On Friday 30th June, the four Scholars were lucky enough to visit Vobster Quay for a day of diving. The group was joined by a handful of instructors with a range of experience, each of whom were just as keen to get in some personal training dives. As this was the first true day out diving that we had together so far this summer, it was something I had been looking forward to.

Consequently, with no paying students to look after, we used it as an opportunity to further our own training…

Looking to add another notch to my belt, I took the chance to undertake my Deep Diver speciality, along with another scholar Jack, who had recently acquired his Advanced Open Water a few weekends prior.

The Deep Diver specialty had been on my radar for a while, as the extension to the maximum limit of recreational diving opens a range of opportunities. While many will say the best of diving can be seen in shallower waters, the skills required to be certified to deeper depths ensures a strong skillset and satisfies a sense of adventure that many hold, including myself. It also means that within the recreational world there is little that can’t be accessed, and the specialty begins to prepare you for the possible step into technical diving. Holding the speciality also gives another tick on the Divemaster training portfolio, allowing me to progress my training there as well. Having already completed Deep Diver Dive One as part of our Advanced Open Water certifications, we only needed to complete the three further dives to qualify.

The first dive of the day was our deepest, and our plan, which we kept to, was to conduct a free descent next to the Jacquin II Wreck. Here, we saw some of the other Andark divers conducting their Wreck Instructor speciality training, and after a brief wave to say hello, we moved on. From there, we followed the ground line that ran into the murk leading to the deepest part of Vobster Quay. At around 35m, we turned the dive as the visibility was poor, beginning our ascent back towards the Jacquin, but we had achieved our aim of diving deeper than 30m. On the way back we performed some of the required skills and ascended the line, conducting our safety stops before surfacing.

After a break, we got back in for the second dive of the day. The plan for this was much more skills focussed, such as comparing the time it takes for us to complete a task at the surface and at depth, and at the end of the dive simulating an emergency decompression stops while breathing from an emergency air source. The final dive of the day was far more relaxed as by this point, we had demonstrated the required skills, and this meant we could just tour the parts of Vobster that we had yet to see. However, along the course of our dive, we discovered the effect of thermoclines as there was a significant temperature drop over just a few metres of depth, and by the end of the day we were all rather chilled, but still buzzing from three successful dives.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience and am pleased that I was given the opportunity to complete it. This was of course the deepest I had been, and it was a brilliant chance to see the effect of depth on colour, pressure sensitive items, temperature, and light. I now hold a greater understanding of the effects on the body and how to maintain high levels of safety within the limits of recreational diving, and I feel my skills, particularly in relation to buoyancy, have been fine tuned to be more effective. Looking to the future, the next specialty that I would like to complete is Search and Recovery, as I believe this would be extremely useful in my Divemaster training and would further some of the skills I developed on this Deep Diver course.

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