, you can see the ship’s toilet. I can only imagine the ridiculous photo opportunities that divers have used that for (unfortunately I didn’t have a camera).
Dive site two was also amazing. The reef at North Rock was perfect to practice video transects. Two pairs of two recorded video along a set transect of 25 meters while the other four divers worked with reels and navigation. Once again, our projected dive time was longer than our the time it took to practice our skill-sets, so we got to explore the reef, hang around with the fish, and see some cool coral colonies.
After heading back to BIOS to eat lunch and grab a few extra tanks, our last dive site was a bit less exciting than the first two. We went to Whalebone Bay, which, apart from being extremely close to BIOS, is also just a plain sandy bottom. It was, however, the perfect environment to practice navigation again.
Reciprocals and squares. This time I almost got the square right. So close! I was about four feet off. Seeing as how last time I made one turn and then messed up my compass and accidentally turned around and came back, my four-foot miscalculation was a big improvement.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a Friday.
Monday: Exams and CPR training.