TDI Adv Nitrox & Deco Procedures – Part 5

DAY 7

Our day off proved to be a worthwhile investment in our bodies. We both felt a lot better than we had done and it gave time for the training to sink in. I think I felt it most in my legs. I can’t be sure if it was the finning around or simply not being used to hauling the almighty twinset around, either way it was certainly something to work on.

Maltaqua up ahead
On our short walk to the dive shop we discussed the possible dive site for the day. We were both mentally traumatised from the less than perfect day out at the Faroud and silently hoped that another day at Cirkewwa lay ahead. As we rounded the corner David waved us over. “Hi guys, let’s hope the Faroud is calmer today eh?” Oh balls.





Arrival at the site was met with a little trepidation. As we stepped out of the truck both Kerri and I scanned the entry point for the 10m tall waves and breaking surge. As we gazed down we saw ..... nothing. It was like a puddle. Oh yeah, this was more like it - this was why I came on holiday. I mentally envisaged a successful and enjoyable day diving, we only had the one dive left and I wanted the final dive to be a memorable one. A pleasant memory.

Today was different on all counts. David talked us through dive planning, rule of thirds and our turn around time based on minutes and our gas reserve. We had learned about this in class but it was great to finally put it into practice. I also got to finally put my super cool tech diver wetnotes to some use. I had been carrying wetnotes for ages and never used them, I knew they would come in handy eventually, i just wasn't sure when.

Kerri at the entry point
Entry and exit was discussed, with Kerri adding some emphasis on the exit strategy. We had a new plan for the exit having watched previous divers crawl up the slipway the last time we were there. Made sense. We checked our gear, ran through our checks and made our way down to the entry point. It was really sunny and as I was sweating to pieces some Japanese tourists were insisting I stand up in my twin 12’s and 7l deco cylinder so they could get a better picture. Yes luv, i'll be right there. By right David was the more impressive diver as he was doing the dive in a single 10 with no stage, but I must admit I enjoyed the attention in all my tech gear.


Once in the water Kerri and I focused and got to work. Bubble checks and S-Drills were totally on the money, we checked our stages, kept them pressurised, valves closed, then stowed them on the line. This was all going quite well, I wondered when the wheels would come off the bus and we would all die.

Kerri penetrating the Um El Faroud
We dutifully followed David out to the wreck and had a fantastic dive. We did some more challenging swim throughs on the wreck, up stairs and around dangling cables. I really felt the part now and was having a magnificent time concentrating on my breathing and controlling my buoyancy. Wreck diving is definitely next on my list. However, as with all dives we were restricted by the fact as humans we require air on a regular basis, so Kerri and I signalled our turnaround time and we headed off the wreck for our deco stop.



On our decompression stop we launched an smb as a team, then simulated smb failure and sent up our reserve blob. This was a great exercise and I really enjoyed how intelligent the procedure was, it had never occurred to me to send the second smb up the same line. I just presumed we would re-do the whole process. This was all done with Kerri and I keeping close buddy contact and maintaing reasonably good buoyancy. The whole thing just felt right, it had finally clicked.

We did our gas switch having retrieved the stages, surfaced and immediately congratulated ourselves on how amazing tech divers we were. I thought we had earned it, we did really well on that final dive and deserved a pat on the back. We restowed our smbs and dropped back down to practice buddy breathing from the deco bottle. For one reason or another Kerri and I were quite rehearsed at this having practised it, very early on, in the pool when we were doing our PADI course. We recalled the signals and had no problems swapping the reg over. Buoyancy suffered a little, but not enough to cause any great concern and we completed the simulated stop. Missed deco stop drills followed then David announced that training was complete and thumbed the dive.

As soon as David began heading for the slip way I got the camera out. Like little children we started posing in all our tech gear for the camera. We HAD to get some photos of this. There we were with all our kit on taking sneaky photos of each other while David was scratching his head on the shore wondering what was taking us so long. I could barely contain the laughter as we both surfaced and signalled OK. We made our way to the slipway and bar a little help getting our fins off, we both got out under our own steam. We were ecstatic, it really was a good day out, the wheels had stayed on the bus.


Posing for the camera

Hot chocolate was next in order and both Kerri and David began the rather bizarre ritual of consuming the sugar laden brown stuff. Looked a bit grim to me to be honest, Never understood the hot chocolate fixation, I was happier with a cup of tea. I could tell David was very disappointed the course was over and would miss us greatly, or maybe the chocolate wasn’t up to the usual standard. I'm sure i saw tears...

Back at the classroom we completed our final paperwork and we were congratulated with firm handshakes and were now certified TDI Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures divers!



DAY 8 


I awoke with a hazy head on our final day in Malta. It appeared after the momentous passing of the course we considered it mandatory to drink all the beer in The Peppermill. Mission accomplished, I felt a bit worse for wear. Nevertheless we managed to find a full English breakfast after too much walking and began to feel human again. We repacked our now much heavier suit cases and courtesy of David headed for the airport. Another teary moment from our great tech diver instructor, firm handshakes and, I think, Kerri scored a kiss on the cheek. It was sad to see David drive off, everything about the week had been excellent.



EPILOGUE

The course was brilliant, excellent value for money and I recommend it to anyone considering moving into tech diving. Obviously I only have experience of TDI, but I can say that the approach was logical and the extension it has given to my diving seemed a natural progression. I highly recommend Maltaqua. The centre itself is run very efficiently, all the staff we encountered were polite, well informed, extremely friendly and suffered from the same sense of humour as ourselves. Our instructor David was superb. In the water his diving was excellent. On land his knowledge of the course and diving in general was second to none. He also contained a plethora of other less relevant information.

As for our next adventure, it is all in order. Savings plans are in order to facilitate the TDI wreck course as we had such brilliant fun doing what little penetration we did. The plan is definitely to go back to Mataqua and hopefully David can instruct.

I also need to buy a mixed gas computer, I hear Tri-Mix calling!

1 comments:

  1. Hi, cool post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for sharing. I will probably be subscribing to your blog. Keep up great writing!!!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it!

Safe diving buddy.