ANDARK SUNDAY DIVE AT WRAYSBURY

COMFORT IS KEY

WRITER/SCUBA DIVER – KELLY GREENER

A nice 0745 start for our Sunday morning dive trip to Wraysbury. After making sure cylinders are were nice and full, everyone accounted for and set up with equipment we were off.

Though quite a dreary start to the day … it didn’t get much better. We set off into teams of 2 or 3 buddy pairs, and briefed the dive. As the visibility wasn’t great, which is nothing new for UK diving, we decided to take a few bearings and see what we found. This presented a great opportunity to test out our gear, and get comfortable with our set ups. Especially for newer divers, who may not know what works for them, there were some common themes that came up after the dives that were causing just a bit of discomfortable or making the dive that little bit frustrating;

MASK

This is vital. A bad fitting mask means a foggy mask, which means a disorientated and possibly panicked diver. If the seal around your face isn’t fully flat, whether that’s because your mask just might not fit your face properly (very common), your hood or a tear, it can be a real pain during a dive when you’re constantly clearing it. To make sure the mask fits your face properly, you want the mask to stay in place when breathing in and not loosen around any part of your face. For you guys rocking the moustache, Vaseline should work a treat. Another thing, if a mask is too tight before going down for a dive, the pressure will just make it worse, so make sure the seal is tight around the face, but the strap isn’t too tight around your head before diving down.

FINS

Nobody likes cramp. This part of your dive kit, I might say is the most important. This is because fins are very much a personal preference, and it takes time to test out what works for you. Today we had a diver who got toe crap, wearing her dad’s borrowed XL fins … and she did not have XL feet. Wearing fins too big or too heavy for you often gives you crap and it can take a while for it to go away. There are many different variations of fins on the market, many different colours too, but if its possible it’s great to test them out in a pool before buying to see if they fit your feet, and way of diving.

WEIGHT

Weight can decide whether you come up gasping for air feeling like you’ve run a marathon or whether you struggle to keep your feet down. Weight checks are really important to get this right, along with logging your dives. Logging your dives means you can see how much weight you used on one dive to help advise what weight you need when using different types of equipment (i.e. wetsuit or drysuit) or in different environments (i.e. freshwater vs saltwater). Another thing is where you put your weight. Some people prefer to have all their weight at the back and around the cylinder, other prefer it all the way around their body. You’ve got to figure out and find what’s comfortable for you, and what is the easier for you to dive down and stay down.

These elements take time to get right, and even experienced divers will test out a new piece of kit to figure out how it will work in their set up and adjust accordingly before taking them on more advanced dives. We often don’t get everything right first time, but its worth the trial and errors to get that comfortable, go to dive kit set up, ready for your next Sunday dive.

ADVICE & SUPPORT FROM OUR ANDARK STORE

We offer the best service & advice in getting the right equipment suited for your level of scuba diving. Come and visit us at our Andark store to speak to one of our friendly team or trial your new equipment out in a safe enclosed space at our Lake.

EASY LIKE A SUNDAY MORNING DIVE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JORDAN PONSFORD – ANDARK SCHOLAR

PADI Advanced open water Course – A fun filled weekend

JORDAN PONSFORD – ANDARK SCHOLAR

A FUN WEEKEND COMPLETING THE ADVANCED OPEN WATER COURSE

DAY 1

On the weekend of the 10th July, I completed my Advanced Open Water course. Before starting on the Saturday, I read through my PADI manual and filled out all the knowledge review questions. Reading through all this was getting me really excited for the weekend to come. As part of your AOW you have to do five different adventure dives. The two compulsory dives are navigation and deep, and for the three other dives we did were wreck, search and recovery, and peak buoyancy.

 
When we arrived at Andark Saturday morning, we collected all our kit and equipment that we needed for the course and headed down to Andark Lake. Once we got there, we unloaded the van and put together our gear. Then we sat down and went over our knowledge reviews. Bryn, our instructor, was really helpful when explaining some of the points that we weren’t quite sure about and made sure we understood everything properly before going on the dives. After we finished going over the knowledge reviews, Bryn gave us briefs on the first two dives, explaining everything we need to do during the dives. Then we put on all our gear, did our buddy checks, and got into the lake.

PEAK PERFORMANCE BUOYANCY DIVE

Our first dive was peak buoyancy, so we descended to the 3-metre platform and practiced hovering off the end of it, making sure we were neutrally buoyant and perfectly trim. We then went for a 20-minute dive around the lake. Once the dive was over, we ascended and exited to water, had our briefing for our second dive and got back in the lake.

UNDERWATER NAVIGATOR DIVE

Our second dive was navigation. For this dive, we descended to the 3-metre platform again and, with the help of my buddy to make sure I was staying at the same depth, I used to compass to swim off the platform and then turned around to end up back where we started. Once we all completed that navigation skill, we had to navigate a square pattern in the lake. This was actually quite difficult as after 10 kick cycles in each direction, I had to turn 90 degrees to the right and hope that I finished at the same corner I started at. This was the end of our navigation dive, so we exited the water.

SEARCH & RECOVERY DIVE

After lunch, we changed over our cylinders and began with the briefing for our last dive of the day, search and recovery. For this dive, Bryn went and hid certain objects around the lake, and after discussing where and what he had dropped, we went to search for them. First, he dropped a weight belt at the bottom of one of the ascent lines, so Cam (the other scholar/student) and I attempted a circular search pattern to find it, however the visibility was so low that Bryn called it off and re-hid the belt on the 3-metre platform where the visibility was a lot better. Once we completed this, we then had to do a u-shape pattern to find a bunch of clips and then used a lift bag to ascend with the lost items to the surface. After existing the water, we took apart all our gear, put it in the van, and went home for the day. I really enjoyed the first day of our course as it gave me an insight into some of the specialities that PADI offer.


DAY 2

On the Sunday we arrived at Andark nice and early at 6:30am. As we had kept all our equipment in the van from the previous day, all we needed to do was wait for everyone to arrive and head off on our journey to Vobster Quay. Including the stop at McDonalds for breakfast, it took us roughly an hour and a half to get there. When we arrived,Graeme (our other instructor) was waiting for us.

DEEP DIVE

Once we arrived, we set up all our equipment at our station, looked at the quarry map, and discussed what we will be doing in our deep dive. We did a giant stride into the water and surface swam over to the buoy we were descending down. For this dive, I borrowed Bryn’s Suunto D5 dive computer to keep an eye on as we descended to 23 metres. This is the deepest I have ever been and even though it was a little intimidating, it was also very rewarding. We explored a shipwrecked boat and looked at a red Lego brick to see the difference in colour at depth. We then ascended slowly and did a safety stop on the way up.

WRECK DIVE

We then got out the water and prepared for our wreck dive. Once we were all briefed, we then did another giant stride into another part of the quay and descended to 12 metres onto part of a shipwrecked place. The aim of this dive is to swim around the outside of a wreck and point out any potential hazards if anyone were to penetrate the wreck. The plane was separated into three sections, the cockpit being the most interesting. The plane was really cool and has made me want to dive more shipwrecks in the future. Before we ascended, we did another safety stop and then exited the water.

As this was the last dive of the day, we packed up our equipment, spoke about our dives and filled in our logbooks. We then took a group picture with our certificates in front of Vobster. I loved my time there and really want to go back to explore some of the other attractions at the bottom of the water. I also really loved doing this course, especially with my instructors, Bryn and Graeme as they made it a really fun weekend. Lastly, we headed back to Andark, unpacked the van, and headed home. 

COMPLETING MY PADI ADVANCED OPEN WATER COURSE

CAMERON JACKSON-ROWE – ANDARK SCHOLAR

COMPLETING MY PADI ADVANCED OPEN WATER COURSE

Day 1:

Peak Performance Buoyancy, Underwater Navigation & Search and Recovery at Andark Lake

The day started off with getting all required diving equipment to the lake and setting up. Then it was onto all the essential paperwork – and knowledge reviews of course – where anything not completely understood was clarified by awesome instructor Bryn. Then onto the dive briefing: the first two dives we would be doing were explained in detail so that we understood what the objective was (the primary objective always being of course to finish the dive safely!). Peak Performance Buoyancy consisted of getting a good trim, and practising to hover/simulating safety stops which are super important if going deeper; we also had to challenge to swim through a hoop, and then finished the dive with an exploration of the lake. After surfacing we went straight into the navigation dive – using compasses! We had practiced out of the water with these but the visibility conditions in the lake that day added to make it extra challenging, however it was good fun and very satisfying to find our way back to the platform from which we started. Finally, after a surface interval, we went onto Search & Recovery. During the surface interval we made sure to practise tying bow lines and how to operate a lift bag. I was apprehensive of tying the bowline underwater with my 5mm gloves however was pleasantly surprised when I found I could do it (but very glad I did all that practice on the surface). 


Day 2:

Deep Dive & Wreck Dive @ Vobster Quay (+3rd extra dive once qualified!)

Day 2 of the AOW commenced with a very early start (thankfully we had packed up the van the day before), to travel to Vobster Quay in Somerset! After an essential Mcdonald’s breakfast stop, we arrived ready and excited to tackle both Deep and Wreck dive. Especially exciting (if not slightly nerve-racking) was the idea of finally getting to dive considerably deeper than the 8m I had only been so far. After signing in, unpacking the van and kitting up, we were ready to go (after the incredibly important pre-dive and buddy safety checks of course)! Hoping for better visibility than the day before, we did our giant stride in and surface swam to our descent line, which would bring us onto the hull of the Jacquin II boat wreck at about 16m. I was prepared to be cold, but hitting the thermocline at about 12m was definitely still a shock! With the water temperature at about 8 degrees at our bottom depth (22m), it was the coldest dive I had ever experienced, and being susceptible to the cold, one I would definitely want to repeat in a dry suit once certified. After a surface interval (warming up again!), we re-entered to do our wreck dive on an aircraft which was split into three parts at about 12m, where we identified any potential hazards. Finally, after briefly surfacing, I decided I was up for another dive (also aware I needed to get my dive count up to start the divemaster course), and as I was now qualified I could take my underwater camera to get some pictures! This last dive was a good opportunity to relax and take in the surroundings whilst getting to see a bit more of Vobster Quay  (such as the Crushing Works from when it was a functional quarry), and overall a great way to round off the day. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole AOW experience, helped especially by the amazing facilities we got to use – both at Andark & Vobster – and also the incredible instructors (Bryn and Graeme) who explained everything clearly and made the whole process extra interesting, safe, and of course fun!

Andark’s NEW Scholars 2021

MEET OUR NEW 2021/22

ANDARK SCHOLARS

Hi, my name is Jordan, and I am 21 years old. I have just graduated university studying Photography as it is a huge passion of mine. I have been in love with diving ever since I did a discover scuba trip in Gran Canaria in 2019, and since then I have completed my Open Water course. 

 My end goal is to combine my passion for photography and my love for diving and become an underwater photographer, preferably specialising in sharks and marine mammals. I decided to apply for the Andark Scholarship as it seems like an incredible opportunity and the best way for me to achieve my goals. 

Hi, my name is Jordan, and I am 21 years old. I have just graduated university studying Photography as it is a huge passion of mine. I have been in love with diving ever since I did a discover scuba trip in Gran Canaria in 2019, and since then I have completed my Open Water course. 

 My end goal is to combine my passion for photography and my love for diving and become an underwater photographer, preferably specialising in sharks and marine mammals. I decided to apply for the Andark Scholarship as it seems like an incredible opportunity and the best way for me to achieve my goals. 

Season 2 Ep2: Emma, PADI Regional Mgr on The Community Spirit of Scuba Diving – All In this TOGETHER

We chat to Emma Samuelsson about the rise of female scuba divers, the need for community & the incredible scuba spirit that keeps us pining to dive deeper and for longer.

Scuba Diving is for everyone and anyone who is curious of what lies beneath the waves and loves a new challenge.

It feels like summer is finally here & more of us are coming out of our lockdown bubbles and throwing ourselves into new exciting adventures. With UK diving on the rise since we can not trek far this year due to Covid-19 regulations on travel, it’s not surprising that the scuba community is booming with lots of friendly faces excited to share stories and discover what we have on offer in our very own coastlines from sea kelp forests, shipwrecks to cold water reefs.

In this episode we talk to Emma, PADI’s Regional Manager for the UK & Europe about her bug for scuba diving; How she got into it, where it’s taken her on her career and how it opened up a world of travel, building confidence beneath the waves, meeting new people and concludes that it’s essentially that scuba community that excites her. No matter where you are in the world you can find common ground amongst divers. Emma highlights some of the most popular specialty courses globally and the importance of the Drysuit & DSMB for safety and comfort whilst diving in the UK.

Enjoy and LISTEN to the podcast clip below or You can access the podcast on iTunes click here. Or press the play button at the bottom of this post .

MY PADI OPEN WATER EXPERIENCE

I am from Brazil and believe it or not, Scuba Diving is not a popular sport over there. We swim, we snorkel, but that’s it. Of course, some places teach you to dive, but I believe they are still growing, and have a lot of developing to do. To be honest, it never crossed my mind to one day take a course for diving. You know when you are so ignorant about a subject, you don’t have any idea how to start, what to do or that it’s even possible? That was my case.

I did watch many documentaries and TV programmes of activists divers, and biologists going to the middle of the ocean to dive, to see and to study gigantic sharks, rays, whales, and other marine animals. They check their behaviour, how their population are doing, where they go at different times of the year, how global warming is affecting them, and so on.

I’ve also watched movies and TV programmes where people go into a cage to see sharks, but that was never a thing I would do anyway, so I never related to that, and that’s what I thought it was, something that only people who work in the marine field would do.

When I moved to the UK and to Southampton though and started working at Andark, I found out that Scuba Diving was more popular here and pretty much anyone could do it. And then Andy talked about going back to the basics of Scuba Diving on our videos, to educate people like me, that still thinks scuba diving is a distant reality, that you can practice on fancy places, or as a professional. So I had no other thoughts, I had to try it, and of course, I had to do it with my husband so that we could share this amazing experience together.

Now, I want to give you the step by step experience, so you can know what to expect in each phase of the way.

Before the Course – Buying/Booking the Course

First of all, I paid for the course and booked a date for my husband and I, and because I work at the office, I just talked to June. I gave her my personal and card information – something you can do on the website or over the phone – so she could process my payment. We also had to fill out a medical questionnaire to make sure we were fit to dive, if you answer yes to any of the questions, you have to get your doctors approval to let you dive.  After I had done this I received my two open water crew packs, one for myself and my husband, both with a Manual, a DVD, a Log Book, and some cards about other specialities and with a code to go online and try a dive computer simulator.

I also received an email with all the details of my course, the dates, what to bring, what I had to do before and during my training and the time that was going to start and finish.

Before the Course – Theory

When I got the manual, I started reading it by myself, but my husband wanted to watch the DVD, so we watched together, and I realised the manual and the DVD have the same information, which I loved because I think it’s much easier to learn.

As we watched the DVD, I must confess I got a little scared. I never knew how serious and technical scuba diving is. Some mistakes you can’t afford to make, lots of equipment you’ve got to remember. So I kept thinking about all the people who love to dive and are passionate about it must be doable and captivating.

After watching all the Chapters and DVDs, we did the Knowledge Reviews, which was great to review what we’ve learned and the things we didn’t fully understand. It also made me more confident and prepared to take the exam on the first day of the course.

PADI OPEN WATER

The PADI Open Water Course is a four-day course, divided into two parts: Referral and Open Water; not counting the studying part. I booked my course for the weekends, so I would take two weekends to finish it. You must know that they are also available during the week, to be done in 4 days in a role, or you can buy just the referral and do the Open Water in a different place. Depending on what you want, you can pick what best fits you.

First Day – Referral Theory

I was so excited that I woke up early in the morning to prepare my bag with everything I knew I had to take. Usually, they start the course by the Theory part, which it was in our case, and because we had a beautiful sunny day, we went to the lake to review everything. It was lovely.

We sat down with our instructor, and we reviewed every exercise. It was great, I asked him the things if they weren’t making sense to me, and he patiently answered everything. After reviewing each Knowledge Review, we took a quiz to practice, and after all, we took the final test, which was a lot like what we had just talked about, so it went smoother than I imagined.

After that, we were supposed to have a lunch break and then start the training in the pool, but my husband had a huge toothache and we had to call it off until he fixed that, which he did in the following week, and we rescheduled the dates.

*There is an admin fee for rescheduling dates.

Drysuit

One day at work, I was telling my colleague Matt, in the shop, that I was taking the Open Water Course and he convinced me to buy the Drysuit Course as well. He said if I were going to dive in the UK, I would probably use a Drysuit, I could do the speciality in the same course, and it was a certification for life. So I  thought, you know what, I’m already investing in this course, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to do it again, so I also bought the Drysuit Course to complete them together.

First and Second Day  – Referral Pool

On the first day, in the pool, we had a swimming test that made me realise how out of shape I am. It’s a test to make sure we can swim and float, doesn’t mean you need to be a swimmer, but make sure you won’t sink.

After that, we started the real course. A lot like what we’ve watched on the DVDs. Building up the skills to dive safely, I got to experiment what a friend of my had said to me a month earlier. He said paraphrasing, “the PADI Open Water Course (POW) is not like other courses. Most of the courses you go, you leave feeling you didn’t learn much or everything you had to, but in the POW we leave feeling confident we know what to do if something goes wrong”. That’s exactly what I felt right in the beginning, and this is a course that prepares you to deal with a situation if something goes wrong.

In the beginning, was very awkward and wonderful at the same time, because we were doing things we’ve never done before, breathing through a mouthpiece underwater, using lots of equipment, each one for a specific purpose, trying to keep balance, but it was also surprising to see how quickly we evolved.

I loved doing it with my husband and having the same experience together. Laughing at each other when trying to stay still and communicate underwater, helping one another when something was a bit more difficult, and then going back home and talking about everything we felt. We had a lot of fun.

The second day was more straightforward than the first day. Remember when I said about all of this being doable? It is! It seems so complicated when you don’t know anything and what to do, but as you practise, it becomes more and more effortless.

I also need to say that I was so impressed with the instructors we had, Ben and Alex. I thought they were very professional and great teachers.

They explained everything we were going to do on the surface, and then they explained everything again underwater, doing all the signals which it was so lovely, to begin understanding how to talk underwater and being able to see them performing the exercise before we tried. They were also very patient and kind to explain as much as we needed until we understood and got everything right.

We had our last dive with the drysuit, and it felt bizarre, to be honest, But Ben told us that that was normal for the first time because it’s very different from the Wetsuit, but you get used to it, and as more profound, you go, the better it feels.

Third and Fourth Days – Open Water

On our Open Water phase, I felt more confident and relaxed, because I kind of already knew what was going to happen, the people who were taking the course with me and the equipment. We also had terrific instructors with us, Stainton and Tom, once again, very professional and patient, willing to answer any questions and help when needed, and even though the weather changed from sunny to rainy (typically British), I had a fantastic time.

Because we were doing the Drysuit Course with the OW, we’ve only dived with the drysuit at the lake, and I must say that Ben was right. It was so much easier to put on the Drysuit, mainly because we were dry, and it felt way more comfortable. I was so glad we were doing it with the drysuit because it was cold, but to be fair, I don’t know how it was for the people that were doing with their wetsuits.

The Open Water felt more natural than it was in the pool; we repeated everything we were taught in the pool and added some more skills. I think it also felt more like diving because we had more space to swim.

Going from the pool to the training lake was a little daunting for me, I had been told about the visibility in the lake before we arrived at the dive site, obviously it was never going to be as good as the pool. With the limited visibility, at points I almost felt alone but with a quick check to my right I could grab my buddy and then with a quick over my shoulder I could see that our instructor was always right there with us.

Whilst completing my dives, I practiced one of the most important things you need to learn when diving, this was to always remain calm, which I think I did pretty well. A bonus to learning to dive in limited visibility is that if you can dive well in limited visibility, it will certainly make your life a whole lot easier when you get to some exotic locations where the visibility stretches as far as the eye can see.

Another point I’d like to highlight is the lake structure. Up there they have a cafe shop that you can buy food and drinks between the dives. The burgers are delicious and I didn’t even feel guilty about eating it after a dive. They’ve also got big female and male changing room, with toilets and hot water showers, perfect after a cold day in the water.

What can I say? I loved and enjoyed so much my whole experience and all I can say is thank you to all who was part of it. To all the instructors, thank you and congratulations for the great job you’re all doing, for the professionalism and excellence you put on your work. I really admire you all and appreciate what you all do here.

Thank you to all the Andark team who have introduced me to this new world, I always loved to work here, and now I’m also proud.

Now, I can’t wait for the next step. I really want to experience a real dive somewhere here in the UK, probably on a Sunday Dive. I hope you like and find my story helpful, and who knows if someday it’s going to be you?

Sophie’s Blog – Week 7

This week I assisted on the PADI Rescue course with instructor Stainton and four students. We practised the rescue skills in the lake then the next day was scenarios. This involved lots of incidents that the students had to work together to resolve including injuries, missing divers, panicked divers, and first aid including CPR. A challenging and enjoyable course that really improves your confidence when diving knowing you are capable of dealing with problems.

I also helped out with a PADI Open Water Course learning skills in the pool and Aquanauts on Saturday – a scuba club for children 8 years old and up to learn to dive in Andark Pool.

On Sunday I was lucky enough to go on Sunday Dive to Swanage Pier. Sunday Dives are a weekly programme of South Coast shore dives for new and experienced divers and is a great way to meet other divers. Swanage pier has a max depth of 5 m and is teaming with Marine life – shoals of pollack, loads of crabs, anemones and blennies. I loved it! Really enjoyed seeing so many creatures at a pretty dive site.

Next up was Scuba Camp – a 3 day course that takes children through the basics of scuba diving in the comfort and safety of the pool. We started with snorkelling techniques, then introduced the children to scuba equipment. By the end of the course, they were able to put their scuba gear together, do a buddy check, clear their mask, perform regulator recovery, and practice safe buoyancy in the deep end. A lot of fun and the children learnt so much which really gives them a head start with diving.

Swanage Pier

Scholarship Week 7 – Michaels Blog

Over the past 3 days Margriet from PADI was at Andark to help us work on our Dive Master training and skills. Over the course of the three days we went through the 24 main open water SCUBA skills, practising them to demonstration level. We also did workshops for Discover SCUBA Diving- which is for people who want to try diving for the first time, and PADI ReActivate- which is for divers who have been out of the water for a while and need to refresh their skills. These workshops taught us how these sessions work to prepare us for taking part in them in the future. The most challenging part of the weekend was a full SCUBA equipment exchange- using only one regulator shared between two people, we exchanged all of our equipment (mask, fins, boots, hood, gloves and BCD). The idea of this exercise is to challenge you, and your problem solving and teamwork skills underwater. The exercise was strangely fun and I felt like I learnt a lot from it, though it was definitely hard work! It was a busy weekend and we got a lot done, learnt a lot and had a lot of fun!

Padi Diving Scholarship Week 7

Scholarship Week 4

Sophie

Women’s dive daSophiey was a great success! A very busy but enjoyable day and we were lucky with the weather. I started the day in the kit room organising wetsuits, BCDs, regulators and cylinders for everyone then up to Andark Lake to assist with a PADI Refreshers course. It was brilliant to see so many women of all ages kitting up and having fun doing the treasure hunt in the lake. There was so much going on with talks, PADI Discover Scuba Diving in the pool, kit displays from Suunto, Cressi and Apex and hunting for coins in Andark lake to win prizes. Emma Hewitt’s talk on her PADI career was very interesting and inspiring. Then it was straight into helping with Aquanauts in Andark Pool; the children were brilliant at mastering new skills. What a day!

 Sunday was calmer with a trip to Vobster Quay, a flooded quarry,  for the PADI Advanced Open Water Course. I spotted lots of little fish while doing surface cover then went on a Wreck dive with students to a sunken plane. I was fortunate to get an extra dive with Simon, a DM, who took me on an underwater tour of Vobster Quay and down to a caravan where the water temperature was 8’C! Much too cold for my liking but I’m glad I’ve done it. 

On Wednesday I helped out with evening training in the pool. It was great to watch students take their first breath underwater on the Discover Scuba Diving and to grow in confidence during the session. I’m now assisting with a PADI Junior Open Water Course where the students are learning new skills in the pool and are excited to be doing their first open water dives this weekend at Andark Lake. 

 Next week we are going to visit PADI headquarters for a sneak peak behind the scenes – I’m very excited! 

Andark Scholarship Week 2

Michael

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.

 

Advanced Open Water Course

Will

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!