DSAT Tec Deep Coconut Tree Divers - Roatan, Honduras 05/15-05/29/2010 Its Saturday of my Tec Deep Class. We are doing our first true deco dive after a week of training and preparation. The plan is to do a wall dive down to 140 feet for 20 minutes. Monte, my instructor in reviewing the logistics, instructs our boat captain to drop us off in the blue off of a dive site called Dixie. We drop in and start doing our S-Drill and tank checks. By the time we start our descent, there is nothing but blue. The adrenalin rush of dropping down that far in pure blue was intense as the only real bearings were my compass, the sun above and my instructor. We swam east during the descent and after leveling off saw the wall starting at 130, rising 110 to 20 feet below the surface. Its an amazing site to see that much reef from that perspective. We continued our swim up to the wall, and did our training exercises. In this case, it was to drop our deco tanks, do an unconscious diver tow for about 50 feet then do a set of timed valve shutdown drills under 45 seconds, before collecting our bottles and beginning our ascent. After completing our mission, we began our deco ascent, following the schedule we had planned in the morning, breathing the deco blends we had filled and verified beforehand. Doing deco along a wall is a great experience as it becomes just one extension of the dive. 56 minutes later, I had completed my first deco dive. The week prior had been rigorous. We started that previous Sunday going over the 1st two knowledge reviews from the book, then starting dive planning. He had built a dozen cases. The first three were practice. The remaining were training dives 4-12 in the class. That afternoon we began our confined work in the shallows across the street from the dive shop. After an hour of doing valve shutdown drills, shooting smbs, etc, we then went back and did our first boat dive with a deco tank, dropping down to 30 feet we practiced dropping and picking up the al 80 deco bottle. I had my buoyancy dialed in pretty good with the doubles on my back, but adding the deco tanks really started to make things challenging. And picking up and dropping the tanks on the fly made it even harder. By dive 2 we were carrying 4 tanks. An AL 80 at 32% O2 and an AL40 with a richer blend. We started with 60% and worked our way up to 100% by the last two dives. For dives 1-8, the deco was simulated. We had a set schedule we would copy onto our slates prior to every dive along with a mission of skills to be done. Awareness was added in by having to write down depth and gas volumes at various times during the dive. We did SAC rate calculations daily with valve shutdown drills on every dive. Between the class work and the diving, the first week was challenging. While I was getting encouragement from my instructor, it was still discouraging, as if I started diving all over. We did take a one day break where I did some fun recreational single tank diving during the first week. That restored my confidence that I still remembered how to dive and that this was actually fun. Dive 10 was a repeat of Dive 9, down to 140 feet. We did extend our time at depth by 5 minutes and adjusted our deco stops accordingly. This time it was my turn to lead the dive and call out all of the stops. It went very smoothly and I was feeling like I was finally getting the hang of it. We also recovered a lost prop in the sand and killed a couple of lionfish. Dive 11 was on a wreck called the Josie J. The profile was to a max depth of 165 feet. We lowered a bottom depth gauge into the wheelhouse of the wreck which measured at 180 feet. Being it was deeper; we could only swim over the wreck and couldnt penetrate it. But it was still lots of fun to see the wreck appear out of the blue do the dive and once again, we had a wall to follow during our deco stops back to the surface. Our final dive in the class was to a site called Pillar Coral. Off for some serious lionfish hunting. We dropped into what we called a lionfish condo, with over 13 lionfish living together at 164 feet. Monte had the spear gun; I had the knife and watched the clock, as we killed as many of these pests as we could. I think Monte got 6-8 before time expired and we had to head back up the wall. Overall the class was very well thought out and I thought fairly thorough. If anyone is looking for a warm water destination for their tech training, you might want to consider Coconut Tree divers in Roatan. I know after diving as deep as we did on air, trimix, which they also offer, will probably be next in my training adventure. But in the meantime, I felt I learned a great deal and look forward to my next adventure.