On the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of July I helped out with a PADI Advanced Open Water course. The first day of the course was run at Andark Lake and involved 3 dives- Search & Recovery, Navigation and Peak Performance Buoyancy. Alongside helping those taking the course with equipment, I was a safety diver for the dives. This involved watching over people whilst the instructor demonstrated skills and following behind the students to ensure everyone stayed together. On Sunday we went to Vobster Quay for the Deep and Wreck dives, which meant organising and loading a van full of gear to make sure nothing was forgotten! I was then safety diver for the two dives, and towed a SMB so that Surface Cover knew our location in the water at all times. These dives, and the weekend in general, were very enjoyable and it was great to be helping students whilst getting to dive at the same time. The weekend was also really useful for getting more familiar with Vobster Quay and the running of the Advanced Open Water Course.
On Monday 4th July, the scholarship students and an instructor took part in the Helicopter Underwater Escape Training. A large yellow box made to represent the cabin of a helicopter or potentially a powerboat was on a machine which had the capability to move the box out over the swimming pool and go on to ‘dunk’ it. This machine was also able to roll the box to a 180° degree (a complete inverse) with several people inside it. Mike Lindsell supervised our group of 4 (3 interns and an instructor) whilst we were moved into the water and flipped upside down, with water rushing up to meet our faces and go up our noses before we had to unbuckle our safety harnesses, push a plastic window out into the water and pull ourselves out of the cabin. The training session was a great experience both for preparation and for its uniqueness. At the same time, it was a very unpleasant sensation of voluntarily allowing water to reach your sinuses and your eyes. All in all, we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but will not hasten to do it again unless we are working out to sea!