This post is long overdue…but they do say better late then never for a reason right? Last you all heard from me I had set out 5 goals for myself for my spontaneous trip to Cozumel & The Blue Angel Resort. It was to be my first ever trip that didn’t involve some formal training, and I wanted to make sure that I continued to focus on improving my skills. Well. About that. You see, I just…couldn’t do it. The no formal training bit I mean. I really did have the best intentions but found myself with a Divemaster crew pack and piles of homework within 2 days of arriving. C’est la vie.
I’ll get into the Divemaster details in my next post but for now here’s a brief evaluation of those original 5 goals.
1) Deploy the safety sausage with confidence
Good news – I figured out that to prevent my reg from annoyingly free flowing as soon as its out of my mouth (even if I point the mouthpiece down right away), I started increasing the breathing resistance on it before I removed it. This made focusing on inflating the sausage significantly easier but I still struggled with getting enough air into it that its full once it reaches the surface. I can get it to the surface…but then it just sort of floats there like a limp noodle. In short, I didn’t make as much progress with this as I’d wanted to and mostly that’s because I just kept avoiding all the opportunities to practice. I’d just tell myself I had enough on my plate as it was, and kept letting myself off the hook.
2) Become more comfortable on deep dives
Big surprise for me with this one. Turns out, I’m already comfortable on deep dives! I left my last trip still feeling anxious going deep and arrived to Cozumel expecting much of the same but…nothing. No anxiety, no discomfort, no lack of confidence. Nothing. I felt perfectly fine. It was awesome!! Granted, I didn’t do any dives deeper than about 85 ft but even still my nerves never kicked in. I guess I sold myself a bit short thinking this was still going to be such an issue for me. Man, did it feel good when I realized it wasn’t!
3) Take more responsibility for navigation
This is a tough one in Cozumel because its all drift diving, but I did make a point of being the one to lead us back to the channel exit on all our shore dives, and also had many opportunities to lead dives as part of my Divemaster course. This is a skill I’ll continue to build on in Thailand, where finding my way back to the boat is a must. I did notice in Cozumel though that a lot of this is starting to come naturally, in that I don’t have to think about it specifically anymore – for example I pay attention to shadows and depths and habitat in reference to my location without really being aware that I’m doing it.
4) Learn to take better pictures underwater
Huge fail here. I took my camera on all of 2 dives and my white balance was acting up. I took a few terrible pictures and then started my DM course so the camera stayed dry the rest of the trip. To be continued in Thailand!
5) Be better at buddy checks
I have a mixed review on this one. On some dives, especially shore dives where we had as much time as needed to get ready, we did well with this. On others, we didn’t. Its too easy to slack off on this, to trust that my own quick check of my gear is sufficient, and to trust that my buddy is doing his too. Its always such a rush to get into the water once the boat arrives at the dive site, and all too easy to skip the checks when you’re always with the same buddy – I think its the “we trust each other to check our own gear” trap. Regardless of what factors are contributing to my mediocre success with this goal, its something I’ll keep working on.
This isn’t the A+ report I was hoping to write for myself before we left for Cozumel, but I also didn’t expect to start the DM (Divemaster) program so I’m going to cut myself some slack.
Here are a few of Warren’s pictures (you can check out more at www.warrenmckay.wordpress.com) to cap off this post