Day 6: Open Water at the Copacabana

A full day of open water presentations today as well as our rescue evaluations. We were taken  by coach to another resort. This one was mental busy with an animation team dressed in leopard print doing aerobics by the pool. The day was overcast and it was incredibly hot and humid so gearing up was pretty uncomfortable. I’m going to hold my hand up and say that I really should have a brought a 3mm with me as this is my first experience of really just being a bit too warm in a wetsuit. Also, we’re not spending that long in the water so it’s really not required!

We headed from the dive centre across the beach, as all the sunbathers looked on. However we then had a very long walk/swim through very shallow water until we eventually reached the buoy by which time I had been lightly poached. Our first task was an open water teaching presentation and also evaluation of our team mates. First of all I evaluated Johan on the 5 point decent with reference, I scored him a very competent 5. I had the sheet bend knot which I’m happy with. The examiners had only provided each team with one length of rope and a lift bag and a quick check with one of the CDs helping on the course confirmed we would be OK to just use one rope to demo the knot. I made my way through my students, one of them had a bit of a nightmare actually tying the knot which led to a lot of underwater laughter but we managed to get there in the end. Afterwards we were evaluated on our rescue demonstrations. When I was used as a body I was almost drowned by the large amount of water slopped into the mask at the end of the demo which was an interesting experience as my desire to not ruin my teammate’s demo conflicted with a basic fight for life.

After the rescue, which incidentally is the first time I’ve done a rescue demo to a banging euro trance soundtrack, we headed back in for de-briefs. My evaluation was spot on but I was marked down on my teaching presentation for a couple of reasons. First of all I had everyone tie the knot individually, the examiner argued that from a time management perspective I should have just got the whole class to do it together. This was a pretty valid point, so no worries there. Then I got marked down for using one piece of rope which kind of upset me, but hey, it’s a point so I definitely wasn’t going to be one of those people who argue every point endlessly with the examiners for no discernable result other than to piss them off. My score was 4.4. Then one of our team was debriefed on his surface compass swim. The performance requirements for this skill are to go for 50m. Sure enough we measured out the distance with a reel. I was his student and I was told my problem should be to look up and not look at the compass. It took my teammate a little bit of time to pick up on this as he was looking at the compass, but he saw it and corrected it. We completed the skill and he did his positive reinforcement and all was good. Except he was scored a 1 because by not making me repeat the skill, I hadn’t gone 50 m so it was a standards break. It was a salutatory lesson for all of us….

After a very quick lunch we were back for our second presentation. This time I was doing mask removal replacement and evaluating reg recovery which again I was very happy to have and this time scored a 5. Another of our team, however, had lift bag deployment and the scene was set for another nightmare. We were being examined by Alan. His style is dry and controlled, he wants things done quickly, efficiently and in order so a large part of his brief emphasised control and not everyone swimming around and stirring up the sand on the bottom. On the way out, my teammate with the lift bag had his weight belt buckle break which caused him a lot of stress. On descent he then stirred up lots of sand with the lift bag and I watched Alan’s face darken…. Unfortunately with all the chaos he then forgot to get the students to rig the lift bag and upon debrief was also scored a one. Needless to say it was all a bit unpleasant and there wasn’t the best of vibes in the bar at the end of the day. Still it was obvious that the entire exercise had been a kind of warning shot across the bows to do with complacency and a couple of beers soon repaired the damage.

All in all a very interesting and also very tiring day. I’ll get the action from today up tomorrow. Can’t believe there’s only 2 more days to go!

Post script to this blog post. Internet access is crap and is now limited to the lobby hence no pictures and the lateness of getting this post up. We also  have hurricane Chantal coming in! I’m going to try and get some more blogs up but it’s been so busy over the past couple of days. Tomorrow is the last day of the course so I’ll try and get some posts up before the graduation dinner. Only one presentation to go….

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