Episode 4: An eyeopening discussion with Steve Cook, Andark’s Project Aware ambassador & Training Course Manager

Steve Cook has some incredible tales of the deep, given his extensive experience diving and with a heart felt purpose to conserve the nature & beauty of our oceans!

First Aid Training

Steve Cook specialises in all of our First Aid training courses and highlights the importance of safety whilst diving, sailing or at work in any circumstance. It’s always great to have awareness of what to do when faced with an accident.

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 ⬇️.

Project Aware
Project Aware

Project Aware and what matters

We discuss diving with purpose, where Steve expresses his enthusiasm and passion for ocean conservation encouraging all divers to take a mesh bag and a small diving knife on every dive as you will always come across debris that needs cleaning up.

Get involved & help save our seas

We are currently running our lockdown courses online including our Conservation subjects – Dive Against Debris, Shark Conservation & Project Aware, Coral Reef with Project Aware. Be a part of the change with us!

USE CODE: BF10 for 10% off all Lockdown Courses

Listen to the podcast on the below link ⬇️

PSAI Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures

Jake writes about his first experience with technical diving at the National Diving and Activity Centre, Chepstow.

This course serves as an entrance to the world of technical diving. The jump from recreational diving is huge and as a result, three days are required to develop the skills and the change of attitude required to conduct safe diving practices. The process started with studying the manual, which everyone really looks forward to at the start of every course.

Friday

The first day of the course involved no diving (fortunately as I had forgot my drysuit), the purpose of the day was to understand the information learnt prior to the course and to discuss kit setup. We all discussed our own gear, and allowed everyone to view the different ways the twinsets had been set up and regulators routed. Allowing people to comment how it could be done more efficiently or what problems it could present in different scenarios. The most important lesson learnt was that for kit configuration there isn’t a set way that is correct, everyone’s kit was slightly different as it suited what they found most comfortable.

Saturday

By this point we were all eager to see how the modifications would affect us in-water. We had two dives to do, and a lot of skills to practice. Mike and Carl wanted us to build up muscle memory so that in an emergency, the skills would be fluid and done with precision. This involved sitting on the platforms at Chepstow practicing shut down drills, swapping between regulators, finning techniques and many more. The introduction of a stage cylinder altered the way we all dived and the use of an extra regulator took a while to get used to.

Sunday

The final day, all our dive planning had led to this day. We only had to do one deeper dive, so we took the day slow and kept emphasis on keeping calm and relaxed throughout. The dive planned was to 43m, with a bottom time of 15 minutes and a total dive time of 38 minutes. We were going to simulate decompression for a longer dive time to develop greater experience with ascent rates and stopping at set depths. The dive was a success, with me discovering what narcosis feels like at the amusement of everyone else. That is something that is unfortunately going to be brought up in every conversation.

I believe I can speak on behalf of the other students and thank Mike Rushworth and Carl Yates for a seamless course that tested our understanding and abilities and provided a solid foundation for safe diving practices.

Scholars Dive the Kyarra

Myself, Jake and Lucy were thrilled to have the opportunity to dive the wreck of the Kyarra in Swanage, Dorset. The liner Kyarra was a casualty clearing ship, with a quick-firing gun mounted on her stern as a defense against U-boats.

On the 26th May 1918 she was ordered to embark 1000 war-wounded Aussie soldiers in Devonport and return them to Sydney. However, she was hit by a German submarine and sank within 7 minutes.

On the 15th August we travelled down to Swanage pier, and boarded the Divers Down boat, ready to discover the Kyarra. We were diving on 32% Nitrox to give us more time explore the Kyarra. Once we had reached the site we entered the water safely and descended 23 meters down a line onto the ships port railing. There was a slight current as we were descending but nothing that made the descent difficult or dangerous. We observed many interesting features and wildlife, for example we saw the remains of the old bollards in the aft hold area, in which one of them had a crab living inside it! We also saw the rudder post and proceeded to swim to across the Kyarra’s hull. There were various fish living around the wreck.

The visibility was fairly good and overall was a very interesting dive. We agreed prior to the dive to start making our ascent when the first person reached 100 bar, which we successfully managed including a safety stop at 5 meters. During the safety stop we launched a delayed SMB so that the skipper could move the boat close to us to pick us up. Once the boat was close enough we held on the line of the side of the boat and proceeded to the back of the boat where the lift was. When we all were back on board we were all very happy about the dive, and made our way back to Swanage pier!

By Natasha

Andark Divemaster Scholars 2017

This year, we have three lucky scholars who will be with us for the summer to learn the ropes of the dive center and earn their PADI Divemaster qualification. Meet Lucy, Jake and Natasha:

Lucy Martin-Patrick

My name is Lucy Martin-Patrick and I’m 18 years old. I decided to do the Andark dive master scholarship as ever since I started diving a year ago after doing my open water course at Andark I have wanted to progress even further, and I felt doing the scholarship was a great opportunity for me to do this. Once I finish the scholarship I’m looking to do some volunteering overseas and travel for a couple years. Whilst travelling I hope to dive in as many different places as I can and experience the different cultures.

 

Jake Keys

I am excited to be on the Andark Scholarship throughout the summer. I began the process a qualified Rescue Diver, having done all of my training through Andark already. I grew up in Southampton and I have just completed my three A-Levels (Maths, Physics and Geography) at Peter Symonds. The scholarship is an opportunity for me to develop my skills further and to pass them on to new divers. I hope to carry on after the scholarship and become an instructor, with the aim of travelling somewhere tropical and enjoying a gap year before University.

Natasha Busjeet

Hey I’m Natasha and I’m 22. I have just completed a masters in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton, and have always had a keen interest in marine life and diving. I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the scholars this year, in which this divemaster qualification will help me to pursue a career in marine conservation.

 

 

 

We’re lucky to have Lucy, Jake and Natasha here for the summer, and hope this process is as rewarding for them as it has been in previous years. Follow their progress here on our blog, and see what they get up to this summer!