TekCamp – The Aftermath...

I appreciate that TekCamp is well and truly over, but I felt one final instalment was required, an epilogue so to speak; hence this post.

If you have read my previous reports on TekCamp you should have a pretty good understanding of what was involved and the format of the week. However I thought I would conclude the series with a summary of what I personally got from my speed dating with 10 of the top scuba instructors at Vobster Quay July 2011.




FUN

Ultimately, I bloody enjoyed myself. In my pre-scuba years a fun day out usually revolved around 12 pints, 20 Regal Filter and a Kebab. Since I discovered the joys of scuba diving most of that has been binned, in favour of healthy living and an active lifestyle; well … kind of.

I don’t smoke anymore at least.


The atmosphere at TekCamp was brilliant; we didn’t stop laughing all week. It was fun to dive with the instructors and attendees as well as my regular Wifebuddy; everyone involved kept the whole thing light hearted. There were some quality moments too – like trying to get into a pub with Paul Toomer and Howard Payne.



NEW FRIENDS

As i am sure you can imagine I have lots of friends and have become tremendously popular as I grew older, I think I even have a facebook group: “Andy is Awesome.”

Perhaps.

Back in reality, the diving community at my home planet is pretty small, and as a result I don’t have many scuba mates. TekCamp brought a collective of obsessed divers together in one place, and with so much in common it was inevitable new friendships would be made.

I definitely left with a few new friends; attendees and instructors alike. It has been very amusing to watch the facebook and twitter updates as everyone “connected” upon returning home.

Living in Northern Ireland can feel quite isolated, but TekCamp has made us both feel part of the international diving community, more so within the smaller tech diving circle.

We just want to be loved…



NEW SKILLS

Obviously the main goal of TekCamp was to improve diving skills. My diving has certainly changed, and it has only been since I got back to my regular dives that it became truly apparent.

I was attempting some of my atrocious photography on my last dive and found myself back kicking instinctively away from my subject to get a better shot. The photo was balls as usual, but the back kick was phenomenal!



On a boat dive I turned to signal Kerri it was time to ascend, just in time to witness her rigging and deploying her smb within 60 seconds. Previously we would have had our blobs pre-rigged and buoyancy would have been amusing if nothing else, as we struggled to shoot them from depth.

TekCamp taught us real skills of real use during real dives.



CLUB

Kerri and I dive alone pretty much all of the time. We are not part of regular dive club, and don’t intend to join one, as per Scuba Diver Beaten with Club.

However, as a result of our new found TekCamp friends we have finally found members for The Great Big Scuba Club (TGBSC). For those of you who are unaware of The Great Big Scuba Club it is basically a club I have conceived in my tiny brain of ‘agency free’ divers.

All is explained in ‘Burn Your Certification Cards.’


A month post-TekCamp it has transpired that Kerri is the Diving Officer of TGBSC and is intent on arranging all the scuba trips from now until the end of time. So far Scapa Flow has been booked for 2013 consisting of only TekCamp attendees and even one of the instructors. How cool is that?

Other trips are provisionally arranged, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Watch this space.



TRAINING

Previously when it came to dive training I googled it, picked a school at random and did the course. This was an acceptable system, but I never knew what instructor or agency I would be getting. As a result of TekCamp I have a clear understanding of how different instructors operate and associated agencies.



The agency thing doesn’t really feature to be honest, but actually meeting instructors face to face prior to handing over cash is invaluable. I know how certain instructors teach, and just as importantly, how I get on with them on a personal level.

Since returning home Kerri and I have booked 2 courses with different instructors and subsequently differing agencies. I would never have thought this was an option, but it is possible to train at the next level using a certification from another agency.



CONFIDENCE

I am qualified for decompression diving to a max depth of 45m. That said, when it actually comes to planning those dives I become a little anxious. I have the training, I am a cautious divers, I don’t take risks; but previously I felt I needed some extra experience or training before taking on the added risks associated with the virtual ceiling.

TekCamp gave me the skills and confidence I need to do the diving I want to do.


It can be difficult to gauge your ability when you don’t dive regularly with other divers. Kerri and I don’t dive with other divers; we only have each other as a benchmark. That system doesn’t really work very well, so it was excellent to receive feedback from the instructors at TekCamp – both positive and negative.





We are now awesome – Paul Toomer says so!



TEKCAMP 2012

TekCamp 2012 has been confirmed and I highly recommend any prospective tech diver, or anyone even considering tech diving, to attend. Just go, you won’t regret it. It is a fantastic resource, and UK divers are lucky to have it at their back door.

Yes, that is Wifebuddy and I Are Diver...


Book your tickets now and I’ll see you at the campsite for ‘The Breakfast Club.’


Bring beer.

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Safe diving buddy.