New season SD training day #1, 9/9/2017

Bright weather, perfect for some wet time. I wasn’t even supposed to be on this one at all, I was booked up for the morning, teaching karate… But after nobody else stepped up to offer shore cover, the dive plan was amended for a later start. The roads were jam-packed, as everyone was heading to the newly-opened Queensferry Bridge and our destination (Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing) was essentially on their way.

Unlike my last (and only) dive at this site last April, the visibility was respectable and I could see from the shore down to 5m with sunlight. The plan of the day was SD navigation and DSMB. So Laura commandeered my shiny new compass and my trusty old DSMB. The lesson started on land, with some dry runs of how to take and read bearings and how to inflate the DSMB and reel it back in. Laura had zero faith in herself using a compass and was very happy to find herself at the correct location with nothing but a bearing and a compass to get her there.

Taking bearings

Following bearings

First dive is off to a bad start. Laura’s suit is leaking in the leg. They continue anyway to the shot line and proceed with the dive plan. I can soon see from the surface that Laura did not head towards the target I thought they had set. Misunderstanding of what the target actually was? The DSMB part however worked ok and it arrived at the surface about 2/3 inflated, which is not bad for a first, considering that this continues to be my average inflation volume :/ .

Second dive, same plan. Laura has to get both parts of the lesson right for it to count. This time she heads in the right direction and surfaces close to where they were aiming for. On the way back, they do narrowly miss their destination and a local fisher was forced to pull up his lines to prevent them being hazardous. They soon realised they overshot their target and doubled back. On schedule the DSMB comes up, and then things get a bit funky from my point of view on the shore. The buoy seems to move away in one direction while the breaking bubbles double back in the opposite direction. This is not how a DSMB ascent should look… They emerge at the shot line. It turned out Laura had to let the DSMB go as the line snagged on the reel crank. This has happened to me before too, all too easy to miss such little hazards as the line being too loose while fumbling with the buoy and octo at the end of the second dive. Unfortunately that means the lesson is again not a pass. Things learned anyway, and they still tick other requirements (protective clothing, shore dive. shot line).

Upon de-kitting, surely enough, Laura suit has a big gaping hole where the seam of the boot started to rip. I could put a finger through. And it was much worse on the inside of the suit. So out goes an order for neoprene cement.

Showing off her not-dry-anymore suit. I guess we jinxed it with everyone telling her how lucky she got with that second-hand suit. Still, an easy fix with some neoprene cement.

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