Tag Archives: Michelle

Divemaster Mapping Project

As part of my PADI Divemaster training I am required to create a map of a dive site to teach me underwater mapping and reinforce the underwater navigation skills that I learned in the Underwater Navigator Specialty course that I took last month.

For this task I was allowed to choose Koko Craters, a popular dive site off the South East coast of Oahu. Because I dive this site very often, and had already started a rudimentary map of the location in the Underwater Navigator Specialty dives it would save me some time.

Normally the mapping project is done by a group of Divemaster Candidates (DMC’s) who collaborate on a finished map. Since I am doing this mapping project alone I would have to do everything myself, which would mean multiple dives at the location to get measurements, compass headings, etc.

Unfortunately we have been getting hit with a south swell for the past couple weeks that has made diving on the south shores almost impossible. Most of the dive boats have cancelled their dives and everyone is shore diving up at Sharks Cove for the past two weeks. In order to work on my map today I was forced to do a solo kayak dive in very rough waters.

I ended up getting rolled 4 times today while trying to get out to the site. Once I was offshore out at the site the seas were much calmer and I was able to get some diving done. Unfortunately the visibility was very poor for this location, normally we have around 100′ visibility at Koko Craters, but because of the south swell today it was only 10 to 15 feet, which made working on my map very difficult. There was also a strong current which also added to my challenge, luckily I had strapped one of my DPV’s to my kayak in anticipation of the strong currents and surge. Using the DPV I was able to overcome the current and get some work done on my map.

Here is the map I made of the Koko Craters Dive Site. Hopefully it will be good enough to pass and I can get signed off for this project. I don’t see how I can make it much better.

KokoCratersDiveMap

You can download a Printable .pdf version of the map by clicking here or a larger .jpg image by clicking on the map above.

Dive 76

Date: May 19, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 1 of 1

Time In:  08:56  Time Out:  09:24    Time:   :28

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  Island Divers Hawaii – Scofield Barracks

Purpose: DMC – Open Water Dive 4

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  1-3′ Surf    Wt:  21lbs

Visibility: 20-30′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  25′    Average Depth: 17′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 2,974    End PSI: 1,665      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 7-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

The surf had come up a little from yesterday, which meant that the visibility would not be the greatest, and ended up being only about 20-30 feet. Since we had already completed 3 of the 4 required Open Water Dives, the students were given the option of making a second dive today as a “fun dive”. Since the visibility had gone down from yesterday, and the surf had come up a little the students chose not to do the additional “fun dive.

For the last dive of the students Open Water Diver course, Open Water Dives we went back to the sandy area at the center of Sharks Cove so that they could perform their required skills. Afterwards we took them on a short tour around the area, again taking them over rocks which made them go into shallower water to see if their buoyancy had improved.

One student still struggled with his buoyancy and used a lot of air because he was constantly inflating and deflating his BCD to compensate for his poor buoyancy. When he was too low he would air his BCD up, making him rise too fast, then he would notice his mistake and dump all the air out making him crash back to the bottom.

After watching this a few times to see if he would grasp the concept of what he was doing incorrectly on his own apparently he was not getting it so when he was on the bottom I signaled for him to add just a little bit of air to his BCD, when he did that he rose just off the bottom so I signaled that it was good, then motioned with my hands to use breath control to rise up a little and to sink a little. He seemed to understand and performed as I showed him, but then when we started the tour once again he was back and forth from about 5 feet to the bottom like a ping-pong ball. Hopefully with more practice it will start to click for him.

iGills Snapshot

Dive 75

Date: May 18, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 3 of 3

Time In:  12:27  Time Out:  13:26    Time:   :59

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  Island Divers Hawaii – Scofield Barracks

Purpose: DMC – Open Water Dive 3

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  0-2′ Surf    Wt:  22lbs

Visibility: 30-40′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  27′    Average Depth: 18′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 3,091    End PSI: 1,356      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 5-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

For the third dive of the students Open Water Diver course, Open Water Dives we first went to the sandy area at the center of Sharks Cove so that they could perform their required skills, then took a tour of Sharks Cove going over some shallower areas where the rocks from the bottom come up higher. This was done so the students could see how their depth affects their buoyancy and as they come up shallower they have to release more air from their BCD’s to keep from floating up too fast and surfacing accidentially. Again a couple of the students had some buoyancy issues which I assisted them with.

Since we completed dives 1, 2, & 3 of their Open Water Dives today we only have 1 dive left that they have to complete tomorrow. The forecast is that the waves will be a little higher tomorrow, so hopefully this will allow us to get it over with before it gets too bad for them.

iGills Snapshot

Students taking a break between demonstrating skills

Dive 74

Date: May 18, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 2 of 3

Time In:  10:01  Time Out:  10:25    Time:   :24

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  Island Divers Hawaii – Scofield Barracks

Purpose: DMC – Open Water Dive 2

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  0-2′ Surf    Wt:  22lbs

Visibility: 30-40′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  21′    Average Depth: 17′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 1,363    End PSI: 737      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 5-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

For the second dive of the students Open Water Diver course, Open Water Dives we went to the sandy area at the center of Sharks Cove so that they could perform their required skills.

A couple of the students had some buoyancy issues and other problems which I assisted them with so that it didn’t cause a problem or turn into an emergency situation.

After the students had finished performing their required skills we ascended so that we could take a long surface interval before continuing with their third dive of the day.

iGills Snapshot

“Lookout Below”

Dive 73

Date: May 18, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 1 of 3

Time In:  09:07  Time Out:  09:40    Time:   :33

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  Island Divers Hawaii – Scofield Barracks

Purpose: DMC – Open Water Dive 1

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  0-2′ Surf    Wt:  22lbs

Visibility: 30-40′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  30′    Average Depth: 18′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 2,640    End PSI: 1386      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 5-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

As part of my Dive Master course I have to assist an instructor (Michelle) with teaching several classes, one of which is the Open Water Diver course that we started back on May 6th. The conditions finally cooperated with us and we got to do the Open Water Dives for this class today.

The visibility wasn’t the best in the world today at Sharks Cove, but it was the only dive spot on the island available because of the high surf caused by the South Swell that is hitting the island this weekend. There were at least 4 classes going on from Island Divers Hawaii, and more classes from at least 4 other dive shops on Oahu all at Sharks Cove today. I have never seen so many divers all at one spot before, very tricky trying to walk up and down the hill from all the foot traffic today.

For the first dive we went to the left side of Sharks Cove where it was shallower and found a nice sandy bottom area for the students to perform their required skills. Since it had been so long since they were in the water performing the skills (May 10), some of them had trouble remembering the skills so we had to work with them a little more to refresh their memory.

Everyone was finally able to complete their required skills so we ascended to take a surface interval before the next dive.

iGills Snapshot

“Follow the Leader”

Confined Water Dives 3, 4 & 5

Yesterday I completed the PADI Divemaster Online course and am finishing up the last chapters in the Divemaster Manual this weekend. I’m not sure why I am required to do both the online course, and the knowledge reviews in the book since they are both the same course, but alright, whatever it takes to get it done.

I assisted with the last Confined Water training session for the Open Water Divers class at the MWR pool last night. Extra equipment was brought just in case, and sure enough it wasn’t needed. Equipment only seems to break when you don’t have replacements handy. This time I was able to get in the water to assist Michelle with the class instead of watching from the side of the pool.

Once the classroom portion of the training was completed the class was divided up into two separate classes with 8 students each for the pool sessions. Our class was down to just 5 students for tonights class, which would make the class go much quicker than Wednesday nights class did, or so I thought.

Some of the skills the students would work on tonight were the alternate air source ascents, controlled emergency swimming ascents (CESA), mask clearing, weight removal and replacement at the surface, and BCD removal and replacement underwater. Just before getting in we went over the procedures for the skills that we would be doing while the students were getting their gear ready and doing their buddy checks.

One of the students upon entering the deep end of the pool almost immediately gave the out of air signal and started heading back to the surface quickly. At first we were thinking “we’re not ready to do that skill yet”, but when Michelle reached the student she realized that the students dive buddy husband had mistakingly turned her air back off during the buddy checks. Apparently he had forgotten which way to turn the valve on the tank. I remembered once when a dive buddy of mine in my Open Water class back in January had done the same thing to me, and the panicked feeling that it quickly brought.

Along with supervising the students that the instructor was not working with at the time, I also demonstrated the Fin Pivot and Hovering skills to the students. While I watched them struggle through their skills tonight it reminded me of how I struggled with those very skills just a short four months ago, and now they seem like second nature to me.

After the pool session was completed we headed back to the Island Divers Hawaii dive shop on Scofield Barracks to rinse the gear and refill the scuba tanks that were used. We finally got out of there just past 11:00pm once again, and because of the late night again without eating dinner, I am fighting another migraine this morning.

The open water dives that were supposed to be held this weekend have been postponed until next Saturday and Sunday because the surf conditions were going to be too high for the shore dives that were planned. Unfortunately that means another whole week before I can get signed off on anything for my DMC training.

Confined Water Class Fiasco

Last night was the first night for the Confined Water skills portion of the PADI Open Water certification course that I have been assisting with this week for my Dive Master Candidate course. All in all everything went well. I showed up at the Scofield Barracks dive shop and loaded 20 scuba tanks for the 16 students while the instructors assisted them with getting their wetsuits, BCD’s, and weights, then we went over to the MWR pool a few miles north of the base where we would hold that nights class.

The students started off with their laps and other swimming skills before putting their wetsuits on for the scuba portion of the class. Once all of the swimming skills were completed I demonstrated the correct assembly and disassembly of their equipment and described each piece and what it does. Then the students were required to assemble and disassemble their own equipment three times.

While the students were assembling their equipment we found that an o-ring on one of their submersible pressure gauges had blown and we searched for a replacement for it. Luckily Davie, a female instructor recently added to the dive shop from Australia, had brought a backup regulator assembly and we were able to switch the student over to it.

Just as we got that student’s situation resolved another student found that they had a blown o-ring on their alternate air source. So once again we were scrambling around trying to find a resolution to the problem.

Unfortunately we could not find a replacement o-ring for the student so our only option was for me to disassemble my rig and let the student use my regulator assembly for the class, which meant that I could not be in the pool with them to assist with the class and demonstrate the regulator recovery and mask skills to them so that I could get signed off for my DMC requirements.

At the end of the class Michelle asked me if I would assist the students with disassembling their gear while she worked with one student that would not be able to attend class on Friday night, so while I helped everyone get their gear loaded back up for the trip back to the shop she worked with the last student completing confined water dives 3, 4 & 5 so that she would be ready for the open water dives with the rest of the class this weekend.

I have today off to prepare for the rest of the class starting tomorrow. I need to decide today if I am going to finish assisting with the class even though I won’t be credited for it, or if I will just skip it and wait two weeks for the next class to start. It’s a tough decision.

Dive 72

Date: May 7, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 2 of 2

Time In:  11:26  Time Out:  12:22    Time:   :56

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  N/A

Purpose: Fun Dive

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  0-2′ Surf    Wt:  16lbs

Visibility: 40-50′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  35.2′    Average Depth: 21′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 2,779    End PSI: 502      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 5-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

For our second dive of the day we decided to do a different area of Sharks Cove which offered more caves and swim throughs and would be a longer distance. As we climbed back down the hill and reached the water another dive buddy of hers showed up with another diver and we decided to wait for them before we headed out. 

Once they had made their way down to the water we headed out on the surface just as I noticed an air leak in one of the dump valves of my BCD which took me a few minutes to fix. Apparently I must have gotten some sand in the valve on the first dive causing it not to seal and free flow. Unfortunately this means that I no longer have a full air tank and was already down to 2400 psi, but at least I was able to get it resolved instead of having to abort the dive. The waves have gone down a little but the tide had come up since our last dive so it was a little easier navigating through the rocks at the shore. 

As we toured the Eastern side of Sharks Cove we found numerous caves to explore some of which were 40 or 50′ long and just wide enough for two people to swim through side by side which we swam through. Because I am still claustrophobic this was a challenge, but with Michelle as my dive buddy I decided to use them to help overcome my fears. I easily swam through each of the caves except for the last one that we found which was just wide enough for one person at a time and made a turn inside so that you could not see the exit. I decided to swim around that one and meet the group on the other side. I will save this one for next time when I have more air.

Unfortunately it was time to end the dive and get ready for the Open Water certification class tonight.

Dive 71

Date: May 7, 2013         Repetitive Dive: 1 of 2

Time In:  09:31  Time Out:  10:21    Time:   :50

Dive Location: Sharks Cove,  Oahu, HI.

Dive Shop:  N/A

Purpose: Fun Dive

Dive Type:  Shore       Environ: Ocean / Salt

Conditions:  1-2′ Surf    Wt:  16lbs

Visibility: 30-40′

Air Temp:  81° F  Btm. Temp:  79° F

Max Depth:  41.1′    Average Depth: 23′

Safety / Decompression Stops: None

Start PSI: 2,940    End PSI: 983      Air/EANx:  21%

Exposure Protection: 5-Mil Full Wetsuit, Hood, Boots, Gloves

Equipment: 3cf Spare Air, Dive Light, Scuba Pro Jet Fins

Notes:

Since I am working with Michelle this week assisting her with an Open Water certification class at the new Island Divers Hawaii dive shop at the Outdoor Recreation Center up on Scofield Barracks as part of my DMC course training we decided to do a fun dive together before class tonight. She is really into shore diving which I am not a fan of and she is trying to convert me, so we decided to do Sharks Cove on Oahu’s North Shore.

The weather worked out for us causing the waves to be really small today only reaching 1-2 foot high which made entry over the slippery rocks easier. Once we were in she lead me on a tour of the area showing me several caves, overhangs and swim throughs that I did not know were in the area.

She also worked with me on a breathing control technique to help me make my air last longer while diving. Normally about 30-40 minutes is all I can get from an 80 cubic foot cylinder unless I am using my DPV, then I can get over an hour. On the first dive I was able to get 50 minutes out of the cylinder, and still had almost a thousand pounds of air left. I could have easily done a full hour on this one thanks to her but we came to the end of our dive and time for a surface interval before the next dive.

One of the things I hate about shore diving is the long walks carrying all your gear over usually sand or rocks and normally up and down hills to get to the water. Then normally a long surface swim before you get to the dive spot. Sharks Cove eliminates the long surface swim, but not the long walk down hill over rocks and sand, then climbing back up to the parking lot afterwards. This is too much like work.

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