Since there are so many wrecks to dive in Hawaii I decided to add the Wreck Diver Specialty to my list of certifications. Diving on a wreck and diving on a wreck properly without damaging it or injuring yourself are two different things so I wanted to learn the proper way of diving on a wreck so that I could make sure that I did not do anything to harm it for future divers.
The course required four wreck dives, each with various skills that need to be performed. The first wreck dive I completed in my Advanced Open Water certification course, so this left me with just 3 more dives that needed to be performed.
On the second wreck dive I had to map out the wreck so that i would have a map showing my penetration points for the last wreck dive when I will actually penetrate the wreck. I have no idea why, but this seemed difficult for me because I can not draw. I just was not able to easily draw it as I saw it. It took me a while to get it right, but the finished map was good according to Nate the instructor from Island Divers Hawaii.
On dive 3 we learn how to deploy and retrieve penetration lines by practicing on the outside of a wreck. We also need to show that we can swim along a penetration line without kicking up silt while holding a dive light.
On Dive 4, the final dive of the Wreck Diver Specialty we actually penetrate the wreck using a penetration line that I deploy to be able to relocate the entrance once we are inside. We also need to be able to swim through the wreck maintaining contact with the penetration line using a dive light without disturbing silt which would hinder visibility.
Unfortunately I was not able to complete dives 3 and 4 this past Friday when I had them scheduled because on Thursday I went to test out my new Trident 4.7 kayak and got sunburned very badly on my legs, so I had to reschedule the dives. On Friday morning the pain was so bad in my legs when I tried to stand, I am glad that I rescheduled the dives instead of trying to “grin and bear it”.
I will be completing dives 3 and 4 of this specialty on Thursday morning.
Along with my claustrophobia I am also now afraid of the dark, otherwise known as Achluophobia, which stems from my being buried alive in my past. I decided to go for the Night Diver Specialty to help me get over my fear of the dark.
For this course I requested that my instructor be Nate from Island Divers Hawaii. Nate was the instructor that helped me complete my Open Water Diver certification with back at the end of January. I feel very comfortable with him and I knew that if I had a chance of completing this course, it would have to be with him as the instructor.
The Night Diver Specialty consists of 3 separate Night Dives, each with various skills that need to be accomplished, culminating with a three minute lights out while sitting on the bottom of the ocean skill. This was the part that I was so worried about not being able to complete.
With Nate’s direction, I easily accomplished the required skills, and even went above the required skills by performing a wreck penetration in the darkness following him.
After completing the Night Diver Specialty course I am no longer as afraid of the dark as I was. Now it is at a manageable level that I can control myself.
Since I recently purchased a new BCD which is a back inflate style instead of the jacket style that I had been using up to this point I decided that this would be a good time to take the Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialist course to help me dial in my weighting and buoyancy with the new equipment.
I worked with David, my instructor from Island Divers Hawaii and with some tips from him we were able to really zoom in on my ballast weight. We were able to drop 4 pounds off of my weighting which made a huge difference in being able to move easily underwater. I felt a lot lighter and more fluid as I moved now, and with the extra weight being off of me I barely had to add any air at all to my BCD which kept me more streamlined with the bladder tighter against my back.
I had heard that this was an important specialty to take, but until actually doing it I had no idea how much of a difference what I learned in the class would actually make.
Today I went out with Oahu Divers to complete the in-water portion of my Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) specialty course.
This specialty course was way too easy for me since I currently own two matching SeaDoo Explorer-X DPV’s that I dive with almost every day, but I wanted to complete the specialty anyway so that when I become an instructor if I want to teach the specialty I have a better idea of how to go about teaching the class.
The in-water portion of the class comprises of 2 dives. Since we were able to complete all of the skills required for the course on the first dive, the second dive was just a fun dive. We used the second dive to tour a wide area near Kewalo boat harbor that I never get to see normally since the dive shop that I normally use does not dive at these dive locations.
Since this area was so close to Waikiki I was afraid that there wouldn’t be any good coral reefs to see, I was surprised. We started off at Kaiser Reef, and meandered our way west toward Kewalo pipe crossing under the channel just after a huge yacht named “Rising Sun” owned by Larry Ellison passed through the channel.
Mr Ellison, CEO of Oracle is currently the 3rd wealthiest man in America and the new owner of both a majority of the 141 square mile Hawaiian island of Lanai as well as Island Air, a small airline that services the island of Lanai as well as other Hawaiian islands.
Even though I have been using my DPV’s for a few months, this was the first chance I had gotten to dive with someone else using a DPV. It was a real change to not have to slow down or stop so that my dive buddy could keep up with me. I have got to find dive buddies that also have their own DPV’s, lol.
Note: Even though I completed this specialty course on April 8th, for some reason the instructors at Dive Oahu did not process it until April 22, so that is why there is a discrepancy in the certification dates.
The majority of my diving is done from boats, so I decided to add the PADI Boat Diver Specialty as my next course which I completed today.
Shore diving seems too much like work fighting the surf, then a long surface swim just to get out to where you want to dive. Diving is supposed to be fun not work, so I rarely shore dive at all.
The boat diver specialty is good for someone who doesn’t dive from a boat very often. It teaches boat diving basics, proper entry and exit techniques, boat safety, etc.
Here in Hawaii we do a lot of Drift Diving because the currents are so strong in many areas that it is the best option for seeing a large area underwater quickly. You just enjoy the view as you float along with the current.
Since we do so much drift diving here I decided to make Drift Diver my next PADI specialty, which I completed today.
Today I completed the PADI Search & Recovery Diver Specialty certification class. Have you ever lost anything when you were boating, snorkeling or swimming? Locating missing items underwater can be challenging and depending on their size and weight, they can be difficult to recover if you are fortunate enough to locate them.
This is what the Search & Recovery Diver Specialty is all about. The class teaches divers how to locate missing items in the water, and upon finding them the proper techniques and tools to use to bring the item back up to the surface safely.
Today I completed the Deep Diver Specialty course and I have several other specialties and classes that I have already scheduled over the next couple of weeks.
My fears are still alive and well and it is still a challenge to overcome them with each dive, but I am not giving up.
I had to take the month of February off while I re-certified as an EMT and DMT so I could not continue my diver training until now.
I have decided to continue my training and certification as a diver by completing the Advanced Open Water certification today
I have also decided to add on several of the PADI Specialty courses to continue my diving education and give me more experience in different types of diving.
To start off my specialty training I chose the Enriched Air Nitrox Diver Specialty certification which I completed today as well.