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What did you learn as a newbie about yourself, your diving abilities. diving, and those around you? and what major experience stuck with you?
Hi all i will give you some background.
I dive Sydney Australia, all shore dives so far.
Quite alot of the sites around here are between 20 and 25 metres so i decided after 10 dives I was going to get my AOW.
My 15th dive was a our "deep" training dive i quote deep as it was only 20 metres which I guess satisfies the PADI Criteria and not much else.
There were 5 students one Instructor and one assistant instructor I believe.
At the bottom approx 20 meters we battled a current stronger than expected, none of the students were used to this and ended up smashing through our air and not getting as far as intended bad trim, buoyancy, breathing, finning you name it i'm sure we did it.
We hit 50 bar simultaneously, at this point I believe we were at about 8 metres. This was our agreed surface limit but our instructor gave us the ok and kept going. (preventing a tough surface swim).
Any-who my buddy ended up at 30 bar while I 40 had i swam to the instructor held up 3 fingers and pointed at my buddy who was looking a little wide eyed and breathing faster. She used the instructors 2nd air for the remainder of the dive.
I just kept an eye on my depth and SPG despite the low air i was comfortable with our depth knowing we were swimming but essentially doing our safety stop. I surfaced with a mere 15 bar completely relaxed (should i have been worried) but letting the instructor know what had happened. He actually seemed quite impressed with how i behaved, was this wrong??
Was i right to keep diving and monitor my depth or should i have gone for the surface at say 30 bar?? I was happy with my situation but i don't think the instructor realised how low I was.
What I learned was that my local shop/club (not who i did the course with) has many experienced divers and that the way we use the DM is as tour guide/brief of the site, as most sites I have been have very specific entry and exit points it can be difficult to navigate. On My shop dives you and your buddy are there for each other and the DM is not a safety device.
This was not the case with some other divers on the course.
Diving among experienced people i am considered a bit of an air hog so I constantly monitor my air and depth, this helped me remain calm and aware.
Also this was kinda of something i picked up from other students, if you learnt to dive in blue tropical waters do not try and increase your depth/navigation skills in 5 metre vis at 18 degrees c.
To me the actual course was a bit of a farce but i still value the 5 dives as kind of lessons learnt if not due to the course itself.
What did you learn as a newbie about yourself, your diving abilities. diving, and those around you? and how?
Note: I know this is a rant but this was an important experience for me that showed me both what i know and how much i don't know. That current was pretty full on and as i had never experienced it before and it reminded me to be respectful of the H2O.
Figuring out that simplicity is key; that less is more - that was the revelation for me. Seems kinda obvious now, but at the time I just couldn't see the forest for the all trees. Of the many amazing things that diving has given to me, this one single lesson has had the greatest impact; even beyond diving.
When I started I quickly learned to love diving. Unfortunately I do not really remember when I learned various skills other than the basic stuff. I did add a camera to my kit very early on. Buoyancy is very key and everyone works on that skill throughout their diving career.
The biggest lesson I learned is that you are your own best buddy. Especially as a newbie you will more often than not be paired with an instabuddy. They will most likely be strangers. Some will be great, others okay, and unfortunately a small few will be dangerous. I found myself once on a dive with a club almost alone except for one other diver. When we got back to shore the club leader asked why I hadn't gone out?!! I had, you and the rest of the group swam off without me!!
The most influential person was my dive instructor. Very patient, very knowledgeable, and now a good friend. Gave me very solid basic skills then we expanded them for advanced open water. Now I feel confident in diving and don't have to rely on others for navigation. I can now take my newly certified daughter on a charter and return within 15 ft of the boat even in 10 ft viz.
Underwater navigation as part AOW was most educational class I've had. After that it has been practice, practice, practice. I try and dive as often as I can and during each dive do my own navigation with my compass. My buoyancy was dialed in after about 25 dives. Having my own BC and equipment helps a lot. My daughter changes weights with every new rental. We start with a ball park but often need to adjust. With my own gear I know exactly what my weights I need.
The biggest thing I learned was to be relaxed. At first, I was constantly checking and rechecking everything as I was going to a point where it was hard to enjoy the dive. Just remember to do dives that you are comfortable with and you have been trained for and enjoy it! That way if something goes wrong, it is easier to avoid panic and everything can be handled.
Also, don't forget your weight belt, especially on shore dives...the walk of shame back to get them sucks!!
I like TSandM's list. Here is what I learned in my first 25 "real dives" as noted in my first log book:
2. Move less
3. Feel you body and control it's position. Head stands can open a whole new world of crevasses and cracks for you to look in
4. The compass is always right
5. This is my thing, scuba diving is what I will always do
6. A man's got to know his limitations
7. I had really good instructors
8. Diving in warm water with 100 feet of vis is really nice
9. Don't chase after things- let them come to you
10. You can learn alot on every dive about being a better diver