Thursday, January 27th 2012
I completed my first night dive this evening. I was somewhat nervous going in but is was great and I can’t wait to do more night dives. As part of the training I had to practice some of the navigation skills I had learned in the navigation training earlier in the day. At one point during the dive we turned off our lights to see the phosphorescence in the water. Although it was cool, I was very happy when we turned the lights back on!
Our tropical paradise is at Cayman Coves in Grand Cayman and was totally renovated under the watchful eye of Winsome in 2008 after the death of Lionel’s Uncle, Peter Harty, in 2007. It is one of only twelve units and the complex has its now pool and two private swimming coves on the ocean. It is peaceful as it is away from the hustle & bustle of Seven Mile Beach.
I completed two of my advanced dives today, the Deep Dive and the Multi-Level Dive.
PADI and most recreational dive associations define a deep dive as between 80ft and 130ft. Anything deeper that 130ft is outside of the limits of recreational diving. Most divers will recognize 100ft as their absolute max.
My deep dive was to a depth of 100ft which is the deepest controlled dive (long story) I have ever done. As part of the training I had to do a math skills test on the boat before the dive and perform a similar math skills test at 100ft. My instructor Danielle wrote a simple math sum on a slate and I had to write the answer. The hardest part was to get the pencil to work! The point is to demonstrate the effects that nitrogen narcosis has on the body. Many divers can feel “Narked” even shallow depths and symptoms of nitrogen narc0sis can include:
- Rigid, inflexible thinking.
- Short term memory loss.
- Slow thinking
- Euphoria & elation
- Undue anxiety
I experience most of these without putting a foot in the water!
The Multi Level Computer Dive teaches techniques for extending bottom by ascending to shallower levels during the dive thus allowing your body to absorb less nitrogen.
The highlight of the dive was seeing a large free swimming moray eel over 4ft long. This is pretty rare as they usually stay hidden in rock crevices. The pictures below not mine but will give you some idea of what they are like.
I received my basic dive certification through the YMCA in 1985. My open water test was done in the dark & freezing waters of Lake Simcoe with 10ft visibility. My first dive in the Caribbean was an eye opening experience and has quickly become a passion.
I decided that one of the items I wished to accomplish on my sabbatical was to do an advanced diver training course and cross over to a PADI certification. I signed up with Don Fosters which is a great dive facility close to our Cayman Paradise and where I do most of my diving. They are professional, very safety conscious and fun!
To get your certification you have to do five courses which include classroom theory and actual dives. Two of the courses are compulsory – Deep Diving & Underwater Navigation. My electives are Night Diving, Peak Performance Buoyancy and Multilevel & Computer Diving.
I had no problem adapting to being local as only the tourists swim at this time of year. It took me twelve days to gain enough courage to embrace the ocean and venture in up to my chest.
The Barefoot Man arrived in the Cayman Islands in 1971 on vacation and never left. He has been entertaining tourists ever since. George Nowak became the Barefoot Man as he never wore shoes. He has recorded over 500 songs and they are “…like an island drink concoction: a mixture of calypso with a bit of reggae and soca, garnished with a little country and plenty of humor…put it in a blender and you dance to the beat.”
Barefoot has an incredible sense of humour and his lyrics have something to appeal to all tastes. Some are quite risqué with titles like:
- She Loves My Deck
- Jeff the Muff Diver
- Who Put the Pepper in the Vaseline