Monday, 1 November 2010

What a difference a day makes.....

.... or to be more correct, a fortnight.  Regular readers (do I actually have any of those?) will remember that two weeks ago at Loch Long, I had a slight underwater trauma due to a leaky mask and regulator.  Last week we went to Aquatron, our friendly, local(-ish) dive shop to investigate different mask styles along with my hood and I came home with a mask to match my snorkel:

Isn't it pretty?  My last one was blue but I went for pink this time because I thought it would discourage any of the boys from stealing it.  It's not a whole lot different from my last one but it made a big difference to my diving experience this weekend.  Yes, it still leaked a little but I could cope.  It also didn't push my regulator out of my mouth all the time so I wasn't fighting to keep the regulator in my mouth and I don't have sore jaw muscles today.  Result!

Thank goodness the clocks went back on Saturday night.  It made the 5:30 rise on Sunday morning slightly less painful.  We had a 200+ mile round trip to get to Furnace on Loch Fyne and we weren't able to enjoy much scenery on the way as it was a bit grey and misty.  It wasn't too cold though.  We arrived at Furnace, had the safety briefing, got ready, had the dive briefing and went for our first dive.  Skill #1 - fin pivots.  (Basically you use your breathing to control your buoyancy keeping the tips of your fins on the bottom.) That was interesting as we'd to lie on a big, sloping, concrete waffle and wait our turn.  The least movement kicked up silt so the visibility was practically zero at times, very weird feeling.  I did my fin pivot, eventually, though how the instructor could actually see enough of me to decide I'd done it properly was beyond me.  Skill #2 - hover.  Very similar to skill #1 except you have to be suspended in the water, not touching the bottom when you do it.

We had a swim around after the skills then came back to the surface to this:

What a difference!  Look at how calm and smooth the water is.  And the sun was out and giving off enough heat to make our drysuits steam.  We could see seals just off the end of that rocky outcrop but they were clever enough to avoid us when we were under the water.  Shame.  Maybe next time.

How gorgeous is that?  Maybe scuba diving in winter in Scotland won't be too bad after all.

We had lunch and did our second dive.  Only two skills to perform this time as I did my remove and replace BCD & tank at the surface on my last dive.  Skill #3 - remove and replace dry suit inflator hose under water (sorry can't find a video for this one).  It's fiddly enough doing it on the surface with no gloves but underwater, with gloves???.  I surprised myself by being able to disconnect the hose first time.  Yay!  Reconnecting it was a tad trickier but even the instructor had trouble reconnecting his so I don't feel so bad.  We had another wee swim under water then it was time for the final skill.  Skill #4 - safety stop.  When you finally ascend to the surface at the end of a dive it's good practice to make a safety stop for 3 minutes when you are still 5 metres from the surface.  If you've had a deep dive then you must be able to make safety stops for varying lengths of time to avoid the bends so this really is a skill you have to master.  Stopping isn't always something I'm good at once the upward momentum kicks in but I managed it. 

So - yesterday's result - The Boy and I both passed our PADI Drysuit speciality.  Yay!

Thank you to Ally at Aquatron who was able to spot (despite almost concussing himself at the start of the morning when he slipped on the grass)  that I had too much weight on and that it was excess weight rather than dodgy technique that caused me to drop to the bottom like a stone now and then during the dive.

What's up next?  We have PADI EFR (emergency first response) in the classroom at the start of December then 2 dives the following day.  I expect the two dives will be underwater navigation (that will be fun) and underwater naturalist and they will contribute to the PADI Advanced Open Water qualification.

Tune in after 5th December for my latest underwater adventures.


  1. well done. love the pink girly gear,
    joy xx

  2. Congratulations on passing Mags. Can't say I have even the slightest urge to join you in your underwater adventures though hehe.

  3. The boys made fun of me all day for my pink mask and snorkel but no-one stole them :o) I didn't feel very princess-like by the time I had all the gear on, except possibly a whale princess. It's not elegant.

  4. I can't blame you. It takes a certain amount of commitment in Scottish waters.

  5. Gorgeous photos. I know just how cold that water can be at any time of the year so you definitely have my full admiration.....yes...and pink's a great touch!