Last weekend DWF got to teach two classes to expand my students’ skills envelope. On Saturday (a Divemaster), fresh off last weekend’s Zombie Apocalypse Diver class, decided to take his self-reliant skills as well as his knowledge and appreciation of the buddy system to the next level with the PADI Self-Reliant Diver Specialty course.
Saturday was really beautiful out at “The Springs” (aka Juturna Springs). The air temps were in the 70s and nobody seemed to be in a rush. As my student and I suited up for our Self-Reliant course he got his first little taste as we started our dive planning which admittedly was a little more rigorous vs a “normal” dive.
There is a common misconception out that there self-reliant diving means we’re training and intending to start only diving solo and that plain isn’t the case. We do gear up with some serious redundancy, but as much of the course is dedicated to emphasizing the value of the buddy system and preparing for taking care of problems yourself (whether a buddy is there or not) in addition to the idea of diving independently.
I really enjoyed teaching this class. Watching my student get comfortable with the new gear configuration and deal with task overloading as I threw multiple challenges at him was really gratifying.
On Sunday the skies were a little grayer and the ground was a whole lot wetter as my student and I prepared for the PADI Deep Diver specialty course.
Frank cracks Egg at depth
While the surface at Juturna Springs is in the mid-70s, that starts to change right at the thermocline at 24 feet! My student and I did multiple dives at 60+ feet for this class. During our deep dives the temperature was in the low 40s, which is why I broke out my dry suit for the first time in months!
The deep diver course is a great way to get more familiar with the skills that become even more critical at deeper depths. Locally, deep dives are just plain cold, which is an additional challenge. Watching one’s air usage, and maintaining control of our buoyancy and ascent rates are also skills we develop and practiced this weekend.
We finished up our deep, chilly, and rainy Sunday with a congratulatory ring of the Juturna Springs bell.