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Nettie Goes Techie!

Day 3Ö Decompression Procedures:
I passed the exam by the way. Iím such a girly swot!

The start of my deco course would entail a small planned dive with a switch to 50% nitrox then an hourís skills circuit. I was briefed on all the skills first which included having my mask off for a very long time. My major fear was my contact lenses were going to fall out at some point and then I would never see John 15 metres away. My sight is very bad on land, so bad that if I take my lenses out before locating my glasses they will never be found. I take my mask off regularly in the water with my lenses in but I thought today would be different as I need to do lots of skills whilst the mask if off.

So we dropped in, descended very slowly down to 30 metres where I attempted to count how much air I had used over 5 minutes. John then sprung on me that I was out of air so I need to change to his reg. During this time we had to signal to ascend to our next depth and change to our deco gas at 22 metres. Today the sling tank reg went into my mouth the correct way around!

The rest of the dive went just as planned so the skill circuit loomed very quickly.

First skill, mask off and remove the sling tank. John demonstrated and with confidence I copied. Piece of cake!

Then with my mask off I needed to swim to my buddy 15 metres away and do an out of air scenario. Now Iíd been advised that you have to hold your breath when swimming horizontally (unlike PADI rules where you blow bubbles all the time when a reg is out) and swim fast enough to get there on one breath but slow enough so that you donít increase your CO2 and get the urge to breathe. I started well going nice and slowly then something inside me started to doubt Iíd reach John. All the time you have your reg in your hand so you could put it in at any time. But I was determined enough to make it, and just in time I grabbed his reg out of his mouth and put it in mine. Iíve never been happier to breathe!

Then it was a simulated low-viz navigation skill where I needed to learn how to lay a line and come back along the line with my mask off. The laying the line went well then it came to taking the mask off AGAIN and follow the line back. I started well then John gave me a freeflow reg skill and whilst I resolved this the line went slack and attached to a piece of coral. Unable to see I found both ends and I tried to un-wedge it for what seemed like an age. When it was eventually loose the rest of the untying was fine. By the time I got to the end I felt that my contact lenses were going to be permanently burnt onto my eyeballs and when it came to putting my mask back on again I was surprised my contacts had not only stayed in but within about 5 minutes my eyes felt like normal too!

Removing the gear underwater was next which I took off no problem at all. It was putting it back on that proved a little difficult. If anyone had been watching from above I would have looked like a cockroach on its back, fins up in the air. And I now know that the regs donít work too well in this position either! I eventually found all the various straps and put it back on then hauled myself off my back.

The rescue scenario was also amusing, as I had only taught a rescue course last week the procedure for rescuing an unconscious diver is firmly stuck in my head. However the knee cradle position does not work with a twinset! As I lifted John from the floor using his wing inflator I turned the both of us on our sides. The only real control I had was holding his reg in his mouth during the horizontal tow. Attempting to then lift us vertically to the surface was also a bit of a shambles and needless to say I needed to perform the skill again!

After 1hour and 40 minutes we ascended to the surface but the skills were not yet at an end. The tired diver tow was similar to whatís taught on open water and the unconscious diver at the surface also a bit like the rescue course but easier as the wing automatically keeps the head out of the water. I was travelling well with him whilst performing rescue breaths until I realised that Iíd passed the boat. I obviously wanted to make things as difficult as possible for myself!

Overall John was pretty pleased with my performance with no other errors than the ones I knew Iíd done myself. Iíd earned myself a place on a Ras Mo boat and my first deco dive, TOMORROW!


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