Dives 3 and 4
Nick and I did our last two check out dives last night. Unfortunately Kristen didn’t accompany us due to some ear/sinus/vomiting issues. Hopefully she will be feeling good soon so she can finish up the certification and we can have some celebratory birthday cake ice cream at the Chocolate Ox and/or Brainerd cafe that welcomes back door guests.
Nick and I arrived at MSD a little before 4 pm. Our fellow divers of the night were Chucky and 10 year old Alyssa. Bill was at the shop and told Dan that he needed some empty Nitrox tanks for the morning, then he pointed at us and said “give them Nitrox.” Dan told us not to equalize too hard or else [insert motion of head blowing up here]. Which made me very uneasy. Until I found out an hour later that he was joking, then I felt very stupid.
Dan drove us out to Louise where we started our dive at 5:15 pm. Louise is a quaint little mine pit with a 170′ bottom at the center and a little sunken boat at about 25′. The air temp was 45° but with the wind chill it felt like, I don’t know, -5°. Needless to say, the 60° water felt fantastic with air like that. Our first dive was just a bunch of swimming around. We had a couple of resurfacings due to some technical difficulties. And by “some technical difficulties” I mean “the 10 year old.” First she lost a weight pouch. We had hardly descended when Dan spotted her going back to the surface. He gave Charlie and I the thumbs up, so we returned to the surface. I asked her if she lost another weight and she said that something hit her in the head, and she didn’t know what it was so she just went back up. What? Really? I peeked down and saw Dan and Nick searching around the wooden platform that was underneath us, so I was sure they were on a very unsuccessful weight search. After that issue was resolved (btw, something = tank), we descended again. This time when we reached the bottom, Nick, Charlie and I found ourselves alone in the abyss. After standing there looking at each other like lost fools for what seemed like an eternity, we headed back up the sloping bottom and found the platform again (my brilliant idea). Soon after we could see bubbles, then make out the figures of Dan and Alyssa heading toward us. Phweeew. It was shortly before or after this that my regulator started taking on water. I would get a bit of water splashing in my mouth for four or five breaths and I had to use my tongue as a splash guard. I’d give a nice hard exhale now and then to clear it out. Then it would work fine for a few minutes … and repeat. We swam around for quite awhile, eventually making our way down to 44′. I think on the way up I started to get a bit of a reverse squeeze. My right ear was just killing me. On top of that my regulator seemed to be letting on water a bit excessively. I was about 5 seconds away from giving Dan the somethings wrong sign, but I could tell by the way he was swimming along the slop of the bottom that we would be soon on our way up. Finally my ear started making a funny noise and I could feel something bubbling out of it. Aaaaaah, sweet release!! We were up and down on the first dive, but used 30 minutes for our bottom time, which would have put me in the pressure group of “I” had I been using normal air.
I asked Dan about my regulator but he didn’t seem too concerned as long as I could handle it. During our 11 minute surface interval we swam back to the boat using our compasses. Then we descended for our second dive, swam away from the boat with our compasses and returned to the boat in the same manner. Then it was time for the CESA. I went first, which I was happy about, because I got to watch everyone after me come up. To make a long blog not as long, our second dive lasted 24 minutes with a depth of 32′. I finished roughly in PG-N. (I don’t feel the need to be as thorough in my dive blog as Curtis, as I plan on keeping a better organized log in the book, where there are pictures and check boxes and what not.)
The air above was quite chilly after removing my wet suit, which I was glad I did last. Back at the dive shop we filled out our log books and required paperwork. Then I had a gorgeous post dive photo taken for my card. Hmmm… at least polaroids aren’t super high quality, which probably helped me look better. On a side note, there was a Scuba Diving magazine with the top 10 reasons to love Belize, so I’ve definitely gotta snag myself a copy of that.
The time from Friday to last night has kind of been a blur. The certification was time consuming more than it was physically or mentally demanding, although after the weekend I was very fatigued. It was a great experience and I’m proud to have accomplished it. Looks like I’ve finally found myself a hobby :D